The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: gardening (Page 1 of 2)

Finding Home (Poem)

Finding Home
by Laura Bruno Lilly
© 2020

I’ll know.

When it feels right.

Deep down in the dark moonlight

filled with desert delight

and

mountain might.

Finding Home.

Where past meets now and future hopes crystallize.

Where how and why are captured

kept as secret gardens – growing spirit – with a side of fruit.

A slice of juicy watermelon slaking my thirst.

I belong.


inspired by Gavin Luke’s piece…thank you poetic muse

Snips, Snaps and Soggy Bottom Pie

Catchy title, eh? It’s been rolling around in my head as a title for a poem since 2015.
The alliteration, associated visuals, meanings and rhythmic feel just lends itself to something more creative than yet another blog post. I mean, speak this out loud: snips, snaps and soggy bottom pie.
Like I said, the perfect set-up for something more to follow than just another blog post. I think four years of this title sitting in a Word file of ideas for poems is long enough. It needs to see the light of day.
Which brings us to this day.
Notice that what follows is not a poem – more like a framework of thoughts prompted by said title. Which is handy as I’ve come against a brick wall lately trying to sort through the myriad current events and life events crowding my mind all screaming for first place in being presented in ‘yet another blog post’.
I’m sure most bloggers squash up against that brick wall every once and awhile. It’s one of the commonalities we bloggers share.
I therefore choose to start with Soggy Bottom Pie as the first smack down of that formidable barricade.

Soggy Bottom Pie

My current favorite PBS series, The Great British Baking Show aka The Great British Bake Off in the UK, is rich in such ‘show stopping’ images. (Yep, pun intended, for those of you familiar with the show).
Can’t you just hear Mary Berry intone, “It mustn’t have a soggy bottom,” as she pokes and prods a contestant’s pastry crust in the pie baking ‘Technical Challenge’?

cherry pie a la mode

I like mine with 2 scoops of the creamiest French Vanilla Bean ice cream available!


Truth be told, I am partial to a good homemade pie with, yes, a slightly soggy bottom. Sensuously luscious when the à la mode melts deep underneath the crust, bathing the jammy juices within.
My favorite pie is cherry. My extra favorite is a cherry pie made with Montmorency cherries picked from our own backyard tree*…seems like centuries ago when our kids and the neighborhood kids all helped pick once the harvest was in full swing.

What’s your favorite soggy bottom pie?
What’s your favorite reason why?

Snaps

“Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon…” snapdragonsThus began a post I wrote in 2014. Based upon a now defunct ‘What Kind of Flower Are You?’ internet quiz, it was a fun foray into matching flower personalities with us humans. Or should that be human personalities with flowers?
I came out a snapdragon 8 takes in a row – even though I’m more partial to giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and milkweed blossoms. I learned that my cousin Marybeth and blogger friend Deborah (christened ‘flower-sister’) both came up snaps in the quiz. We three are also October babies. Connection?

Snappy, flappy, flower laughing lips.
Caring, sharing, dreamy dew-drop drips.

Snips

Come a Stranger by Cynthia Voigt coverI do relish reading books and finding passages float up from the page past my eyes and into my (he)art. When that happens, I often mark it with a sticky note, reread it later, then if it still resonates, hand copy it into my book of quotes – or snip(pet)s if you will.
I often find lovely prose in young adult novels. Here’s one from Come a Stranger I jotted down 4/15/07.

“Even after everyone had gone home, the house was filled with the good time they’d had, as if it could linger in the air like the voices and music lingered in memory. Mina wrapped the memory up and put it in her heart; there was a quiet gladness, deep like a tree and tall in her.” Cynthia Voigt

 

 A tisket, a snip(pet)
A green and yellow kismet.
~~~

 Snips, Snaps and Soggy Bottom Pie

What comes to your mind as this phrase echoes about?

*we’ve since moved from our ‘growing-a-family-and-garden’ home…sigh.

Yeah, it's a hot summer…

"Luscious Lavender," poem by Annika Perry

“Luscious Lavender,” poem by Annika Perry


A sight for sore eyes, no? Thank you, Annika for giving me permission to share this as part of my little oasis offering to my readers – not that any of it will actually cool us down or offer any solutions to the state of our Global Warming Reality…but, well, we’re all entitled to a break.
While my forays into the medicinal properties of lavender are legendary, pushing the boundaries of application (remember my ‘loaded brownie’ recipe confession?), there is also the purple presence of this flowering herb to consider.
Mary Lou Mawicke Bruno headstone, Ft. Logan

A shortened stem leaning against Ma’s headstone before Dad passed away.


I love purple, it’s refreshing and mysterious all at the same time. It’s also a shared favorite color with my late Ma…
This color has a history with my family, interwoven into the fabric of our lives. Some of those threads include what I named early on as being Bruno’s Purple Giants – irises that were originally planted in our Boulder garden the first spring after we moved there (Fall 1969) and have been in the family ever since. Transplanted clumps bought from the local farm down the road, Long’s Gardens, they took to the earth and exploded into tall stems loaded with hugely fragrant, deeply lavender-purple gems.
As me and my bro grew up, married and moved into homes of our own, tubers were dug, shared and planted with each successive garden.
my flower child michelle

My flower child Michelle (notice unflattened iris stem to right of hat)


One such bed lined the front walk to our first home during our kids’ growing up years where specimens routinely grew taller than a kindergartener. Notice Michelle’s purple slicker? It rained that day back in 1992.
When she came home from school (kindergarten), the normally taller Bruno’s Purple Giants irises were slightly flattened by the intense spring storm…except one battered stem.
My flower child, Michelle, surrounded by a walkway of towering purple delights – yummy memories – and an image oasis for this mom to savor.
Last summer, while finishing the distribution of Dad’s estate and getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell, I angsted over a nagging reluctance to give up the remnants of the family tubers which had been growing in a corner of their neglected garden. Because hubby and I have not owned property since selling our home in 2009, it wasn’t in the best interest of those tubers to be dug up and then not transplanted. As much as I wanted to keep with tradition, it just wasn’t feasible.
Wouldn’t you know, my flower child Michelle, now all grown up, came up with a plan. At the end of her trip to meet with us to celebrate Joe’s b-day and help with the cleaning of the house and such, we dug a few up, packed them dry in brown paper bags and buried ‘em in her suitcase. Her thinking being, she could at least plant them at her (and her husband David’s) place in MI to get established there. Given the fact that those poor tubers were disrupted from their normal growth cycle, it was dicey, but worth a try. Imagine, those Bruno’s Purple Giants replanted in yet another family garden and available for us to dig a few for whenever hubby and I do settle into a home of our own with a place to garden.
Someday.
And that’s another oasis for me to think on – hope is as refreshing as a drink of cool lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

~~

On another note – yes a little pun – please enjoy this classic and appropriate to the theme of this post video, Summer in the City by one of my fav groups* back in the day. It brings back memories of summers in Chicago as a kid growing up before we moved to Boulder…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=158&v=U5bUmx-hk-c

*for a cool – pun intended – interview with John Sebastian, click here

Seed Quote, by Hope Jahren

Quote symbolA seed knows how to wait.

Most seeds wait for at least a year before starting to grow; a cherry seed can wait for a hundred years with no problem. What exactly each seed is waiting for is known only to that seed…

A seed is alive while it waits.

Every acorn on the ground is just as alive as the three-hundred-year-old oak tree that towers over it…they are both just waiting…the seed is waiting to flourish while the tree is only waiting to die.

When you are in the forest, for every tree that you see, there are at least a hundred trees waiting in the soil, alive and fervently wishing to be.

Each beginning is the end of a waiting.

We are each given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited.

From: Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren

Shout Out: "Just a Rose" by Colin Chappell

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad's Garden 2016

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad’s Garden 2016


When I first heard this poem, my mind immediately flashed on a photo I took during my Summer of Dad – that of a lone rose thriving in the midst of Ma & Dad’s overgrown and neglected garden.

“…for my blooms have served a purpose…”

 
From Just Thinking a collection of “little writings which may produce some little thoughts” here is Colin Chappell reading his poem, Just a Rose.

Note: All proceeds from book sales will be directed to Colin’s daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007. She is still fighting, but the treatment programs have taken their toll and she is unable to hold down a paying job for a variety of reasons. She is therefore dependent on benefits from her disability provider…She uses her time to volunteer for non-profit organizations, and has been involved in giving some dignity to the women who are living on the streets in Vancouver’s downtown East-side…She has also written a number of poems, two of which are included in the book!

Here’s a little reminder that not everything in this world is topsy-turvey crazy.

minions recycled tires, fife

minions support recycling art!


Go here for a gorgeous reminder that things in this life can be beautiful regardless of circumstances or politics.

Snippets of an Inner Childhood Soundscape

Lately I’ve been remembering quiet times as a kid, with a sharp ear for what actually occupied my time. I’m realizing that my prayers, thoughts and stories were all relayed via inner music.  I sang declarations of love to my God, hummed certain discordant intervals when I was scared, and then snappy tunes when happy.

1959 olive green vw bug

1959 olive green vw bug, just like our own family car (we kept it till ~1977. After that, it spent its last days transporting hazardous materials within a local landfill!)


During family trips in the car, I arranged the sounds and rhythms filling my head into satisfying story soundtracks. Sharing the back seat of a VW bug with my baby bro was not the most exciting of adventures.  No, I take that back, we managed to stage plays between fights for space.
He was most talented at wrinkling up his face to accompany the different voices we made up for various characters.  In fact, he’d do my favorite character, Blob, upon personal request.  Yeah, I guess baby brothers came in handy that way.
I had a rich inner life.
my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli


And an enriching kid-life. A life filled with colors, aunts, uncles, cannoli, swimming, exploring and dissecting the stinky frogs packed in purchased science kits.
Stars, bonfires and leaves.
Museums, ice skating, tobogganing, and walks with cousins. Day camp, girl scouts.
Ma’s art lessons she gave to all the cousins, the smell of linseed oil mingled with freshly ironed cotton shirts.  Growing gardens – Ma’s flowers, Dad’s tomatoes, and always a peach tree.
Baby bunnies hidden in our front yard, forts built with scraps of plywood, and music.
Always music.
Ma’s opera and dorky Barn Dance albums, the old 78’s and wonderful new LP’s of musical theatre.
Dad’s jazz. Practicing alongside Coltrane, Charlie, cool blues. Crazy kid-dancing to his sax, clarinet, guitar, and cowbell.
Grandpa’s banjo and zampogna*.  You Are My Sunshine sing-alongs.
Laying on my bed at night or looking up at the clouds on a warm spring day, in my quiet times, I didn’t read.  I didn’t color.  Well, yes, I did those.  But mostly, I ‘did my music.’
Even then, ever with me, from the inside out.

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
~ Psalm 108:1

*more on this instrument in another post…suffice it to say, my love of goats has a family history as well!

Respite with a Snapdragon

Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon…

Thus began a post I wrote in September announcing the beginning of my soon to be launched ‘serious series’ now known as Giving Voice.
Several posts and weeks into the series, I just now realized I forgot about my flower promise.  Please accept my humble apologies, and notice I have rectified the situation.  The snapdragon badge displayed in the sidebar links to a little flower quiz.  It’s meant to be a ‘respite’ during the premier presentation of Giving Voice. I think it can also serve as a fun deviation from the severe winter weather most readers have been experiencing this year.
So go on ahead and click on the badge to take the quiz.  If you feel so inclined, let me know how you turn out as a flower in the comments.  I came out a snapdragon after 8 takes in a row.  I’m more partial to giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and milkweed blossoms, but hey, a flower by any other name is still a flower!  And they do perk up the gloominess of a grey South Carolina day.snapdragons

Everything's Coming Up…Daisies?

Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon.

Come join me in a Daisy Dance

Let the Daisy Dance begin…


I never thought of myself in flower terms before, but even if I had, I’m not sure I would have associated a snapdragon with my personality before taking this little quiz.  Interestingly, I took it 8 times in a row and came up as a snapdragon each time.

But hey, I love giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and…

Milkweed

Fractal Milkweed & beetle

Fractal Milkweed & beetle


Milkweed is one of my favorite plants. Such beauty in several stages of its life cycle: The fragrance of emerging flowers is intoxicating, the flowers themselves a gorgeous purple, and the resultant seed pods other-worldly. My family knows that I want milkweed to be planted on my grave when the time comes.  🙂
These past few months I have been preparing blog entries for a serious series I hope to launch before the end of the year; perhaps even before the November craziness that is NaNoWriMo!  Coming across this little flower quiz, I realized it could be used as a sort of relief for you (my readers) once I begin the process of posting those entries.  As a point of reference and contact with the little flower quiz as a  ‘respite’ (just a click away), a snapdragon badge will be displayed in the sidebar through out the duration of that series of posts.
I am still in a quandary as to what to name this forthcoming serious series.  Until that gets figured out, I will wait on presenting it.
In the meantime, take the little quiz and declare your flower identity in the comments section of this post!

I am a snapdragon.  How about you?snapdragons

My Love Affair with Cilantro

CilantrobannerIt’s been said that there are two types of people in this world: those that love cilantro and those that hate it.  This division of stances on the merits of cilantro has in fact been debated for centuries. The 16th century herbalist John Gerard described it as a ‘very stinking herbe.’  While the Chinese continue to refer to it as the ‘fragrant plant.’
I think the title of this blog post shows which side of the debate I stand on…however I will concede that those who ‘hate’ cilantro might have a biological basis for disliking its taste. Continue reading

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