Monday, January 31, 2011

Who Plants a Seed

This is a follow up to a story I wrote last fall about a fascinating vine I discovered growing on a fence on a frontage road beside I-20, between Edwards and Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Upon researching the vine, I found that it is called Balloon Vine, because the fruit resembles little balloons. They remind me of little Chinese lanterns ...

If you would like to read the posts from last fall before you read this last chapter, you can click on the following links:

Balloon Vines
Heart Seeds

As I mentioned in the "Heart Seeds" post, the seeds of the balloon vines are black and have markings on them resembling white hearts.

I was delighted when I discovered the little seeds, and saved some to plant with our granddaughter Avery Grace.

I also kept an unusual seed from some Carolina Moonseed vines that I photographed last December.

This is the little "moonseed" I kept ...

If you'd like, you can read about them here: December Lagniappe: Vines and Berries.

This past Saturday, the weather was absolutely perfect here in Mississippi, and my husband and I took Avery out to our land so we could plant our seeds. We let her pick out the spot and she chose a place near our "fairy tree," which you can see in the background of the next picture (I can't wait to tell you about our plans for the fairy tree this Spring).

Here are some of the seeds we planted. The wind was blowing, and she had to put her gloves on so they wouldn't blow away while I took this picture.

We've planted Morning Glory seeds a couple of times, and Avery has learned to be gentle when planting seeds ...

She wanted to water them, but we told her God would water them for us (and sure enough, He sent us a nice gentle rain yesterday).

Next, we put some sticks around the seedbed so we would know where we planted them.

To every thing there is a season, including a time to plant. Granted, January is probably not the ideal time to plant seeds, but since we have been waiting since September, we took advantage of the pretty weather and went ahead and planted ours.

Who knows ... perhaps this Spring we will discover some little green leaves poking their way through the dirt. And in the meantime, we will watch and wait ... and Avery will learn a little lesson about "having faith."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Sound of Lagniappe

I recently discovered these berries tangled in some trees behind the factory outlet stores in Vicksburg.

They were so bright and beautiful in the January sun, and I knew I would be sorry if I didn't take the time to capture some pictures of them.

They looked like red necklaces strung amongst the branches ...

When I took these pictures, I thought the berries would be my lagniappe for the day. But I received even better lagniappe a few minutes later while I was taking some pictures downtown. But this time, the lagniappe wasn't anything I could take pictures of — it was the sound of church bells at Crawford Street Methodist Church tolling the hour and playing hymns.

It truly gave me chill bumps and turned my photo shoot into one of those "How Great Thou Art" moments, as I took my pictures with the sound of I Love to Tell the Story, playing in the background.

I've never thought about lagniappe being in the form of sounds, but I learned a lesson yesterday. Lagniappe is all around us, each and every day ... it could be the laughter of children at play ... or the sound of birds singing ... or even the lowing of cows in a pasture. No matter what form it comes to us in, all we have to do is embrace it and enjoy the moment.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In Search of Green

Yesterday afternoon I got my camera and walked around our yard in search of something GREEN — and I was surprised by and happy with what I found.

Like these new Aspidistra (also known as "Iron Plant") leaves poking up through the pine straw ...

And my Irises are coming up, too ...

Louisiana Irises

The ivy in this urn has survived an ice storm and temperatures in the 20s, and still looks remarkably well.

I found this little patch of ivy tucked in behind a Sweet Olive plant in a flower bed ...

I love the delicate Sweet Olive blooms.

Harry, our Blue Heron, stands out in his winter home amongst the Umbrella plants around our waterfall ...

I wouldn't take anything for Harry. He always makes me smile.

And speaking of smiling, Hilda, my little hen, looked quite happy snuggled in her nest under some holly plants in the backyard ...

It won't be long before this rusty old rooster weather vane will be almost hidden by the Lady Banks Rose vines on the fence behind him ...

I also found a little green in the form of moss growing on some of the rocks around our pond. If you'd like to get a closer look, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Although it's not green, this clump of ornamental grass beside our pond is striking against the drabness of the winter landscape.

Today is supposed to be an extraordinary day for the end of January, weather-wise, with sunshine and a high temperature nearing 70! I'm not sure in which direction I'm going to head, but you can be sure my camera and I will be out somewhere enjoying the day and, hopefully, capturing some lagniappe along the way.

Best wishes to you for a weekend filled with lagniappe, too ... wherever you are.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ramblin' Around Vicksburg

It has been raining and dreary in Vicksburg for the past couple of days, and that old song by the Mamas and Papas has been running through my head ...

All the leaves are brown,
And the skies are grey,
I've been on a walk,
On a winter's day.

No, I'm not dreamin' of California, but I am dreaming of warmer, sunnier days here in Mississippi. After staring out the windows at the gloominess yesterday, I decided to get out for a while and just "ride around Vicksburg to see what I could see." And, as usual, I found lots of pictures waiting to be captured.

I headed downtown first, and these brightly colored umbrellas in a store window got my attention, especially with the light misty rain falling ...

I love the sunflower ...

I thought the cupola on the old depot was interesting, almost silhouetted against the bleak January sky ...

I have always loved these old columns. The building is currently undergoing renovations, so, hopefully, they will soon be restored to their former glory ...

This inscription over the entrance to St. Paul Catholic Church of Vicksburg, did, indeed, "lift my heart."

Picket fences always catch my attention, and I love the tangled vines growing on this one ... pretty, even in winter.

The Presbyterian Church in the background was lovely lagniappe ...

As I left the downtown area, I headed for some of my favorite residential neighborhoods. They were quiet that rainy Tuesday, and even the neighborhood pets seemed to be moving in slow motion.

This little guy didn't even open his eyes when I stopped to take his picture from my car ...

The only things "brightening" the landscape were an occasional patch of Pansies and the bright reddish-orange berries of Holly trees and shrubs. This tree was spectacular ...

Down the street from the holly tree is this beautiful old home.

The house used to be almost completely screened from the street by vines and understory trees, and I was happy to see that the owners had decided to unveil their elegant old house. I especially love its "nine-over-two" windows.

This house caught my eye, too. Actually, it was the urns on the porch that got my attention. I think the ferns are pretty, even though the cold has turned them winter brown.

And speaking of urns, I love this one ...

There were a few houses decorated for Mardi Gras, but my favorite was this adorable little Mardi Gras Bear sitting on a porch, all decked out in her beads and mask ...

She looks like she's ready to, as they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll!).

I hope the good times are rolling in your part of the world, too ... whatever the weather may be.

I looked out a window when I got up this morning (at 4:30 a.m.), and was delighted to see STARS in the sky ... and Friday's forecast for Vicksburg is for "abundant sunshine and a high of 64 degrees!" Oh, be still my heart — I wish I could send some of it your way!