May Day greetings! So much has happened since my last Sunday Letter, I’m not sure where to begin. I suppose I’ll just write whatever pops into my head.
First of all—I’m just gonna say it—how is it May already?? Yikes. Time is slipping away.
May is the month of flowers, right? You know, April showers bring May flowers? Based on the steady April showers we’ve been getting, I’m expecting an overabundance of blooms.
May is the month we celebrate mothers more than normal. It’s my son’s birthday month. And this May, in only a few days, he will graduate with his master’s degree.
We have lots to celebrate in our family!
Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie
For about ten days in April, I was on a busy little road trip through Arkansas and Missouri. I told you about the first part of my whirlwind adventure, when I helped judge the Arkansas Pie Festival in Cherokee Village?
Oh my goodness it was mighty delicious. Although I judged home and student bakers (and this raspberry cream cheese pie was in the professional category), I found room in my very full belly for a bite of it at the very end of the event. Yes, after tasting 26 pies, my last bite was this one.
When in Little Rock, I highly recommend treating yourself to a slice of pie at Trio’s.
FYI, the winning home baker made an incredible apple pie and the winning student baker whipped up a fantastic mixed berry pie that I’m still thinking about.
St. Louis Arch
When I was a 9th grader at Keiser Junior High, my cool Home Economics teacher, Ms. Darby, worked some sort of educator magic and finagled a trip to St. Louis for her 8th/9th grade classes. She thought we needed to go there, and so we raised enough money to charter a bus and make it happen. Our primary destination was Six Flags.
While in St. Louis, we visited the Gateway Arch, as one does, and purchased tickets for the tram ride to the top. My friend, Becky and I became distracted and failed to show up at our appointed ticket time, missing our chance to ride to the top. You see, a group of robe-wearing, tambourine-shaking Hare Krishnas lured us over to them. They had gathered outside the Arch and were chanting and spreading their peace message to all of St. Louis and beyond.
Becky and I were often distracted back then. We were like nosy, roving junior reporters, rooting out interesting people and stories because our imaginations were stuck on overdrive. And certainly a group of chanting bald guys with tambourines would capture our attention. No, we never came close to joining up with them or anything—we were already church-going girls secure in our faith—but we did become so enraptured that we missed our trip to the top of the Arch. (My unused ticket is still in my scrap book.)
Gateway to what, I wondered? Exactly what had we missed?
I decided right away that seeing and talking to those chanting guys was probably more interesting that looking at the Mississippi River from up high.
The second time I visited St. Louis, I was in my late twenties (I think). I remembered those Hare Krishnas, looked for them even. But that year, they nor anyone else thwarted my tram ride.
Good Lord! Riding to the top of the Arch in the cramped, 5-seated pod was straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was claustrophobic! And I typically didn’t have an issue with claustrophobia.
Last week, I admired the Arch from the comfort of my hotel room, and I had no desire to take another trip to the top. But seeing it right there beside Ole Man River sure was a gateway to my memories. And that’s worth something.
When It Isn’t Raining
With only 19 days until the Arkansas Master Gardener garden tour, when it isn’t raining (or we aren’t sleeping), we are outside pulling weeds, rebuilding our compost bins, trimming and dividing and talking to our plants, trying to get everything as spiffy as possible.
A lot can happen in 19 days. But knock on wood, everything is lovely for May Day.
Take a look at a few of the beauties currently blooming.
Foxglove: this variety is called Peach Dalmatian.
Clematis: This beauty is filled with buds. I hope a few wait and bloom during the garden tour.
Iris: I don’t know the variety of this iris but I call her buttered popcorn.
A few years ago, I took at class at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and learned how to make an insect hotel. I wrote about it HERE. This week, I cleaned out my hotel and put in new “furniture”. Over time, insects hatch and material breaks down, and an insect hotel needs new bedding.
(Y’all, if you need an incentive to get garden projects done, just volunteer to be on a garden tour… I’m telling you, it works! You will be checking off items on your to-do list like nobody’s business.)
Here’s how my insect hotel looks now. I failed to get a before picture, but basically, I had cleaned it out ,and it was empty.
That’s not the end of the story.
Until very recently, we had a water feature. The pipes for the water were actually inside the stone wall surrounding a section of our back yard. To repair the pipes, we would need to chisel through stone. (We aren’t landscape architects, but this seems like a design flaw to us.) Instead of damaging stone to the tune of a lot of money, we removed the water feature and added more plants instead. But, removing the water feature left an ugly hole in the back of the stone wall, the place where the spigot and pipes were housed. (I’m not explaining this very well, but hopefully you get the gist of it.)
I decided this unused empty space would be the perfect place for a second insect hotel.
I arranged material from our yard in a way that will hopefully be attractive to nesting bees—bamboo and sticks with holes and various sized cavities, bricks with holes, rocks to create crevices, and layers of bark.
Again, I failed to get a before picture. Just picture a wooden door with a wonky latch covering pipe that no longer delivered water.
Things Momma Says:
I can’t keep up with the months, much less the days.
This Sunday Letter is getting long, so I’ll close here. But I will be back soon with posts about the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Daniel Boone’s home, my trip back home to the farm, and more! I hope you are enjoying this glorious weekend so far. If you need me, I’ll be planting a few herbs and working on Bernice Runs Away!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.