In and Out of the Garden


My eyes are like a dam holding back a river of grief. I recognize the gulf disaster as a life-altering event and it strikes at the heart of all I hold dear. Most of my family came from and still live in the gulf states. What real wealth i have inherited from my forebears are an attachment to land; to place and to the order of nature. My great uncle was the game and fish warden for Forrest County -just sixty miles north of the Mississippi gulf shore. He used to take me out where he would find illegal animal traps, then spring and collect them. He gave me my first horse and taught me the birds and the trees while I rode with him into the wild and magical places of southern mississsippi.

My grandmother had a house on stilts on Lake Ponchatrain in New Orleans, and later a little brick house in Baton Rouge. I never smell mint that I dont hear the squeak of her screen door. While visiting her, I can remember going to watch big ships gliding into locks on the great Mississippi river to be pumped down to sea level where they could enter the gulf. I can remember flying in my dad's little piper aircraft over Cat Island in the gulf and landing in a fresh cut field in Louisianna to visit cousins. I can smell it even now and remember the golden light on grassy brackish creeks, the tips of the grasses decorated with bright blue dragonflies.

Where does a grief-stricken spirit take refuge from a situation that continues on unabated now for 71 days?


Cosmos "Bright Lights"

Moonbeam Coreopsis

Bean vine

Baby Zucchini

babys breath
A kind of Baby's Breath -much better than the kind that comes with roses


The farmers market moved to the city park and it is much much better. It is now the charming truck market a small town should have and the shady trees make it a pleasant promenade. Last week there were homemade breads and jams, lots of beans and cabbage and onions, herbs, daylillies, birdhouses, tie dyed t-shirts and my market:

I had both sunshine carrots, and the ones that are purple on the outside but orange on the inside.


Both of them are very sweet and crunchy. Next time, I plan to thin them more because I had too many that were too small to sell. I mostly eat those while weeding. I usually have 4-5 wildflower bouquets that have some of my garden flowers mixed in.

I had my herbs for sale in little cones of brown paper tied with a very thin golden thread. A package of red, orange and yellow cherry tomatoes went home with my friend Sarah, the unofficial mayor of Blue RIdge. Peppers, both banana and jalapeno, were the last to sell. The eggs always go and i think packaging them in groups of five is appreciated by those in single or just a two person household. I also started making inexpensive "folk art" paintings on wood:

This is an Old-English Game Hen. I love this one and wouldnt mind keeping it for myself.

After the market, I passed a fresh cut hay field on the way home and savored its sweet fragrance.

Koby had a big day in the creek and Trout was off on an adventure. She is free to leave the property because I know she is wily and can take care of herself. She would never even let a stranger touch her, much less get in a car with them. Koby, however, is too friendly to be allowed "off-campus".

On saturday evenings, I take my Honey out for a ride around the county. We go out around 8:15 and stay out until almost dark. Here he is waiting patiently while I photograph an old barn. He is so good.

Do you need refuge from gulf heartache too? I made up the guest room for you, and made my mom's eggy Mac-n-Cheese in the crock pot.


Finally, my state-of-the-union commentary.


  1. Oh, my. Just the refuge I needed. One guest room and a hearty helping of eggy mac-n-cheese, please? With a side of squeaky-door mint? A beautiful and beautifully written post. Enjoy your weekend!


  2. I needed your lovely refuge, too. :) I would SO buy just about everything in that truck bed! Dang, chickory, the world seems to be flushing down the toilet lately. I think the best we can do is plant beautiful things, tread as easy as we can, and always, make art. xox!! Pam

  3. Here's a song for you, circa the first Earth Day.

    PS: I am back at Blogger. WP was too limiting.

  4. eggy: thank you! its always nice to see you. i have been making all kind of comfort food. I made tomato soup from scratch last week -with leeks and both red and yellow tomatoes. so good. of course, how can you go wrong with a ton of butter and half and half? C'mon over, tonight i am making a chicken pot pie. (i bought the crust tho')

    yobo: Dang if you arent right sweet yobo. And your Rx is my own- just try and feed the spirit with what is good and true. Art does help!

    xl: perfect song choice! and i loved the kaleidescope thingy too. very groovy. GLAD you are back on the blogga! (i hate word press)

  5. keep your spirits up..... I am so glad that you lift your eyes and show us what you see..... beautiful photos.... we are watching "Justified" on telly right now... deputy Raylan Givens is a bit of alright, Kentucky alright.... and chickory, Burt and neoprene... I like it toooooooo (much)
    hug to you...:o)

  6. Glorious flowers, just to see them brightens my day.
    So too your photographs, art, produce, glorious post dear chickory, thank you for sharing your childhood memories and your inspiring words.
    What a beautiful place to take refuge from the troubles of the gulf heartache...thank goodness for your creativity and beauty of spirit.
    xoxoxo ♡

  7. I have a plane ticket for late September and PLEASE make that mac/cheese (again.) I was just talking about it tonight. I swear. :-)

    I love the way you merchandise/package/display your art/vegetables/etc. Your extra touch makes it more than just a vegetable. Nicely done.

    I thought my heart was broken over the gulf and then I read your back story. :-( Extra broken now. Still, I love seeing the flowers and a place I truly believe DOES restore the soul.

    XOXOXO. Take care little bird.

  8. lovely, lovely, lovely ..
    has the heat abated a bit? it has here.
    it's heart breaking what's going on down there.
    i remember going to ship island, ms and playing in the waves while dolphins frolicked a bit further off (although there was one fin one time i was not sure of .. so i got out). i remember the white sands and blue waters of pensacola beach.

    i just ate some rainbow carrots yesterday. they were delightful.

    your photos are really beautiful. it's all so very chickory!

  9. Mariann: thank you for visiting! great to meet you. I am doing my best to stay positive, but i have been doing some research on the players involved with BP, the MMS, our energy policy and also the worlds biggest investors and i can tell you this: so far? it doesnt look good. Oh yes. Burt in neoprene. I wish he lived next door - im sure i would feel so much better. :-)

    dianne: as you well know we can take refuge in the sweetness of ordinary, yet extraordinary things. watching bees buzzing on my sunflowers this morning made me heart sing. xoxox

    boxer: you probably didnt know that i lived in southern mississippi for 5 years. I learned to water ski down in bay st louis on the gulf with a boy who grew up to now be a fishing guide. talk about broken hearts...his grief is palpable.

    when i was young, friday nights was a night filled with anticipation of going out and doing something. friday nights are now all about "merchandising the truck". It really isnt so much about making money, but more like a community participation activity for me -hanging out with everybody and meeting new people. seeing everybodys dogs......

    i promise to make eggy mac for you! xoxo

    faery: ditto sweet pea

    foamy: i could almost do an xdell style report on BP. I have spent weeks on research on the players and it is a very very dark story. I am debating about posting it here...or maybe i should open up the dog pen again?

    the way you swam with dolphins was nice. those poor creatures penned in and made to swim with tourists makes me sick. what gives people a right to trap these animals profit from pimping them out? Dear God!

  10. You know, sometimes I really hate the all comment consuming Blogger.

  11. Great post. I became certified as a boom operator on Monday by Troll County Disaster-Planning. Just about everyone I know with a boat has done so.

    Hopefully, it won't come this way but it's good so many people are prepared.

  12. beautiful post, c,
    i'm so sorry for your grief

    for us all

    × × ×


  13. That's the main trick of life, isn't it? To care, to maintain a sense of righteous indignation, and to take action when at all possible and, yet, at the same time to be careful not to let the anger and grief consume everything.

  14. Blogger is eating my commentary!

    Really great job merchandising your flatbed store.
    I especially like your panel painting of the vase of flowers next to the vase of flowers!

    I too am grieving for the Gulf. My bliss years were living on the Gulf in Sarasota. Mermaid and I swam with manatees and dolphin, nurtured and protected sea turtle mounds and lived synched to the rhythms of the tides. My grief is deep my anger immeasurable. Post in the dog pen as I would loathe to see all that ugliness in this beautiful place.

    A boom operating Troll! ?I already feel better.

  15. Very nice pictorial. I've never seen multi-colored carrots like those. Although we have radishes that look like that because we grew them too close together.

    A Troll trolling for oil, eh. I wonder if they'll let him keep what he catches.

  16. Your blog is more relaxing than an ice-cold beer.

  17. Why ain't this a lovely reverie? I see now that youse gonna have to set up picnic tables along the creek to dish up all the mac'n cheese that folks is comin' fer!

    Wee chile' doan grieve so--do what ya can do whar' ya is, an doan let this rob ya of the joy that is under your nose--as ya has shown us so charmingly. Enchantin' market on truck--the care of presentation is more of a gift that the goodies!

    Howdy to V and the pups. An..does ya reckon our grandmamas could be kin? Mine kept mint growin' by the back porch steps--old wooden steps painted green. Mebbe it's jes Southern.

    Troll County?? HEY YOU!! Youse sorely missed.

    Chick9, keep yore chin up pumpkin.

  18. Good evening Chickory,

    You don't take refuge. You fight back in any way you know. Your art, your ability to put grace in the spoken word, these are your tools. Use them!

    I've been very impressed with your ability to collect information on so many subjects and on this one you have exceled. Get the message out out in any venue you can.

    Troll, if that's you, your missed, your perspective on this would be appreciated.

  19. Bad news on Huffington tonight about the methane horror in the Gulf

  20. Wonderful post, very poignant. I can't bear to watch the news reports on the Gulf. However, I do know people who are NOT cancelling their vacations. Even if they can't swim in the water (if the oil gets there), they can still enjoy the local activities and swim in the hotel pool. We talked about supporting those local businesses.
    And I'm excited for another Troll sighting!

  21. shamy: so youre saying i missed out on some juicy comment from you to be left only with a dig on blogga? bah!

    boxer: maybe. its about time allocation...summer is busy.

    anonymous: HEY! good that you can actually do something without the Feds coming in and requiring some ridiculous permitting or something. I pray that your home will remain whole.

    /t: yes. for us all. because truly this is a planetary disaster.

    moi: yes that is the trick of life. if anything, it has really helped me in the "be here now" department.

    fishy: i know that - i already decided i had to stop reporting on chicken deaths and dog injuries or nobody would ever come here. so glad your time by the sea remains in your heart and memories in tact.
    thanks for the comment on the truck shop! and this picture was after i sold about half my produce. this week i will have squash -weird kinds: clarimore, raven blacks, and golden dawns.

  22. buzz: its hard to thin, but it must be done. thats how i wrecked my carrot bed -this fall i am giving them all a lot of room. show us your produce! i want to see.

    heff: really? i am glad!

    aunty: are you transmitting from across the pond?! how cool is that. your sweet voice is like the light breaking through the forest trees.

    karl: thank you for that vote of confidence! i do talk about this -and other important themes at the farmers market...that is a receptive crowd. I hear you -turning away and doing nothing is why we are in the sorry state we are now.

    and yes, we miss our TROLL very very much.

    anon: oh yes. where BP drilled was on top of a very fragile part of the ocean floor - the many many ways BP ignored safety is criminal. there should be no question that the corporations are in charge, and our "representatives" are their minions.

    pam: welcome home! your friends are doing a very good thing. i really feel for the gulf communities but i am completely undone by what is happening to all the creatures of the gulf. heartbreaking.

  23. Not even my beautiful garden can soothe my heart.

  24. Yes. Blogger pissed me off so much that I went back to work. If I remember correctly I gave a thumbs up art review on the white chicken on red, an inquiry on the status of your leg, another thumbs up on Koby still being part of Clan of Dogs and Chickens, I lusted after your carrots and was very glad that you get to run your market under the shade of some lovely trees.

    Oh and I I can't wait for September.

  25. chickorys garden
    summertime dreams
    forget me nots
    flowered moon beams
    and purple carrots
    blue dragonflys
    flying through summer
    love is divine
    haystacks of golden
    down never ending lanes
    through meadows and feilds
    where little birds play
    the simple beauty
    of all that is around
    drives peace through a heart
    with loves sweet sounds


  26. Hi There, Chickory. Since you probably already know how sickened I am as a Floridian, I am going to choose to comment on your lovely truck display instead! The little touches you make, like the gingham cloth, putting a rise in the back, the lovely bouquets, ribbons around the veggies all make for a quaint and attractive display. Hope you sold heaps!

    Those carrots look sooo sweet. Don't know if you cook and eat chickens too (!) but I love to use sweet little carrots under my roasting bird, the fat drips on them and they are soo delicious.

    Try not to get "life" get you down although after this last very trying week, La Diva wished I could take a vacation from this planet and its woes. Feeling your pain. x

  27. another very beautiful post ... a lovely long & vivid visit with Chickory (complete with a photo of V !) ... I would love to come for another visit and stay in your lovely guest room, cool my toes in the creek along with Koby and eat eggy mac-n-cheese from the crockpot.

    much, much love, xo Susan & Missy D (avec les Chats)

  28. Please post pictures of your July 3rd farmers market offering.
    Thank You.

  29. Please post pictures of your July 3rd farmers market display. Now that you have us all addicted ...

  30. dani: oh no, i hate to hear that. does it help to know your garden is a big help to me? i think about you often -remembering your beach by the sea. too too sad to contemplate. i imagine it is a bit like watching an asteroid heading toward earth...nothing to do but wait. im sorry, Dani.

    shamu: leg isnt too good. i can walk, it hurts a little. if i step the wrong way, it hurts a lot. i never went to the hospital and wont. what can they do? nothing if it aint broke. Koby is still in thepack, even after crippling me and last saturday somebody got in my farmers market space leaving me with one of the last slots available -kind of behind a tree. still did pretty good!

    neil: i love your poems...and you wrote my home so well. thank you

    diva: thank you -that was as sweet and soothing as a southern waffle house waitress. i mean that in all sincerity since they honey and darlin ya - nursing the drunk and poor back to health with pecan waffles and cheese grits. grrherhahahahaha. My market! i love to merchandise the truck. and i love people who come to farmers markets - good people. i used my baby carrots with a baked salmon in parchment paper - so delicious. (i like sea bear wild alaskan salmon)

    susan: indeed a rare sighting of V - V being patient with me. I made eggy mac on saturday for my friend Betty - also made a strawberry creme pie. not bad! always tres delightful to see you mon ami! xo

    fishy: i will do it. probably later today!

  31. Hello! I just came by to show you my new avatar!

  32. what we see of the gulf disaster is but ONE percent... like an iceberg, 99% is BELOW the surface... i said when i became aware of the tragedy it will take more than 2,000 years before the area begins to heal, at the EARLIEST... what makes it worse is the crap they pour in as 'dispersant', it's the same shite they used on the exxon valdez spill... did NOT work then, why think it will now, 20+ years later?... in open water? GRRRRRR

    as always, love your thoughts and pics....


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