Saturday, January 9, 2010

Peony tales - part one

Warming weather continues here on my blog. This story was written about my Federal style farm house in Northeastern Ohio. You’ve all heard the stories of my beloved old, farmhouse in Ohio. The place where my heart still resides rejoicing in the sprinkle of snowy apple blossoms from the ancient trees. The place where my souls joy lived in the grace of countless lilacs and daffodils and peonies planted everywhere on the property.

The peony field sat atop a gentle slope above the old spring. Two gnarled old apple trees stood sentry above the clear cool gush of water from the pipe in the hillside. The tin cup hanging on the stub of a branch there was always ready to help with a drink of cold refreshment no matter how hot the day.

The peony field was not always there. In fact, the peonies came from old, old garden stock rescued from the cold, steel blades of a tractors plow.

Lori, a woman I had become “baseball Mom” friends with, purchased a decrepit brick farmhouse with her husband. The home sat on a little, flat piece of land and had always been intriquing to me with its Federal architecture and overgrown surroundings.

Nothing invokes mystery and history for me like farm buildings and homes in disrepair and overgrowth. I feel if you take a moment and lay your hand or your cheek against the weathered old wood you can feel the history of the place. You can feel the moments and the magic and the memories from some other farm wife who laid her hand or cheek in that exact spot. Gazing at a carefully placed rock edge in a now-weed filled garden it is easy to imagine that same farm wife carefully snipping blossoms to fill a glass jar in the center of her scrub-worn kitchen table.
Lori’s farm was no different.

Fields surrounded her house with chest-high weeds and I never ventured into them on my visits there. We rummaged in some of the old buildings planning restorations and we sat at the edge of her crumbling front porch talking about having the simple joys of grass you could walk through without worrying about snakes and tripping over abandoned farm equipment. One early, early spring day I got a frantic call from my friend. Her husband had endured the overgrown fields long enough. He had purchased a brush hog and plow for the old tractor that came with the property. Unknown to Lori, over the period of several weeks he had been hauling all the rusted old farm equipment and fallen-down fence posts out of the area. Lori had decided to venture into the wasteland provoking the urgent call.

“Jenny,” she exclaimed, “there are all kinds of things planted in that field! I don’t know what they are but there are all kinds of tags and markers but no actual plants!” Well, hey, the kids were at school and I can never resist a plant mystery so I jumped in my car and ran right over. She lived fairly close but it felt like the drive took forever. I was so intriqued and so excited.

She met me in the driveway and we ran out to the field and started looking at all the tags. There were hundreds of tags – all with different names on them: Schaffe, White Japanese, Boule de Neige, Mons Jules Elie. We looked and deciphered and read fading painted signs for quite awhile until it finally dawned on me that these were peonies. Scraping away some of the leaves and dead plant growth on the ground you could barely see the crowns starting to show growth.

Oh, I was excited until Lori said that Doug was plowing that field in two days and he could care less what was planted there. He had told Lori to dig up anything she wanted for the house but the rest were going to be plowed under!

Total panic! What! No! Oh no, no, no! I told Lori I would try to get them all moved and she said she would help.

To be continued tomorrow!

For the next part of the story just click here!

And PJ, this past post is for you! (evil chuckle)

26 comments:

Gail said...

Hi -
Great beginning - I am very intrigued. I look forward to the next chapter

Love Gail
peace.....

Linda said...

More please.....

Prim2Pink said...

Sounds like you happened across a peonie lovers paradise!
Peonies are such a beautifiul plant with there big colorful flowers. Did you have to stake yours up. I was going to try that this year. Around here they only last a few days, since they only bloom in the spring and that is when the rains come. The weight of the rain on those big flowers just make everything fall to the ground.
I remember my Mom had a long row of them that went between our house & the neighbors(we lived in town). The houses must have blocked the rain cause I don't remember hers drooping.
Here I go rambling on again!
Judy

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

:-)))))))) Breathlessly awaiting tomorrow's installment!!!


^_^

Mildred said...

I'll be checking in for the next post!

Jana said...

free the peonies...power to the petals (?)

Fresh Local and Best said...

I gasped when I read this! What a treasure, how magical and thrilling this adventure must be!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

OH----now I have to wait?????? Darn... I NEED to know what happened to the Peonies.... I'm SURE that you saved them!!!!!!

More please, Jenny...
Hugs,
Betsy

Busy Bee Suz said...

I can't wait to see what happens. You are so good at at telling a story.

Brenda said...

The suspense is killing me!

Leslie said...

How can you leave us hanging like that?

Susan said...

Hi Jenny! Yay! Another fellow Ohioan...that's great! I can't wait to read more of your postings and find out who Jenny is! I'll be back soon. I love peonies, too.

Cedar ... said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Of course I followed the trail back to your blog and am now waiting to hear the rest of the story! I'll be back! :)

maría cecilia said...

Hola Jenny, you have a very lovely blog, but let me tell you that for me, a spanish speaking, it´s really hard to read your long posts so forgive me if I don´t relate to your stories, which I would love, but it would take me lots of time to understand them, translator included.
Thank you for your sweet comment in my blog.
Muchos cariños,
Maria Cecilia

Martha's Favorites said...

Jenny: This is like watching a movie on TV only to find out it will be continued next week! Please have mercy on us. Blessings, Martha

Ace said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoyed my first peek at yours. It's really late...I'm going to have to come back to read more tomorrow.

My name is PJ. said...

(sly knowing expression) This ooooozed a charm that comes only from the place where history, intrigue and adventure come out to play together!

You know you hit a homerun with your writing when a reader shouts, "I was there! I was there! I was there!"

Julie Schuler said...

I love peonies! My grandmother used to have them around her house. I don't care for the ants, though.

Diana said...

Oh Jenny I too would have been in a panic! And I, like you, love the romance of an old house. Just not the work! I love your story Jenny, I am anxious to find out what happens next! Love Di

Miss Sandy said...

These are one of my favorite flowers. I can't believe a whole field of them would b plowed up! Can you just imagine what that field in bloom looked like? It must have been breathtaking. What a wonderful tale of your days on the farm.

Debby Giusti said...

Jenny,
I'm an Ohio gal too. And I'm comin' back for the rest of the story tomorrow!

Debby Giusti :)

Holly said...

I am so intrigued. This sounds like a fascinating adventure. I love old houses. Where I live now, we don't have farm houses but - if I am recalling correctly - have the largest number of Victorian homes per capita in the U.S. Off to read the conclusion...I cannot wait.
Holly @ 504main and hipweddings

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh My Gosh Jenny...
I love an adventure I am right here with you sweetie. I can't wait to see what is in the field.

What are you going to be doing? I would say digging and transplanting something. We cannot let anything get plowed that is of beauty.

I'll be back for part II.

Country hugs sweetie...Sherry

Deborah Ann said...

I'm learning so much about my favorite funny friend. There is so much to you, I fear it will take a lifetime! That's okay, I'll stick it out for the long haul...it's all good.

Terri and Bob said...

Pink peonies are my second favorite flower. I have some of these!

Splendid Little Stars said...

Oh! What an amazing discovery!