Monday, July 27, 2020

More Stuff

We just had a small storm here.  Hurricane Hanna.  Originally it was headed straight into the Gulf toward Matagorda, which is about 40 miles south of Wharton.  My personal preparation was going to be just moving some of the tall plumerias so they wouldn’t blow over (it was a little storm).  However, as it happens, Hanna turned more south and west and went in right at the tip of Texas and upper parts of Mexico.  We got two inches of much needed rain, so for us, it was a good thing.

The other “good” thing - - - the mid-Gulf coast surfers came out in droves to
Ride the Waves”!

Normally, this time of the year, our part of the Gulf coast is very calm with few, if any waves.  However, let a storm enter the Gulf and the surfers start watching, the boards come out, and they accumulate along the beach. 

Okay, okay – it was a little storm.

The only damage from Hanna I’ve heard about was …….

(CNN)Newly installed panels from the US border wall fell over in high winds Wednesday, landing on trees on the Mexican side of the border.

Hmmmmmmm, perhaps it was not meant to be??????    

Last Thursday, Bobby and I took another day trip to another beach – Freeport.  It’s not nearly as pretty as some of the Texas beaches and it appears to be occupied more by fisherpeople than beach goers, still it was filled with interesting things.

Here’s something I do not understand – Wade Fishing. 

Really???  Standing in waist deep water, with a bait bucket and probably a stringer with previously caught fish attached to your body.  WOW!  Hor‘devours and dinner!  And, what did these guys catch while we watched???

Yepper – that’s a Bull Shark.  Small but it still has teeth!  And, who knows, maybe Mama is close by!

There are many reasons why I like the beach.  It’s ever changing.  You never know what you’ll find as you walk along.  Like this . . .

I dunno – looks like a really big gun to me.  It was located on a part of the beach that was inaccessible from any direction.  Maybe a leftover from WWII???  It’s on a bluff and pointing out over the Gulf.

Again, we picnicked in the truck with this view

Nice, yes?  Relaxing – yes!

Yep, that’s me – communing with the water.

After lunch we stopped at the Sea Center Texas.  I’d never been there – didn’t even know it existed.  It is a marine aquarium, fish hatchery and education center.  It’s part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  And, it is a very cool place to visit.  At this time, the hatchery is closed to the public and there aren’t any classes going on but the aquarium is open.

Folks – I could stand inside the jaw and it would have barely touched my tubby little body going up!  It is the jaw of a Great Hammerhead Shark caught in the Gulf.

Now, at this tank, we had a bit of a discussion.

Bobby:  Look at that eel – think it’s dead?
Me:  Ohhhh – that’s not an eel.  That’s a piece of flex pipe with some sort of nozzle head
Bobby:  Look closer.
Me.  Whoa!  That’s an eel.  Think it’s dead?

Then we saw this sign –

Obviously, we were not the first to ask that question.

And, after this, I don’t know much else good.  Everybody – be good.  Stay healthy.  Take many relaxing breaths.  Think before you say or do something stupid.  And wear a mask!  It won't hurt you!

Fritos – I want Fritos!

27 Jul 2020

Saturday, July 18, 2020


On Thursday, I ran away from home.
 A day in pictures.

This past Thursday, my friend Bobby picked me up and we went adventuring.  You can adventure these days provided you are content with wide open spaces and no human contact.  We had a destination in mind though no time schedule.  

Leaving Wharton, we went through Lane City (pop 111), 
Magnet (pop 42), and Wadsworth (pop 180). 

And, I saw …….

Fields of cotton, still blooming.

And corn – ready for harvest.

A very bucolic scene.

A wind farm I didn’t realize was up and going.

Old and new – working side by side

Wild flowers galore
Yes, it was hot but there would be relief at the end of the trail.

Have you walked in soft sugar sand?
Be sure to wear shoes – the sand is really hot.

Did you already guess the destination?

Near to the Sea, we forget to count the hours.

And, while there, I saw . . . .

The waves crashing on the jetty where the 
Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiny Coquina Clams digging back into the sand.
A Coquina Clam is very small, wedge-shaped, and varies widely in color (white, yellow, pink blue and mauve).  They are very active; they migrate up and down wave-washed beaches with the tide and will reburrow between each wave. They are edible and are used in broths and chowder.

Cabbage Head (or Cannonball) Jellyfish.
Cabbage Head Jellyfish are mostly harmless to humans.  Contact may cause itchy skin or irritated eyes but the toxins it secrets mostly affect only other fish or predicators in the ocean.  It is considered a delicacy in Japan, but it must be prepared properly, which usually means it is dried.  And, it must be harvested while still alive and healthy.

But mostly I felt the warm, heavy air; heard the waves crashing and seagulls crying; smelled the salty brine; allowed the waves to wash over my feet and legs; generally renewed my heart and soul.

Bobby brought one of his toys along . . .

We had sort of picnic lunch sitting in the truck to eat, cool down a bit, and watch the Intercoastal Canal.

 Tugs push long barges up and down the Intercoastal
to unknown destinations.
The Intercoastal Canal is a 3,000-mile inland waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts 
of the United States, running from Boston, Massachusetts, southward along the Atlantic Seaboard
 and around the southern tip of Florida, then following the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, Texas.

Then, it was time to leave and come back to the real world.

18 Jul 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


I’ve had this post rattling around inside my head for a number of days now, however I’ve spent the past four days mowing.  Okay – only an hour each time, but it is soooo hot here that the one hour of pushing a small electric mower around the yard leaves me a wet, limp mass of human.  My clothes are so wet when I come inside, I just leave them in the clothes basket in the garage.  Plus, I’m pretty useless for the rest of the day.

And, your response is . . . . .

WOW! How hot is it?

And, just so you understand  

My regular response is – I’m tired of summer now (yes, I know summer has only been in season for 25 days but, it can go away now).  However, my sister tells me I am no longer allowed to say that – I’m tired of – thing until August. 
So, fine – here’s the weather forecast -

Things are moving along with the new house.  Plumbing is hooked up as is the septic system.  Today the electric meter is being installed and calls are into the electricians about hooking up to the house. 

At this house there’s not too much exciting going on.  The yard looks nice – that is the grass looks nice.  The flower beds look tired and weedy (and no, I have no plans to weed until after we get some actual rain – then I won’t be digging in cement).  I’ve moved more plants in pots to the shade so they won’t burn completely up. 

On the positive side of this hot dry weather, the mosquitoes have gone back to wherever they go in high summer.  Not to worry though, they’ll be back with the next good rain. 

The Night Blooming Jasmine is in bloom.  And it smells heavenly.  I’ve taken cuttings so I can plant another one beside the door at the new house.  Interestingly, it is not a true jasmine, but is a jessamine plant which are related to the Solanaceae family along with tomatoes and peppers. Jessamine plants are referred to as jasmines because of their highly fragrant flowers and probably because their names are so similar.  

The Spider Lily is also blooming.  This one is a member of the amaryllis family.

While mowing this morning, I happened to look down and saw that my shoes and ankles were covered with fire ants.  Argh!  I hate it when that happens.  Had I been a better photographer person, I’d have taken a picture for you.  However, my first concern was to get those damn things off!  They’re called fire ants for a reason – the bite burns like fire!  I tell you this because now I’m going to take a brownie (reward for mowing AND battling ants) and sit in front of mindless tv or maybe read my new book.

15 Jul 2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Summertime . . .

And I’m really, really tired of it . . .

Now that the 4th has passed, it’s going to get hot – ugh.  The kind of hot that feels like 100+° with 100+% humidity.  Ugh!  Our vegetable growing season has pretty much ended.  As well as the flowering season.  OK – my Orchid Tree is blooming but it’s about done too.

In the yard itself, everything is just in the "hanging-on" stage all out plants reach during summer.  However, the Monarch Butterflies are out and about.  I know this not because I sit outside and watch for them (are you nuts!  it's hot!!) but because I'm seeing evidence of their having been there.

That's a little monarch caterpillar eating the fennel to the ground.  Ah well, I don't use a great deal of fennel anyway.

Next starts the reverse of spring.  Then, I moved all the container plants to sunny places.  Now, they’re all heading for shade. 

Early this past spring, a friend gave me a couple of cherry tomato plants – which have done surprisingly well.  (I can grow nice plants but they never produce much fruit.  I just don’t have the ‘farmer’ gene.)  Then, on their own, several different cherry tomato plants sprouted up in my compost pile.  I left them and they’ve produced some tomatoes also.  But they all are getting scraggly and no longer putting on flowers.  I’ll be pulling them up soon.

One of the tomato plants I both planted on purpose and came up by itself in my compost pile, is a Wild Cherry.  It’s a tiny little thing.  To give you an idea – that picture below is a regular teaspoon with a tomato in the bowl.  It’s very prolific!  Lately I’ve taken to drying the little tomatoes on a dehydrator.  They look rather like raisins.  Yesterday I made an herbed bread and tossed in a bunch.  It’s really good! 

Sharing the recipe –

Rustic Herb Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded cheese
I used cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan
1 tbl sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp rubbed sage
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp dill
3 tbl butter
1 egg
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk
½ tsp poppy seeds (optional)

Combine first 9 ingredients. Mix well. Cut in butter. In another bowl mix egg, yogurt, milk.  Stir wet into dry.  Mix until all is moistened.  This is where I added the dried tomatoes.  Grease a bowl or round pan.  Place bread dough in a round, fat, lump in pan.  Add poppy seeds (or coarse sea salt or other herbs or, or, or).  Bake at 400 deg for 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into wedges.

The new house is sitting quietly across from my sister.  The septic is in progress.  Hopefully the electricity will get in soon so I can call the AC people to come out and install that unit.  I went over last week and opened the windows a bit (the smell of vinyl is overwhelming) with the hope that it will start to air out some.  I also took over several Sansevieria plants.  These are excellent house plants needing little light or water.  But their best asset is that they clean the air.  The Sansevieria (aka snake plant, viper’s bowstring, mother-in-law’s tongue) is one of the best indoor plants for ridding your home of formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals plus, they release oxygen at night.

I have actually started to take down things on shelves, over the fridge, on top of book cases, wash them and pack and label in a box.  I have two boxes packed already!  Ok, ok, doesn’t sound like much progress BUT, it is progress.

Our governor did a “oopsie – guess I opened everything too soon” and has issued a mandatory mask wearing order for the state.  He also closed clubs and bars and has issued an order for limiting gatherings of other humans to 20 or fewer.  People are back to bitch, piss, and moaning about it.  Myself, I think he finally pulled his ostrich head out of whatever hole it was in and did the right thing. 

And, after all that, there’s nada much going on here in big W!

7 Jul 2020

Friday, July 3, 2020

June – nope, nope - July

I had every intention of putting up a post before the end of June.  You know what good intentions are, right?  They’re what pave the road to hell.

I do have a couple of good excuses though.  Sunday my youngest daughter and grandson came over (she lives in Katy which is a part of Houston) as did my granddaughter from San Antonio.  They brought all kinds of things with them – lunch, dessert, and a party (it was my birthday). 

Honestly – I’ve never had a party with a piƱata.  I’ve been to grand children parties with them but have never got to take a swing at one myself. 

Yep – that’s me with a big stick and determined face.  Gave it 5 or 6 big whacks (very therapeutic, whacking something, hard as you can) aaannnnnd – nothing.  I did break off one of the spokes but didn’t pierce the interior with whatever goodies were there.  Then, everyone else took several whacks at it also.  The most graceful was my 20-year-old grandson.  He has studied sword fighting (not with a fencing rapier – with a medieval sword) and gave it a quick salute and then three hard hits, so fast you couldn’t see them.  It did finally get broken open and out spilled enough candy to put half the town into sugar shock.  It was soooooo much fun!

I will be moving in the very foreseeable future.  There are many reasons for a planned move but in general, it’s just downsizing.  My sister and I have spent much time looking at options, making decisions, and generally getting things ready.  Ugh.  I hate to move (and please, all gods and goddesses, let this be the last time).  Anyway, a house was chosen and Wednesday it was delivered.

And, here it comes down the street

 This was the end destination.  To get there, however, that big house had to maneuver through a fence gate, past a cement bunker, onto the pad.

The maneuvering was done by that cute little yellow tug and a man with the remote control.

Getting through the fence took about a 150-turn effort (you know, back up, stop, turn, go forward, stop, turn, go back, etc., etc.).

 And, it finally came straight back and through the gate.

 Took a couple hours to get it to this point.
Next it had to be turned to back over the pad. 

And a few minutes to get it to this point.

Then, came the work to remove the axle and wheels, install the tie downs, level it, and strap it down in place.

At this point, I went back to my sister’s house and looked through the window occasionally.  Why??? Because the men were crawling underneath the house to place the blocks.


My claustrophobia kicked in full power.

and, finally - here it is . . .

They still have to install the surrounding skirt but that won’t happen until the water, septic, and electricity are all hooked-up.  All things in progress.

It was pretty impressive and highly anxiety-ridden to watch but those guys know their business!  None of them were holding their breath or scrunched into a tight little ball.

As time approaches to pack things into boxes and move boxes, I’m sure you will hear many screams, laments, whines, and general – I Hate To Move! comments.  Plus, I will be selling my now house.  Anybody want to live in Wharton???

3 Jul 2020