March Madness in the Garden

Several weeks after planting seeds and transplanting seedlings- that had been started indoors (see previous post)- into the garden, things are looking good.  We have had cool weather here in Houston, unseasonably cool this week, which means growth has slowed down.  Despite that, I have 65 tomato plants 1 to 3 feet tall and very healthy.


Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, Cucumbers, Carrots, Radishes and Beets all pushing through the soil to find the sun.  Transplants of swiss chard, snap peas, peppers, and varieties of herbs and lettuce are growing on….


Our first tomato has formed and it is the Cherokee Purple Grafted.  A new option for tomato plants became available this year identified as Grafted Tomatoes –brand name Mighty Matoes.  Similar to the approach used with antique roses, heirloom tomato varieties are grafted to rootstock that is disease resistant, a higher yield producer and generally performs well in your climate.  End Result= Great tasting heirloom tomato, with higher yields and healthier plants….we shall see…


And the strawberry fairy has arrived, hopefully he will help our 8 plants give us a few berries to eat in the garden while we work

new strawberry_edited-1

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The best part of living in the south is that as soon as the New Year arrives, it is time to start planning the garden and starting seeds. I have been a long time old-fashioned cottage garden “gardener” with hollyhocks, bachelor buttons, forget-me-nots, sweet william and antique roses all finding a spot in my garden.

About 10 years ago, I was enrolled in Master Gardener Class and started adding heirloom tomatoes to the list, making space here and there, in pots and in the ground.  The first year started with 8 or 10 plants, some success and some definite failures.

This year we are up to 64 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 10 kinds of basil, 4 types of green beans, 2 types of beets, 4 kinds of radishes, 3 kinds of carrots, swiss chard, lettuce(s), more herbs, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers and much more.


On January 7 we started, 50 plus tomato seedlings in seed trays on heat mats in my kitchen.  Within a few days, we moved them under gro lights hung from the back of two kitchen chairs.  We added new raised beds – 3 of them with dimensions of 4X8X12 giving us new “planting territory. 

After 6 weeks we potted up to 16 oz plastic cups and grew the tomatoes on…in the meantime we started seeding and planting other vegetables into our new raised beds…





My tiny urban plot in the big city of Houston is deceptive from the front where a flower garden, and simple landscaping present themselves.  But you open the garden gate and plants, pots, beds, and all sorts of garden stuff are part of the real landscape.

The raised beds 2 weeks ago…


We used pot chards to label the square foot seeding…



We grow heirloom tomatoes in 13.67 gallon black pots.  We also end up losing the variety markers either by watering, storms, curious dogs or mystery.  We decided to paint and number the pots to let us track our best performers and to pretty up the garden.



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One Last Stand– The Lonestar Mall

After such good finds at Artichoke Annie’s, we made one final stop.  We visited the Lonestar (apropos since I am from Texas) Antique Mall. We stopped in Cuba, Missouri and found several nice things including old books, ironstone and old advertising pieces. We also found a wicker/wood rocking chair and a vintage cement cherub.

I am avid collector of old things and odd things, repurposed, well-loved and handmade things.    The sense of sharing something across time and across the country makes antique hunting very appealing, almost magnetic. Seems as though Missouri and Kansas have their fair share of pull when it comes to finding the good stuff.

Pictures of Some of the Good Stuff….

Greenhouse Sign for my Kitchen

Fruit Stand Table for my studio

He may be selling something but I will use him in some creepy Halloween art

One more slightly creepy doll for my collection

Vintage Store Rack for my studio

Yo Yo Quilt in lovely colors

Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo …

Peculiar Shelf with two tree branch pegs but an oh so lovely citron color

Never used quaker lace tablecloth, original price tag (no barcodes) is 9.00 dollars

One lovely green quilt

Ice Cream Cone holder, for those days when lots of cones are needed

Folk Art White Painted Arrow..hopefully  pointing in the right direction

Great old wood frame…great to juxtaposition with mixed media

small white side table for my daughter

never enough oil paintings

love old watch fobs, make great bracelets

tin types galore

a vintage medal with all the bars added for band, religion, bowling, etc, I think it will make a great bracelet for me…need my soldering iron

A Christmas Box to be filled

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You Showed Me — Missouri

There are a number of stories and legends behind Missouri’s sobriquet “Show-Me” state. The slogan is not official, but is common throughout the state and is used on Missouri license plates.

The most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. While a member of the U.S. House Committee on Naval Affairs, Vandiver attended an 1899 naval banquet in Philadelphia. In a speech there, he declared, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.

And Show Me they did…After several false starts and driving from 9am to 6pm we finally found one of the greatest antique malls–ever.

Artichoke Annie’s on I-70 outside of Columbia was huge, crammed full of quality goods and very helpful people.  Every booth was interesting and it made choosing what to and how much to buy difficult.  A delicious predicament.

The Show Me State Delivers

We spent 8 ours inside this antique mall and could have spent more.  Quality Quality Quality!

Choose your Carriage or Buggy as we say in the south.  These are your shopping carts for the duration of your stay.

Shopping Carts Artichoke Annie Style

The goods that got away.

The lovely green quilt that got away

Ready Set Fill.

Some of the wonderful items I acquired included:

A vintage ice cream cone holder/rack, a berry sorting table, 2  quilts, an Edwardian gold filled necklace, gifts for my family, an entire collection of bugs, moths and butterflies curated by someone named Danny Horlick (we think he grew up to be a etymologist), old frame with wavy glass, several bags of tatted lace, a vintage sign advertising a garden center, folk art carved and painted big wood arrow and more….

Pictures to come, for now my feet are up, and I am planning for tomorrows hunt.

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Kansas City BBQ (Better Buy Quick)

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Kansas City is definitely renowned for Barb-e-que and thank goodness since I would not say it is renowned for antiques.  Better Buy Quick since there ain’t much her to buy.  We snatched up a few goodies including some blown plastic snowmen … Continue reading

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The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in the late 19th century to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas.   Texas ranchers using the Chisholm Trail started on that route from either the Rio Grande or San Antonio, Texas and went to the railhead of the Kansas Pacific Railway in Abilene, Kansas.

We weren’t driving any cattle but we were driving a partially filled cargo van into Abilene, Kansas on Sunday. 

I found a perfect badge for me…

Cargo Van Driver and Chauffeur to the Good Stuff

Given that it was Sunday, Antique stores are generally only open from noon to five so it really cuts down on the shopping time. 

We found several shops in downtown Abilene.  The old town architecture was great and the people were friendly. 

Old Downtown Abilene

I found a great series of animal, birds, insects primers from 1920s.

More Views of Old Town Abilene.

The original store graphics are still visible.  And many of the streets are still brick paved with old clapboard houses.

I found a nice Edwardian Cabinet Card Album.  I will likely alter it and re-purpose to hold small pieces of art.

End of the Chisolm Trail…

After tackling Abilene we drove on to Topeka where new opportunities to find treasure are waiting.

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And I drive the main road

I am a lineman for the county

and I drive the main road

searching in the sun for another overload….

We are in Wichita hence my Glen Campbell tribute.  Though the lines about driving the main road and searching for another overload are very true when you think we drove hundreds of miles through Kansas with antique overload as our destination.

Saturday we criss-crossed the Wichita area shopping at Legacy Antiques, Old Town Architectural Salvage and the mecca of all antique malls–Paramount Antique Mall.  We spent 4 hours at Paramount and did not finish all of the booths and rows of the good stuff.

As part of this road trip we are checking the Guy’s Diner, Drive-ins and Dives site for any locations in our path.  We discovered Brint’s Diner and checked it out.  In the middle of lunch, I spouted a nosebleed that had everyone in the diner passing out.  Pretty much put a damper on eating lunch, the staff was very nice and gave me ice and towels.  However, the diners in their booths were covering their children’s eyes and looking at me like I had just gone 10 rounds.

We found several nice items and I have plans for each of them.  After Wichita we are heading for Abilene and then on to Topeka…I guess we really are “the  linewomenchecking for any opportunity to “overload”.

Old Basket, Tin and the thingamajig that teachers use to make circles on the chalkboard.

Teeny Tiny Wire-Bound Composition Notebook soon to be necklace

More Vintage Children’s Books for my collection

Never enough old photos

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OOOklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

Ready Set Go

On Friday we loaded up the cargo van and headed for Oklahoma City.  Adventures come in all shapes and sizes and Day One was mostly about holiday traffic and the Casinos on the Indian Reservations.  We had no idea that so many people and their cars could hold a highway hostage for so long.  Miles and miles of cars waiting to get to the casinos turned our 7 hour trip into 9 or 10.

Before we left a couple of others wanted to join the trip.

We want to ride tooooo

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Ready to Ride

Today I am preparing for a wonderful vacation.  One of my favorite things to do is drive the back roads of the US looking for the best antique finds.  Luckily, my very very good friend Leslie likes to do the same.  We are set to roll this Friday and have 9 days of exploring waiting for us.

Not Our First Rodeo (read Antique Trip)

Les and I have made this kind of trip 6 or 7 times before.  Riding out to explore Pennsylvania and Ohio during the late summer, doing a last-minute trip to Florida, maneuvering through snow to explore Arkansas and Tennessee, seeing the real middle of the country in Nebraska and Iowa and more.  We pretty quickly learned that renting a cargo van was necessary.  The first time you find yourself in a small town antique store where you discover the finest green chippy- paint stepback and it will not fit in the back of your Ford Expedition without one of us flying home or tossing out our earlier purchases, the cargo van flashes before your eyes.

Leading up to this adventure, we divide and conquer on the states, cities and towns  each of us will research. We look at likely places to stay, determine the travel food (I am the only cook on this trail.), locate storage tubs and packing material, find some entertainment for the drive and the list goes on.  Nope, not our first rodeo.

So Friday, we will load up, gas up, coffee up and hit the road ready to ride off in search of treasure.  Come along for the ride by checking back as we post about the towns and treasures we discover along the way.

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Do you like butter?

I am probably one of the last people to blog.  I actually started a blog 4 years ago and spent significant time in getting the layout perfect. So as I grew tired of messing with the layout, the bloom was off the rose.  I lost my interest in writing anything to share and I let it go.

Since then I have spent more time on my mixed media art, more time working and less time writing and pondering.  The more time I spend on art and taking on line classes the more I realize I would like to post some of my art on line. So I have spent less time on formatting this blog and I am just jumping in and writing and posting art.

Back to the question at the start of this post, Do you like butter?, I have the loveliest memory of my Grandmother sitting with me in her yard on a late spring day explaining how she could tell I liked butter.  She held one of the many dandelions growing in the yard under my chin and said she could see the yellowy golden reflection and that is why she knew I liked butter.  The only picture I have of that adventure is in my memory.

Grandma and Me. We have not had the butter talk yet…

My grandmother has passed on but not a day goes by without my thinking of her.  Of course not always about dandelions and butter. But I do like the way the dandelion runs through its life. The dandelion is considered a flower in one person’s eyes and a weed in another’s eyes.  They pop up in late spring where they please, bloom for a short period of time, attract bee callers, change to a beautiful white snowball harboring seeds for the future and blow and flow with the wind until they are gone.

Seems a bit like a metaphor for my blog. Hopefully, I will have more readers that think of flowers and not weeds, attract more callers, change my posts frequently to show beautiful things that inspire others and remember to just go with the flow.

Life Cycle of a Dandelion and Maybe My Blog?

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