Family Legacies

My mother-in-law, Wanda Faye Blankenship, was a wonderful woman. It’s been nearly twenty-one years since she passed due to complications of Parkinson’s. She loved to work in her garden. She hybridized iris and attended iris conventions all over the country with my father-in-law in tow. Daddy was very supportive of her gardening and helped her with establishing her flower beds.

The iris in the photo came from her garden. She was very good at keeping her plants thinned and blooming well. I’ve let mine get out of hand and they need to be divided and moved where they will get full sun. In order to do that I need new beds made in a sunnier location.

I thought that these iris were called Wabash but when I looked it up I could see that these lack the white edge on the purple falls. I believe they are an older variety since they are not as ruffled as most of the tall bearded iris I see when I search online.

Mom had several people contact her about buying the older varieties like this one to use in their hybridization. I don’t know much about it but I remember her telling me that over time growers need to go back to the older, smaller varieties to cross with the newer varieties.

The farm where our daughter lives now used to have most of the yard taken up in iris beds, all tagged and labeled and in various stages of growth. I would love to devote a good portion of our yard on the north side of the house to a flower garden with a few beds for veggies and herbs thrown in for good measure.

I want to take better care of what Mom gave me all those years ago and once the beds are established they aren’t that difficult to maintain especially if the beds are raised about ten or twelve inches.

On a much larger scale Audrey is continuing the Blankenship family legacy herself in managing the farm her grandparents worked so hard to establish. She is beginning a vegetable garden this year and is raising chicks for flock of chickens. Eventually they will pick out a bull calf to castrate and raise for beef for the freezer.

I expect that her hay guy will be out soon to look at fertilizing the hay field and getting ready for a good hay crop or two this season. It’s been very wet this spring and it needs to dry out a bit so he can get in the field to put down the fertilizer. Audrey had been doing all the work getting the hay field ready for cutting and baling since she and David and the kids moved out to the farm in 2018, but she was pregnant with Gabriel last summer and wasn’t able to be on the tractor.

This is Audrey harrowing one of the pastures three years ago. It makes her father and I so proud to see her working the farm where she spent so much time as a child and young adult. Her grandfather taught her to drive a tractor, perhaps that very tractor for all I know!

It’s good to know that the farm is in good hands in the years to come and that our grandchildren will be raising their families the way they are being raised. We wouldn’t have what we do now if it hadn’t been for Dave and Wanda Blankenship and all the hard work they put in over the decades to make that property what it is today. Thanks, Mom. Thanks Daddy. We appreciate it and we’re doing our best to make you both proud.

Wanda Faye Blankenship

Published by thenerdyyarnlady

I am a Native Texan, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Catholic Convert residing in rural North East Texas since 1975 when I married my husband and this small town girl became a country girl. I was taught to knit at the age of ten and discovered the writings of Elizabeth Zimmerman shortly after I married. I learned to ‘unvent’ things as I went along, to create my own patterns and generally have a blast with yarn and needles. In the mid 1980’s I explored the idea of spinning my own yarn and eventually got interested in weaving on a floor loom. I have three spinning wheels and a 24″ four-shaft Herald floor loom that I purchased from a friend in the 1990’s. I also enjoy sewing, tatting and making rosaries. I have a work room that contains my fiber, yarn, floor loom, sewing machines, serger and rosary making supplies. I have a spinning corner in a bedroom next to my work room, both with north windows looking toward the creek.

One thought on “Family Legacies

  1. What a wonderful memory! This is just how I got into my iris life as well–a grandmother in-law who grew, showed, hybridized, and lived the iris life. Those in your picture are beauties.


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