Friday, November 27, 2009

Pyramid Trellis

My grandfather is a very skilled carpenter. He makes chairs, benches, and porch swings. On my front porch, I have two adirondack chairs that he made. On the back porch, I hung the pretty white swing that he made for me. I love my handmade furniture.

A while back, I was looking at Birds and Blooms magazine, and I saw instructions for a pyramid trellis. I really needed a focal point for the middle of my perennial bed, so I went to the website, printed out the instructions, and took them to my grandpa. He called me a few days later and told me it was ready. He and my brother loaded it into the truck and helped me position it in the perennial bed.

The trellis is perfect for this spot. Tall, but not too tall. It fits right in with my tall knockout roses, lantana, irises, and shasta daisy. The Birds and Blooms version was topped with a round finial. My grandpa topped mine with a wooden cross. You can find the plans here.

I have a vigirous Carolina Jessamine growing on it, and I am sure that it will take right off next spring. These photos are from August, when I'd just installed it in the flower bed. The jessamine is a fast growing vine. I think I will cover this trellis entirely in two seasons.

It dipped below freezing for the first time last night. November 26th is late for a first frost. My knockout roses are still blooming like crazy in the unseasonable warm temperatures.

Tonight I am headed to my grandparents house in Sallis, Mississippi. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and my brother are all there now. The men and boys will all come in from hunting. They'll eat squirrel, corn, and potato stew. Sometimes I eat it, too, but I am generally more partial to my grandma's chicken and cornbread dressing. After dinner we'll play dominoes, or we'll have a bonfire... And that's Thanksgiving at grandma's house.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Update

There was a lot of hoopla over nothing for the Ole Miss game on Saturday. Kinda like the entire football season this year...

Anyway. The band did play "Dixie" and they did play "I Saw the Light", they just didn't play them in the "From Dixie with Love" arrangement where one song flows into the other. Big whoop!?

And the game was awesome! The team played lights out. Dexter McCluster set team rushing and all-purpose yards records. I am really looking forward to the LSU match-up on Saturday!

Then on Sunday, I have a family Thanksgiving meal. I have no idea about what I am going to cook. In the Grove this weekend, I had a cheesecake topped with pumpkin pie topped with pecan pie. It was divine. I wonder if I could pull it off?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mid-Week Mish-mash

To begin, I'd like to say, "Congratulations!" to Susan and Daniel. Susan gave birth to a healthy baby boy early Sunday morning. I can't wait to see their sweet thing in person!

I am heading to Oxford tomorrow morning and will be there for a while. I'm sure I'll need to mow the yard, and I have perennials to divide. Fun stuff. I have to work before the 11:00 AM kickoff of the Tennessee game this weekend. I'll probably miss the pre-game and the kickoff, and I'm not thrilled about it. If you haven't heard, just yesterday, the new Chancellor, Dan Jones, asked the Ole Miss band to stop playing the school's unofficial fight song "From Dixie with Love" because there are folks who chant "the South will rise again" at one point duing that song. I have been going to Ole Miss games for twelve years, and I had no idea until last year that people chant that crap. Some are defending the phrase, saying that it no longer has racist, segregationist undertones; that is it just of a way to express pride and love for our region. I’m not convinced. Couldn't we find another phrase to express those feelings instead of reviving an old Civil War chant? For me, I say good riddance. Maybe my alma mater can finally move on from all of these offensive Old South relics and can learn to be proud of more than our flawed past. How about building our academic future?

Moving on!

Tonight, we are hosting Chip's parents for dinner. I am making Ina's Chicken Stew with Biscuits. It looks delicious. Last night I roasted and diced the chicken and chopped the veggies so that I can throw everything together after work today. I also baked an Almond-Crusted Pound Cake. It is Chip's mom's birthday, and she adores almond desserts. I am a little worried about the cake because it seems dry and crumbly instead of moist and delicious. There are two things I could have done wrong. 1) I didn't sift the cake flour before I measured, so it is possible that I just added too much flour. 2) I overbaked it. The middle wasn't done after 1 hour of baking, so I turned down the oven to 325F and baked for another 10 minutes. Maybe too long? I guess I'll find out tonight. I hope I am nervous over nothing and the cake turns out to be delicious.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fall Flowers

We've been blessed with beautiful weather this week. Sunny, cloudless skies and highs in the lower 70s. Unfortunately, I've been so busy at work that I haven't had a chance to get out and enjoy it. Today I hope things slow down enough so I can take a lunch break and maybe take a stroll around the neighborhood.

I love having more sunlight in the morning lately. This morning I went outside and snapped some photos of some of my favorite fall blooms: my pink hydrangea and my "all-purple" Mexican bush sage.

And, I got a good photo of the neighbor's cat. We call him Meowmers. He's gorgeous, and he loves stalking the birds and butterflies that frequent my front porch.

We have a black tom cat that visits the porch, too, and we've named him Franklin. There are two more tom cats that visit sometimes, but we haven't named them. We keep Walle inside; he doesn't "cat around" with the neighborhood kitties. Walle gets excited when I open the windows so that he gets to experience the front porch, too.
The leaves are falling, and I have my work cut out for me this weekend, raking and chopping leaves for my compost. The weather is still supposed to be gorgeous, so I don't really mind the chores. I am actually looking forward to it!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Kayaking Ross Barnett Reservoir - 11/1/09

Sunday morning was pretty boring. I woke up early, early because of the time change. Then, I spent the morning putting away summer clothes and unpacking sweaters. By mid-morning I was ready to get out into the day, breathe some fresh lake air, and move my muscles! On Sunday afternoon, Chip and I loaded up the kayaks and drove up the Natchez Trace to Brown's Landing on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day in the sun. On the drive to Brown's Landing, we saw three white-tail deer having their lunch and a flock of five wild turkeys. I just knew it was going to be a good day for spotting wildlife. The animals were all out enjoying the cool, dry day!

We put in at Brown's Landing around 1:45 PM and hung a right (to the south) to paddle the bank that runs along the Natchez Trace. For the first mile, we were paddling along a forested bank. The trees are turning down here, and they were gorgeous. We saw snapping turtles sunning out on logs. We scared a few into the water, and every once in a while we'd see a turtle pop its head up to take a look around.

The cypress knees are poking out of the water along the bank. The elephant ears are thick along the sunny edges.

Not far into our paddle we spotted this beautiful red fox taking a drink of water. I SLOWLY took my camera out of the dry hatch and snapped this photo of the critter. Man, oh man, I wish I'd had time for a close up! He was checking us out, and shortly after I got a photo of him, he decided I was too close to him for comfort and scampered off into the woods. Seeing that fox was the highlight of my week! He was that pretty.

After the first mile the water really started to hug the road, so instead of listening to traffic, we decided to turn around and head towards an island in the middle of the lake. Right around Highway 43 the reservoir narrows back into the Pearl River and gets more swamplike. We turned our boats that way and paddled about two miles across the open water. The island wasn't nearly as cool as we thought it would be. The water was barely a foot deep even 20 feet away from the shore, so we couldn't get close enough to explore the bank. It was 3:00 PM by then, so we decided to head back and call it a day. We did 5+ miles in 90 minutes. Definitely not fast, but a good paddle for a Sunday afternoon.

It was about 68F outside during our paddle and we had very little wind. The water was cold, but I think we could handle at least 10 degrees cooler, maybe 15 degrees cooler with no wind. Even at 68F I was a little warm in short-sleeves, rolled-up pants, and my PFD.

I would love to visit this area again to see if we could spot the fox, but I really doubt we'll be back. There just wasn't enough to see from Brown's Landing. Next time I think we are going to put in at Ratliff Ferry or Fanning Landing. I can't wait to report on our next trip!