Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Work, work, work



Last week was a busy one. 

Tuesday I spent a goodly portion of the day working in the yard.  I had grand ideas (delusions??) about cleaning out the jungle on the east side, along the fence AND then, mowing the west side of the back yard.  Hahahahahahaha.  Mowing never came into the thought process once I was out there.



The area in question tends to fill up with wild lantana, enormous elephant ears, and a bizallion trash trees ranging from 12 inches to 5 feet tall.  I clean the area out twice a year.  Aarrgh!  It is hands and knees crawling in the dirt work followed by a dozen of trips back and forth to the dump site for yard debris.  By the time I finished, I was DONE.  Mowing?  Noooooo.



So, that’s what I did Tuesday.  Then, that evening, some neighbors knocked on my door.  “Come see”.  Big puddle of water.  Yep – big puddle of water.  And, thank the gods and all their minions, the puddle had nothing to do with my side of the fence.



Next morning I called the city.  And about an hour later, I looked out to see a large city truck and four men.  I’m guessing the oldest was about fifty – he was the one digging a hole in the big puddle.  The man next to him was younger and giving advise on how to dig the hole.  The other two – much younger still – were standing around, staring at the hole.  So, if you ever need to know how many men it takes to dig a hole in Wharton, it’s four, one with the shovel and three to stand around.  Fix the problem?  No-no.  Dug the hole, left an orange cone and drew arrows on the street pointing to the hole.  Whatever.



Our weather last week was typical Texas fall.  Two days of warmish, humid temps, two days of hot, humid, 2 days of cool and finally, 1 day of chilly.  Then it starts over again.  Monday and Tuesday – hot and humid.  However we were being told by those that guess about the weather, that a really truly cold front was on the way.  OK, no more procrastinating about moving plants.  You know, every year I swear – ‘I AM GOING TO GET RID OF SOME OF THESE POTTED PLANTS AND I AM NOT GOING TO ACQUIRE ANY MORE’.  And, doesn’t that sound good?  Never happens but it always sounds good. 




So, I had to rearrange and set up areas for wintering over everything small that couldn’t stay outside.  Well, except for the plumerias – they are perfectly happy to winter over in the garage, in the dark.



My next chore was to enclose a portion of my backyard shed.  I’ve been fortunate that in at all my houses, I’ve had a greenhouse.  (Probably the reason I have so many tropical plants in containers!)  I don’t have one in this house so I decided to make one to house all the large tropicals that want heat AND light.



Not perfect, but should get plenty of light, keep warm, and be relatively easy to water.

And, yesterday, winter arrived.

Take care



ps – I did get the yard mowed and then this happened.  I guess, since I yelled at all the pecan trees about not dropping pecans, one of them decided to drop this instead.  Aarrrggggg!



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Celebrate!



Adopt A Turkey Month
Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit that works on saving farm animals from slaughter, has placed more than 600 turkeys into homes as pets through the Adopt-A-Turkey Project.  Aaand, Did You Know?  as they get older, turkeys can develop arthritis?  



Family Stories Month
Being the family genealogist, I regret not listening more closely, asking questions, and writing down memories voiced by my older relatives.  So, this month, take a few minutes to do that – listen, ask, write.  And, to any older relatives – write down those memories for your grands and greats.


Historic Bridge Awareness Month Link
We have one of those, a historic bridge, here.



National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
1.     In 1904 Beech-Nut became the first major brand to market and sell peanut butter
2.     Archibutyrophobia is the name for the fear of getting a big gob of peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.
3.     Peanut butter is heart healthy, may reduce the risk of colon cancer, helps protect your memory, and is high in protein and potassium.

National Pomegranate Month
My baby Pom.  Grown from a seed, it has been slow to put on above the dirt growth but by next spring, I hope to put it in the ground where it will grow to be a good sized tree.



Teff and Millet Month
Millet is not just one grain, but the name given to a group of several diļ¬€erent small-seeded grains of which there are four most commonly cultivated.  Teff is a small grain that cooks quickly, using less fuel, thrives in both waterlogged soils and during droughts, and is relatively free of plant diseases compared to other cereal crops.

Plus, today, 7 Nov is:

International Merlot Day
International Stress Awareness Day
National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

So, have a snack of chocolate covered almonds and a glass of Merlot to wash away your stress!

Take care



Sunday, November 4, 2018

Time, time, time



Daylight Saving Time ended this morning at 2am and thank all the gods and heaven for it!  I don’t like DST.  It makes no sense to me plus it generally leaves me cranky for a week or so, starting and ending.  This morning I had to change 12 clocks.  (Yes – I have clocks – several – some antique, some unique, some odd – I like clocks)



OK so, first of all DST makes no sense to me because it does not create an extra hour of daylight – it just changes the clock time the sun comes up and goes down.  Secondly, it makes me change my day-to-day schedule.  I’m a morning person.  I’m up at 6am.  I hate it when the sun isn’t up until 7:30am.  When we “fall back”, the sun is up at 6:30am but, for a week or so, I’m up at 5am.  Aarrgghh.  Cranky.



I’ve always heard that DST was started during WWI to give an extra hour of daylight for the purpose of warfare.  Hmpf! I’m pretty sure warfare doesn’t care what time it is.  So, I looked it up.

No, it wasn’t Benjamin Franklin though he did suggest to Parisians that changing their sleep schedules would save money on candles and lamp oil.  Still, it wasn’t taken seriously.

Then in 1895, George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, came up with the modern concept of daylight saving time. He proposed a two-hour time shift (and how awful would that be!) so he’d have more after-work hours of sunshine to go bug hunting in the summer.  Still, nothing much happened with his idea and suggestion.

Seven years later, a British builder, William Willett, independently hit on the same idea though for a different reason. His idea to move the clock forward would give more daylight hours for work or play.  He proposed the idea to Parliament which was rejected.  

Then, in 1916, two years into World War I, the German government started brainstorming ways to save energy.  They remembered Willett’s idea of moving the clock forward and thus having more daylight during working hours therefore using less energy.  And DST was implemented.  England and almost every other country that fought in World War I followed suit, including the US.  Back in the day, coal power was king, so people really did save energy by changing their clocks and thus contribute to the war effort.

Does it still save energy today?  I don’t know.  Some proponents say yes – During the eight months of DST, we get an hour more of sunshine in the evenings, people use less energy and spend more time outside (really?  after a two-hour commute and 8-hour work day plus, at least here, temperatures in the 100°’s).  Others cite studies that say there are more accidents, heart attacks and health problems in the days after DST begins or ends.  Challengers also doubt that we save any energy, or if we do it is negligible.

So, here’s a Did You Know?  Today, around 70 countries observe Daylight Saving Time.  Here in the US, 48 states do, but Hawaii, most of Arizona, and U.S. territories Puerto Rico and Guam do not.  Having lived in AZ for a number of years, I understand why most of the state does not participate – it’s hot there.  When the sun goes down, temperatures get a little more bearable and residents are more apt to go outside.  Personally, I think that’s true here in Texas also – while it may not instantly get cooler outside when the sun goes down, at least you don’t feel like you’re under the broiler any longer.



Here’s another one.  Originally DST went from the end of March to the first of September.  During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST, calling it "War Time".  From 1945 to 1966 state governments could choose when it began and ended or drop it entirely.  Beginning in 1967, the Uniform Time Act mandated that clocks would be advanced one hour beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and turned back one hour at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October.  The start and stop times have changed several times until now – early March to early November. 

Well, now we’re back to sunny mornings and afternoons and night time after 5pm. 

Works for me!!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November 1 2 3



Well, Halloween was pretty much a bust at my house.  First of all – no Jack-o-lantern because there was not one pumpkin to be found in Wharton.

Then, as trick or treat time approached, the weather turned from overcast and warm to big wind, rain, and dropping temperatures.  Honestly, it sounded like huge things were running all over my roof as the pecan tree dropped branches and nuts.  Next morning the yard looked like this – pecans everywhere!



Thursday my sister and I, on the spur of the moment decided to drive to Midfield (about 30 miles south) to an estate sale.  The pictures had looked interesting and off we went.  Midfield is a tiny town and when I say tiny I mean maybe 100 people live there.  This was one of the more interesting estate sales we’ve been to in a while.  There was all sorts of stuff.  Some unique, some lovely, some weird.  I have to say, the company handling the estate sale priced things to sell because it seems Mr. Shurtz was a collector of lots and much. 

There was some very nice vintage pottery – Hull, McCoy, Roseville.  There was carnival glass, milk glass, even some Fritz & Floyd.  All priced very reasonably.  Were I truly a collector of such, I’m sure I’d have brought some home.

Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles Cake Pan (along with ones for Oscar the Grouch, Superman, HeMan and several others)

 All sorts of railroad stuff

A garage full of guy stuff including some large machine shop machines.

  

  Railroad lanterns.  A little clean up and these would be a real find.  My I NEEEEED THIS kicked in but, I was strong and kept on looking.



 I’m not sure just what this is – a floor heater? (I wouldn’t think so as it has glass chimneys) a table lamp? (maybe).  Very definitely unique.

 Alien face things – not a mask – seems it is meant to be hung on a wall and (I suspect) the eyes light up.  Just a little weird.
  
Another oddity – a chandelier made up of six lights.  Unfortunately, only three of the sconces were still whole but I have to tell you, once again, my I THINK I NEEEEED THIS kicked in.  Not that I’d hang the thing in my house but I might have put it outside – in my gazebo maybe or taken it apart and kept the three complete sconces.  However, common sense kicked in and I walked away.


There were pirates hanging out with the kitchen cleaners.

And a large Jesus hanging on the living room wall.

Unique, lovely and weird – you just can’t ask for more in an estate sale!

Take care



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

mwahahahahahahaha … Happy Halloween!


Another spooky story to get you through this Halloween night.




The Brick Wall
A Massachusetts Horror Story

Massey was a soldier unfortunate enough to cross me, his commanding officer.  He did not live to regret it.  There was something very satisfying in the moment when I thrust the tip of my sword into the soldier’s heart during our duel.  I watched him fall to the ground with the satisfaction of a job well done.
The men under my command seem depressed in the following weeks. They mention Massey frequently, but I ignore their conversations.
One night, I retreat to my chambers to sulk and soon was joined by a delegation of men who were friends of Massey. I am surprised and delighted to learn that they had come to their senses and now saw the impertinent lieutenant for the cheat he really was. We share a round of drinks and laughed together.   I’m afraid I drank far too much that evening.
The other soldiers suggested we explore the lower dungeons. That sounded like a fine idea to me.  We set off in merry spirits, drinking and singing and laughing, our voices echoing through the narrow passages. Deeper and deeper we went.  My head started spinning and my legs felt like rubber after all that drinking. I am afraid I passed out from drunkenness, much to my shame.
When I came to, I was lying on my back with my wrists and ankles shackled to the floor. Drunken men, fooling around, I thought.
“Very funny, lads,” I called out. “Now set me free.”
The soldiers didn’t answer me. A moment passed and Massey’s best friend appeared in the doorway, holding mortar and a mason’s trowel.  The other men began handing him bricks and I realize that the soldiers are bricking up the entrance to the cell in which I lay shackled. “Very funny,” I said again.
No one answered me. They worked in silence, laying brick after brick until one row is done, then two. They were playing a nasty joke on me, of course.
Then Massey’s best friend paused in his work and looked directly into my eyes. At that moment I realized that this joke is no joke. Scream after scream ripped from my throat as I struggle against my bonds. But the dungeon was too deep within the fort, and no one heard my screams. 
They were on the final row of bricks. I was reduced to bribery now, desperately using my wealth in an attempt to escape my fate.  But no one listened to my bribes.    I watched in heart-thudding horror as the last brick is put in place, as the last chink of light faded from my sight. I have been entombed alive in the deepest, darkest dungeon of the fort.  I howled in panic, writhing against the iron manacles binding hands and feet and twisting my body. Eventually I fell back against the floor, my wrists and ankles wet with my own blood.
My fingers were torn and throbbing from their intense scrabbling against the hard floor. I found myself weeping angrily, though I have never shed a tear in my lifetime.
The agony of the thought sent me writhing again in spite of the horrible pain racking my wrists, ankles, and hands. Daylight. I must see daylight again. Just once more.
“Don’t leave me here to die alone! Don’t leave me!” 
But I was alone, and the sheer brutal horror of it overwhelmed me. My eyes strained against the complete and utter darkness, and I wondered if they were even open.
Dear God, I can’t get out. I can’t get out. I CAN’T GET OUT!
 from Spooky Massachusetts



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

WHAT! NO PUMPKINS!!!



Arrrrrggggghhhhhhh!  I stopped by Walmart today to pick up a few groceries and get my pumpkin (aka: Jack-o-Lantern).  There were none.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  None.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I talked with the produce manager – nope, none because they got too ripe (the reason I wait until the day before HALLOWEEN to get mine who wants a rotting pumpkin), oh, so sorry. 

Fine.  I’ll go over to HEB.  NOT.  ONE.  SINGLE.  PUMPKIN!  Spoke with the produce manager – they shorted us this weekend. 

OK, I’ll just go to the local Pumpkin Patch Farm.  They are closed, open only on weekends.  Today is not a weekend day, not even close.  Arrrrrgggghhhhh!

Well Hells Bells and Little Fishes, heavy sigh, these will have to do.



So, since I can’t regale you with my Jack-o-Lantern carving talents, here’s a little story to get you through the night.

I hate it when my brother Charlie has to go away. My parents constantly try to explain to me how sick he is. That I am lucky for having a brain where all the chemicals flow properly to their destinations like undammed rivers.

When I complain about how bored I am without a little brother to play with, they try to make me feel bad by pointing out that his boredom likely far surpasses mine, considering he is confined to a dark room in an institution. I always beg for them to give him one last chance.

Of course, they did at first. Charlie has been back home several times, each shorter in duration than the last. Every time without fail, it all starts again. The neighborhood cats with gouged out eyes showing up in his toy chest, my dad's razors found dropped on the baby slide in the park across the street, mom's vitamins replaced by bits of dishwasher tablets.

My parents are hesitant now, using "last chance" sparingly. They say his disorder makes him charming, makes it easy for him to fake normalcy, and to trick the doctors who care for him into thinking he is ready for rehabilitation. That I will just have to put up with my boredom if it means staying safe from him.

I hate it when Charlie has to go away. It makes me have to pretend to be good until he is back.

Bwahahahahahahaha …….



Monday, October 29, 2018

Deep within my heart lies a melody, a song of old San Antone



I drove over to San Antonio this past weekend to visit grands and greats.  It’s an easy drive from Wharton – well except the part where you have to travel along I-10 which is bumper-to-bumper cars and 18-wheelers, all driving 80+ mph (150 miles of the 161 miles).  Still, it was a mild sunny weekend and I had a very nice time.  I have one granddaughter that lives there and a grandson and a great-niece that go to UTSA.  And, I got to spend time with all of them.


Pretty day for a drive.

Drove past the Colorado which is a river again.

I always think of San Antonio as being a midsize city.  It’s not.  It is the seventh most populous city in the United States and the second most populous city in Texas.  There are roughly 1.7 million residents spread across approximately 500 square miles. 



I always realize this when I reach the city limits and the most confusing conglomeration of freeways, highways, and loops in the free world.  Honestly, even with Siri’s help, I can get lost.  And, of the 1.7 million residents, there must be 999,999 driving on those freeways, highways, and loops all the damn day and night.  Fortunately for me, as soon as I get there, my granddaughter takes over the driving.

We did many fun and interesting things.  Living in Wharton I enjoy looking at the big world although much of it makes me wonder – “what were they thinking”.  So, we made a stop Friday night at a store.  Vicky’s boyfriend is a collector of many unique things.  He went in to look for a specific bottle of scotch – Game of Thrones brand.  I was amused by the Day of the Dead and Halloween bottles –

 



Saturday we all walked around La Cantera.  It’s a huge outdoor mall.  All the shops are attached to one another, so you’re not walking from one big giant box to another.  It’s just all outside



So here’s a “what were they thinking”.  Nope, never, even in my wild youth.  Somebody has been watching too many 1950 space movies.



OK, here’s another –



It’s a liquid nitrogen-infused cereal puffball that allows one to “breathe” like a dragon.  Uhmmmmm – nope pass.

We didn’t go in most of the stores – went to a new tea shop (my particular weakness) and a big bookstore, where I found several books for my “wish list”.  The rest of the day was spent “hanging” with the greats and grands.  A nice day.

So, San Antonio has a new form of public transportation available.  We saw these little guys all around town.  I was told you can rent one for a day for very little money and tool all around.  Less traffic, no parking problems, better for the air, fun.



Sunday morning, Vicky and I went to the big farmer’s market at the Pearl Brewery.  This is now a big park that houses not only the farmer’s market but a variety of shops.  There were musicians performing and that day, a great big bunch of little princesses, monsters, dinosaurs, pirates, and such wandering around.  We went into only one shop – the Christmas ornaments caught my eye.  There were the normal things – birds, sugar skulls, flowers, and this …..

Yep, that’s a piece of bacon

Then, I saw these – probably a bunch of people I know could use one!



There was one other shop that really caught my attention.  First of all the name is, hmmmm, different.  And then, they sell a different product than you might think.




Really?  Is there dishonest ice cream?  Vicky tells me the flavors are unusual – like – goat cheese, thyme and honey or beets and fresh mint.  And, just to be honest, they have normal flavors like fresh mint and chocolate chip or Texas sheet cake. 

Afterwards we walked along the San Antonio River.  Very nice.



Then, I left for home.

Take care