Dear Sunday Letter friends,
October is one of my favorite months of the year because of cooler weather and college football and harvest time and blooming asters. This October is even more special than normal because my third book—Bernice Runs Away—launched yesterday!
I promise I won’t talk about Bernice forever, but for now, yes, yes, I shall:)
I chose October 1st as my launch date because Bernice’s story begins in the fall. Well, technically her story began in 1938 when Bernice was born to Dorothea Greer and Bud Byrd, but Chapter One of the book begins in the autumn of 2019. So a book birthday in October made sense to me.
A Busy Season
It seems the entire year has been busy, but the last few weeks have been cram packed. Here’s a picture of me getting all the things done. LOL.
- Two back to back book clubs to talk about The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee sure reminded me of how lucky I am to be in this phase of my life. Shout out to the Third Thursday Book Club in Paragould, Arkansas! Connie Whitman, the entire library staff, and all the guests who attended made me feel right at home with a great discussion and lots of delicious food. They even made a Gracie Lee construction paper chain to count down to Bernice!
- Last Saturday, my son got married in a gorgeous ceremony at Hudson Gardens in Denver. The entire weekend was magical. There’s nothing like a wedding to remind you of the heart-skipping beauty of love.
- And then yesterday, Bernice Runs Away officially launched. During the time leading-up to October 1, my month-long virtual book launch has been in high gear on Facebook. If you’ve not participated, you’ve missed an entertaining experience. (At least I think so.) But for real, my faith in the positive part of social media has been restored, as we’ve enjoyed real engagement and conversation. 💕
Since I’m a mother-in-law twice over now, I decided to get myself a Mother-in-Law Tongue Plant (also known as a Snake Plant). I had this particular houseplant years ago but have no idea what happened to it. I do have a theory though. Since I wasn’t a MIL back then, I figure the time wasn’t right for me to have one. Ha.
Mother-in-Law Tongue plants (Dracaena trifasciata) will grow in low light conditions which is exactly what we need for our entryway.
Another couple of notable things—they need very little water and are at the top of the list of air-purifying plants. The unusual thing they do is that they release oxygen at night though a process called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (cam). They only open their stomata at night, to avoid dehydration. During the day, they use the stored organic acids for use in photosynthesis. (see Planterina for more info)
I should learn this trick because I feel dehydrated every morning when I wake up.
I’ve been meaning to tell you about these Blauhilde Pole Beans for several weeks now. Feast your peepers on the gorgeous purple color!
I purchased a package of seeds from Baker Creek back in the dreariest part of winter when my best garden dreaming begins. Then, because of one thing or another, I was very late to plant my seeds and didn’t get them in the ground until June. But I followed the recommended planting instructions exactly, soaking the seeds overnight and then planting in full sun 1/2 to 1 inch deep.
Sixty+ days later—I ate them for breakfast! Yes, sometimes I eat veggies for breakfast.
The purple color turns green while they cook. So really, these German heirloom beans have a magical property (think Jack and the Beanstalk…) But the best part is the flavor. Snappy and fresh and delicious the way magic beans should be.
Fall Porch Color
Last week, I spent several hours spiffing up our potted plants and adding a little fall color. A trip to Westwood Gardens, deadheading spent blooms, digging in the soil—I’ve not done that since prior to my surgery.
Yes, it felt mighty good.
And the result makes me happy.
It’s funny how routines change with age.
Once upon a time I bought flats and flats of pansies and spent hours on my hands and knees planting them. Now, I mostly plant perennials (native whenever possible), only adding pockets of seasonal color here and there as the weather changes.
I also like to add a few new small mums each year, usually around the porch steps. Then, once they’ve bloomed, I plant them in the ground where they multiply and spread. This year I filled my VW Bus Planter with mums, moving the succulents that were inside to a larger pot.
Here in northwest Arkansas, the growing season for pansies and violas is quite long. Also, my violas often reseed and return the next year. This is one of the many nice surprises that come with living in the Ozarks.
Things Momma Says:
I’m too fat to travel.
Thanks for reading today’s Sunday Letter. I’m curious if you are harvesting anything from your garden right now. What has been your greatest garden success story this year?
As always, thanks for being here.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.