Wildflowers & Creeks

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Elle's first time in a creek

Believe it or not, this photograph shows Elle experiencing the joys of walking barefoot in a creek for the first time in her life. That sounds a little unreal, doesn’t it? You have to remember, though, that she is Florida-born and bred, with the exception of the last eleven months of her life here in Oklahoma, and little girls from the South, at least mine, just can’t walk around barefoot in creeks and ponds for worry of gators and poisonous watersnakes. There was a single reminder of our Florida days, however, when we came across a mound of miniature seashells. Ah, Oklahoma’s Cretaceous Period?

Oklahoma seashells!

The two of us were attempting to make our walk worth at least a couple of miles but I really underestimated the heat and foolishly left my thermos of ice-cold water in the car. After a short stroll around the creek we crossed an old iron bridge and found ourselves near a field of wildflowers. Elle and I snapped a few photographs while getting eaten up by mosquitos and chased by bees the whole time. All those bug bites were worth it, though, at least to me. I am quite enamored of wildflowers, especially the field of Mexican hats I stumbled upon.

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mexican hats

mexican hats

In the Garden

Whoa. Summer came to Oklahoma with a bang. After all those extra months of freezing weather and our recent weeks of rain, it is finally 90+ degrees and dry. Is there no such thing as a happy medium? Or do those days happen fleetingly? I’m guessing the latter.

Those days have come where I now have to check my flowers and vegetables daily. A simply soaking every evening only seems to make my plants thirstier. When I walked past my potted petunias last night I was shocked by the condition of the soil. It was cracking and parched and it made me feel so silly for proclaiming only last week how hard it was to kill petunias! PUBLIC APOLOGY, PETUNIAS – I take it all back.

I never had an interest in gardening for most of my life, although I have had a lifelong interest in eating food grown in other people’s gardens. When I lost my job nearly two years ago and Florida’s economy failed to provide me with another, I decided to turn my spare time into a useful tool. The following spring and summer, I grew tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, carrots, ground cherries, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, herbs, and edible flowers.

Jack, my parents’ piebald dachshund, accompanied me every morning to the garden space. The two of us made our rounds collecting ground cherries that had fallen or thinning out the carrots and nursing the cucumbers back to health. Actually, I did the work while Jack chased squirrels and investigated the deep roots of a philodendron.

Jack, my garden buddy

Jack, looking especially short next to the lettuce patch

Matt and I decided this year’s garden would be a small and manageable one. Everything we hope will be edible is growing in container pots and recycled whiskey barrels. There are three varieties of potted tomatoes, cucumbers trailing on our iron porch rails, and okra being held upright with a metal trellis. All those mornings I tossed the water out of those saturated pots are paying off and things are finally starting to grow.

sunburst cherry tomatoes

sunburst cherry tomatoes

okra is happening!

okra is happening!

It seems I have a new garden buddy these days to go along with my new garden. As I made my rounds this morning redirecting the cucumber vines and marveling at the height of my still-growing sunflowers, Teddy rarely left my side. There is a story behind this dog and I wish I knew what it was, but for now I’m happy to imagine he was treated well by someone who appreciated his constant presence and liked to take him for long walks outside.

my handsome boy

my handsome boy

Our Upcoming Summer Vacation

Two weeks from tomorrow, I will be on my way to Oklahoma City. I already have a to-do list once I get there:

  1. Visit the Myriad Botanical Garden. The tropical conservatory includes a 35-foot waterfall and plants from Florida that thrive in humidity. Is it too early to declare this exhibit is my favorite?
  2. Cheer on the Oklahoma City RedHawks, OKC’s minor league baseball team. I’m also wishing to get my photograph taken with Ruby.
  3. Gather some of my friends and take over the kitchen for a baked goods extravaganza.
  4. Meet up with Tanya, my high school friend who also lives in OKC, and go adventuring throughout Oklahoma with cameras in hand. Tanya has lived in Oklahoma City for a number of years but, admittedly, hasn’t ventured too far out of the metro area. This will be changed.
  5. Meet little Evie and smell her still deliciously sweet newborn baby head. I think the scent is just as intoxicating as newborn puppy breath.
  6. Walk across the SkyDance Bridge, preferably at night.
  7. Prepare a pumpkin patch (Matt makes the most delicious pumpkin rolls and we must arm him with the proper tools now so we can be ready for some good fall eatin’. Also, anyone know how I can grow a cream cheese patch?).
  8. I want to see a buffalo. (!!!!!)
  9. Take the kiddo to the community pool as often as possible. Florida sunshine cannot be replaced, but that’s no reason to ignore the sun altogether.
  10. Explore Oklahoma. As many nooks and crannies as I can.

Ruby! Isn’t she just the cutest mascot EVER?!

Stay away, Reverend Kane*

Whenever I see a cloud like this, I think of Carol Anne.  Remember that part in Poltergeist when all hell breaks loose and the spindly tree outside Robbie’s window breaks through the glass and grabs him, holding him in its clutches with its limbs?  And the tornado in Carol Anne’s room that sucks her into the closet and, ultimately, into another dimension inside the television with “the TV people”?

 

Granted it isn’t bedtime and my child hasn’t been staring at the jumbly scrambled tv screen declaring, “They’re heeeeere!” because then I would have to give her up for adoption. 

*People laugh at me because I don’t watch alot of movies and I never catch movie references. However, I believe I was especially traumatized by the Poltergeist movies.  My short-term memory is crap, but if something scared the living bejeebers out of me 25 years ago, I remember it.  Don’t get me started on Freddie Kruger’s knifey fingers in the bathtub, although that movie did encourage me to start taking showers instead of baths.  And I stayed off my parents’ waterbed. (Yes, I do realize that the creepy old Reverend dude didn’t show up until the second Poltergeist movie, but still…*shudder*, he creeps me the eff out).