Birthday Road Trip-Fall Fun

September 13, 2009 football 021 (2)
The Fairegarden clan hit the road last weekend to celebrate a big offspring of offspring birthday.

September 13, 2009 football 017 (2)
Up the interstate we go, singing all the way. There will be friends, family, food and fun on a perfect September Saturday. Good friend Laurie and her husband offered their residence once again to the weary travelers for bed and breakfast, and an unbelievable homemade chicken salad. Muchas gracias, mis amigos.

September 13, 2009 football 018 (2) Laurie is a Master Gardener and was growing the most brilliant red orange Mexican sunflowers, Tithonia rotundifolia I have ever seen, the plant at the top right in the above photo. She generously shared many of the ripened seeds. While she was snipping pods and I was snapping some shots, a hummingbird stopped by for a quick bite. No capture, but it was a magic moment.

September 13, 2009 football 023 (2)
We used to live in this upper east Tennessee town, house before last. Oldest offspring Chickenpoet lives here still with her family of four humans and innumberable animals. The count constantly changes on the non humans with high numbers of cats, chickens, birds and dogs among others. A swing by our old house and garden is always on the schedule of events. On the way up the hill to our old stomping grounds, this business that used to be a car repair shop has an eye catching display of metal sculptures. Dinosaurs and other metal creatures are quite large. I love the one on the end at the right. It looks like a sun god with glowing rays radiating from the head and arms extended in a welcoming attitude. I wonder about this collection. They are really too large for a small space but would make quite a statement in a public setting.

September 13, 2009 football 007 (2)
Sisters reunited are giving the youngest of the grands an up and down swing. From the left, Chickenpoet, LTB in Spiderman boots and his mom Semi.

September 13, 2009 football new 009 (2)
The high point and main purpose of the visit is to witness live a midget football game featuring both of Chickenpoet’s boys. G.A. the younger, plays in a scrimmage game to warm up the crowd for the Jayvee game. We are in the white and maroon and our guy, number eithy-two, is lined up second from the right, with head twisted in an obvious bit of motivational speaking to his teammate before the ball is hiked. They won handily.

September 13, 2009 football new 020 (2)
The crowd was pumped by that win as the next game began. Some passing, tackles that could be heard even up in the stands and several unanswered touchdowns put our team in the winner’s circle once again. Birthday boy, M.A., number eighty-four is making us proud with good blocking. This was the very first little guy football game we have ever attended. Our own offspring played basketball, baseball, golf and many many many did I say many soccer games, but no football. Too fun and lots of excitement as we watched these children in full pads and helmets. There were even little cheerleaders to get the fans fired up.

September 13, 2009 football 013 (2)
Athletic competition continued in the parking lot of the restaurant where the birthday bash was held by the three cousins.

September 11, 2009 031 (2)
Home sweet home. Back at the Fairegarden fall is marching ever closer. Along the driveway the pink buds on the Muhlenbergia capillaris are opening with the promise of a fine show later this month. Newly added Amsonia illustris is offering a counterpoint to the pink of the grass and the blue flowered, green and yellow variegated leaves of Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Summer Sorbet’.

September 11, 2009 045 (2)
On the back garden slope, the Anemone hupehensis ‘Praecox’ raises the anticipation of the fall fireworks display yet to come. The excitement builds.


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35 Responses to Birthday Road Trip-Fall Fun

  1. Joy says:

    Frances .. I love the name “chickenpoet” ! .. too cute : )
    That Mexican sunflower in such an intense orange red is BEAUTIFUL .. I would love to have it in my garden too !
    The Autumn colours are starting .. this is the BEST time of year for me : )
    Pumpkin time RULES !! haha

    Thanks, Joy. I am with you on the love of fall and all things Hallowe’en too! Laurie grew these sunflowers from seeds started indoors in sunny windows. We can do it too! πŸ™‚

  2. What a wonderful family outing! You have such a lovely family. Great photos of flowers and family.


    Thanks Cameron. We think they are quite lovely too. πŸ™‚

  3. Darla says:

    Love that you included photos of the offsprings and their offspring…cute. Everyone looks so happy Frances!

    Thanks Darla. It was a great trip, one of the best ever. Lots of laughter and love and fun. πŸ™‚

  4. Dave says:

    It looks like it was a fun trip! Laurie’s garden looks great. Fall football season sure is fun!

    Thanks Dave, it was. Laurie has herds of deer that stroll through her garden, munching as they go. Getting anything to grow and prosper is miraculous. It does show what the deer resistant plants are in that image. πŸ™‚

  5. Rose says:

    So much fun, Frances! Coincidentally, I attended my first PeeWee football game yesterday, too–in our case, Granddaughter is a cheerleader. I’m not sure the helmets were small enough for some of the little guys:) And love those Spiderman boots! Grandson #2 insisted on wearing his new Iron Man costume into Walmart last week. Grandson #1 was so embarrassed by his little brother he stayed in the car:)
    I didn’t mean to talk all about my family–I just understand the little things that mean so much to us Grandmas. Oh yes, the garden looks nice, too:)

    Thanks Rose. That is so funny about the costumes, and the embarrassment! LTB often wears Spiderman, complete with huge holes at the seams when we go shopping on Saturday. The boots go everywhere, school or afterwards. You would think his feet get hot. How fun to see your little cheerleader. I’ll bet it was very similar to our experience. The stands were filled with parents, grandparents and other relatives of the many players and cheerleaders of both teams, a pretty big crowd for such little ones. Ironman is a favorite of LTB too, he changes his favorites often though. I love hearing about your grands too, BTW, keep it up! πŸ™‚

  6. gittan says:

    A great trip I think. I also liked the same metal sculpture as you. You’ll have to ask if they could make you a smaller one that would fit in the Fairegarden / gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks, it really was one of the best visits ever. On the next trip, I am going to find out more about those sculptures, they were fabulous. There was more stuff in back behind a fence that looked interesting. The Financier wouldn’t let me poke around since it was a Sunday morning. πŸ™‚

  7. mothernaturesgarden says:

    It is great to get away from the garden for a bit of family fun.

    You are so right, Donna. I love seeing the kids, they are growing up so fast! πŸ™‚

  8. Tatyana says:

    That WAS fun! The pictures are great as always!

    So glad you think so, Tatyana, thanks. I sometime wonder if people are at all interested in my family or just want to see garden stuff all the time. But I post for them and as a record for posterity. Don’t have to worry about losing the pictures that way. πŸ™‚

    • Tatyana says:

      Frances, thank you for your comment on my GBBD post. Bluebird is actually Bluebeard (I haven’t had my coffee yet when posted in the morning),Caryopteris X clandonensis.

      Thanks for that, Tatyana. I thought it looked like caryopteris. A great match up with the Verbena. I appreciate you coming here to let me know. πŸ™‚

  9. Jen says:

    How fun! My son, who is 9, just told me he wants to go out for football so there may be some pileups like this in my future. Another injury to worry about – LOL!

    Hi Jen, thanks. These kids are so weighted down with all those pads and stuff they can hardly move! When they get larger and stronger it will be a different story though. I have seen some awful injuries in soccer games, nothing is really safe.

  10. tina says:

    Happy Birthday to the offspring of the offspring! What a fun football game for the boys too.

    Thanks Tina. It was more exciting that I expected at the game. There was even a pass interception that was run all the way back for a touchdown. Of course that was the end of the passing game! HA πŸ™‚

  11. Gail says:

    Hey there, Frances! I love when you share your family adventures~~the love and affection fills the post and flows out into the blogasphere. It makes me happy. This one especially reminds me of when M was LBT’s age….I have his little Batman and Robin capes saved…The fall garden is looking beautiful. The tithonia is a perfect orange on this fine fall day! Have fun in the garden, gail

    Hi Gail, thanks so much. I never know if people will be bored to tears with these family related posts, but put them up anyway. The kids have so much fun playing together, it makes my heart swell with happiness. I am planting that Tithonia next year without fail. It was just magnificent. πŸ™‚

  12. autumnbelle says:

    I see that you & family are so happy,celebrating a birthday and football win. I feel like celebrating with you too. I am wondering about the metal sculptures at the car repair shop. Will it fly off when there is a strong wind?

    Hi Autumnbelle, thanks. Glad you enjoyed a very family oriented post. Those sculptures were huge and solid iron. They are so heavy I can’t imagine a wind that could budge them. They are open enough to let the wind just sail on through the art. πŸ™‚

  13. Janet says:

    What a nice family outing. I love the Mexican Sunflower, the petals are like velvet. The birds and butterflies love it too!

    Hi Janet, thanks. The Tithonia must be grown here next year. It is my favorite color, nice and robust and the critters love it. Laurie gave me some seeds so I will think hard of the best siting. πŸ™‚

  14. Carol says:

    Hi Frances,

    I was struck by your returning to view an older home and wondered if there was a garden there left behind too… love the sculptures … sweet family shots and I feel a sense of Ah… yes… back in your amazing garden in HOME SWEET HOME… I especially love that last shot… so lovely! I am drawn up your path towards the small sculpture. Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks. Oh yes, there is a wonderful garden there. I don’t give a flip about the house, it’s the garden I drive by to see. This was the first place where gardening took center stage in my life since the kids all grew more independent as they got older. It was also on an acre of land and Tennessee is just very garden friendly. Coming back home to the garden and my own bed always brings a huge smile to my face and insides. πŸ™‚

  15. Catherine says:

    It seems like your family always has so much fun together. I bet your grandsons loved having you watch them play football. I know my daughter loves when her grandparents are there. I think she plays harder.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your fall show, it’s looking great already. I did find some Japanese blood grass and am trying to decide where to plant it. Does it spread fast?

    Hi Catherine, thanks. We do not get together all that often, it makes the times we share very special. Hooray for your getting the blood grass. I often wonder why more people don’t grow it. Somewhere it got a bad rep for spreading aggressively, but it definitely does NOT do that in my garden. It would be nice if it spread more as a matter of fact. My suggestion is to plant it where it will be backlit in the morning or afternoon or both. πŸ™‚

  16. Liz says:

    Hi Frances, great post – although I have to confess that, as a Brit, I have NO idea or comprehension of the rules and stuff of American football! It looked like your grandson had fun though! πŸ™‚

    Wonderful flower photos too.

    Thanks Liz. American football would be quite confusing to those not familiar with it. Sort of like cricket is to us. Lots of odd little rules, but the idea is to carry the ball across the goal line for six points while wearing an unbelievable amount of pads and a helmet that obscures your vision. πŸ™‚

  17. Pam/Digging says:

    What a fun family outing. I enjoyed tagging along, as always. πŸ™‚

    I had a magic hummingbird moment this morning myself. As I stood quietly outside admiring the red Salvia greggii, a hummer flew up right beside me to partake of the salvia’s nectar. I had my camera in hand but didn’t move a muscle. I didn’t want to ruin the magic.

    Thanks Pam. I enjoyed your outing to the wildflower center too. Sometimes the moment is more important and precious than the photo that might not be any good anyway. A good lesson to keep in mind. πŸ™‚

  18. Funny Frances, I ended up with some Tithonia seeds and a hankering for some massive metal sculpture for the garden this weekend. Might be worth a drive to see that sculpture place in NE Tennessee.

    Hi Christopher. I can give you directions if you like. There didn’t seem to be a name on the business so I don’t have an address either. These pieces were massive. But there were some smaller works on the property too. Worth a look. πŸ™‚

  19. Frances, It was lovely to see your family, how happy they are to be together. It is unfortunate that families live further apart these days, we do not get to see them as often as we would like. It is wonderful when families are friends, as well as family!

    Thanks Deborah. We are very fortunate to be within driving distance to all the kids. I wish we were closer, but this is doable. It makes the times together even more precious. πŸ™‚

  20. Jake says:

    Can’t wait to see that Muhly Grass bloom. The Muhly here in Jacksonville hasn’t started to send up plumes yet, I expect them towards the end of the month. The pink show seemed to peak in mid to late-October last year.


    Thanks Jake. The muhly won’t peak until the end of September here, but is even more beautiful as the flowers fade, more frothy. They seem a little later than last year for some reason. Some of my best photos were taken last November with the tree leaves behind the most brilliant then. πŸ™‚

  21. Anna says:

    Football is a completely different game over here but what is universal is that boys enjoy running, chasing and rolling round on the grass πŸ™‚ Sounds like a great family weekend. I am rather taken by the pink grass in your penultimate photo.

    Hi Anna, thanks. We do know about your version of footie too. Odd that they both have the same name but the sport is so different across the ocean. Penultimate is a very classy word. It will go into the book of words to be used at an opportune moment. πŸ™‚

  22. Mary Delle says:

    I enjoy experiencing fall vicariously. Fall and football, with a smattering of Rudbeckia. Your grasses have such nice shades of red in them.

    Hi Mary, thanks. I love your description of fall, most excellent! πŸ™‚

  23. Kathleen says:

    It sounds like a great family trip Frances. I enjoy seeing photos of blogging buddies and their families (even tho I never post any myself). It adds a very nice personal touch. Your friends tithonia is incredible. I tried to start them from seed this year but failed miserably. The seeds just turned soft and moldy but it was late spring (middle to end of May) and I didn’t use a heat mat. I hope you have better luck but I’m betting on you (since I saw your nursery of germinated seedlings this spring). I am feeling optimistic about the fall garden here too since summer was not that wonderful this year.

    Thanks Kathleen. At one time we didn’t feel comfortable showing the faces of family, but now feel an occasional glimpse is okay. My friend said the tithonia was difficult to get going. I know it needs warmer soil to germinate. I plan to start some inside and sow some outdoors after the soil has warmed up. πŸ™‚

  24. Barbarapc says:

    Frances, what a great time with family and friends – I adore watching little guys play sports, although here its mainly soccer and hockey. Nothing like a good round of parking lot horseplay to build up an appetite. The tithonia was a real blast from the past – remember my huge 6 foot bushes and wonderful felty leaves. Such a punch of colour – good luck with your seed harvest!

    Thanks Barbara. This is our first time with football for our own, fun to see the little guys in all those pads and helmets! Your tithonia was magnificent. When well grown, it is an imposing structure in the garden. I hope to duplicate that next year. πŸ™‚

  25. Layanee says:

    Road trips are always (most always) fun and to visit the family, the best. Chickenpoet and Semi are mini-mees and your grandson looks to be a happy boy. Great shots as always and love also your spider web photo for Sept.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. Our kids all look like clones most people will say, HA The grandkids love being together, all boys you may have noticed, even though Chickenpoet’s boys are several years old than little LTB. It nearly always descends into wrestling type play.

  26. commonweeder says:

    Flowers and football. Can’t beat that. Last year we went to our first football game to cheer one of our grands. It was cold! that day. Where are the football mums? That’s what I want to know. Great trip for a great family.

    Hi Pat, thanks. So true for some of us, football, whether high school boyfriends of our girls or college games at Penn State when we lived in PA, defines fall. I forgot all about those mums though! πŸ™‚

  27. What a great weekend – football is so much fun (playing or watching).

    Hi MMD, thanks. We did have fun watching our grands on the field. A little different from watching Penn State however. πŸ™‚

  28. Sue says:

    Hi Frances,
    It looks like you had a fun time. I enjoyed your photos. Those sculptures are cool. Your place seems to be enjoying fall. I have Mexican sunflowers in my front and at my garden across the street. The ones I planted directly in the ground got larger than the ones I started inside, but the difference could be the location they were planted. They all started blooming around the same time, though. If you have enough seeds, you may want to place some in a flower bed toward the end of fall to see if they come up on their own in the spring. I’m hoping mine reseed.

    Thanks Sue. I am really glad you told me about that fall sowing! I will try it for sure. I have been sowing all kinds of seeds this fall, with good labeling, to see if anything takes. So much easier than fooling around with so many in the greenhouse, space is always an issue there. πŸ™‚

  29. Semi says:

    I hope u have luck with those seeds. Laurie’s were beautiful. We had a great time. Those sculptures are awesome next time I will have 2 swing by and look love u.

    Dear Semi, it was a wonderful trip. Laurie gave me seeds for you too. Sue below suggested a fall sowing. Let’s do it!
    Love, Frances

  30. Hi Frances, What a fun time you had!! Love the photos – thanks for sharing her gardens. πŸ™‚

    Isn’t it nice to get home again? Love that your second to the last close-up.

    Hi Shady, thanks, we did have a wonderful trip. But there is no place like home. I am not a good traveler, I love my own bed, kitchen, stuff and of course garden. It is hard to be away from it, but seeing the family is always worth it. πŸ™‚

  31. What a great day, lovely to see a bit of US every day life – road trip. Great captures.



    Hi Tyra, thanks. This was very typical, with the little guy football game in the fall here in the US. Could be anywhere in the country, lots of kids playing sports with doting parents and grandparents cheering them on. πŸ™‚

  32. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This post brought back many fond memories for me Francis. My son played football at this age and my daughter was one of the cheerleaders for his team. Fun times.

    Hi Lisa, that is great. At least you were able to see both kids at one venue too! πŸ™‚

  33. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    P.S. I also meant to tell you that the first picture of the tithonia is a stunner. It is just screaming to be painted. tee hee…

    The photo will be emailed to you. πŸ™‚

  34. Sweet Bay says:

    The Muhly is blooming — how lovely!

    It is just beginning, a nice addition to the flowers and turning leaves. πŸ™‚

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