Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Hi! I hope your last few days have been as wonderful as mine.
The past week brought ideal growing conditions for the garden. It was a fabulous birding week at our feeders. And, my son came for an unexpected visit. (He came for grad school classes, and we were the bonus—ha!)
He’s still here now.
In case you can’t tell, I’m floating around like milkweed fluff, a happy momma after a heart-happy week.
We planted a Beaujolais Flower two years ago when it was a tiny little thing. Last year, we didn’t see hide nor hair of it. Thinking it didn’t survive, I planted bee balm in the same place.
This spring, both plants came back with a flourish. Based on what I’m seeing in our garden, I believe the Arctic freeze we saw last winter gave our flowers a shot of adrenaline. (Our azaleas, not so much.)
Now, Beaujolais and bee balm are married, growing and spreading together in their sunny spot.
Next spring, I suspect I’ll be dividing both.
Beaujolais Flower is a purple loosestrife (not the invasive variety). It is considered a short-lived perennial, meaning its life-span may be 3-5 years, possibly 10, but not 100-years like some peonies. Short-lived sounds a little pointless—like why bother planting it?
Because, a) the pollinators love it, b) it’s gorgeous, c) if I collect and plant its seeds, I’ll have it forever.
We now have a game camera in our backyard. It was installed last week as part of a research project through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Co-Op at the University of Arkansas. The project is a study on the effects of urbanization on mammal population within the greater Fayetteville area.
Based on the deer herds in our neighborhood, I already know mammal populations are being crowded.
The camera will record through August. Those in charge may be bored with the number of times I fill our bird feeders. And I imagine Gracie and Annabelle will be photographed regularly. Family aside, I’m excited to discover which critters visit our backyard.
Creamy Lemon Pie
I made this creamy lemon pie for Mother’s Day and I am including it in today’s Sunday Letter so that later, I can find the recipe link. The recipe is credited to Sally’s Baking Addition. Bravo to her.
This pie crust—a combination of graham crackers and salted almonds—will be the pie crust I make for all future pies.
I will go as far as saying, if you are a fan of lemon pies (it’s my favorite), this is a last meal worthy pie. In fact, I think its name should be Last Meal Lemon Pie.
Really, what else is there to say?
Check out the cute little outdoor table I made.
I use the term “made” very loosely.
Last year, we finally took out the Bradford pear growing in the backyard at the little cottage where my mother lives. In Fayetteville, homeowners are encouraged to remove Bradford pear trees (and other invasion species like bush honeysuckle) because they choke out beneficial native plants. The city even offered a free native tree or shrub in exchange.
The tree is long gone, but we kept one thick slab of wood from its trunk in homage to the large tree. Even though the tree was considered undesirable, it did provide backyard shade.
To make the table, all I did was place the wood slab on a metal plant stand that we already had. Not only is this a reuse and recycle project, it couldn’t be simpler. No tools needed.
If I wanted to get fancy, I could sand and varnish the top.
Take a look at a few of the beautiful birds feeding with us this week! Photo credit to my husband, John, who took these stunning photos.
Fun Fact: Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the pattern of stars nearest the North Star to guide them.
Fun Fact: A group of house finches is called a “development”.
Fun Fact: Baltimore Orioles have a sweet tooth. They love grape jelly, orange marmalade, orange slices, and other fruits.
Fun Fact: During migration, grosbeaks fly across the Gulf of Mexico—500 miles—without stopping. And, the males share in parenting duties, often singing while sitting on the nest:))
See what I mean? It was a glorious week. The color at our feeders made our yard look tropical!
Things Momma Said:
I got a letter from the IRS saying I owe $300. If anything, THEY owe ME money.
Alrighty, friends, thanks for reading another rambling Sunday Letter.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. Annabelle and Gracie want you to know they went to the beauty shop last week.