Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Whew. What a crazy weather week. An E-3 tornado touched down during the early morning hours of Wednesday only a few miles from our home in Fayetteville. It moved northeast into Springdale leaving behind property damage, injuries, and power outages.
Thursday it snowed at our house.
Friday = warm and sunny.
I fear we are all in for a long and destructive storm season this spring. Worse than normal, I think. I’m not a qualified weather girl, but I do have several decades of real-life training, having grown up in the Arkansas delta where weather rode shotgun over our livelihood.
In the early 1970s, when I was a wee Keiser Elementary Yellowjacket, we practiced tornado drills every month it seemed, evacuating into the halls and sitting along the walls, our heads between our knees. It was a break from math or vocabulary worksheets, so I sure didn’t mind it. The entire time I was a schoolgirl there, we never had a real tornado (thank goodness).
No fires either—we practiced for those too.
Students in the 50s and 60s practiced duck-and-cover drills, thought to be helpful in the event the Soviet’s dropped an atomic bomb nearby.
Today’s students practice live shooter drills. In the here and now, twelve year olds shoot each other.
Turns out, my growing up years were very good ones. In many ways we had the best of everything—Kool-Aid and Tang, Saturday morning cartoons, the ability to make prank phone calls, mimeograph machines in the school office, serious playground equipment, Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs made of wood, Hang Ten clothing, Lip Smackers, Sea Monkeys and Ant Farms. We taped songs from the radio and played them over and over again trying to understand lyrics. Quicksand on the ditch dump was a real concern.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about our safe space here at home. I’ve always considered it to be the closet underneath our stairs, but realistically, if we ever tried to squeeze into it (with the dogs of course), it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. This week, I decided our walk-in pantry might be a safer safe space. It’s larger and easier to access than the closet. And, there is food and wine in the event we become trapped.
Everyone needs a safe space, a place to escape from people and noise and news and life. Sometimes, even on regular sunny days. Often my safe space is inside a book. Or in the garden. Or in the pages of my journal.
Here’s Annabelle’s safe place. She visits it daily, whenever Gracie is being wild, or we are cheering during Razorback sporting events, or when John is talking to an AT&T representative.
Here’s Gracie’s. She sits in hers whenever I’m working at my desk. Sometimes she goes there simply when she needs some alone time.
I hope you have a safe place for escaping into during all of life’s stormy conditions, especially spring weather events.
I noticed this near-blooming tulip on Tuesday when I was pulling weeds at the Headquarters House. It was the only one I saw the entire morning while working.
The next morning, I worried about it. We’d had storms and wind and a nearby tornado. So naturally, I went back to check on it. It survived the stormy weather. In fact, it seemed to have closed up tight to protect itself.
The next day we had snow. Even more concerning, we had a freeze that night and a heavy frost the following morning.
Again, I returned to check on it. (The Headquarters House is a block from our house, and in a way, it’s one of my safe spaces.)
The tulip had not only survived, it had fully opened to the day’s warm sunshine.
All along, I suspected it would be okay—tulips are hardy—but I needed to see this symbol of hope and survival for myself.
I don’t know this tulip variety. It looks a bit like the Peppermint Stick tulip, but the center (depicted in the first blog post picture) isn’t solid white.
Quick Garden Project
With the Arkansas Master Gardener garden tour quickly approaching, John and I are spending as much time as possible spiffing up our beds. This is tricky right now. Since we’ve not passed our last frost date, there’s only so much we can do until the weather warms.
We’ve been cleaning beds and spreading mulch. We’ve transplanted a few plants. Soon I will divide black-eyed Susans and Coneflowers.
Yesterday I added a little interest to this corner of a bed where the hose lives. There’s nothing much to see in the before picture—four large stones to keep the hose off the mulch—but that’s it.
After: I arranged small stones in the mulch around the large flat stones. Rock flowers, I call them.
A fun improvement and a great way to use stones we already had.
What do you think?
Things Momma Says:
I almost had to cut my bra off last night.
Thanks for reading today’s Sunday Letter. If I’m a little scarce around here in the next month or so, it’s because my calendar is soon to explode with commitments. And in between commitments, I’ll be in the garden.
Happy April everyone!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.