Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Another DID YOU KNOW .....

So, I checked out the river this morning.  Huge is the only word for it now.  It hasn’t overflowed the north (town side) bank but it is water as far as can be seen looking southwest.  The Colorado is standing at 43 feet and still rising.  The prediction is for 50 feet which we could still see. 

I walked around my yard.  Ick.  Major yard work ahead.  Branches of all sizes EVERYWHERE! 

Some of my plants, normally as tall as I am, are laying down on the ground from yesterday’s wind and rain. 
I am cursed (sometimes blessed) with 7 (SEVEN – the number after 6) large pecan trees (no, no other trees in my yard, just 7 pecan trees).  I say cursed because while they can produce pecans,  like this, that doesn’t happen every year or every other year or even every 3rd year.  

And pecans are huge trash trees.  As soon as the young pecans start to grow, the squirrels start eating the green nuts, then drop shells and husks all over the place.  The tree shivers and shakes and dislodges the green nuts.  They drop smallish branches all the damn time.  And, they “self prune” by dropping large branches whenever they feel like it.  Too little water, too much water, wind, cold, looked at sideways ---  drop branches.

Then there are those pesky squirrels.  They will dig in my potted plants, throw out the plant in favor of a burying a pecan.  And the pecans will come up in in the pot and every flower bed or part of yard with absolutely no encouragement.   Aaaaarrrggghhh!!!   I have already cut down or dug up a forest of pecan trees.

So here’s the DID YOU KNOW part …….

"for best results when growing pecan trees, the pecan nut should be soaked in aerated water for two days prior to stratification. Nuts are placed in a container and covered with tap water. An airstone connected to a small aquarium air pump is placed in the bottom of the container. The aeration is important, otherwise the nuts will soon use up the oxygen in the water and die. After pre-soaking, the nuts should be packed in a moist material in a container that has drainage holes.  Moist sand or sawdust are traditional packing materials. The container should be kept cold, preferably between 36°F and 42°F for three months. It is important that the nuts not be allowed to dry out and that they be protected from warm temperatures, otherwise the stratification process will be delayed or even reversed. Nuts are planted outside in February or March, but not before their three months stratification is completed. Nuts are planted 3 inches deep in hills of three directly where the tree is wanted. The hills should be marked with a stake so you can find the seedlings later. Thin to one tree per hill after the first year..Seedlings will grow very slowly the first two or three years, but will develop a taproot and extensive root system during this time." 

 Right.  All I can say is, whoever wrote the above, doesn't live in southeast Texas.

Take care 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rain and Rivers and Bunnies

I had planned (hoped) to post something every day, however by yesterday afternoon my mind was like a hamster wheel with 40 hamsters all running different directions and speeds.  Absolutely nothing coherent came from mind to fingers to paper.  Today, I' better. Harvey is still hanging around; got 4 more inches of rain.  However, I think our biggest concern right now isn’t flooding from the rain but flooding from the Colorado River.  It was at 35 feet at 7am today.  Powers-that-be are predicting it to reach 50 feet.  If that happens, the river will overflow the banks completely and head for downtown.  I live about 6 or 7 blocks from the river and downtown.

So as not to worry about things over which I have no control, I thought I share another story.  I lived in Galveston for several years.  We were out on the west end in a subdivision called Sea Isle.  Then, it was more weekenders than day-to-day residents.  But it was nice and I miss it still every day.  While there, one of my friends and I started a small cottage business.  We made and sold wine jelly and candied jalapenos.  It was fun – we attended all sorts of shows and fairs including one at a local establishment on the west end. Each spring they had …..

“The Annual Bunny Roast”.

It really didn’t have anything to do with roasting rabbits, in actuality, it was a Chile Cook-off.  Bunny was the name of the organizer.  One year the organizer decided that a few craft booths might be a good thing.  Jan and I were invited to attend.  Now, this place wasn’t just a local bar. It had a huge property with children’s playground equipment, picnic tables, an outdoor entertainment stage (sort of) and an outdoor dance floor.  Neither Jan or I had ever been there, however husband, Michael had and he assured us it would be a good thing.  There was to be no charge for a booth.  They were expecting HUNDREDS TO ATTEND the cook-off (many, we were assured, would be bikers on their umpty-zillion dollar Harley’s, ready to spend their money!!).  We decided to do it.

Not nearly as many people showed up as they thought but there were quite a few bikers  Some looked like your basic computer nerd (dressed in biker togs, of course).  A couple of them were pretty fierce looking but, all in all, they were interesting to watch and were extremely polite and nice.  Several came over and bought some of our jellies and candied jalapeƱos.  Not many sales but since it didn't cost us anything but time, it wasn't such a bad day.  It didn’t pour down rain and there were no fires, fights, or unpleasantries. 

However, we did get to see something neither of us had seen before - The ENTERTAINMENT.  They were going to have “puddin’ wrasling”.  OK, if you don’t know, pudding wrestling consists of several sweet young things (SWTs) in little bitty bathing suites slipping and sliding around in a child's wading pool filled with about 2 inches of vanilla pudding. 

First Bout.  Two SWTs tussled, slid around, and jumped on one another in this wading pool filled with pudding.  One would get the other down and slap her on the boob or butt (I didn’t quite get the point of that), bounce off and wait for the other to get back up.  Then one tugged the bathing suit top off the other and vice versa so they slid around topless for a while.  After a short time they both stood up, covered head to wherever with pudding, and wiped it out of eyes and squeezed it out of hair (which was enough to put you off pudding for a long time).  We left then.

Oh, by the way, according to Michael, those sweet young things were Professional Pudding Wrestlers.  Now that just opened a whole other train of thought.  First of all, how do you suppose you put that on a resume?  Do you think someone offers training for such a profession or is it something one must be “born knowing”?  Think they might have a union or an association of some sort?  What about benefits? – I can see that Workman’s Comp might be a desirable option. 

I thought it was pretty boring actually, but, you know, the whole concept is really a “guy” thing, so I don’t suppose my observations count.  And, now I can say I've seen pudding wrestling, have marked it off my list and don’t have to see it again.

Take Care

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Storm of the Century with Larry, Moe, and Curley

Here I am again …….
Well, Hurricane Harvey has, at least for us here in Wharton, been very mild.  We didn’t have any big wind or extended major downpours.  As far as I can tell, at my house, we’ve had 6 or 7 inches of rain over two days which isn’t bad.  Of course, as a friend reminded me, it isn’t over yet so we may need floaties and row boats before it is all over. 

All the news and talk and mild panic reminded me of Hurricane Rita back in 2005.  We were living in a house out in the country at that time and had stayed home and …….

It was called the “Storm of the Century” and Larry, Moe and Curly were at my house.    Didn't matter what needed to be done, the three of them stood around and argued for 10 minutes on HOW to do whatever.   But, I think the "falling off the ladder" episode was the best routine of the storm.  I pointed out to my husband (aka - Moe) that the oak tree had a huge branch overhanging the roof and did it need to be trimmed back.  So, first of all, they argued about cutting off the tree limb.  Then, about how to cut it off.  Then about who was going to get on the ladder (with a chain saw in hand).  Then about where to put the ladder.  Finally, they agreed on ladder placement, how much of the branch was going to be cut off,  who was going to do the cutting, who was going to do the ladder holding and who was going to stand around looking up.  "Larry" (the youngest of the 2 friends - age 55) started the chain saw, climbed the ladder with "Moe" holding it.  Curly (friend #2) stood there looking up.  I watched from afar.  Well, first of all, they put the ladder (which was the kind that leans not stands free) on the side of the branch that was going to fall off.   I suggested that maybe they wanted to move the ladder.  Oops, moved the ladder - right next to the place they had decided to cut.  Now, I'm not a genius on cause and effect, but I figured out what was going to happen.  And it did.  As Larry cut the branch through, several things happened at once.  1.  The branch fell on Moe.  2.  The remaining branch, still attached to the tree, popped up and tossed the ladder off.  3.  Larry was still holding the running chain saw which he tossed toward Moe and Curly (fortunately he's a good tosser and it flew past them).  4.  The ladder fell down.  5.  Larry fell on top of Moe.  Larry ended up face down in the grass, Moe sort of staggering around and Curly still looking up.  Of course it would have made waaaayyyy to much sense to get one of the ladders that stands free and cut the branch in smaller sections, but all in all, I guess everyone was lucky that no one got a major piece cut off by the chain saw.  I just shook my head and walked away. 

Has to be a funny side to every “Storm of the Century”!

Take Care

Friday, August 25, 2017

Day 2: Did You Know .........

Hello – it’s me again.  In addition to the someone’s child, sister, etc., I am also a gardener.  Actually, I’m a Master Gardner (ta da!!). I know a little about a lot of plants, mostly those that are considered to be herbs.

So,  Did You Know …….(and I love these plants – every time I see them growing in a ditch, I am annoyed that I have no rubber boots or shovel)

Typha latifolia, also known as cattails, or punks or bulrush or reedmace, is a wetland or bog plant and has many uses including being edible. You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, the stem, the leaves (boil like spinach), and the flower (that’s the corn dog looking thing on the tall stem). The young flower can actually be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob.  And, according to those people that go around, eating wild herbs, it tastes very much like corn.

Medicinally you can use cattail roots, split and bruised as a poultice on cuts, wounds, burns, stings, and bruises. The ash of the burned cattail leaves can be used as an antiseptic or styptic for wounds.  Plus, you can chew the starchy heart of the cattail for snakebite. And what more could you want!

And then you can dry the stalks for use as hand drills or arrow shafts. The seed heads and dried leaves can be used for fire tinder. The seed head fluff can be used for pillow and bedding stuffing or as a down-like insulation in clothing. In fact, during WWII, before the age of man-made fillers, the US Navy used the cattail fluff for life jackets. 

The leaves can be used for construction of shelters or for woven seats and backs of chairs, and you can make baskets, hats, mats, and beds. The dried seed heads attached to their stalks can be dipped into melted animal fat or oil and used as torches.

Among some cultures, cattail is known as a vampire deterrent (not as smelly as garlic; easier to get ahold of than holy water).  And, its considered an inducement for lust – not going any further with that.

All in all, cattails, which grow all over North America, except for the really cold parts, are a good plant to know.  So, tuck this one into the part of your brain for those “omigod, lost in the wilderness, need food, shelter, and warmth” times.

Take care

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Day One - Something new!

Hello – It’s me – Pam

Hmmmmm, starting this is harder that than I thought.

So, you ask, who is this person?  Somebody’s child, sister, wife, mother grandmother – yes, all those things, at one time or another.  But right now, this minute, I’m just me.

And, right now, like most of us on the Texas gulf coast, I am watching the Weather Channel because there is a storm out there that’s just become a full-fledged hurricane and threatening to get bigger and stronger and charge into the Corpus Christi to Galveston areas.  Oh goodie. 

It’s been very hot and humid with almost no rain for most of the spring and all summer.  Many of us have been wishing and praying to whomever it is that controls the thermostat and rainfall.  Ppuullllleeeaaassseeeeeee – some rain… some cool breezes!  You know the old axiom – “Be careful what you wish for”.  Well, I’m thinking somebody was not specific in their conversations because 12-15 inches of rain and 100+ mph wind is really a lot. 

Now, as Hurricane Harvey roars toward us, like most, I’ve done what prep I can do.  I’m about 40 miles north of the coast so we could certainly get some wind and rain.  Therefore, I’ve moved most of my yard art, potted plants and windchimes.  Next on the “get prepared list” is to go outside and have a stern conversation with my pecan trees and remind them of the rules. 
1.     1.  No dropping branches on the house
2.     2.   No dropping branches on the electric lines
3.      3.  No dropping branches on the fence.
    Take care,