Horsey and Snappish

by Stefani on 17-May-2010

Hey y’all!

It’s been quiet here, I know. That’s in part because my sweet family surprised me with a Mother’s day jaunt to the Guadalupe River in (wait for it….) a rented RV! We had a great time hanging with what’s left of the winter Texans (the older folks that migrate here to escape northern winters).

You know sometimes I think that old folks are more my speed than my own generation (of course “my own generation” isn’t getting any younger, you know?). I think I’ve kinda been an old lady at heart since I was about oh 12… no 6… well, maybe since birth. Oh I suppose I had a brief period of young, passionate foolishess in my late teens and early twenties, but my heart was never really in it. I’m a sit on the front porch and talk about the weather kind of gal.

The weather, my kids, my aches and pains, my crazy dog and my garden – that’s pretty much the sum total of what I have to say. Which is a lot of the reason that this space has languished a bit too. I feel like I don’t have much to say that’s new and interesting. Maybe now that I’ve said so, something new and interesting will happen. Just not too new and interesting I hope… old ladies like me don’t go in for shananaigans.

There *is* a little garden news to share. Remember a while back when we talked about signature flowers and I told you that there were some mystery plants growing in my garden? Remember how I hoped that one of them would turn out to be the one flower that would always make my young men think of their beloved mama?

Well, maybe not.

Mystery plant number one here:

Became this:

Pretty huh? I had no idea those were out there! I suppose they COULD grow to be my signature flower. We do stop whenever we come across a snapdragon and squish their cheeks to make them snap. And lets face it, it wouldn’t be altogether unreasonable to claim them as my own considering that I too can get a little snappish if you push me in the right places. Add to that the fact that I, like the flowers, don’t much care for Texas heat and get all wilty and saggy in the hottest part of the day, and maybe they fit me pretty well after all. Still… they’re awfully tall and slender, pink and girly. I can’t imagine ever being thought of as any of those things.

As for mystery plant number 2:

It has become this:

It’s not yet fully in bloom, but it is most assuredly horsemint.

Some people call it Lemon Bee Balm, which is a nicer name, but one that I don’t understand. It doesn’t smell lemony at all, or minty either for that matter. It smells like wet horse. For real. I wish I was kidding because they are really interesting and intricate flowers, but let’s just put it out there, they stink. Maybe it’s not really the flowers themselves that stink. it’s the leaves. Still… not exactly how I’d like to be remembered.

Of course who’s to say, the sight of them alongside the road might one day bring to mind for my boys the memory of their crazy mother careening across three lanes of traffic to yank up some plant that she’s decided belongs in their garden. Their hearts will beat a little faster as they remember me digging through my glove compartment for a spade while they sank low in their seats, peeking out the windows to watch for the fuzz.

“Mama, are you sure it’s like, you know, even LEGAL to dig stuff up on the side of the road like that?”

“Pffffbbbt. Who’s gonna stop me?”

I’m a fine example, aren’t I?

There is also a new addition to the garden that I’m really loving so far:

Plumeria. I double dog dare you to pass it by without breathing deeply of it’s charms. It’s intoxicating.

I didn’t dig this one up on the side of the road. (I would have though, if I had seen it there) The most olfactory natured of my fellas was with me in one of those box stores when we came upon it a couple of weeks back. He inhaled long and hard and then said, “Mama you have to have that.” I agreed.

I don’t know that it will ever qualify as “my flower.” After all, I’m no Hawaiian goddess, but it’s awfully nice to have around anyhow. I sure hope I don’t kill it.

So…. I suppose that the hunt for my signature flower is still on. There are a few possibilities left in the garden…. we shall see what becomes of them 🙂

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start, friends!

Amy J May 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

Hi Stef! It’s good to hear from you!! I was thinking “no news is good news”, isn’t that what us old ladies say? ;o)

The camping trip sounds wonderful – actually much to my dismay, my husband has vowed never to camp again in a tent. It’s all cabins and RVs from here on out. I guess that’s okay with me too. Comforts of home and all that.

I love the Plumeria!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Oh I love tent camping! Of course you must understand that tent camping is still not quite roughing it for us. We even have a portable shower and oven! Still, there’s nothing like feeling the breeze and hearing the outside sounds.

I have to say though, for long distances the RV really is wonderful. It’s so nice to have a real kitchen, bathroom and bed at the end of a day of playing hard.

Hope your summer is off to a great start!

Miko's Girl May 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

The RV trip sounds like it was a good time. I’ve been an old lady at heart for quite some time too (no one my age wants to sit around talking about plants, knitting, and kids). This weekend I visited a college friend and came back with some more passalongs for my garden. Look up Maximillian Sunflower – maybe that is your signature flower?

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Ooooohhh!!! That sunflower DOES sound like it needs a place in my garden!
Passalongs are just the best. I have a moonflower vine waiting for me at a friend’s garden, and I’ll be taking her some 4 o’clocks. I love how those plants will always make us think of each other.

Wendy P May 17, 2010 at 11:24 am

I’m an old lady at heart too! When I was little I loved sitting on the porch with my grandmother, great grandmother and their siblings while they laughed about the past.

I miss plumeria! I grew bunches of it in So Cal, but I know it won’t be able to take the cold NW Florida winters. Enjoy! And if you like it that much, you must look for Tuberose. Intoxicating!

How did you like the RV trip? Do you think you could do the Grand Canyon that way?

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Well… there’s hope! At least that’s what they tell me. As I understand it, plumeria goes dormant in the winter. You can dig the whole thing up and hang it in an attic or basement or garage until the last frost and then plop it right back out side. We shall see…

Sarah M May 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Your flowers are gorgeous!
I thought I might have been the only “old lady” from birth. I started embroidery at 7, knitting in middle school, and was affectionately known as “Mom” by my (not so innocent) highschool friends. HA!
That’s okay, knitting, tea, and a porch swing? Sign me up any day!
Sarah M

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Oh you sound like my kinda gal! I had a collection of fiestaware in my closet by my senior year in high school and a subscription to Martha Stewart Living and Veranda when all my college buddies were reading In Style 🙂

Amber May 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I think growing up in Hawaii we take plumerias for granted – they grow everywhere here – and yes, they do smell wonderful! As kids we always used to make plumeria leis for my mom…I need to teach the kids how to do that!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I’ve been to Maui twice… honeymoon and first anniversary. Here I am 13 years later and one little whiff of that plumeria on the breeze and I can almost hear the ocean. It takes me back just that fast!

Now if I could just get my hands on some pikake!

Eren May 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Aaahhhh…plumeria is heavenly. Glad to hear you’ve got something pretty in your garden. It looks great!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Well save for the herbs, there’s nothing edible… unlike a certain Ms. Green Thumb that I know 🙂

Still…. I almost don’t even want to say it outloud for fear of jinxing it…. things are actually BLOOMING! Things that I grew from SEED! I can hardly believe it! Maybe, just maybe, my gardening luck is taking a turn.

Christine May 17, 2010 at 4:28 pm

That’s an awesome Mother’s Day present! My mom always had plumeria growing in pots around our house in South Carolina (we used to live in Hawaii). I just always remember lugging in the huge pots (bigger than a grown adult) into the garage when it frosted over. But I love every moment of them. 🙂 I love your blog. Happy Mother’s Day a little late!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Well I do have these visions of gobs and gobs of plumeria scattered around the yard, perfuming our afternoons in lovliness, but yes, I kind of think that dream might be tempered by the fact that I’ll have to find room for them all indoors during the winter!

Thank you so much for your kindness Christine, and happy Mother’s Day to you!

chantelle May 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a while…I’d say at least two years, and it is always one of the most thoughtful and often enjoyable parts of my day. What I love most about your blog – you seem normal. 🙂 There’s no raise umpteen kids, write books, craft furiously, and still get 8 hours of sleep. As inspiring as many of those blogs are…I rarely come away and feel like I can relate.

Reading your posts feels like slipping away for a 20 minute coffee with a good friend. We can laugh about our knitting projects, talk about family and food, and go home feeling a bit filled up.

I love your blog. It’s an odd, strangely satifying, one-way “friendship”. Keep at it girl!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Oh Chantelle! Thank you thank you! I’ve been feeling lately a little bit like I’m losing my blogging mojo… like I’ve just run out of things to say. But I do still love having a space in which to savor the simple goodness of these days of ours, and a place to connect with other old souls. When you put it that way… a little coffee break with a friend… it sounds like a good long breath of fresh air in an otherwise hectic day. And we all need that, don’t we? Thank you. Let’s make that street run two ways, shall we? 🙂

Dawn Suzette May 17, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I think you have a whole lot of comany with that ol’ lady gig… I would sit on a porch and chat with you anytime…
Now that spring is here I have been thinking about what you said about a flower… still looking here too!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm

If only there weren’t so many dang miles between here and there, huh?
I’m waiting anxiously to hear when you and your flower discover each other. I think for you it will have to be something dreamy, fairy-like… something that grows in hidden woodland places. 🙂

Dawn Suzette May 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm

There are a whole lot of miles… maybe someday!
Lately I am thinking about the wild strawberry flower. It knows how to lay low, be simple and holds the key to yummy surprises! It also likes beach and forest alike…I kinda like that right now! 🙂

Carrie May 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

I too have been an old lady since I was young. I love to knit, crochet, sew, garden and cook. I love history and steeping myself in long ago times. It is nice to know that there are others out there like me and I can tell my husband that he is not the only one with a young old wife.

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Oh I think we’d get along fine, Carrie. I’m willing to bet you loved Anne of Green gables as a girl too, didn’t you?

Carrie May 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I did although my favorite was the Little House series. I also loved Caddie Woodlawn. Anything about pioneer life had me hooked. Thank you for sharing all you do in your blog. My boys and I love it!

Carla May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

You probably already know this or maybe someone else has mentioned it, but the mint family has square stems whether the plant smells of mint or not. I can’t tell from the picture but if your horsemint smells of horse and has those square stems, that’s where it got its name.

I love dainty, old fashioned snapdragons. On the other hand your plumeria is a dazzling bit of elegance. Both are lovely!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm

You’re a genius, Carla! And yes, I did have that bit of information tucked away in the rusty file drawers in my mind, but I hadn’t thought of it. We went out there and checked and sure enough… square stems! Mystery solved!

My guys ran back and forth between the horsemint and the mint mint squealing, “That’s so cool! Square stems! Same family!!!!”

Thanks for that!

Carla May 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm

LOL, I always get a kick out of square stems, too! Glad you are enjoying it!

Stefani May 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

It really was such a treat. Unfortunately a couple of the kiddos got sick while we were there, so it was not quite the vacation we hoped it would be. Oh gee darn, I guess we’ll have to try try again 🙂

Elaine May 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

This post reminded me of something my grandma used to say,

“Nothing grows better than stolen flowers”.

She too was known for pulling over to grab plants on the roadside. My sister still has some of her questionably gotten tiger lilies – some 40 years later.

I’d nearly forgotten all that. Thanks.

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