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Friday, June 25, 2010


The week has flown by. Even though the temperatures were mid-90’s most days I managed to get more done outside. If I plan my work right I’m in the shade much of the time. I suppose it’s good the heat drives me in for I would stay out and keep working all day, otherwise.

Wednesday was girl’s day and it was my turn to be hostess. Our third lady went back to work so it is just the two of us now. We both have a lot of outside work to keep up and that comes first. This time of year it’s hard to find time to get together. She has a big garden and works hard at that. She loves doing it and shares what she grows…….as well as canning and freezing much of it.

She’s the same friend I do cards with and she’s the one who hatches butterflies…..she is called the “butterfly lady.” The picture is one of the babies she helped deliver. She gets to enjoy them a little while as they stretch their wings and prepare to fly away. We are both avid nature lovers and share stories, information and hobbies linked to the natural world. We never lack for anything to talk about.

It’s the time of day I’d better post this and attach the picture of a newborn Monarch. Friday night is upon us and I hope you have a fantastic weekend. If you have any extra rain we could sure use some……….

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Our part of Missouri is cooking. I’ve been spending time watering my flowers and putting mulch around the plants that are fragile or need cool roots. I’m amazed at some of them that just keep on going with no help at all. Our temps have been in the mid-90’s for most of a week so we’re all griping like I knew we would when we said we wouldn’t…….last winter. We’re so bad!

I continue to work on the clearing in the back and it’s showing progress. I must be getting more acclimated to the heat and exercise because it isn’t taking the toll it did at first. I’m enjoying the work, actually. Gardening is pretty much of a puzzle to me. Yesterday I was cutting out poison ivy from the other side of the fence and where I had dumped some cat litter once….guess what was growing up in it? Poison ivy. Now I think that’s astonishing.

We have a lot of scenic rock roadways in Missouri. Out of the layers of limestone and nooks and crannies everything from cedar trees to wild flowers have found places to hang onto and do quite well for their situation. I guess with nature it’s much like humans. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

Every year I attempt raising hollyhocks. They are full of big pretty leaves in the Spring but when the horrible heat comes and lack of rain, something eats the leaves and munches right up the stalks eating the buds and new growth. I’ve tried everything. ‘Seven’ works pretty good but it can only be put on once a week. The bugs don’t wait. Now I’m trying plain water with a few drops of dishwashing soap (recommended to me) in the sprayer and it did chase the bugs and ants off the leaves………so far.

This is aggravated by the fact I see hollyhocks growing in the yards of deserted homes and vacant lots looking vibrant with lots of foliage and blooms. It seems the more I baby something ……… the worse it gets. Well, maybe I should just be content with a few. The picture is one of the colors so you can see them.

For years and years my maternal grandmother had a triple terrace from the house down to the road and it was full of hollyhocks. I spent a lot of time at grandma’s house and when I see them it brings back pleasant memories of warm summers and dogs and cats to play with.

We never know what will remain in us as we grow older and then discover it is the simple things that bring back the sweetest memories……………..

Essentially Esther

Saturday, June 19, 2010


My yard work is dependent on our heat index. I’m working now to reclaim some of the yard lost to a couple years of not being able to cut the underbrush. This Spring and Summer I have the ability to work outside again and once I got the flower beds taken care of, I decided to work a little each day on the new growth at the timberline. Our lot is an acre with the back half in timber.

With clippers and lopping shears the job isn’t hard and it’s amazing to me how much I can get done with just those two tools. There is shade there all day (mostly) so the heat doesn’t affect me but the humidity does. I can only work a few hours and then because I know it’s the smart thing to do, I come inside.

I can cut out everything except for the heavier stalks but my neighbor offered to come and cut them all at ground level. The difference is remarkable. I have more to do but I will have help. Our former neighbors do the mowing and heavy yard work I can’t do. They loaded up all the cuttings and hauled them off and will again until the project is done. It is pure joy to make something so much nicer with a little effort…..the difference it makes drives me on.

I don’t know how many pictures I can put on this blog but I will try and give you an idea of what you’ve been reading about. Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there and I hope your weekend is special in every way.

I am so thankful my health is such that I can do the yard work I love. If we have health, we have everything……………..

Essentially Esther

Monday, June 14, 2010


Life as I have always known it is like a spot on the rear-view mirror as I speed away into each tomorrow. I see and hear sounds and words that were foreign in the 30’s. Debt was something my parents didn’t worry about because if they didn’t have the money, they didn’t buy. Debt today has almost ruined our country.

As each decade came and went the intensity of change was everywhere. Women became an important factor in employment. Baby-sitters were family members-only or the kids were drug along to a boring evening with their parent’s friends. When I was old enough to baby-sit I earned 25-cents an hour. An outrageous amount of money. When I worked in a small diner I got a 25-cent tip…..once. People weren’t able to tip for much of anything. That quarter was the same pay as an hours work in the diner so it seemed huge.

I see our country writhing with pain as all the factions become more vocal. I try to keep up with the daily news……local and national. There is little to feel encouraged about but yet there is a lot we can offer that is good. Things that do not cost money but are high on personal levels. There is always someone that needs something. If it is in our power to help, we should. What it boils down to is the giving of our time……richer than money. It doesn’t have to be grandiose……just a little of our time for something or someone in need.

In my own life it seems I attract cats. I made a choice to help lost, hungry cats. I guess the good Lord thought it was an acceptable service so He has sent many to my care. I ended up with a peacock who understands and appreciates me. Over the six years he has been around we talk the same language. He loves company and will find me in the yard no matter what I’m doing. The cats love to have me outside also. It’s just something to amuse them and make them feel connected to whatever I’m doing. This evening I was up to Becky’s for supper and while we were eating, my five cats were in a little group in George’s lot…….they had all followed to see where Mandy and I were going.

This picture was taken by a friend from my front porch. It shows the loss of feathers on his right side but he’s made the best of it and struts around with half the feathers he should have. Making do with what we’ve been given is pretty much the way it is for all of us. At least it seems to make me feel better to overcome what could be a problem. At my age, being a problem solver is advantageous.

That’s a story for another day…….

Essentially Esther

Friday, June 04, 2010


It has been a long time since I’ve gone to a nursery for new plants but this week provided a perfect opportunity. My friend knew of a McVicker Nursery which was about a 45-minute drive from here. Since retirement, 13-years ago, I have had most of the common varieties in shrubs and flowers but I was ready for something different.

I have a cousin whose surname is McVicker and runs a Nursery in Nebraska. I’m not sure if it’s landscaping only but at any rate the names and business’ are similar. I almost expected Mark to come out of the building.

The owners were helpful to explain the needs of things I selected which was a big help when I planted them later. I’m enjoying quite a few different varieties and have several other things I plan to try next year. I am attracted to things that require little care and bloom a lot. It isn’t always the ultra-care varieties that lend the most color or blooms…….some overlooked common flowers have a lot of both to offer.

Wandering around the many trays of flowers on a pretty Spring day is therapeutic. My friend was taken with the many birdhouses the owner builds and were displayed on a tall shelf. With the blooming trees around them it was a Kodak moment but neither of us brought a camera. Once we were each home, my friend emailed Mrs. McVicker to ask if she would take a picture and email it to her. She thought I would like to have it to put in my blog some day. It is so timely and pretty I’m putting it in today.

As we wandered around the tables there were butterflies everywhere and birds constantly singing. It was a an hour or so of pure bliss. They gave my friend several trays of small violets because they were overgrown in the pots and she didn’t want them to be thrown out……..there was a chance if we planted them they might produce again. She was right ! We cut the blooms off to dry and put on our cards…..then cut the long growth off and they got new life and are now blooming again. Seeing green stems and leaves producing such beautiful blooms is rewarding beyond description.

God is easily found in a flower garden……….

Essentially Esther