Friday, November 11, 2022



Today is Veteran’s Day in the USA, Remembrance Day in other countries and Armistice Day is others still.  It is the day we remember, appreciate, and thank those that have been in the Armed Services.  Those that served to keep us safe.  So, today, the eleventh month, on the eleventh day, at the eleventh hour, stop for a moment to say thank you.  I’ve had many men and women in my family that have served, so my thanks and love go to all, both living and not –


Son, Mike
Son-in-Law, Greg
Nephew, Arron
Cousin, Allen

Husband, Michael
Father, Jack
Father-in-Law, Hugh
Uncle, HA
Uncle, John
Aunt, Mary Ellen
Uncle, Kenneth
Grandfather, Garnet

All the others stretching back
long through time


11 Nov 2022

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Weather and Stories


We had two whole days of Fall last week!  Cool days, chilly nights.  Actually, I think today and tomorrow we’re going to have two more.  Of course, in between, we’re back to summer.  I never think of Fall as a season for us.  I think of it more as the “Get Dressed a Minimum of Three Times During the Day Season”.  You know, very chilly in the morning so long pants, long sleeves.  Warm up by 10am, change shirt - short sleeves.  Hot by 2pm, change pants - shorts. 

We actually got rain during the wee morning hours today.  Don’t know how much – according to the rain gauge – barely any at all.  Even though the bird baths filled up, the ground was dry when I got out this morning.  Of course, could be the ground sucked every drop up.  Probably though, we didn’t get much.

And, that’s all the weather I know.

Story #1 – The Little Tree that Could

Long, long ago
in a galaxy

A number of years ago, a good friend asked me if I wanted a fig tree.  Hers had popped out a baby (a branch laying on the ground had taken root).  Well sure, I said.  Next time I’m in your part of the universe I’ll pick it up. 

Just a quick side note here – I actually don’t like figs.  They’re mushy.  But – there are a lot of people out there that do like them so I figured getting rid of any fruit would be pretty easy. 

As it happened, I was able to pick up the little tree a few days later.  I brought it home to my already tree filled yard and planted it in one of the few “sorta” sunny places left.  Gave it water, fertilizer and it did terrible.  It started growing sideways in an effort to get more sun.  Ugh.  Not good.  When it got to be about 2ft tall and almost parallel to the ground, I asked my sister if she’d be interested in a fig tree to plant on her mostly treeless property across the street.  Sure she said.  And so I dug it up and took it over to her house.  It lived in the container for a while and finally was planted.  It did not thrive and grow big.  The property over there doesn’t have much soil.  It does have heavy black clay and then a layer of gravel and then more clay.  But the plucky little fig didn’t die.  Then, one day, a decision was made to put my house on that property and during all the house prep/move, the little fig tree got run over by heavy machines and/or big feet.  My sister discovered it, broken and sad looking.  She dug it up and put it back in a container.  That winter, we had a long cold spell (the year the TX Electric Grid failed).  The little fig, in its container, got pushed aside and forgotten.  My sister discovered it frozen and possibly dead.  Then, in the spring, the little fig popped up a stem with a leaf.  It was brought back to me and I planted it close by where I could pet it and give it some attention.  So now it’s about 3ft tall.  The other day, while watering it, I saw this –

Little figs!  Now, in case you didn’t know – fig trees can produce figs early in their growth, however they have to be 3-5 years old before they’ll ripen the fruit.  And, while this one is over 5 years old, it’s had a very hard life.  Next year maybe.  Not that I’ll eat any – I don’t like figs.  The End.

One of my all-time favorite plants is a Confederate Rose, which, as it happens, is neither native to the South or a rose.  It is actually a member of the mallow family and is related to the hibiscus, cotton, okra, hollyhock and rose of Sharon.  Native to China, it is now found on all continents except Antarctica.  It was brought to England in the late 1600's and from there to the colonies.  it is said to have gained favor in the South due not only to its beauty but also for the ease of cultivation during the hard financial times after the Civil War.  The Confederate Rose is considered a large bush or a small multi-stemmed tree.  The plant roots easily from cuttings, has few pests and grows vigorously during the summer.  Once established it is drought resistant.  The blooms appear in the fall.  And, I just know you’re excited to know why it’s called a Confederate Rose. 

Story #2 – The Legend

Originally called Cotton Rose, it is said that the flower was only a brilliant white. All this changed though during the Civil War. During the war, a fatally wounded Confederate soldier fell beside a Cotton Rose plant. Sadly, it took the soldier two days to die, and as he bled the flowers of the Cotton Rose turned from white to deep pink. When he died the flowers also died. From that time on the flowers of the Cotton Rose open white and turn from pink to magenta over the course of two days before dying (all three colors of flowers are often blooming at the same time). And, thus, the Cotton Rose was renamed the Confederate Rose.

So I went out the other day to find my Confederate Rose covered in buds, one of which was open at 8am.

And, here is the same flower at 3pm

That all for today.  Take care and remember


It’s almost Halloween!


25 Oct 2022

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

News of the Day


Since we got back from the Beautiful Granddaughter’s Wedding, I haven’t done much exciting. 

And, before I get started on what I HAVE been doing, just a few things from the BGdW trip. 

Friday morning in New Braunfels, my sister and I went out for breakfast.  One of the menu offerings was – Baked Oatmeal (something I’ve never had).  Just in case you’re not familiar with Baked Oatmeal - “Baked oatmeal is where traditional oatmeal meets breakfast casserole. Oats, milk, and spices are baked into a casserole dish for breakfast that's less sad porridge, and more bread pudding.”  Well, okay.  The restaurant version was described as follows:

Rolled oats and steel cut oats combined with shredded carrot, apple, cranberry, and orange juice baked with brown sugar and egg, topped with toasted pecans and cream.

For a “bacon and eggs” girl, that’s just too many things in one bowl.  DanaBug, I thought of you when I read that.

On Saturday in NB, we all went to a Farmer’s Market just down the road a bit.  Very nice.  Not too many fruit/vegetable choices but seasonally we’re between things now.  Too late for tomatoes, too early for broccoli.  However, I did see


So, microgreens are a very young vegetable or herb seedling really.  They can be incorporated into sandwiches, wraps and salads.  Or, blended into smoothies or juiced (and that just sounds terrible).  And, used as a garnish on pizza, soup, omelets and other warm dishes.  Interesting.

Locally grown mushrooms.  And all sorts of mushrooms.

One young gardener had plants for sale.  These are planted in soil wrapped up in a sheet of sphagnum moss rather that in some type of container.  Most of the plants displayed were “house” type plants and not meant to be planted in the garden.  Very cute though I wondered about watering them.  The Blooming Basket

In the Weeds is a very cool place that creates all natural, organic, holistic, chemical-free products including face creams, lotion sticks, soaps, candles, firestarters, and these, …

smudge sticks.  This is the one I bought – Soulshine.  It’s made with sage, dried calendula flowers, a dried orange slice, a cinnamon stick, and a piece of orange calcite hand-tied with a hand-dyed, recycled sari silk.  I haven’t burned it and may not - right now it is resting on my small alter. 

And, the final booth that caught my attention was

The Planetarium
, Handprinted Textiles.  All items have botanical inspired designs.  Very cute tea towels, t-shirts, totes.

So, back to “haven’t done much lately ……. Not to say I’ve just been sitting around because - - - no, I haven’t.  Thank all the gods, it’s finally cooling down just a bit with mornings in the upper 60’s and not much over 90 by midafternoon.  Ahhhh – Fall in the Gulf Coast Plains. 

Now is the time to transplant many things.  And, so far, I’ve dug up and transplanted several crinum

across the front of the house.  Still have several more to plant.  They can eventually get really big and wide and bloom throughout the summer. 

I also planted more trees – a sycamore, a loquat, and a bay tree (am working on having my very own forest).  Transplanted the lavender.  Cleaned up the herb garden (am fixin’ to pull up the basil as it has gone to seed in a big way).  I moved the big zigzag cactus and night-blooming cereus outside.  They’ve gotten too big for the porch.  So, I positioned them in the only shady-ish, protected place I have and told them – on your own now baby.  And, finally, this past Sunday, I truly hurt myself.  I planted my pony tail palm in the ground. 

Like this but a whole lot bigger.

It had outgrown the 10gal pot it was in, gotten 6’ tall and has a very large bulb.  No way I could put it in a larger container and move it anywhere.  So into the ground it was to go.  I chose a spot close to the house and the back porch (sunny and protected, while it could survive a freeze, it's on the north side with open ground around it - hopefully it won't freeze. - assuming it's actually going to be winter here), prepared the area, dug the hole, and broke the pot it was in.  And tried to lift it into the new place.  That’s when I hurt myself.  Now I can lift and carry 40 lbs easily enough.  I can lift 50 lbs.  I’m thinking that plant weighted in the neighborhood of 214 lbs.  Okay, maybe not 214 lbs but way more than the 50 lbs I can lift.  Still – determination, orneriness, perseverance, and general stubbornness got it into the hole and then ------- my back went CRACK! and I had to lay down in the dirt for a few minutes.  Then, got up and got the damn thing planted and came inside. 

Okay, a few fun facts –

Oddly enough, it’s not a palm or a tree but is a member of the Agave family and is considered a succulent. 
It is nicknamed “elephant’s foot” and it stores water in its trunk.
It has thin leaves that are 6ft long and only 1 inch wide. They emerge in a fountain-like fashion, curling downward.
A mature Ponytail Palm (10 years +) produces creamy-white flowers in spring or summer.  okay, I am going to work on getting it to flower because it’s over 10 yrs

It can get up to and over 10 ft tall and 5-10 ft wide.  Okay, getting tall is not a problem.  10 feet wide could be a problem.  

I was going to share some of the things blooming in my yard but this has already gotten long so pictures of pretty blooming things will have to wait until later.

English spelling is easy. We all no that as this poem demonstrates.

Eye have a spelling chequer, it came with my pea sea,
It plainly marks, for my revue, mist aches I cannot sea.
Each time when eye have struck the quays I weight four it to say
If wot eye rote is wrong or rite. It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid it knows be four two late
And I can put the error rite. I really find it grate.
I’ve run this poem threw it, I’m sure you’re policed to no
It’s letter perfect in its weigh


11 Oct 2022


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Beautiful … Beautiful …


The bride was beau ….. hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Granddaughter #1 got married this past Friday!!!!

My older daughter, Denise, came in (from NM) for the wedding and then last Thursday late afternoon, she, my sister, and I drove to New Braunfels. 

New Braunfels is just north of San Antonio and is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the state.  It was established in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Commissioner General of the Mainzer Adelsverein or the Noblemen's Society.  Prince Carl named the settlement in honor of his home of Solms-Braunfels, Germany.  Located in the Texas Hill Country, it is still known for its German Texan heritage.  There are two rivers that run through New Braunfels – the Comal and the Guadalupe.  The combination of rivers, German architecture and food, and beautiful scenery make tourism a big business there. 


The last time I was there, it was a small town – emphasis on small.  Now it’s a good size city with a population of 90,000.

We arrived early evening to the AirB&B.

It’s very nice.  And, we had some surprise visitors in the early morning hours – pretty cool considering we were right downtown!

We stayed on the second floor which consisted of two good size bedrooms, one bathroom and a small living room, dining room and kitchen.  We got the car unpacked and everything up the stairs.  Now, Vicky had some specific thoughts on what she wanted in regard to her wedding cake.  Not the traditional multitiered cake but instead she wanted a small cake (for the obligatory cake cutting photos) and cupcakes.  Lemon and Strawberry cupcakes.  Her mother (my youngest daughter) made the lemon and I made the strawberry.  So, in addition to suitcases we also hauled up the stairs a large cooler holding 40+ cupcakes, strawberry icing, and extra strawberries.  My goal for Thursday night – get those cupcakes frosted and into the travel boxes. 

Okay, I had brought cake decorating tips/bags and thought we’d use those to end up with fancy frosted cupcakes.

Uhmmmmm – no.  That didn’t happen.  First of all, the B&B was very warm when we arrived and then the icing got soft very quickly and none of us had any experience with using the decorator tips and we finally just iced them and put a strawberry on top.

Here they are – all ready to go to the reception venue.  Friday morning Ellen and I took the cupcakes and dropped them off.  And, since there was a little time, we did a bit of shop looking.  We had both seen a shop we wanted to visit. 

 It was filled with Talavera pottery so we stopped for a look-see.  And, the place was huge with shelves stacked high with pottery.  It was like walking around in a maze.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t see everything.  No purchases but a lot of hard thinking.

The wedding was to start at 3:00 Friday afternoon and we were supposed to be there around 2pm for photos.  As it happened, people were running late so the big family photos never happened but that gave me a few minutes to take a quick couple of pics.

The gazebo for the actual ceremony.

The reception venue.

Her way to remember her grandfather and make sure he was there too. 
One of his hats and a photo on the bride/groom table.

Daughter Denise and I.

The Beautiful Bride.

At 3pm, the music started, everyone stood up, and Vicky walked down the isle on her father’s arm.  Then the officiant stepped forward and said …..

“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us together today.”

And, if you’re not a Princess Bride fan, you may not get the reference.  Vicky is a Princess Bride fan!  Past the opening line, the ceremony continued normally.

Beautiful, wonderful, lovely and beautiful.

Just a few reception pictures –

Vicky and Josh and Me

Youngest daughter and Mother of the Bride dancing with the new son-in-law.

There’s more to the trip but this is long enough already so I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.


4 Oct 2022

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Wednesday, September 14, 2022



The Hummers are passing through.

In the early spring and early fall, we start seeing more hummingbirds as they migrate to or from Mexico and Central America. Right now, we are seeing more as they begin to move toward the coast in preparation for the 500-mile trip across the gulf or down through Mexico.  However they go, these small birds can make the journey in less than a day.  Pretty impressive.

So, when I noticed more hummers in the yard, I set out the feeder.  Right now, I have one (possibly the same one each time) that is feeding from the multiple bird feeder throughout the day.  There are several others that try approaching the feeder, however that pushy little bird keeps chasing off any others that are interested in stopping by for a meal.

Now, (several days after I started this), it seems the original bird has either moved on or accepted that other birds can feed and there will still be plenty for all.  I look out currently to see 4 or 5 little hummers sitting at the feeder for breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon and so on. 

So, just in case you ever needed to know –

A hummingbird’s brilliant color is not caused by feather pigmentation, but rather by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers. Light level, moisture, angle of viewing, wear and tear, and other factors all influence just how bright and colorful the bird may appear.

Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched. These birds have evolved smaller feet to be lighter for more efficient flying.

Hummingbirds have over 900 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird species in the world. Not only do they not need as many feathers because of their tiny size, but fewer feathers also keep them more lightweight for easier flight.

An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute. In comparison, a human's average heart rate is only 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest.

Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but have very keen eyesight.

Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. Their eggs measure less than 1/2 inch long but may represent as much as 10 percent of the mother’s weight at the time the eggs are laid. A hummingbird egg is smaller than a jelly bean!

This year at our garden club’s plant sale, I bought two Rose of Sharon seedlings.  And, promptly planted them in the ground, side by side, somewhat intertwined (I wanted them to think they were one plant).  Both have done very well and this fall they’ve bloomed.  Both were supposed to be white and I was expecting them to look like this

However, this is what I got -

Fine, I like purple.

And, this

I’ve never seen a white one quite like this.

Rose of Sharon or Althea grows very well here.  It likes our summers and winters.  They attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.  The leaves are edible as are the flowers.  The plant is being studied for its ability to lower blood pressure and it contains vitamin C and other antioxidants. 

We’re still having summer though the temperatures have dropped to the low 90’s and this morning at dark-thirty it was 68° outside.  That’s like kind of coolish (for us anyway).


14 Sep 2022

Monday, September 5, 2022

Today and Yesterdays


Today I swallowed a bug.

I know, sounds like something from Shel Silverstein or Simms Taback.

I’ve spent the past several weeks doing a coupla three hours out in the yard on days with no rain.  My goal has been to:

Weed places I’ve completely ignored for the past 3 months.
Start putting into the ground, plants I do not intend to winter-over.
Move a few things from one place to another.

And while the temperatures haven’t been abysmal, I have gotten outside by 730am and back in by 10am, hot, sweaty, and very tired.  We’re lucky (sort of) here as we have a very long growing season (like from February to November).  The good thing about it is that I can plant things in the fall and not worry they’ll freeze in six weeks.  Of course, the bad thing is that we have six months of very hot summer.  

Today I decided to weed my herb garden. 

Because I tend to ignore my #1 piece of advice to gardeners (know how big your plant will be when fully grown and plan accordingly), I tend to think

Yes, I’ve planted 9 herbs, all of which will be 2-3 ft tall and wide when fully grown.  But, but, but – lookie there – an empty space or two and I can squeeze one (three) more plants in there and there and there.

This past spring, I thought that same thing and planted sunflower seeds.  All of which came up.  All of which were big and T A L L.  All of which, while beautiful in April, May, and June, died in the mid-July heat and drought leaving some very big stalks I couldn’t pull up.  Today, after spending some time working on one of the stalks (push, pull, push, pull – getting looser!) took a deep breath in preparation to pull up that stalk and …… I swallowed a bug.


Last time I wrote, (yes, I know, a while back), I mentioned the August Earth Lab – Ikebana, The Art of Japanese Flower Arranging.  It was a huge success.  We had a large group of people and everyone worked on a flower arrangement and seemed to have a very enjoyable time.  Yay!

Coming up sooner that I thought is the next Earth Lab.  The working title has been


A little wordy but I’m working on that.  Oh – yes, it’s my program.  I plan to talk about how best to preserve, use, and protect the herbs grown.  With the holidays coming up, suggest some unique homemade gift ideas.  Plus, make some suggestions as to herbs that can be planted now and have a good chance of surviving whatever winter we have provided it doesn’t look like this.

Originally my program was supposed to take place in October but we had to do a switch.  And, then I promptly didn’t think about it until last week. 

Working under pressure –
the right way to get things done! 

For the most part, it’s done.  Just a few more tweaks.

I hope you noticed in the third sentence above “days with no rain”.  Yes!  After months and months of 100+° temperatures and serious drought conditions, we started getting some rain. 

I don’t like to boast but I may have helped by dancing around the house with my rain stick.

Or, possibly whoever controls the rain taps finally got the plumber out to fix the problem. 

Or the universe finally took pity on us here and allowed the rain to come back. 

Whatever it was – THANK YOU!

Guess I’ve probably bored you long enough.

5 Sep 2022