Beth Markel

Chicken for Dinner

Posted on June 8, 2013 by Beth Markel

I’ve said this before, but it seems like this has been the longest, coldest, wettest Spring, and then last week I saw an article about how this has ACTUALLY been the coldest, wettest Spring on record here in the Michigan.  OK, so apparently Spring has the same number of days each year – who knew?

One of my earliest memories about quilting comes from my Grandma Broyles, who lived with us, and with whom, along with my older sister, I shared a bedroom.  Before I went to school, I would thread 20 quilting sharps for Grandma Broyles, and my mother and I would measure the thread from the tip of my fingers to the tip of my nose, then I would thread the needles and line them up like little soldiers in a straight row on the end of her quilting frame.  By the time I came home from school, the needles were empty and on the other end of the frame, ready for the next morning.  Sometimes, if she had stopped to rest, or iron something, or had gone with my mother to run errands, there would be a couple of needles left and she would still be quilting.  That’s when I would sit underneath the quilting frame and tell her about my day.  It was the most magical place on earth.

So what does the longest, coldest Spring have to do with my Grandma Broyles?  She was born in 1884 and spent almost her entire life on a farm of one sort or another.  She loved Spring.  She would talk about how pansies had faces, how bleeding hearts were to remind us about the people we love, how tulips could probably sing when we weren’t looking, and how daffodils could be chatty like a bunch of old hens.  Grandma Broyles wasn’t particularly whimsical, being a hard-working mother of 10 on a farm, during the early part of the last century, and into the Great Depression.  She knew the value of hard work by all means, and worked before the sun came up, until long after the sun went down.  But a personal quirk, and one that my Grandfather honored, was her love of flowers.  While they had hundreds of acres to farm, he built a white picket fence around the farmhouse so they had a “yard” and in that small yard area, she had a flower garden.  If one of the chickens snuck through the fence and was found in her yard – BOOM – they were having chicken for dinner that night!  So along with quilting, I have my Dad’s love of roses, and my Grandma Broyles’ love of gardening.


Literally, the view from the roof…




Consequently, I have been gardening and pulling weeds, (bind root is the BANE of my existence), spreading mulch, transplanting Hostas because they have grown in size so much, braiding the tulips since they are finished, and staking the iris so my dogs don’t bend them over and crush them.  I love the explosions of color, the peonies that are just beginning to have blooms the size of softballs and are surely what heaven smells like.  The dwarf Siberian iris are the most royal, deep blue as it almost, but not quite, becomes purple.  The Allium are the most ridiculous balls of fluff on the end of long, naked stems, they most certainly inspired Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess.  The creeping phlox has the happiest color of pink blooms, it makes the other plants around it happy.


The walkway to the front door of my house…

My quest for what inspires me this week comes from the spring flowers opening around me in the past 2 weeks.  It’s just heaven to sit and hear the birds singing, a cup of hot coffee in my hands, unopened bag of mulch by my feet, and digger by my elbow, as I decide what to paint, I mean sew, I mean move in my garden.

Be Inspired – Creativity is good!





Your cousin Jean on June 11, 2013

Just read your current blog about Grandma Broyles' flowers. I still have a bed with phlox from one of the very ancient flower beds from Gallia Co......My Mother brought a "clump" from our Gallia Co. the new house after the old was torn down.....from there to me. They are a vibrant purple.....just now ready to bloom for the summer. The hummingbirds love it, and we have so many this year. Hope all is well with you and have a wonderful summer !!! Jeannie

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