A Rainy Day in the Gardens

We hope to plant Stella D'Oro Lilies along the brick wall, beside the fountain, over the weekend. The pots around the front of the fountain contain double Impatiens, in red. The background photo shows Knockout Roses, beside the back porch steps. They were a pitiful frost burned sight, a month ago. They're coming back strong.
We had a beautiful slow rain, this morning. This afternoon, the sun appeared. We're now seeing a pretty sunset.
This morning, I took a few photos of the gardens. They are growing beautifully. The stand on the front porch holds two pots of red Geraniums. The pot on the floor of the porch holds a Creeping Ginny, volunteer. The other photos show Knockout Roses, baskets on hooks, the Stella D'Oro's at the edge of the front yard berm and the fountain.
Sometime, over the weekend, I'll take photos of the garden next to the creek.
The Earth Laughs in Flowers
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
We have a little road trip planned for Saturday. We hope to browse antiques shops in Alton, IL. Of course, I'll take the camera.
Thank you for visiting the Back Porch during the month of May. Have a wonderful weekend!


J's Lodge and a Tag

The painting is one of mine. The scene is the lane, that led to our home in the back pasture of the farm. The brightly colored tree was the first to turn, each autumn. The farm was sold, four years ago. A subdivision is being developed. We watch each fall to see if the "red" tree is still there, along the creek. It has survived, so far. The binoculars and case, sitting on the cabinet, belonged to J's great aunt.

The grid shows different areas of J's lodge, in the lower level of our home. Many of the furnishings were collected over a lifetime. They were stored in the attic and garage of our farm home, for several years. The table, we use for games and meals, is decorated with postcards, under glass. The cards are from family and friends and a few from our travels. The "log cabin" sits in a window, beside the fireplace. It is made from salvaged wood from the restoration of a building in old St Charles, MO. The small black milk stool, that sits beside the armoire, in the lower right photo, was used by J, when he was a child. A hickory limb table and two small foot stools were made by a friend, who lives in the Ozarks. There are two Mission style rocking chairs, near the fireplace, that belonged to J's grandparents. The coffee table has a "carved" Trout stream under glass. There are several Moose images around the room. J's nickname is Moose.
There is a bar in one corner of the room, with several old neon lights. A cabinet holds J's collection of steins, that number over 100. Another cabinet holds memorabilia from J's 40 year career as a Lineman.

When our home was presented on the Garden Club Christmas Tour, 2006. The most popular room was J's lodge. That was not a surprise, since we know it's a favorite of family and friends.


The fern stand in this photo, was made by Granddad almost 50 years ago. The creel is new. The pack basket belonged to a friend, who actually used it for it's intended purpose, over 60 years ago. There are two prints, of watercolors, above. These depict scenes from beautiful Bennett Spring State Park (MO).

The "lodge" is filled with memories and well loved keepsakes. It's warm, comfortable and a favorite place to relax.


I was tagged by willzmom, to pick up the book nearest me and turn to page 28. I am to write here, about paragraph 3. I decided to pick up the book on my nightstand. It's an old favorite. I've written here, about this book, before. The Foxfire Book, originally published in 1968. My decision to write about J's lodge today, is linked to my tag book choice.

The paragraph reads:

An' picked blackberries'n'strawberries. Always had somethin' t'eat. Pickeled beans'n' everthin'. Why, we've pickled beans in a twenty gallon barrel; but I ain't got any this year. Groundhogs eat m'beans up an' I never had nary one t'pick. I had two bushel baskets full'a cans, an' I took 'em out there an' poured 'em in th' groundhog's hole an' took a stick an' beat'em in. An' you know, that groundhog left an' never did come back. Couldn't bear them rattlin' things. Just couldn't stand 'em (laughing). This paragraph is from the chapter about a mountain woman called Aunt Arie, written in her words.

The book is dedicated to the people of Appalachia.


If you would like to write about paragraph 3 of page 28, in a book nearby, please do. I'd love to read what you write!

Decoration Day

Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day. I don't think I remember my grandparents ever calling the holiday Memorial Day. It was always Decoration Day. Each Decoration Day, when I was a child, Granny would gather flowers from her beautiful gardens. At the end of May, there were Peonies, Roses and Iris. She would place them in Mason jars and load them in the car. Early that morning, she would fry chicken and put together a picnic lunch. We spent the morning and afternoon, going from one country cemetery to another, decorating the graves of loved ones. Along the way, we would have our lunch and visit with others, who were decorating the cemeteries. It was a time to remember, and a time to visit with friends and family, we may not have seen since the previous Decoration Day.

The custom of decorating graves of those who gave their lives serving our country, began just after the Civil War. Women of the south brought flowers to the graves of soldiers from the north and south. Later, Memorial Day was designated an official holiday, the date, May 30th. Now it is observed the last Monday of May.

People around the country still bring flowers to the little country cemeteries and the larger cemeteries in towns. There are also ceremonies of remembrance.

Memorial Day signals the official beginning of the summer season. While we enjoy this holiday, we pause and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our family members who are no longer with us.

We leave for the lake tomorrow afternoon. We'll spend the holiday with family, enjoying fishing and relaxing. We will also be remembering.

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day!

These photos were taken at Sacred Heart Church. J and his family have been members of Sacred Heart Parish since the early 1940's. The statue was given by J and his brothers, in memory of their parents and brother. Recently, a rose garden was planted near the statue. The white rose is the Pope John Paul II, Commemorative Rose.


A Garage Sale and a List

As we were leaving, this morning, we noticed a garage sale on the next street. J has been looking for a chest of drawers or some such, to put in the basement back room, for his work/knock around clothes. I think this chest of drawers is too cute for the basement back room. Don't you? I can see this little beauty all painted up in a cottagey way. Great for sewing, quilting supplies, yarn or art supplies. The possibilities are practically endless. I love the spinning wheel. The chest was part of a bedroom set, that belonged to the seller's parents, when they were first married. When J went back to pick it up, this afternoon, he met the original owner. The chest is probably 50 years old.

While J was negotiating the price of the chest, I wandered into the garage. Look what I found! I've been looking for a child size table and chairs for several months. With a little work and paint, this will be perfect for Gabi and Drew's visits to G'ma and Pop Pop's house.

Charlotte, from House Wren Studio, has tagged me for a list of 7 facts about myself. Thank you Charlotte! I enjoyed reading your list.
Here goes:
1. I've read all of Agatha Christie's books. Many, more than once. I could read them all again, except perhaps, Endless Night. I thought that one was a bit of a departure from her usual books, almost like Stephen King's work. I've read most of his books, too. When I read Agatha Christie, I like to sip a cup of Earl Grey Tea.
2. I enjoy watching many TV shows from Great Britain. Especially, As Time Goes By. Another one I enjoy is Keeping Up Appearances. Those are fun, no matter how many times I see them. My latest passion is Midsomer Murders.
3. In 1970, I began acylic painting classes and belonged to the St Charles Artists Guild. I showed paintings in group shows. I painted for several years, then stopped. I gave away most of my work. In recent years, I've done a few murals or other decorative painting in homes and businesses. My latest painting, a sail boat, hangs at our lake place. Our wedding date is printed on the sails. I've done two little wall paintings there, as well. A Gull and a grouping of brightly colored oars, that appear to be leaning against the wall, in one of the guest rooms. I've also painted and donated work to be raffled at our local Relay For Life. I believe I'm proudest of those paintings.
4. When my three daughters were small, I sewed most of their clothes. And made almost all their Barbies' clothes.
5. While living in a rural setting from 1973 to 2003, I helped haul hay, round up stray livestock, build and mend fence, can or otherwise preserve food for our table and experienced other adventures of rural living.
6. When I was growing up, I churned butter for Granny, on some Saturdays. For this, I was given a quarter to go to the show, Saturday afternoon. That was enough for admission and a treat. Can you imagine that? Those really were the days!
7. I'm from the hills and hollers of the beautiful Ozarks. According to Ozark lore, it will come as no surprise, I am a barefoot girl. I rarely wear shoes. I wear sandals, when I leave the house, almost every month of the year. I only give in to shoes, when the snow flies.
I'm Tagging:
Sue, at Country Pleasures
Lisa, at Small Space Style
RoseMary, at Life in a Cordwood Cabin
Joyce, at Brookside Cottage
These blogs are listed in my Back Porch Friends


Open Cabinet & Dish Answers & MRI Update

Above grid includes photos of Mother's cabinet, open. This section holds a few bowls from sales, Granny's red candy dish (tucked into the right front corner of the top left photo) and J's Grandma's bowl (lower left photo). She always served mashed potatoes in this bowl. It came to us with a tiny hairline crack, making it even more precious. The stack of 5 small painted plates, next to J's Grandma's bowl, are from Fox and Hounds Antiques. Eventually, I hope to hang them in the "cottagey" guest room. There are several sets of stemmed glassware. All in sets of 4. The lower section of the cabinet holds a variety of plates and accessories I use for tablescapes. The dining room table seats 4. When the family is here, we serve meals at the farmhouse table in the breakfast room or serve buffet style.

Mother bought the cabinet from a good friend. They worked together as nurses and were close friends away from work. When her friend moved to a smaller home, she sold several pieces of furniture. Mother had the cabinet in her home until she moved to an assisted living apartment. I had no idea the cabinet was to be mine. What a wonderful surprise gift!

Ellen asked about the garden by the dining room window. We have Spirea, Liriope around a white Dogwood tree, Holly, Boxwood and red Azaleas. There are pots of red Impatiens around the fountain. The berm,
by the edge of the front yard, can be seen from the dining room. Among the plants there, are Stella D'Oro Lilies, Fountain Grass and a clump River Birch.

Betty Jo asked about the green plate in the three tier stand, on the island. I bought that plate and three others at Marshalls, to use with dark red plates at Christmas. I don't think it has a stamp or other identifying mark. They are just Marshalls bargains.

J got the results of the latest MRI, this afternoon. It showed a torn Rotator Cuff. He will call his Surgeon, on Monday, for an appointment. This is the same Surgeon who did his previous Rotator Cuff surgery, three years ago. Will give an update when we hear from him. Thanks, so much, to everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers.


Mary Carol Garrity Collection & Dining Room Update

My Granny sold milk, butter and eggs, for "spending money". I don't have a cow or chickens. It's times like these, they might come in handy! The Nell Hill's trip was several months in the planning. I began putting aside "spending money", when this adventure was still in the planning stages. To quote Martha, "it's a good thing".

The quilt in one of the photos, is for grandson, Drew. It's from the Blackwater event. Other things are from Nell Hill's and the Arrow Rock garden event, last weekend.

This photo shows, the two tiered stand from Nell Hill's. It holds a birds nest, from my 2005 Nell Hill's trip. The eggs and card are from the Arrow Rock garden event. The other items on the table have been collected over time. The chair is the little ladderback "mule ear" chair, I wrote about in an earlier post, about Fox Fire books and White Oak split basketry. We found the table at a country auction near Marthasville, MO about 20 years ago. The table sits beside the fireplace in the hearth room.

Mother's cabinet sits in the corner. I bought the three Lenox pieces, sitting on the cabinet, at the Osage Beach Lenox outlet store, when it was closing a few years ago. Great sale! I put together the table vignette yesterday, using things from around the house. I've since removed the cloche. I change the table vignette several times a year.

Before yesterday, there was a round mirror and sconces above the wine buffet. These prints have been used in other rooms. I love to change out rooms by relocating pieces, from other rooms. The glass piece, holding lemons, is from the 2007 Nell Hill's "shopping spree". It's from the new Mary Carol Collection. I've had the other pieces on the buffet for awhile. I found them at Evergreen, at Osage Beach, MO. Another favorite place to visit.

Views from the dining room window. I prefer leaving the windows bare.

My friend Lacy, told me about a sale at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. I bought this sign and another that says, Back Porch.
At Arrow Rock, we met the owner of L&L Home Goods & Gifts. His shops are located in Arrow Rock and Kansas City, MO. His KC shop is located in the same shopping center, where the new Nell Hill's will open Fall '07. This center is the home of several local shops. I think this is a wonderful concept. No chain stores, just locally owned shops. I'm looking forward to a visit, someday soon.
I'll be photographing and writing more, as I find homes for the new Mary Carol pieces.


Mary Carol Garrity/Nell Hill's Road Trip

The collage includes photos from our lunch in Blackwater, Missouri and a photo, from yesterday afternoon, at a new wine garden in Arrow Rock, Missouri.
Our road trip to Atchison, Kansas and Nell Hill's began early Thursday, May 10th.
Along I-70, near Rocheport, Missouri, we noticed water very near the highway. The Missouri was moving swiftly and was well out of her banks! We saw no water over the roads, along the way.
The photo, above, is from Mary Carol Garrity's beautiful garden.
While I'm on the subject of photos, I need to explain the quality of some of the photos included in this post. Early Friday morning, just as I was entering Nell Hill's, my trusty little Kodak P850, slipped from my grasp. There is damage, not sure if it can be repaired. J bought a disposable camera, I was able to use for a few photos at MCG's home. I used Picasa2 and PhotoFiltre, to fix them up a bit. Still, they are not very good. You should be able to see enlarged photos by clicking. They are fuzzy, but you get a general idea of how beautiful the home is.
While standing in line to tour Mary Carol's home, I met a friend from Great Impressions, an MSN decorating group, I belong to. This was the first time meeting, in person. Lacy, from Iowa, was accompanied by her daughter and several friends. She stops by the back porch, often. You might have seen her comments. I enjoyed visiting with Lacy, her daughter and friends.

This is a marble topped table in the living room of the home. I have photos of this table beautifully decorated for Christmas. The tiered stand holds a variety of pretty pill boxes.

A corner of the living room. This screen is gorgeous! The room is so welcoming. It's easy to see a family here.

The collage includes three photos of the dining room and one of the window seat area of the living room. The table is set for Mothers' Day. The china has been replicated from Mary Carol's own china and is available at Nell Hill's. The tiny photo frame holds a photo of Mary Carol's mother, as a child.

Just look at the screened porch! Of course I brought some of these pieces home. In the center of the top plate, you see a small glass, lily shaped vase, filled with grapes. In the center of the table, inverted bowls are used as lifts. I love the teapot on the cakestand and plan to copy that, as well as other elements of this table.

This black iron bird bath stands in the side garden. Clear glass marbles were placed in the bottom of the bowl, before filling with water. This area is particulary pretty.

We all must go out and find a glass house for our gardens! Well, at least I'd like to do just that! This tablescape has a layer of sod, instead of a table cloth. An old garden hose has also been used in the staging.

Don't throw out those broken urns! I love this idea. I plan to duplicate it here at home.

Another pretty corner of this walled side garden. J and I talked with one of the Master Gardeners. J told her about our dear Frances Williams. The gardener said, Frances might be the hosta for a corner near the broken urn.
Later, this week, I'll post about my wonderful finds from Nell Hill's.


While driving to KC, Thursday, we did some meandering. We drove to Historic Arrow Rock, but found Main Street closed. We noticed a sign, announcing a gardening event, scheduled for May 12, and made a note to stop by on our return trip. Instead of backtracking to I-70, we decided to follow the road. To our delight, just a few miles from Arrow Rock, we found Blackwater, Missouri, Pop. 199. Again, we made a note, to stop back by.

We started our return home, early yesterday, May 12. We made a quick stop in Independence, Missouri, to purchase a new camera. I can't tell you how lost I felt without my camera! The new one is different than the old one. It will do very well, until my dream for an SLR comes true.
We left I-70 at the Arrow Rock/Blackwater exit and drove through the countryside. What a wonderful surprise was in store for us. As we entered the small community of Blackwater, we discovered a street fair in progress! We absolutely love small towns and community events, like this one. There were booths with antiques, crafts and foods. There was an artist, working beside a lovely little gold fish pond/water garden. Down the center of the main street, vendors offered antique furniture, pen and ink drawings, garden accessories, plants and other wonderful items. We bought a handmade quilt, for grandson Drew and Honey from a beekeeper. Another vendor was selling his delicious strawberry dressing. It's only available in the KC area and Columbia. We asked him, to please find shelf space in our area.
We had lunch at the Iron Horse Hotel and Restaurant. The meal was delicious, the service excellent. You could not ask for better atmosphere. The collage, at the top of the post, shows a photo of my plate. Chunky chicken salad on a croissant, a small pasta salad, and a spring greens salad with a wonderful blueberry dressing. After lunch, I walked into the foyer of the hotel and glanced up the beautiful staircase. Standing on the landing above, was a grey haired man in dark, somewhat western attire. After peeking into the lobby, I turned to leave. The man passed in front of me and smiled, then was gone. Was he a ghost? I don't believe so. Kind of neat imagining, though.
The grid above, shows scenes of Blackwater, Missouri.

After lunch we drove to Arrow Rock. The gardening event was in full swing at an old school house. Beautiful plants and gardening accessories, were offered by several vendors. We bought colorful bottle candleholders to hang in the ornamental Pear, beside our patio, a rustic birdfeeder and some gorgeous eggs. The bottles were sold by a vendor, who has a shop in Arrow Rock and another in KC, at the same shopping center, where the new Nell Hill's is scheduled to open, Fall 2007. I'll include his shop's name when I post about our buys. The seller directed us to the new wine garden beside the school house. Wonderful place, where we enjoyed glasses of wine and beer, under huge shade trees.

We arrived home at 7pm, yesterday, with many happy memories and a plan to visit these great places, again.
Nell Hill's:
Iron Horse Hotel:
Historic Arrow Rock, Missouri:



Mother was born in 1922, in the beautiful Ozarks. At birth she was so tiny, it was said, she would fit in a shoe box. She was spunky from the beginning. I guess she had to be. She never grew taller than 4'11" and weighed little more than 90 pounds, most of her adult life. When she was 4 years old, she contracted Typhoid Fever. Upon her recovery, she had lost most of her hair. When it grew back, it was almost black and very curly.

As a young girl, Mother was quite athletic. She loved to play baseball and basketball. Mother was also an accomplished roller skater.

Mother and my father married in the early 1940's. She gave birth to two daughters. I am the eldest. In time, she raised us, as a single parent. Her spunkiness was definitely a valuable asset during our formative years!

Mother was a nurse. In the early years, she worked in hospitals. Late in her career, she worked for a home health agency, as a visiting nurse. She drove the back roads of the Ozarks, caring for home bound patients.

She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren, who called her Granny.

Mother passed away in June, 2005, at the age of 83. Her hair was still almost as dark as it was, when she was 4. The pastor of a small, rural Baptist Church, officiated at her service. This wonderful country preacher, using scripture and anecdotes, told Mother's story in the beautiful, almost forgotten, language of her beloved Ozarks.

We miss her.
National Mothers' Shrine
Saturday, May 5, we visited the National Mothers' Shrine in Laurie, Missouri. It is located on the grounds of The Shrine of St Patrick. From Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, people of all faiths enjoy outdoor services, here.

The photo grids show scenes from around the grounds. It's a beautiful, peaceful place, in the Missouri Ozarks.

For more about the National Mothers' Shrine:
~ Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas~




Bunnies, Columbine, Iris and Stella D'Oro

Yellow Columbine, in the side garden. The gate holds a container where I will plant annuals, soon. Red Columbine, Perennial Morning Glory, Liriope, Tiger Lilies, Iris and Hosta are some of the plants in this garden.

River Birch, Stella D'Oro Lilies and Fountain Grass in a front yard berm.

Iris in the side garden.
Updated photo of the patio Hosta.

J took the photo of the bunnies, he found in our back yard, yesterday evening. The other photos were taken by me, this morning. It's a beautiful sunny day, in eastern Missouri.


A Hydrangea, a Hint and a List

We had a wonderful time at the lake, over the weekend. I took lots of pictures for a post, later this week.

Above right is a photo of one of our Endless Summer Hydrangea. This is from 2006. The plants are looking good. Hopefully, we'll see new blooms soon.

We have a busy day planned. This morning, J is scheduled for an MRI on his left shoulder. Three years ago, he had Rotator Cuff surgery on his right shoulder. Lately, his left shoulder has been feeling a bit like the right shoulder did, just before surgery. We are hoping it is a pinched nerve this time.


The collage represents a "hint" about a post, later this week. This is a beautiful place in the beautiful Ozarks.



Quite awhile ago, Sue at "Rabbit Run Cottage" and Jenny at "oldbagnewtricks" tagged me for a list of 7 facts about myself.

My list of ordinary, weird and little known facts about myself:

1. J and I have been married just over 23 years, second time for both.

2. I am G'ma to Xantiana (Xanti), Gabriella (Gabi) and Andrew (Drew). Xanti is 14 years older than Gabi. Gabi (age 2) is 15 months older than Drew (1). Xanti will be 17 in a couple of weeks. I cannot believe it!

3. I was born in Missouri. I've lived in 6 states; Missouri, Illinois, Texas, California, Louisiana and Tennessee.

4. I've worked retail and in the electronic/semiconductor/microchip industry. Most of my life, I've been a stay at home wife and mother.

5. I like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Either bread and butter pickle or dill pickle is good with peanut butter.

6. If I enjoy a book, I will read it again and again, as if it was the first time.

7. I'm a fan of 1930's and 1940's black and white movies.

I'm tagging Carol at Raised in Cotton, Andrea at Southern Heart, Donna at The Decorated House and Kim at Daisy cottage.

Thinking Blogger Award

Theresa, at Garden Antique News honored me, by tagging me for The Thinking Blogger Award. Thank you Theresa! I have a difficult time choosing blogs to tag, because each blog I visit is wonderful. Because of that, I choose to select all my blog friends for this award.


Rainy Spring Day

God made rainy days, so gardeners could get the housework done.
~Author Unknown~

We've had several days of rain. The yard and gardens look so lush. Our Nelly Moser Clematis, bitten by frost not long ago, is blooming. This Clematis was planted 2 years ago. We haven't had much luck with these beautiful vines. We hope this one thrives.

The white fence, in the background, is along the property line. Our lot border is just to the right of the Sycamore tree. There is a concrete bench and a birdbath, with St Francis statue, next to the creek. A farm is beyond the fence.

The table sits next to a group of Persimmon trees, on the empty lot next to ours. J keeps the area on our side of the trees mowed. We'll miss this space when the lot sells!

We're going to the lake tomorrow afternoon. We need to do some spring cleaning. Of course we'll wander around a bit, too! We'll return Sunday evening. I'm sure I'll have something to write about, Monday morning. Have a wonderful weekend!

The way I see it, if you want a rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
~Dolly Parton~