Forward - From the Heartland of Carolina

This is a continuing story of the journey Forward shared by 2 people, Lynne and Tom. Both love to LIVE life to it's fullest, which currently means spending lots of time outdoors, working on various projects from gardens to patios, flowers to vegetables, sunrises and sunsets, birds and woodland critters, and spending time with family. Don't forget to check the monthly archives, and please feel free to leave us a comment so we know you stopped by.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Special Wedding Guest

One particularly special guest at the wedding was a long time friend of mine, singer/songwriter/producer Michael Geddes. Michael's voice and guitar is very reminiscent of vintage James Taylor, while his playlist ranges from Hogie Charmichael to Willie Nelson as well as many excellent original pieces. Michael and I go back 16 years, to a small outdoor lounge in Kitty Hawk, NC, formerly known as Station Six. Michael was the entertainment every weekend for the better part of 6 summers there, and during that time he and I co-wrote and produced a fundraising prayer/meditation tape that was the start of my Church's building fund back in 1991. Now a guitar instructor in Northern VA, Michael is also well known for his years of playing at Big Meadows in the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA.

Michael, in addition to his ammended playlist, did our requested song, "Keeper of the Stars", and an original song, "My Hero" a song reflecting on the impact a father had on a grown child reflecting his childhood, for Dawn and Kevin, in rememberance of their father, Glenn.

Lynne entered the back yard to Michael's overdubbing with Pachebel's 'Canon in D'.

We danced, they danced, we all shared some tears and smiles ;-)

After his contracted time of playing was finished, Michael surprised the remaining guests and family with an additional set of music, for which we were much appreciative.

Anyone interested in purchasing Michael Geddes' recordings can contact him directly at or contacting Lynne or myself. We can guarantee that you won't be disappointed in the music, which consists of mostly original songs, mixed with some excellent cover versions of familiar acoustic artists.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A little patience...

Well, it took a little time on an afternoon too hot and humid , but the male Ruby-throated hummingbird made his rounds one day last week while the camera was handy. Even when he appears motionless, his wingbeats still become a blur to the eye.

Our prayers go out to all who were along the path of Hurricane Katrina as they face so many challenges in the months and years ahead.

Life has been a little quiet here in the Heartland - the gardens are really slow right now. We still have not had a really good rain in weeks - so Tom waters everyday. One thing good - with the lack of rain - the weeds are not as much of a problem now - hey got to look at the bright side - lol. We did another large order from Lowes so that we can work on some more garden borders, walkways and mulching when temps cool. Tom did get 3 raised veggie garden beds built and we got dirt in one of them and I planted mesculan and beets - they are already sprouted :) - so the first of the fall gardens are growing.

As I type this I am reminded how wonderful my life is right now - so very thankful that Tom and I have these beautiful gardens to play around in - a dry roof over our heads, two wonderful kids, grandsons and a granddaughter on the way. Our hearts are so heavy for those in Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama - so much sadness - so much loss. Makes you stop and just really say "thank you God for the small things in life" Even if you read this weeks later - stop and say a prayer for our neighbors to the south - they will still need it for months and months to come.

Until the next time - may your life be full of sunshine


~~he who plants a seed - believes in tomorrow~~

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Birthday treat

For weeks, we've been watching these butterflies, mostly swallowtails, dance around the yard. We've watched the Black Swallowtails lay their eggs on the Fennel Plant (the first batch of butterfly pics below). We've watched the caterpillars grow from nearly 1/8 inch into 2" critters. We've seen some empty cocoons, proof that we've hatched some, without knowing it. Recently, we've seen several of the cocoons shortly after they were formed. This morning, we were treated to a special surprise, catching 2 butterflies who had just (within minutes) emerged from the cocoons.

These pictures show them, no more than 3 minutes out in the fresh air, stretching and drying their wings. After about 3 hours, they took flight, and are currently dancing with our other butterfly friends in the gardens. Life is very good here in the Heartland of Carolina, and life is also WONDERFUL, sharing it with Lynne.

It's been a very good first day of my 6th decade of life ;-)

Happy Birthday my wonderful husband

A year ago today we celebrated your birthday out at the beach wondering where out lives were leading - you were turing 50 and at a crossroads of your life undecided about your job and about some personal things in your life - I was still struggling with the untimely death of Glenn and looking at an unknown future. Over the previous couple of years we had developed a friendship - one of caring/trust and a mutual respect for each others pasts and a desire to see each other have everything they deserved in life. We were aware that in some ways our relationship was changing - how we didn't fully know yet - afraid at times to persue it and at other times wanting to embrace it fully. We walked the beach/watch sunsets and marveled at the beauty of a thunderstorm - we laughed and we cried that weekend but most of all we talked.

Now a year later we celebrate yet another birthday - we found our direction - we found love and most of all we found each other. My gift to you this year and all the years to come is to fulfill the words to a song we made our own this past year

Making Memories of Us

I'm gonna be here for you baby
I'll be a man of my word
Speak the language in a voice that you have never heard
I wanna sleep with you forever
And I wanna die in your arms
In a cabin by a meadow where the wild bees swarm

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us

I wanna honor your mother
I wanna learn from your pa
I wanna steal your attention like a bad outlaw
I wanna stand out in a crowd for you
A man among men
I wanna make your world better than it's ever been

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us

We'll follow the rainbow
Wherever the four winds blow
And there'll be a new day
Comin' your way
I'm gonna be here for you from now on
This you know somehow
You've been stretched to the limits but it's alright now
And I'm gonna make you a promise
If there's life after this
I'm gonna be there to meet you with a warm, wet kiss

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us
I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll win your trust making memories of us

My darling - this is just the first of many many birthdays that we will celebrate together as husband and wife - I love you - Thank you for just being you and for sharing your life with me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A butterfly's start

Late summer, and the fennel is being stripped of it's leaves and branches by hungry swallowtail caterpillars. The eggs are laid on the plant, or other similar host plants like carrots, and for a couple weeks the caterpillars feed and grow. Then they spin their cocoons , and transform from the caterpillar to the Wonderful butterflies pictured in the previous entry.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Butterflies are special

Most of the flowers Lynne had, and we've added to, aren't there just for the color. Many of them are specifically planted to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterflies, especially, hold a special meaning to us. When we see a butterfly, we see the free spirit within them as they flutter from flower to flower, and it reminds us of the free spirits of special friends, family, and loved ones who have passed on to God's greater garden. This year, we've been fortunate to watch the complete cycle of the butterfly, from the first sightings, to the laying of eggs, caterpillars, cacoons, and new butterflies that repeat the never-ending circle. Here's just a few pictures that could be repeated most any day. About the only difference is, that as summer draws to a close, the resident butterflies become more numerous, and the migrating ones start frequenting the yard more often.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Well as you can see, Tom has been very busy with the camera. He has been bugging me for about 2 months now to find the instruction book but alas it is lost somewhere in my massive filing system so he has taken it upon himself to experiment and learn the hard way - trial and error. I think you will agree he is doing a pretty good job of learning the tricks of the camera. I am quite proud of his work.

This week was pretty quiet except for the critter department. We have been fascinated watching the larva of the giant black Swallowtail butterfly munch away on the fennel and carrot tops and grow from little specks to about 2" caterpillars and then spin coccoons. We have about 6 coccoons right now and at least 2 split ones. Our present goal is to actually see a butterfly emerge. We have two that we are intently watching. We were also pleasantly surprised to see our first Monarch butterfly of the season. I FINALLY have butterfly weed growing and hope this will lead to more Monarchs and the laying of eggs on the butterfly weed - the host food for the Monarch caterpillar. It is just amazing to watch nature at work and we are working everyday to continue to make our little corner of the world critter friendly.

As for the gardens - I have been working on putting pavers in Glenn's memorial garden - up until now it has been dirt walkways around the garden beds but I want to pave them. This is my own persoal project and Tom works on other parts of the yard while I work there. He did get the tree that fell early in the week cut into fire wood size and it is stacked to cure for use later in our firepit. I also transplanted the daylillies that Glenn's sister had gotten me as a memorial to Glenn and split them into several plants each. They are going into a new garden bed that Tom has cleared out for me. My firethorn bushes also got planted so we have two new bushes that will be bird friendly in the winter months. Weather remains hot - heat indexes over 100 although we did have a couple of days in the 80's - no hurricanes on the horizon - yeah!!!!

Thank you again for following our story

~~he who plants a seed - believes in tomorrow~~

They waited til dusk

I'd been waiting off and on all day trying to get a picture of one of our 2 dozen or so hummingbirds. The males seemed to be more interested in sparring, leaving the females to the feeders. Here's 2 different ones, taken about 1/2 hour apart this evening. Will try to get the more colorful males in better light sometime.

Porch Sentries

Always watching, always waiting... for what, we don't know, but it seems the house is well guarded, at least ;-)

Scenes from the gardens

Just some various flowers from around the yard. I'm clueless as to most of the names, but I'm slowly learning ;-) I DO know they're always changing, and VERY beautiful !

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Down by the Well

I was out in the back yard when there was a ripping, tearing, cracking sound. This pine, 57 feet tall, weekened by some sort of blight years ago, succumbed to the weak spot and fell the opposite way from where I was standing, narrowly missing the well cover. We now have another pallet of firewood for the winter, and a little more daylight down in 'The Lane".

Monday, August 15, 2005

Table for 3, please

Saturday evening, with it cooling off a little, we decided to cook out on the grill. It was cooling off some , and were going to eat out on the deck. The steak was done, the baked potatos hot. Lynne went to set the dishes, but there was a slight problem. No where to sit!!!!! Guess the cats were tired of being inside all day long ;-)

Lazy days...

Saturday was another hot and humid day, and any yardwork was done early and late. I was going to scan some more pictures from the wedding, but the cats took over my desk and chair - and refused to leave.


We moved the feeders around some over the weekend. We have several hummingbird feeders close to windows, so we switched one with the thistle feeder, and have it outside the window now. It didn't take the goldfinches long to find the new location ;-)

Beginning of a new week

Awww yes - it is a new week - hot and humid here in the "heartland" - sure makes for playing in the gardens not so much fun. Tom does continue to go out on a daily basis and work or play - me - I am growing VERY accustomed to the AC on these days when the heat index is over 100 degrees. Yesterday we had a little excitement in the backyard when the pilated woodpecker showed up for a quick visit. We are getting use to his call now so know when he is in the area. That is such a big bird and so distinctive. The indigo bunting makes regular morning and evening visits now - he has been absent for over a month so it was good to see him again at the gazebo feeder. The gardens are taking a respite right now - nothing really new. I have started several flats of seeds for fall plantings - violas/2 kinds of snapdragons/African Daisies and allysum. I plan to get some more started - need to look through my almost 100 packets of seeds that I have - old and new. Also going to get some lantana cuttings started - and geraniums.

Tom and I talked last night into the wee morning hours about plans we have for the house and gardens. It was really nice - so quiet and peaceful on the back deck and surprisingly the mosquitoes were not that bad. We are thinking more and more about turning the front craft/sewing room into a Florida room of sorts - would be cheaper than a greenhouse. Then I can start more seedlings indoors and winter over the tender perennials. The room is facing south and gets all the right exposure. There would be little structural work that would have to be done - perhaps larger windows and skylights. - just rambling here but then that is what this journal is all about - right????

Life outside our little corner of the world is going good. Grandsons start school next week. It is so hard to believe that our John will start kindergarten this year - where does time go. He was my little life line after Glenn's passing - gave me a reason to get up everyday as I had to watch him while Dawn went to college - took my mind off the immediate pain and loss. God bless children - they are so innocent at that age. And now - we look forward to the October birth of our grandaughter - another baby to hold and spoil. According to Kevin - Mom to be (Jenn) and baby are doing great - everything is on schedule. Mom is still up at Lee's in Wellsboro PA. Ruth, Tom and I will go up sometime in September to bring her back.

Until next time - remember to smile - it is contagious :)

~~anyone who plants a seed - believes in tomorrow~~

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Amazing!!! Moonflower revisited...

4 nights ago, we were more than impressed with a moonflower display of 37 blooms one night. The plant regenerated, offering displays of 5, then 7 blossoms, and there were 24 last night. However, tonight, the plant was white with a speckling of green... an amazing display of ...... EIGHTY THREE huge trumpets, and the accompanying fragrance. As Lynne said, Life is good in this little corner of the world.

Greetings my friends and family

Guess it is time for me to make an appearance since this is a journey of both Tom and I. Life is Good and gets better everyday. Those of you who know our story know that we have both have gone through some very painful things in our past - Tom with his dealing with cancer that almost took his life and the fact that I lost my wonderful husband of 37 years and father of our two great kids to cancer a few years ago. Guess what........ God is a good God and he allowed a friendship to flourish and blossom into the love that Tom and I share today. I sincerely hope that you enjoy coming to our journal from time to time and checking up on our gardens and family goings on. We love going out and working not working but playing....sometimes side by side and sometimes in completely different parts of the yard yet in unison always working for the same goal - to make our little corner of the world a place of peace and contentment.

The last few days have been particularly rewarding with a family of woodpeckers gracing the pine trees at the edge of the woodland gardens. The mother will go to the feeder out in the yard and take seed back to the babies - it is so cute to watch and then there are the hummingbirds - there are times when we feel we need to wear helmets - they dive bomb all over the place. There have been times when there are around 12 - 15 playing in the backyard at feeders and working the plants. We love it - to see nature at work. Butterflies are increasing in number. There are always several on the lantanas and the swallowtail caterpillars work over the fennel and we have seen several coccoons and then empty coccoons - again nature at work. Tonight and early morning will be a night outside to watch God's light show - the Persieds - the skies are suppose to be clear so viewing will be great.

Until another time - take time to look, smell and observe God's world around you - I promise you - you will SMILE

~~anyone who plants a seed - believes in tomorrow~~

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Setting up the Tent/Canopy

I was at the train station picking up one of our wedding guests when the crew showed up to set up the 20' x 20' tent. They had shown up as I was leaving, and Lynne took some pictures during the setup phase. Quite the transition, yet it fit perfectly.

Adding color to Summer

Lynne, being aware that the gardens would be between flowering seasons for the wedding, planted several pots of Caladiums (100 bulbs total) in late spring, hoping they would be large enough 2 months later. Most all of these went home with wedding guests.

Getting the yard ready for the Wedding

Much work went into getting the yard ready for July 9th. Lots of mowing, weeding, pruning, and even planting the weeks just before. Here's some pictures of the yard before the tent went up.

Tinker's assistance with Wedding Decorations

Tinker thought the gals needed some help with the decorations for the wedding. Actually, we think he's a camera hog :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Then and now

One thing we've done is take a lot of pictures of different parts of the garden, or sometimes a specific plant, to compare it's growth, or how a garden has changed, or to use for future use when planning for next year. Here's 2 pictures of a Moonflower bush. The smaller bush was taken June 12, and the same bush was photoed today 8/7. Because of other shrubs, you can't see all the flowers, but last night, we had 37 flowers open and grace the yard with their fragrance.