Category Archives: Go Away

Travel tips and recommendations for vacations, day trips, weekend getaways.

Anna, must see Eureka Springs theatrics


A Haunting Theatrical Experience: ANNA

We entered the auditorium just as the previous audience was leaving. “You’re going to love this!” Twenty people poured out the door gushing about the fun and scary – but not too scary – performance.


The Story –

James and Annabelle Crowe graciously invite You to their lovely, Victorian home for an intimate gathering in 1937. Witness some very strange appearances and disappearances which are curiously unexplained. However, the frightening truth still lingers in the walls, and sometimes… you can hear it.

This walk-through experience is a unique blending of traditional theater, dance, special effects, and haunted house thrills. The show is filled with interactive theatrics, suspense and humor. There is murder and mystery, but not gore.


Anna is fun, but not really accessible. Be mindful, you will be standing or walking in the dark, plus, there are short walks up and down stairs. The 40 minute performance is rated PG13 and limited to 20 people.


Extra performances have been added. Get your tickets ASAP. (720) 278-5672, or online. Learn more on Facebook


Written, directed, and performed by Melonlight, I hope this kind of Halloween entertainment becomes a Eureka Springs tradition.


Harvest time in the Cotton Belt

cotton bolls

Cotton bolls are 2 – 3 inches in diameter. This boll is considered a fruit because it contains seeds.

Soybeans and cotton

soybean field

Soybeans in the field in October.

Driving through the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, and Mississippi, you can see the fields full and ready for harvest.

I don’t know much about growing cotton or soybeans, but the fields are beautiful.




The Cotton Belt

cotton fields

Cotton bolls.

The Cotton Belt begins at the back of the Carolina-Georgia tide-water and extends westward to the high plains of west-central Texas. It includes nearly all South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, the greater part of Arkansas and Louisiana, and most of southern Oklahoma and central Texas. It extends into substantial areas of south central North Carolina, western Tennessee, southeast Missouri.

Today, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas are the leading producers of the old cotton belt. The dryness of those areas makes it easier to control insect pests. Large quantities of cotton are also grown on irrigated land in New Mexico, South Arizona, and Southern California.

cotton fields

Photo taken in early October, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. This field is usually harvested in late October.

That’s enough American grown cotton to make over 250 million pairs of  jeans a year.

The cotton plant has yellow and pink colored flowers. They are beautiful in the summer garden and lovely in flower arrangements. In October or November the cotton bolls put on another show.


Soft yellow hibiscus-like flowers of the summer blooming cotton plants.

If  you’ve never seen cotton growing, there are different colored cottons. Plants can grow 5′ to 6′ tall. The plant requires full sun and a long growing season, typical in the cotton belt states.

Start plants indoors. Wait until temperatures are consistently above 60º before planting outdoors.


Powerful Perennials by Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens That Thrive in Any Climate

By Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens that Thrive in Any Climate by Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials allows you to focus on your gardening goals, whether that’s fragrance, attracting butterflies, or creating a color-splashed river of the earliest blooms. This book takes into account short growing seasons, elevation and snow pack.

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens that Thrive in Any Climate by Nedra Secrist, has all the information you need to master cold climate gardening. Learning how to invest in the right perennial for the right location will save you time, money and backbreaking work. You will not be one of the suckers impulse buying on the first warm spring day.

More than just dealing with cold climates, Powerful Perennials is a plant-life saving reference for gardeners dealing with dry climates, poor soil quality and ill-mannered wildlife. Plant propagation and division is one of the best money-saving reasons to buy perennials.

Each chapter will help you select the best plants for your garden. For example, start with a handful of Bearded Iris and you will eventually end up with a river of colorful iris. Divide them every few years for healthier, more frequent blooms. Learn how to hybridise and create your own iris variety.

Selecting a variety may be the most difficult decisionwhengrowing Iris.

Selecting a variety may be the most difficult decision when growing Iris. Photo: PBH

Each plant recommendation includes simple and clear information about how well it tolerates droughts, cold seasons, wildlife, and native soils. Choosing the perfect plant doesn’t guarantee success. Powerful Perennials guides you through proper planting, care, and a bit of history.

While this book is written with the most challenging environments in mind, it is not limited to the Rocky Mountain states. Remember the Rocky Mountains stretch through Wyoming’s Zones 3 and 4, Idaho and Colorado’s Zones 4 and 5 and Utah’s wildly varying Zones 4 through 8. When choosing perennials in the Rockies, snow pack, elevation and freeze-thaw fluctuations must be considered.

Living in the South or Midwest, perennials much less complicated. Still, this book is very helpful in making the long-term investment in perennial additions to your home landscape wherever you live. Chapters on choosing the right tools, metal garden art accents, and container gardening are helpful and inspiring.


DooDads Iris, photographed in Dave Niswonger’s home garden. Photo: PBH

About the Author: Nedra Secrist teaches gardening seminars and uses hands-on training courses to help gardeners succeed. Nedra and her husband own Secrist Gardens , a perennial nursery with locations in Brigham City, Utah, and St. Charles, Idaho.

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Bees Make the Best Pets by Jack Mingo – review

Lettuce think Spring


Renee Shepherd

Renee Shepherd


I met Renee Shepherd at my first Annual GWA Symposium*. I admit to being a little star struck meeting Renee of Renee’s Gardens.

“You’re Renee! Of Renee’s Gardens! I recognized you because you look just like your picture,” I said.

She was kind enough not to say anything.

It was about that time when I realized that I sounded like I had the IQ of a seed packet. “OMG, I just told this woman who she was.” 

Then, I quickly left, praying that Renee had not read my name tag.

Growing Salad Greens

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

I always order way too much seed for the spring salad bowl.  Lettuces, arugula, radishes, scallions, and spinach come up by the crisper full. I love salads. Plus, I like those generous seed packets that have enough seeds for succession planting all season. I will always plant more lettuces and radishes every single week of the spring until it just gets too hot.

baby romaines

Thin small lettuces to allow room for the others to grow.

I can never have too many spring greens, baby leaf lettuces, chopped salad, wilted lettuce. Top with chive blossoms or lacy chervil leaves. Serve with the lightest of dressings.

Renee’s Garden Seeds has a big gourmet greens selection. The only problem will be limiting your salad selections to the size of your garden. I like Renee’s combo selections because the seed combination’s are a thrifty way to get a lot of variety into a small garden.

Container lettuce, “Ruby & Emerald Duet” is a perfect pairing of emerald-green baby butterhead rosettes with red and crispy mini leaf lettuce. The “Caesar Duo” romaine lettuce combo of red and green baby size lettuces. These Romaines are the foundation of the best homemade Caesar salads you’ll ever make.

Romaines also grow to crispy, crunchy leaves, perfect on sandwiches. The “cut and come again” mescluns are a jumble of color, size and texture in containers or hanging baskets. Lettuces, radish and green onions will be gone before you need the baskets and containers for their warm weather annuals.

Last spring I tried the “Paris Market Mesclun”, a mix of several baby lettuces, chicory, endive, and arugula. Small successive plantings stretched the flavors, textures and colors of this “cut and come again” mix through the whole spring.

Yes, there is a real Renee. And yes, she selects, grows and eats this stuff before she offers it to us in her beautiful online only catalog. Plus, the website tells how to plant, grow, harvest, prepare and cook all these amazing vegetables.

Renee’s Garden Sowing in seed-starting containers to transplant into your garden will get you headed in the right direction.IMG_9430

Renee’s Garden Seeds offered seed to garden writers. It’s a great way to grow and share information about what’s new for home gardeners. For example, I grew “Little Prince” a container eggplant. I was smitten. It was beautiful. The lavender blooms alone would be reason enough to grow Little Prince.

Being a garden writer and blogger is great fun because I get to share the joy and pleasure of gardening with others.

Little Prince in bloom.

Little Prince eggplant in bloom. Dozens of delicate lavender flowers become 2 – 4 ounce eggplants. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson


Eat Little Eggplants

Small and tender, marinade little eggplant halves and quarters then, grill. Serve as a warm side or add other grilled vegetables for a cold marinated vegetable salad.

* GWA = Garden Writers Association

How to Grow Your Own Baby Greens


Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained

Book Review

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained  by Josh Young

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

This book just screams “Road Trip!” Each chapter is one of 13 myths or mysteries scattered across the state. One topic makes for a perfect day trip. Select a handful of mysteries for a weekend snooping and detective work.

The Jesse James family home is not far from his grave and close to a bank he robbed. I did not think there was a thing I didn’t already know about this ruffian. In Clay county people celebrate Jesse James.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

This is where Myths and Mysteries of Missouri shines. There are Jesse James Days, festivals, carnivals, websites, marathons and parades to sort through. How much of the legend is true?

Super sleuth Josh Young has investigated how Jesse James managed to avoid capture, even while living a normal life in public. Practically every public touring cave in Missouri claims to be a Jesse James hideout. He is a local hero and his name is known worldwide.

Josh Young’s book separates the notoriety from the nonsense about Jesse James, Jim the Wonder dog, and the Horse Whisperer Tom Bass. Young’s book is a great jumping off place for armchair historians and road trip warriors.

Find Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained on
Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  Books A Million Buy an autographed copy at Long Creek Herbs

A Myths and Mysteries Series. Paperback, publisher Globe Pequot Press, 208 pages.

Wildflower Wednesday 6/25/14

Little lilac asters, I think.



IMG_4631Though they look dainty, these small flowers survive in the shallow and poor soil of the glades in the Ozarks regions of Missouri and Arkansas where I took these photos.

Often they are hugging the rocky hillsides and ledges along the highway.

I like them, they are tough, appreciate dry conditions and show up in the fall after much of the color is gone from the trees. At a time when fewer and fewer blooms are around for pollinators, bees are always hovering.

IMG_4720I collected some seed and tossed it out in a gravely spot near the drive. Who knows if it will grow. It is the little weedy thing I wouldn’t notice until it blooms this fall.

Gail at clay and limestone, Wildflower Gardening In Middle Tennessee hosts Wildflower Wednesday.

To share your wildflowers, join in a Celebration of all Wildflowers on the Fourth Wednesday of Each Month.

I always learn a lot from Gail’s posts and she is kind enough to allow my humble submissions to join the party.



4’x8′ Community Garden in Owasso, Oklahoma


Organic Tomato “Heirloom Stupice” photo: Renee’s Garden

“I’m looking for some bush type cucumbers and green beans. My community garden is small and last year my cucumbers took over. This year I want to start with multiple color potatoes and Bush green beans.  

Question: best place to buy? Where to look? Best tomato plants? My tomatoes last year were way to big.  Looking for the old fashion bush type plants that produce without getting six feet tall.”

The 4×8 raised bed can produce a lot more food than you imagine. Because the cost of shipping and handling can be more costly than the seed you ordered, I’m sticking mainly with one seed company.

First, here are my suggestions for the crops you said you want to grow.

  • Potatoes – Try these small patch potatoes from Renee’s Garden. If you are ordering onion starts or seed potatoes, do it very soon for best choice. Renee’s Garden
  • Bush green beans – Seeds you can find locally at big box store or garden center. Plant a few seed every 2 or 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh green beans. Don’t plant them all at once unless you are planning to can or freeze green beans.


    Mascotte dwarf plants, 6″ long, thin green beans. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Mascotte – dwarf, 16-18″ tall plants. Continuous yield of crisp, medium green skinny, stringless 6″ long beans. 50 days. New. AAS Winner. Harris Seed or Jung Seed

Blue Lake – long time home gardeners have probably grown this old favorite. 6 -6 1/2” pods mature early and all at once. 58 days. Heirloom. Renee’s Garden, Harris Seed, Jung Seed

  • Tomatoes – Plants you might find locally at big box store or garden center. Space plants 2 feet apart

Celebrity – Compact plants produce heavy yields of medium sized tomatoes on disease-resistant plants. 75 Days. AAS Winner.

Jet Star – An indeterminate, 4′ – 5′ tall plants produce big yields of low acid, bright red 8 – 9 ounce fruits. 72 days. Heirloom.

  • Cucumber – Consider adding a trellis for long straight cucumbers that take up little ground space. Or grow bush cucumbers.


    Cucumbers photo: Renee’s Garden.

“Bush Slicer” – disease resistant, dwarf bushes, produce 6 to 8″ long fruits. Keep picked for continued production of tender, crisp, sweet fruit. Cut cucumbers – do not twist fruits from plants. Renee’s Garden


More suggestions for a small space gardens.

You will have room for more vegetables by choosing the plants ment for small space or container gardens.

  • Squash – bush type varieties of summer squash are easier to see, watching for size.


    Container grown zucchini is easy to pick. Check every other day to keep squash size in control. photo: Renee’s Garden.

“Astia” zucchini – French bush variety perfect for small space gardens. Non-rambling, early bearing and productive. Renee’s Garden

  • Turnips – Plant in both spring and fall.

“Mikado” turnips, Japanese baby globe-shaped roots with white flesh and mild flavor. Nutritious tops make fine cooked greens.  Renee’s Garden

Before you plant these seed, there is plenty of time to plant lettuce, spinach radishes, green onions in the space where tomatoes and peppers will be planted after the ground is warmed enough, 50° F.

Also, you can plant peas, bush snow peas or spring peas.


Companion plant Italian basil near tomato plants. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Add Herbs. Buy a few starter herb plants to tuck into empty spaces. 2 or 3 parsley, 1 basil, 1 dill.

When your tomatoes are in full production, use the tomatoes and parsley to make Tabouli. Add dill to vinegar and marinate cucumbers. Sprinkle torn basil leaves over tomato slices or stir into tomato sauce.


The Owasso Community Garden consists of 34 – 4 x 8 raised bed gardens, 15 of which are American Disabilities Act beds, located south of the Community Center in Owasso, Oklahoma. Facebook

I am starting container grown tomatoes from seed.

My small space tomato choices:

Stupice – richly flavored fruits on 5′ vines. Great tasting 2” fruits and perfect for container growing or small space gardens. From the Czech Republic, pronounced ”Stu petes”. (Stupice may win the neighborhood first tomato contest.)


Super Bush. photo: Renee’s Garden

  Super Bush – Continuous producer of 5 ounce   fruits on 3 foot tall plants. Good choice for containers and small gardens. Hybrid, disease resistant. 

Both tomato varieties are from Renee’s Garden

← This is the photo that convinced me to grow Super Bush.



Use concrete blocks to build a raised bed. Quick, easy, lasts forever. Grow a theme garden. This one is a spaghetti sauce garden.

A 4′ x 4′ raised bed is big enough to grow enough produce to make fresh spaghetti sauce and freeze or can a few jars for winter.

Build a spaghetti sauce theme garden in a 4′ x 4′ concrete block raised bed.


Becky’s Flowers*

delivered Sunday November 24, 2013

Flowers by the yard


You can almost smell these quilted roses.

Quilt by Ludmila Uspenskaya

Because your flowers aren’t just the every day florist’s bouquet, I’m sending you flowers that are quilted. These flowered quilts are on exhibit at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah KY.

quilt bouquet

A giant mixed flower bouquet looks like a painting on the wall, not a quilt.

Not all bouquets come in a vase. These are fiber art. Sometimes it takes just as long to quilt a bouquet as it does to grow one.

Becky, wrap yourself in a blanket of flowers and friendship. My you find some warmth and comfort in your fablic bouquet.

Quilted flowers

The detailed floral creations are a bloom with details.

Paducah transforms to Quilt City USA® each spring when 30,000 international and domestic quilters attend AQS QuiltWeek™ 

The National Quilt Museum is located in the heart of Historic Downtown Paducah; 215 Jefferson Street, Paducah, Kentucky 42001.

For more travel information about Paducah, visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

*Becky Funke is in a hospital that does not allow flowers in the rooms. So, not to be deterred, I’ll send them on Pinterest. You can stop by her CaringBridge site to leave well wishes and get updates. The girls, her 3 beautiful daughters, keep the site up to date.

Tailgating on CBS

Great weather, good food, Perfect for Tailgating in Fayetteville Arkansas

A few more photos from Fayetteville Arkansas:

Still BFFs

Still BFFs

Cheering for both teams is easy for these friends.




IMG_5038 IMG_5059

Faithful fans never miss a tailgating opportunity.

Faithful fans never miss a tailgating opportunity.


See more photos here:

CBS tailgate fans


Gone Girl filmed in Cape Girardeau

Read about the huge film crew that accompanies the Gone Girl actors and staff. It’s here, Gone Girl in Striped Pot in the little boutique travel magazine I sometimes write for. There really are some great writers at  Striped Pot. But I digress.

Gone Girl courthouse

Just across the street from The Bar.  photo: pbh

There are a lot of security guards around town. They are protecting the movie sets and all the paraphernalia that travels with a film production. Mostly the guards are well equipped with paperbacks and soft drinks. But at least they won’t shoot you if you stick your finger in the “snow”.  (Although they are very sharp and would never let you get that far in damaging any of the set.) It’s 70 and sunny here in Cape. So seeing the snow covered courthouse lawn just makes me smile.

There are lots of curious onlookers, like me. It is our tiny glimpse into the world of  film making. (the gardener in me is happy for rain todays. The film crew, not so much.) This is a big deal for Cape. Our little town is no more than a river boat stop between St Louis and Memphis.

The book, Gone Girl, is a “page turner.” I even received  the marathon reader badge at Audible for this book. It’s not the kind of book I would not normally read without a recommendation. But, this thriller by Missouri writer Gillian Flynn has put her on my watch list. I’ll be looking for her books from now on.

The movie stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, and Neil Patrick Harris. There is a full cast list here. I went flying to the page to see who was playing other roles in the story.

“Gone Girl” is expected to be released in theaters in late 2014 or early 2015.


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