Category Archives: Daily Life


These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of Native Plant Society happenings.

Two weeks ago, a group of us went to Gainesville to the Kinsey Family Farm to purchase plants.  We brought home a truckload and an SUV load of native trees and shrubs to plant along the nature trail at Buffalo Creek.

Last week we had the second of our big workdays, getting the sites ready for planting.  On Tues. a group of about 20 planted 300 Trillium grandiflorum on a hillside.  There were so many people on that hillside, they looked like ants scurrying around at a picnic. And they got all 300 planted and watered in about an hour.  Those trilliums will be spectacular as we walk the trail in the spring.

On Thursday, I led a rescue at a new site here in Carroll County.  The new owners are planning to pulpwood the land to start a small family farm.  They have graciously allowed us to go into the woods and collect native plants that will be endangered by the pulpwooders and the cows.  I got some spice bush, Silverbells, trillium, Jack in the Pulpit, Rattlesnake orchids, Elephant’s Foot, Collinsonia, Itea, Royal fern, Lady Fern, Fragile Fern, green headed coneflowers….It is a treasure trove for those of us who love native plants.

I have spent all week potting the rescued plants from Thursday, and some rescued at two other rescue opportunities.  Many of these are going on the Buffalo Creek trail.

Next week, I’m putting displays in five libraries in Carroll, Heard and Haralson counties, giving information about the West Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society.  Go by the library in Bremen, Bowdon, Villa Rica, Temple, or Ephesus and check it out.  If you are interested in learning more about the importance of native plants and how to identify them, you should come to our meetings.

Last month we had Charles Seabrook, free lance writer of Georgia Wild featured in the Sat. edition of the AJC.  He did a nice job telling us all about the wonderful places to go and things to see here in Ga.  Check  Google for his list of 35 places in Georgia  everyone should see before they die.  Just type in Charles Seabrook 35 places.  You’ll find a list with lots of helpful links.  I have our list printed, and we plan to start doing all 35 things later this fall.  Some we did years ago, but now that I’m so interested in our native plants, I plan to revisit those places and see them from a different perspective.

We are having another workday on the trail on Wed. to prepare planting sites for the 100 native azaleas we’ll be planting when cooler weather gets here.  I can’t wait to see what the next spring will bring.  Hope to see lots of blooms, as most of the native trees and shrubs we bought and the azaleas all have wonderful blooms.

My life is so rich, getting to do the things I never had time for when I was working.  Wish everyone could find that special something that makes their world a brighter place.  It sure keeps me going!


Whew! What a Start for the Week!

The week started off with church on Sunday morning, with a visiting preacher.  I really enjoyed his sermons for the past two weeks.    After church, we went to the Braves game with some folks from First Presbyterian.  The Braves won, but it took one good inning to win it, with eight innings of their usual lackluster hitting.

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After the game, we had a pleasant ride home, with a beautiful sunset to lead us back to Carrollton.


On Monday, we took Scott’s mom to a doctor’s appointment.  She had a spill in April and her hip has been hurting recently.  Luckily, the doctor said it was just some inflammation and could be cleared up with some anti inflammatory meds.  I’ll take bets that no one has a mother in law as great as mine!

Tuesday was a much anticipated day for those of us who are working on the Buffalo Creek Nature Trail.  My good friend, Ernest Koone of Pine Mountain joined us  for a hike down the trail.  Ernest is a foremost authority on native azaleas.  He can recognize them planted in the woods, with no blooms.  He is amazing.  He was helping us decide what kind of azaleas will work well on the trail, along with advice for placement and numbers.  This spring, all our hard work should pay off with some beautiful blooms!  If you want native azaleas, you should visit Ernest at this plant place, Garden Delights right on the main drag in Pine Mountain.

IMG_0622This is one of the hardest working bunch of people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.


Taking a break and taking notes.  I think Kim wrote down every word Ernest said!

On Wednesday, Scott and I continued working on putting a protective coat of paint on the deck.  I’m not crazy about the painted look, but Scott really wanted this, so I gave in.  Maybe it will grow on me.

I spent quite a bit of time hauling mulch from the composted shreds that the Carroll EMC folks kindly dumped in my front yard last year.  It is like black gold.  All my plants are gonna be loving them some EMC workers.

The Boy Scouts gave us a hand on the trail planting ferns and a few other native blooming plants.  They have adopted the area we are referring to as the Fern Glen.  If you walk the trail at Buffalo Creek, you’ll come up on it after you cross the meadow.  They installed about 25 plants.  It will take a while, but it’s going to be spectacular.  Farther along on the trail is a wide expanse of ferns that was planted several years ago.  If you’ve never seen our native big leaf magnolia, there are two planted there.  You’ll be amazed at the size of those leaves, even though the plant is not fully grown yet.

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I’ve had a great time watching the hummers do their acrobatics in the air as they come to the feeders.  I think they spend more time trying to keep each other off the feeders than they actually spend eating.  One of the hummers alighted on a trellis in the vegetable garden on Monday while I had my sprinkler going.  He sat there when the water passed over him, then waited for it to return.  After the second pass, he would fly up about a foot and flaps his wings, then settle down for another shower.  He spent about 15 minutes in the ‘rain’.

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Hummingbirds absolutely adore Lobelia.  Today the red cardinal flower starting opening its blooms.  The blue and white have been open for a couple of days.  My hummers are very patriotic, with their red, white and blue flowers.



Today was another day of painting and mulching.  But tonight, I’ve been busy. Made quiche to slice and freeze for a quick heat up breakfast, made some black and blue berry jelly (didn’t have enough of either kind of berry, so I just combined them) and finished up a batch of Mama’s really, really sweet pickles.  The pickles are good, but the cole slaw and chicken salad with these pickles are out of this world.

Life doesn’t slow down and wait, so I have to keep on the run.  Next on the menu:  shopping for native plants for the nature trail, scouting new digging locations for native plant rescues this fall, and finishing up with the sidewalk we’ve been putting in for Dianne.  (As well as planting those shrubs and flowers that we’ve been babying in our back yard until we could get around to putting them in the ground at her house.)  One of these days, I gonnna sit in the porch swing and do nothing!



Busy time of year

The past two weeks have been pretty busy around here.

Last Saturday, Scott, Dianne and I went to Leslie’s house with a truck load of flowers I had propagated, divided, or dug up on rescues.  We started with Scott cutting away a ton of small trees along the side of the driveway.  Don’t think the previous owner had taken care of this area of the yard for years.

After he got a number of trees cut, we hauled them to the wooded area to start a brush pile for animals to use.  We started planting, and I think we planted for about 4 hours.  We are doing drifts of shade loving plants, with hellebores, ferns, fly poison and hostas in a group.  We have native tiarellas cascading down the hill, meeting up with the hostas.  In another area, I put in some really nice native maidenhair fern that will dangle daintily over a large rock.  At the base of the rock I put in five small leaf hostas.  It should make a good showing next spring.  I put in two or three other groupings of hostas, and will go back and add additional hellebores and ferns along the hillside.  Leslie spent some time this week cutting back the overgrowth beyond what her daddy did on Saturday, so it will be ready for planting as soon as we can get back up there.

Here at home, we pressure washed the deck and are now putting a new coat of finish on it.  I’m not too crazy about it, but it will give good protection.  Maybe I’ll learn to love it!

I’m about to order outdoor fabric to make new covers for all the deck/patio furniture.  That should be ready to start within the next two weeks.

The vegetable garden is coming along, with mainly cucumbers so far.  I have my first batch of pickles in the jar.  I did dig up about 15 pounds of russet and Yukon Gold (my favorite) potatoes from the garden this weekend.  They are soooo good when they come straight out of the garden!

Last week we went to the peach farm in Musella, GA and got 16 boxes of peaches for us and family/friends.  We dried most of our peaches for fried pies, but also put some in the freezer.  I might get some more to make some jam, chutney and pepper relish.   Of course, I ate a ton of them as I peeled, and they were so juicy and sweet!  My mouth just waters thinking about them.

I put squash, zucchini, and okra in the freezer last week and hope to have some more of same in the upcoming week.  Don’t know why I put up so much squash, since Scott doesn’t touch it.  But I do love fried squash, squash pickles and squash casserole.  So I guess I’m spoiling myself!

Leslie and Bradley spent the day with us yesterday, helping set up our new computers.  We are totally clueless when it comes to technology stuff, and Bradley is like the King of Technological Stuff.  I told Leslie she can’t ever consider getting rid of Bradley, because her daddy and I would have too hard a time deciding which of them we should keep.  Bradley can actually log into our computers from his house and fix the stuff we mess up.  How cool is that?

i’ve started pulling plants out of one of the gardens, because it has just never been very pretty.  Mainly I’ve dug out some iris.  I plan to compost them, unless someone would like to have them.  I think they are the kind with the purple ‘falls’ and the golden brown upright centers, but I am not sure.  Let me know if you want some of these.

I have also got quite a bit of annual Silky Gold butterfly weed that I grew from seeds.  I have it in several places in the garden  and have already given away a number of them.  They need to be in the ground soon, so they can bloom and make seeds before frost.  They are great for attracting butterflies and other pollinators.  Free for the asking, just let me know.

This coming week I have a scouting trip planned to discover what new and exciting plants we can dig at one of our rescue sites.  Also have a trip to West Point planned to collect seeds for the beautiful native shoal lilies from Shoal Creek, thanks to a friend in the Georgia Botanical Society.

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Then I will help on Saturday with the Boy Scouts who are planting ferns in a large area along Buffalo Creek at the Buffalo Creek nature trail.  For once, we GNPS members will be telling others to dig instead of doing the digging!

If you haven’t walked the Buffalo Creek Trail at the Ag Center, you are missing one of the neatest walking trails in our area.  The West GA Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society has taken on this trail as our ongoing project.  We have spent the last few years cleaning a portion of the trial of its invasive honeysuckle, privet, poison ivy and planting rescued plants. We have just finished putting in some educational signs along the first portion of the trail.  We are working on a long range plan to revitalize the entire trail.  We are putting in a fern glen along the creek bank, and plan to add a number of native azaleas  along the trail.  This will be in addition to the Azalea Walk we have already been planting.  Our goal is t o have native azaleas blooming almost continuously from March/April until late fall.

Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of West Georgia have had a landscape designer helping with the planning, and will have access to funds for purchasing many native trees, shrubs and flowers to enhance the trail.  It will eventually connect to the green belt that is currently being built around the city. I think the two together will be a great attraction for visitors as well as residents of Carroll County.

Now I’ve finished my commercial for the GNPS, so I guess I’ll give it a rest.

As you can see, I’m not letting any moss grow under my feet just because I’ve retired.  Life gets getter all the time, especially when you have two new knees!

Human again

When I’m human again
Only human again
When the world once more making sense
I’ll unwind for a change

In a shack by the sea
I’ll sit back sipping tea
Let my early retirement commence
Far from fool made of wax
I’ll get down to brass tacks and relax

When I am human again.


With thanks for the lyrics from Beauty and the Beast, my sentiments are well stated.   I feel human again.

I got my first real shower since Wednesday.  Washed my hair and now I feel human again.

I’ve made a couple of miles round trip through the house on my walker, and can lift my sore leg up onto the bed unassisted.  That’s a biggie.

Got dressed  by myself except for the non skid socks.

Fixed my own lunch, with much protesting from Scott.  He wants to baby me, but I don’t need babying, I need someone really heartless over here doing therapy.  But that’s for tomorrow.  I think this knee is gonna be easier that the other one.  Keeping my fingers, my toes, my eyes and anything else I can cross, crossed.



Sometimes, I feel almost like a character in Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”.  I go outside to fill the feeders and see dozens of birds sitting on the limbs, watching and waiting.  Sometimes I even have to shoo them away from the feeders to take them down and refill them.  And yes, some of the birds are crows, or ravens, like in the movie.  But they don’t wait long to swoop in and have a seat at the restaurant table.  I’m filling three feeders every day (one twice a day on these cold days) and a couple need refilling every other day.  So if you see some day that the Hight household has gone bankrupt, blame it on the birds!

The birds are out en mass, looking for food anywhere they can find it.  I have five feeders, each with a different kind of food.  Sunflower seeds in an area of the yard where I don’t mind if nothing ever grows there.  Sunflower seeds give of fa chemical that will often make the ground unusable for growing stuff.  That’s the price I pay for the cardinals, towhees, chickadees, nuthatches, and blue jays that visit the feeder.

Then there’s the mixed seed feeder (always get seed without Milo, as most of our native birds won’t eat this.   It is a cheap filler seed companies use so they can charge less per bag.  Better to pay a little more per bag than to see all those fat, brown Milo seeds scratched off the feeder and lying on the ground)  I have dozens of little brown birds, mourning doves, bluebirds, nuthatches, and woodpeckers who visit the mixed seeds.

I put safflower seeds in the feeder that I know the squirrels can manage to get into.  The squirrels just don’t like safflower seeds.  The Cardinals and finches, titmouse and sparrows like the safflower seeds.  They can be a little messy, when the birds sit at the feeder and shell the seeds.  But I’m willing to sweep away the husks to keep the feeder right outside the kitchen window.

My fourth feeder is the suet basket.  The woodpeckers and nuthatches, bluebirds and sapsuckers love suet.  It is a great source of fat and protein, which the birds need in cold weather.  Unfortunately, the squirrels also seem to like suet, so I’ve devised a baffle to keep them off the feeder.  That is, until they outsmart me.  Then it’s back to the drawing board for a new scheme to thwart them.

My favorite feeder is one I built of wood and glass.  It has wooden ends with entrance holes on each end, cut the size of the opening in the bluebird house.  The sides are two panes of glass.  I pour in some dried meal worms and the bluebirds flock around.  I had three males out there this morning waiting in line to be the next to have a snack.   I can sit and watch them inside the feeder through the glass sides, without disturbing them while they eat.  Two of them are so fat, they can barely squeeze through the opening.  I guess I’ll have to put an open tray of meal worms on the picnic table for them.  Bluebirds are my favorites.  They stay in the yard year round, and reuse the same birdhouse every year.  I often have three to four broods of baby bluebirds in  a year, if I mind them well and clean out the houses as soon as the babies fledge.

On snowy days, I try to toss a handful of seeds on the ground for those ground feeding birds who can’t find food under the snow.

One of the nice things about bird feeding is that there is always something to sit and admire while they feed.  There are birds that will eat only certain seeds, birds that prefer one kind of feeder over another, and ground feeding birds to clean up the mess under the hanging feeders.

This afternoon, I’ll take a piece of deadwood and drill 1 inch holes, stuff the holes with peanut butter and hang it from a tree limb.  The woodpeckers and nuthatches will probably be knocking on the door to thank me!

If you are weary of being inside, put up a bird feeder.  You’ll enjoy hours of pleasure watching them.  And don’t forget to have a bird ID book handy.  It makes it all the more fun when you actually know what kind of bird you are seeing.  The girls gave me a gadget a couple of years ago that is a small scanner that will scan bar codes in my ID book.  It will play the sound of the birds’ calls, so I can start to recognize the calls and know what kind of birds are in the yard at any given time, even when I don’t see them.  There are several great books that can help you get started with bird feeding, naming the kinds of birds each kind of food will attract. You’re never too old or too young to become a birdwatcher.  In fact, Brandi’s first word was bird, uttered while we sat at the window watching the birds at the feeder.  Not exactly what a mama wants to hear first, but at least I knew she was listening and learning.


A Successful Christmas

The tree is down, decorations are packed away, and I’m through for the day.  Don’t want to think about what needs to be done in the basement to get everything back in some semblance of order.

On the other hand, I have installed 48 card holders on the drawers of the cabinet I am restoring.  It’s an old lateral filing cabinet with 24 drawers.  I found it half rotted away in the basement of a house my cousin bought.  It had been in the Bank of Covington for years, then put in storage when they modernized.  When I started the refinishing, the card holders had the alphabet written on the backs of cut up food ration coupons from the 40’s.

With a new base, new top and some sanding and staining, it will make a great storage cabinet for my table linens.  I’m also devoting a couple of the drawers to cards and stationary to make a correspondence center.

Brandi and Leslie gave me new brass card holders for the drawers and they look great.  Now I just have to find some appropriate-sized handles for the very shallow  drawers and I’ll be all set.  They gave me handles, but they are a bit too substantial for the small drawers.  But they look great on the kitchen cabinets where I am installing them to replace the 30+ year old handles that have definitely seen better days.  They did a great job of selecting just the perfect gift.



Life at Christmas time is certainly like a whirlwind, spinning from one family get together to another, opening gifts, cooking, eating, and visiting.  We had a wonderful Christmas meal with Mama-our annual breakfast for supper, with homemade biscuits, sausage, tenderloin, fried and scrambled eggs, melon, and tons of desserts.  Mama’s been cooking cakes and pies for a week.  The kids (and yes the 40 somethings are still part of the kids) enjoyed opening their stockings.  Dianne and I start the week after Christmas finding quirky, useful, or silly things to fill the stockings.  We had some real winners this year.

Gram’s parties started last Saturday with all the grandkids, except Casey.  She came in on Christmas day.  For years, we have gathered all the grandchildren in the living room for a group photo in front of the Christmas tree.  Each year, they all take the same place with the same poses.  It’s really fun to look back and see them grow up.  We started this about 11 years ago.  Wish we had thought of it when they were small children, but then Sam probably wouldn’t have had his famous pose!  It’s a zoo when Gram, all her children, their spouses, and all the grands and the great grands start opening presents.  Every year, it’s what did you get.  Oh, neat!  I want one of those.   Where die you get that?  What a great family to be a part of.

On Christmas Day, we spent time at Gram’s house with the extended family-her siblings and their children who were able to come, plus all her children and grands who were able to come.  We had a houseful of people, and spent the day talking about all the family get togethers we have had over the years.


Yesterday, I finished the curtains I was making as part of Brandi’s Christmas present.  They looked good, just hope they fit like she wants them to.  I hate making Roman shades!  Now Leslie has started selecting fabrics for curtains in the house they just bought.  Looks like another sewing marathon.  I’d rather spend the time playing in the dirt on that hill in the back yard.  I can just see it in my mind’s eye- covered with native azaleas, native flowering trees and shrubs, and the stream bank covered with native ferns.  Looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time on plant rescues if we’re going to turn that hill into a showplace.

But today was devoted to my own yard.  Mulching leaves is probably my least favorite task in the yard, but with all the trees, it’s a have-to-do job.  We finished about half of the front yard. putting the shredded leaves right back around all the plants.  But it does look so much better than piles of leaves tossing around in the wind.  I’m spending a lot of time removing piles of grass clippings that a local yard man dumps in the yard.  I filled his usual spot with tree shreds from Carroll EMC, so he dumped them in the woods, not realizing that he was covering some of my precious native plants.  I’ve uncovered most of them, but still have a few more to go.  However, on the up side, the shreds he left make fabulous mulch after I also run them through my leaf shredder.   It’s like brown gold!  I know my plants will appreciate this during the summer.

Tonight, I’m having a lazy night-not cleaning up anything Christmasy, just gonna read a fun book and go to bed with my ice pack, my heating pad, and my Aleve,.  Getting old and decrepit is not so great, but I do appreciate that I’m still able to be as active as I am.

Life is grand when you have a plan!

Random Thoughts

As I sit here with the gentle rain falling, my mind tends to wander.  (Although it does quite a bit of that without the gentle rain.)  I wonder how many farmers would celebrate just a portion of the rain we’ve had this summer, but I fuss about missing a day in the garden.  I wonder how many people would love to live in a safe neighborhood, in a snug little house, hearing nothing but the gentle rain falling.

With a pork roast in the crock pot getting ready to be turned into barbecue with my mama’s special sauce, I wonder how many people are hungry right now.

As I look out the back window at the beautiful stand of hardwood trees and all my flowers, I wonder how many children look out their windows and see only asphalt, concrete, trash and filth.  Makes me sad that some grow up in these circumstances.

Looking at the fresh tomatoes and okra I picked from my garden, I wonder how many people don’t ever have fresh fruits and vegetables.  I wonder why huge corporations are growing foods with harmful chemicals and pesticides that are not good for human consumption, while taking our tax dollars as subsidies for this.

And after it all, I keep hearing the refrain from that song:

Who am I that the King would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray not my will, Thy Lord?                                                                      The answer I may never know, why He ever loved me so
But to an old rugged cross He’d go for who am I?

Have a blessed day, and use this quiet, still time to ponder Who are You?



What a treat!

I went to the Hummingbird banding event at Gail Woody’s house yesterday morning.   It was an amazing sight to behold.

A young girl would catch the hummers when they flew into cages set up with feeders. She put them in mesh bags, then hung the bags in the shade under a tent until a worker could measure it.



The first thing the workers do is to put a miniscule aluminum band around the bird’s leg.  This band is so small it doesn’t even register on a very sensitive digital scale.  it assigns a number to each bird so that, if caught again, it can be reexamined for growth, migration information, etc.


They measured its wing length and inspected it with a loupe.  This helped them determine the sex of the hummer.


After the wing was measured, they would measure the tail feathers.


Next, they measured the beak length and looked at it closely with the loupe for striations.  She explained that they were going to study the striations, thinking these might be a way of aging a hummer.


Adding insult to injury, they turn the baby over and blow on its belly through a straw, checking for body fat.  They found one who weighed over 5 grams, or about 5 standard paper clips.   And it was considered huge!


They weigh them, then hold them to a feeder so they can get some energy before being released.  The kids were allowed to hold the tiny birds and release them.  What a memorable thing for a child.


Thanks, Gail, for a wonderful experience.





A life well lived…

Our dear Miss Winnie died yesterday.  She has attended Oak Grove church for most of her 94 years.  She was a lady through and through.  Also so calm and serene, with a lovely sweet smile on her face.  I know her family is missing her, as all her church family will miss her.

She died less than two weeks from her 95th birthday, but she passed peacefully after a few rough days.  God is good.