Dear Jake,


You gotta be kidding me!

With Much Un-Love,


In my neck of the woods, springtime means flowers. Yes, as much as I complain about Georgia in the winter for its lack of winter wonderland weather, I applaud this place in springtime.

Looking down, you see gardens filled with colorful spring flowers. Purple hyacinths, red tulips, yellow jonquils.

But my favorite flowers are the ones I see when I look out and up.

Trees around here really deck out for the spring show.

Flowers, flowers everywhere.

Redbud trees usher in warmer weather. Native to the area, they are absolutely everywhere. I’ve always been fond of them because of their sweet heart-shaped leaves. Love on a tree. But they also have these cute little light purple flowers that come out early and stay around to visit for a while. The small flowers grow close to the branch and look like little purple balls from a distance. To me, Redbud trees look like their branches have been strung with a purple springtime garland, from the trunk to the tip of each branch.

After the Redbuds pop, here come the show-off Bradford Pear trees. The Bradford is shaped like a giant egg, and produces profuse white blossoms all over. Unless that is, we had a late bout of freezing weather. Then nothing. Many, many years late freezes “get” them, and they are quiet. But not this year. They were gorgeous.

The Bradford Pears are followed by the cheery Cherry Trees. Oh the cherries! Yes, that’s when you know for sure: spring has sprung! These cotton candy trees produce gorgeous clusters of fluffy pink blossoms everywhere. The blossoms don’t stay long on the tree, but boy oh boy, while they are there, they are spectacular.

As I mentioned last week, don’t have a picnic under a Cherry Tree. Sitting under the tree is like sitting in a snow shower of pink loveliness. Nice for laying under, day-dreaming, and enjoying the falling fluffiness. Not so nice in the egg salad. My favorite cherry tree variety is Yoshino Cherry. And yes, it is ornamental: pretty to look at, not to eat; that’s a different kind of cherry tree.

Next up? The Dogwoods. The south is known for its Dogwood trees. These graceful trees, with their large creamy white four-pedaled blossoms, grow wild. You’ll see Dogwoods on the sides of roads, in every yard, and in woods everywhere. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the dots of the creamy white Dogwood flowers peeping through a deep green woods. Just beautiful.

My daughter always says that the blossoms of the Dogwoods look like angels’ wings. That’s where we are now in spring.

The angel wings are in bloom.

Yes sir-ee bob, things are really emerging around here.

Even my Sugar Snaps.

Even Jake The Snake.

But before we get to the early spring garden talk, (which we surely will because ‘tis the season), I’ve got to tell you about a lesson I recently learned. Here it is: sometimes it’s enough just to show up. Have you already learned this lesson in life? Not me. This was news to me. I didn’t know “just showing up” was ever enough. And to be frank, “just showing up” has never been my style. I’m the one who goes for it. But hey, what I learned is that there is merit in “just showing up.”

Just showing up can be very nice indeed. Just showing up takes the pressure off. Just showing up can be enough.

Here’s what happened. Ages ago, way back in October of last year, I signed up for a 4 mile trial race to be held in March 2011. When I signed up, I had just done one. And even though I sprained my ankle in the process, it was worth it. I loved trail racing.

I haven’t run much since I sprained my ankle. But the weekend came for March’s trail race and a friend encouraged me to just go. So I went, and I ran the 4 mile trail race through the woods.

Wait, wait, wait, wait!  No…..that’s not exactly true. The verb is not quite right. “Running” is definitely NOT what I did. This is where I learned my lesson.

The right verbs? Hmmmm… I showed up. I visited. I enjoyed the morning. I drank coffee. I trotted some; I sauntered some; I walked some. I completely let go of my competitiveness.

Wow. How different. No adrenaline. No power. No edge. Just enjoying the woods on a chilly Saturday morning. It was a completely different experience.

Do you know how to do that? Just relax and let someone else win? No, me neither. But I’m working on it. I think it’s a good thing to learn how to do. Just show up and enjoy the ride. Learn to say, “Whatever….” (‘Cause let me just tell you. I still won 3rd place somehow, some way…)

Okay, so behind me during this race is this gal. And she is hilarious. Well, I’m thinking she’s funny, but she’s not trying to be. She’s mainly just hating this race and verbalizing it every step of the way. She’s moaning and she’s cussing. And it is cracking me up. I think she must have missed the part in the marketing materials that said “trail.” (In fact, the materials say, “This ain’t your Mama’s trail race….” And it surely ain’t!)

Anyway, I don’t think this gal had any idea that this race was through the woods. This race goes THROUGH creeks and mud. OVER logs and rocks. UNDER branches. And roping DOWN a very steep, very muddy hill. This is very different from a road race experience.

Every single time she came to something in the trail, she’d say, very aggravated, “Seriously….!?” Not so much a question as a statement. And then she’d mutter in an exasperated tone, “You gotta be kidding me….”

I thought that was too funny. I heard it over and over again for 4 miles of tough terrain.

But here’s the even funnier thing. I saw her at the banana station after the race and she said to me, “Wow, that race was awesome, wasn’t it?”

And I said to her, “Seriously?” I really did. I kidded her and told her that she was funny complaining the whole way. She said she was totally unprepared for it, but that she loved it.

So those have been my words since then, in just her tone of voice. A very aggravated, “Seriously….!?” Followed by an exasperated, “You gotta be kidding me….”

Yep,I say it every chance I get.

So when Jake the Snake emerged this spring from his long winter’s nap under my timber steps that are RIGHT BESIDE THE HOUSE that lead to my back yard, that’s just what I said out loud, to him:

Aggravated:  “Seriously….!?”

Exasperated: “You gotta be kidding me….”

(Please note the improved response to seeing Jake. I did not run for dear life. I did not scream. I did not do my snake dance. This is good. This is progress. Is there hope?)


Seriously? Here?! Right beside my house? Where my three dogs frequently patrol?

Seriously? Under the steps I use all the time (I used to do so barefooted until I discovered him).

Seriously? With 5 mostly wooded acres around, you want to live here?

Seriously? Is it to personally terrorize me? Is this your mission in life?

Apparently: yes.

What is a snake phobic to do???

On to happier things. My garden. The Sugar Snaps are up. And growing in surprisingly straight little rows, unlike my usual crookedness.

My daughter and a stuffed monkey from her school named Joe helped me plant a lettuce blend in our  Earth Box container. Can’t wait until they emerge.

And last weekend I finally had time to plant some Swiss Chard and Bok Choy. I watered the seeds in and headed inside to cook dinner. The next thing I know, I heard some dog commotion outside. I went out to see what was going on, thinking, “could they have cornered Jake?!” Instead, I see little Oreo, our pound puppy that joined our family around Christmastime, inside the muddy garden area where I had just planted and watered the new seeds. He was having a ball playing in the mud.

So….in he went. Dinner placed on hold, I run Oreo straight to the shower. His long fur was so heavy with mud, it stopped up the drain. So, I don’t know if my seeds will come up. Seriously!

In other garden updates, I finally broke down and called someone to come and till my “REAL” garden for me. That’s the one down in the backyard that I want to fence. He came on Sunday, unloaded his tiller, drug it around to the backyard, moved the rocks that were in the way, and then began the process of trying to start his tiller. It did not go well. His tiller would not start. He ultimately broke the pull string trying. (Could the garden equipment curse that is upon me somehow have transferred to him temporarily since he was in my garden trying to help? Seriously. )

Anyway, he pulled the heavy,big, now broken tiller back up to the drive way, loaded it back up into his truck, and headed home with his tiller. Which, by the way, he’s never had problems starting before.

So big fat bummer.

For him.

And me.

I’m still “REAL” garden-less.

And guess what else? In anticipation of having that REAL garden tilled up, I moved some garlic plants that were growing down there. So I dug them up and replanted them in a different spot. Lesson learned: garlic does not transplant well. Now the leaves are turning yellow, and it is looking very poorly indeed. I’m hoping I haven’t ruined it. I mainly plant garlic each year for the garlic scapes in late spring. MaryJane’s Garlic Scape Pesto…YUM! I can’t do without that.

And finally. On a different note, I’m compiling a list of “An Emerging Farmgirl’s” helpful websites. Leave a comment or email me with your suggestions for websites and links.

Okay, now it’s your turn. What’s got you saying “Seriously?!” lately?

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Debbie says:

    Hello Rebekah!
    That darned Jake! How about if you call the animal patrol and have them come and… well, you know… um…. take him away! I can’t stand for you to go through another garden season dodging Jake the Snake! He’s sucking the joy right out of your gardening mo jo!

    On to gardening and farmgirlin’ matters. Your peas are looking great! We are certainly behind you here in when to plant outdoors…the last of our snow melted last week, and I just uncovered my flower beds yesterday. I’ll place my seed order today for a few veggies, and I’m ordering a yellow Lady Banks Rose to climb over one side of my Hen House! We are also going to add two raised beds here and at the cottage…
    I have found several homesteading websites lately that might be useful to emerging farmgirls… Amy does a Homesteading Barn Hop with three other bloggers every Monday.

    I host a Farmgirl Friday blog hop each week ( it’s still open for those who want to join in this week) where farmgirls can flaunt their farmgirl spirit in blogland…Your list would make a great entry when it’s finished!

    You asked what had me saying Seriously lately? When it snowed on the first day of spring… I’m sure I uttered that word several times!!!

    Happy Gardening,

  2. meredith says:

    Jake definitely needs a new home! Perhaps you have a wildlife center nearby that could advise you (or preferably, swoop in and relieve you of your unwanted friend!)
    My "SERIOUSLY?" "YOU"VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!" moment happened here recently when my almost 12 year old daughter (who has raised and shown Hereford cattle with her dad since age 6)decided that she wanted sheep. SO off they go and buy sheep. Keep in mind, we care for 50 head of cattle, 8 horses, 3 donkeys, 1 chicken, 10 cats and 4 dogs (two of whom are puppies). You could say I am already a bit overwhelmed (did I mention we homeschool?). SERIOUSLY! Do we really need sheep too???????????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
    Truthfully, my daughter is healthy and still a child. She intensely dislikes Justin Beiber, girly clothes, makeup, boys in general. I am blessed. SERIOUSLY. I AM NOT KIDDING. 🙂

  3. Sherry says:

    I have a rooster….DiNozzio, and he is beautiful…but he has decided I am competition. He tries to sneak attack me when I go out to feed him and his harem, or when I am gardening, with a shovel in my hand. And I really do say…SERIOUSLY, You have got to be kidding me…you are going to sneak attack me with a shovel in my hand.
    Every day….as I throw out food…SERIOUSLY…you are kidding are going to jump at me when I am giving treats. SERIOUSLY????? SO your post made me laugh!

  4. bonnie ellis says:

    We’ve had one of those weeks up north where it’s spring but the weather doesn’t cooperate. Seriously, 10 more inches of snow? You’ve got to be kidding. Happy spring everywhere farmgals. Bonnie

  5. Rebekah says:

    These are so SERIOUSLY funny! Keep ’em coming!
    Hey, I put up the links I have so far on

    Take a look and let me know about others you use, love, rely on, enjoy…..

  6. Nan Roberts says:

    I love reading this, but am snivling to myself. WE can’t plant much of anything yet,because it is March, and it is too cold and wet. The rain it raineth every day, it seems like. I talked to the extension agent,even. How about lettuce? Spinach? Sure, he said, if you have a cloche and keep an eye on it. Too windy, too wet. But that’s Oregon for you. At least, the Oregon Coast.
    As for Jake, I think he looks very nice. What kind of a snake is he? I have a wild huckleberry bush in my front yard where in better times a family of garter snakes and a lizard take the sun in the summer. But we’ve had two cold winters here (for here) and I haven’t seen them around much. Though they shouldn’t be out yet.

  7. Sue says:

    Hey Rebekah,
    Don’t get rid of Jake the snake. If he is the kind of snake I think he is from the pic, he keeps the other types of snakes away. So even though he is big and scary he is doing you a service. Seriously,no kidding.

  8. Junebug says:

    The coldest and wettest March since 1955, Seriously! No I’m not kidding! Planting anything, Seriously! As you can tell I could go on and on about our weather this month. Please April bring some weather over 60! I need to dig in the dirt, Seriously!As far as Jake, he needs to leave and I think you need to call in the forces, Seriously!
    Here to Spring starting soon in the Northwest!

  9. Julie says:

    Ok….LOVE the story of the Seriously lady. But I bet you see her on another trail this season. My hubs did a 5K for the PHillies…if you missed that post….
    Snakes…I always think about Indian Jones saying ‘Snakes, why’d they have to be snakes’ (he hated snakes)

    I’m surprised Oreo is not in more trouble.

    You need a Garden God Gnome or something..haha..I’m a want to be gardener (i.e. lazy girl). But I promised Cindy Bee I would grow something. So I will.

    Our daffodils are up but that’s about it. Actually it’s supposed to snow on Friday – Opening Day for my beloved Phillies.
    Come on Spring!

  10. Carla says:

    Seriously, more snow and cold. Well we have had cold nights below freezing for weeks now. Sunny skies and wind have taken care of our snow. We had inches of snow on the ground in our yard since December 1. There is still snow in our back yard in the shade.

  11. Hi Rebekah, I can’t believe that you are actually planting already. We still have 2 1/2 feet of snow on the ground here in NH and a Winter Storm Watch for the weekend … bummer. I am SO ready for digging in the earth! However, I am right there with you when it comes to snakes … my ultimate nemesis! At least I am safe while the snow is on the ground! I am afraid of NOTHING in this world, except snakes! I am a total outdoors farmgirl, except when it comes to them. My phobia even makes it hard for me to look at a picture of one in a book. I have tried hypnosis, positive affirmations, help from friends who like them, but nothing works. In the 5th grade I had a wonderful teacher who had snakes in our classroom and I actually liked them back then. She used to let me put a big black snake named George (our class mascot) around my neck! I can’t imagine that now … or how it became such a phobia with me, but I understand completely how you feel Rebekah! Good luck!!

  12. Carol in NC says:

    I’m still laughing at my cousin’s Facebook post last week titled, ‘Seriously??’. Her TWO year old daughter (two!) didn’t want to wear the outfit she was given because it was "gross". Hahaha.

    About the snake. For two or three years we had two big black rat snakes lurking around our farm until an employee proudly killed one of them. I wanted to cry because I feel about mice the way you feel about snakes and our barn cat is pretty fat and lazy. We didn’t see the other snake for at least six months after that but I did see a mouse within a week. I was very happy to see the return of the other snake although I must admit it is a little unsettling to come around a corner and see a snake all stretched out in the sun. We sold our farm and I’m trying to remember if I warned them about the snake. I hope so.

  13. carol Branum says:

    Hi Becka,How ru today?I am doin fine.Don,t kill the snake.Daddy never kills a black snake coz they kill the rattlesnakes!Have u ever seen a rattler and a blacksnake fight?It is unbelieveable Seriously!I hate rattlers and have a morbid fear of them and all snakes,but,at least I do know that a black snake is my friend!They can bite,but,I won,t die from their bite,so just say HI Jake!,If u have barn cats,they will keep your mice population down,and that will keep the snake population down some,if we get an over population of snakes,I will have daddy kill a few of them,but,not all coz their his friends.Believe me daddy and I have had actually arguments over this,coz sometimes I do getoverwhelmed,Seriously!lol,no kiddin! Love ya and have a blessed day!,its still too muddy here,bye for now,carol branum

  14. Heather says:

    SNOW!!! It is STILL snowing here:( I am about ready to give it up!

  15. Eileen says:

    I used to have a terrible time being around snakes. I would find one when I walked out our back door and I couldn’t go out for the rest of the day. My husband would pick it up with a shovel and take it further back in our woods and then some times I would have nightmares about it. One day we were in a local park and there was a petting zoo taking place. You guessed it – one was a snake. I stood there for a LONG time and finally walked up and petted it. I thought my pounding heart was going to come out of my chest. Afterwards, I stood looking at it again for a long time. After that, I would force myself to just watch when I saw a snake – after I came back to the ground from when I first came upon one. I can’t believe how different I am now around a snake. I still don’t like them but I can deal with them so much better. Now when I see one in our yard, I usually name it and tell hubby to just it where it is. It took a while but it worked for me!

  16. Susie says:

    How about the snake in NYC. Did you hear about the cobra on the loose? She’s been captured now, but it makes your black snake less scary, no?

  17. Betsy says:

    Excellent! Seriously!

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