Monday, November 1, 2010


A serial killer has struck in the Ozark mountains. He comes in the night and leaves total devastation to those foolish enough to be in his path. The young and healthy fall to his cold brutality. The bloom of youth is stolen by this fiend and he revels as the discarded and crushed carcasses pile up. Mercy is not in his make up and he laughs at our feeble attempts at protection. Pure strength can not stop him.

He goes by the name of Jack and unfortunately he is well known by all, but few can stop this ravenous monster. He plunders with impunity and glee, mocking those who try to thwart him. Some attempts will slow his rampage but he will not be stopped. If he missed your tender loved ones this night, he will get them on another. He counts on you being negligent with your defenses. One careless night spells disaster.

Jack's favorite means of torture is to slowly reduce the body temperature of his victims till the limbs hang limply and the body bends in agony. He insidiously continues to apply cold till all fluids cease to flow and life drains slowly but painfully away. His methods are so brutal that it is often hard to recognize the victims when he is through. The word carnage comes to mind.

Below is a sketch artist's rendition of Jack. Even knowing what he looks like will not help you. I can only warn you to be on the look out for this monster and when you feel his presence, try to protect those you care about. Hide them from his cold grasp. With constant diligence, you can stop him but you can not stop his accomplice who waits patiently. Jack Frost has weaknesses, his mentor, Hard Freeze who lurks in the future, has none.

The following pictures of Jack's victims are not for the faint of heart nor meant for those under 13. View with caution.

Basil??? If I wasn't sure of the location, I would not be sure. The roses to the left are not gone yet but are badly wounded.

One day ago, these were proud, orange headed Zinnias. They are unrecognizable now.

Yesterday this was a bountiful bowl of blooming Begonias. Begonias--begone. Sorry but I do I love alliteration.

Be brave my friends. Realize that some of your loved ones are just sleeping and will recover when warmth once again becomes a daily blessing. They have learned to outsmart this fiend. Put your faith in them and say kind words over those will need replaced come Spring.

Ok, it was my fault for not protecting them. In Florida we had a few bouts of frost but not like here. There, no one ever threw away old sheets, towels, tee shirts or blankets. When the threat came, we covered all our perishables and slept easy. Of course our yards looked like homeless camps in the morning but it worked. I didn't do that the other night and I wanted someone to blame besides Bad Patti.

Do you fight nature or do you accept the inevitable, add your losses to your compost pile and dream of Spring?


  1. Did you send him to Montana over the week end? He was here. My roses.... splattt. Splayed flat. Time to shift gears and think of indoor activities. Sure glad I bought that new down-filled jacket!
    Wonderful week to ye!!!!

  2. Brought all my deck plants in already. Yard pretties must do battle with Jack F. They have lost, however...

  3. We only fight ole Jack in the Spring when something is just starting to bloom or grow and they say there is a frost warning, in the fall, we pretty much let him have his way.

  4. I was scared for a minute that you were talking about Jack Daniels. Thank goodness it was only Jack Frost, who goes away anyway come summer.

  5. It is so very sad when this happens. We rarely have Frosts here, but when we do, it is or Can Be pretty devistating. One year, eaarly on in my Gardenm before I understood what water and those very low temps can do---I lost quite a few plants...So sorry for your losses, dear Patti. I hope some of them will come back.

  6. We haven't had our first frost yet, but soon. Thanks for the reminder of Jack, who haunts our hills too. Not much we can do with our garden, but let it succumb to his ravages. We trust spring will tame the beast.

  7. Loved this post!

    Jack has not come here yet, but all my pot plants are inside and we have prepared as best we can for his arrival. Sorry Jack drained all the life out of your beautiful plants. Hugs

  8. Well done.
    We might cover plants for an early frost here in Vermont, or even into October if you live by the lake, but by this time of year forget it. It's done and the garden in covered up with a blanket of leaves for the winter.

  9. Well---I was wondering why you hadn't taken your pots inside... Then I read farther in your post...

    We haven't had a frost here yet --but had a couple of close calls... This coming Thurs/Fri --they are saying we are going to have one (with even some snow flurries in the upper levels of the Smokies).

    Our Roses have been gorgeous this fall --but once it freezes, George will cut them back, let them go dormant and cover them with compost and good dirt.

    I have about 10 pots/baskets outside... Right now--they are all up against the house --but before this coming Thurs., I will bring them all inside for the winter...

    Your question was do we just let things go --or do what we can to protect our stuff.... We obviously 'try' to save what we can....

    Have a great week, Patti.

  10. We do both. Bring in some plants for the winter, others are harvested before it hits (we have a big bag of dried basil!) but the rest is left to the natural progression and their former selves will be added to the brush pile for burning this winter.

    Great lead up to the reveal! :)

  11. What a fun post! I'm pretty much one to let nature take its course. In Texas we had a neighbor across the street who every fall drug out a gold colored sheet and covered her mums. The sheet stayed there from Nov. 1 until May 1. I got so tired of looking at that I've never been able to cover up my plants.

  12. Manzanita,
    You may not save your plants but you will save your hide with that down jacket. I LOVE THEM.

    I have no place inside the house but I do have a covered porch and if I had just moved the planters close to the house------

    I guess I have to realize this is not Florida huh? I can usually keep my panseys going all winter but I still have to keep them away from the ole Jack.

    Hay, Ole Jack Daniels does his own damage in these hills. I have never seen so many single car accidents in my life. Jack makes it hard to make the curves.

    You probably have the type of frosts I used to get in Florida. They can be fought and you can win. Glad you learned.

    It is hard to save those things in the ground. I was able to save my winter gardens in Fl with covers. Thank goodness we didn't have many frosts. It is a different story here.

    Sure wish I had room in the house for the plants. There is barely room for me and the creatures. My covered porch is some what of a help.

    Jack is a much bigger and stronger fellow where you live. I have his weaker cousin and he still gives me fits.

    You must really fill your house with lovelies. I sure wish I had room. My pansies winter well. I pretty much have to replace everything but the roses,dianthus, and liriope in the spring.

    I probably ought to turn my tornado shelter into a storage house for the winter. Probably would have to run grow lights out there though. Too dark.

    Gosh, in Florida we had to uncover our plants each morning or the quickly rising daily heat would kill them. It was a chore, cover, uncover. Texas must stay colder longer.

  13. Jack's been here, too. He sure gets around.

  14. My beautiful, full Boston ferns...brown and brittle already! I've just not enough space to winter them. I'll buy their cousins next spring, and spend the summer preparing them for the ultimate sacrifice next fall. And so goes the circle of life. ;)

  15. Jack Frost hasn't been here yet, but he may make an appearance tonight. I brought my Norfolk Island Pine tree inside and the mums are on the porch. Everything else will have to face ole Jack.

  16. Oh you are so bad Patti...had this ole girl going for a minute or two.
    I try my best to cover my plants when I hear he is on the way. But sometimes that does not work. Sorry about your plants.
    So far we have not had his visit here but it will not be long.
    Are you watching the world series. Of course my team is not dong to well right now it is 3 to 1 San

  17. You had me going for a minute. I used to cover a few plants in California, a few rare herbs and some succulents, here nature will have to take its course.

  18. Jack hasn't arrived here yet. The weather is supposed to be in the upper 70's this week with lows in the 50's. Keeping our fingers crossed that we are dry, as the boys have another 800 acres of rice to harvest. It's that time of year.

  19. Janie B,
    He sure does though sometimes I think he is like the street corner Santas with lots of helpers.

    Awww I love Boston Ferns. They really are too big for house plants. I guess Jack is who keeps the nursery owners in business.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze,
    Yikes, those Norfolks can get big. Might make a unique Christmas tree as it gets bigger.

    I am so sorry for your loss--the world series that is. You had a good ride for a whole year and that is not shabby. You have two former Marlins on your team. Matt Treanor who was a huge favorite of mine--dimples and the sweetest eyes, and Jorge Cantu who carried us for the first part of this year.
    I did have to pull for Cody Ross and SF and am thrilled for him.
    Next year lady.

    Linda Starr,
    You are in the coldest part of Florida. We used to consider that "up north." Enjoy your winter.

    Ok, I really like rice and you are great so I am pulling for you all to get that harvest in. Hurry.

  20. Clever, clever, clever, Miss Patti! Jack has not yet paid a visit here, but it's just a matter of time. I need to be thinking of where I'm going to put some of the plants I want to "winter-over," as I have no garage and no crawl-space.

  21. Well that was a halloweeny story or should I call it an urban legend? Very scary and spooky! You are a great story teller! Anyway when Jack Frost is around we know that summer is over!

  22. Patti, your stories are always so much fun! Great analogies. The murderer hasn't struck in Oklahoma yet but he is lurking not far away!

  23. Pat,
    Thank you. I know what you mean. I have out buildings but no room inside for delicates. I keep the nurseries in business.

    Reader Wil,
    Well I didn't decorate so I thought I'd tell a Halloween tale. Glad you liked it. I think summer here is gone. Thanks so much.

    Thanks. I do hope he stays away from you a while longer. Winter will be here soon enough.

  24. Egads! He left a trail of destruction, didn't he?? Better get mine in lickety split, or they will suffer the same fate.

  25. You are such a good writer!!

    He is due to come here this next week - and I hate to see him!

  26. Southwest Arkie,
    Hope you got them in.What today doesn't get, tomorrow will. Brrrr.

    Thanks Judy. Brace yourself. He is back here again Saturday.

  27. I love the way you captured my attention right from the start. I guess you didn't capture the weather report and act fast enough to save those beauties. I do not get too upset when it happens and compost the remains. Sadly nature rules. We just have to find a way to fit in as best as we can.

  28. KleinsteMotte,
    Thanks. I missed the weather report because I was hiding from the candidates last minute stuff and had the TV off. I'll be up on it now. Yours is the best attitude.
    I have all ready replaced the bodies with pansies which winter well.