Dear Sunday Letter friends,
I hope everyone had a safe Independence Day. We were invited to watch fireworks from the backyard of a friend of a friend. Spectacular fireworks, y’all, and we had a front row (bring your own chair and sit socially distanced) view.
While our country is divided and the news is enough to give me nightmares (Friday night I literally dreamed I was living in bombed out Syria!), I am feeling optimistic. Yes, 2020 has officially jumped the shark (Kanye West is now running for POTUS), but I’m still glad I live in America.
For a while beginning in early March, I was counting the coronavirus days. I stopped counting on June 19, which was Day 99 for us. I stopped counting because Day 100 was the first day of summer, and counting down to an indeterminate date felt fruitless. Certainly I could make better use of my chalkboard.
So now I am counting down to our lake trip.
As of today, only 34 days until I see my kids. Everything still feels a bit tentative, because ANYTHING could happen between now and then. Crossing my fingers.
Book Club in LA
Back in February, my book, Gene, Everywhere, was selected by a book club in LA. And I was invited to speak to the group in person.
Of course, like so many things lately, this event was postponed due to coronavirus. Yes, I was bummed it had to be rescheduled. The lady who organized this event had invited several other area book clubs to participate; she was expecting about fifty attendees.
That’s big time for me.
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to go ahead with the discussion online. I was okay with this decision, since it seemed the safest option. Northwest Arkansas has been a virus hotspot lately, and I certainly didn’t want to inadvertently expose anyone in LA. (Not that I believe I have it, but really, you never know.) Plus, we Arkansans still aren’t supposed to be gathering in large groups. At least I don’t think we are.
So the book discussion happened online. And, it was a pleasure to be able to talk with readers again. This was the first book club I’ve spoken to since my new book launched. So thank you Lady Bookers of LA!
For those of you who aren’t in the know, around these parts, LA = Lower Arkansas.
New Garden Project
We’ve been landscaping the entire yard at our little house where my mother lives. This project has been a long time coming, and finally, our vision is taking shape.
A sneak peek!
We bought the yarrow, purslane, and mandevilla 50% off at Lowe’s. Lowe’s often has great deals on plants that need a little TLC but are otherwise perfectly fine.
You might remember we worked on the side bed last year, putting in three raised planters. (Read about it HERE.)
Here’s a look at that area today.
Yes, we are working during the hottest part of summer so far, but that’s how our schedule unfolded. On the positive side, I imagine we are becoming rather acclimated to the bone-scalding heat and sticky humidity. This will be beneficial to us when the whole planet catches on fire in August, because you know, 2020…
More on this project later.
My friend, Valeria, who is from Italy, gave me a few trombetta zucchini seeds this spring. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous plant! It may be the happiest, most lush plant growing in my garden.
I planted four seeds. All four germinated within less than two weeks. Something ate one of the seedlings immediately, but the other three plants are thriving.
Trombetta zucchini is a vining plant that grows vertically. I built a bamboo teepee for it, initially thinking the poles would be way too tall. Now, I suspect I may need to provide more support. I swear it grows half a foot a day.
It has grown a foot since I took this picture on Friday.
Here in our small garden world, we tend to over-plant. So, now coneflowers are growing up through the zucchini, which is actually a fun thing as the coneflower stems provide a sort of understory trellis for the vines.
Trombetta Zucchini is sweeter than the typical squash variety we grow and buy. It’s free of seeds too. Look how unusual…
More on this later too.
Things Momma Says:
We’re all gonna die.
(Well, there you have it. Straight from the BAT’s mouth.)
Thanks for reading, friends. Another Sunday Letter is in the books. And another 4th of July. Can you believe as crazy as 2020 has been, it is nearly half way over???
Time flies and someday gets here fast.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Sharon Collins says
I bought some interesting gourds and pumpkins last year. I threw the old punkins out into the part of the unused garden and some of them actually came up. I should have thought this thing through. The fun part is when I find out what these gigantic plants are going to be this fall. I do love surprises. Several years ago one of my children found some cotton seeds and bought a package for me to have a teeny cotton patch, The cotton was GREEN! That was a wonderful surprise. My grandparents had a small cotton farm down in the
near Hayti. 3 years ago my SIL bought some cotton bolls that he got at the garden shop in Colonial Williamsburg. I pulled the seeds out of the bolls and planted them and grew my own cotton crop. Granddad would have been so proud.
Talya Tate Boerner says
I have a package of cotton seeds I would love to plant, but I’ve been told in Arkansas we aren’t allowed to plant cotton in home gardens because of the boll weevil eradication regulations. I would have to be responsible for bringing back the boll weevil:)))
Trent Fleming says
you should plant that cotton next May. Won’t hurt a thing. Those hillbilly weevils can’t find their way to the Delta LOL Seriously, they’ve been planting cotton at the Southern Tenant Farmer museum in Tyronza for years with no ill effects I have heard about!
Trent Fleming says
Sharon, have you read Al Allen’s book “Roads that Seldom Curve” about growing up in the bootheel? Highly recommended.
Trent Fleming says
good morning, talya – another great letter. Glad you got to do he LA thing, even virtually. Those are my people, my mother’s folks settled in Union County in the 1850s. Working on a couple of stories for publication, my Zoom group on “memoir” has been a great inspiration. Hoping your plans for family and the lake all work out, I was through Henderson twice last week, Norfork is very high!
Barbara Tate says
Loved your letter this morning. I have been walking through my backyard oasis making some pictures. Let’s plant those cotton seed back there! Is it too late? You had me going with the LA thingy, because I did’t remember that you were scheduled to go to California. Lol
Cathy v says
Glad your 4th was good. We stayed home and had burgers and fries. So good.
Colene/Tom Chebuhar says
Your zucchini sounds like jack and the beanstalk. Everything else is lovely!
Linda Bennett says
Thank you for beautiful Nina Simone! I hadn’t heard that one. Stay safe and hydrate!
Love the lake picture!
Learned two new things today: the idiom “jumping the shark” (had to google it) and LA being Lower Arkansas! Wry humor through today’s letter was great (whole planet will catch on fire in August). Onward through the second half of 2020!
Dorothy Johnson says
Our 4th was quiet but fine with us. We watched Maumelle’s fireworks across the river, along with lots of other smaller displays along its border. We also turned on PBS to catch the national celebration that included various artists singing about our nation. The combination of fireworks and music reminded me how much I love our country and how fortunate we are to live here. I pray we’ll find our way through this stressful time and for the virus, division, and political and racial animosity to come to an end. Big order , I know but still, I will continue to pray.
As with all your gardening/landscaping projects, mother’s yard is wonderful!
I have to say I was thinking of a west coast LA! I’m glad you had the virtual gathering.