Friday, February 25, 2022

Observations again


The world has gone insane.  I’ve suspected it for a while now and the current events have convinced me that it’s true.

Today while reading several news stories and then blogs I follow, I was struck by the realization that I must be old now.  I say that because … I remember.   I remember The Bay of Pigs and my parents telling us what we were to do if war happened.  I remember that in high school we didn’t have fire drills, we had nuclear bomb drills.  The drill consisted of climbing under a desk or lining up next to the wall of lockers; kneeling down; covering eyes with one arm and back of neck with the other.  I remember the Cold War and the fears of impending doom.  I don’t think anyone out there with power or money remembers those things.  Because if they did, the world wouldn’t be running so fast toward crazy. 

I think it must be time for the Vulcan’s to stop by for a visit now.  To show earthlings that they are not alone in the universe and therefore need to stop warring between ourselves.  That there are more important things out there than money and power.  Okay – I’m a Star Trek fan but . . . . it could happen.

On another note – somebody needs to give Mother Nature a big glass of wine.  Honest to god, Tuesday it was 80 degrees and sunny.  Wednesday – the high temp of 42 degrees was reached at 7am and then it started going down to the 30’s.  Thursday and today haven’t been any better though I think we’re going to reach a balmy 47 – maybe.  Overcast, drizzily, cold and windy.  Ugh! 

I blame the Trail Riders for this nasty spat of cold.  What?  You are unfamiliar with the trail rider deal?? 

Well here, for some unknown reason, when the Rodeo and Fat Stock Show is coming to Houston, wantabe cowboys saddle up their horses, pull the Conestoga out of the three car garage, don their western wear and head toward Houston.  Some Trail Riders travel over 200 miles (on horseback, camping out at night, cooking over the fire, etc - on purpose) to participate in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Downtown Rodeo Parade.  And it is ALWAYS cold, wet, and windy. 

The parade is tomorrow.  Hopefully it is going to clear up by Sunday.

Speaking of Tuesday, I put 10 more bags of soil into my future herb garden.  Think another 5 or 6 will top it off.  My yard was, at least 3 days, ago filled with wild flowers (okay – with weeds but they look very wild flowery).


10 Petal Anemone


However, currently my gardening clock has stopped with the weather.  It will start again though – next week I hope.

Today I walked outside and watched as a vulture flew over the yard toward a tree behind my sister’s shop.  Must have been 8 or 9 of them up there.  Honestly, I think I’m watching too many murder mystery shows.  My first thought was – ohhhhhhh a body over there somewhere.

And just in case you didn’t know and feel some general information is useful, here in Texas there are two types of vultures – Black and Turkey vultures.   

Vultures have relatively bare heads and often bare necks so that when they feed on rotting carcasses, bacteria and other parasites cannot burrow into thick feathers to cause infections.

New World vultures lack a syrinx (voicebox) and are nearly silent. They do not have songs, and their typical vocalizations are limited to grunts, hisses, and bill clacks.

Vultures are carnivorous and eat carrion almost exclusively. They prefer fresh meat but can consume carcasses that may have rotted so much that the meat can be toxic to other animals. This gives vultures a unique and important ecological role because they help prevent the spread of diseases from rotting corpses.

Vultures have excellent senses of sight and smell to help them locate food, and they can find a dead animal from a mile or more away.

Vultures are relatively social and often feed, fly, or roost in large flocks. A group of vultures is called a committee, venue, or volt. In flight, a flock of vultures is a kettle, and when the birds are feeding together at a carcass, the group is called a wake.

You never know when this stuff might come in handy during a conversation.

Well, guess I’m done right now.   Everyone think positive, loving thoughts!


25 Feb 2022

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Today – maybe some yesterday too


A Truth

Spring has started it seductive call – happens every February.  My gardener self says – Now Now Now – it’s time to get gardening NOW!  However, my sensible self says – are you kidding??? It’s still February!!! 

I have started working on the one really, truly flowerbed I’ve planned to have at this new house.  It’s a raised bed primarily because the ground here is 88% black clay.  I prepared the area, killed off the grass and weeds (at least temporarily).  Saturday, I crawled around on hands and knees putting down cardboard (helps with weed control and will mulch down eventually).  Last year I was fortunate enough to be given a slew of cement blocks which I picked up and stacked behind my house over several weeks.  Then, Monday and Tuesday morning, I carried them around to the front – all FORTY-ONE - and then carried over eight 40 lb bags of soil and/or compost to start filling it. 

I’m planning only one because – I really hate to pull weeds when the temperature outside is 98° with 98% humidity (that’s likely to start in May, possibly April).  It’s going to hold herbs, maybe some edible flowers.  Possibly a vegetable or two.  But I’m leaning more toward planting perennials rather than annuals as it is the front of the house and the annuals --- well will live a year and die.

Then my back started screaming hysterically so Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday I sat on my derriere, semi-reclined (sitting hurts as does laying down flat) and watched TV, worked on my newest embroidery piece, or read my book. 

Today I thought I’d get back to the store and buy another 10 bags of dirt and continue filling the bed.  However, first thing this morning I moved the sansevieria that’s been living in my bedroom out to the screened porch. 

Sansevieria make excellent house plants as they need minimum light and water.  They’re excellent air purifiers.  They release oxygen at night giving a sleeper a little extra boost.  They remove toxins from the air including formaldehyde and benzene.  Also, they give a sense of contentment, thereby helping with depression.  As it releases oxygen in large amounts, it improves the mood and energy of everyone in the room.  The sword-like leaves are said to resemble strength during tough times and  bring wealth, fortune, and good luck to its owner.
  You never know what works!

Anyway, when I picked up the plant, my back gave a shriek and reminded me it’s not ready for more hard labor.  Maybe I’ll go to the store on Saturday.

This is National Nest Box Week

February 14 marks the start of National Nest Box Week. The first mention of Valentine’s Day as a romantic celebration was Chaucer's 14th Century poem The Parliament of Fowls, where he imagined it to be a day when birds gather to choose their mates under the supervision of nature. So mid-February is the ideal time to start looking out for nesting birds.

I have a few bird houses which I have cleaned out and rehung. 

Finally, today is It’s My Way Day!

Today is the official day to do everything your way. Sleep in late, eat whatever you want, and take as long as you like in the shower. The world revolves around you for the next twenty-four hours, so make sure that no one else influences your decisions. Do everything simply because you want to do it (just make sure it's legal first). Many notable events have taken place on February 17. In 1867, the first ship passed through the Suez Canal. In 1933, Newsweek Magazine published its first issue. In 1996, a NASA spacecraft orbited and landed on an asteroid for the first time. All of these historical moments took place because someone had a brilliant idea and followed through with it, their way. So don't be afraid to express your ideas today, stand up for what you believe in, and do everything your own way!

I’m going back to the sofa and resume sitting, watching, sewing, and reading in order to appease my back which is reminding me right now it does not like sitting in front of the computer.  Maybe I'll have some chocolate chip cookies too.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had these everywhere!

17 Feb 2022


Saturday, February 5, 2022

Mornings – Afternoons


Every morning I try to spend some time reading various news pieces on the computer in order to keep up with the world in general. 

GOP declares Jan 6 attack legitimate – just political discourse

Really?  To me it looked more like this

Rather than this

Pence says Trump wrong to say then vice president had
the right to overturn 2020 election

Very true – and the article concluded with too little, too late.

Texas weather is back to normal.  Yesterday the high temperature at my house was 34 degrees; low – 26.  Today the high is a sunny 50 degrees with a low of 29 (ok, that’s still pretty chilly).  Tomorrow??? Tomorrow it’s going to be a balmy 58 with a low of 40.  Weird – we have weird weather here. 

However, in middle earth –

You gotta love people that live in the frozen middle lands!

Since I have been house-bound for the past several days (cold, it was cold and rainy and cold and icy and cold), I’ve had more time to read.  I’ve recently read three books by Linda Castillo – her Kate Burkholder series.

“Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police in the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio where the Amish and “English” residents have lived side by side for two centuries. Sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community and Kate, then a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer. She came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish. Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate must seek out the truth in a society of silence—while facing some secrets of her own.”

There are a number of the Kate Burkholder books and novellas in this series.  And, so far, I have to say they are all good, well written mysteries (I’ve read about 6 of them so far).  There is some relationship progression but it doesn’t (at least to me) affect the story. 

Outsider, #12
Down a Dark Road, #9
Breaking Silence, #3

They’re all very good, but I’ll just do the “review” on the last one – “Breaking Silence”.

“The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish? Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.”

It's a little surprising to learn who the murder is only because of the “Idyllic Amish community” projected throughout her books.  Good, very good!

Also I’ve spent more time surfing the television (house-bound and all).  I looked for something even moderately good to watch.  And, I found this on Netflix.  Stay Close, a British mystery drama miniseries based on the 2012 Harlan Coben novel.  There are only eight episodes – which as suspenseful as this has turned out, is probably good.  Not sure my heart or mind could take much more.  I did “power watch” episodes 1-4.  Then had to tone down to one or two per day. 

Megan Pierce is a suburban mum living in the suburb of Livingston, hiding a murky past. She has found her soulmate in Dave and they have three children, all living the dream. Ray Levine was once a talented documentary photographer. Losing the woman he loved changed him. Now he is in a dead-end job, playing a paparazzo-for-hire, pandering to rich kid pseudo-celebrities. Michael Broome is a detective still haunted by a cold case from seventeen years ago. A local husband and father, Stewart Green, disappeared without any trace. Green's wife still waits for Stewart to return.  When another man goes missing on the anniversary of Stewart’s disappearance, Broome takes the case in the hope of exorcising his demons. Three people whose lives are about to be splintered, as Broome’s investigations open old wounds, stir up past memories and threaten to expose the truth for everyone to see. Weaving their way through the spaces of what binds these three lives together are a couple of colourful psychopaths, intent on completing their own agenda

So far, it’s very good.  I still have a couple of episodes to go – will let you know.

With the sun out and it warming up so much, my sister and I ventured out to a “last day” estate sale (nothing of great interest left), our local resale shop (nada there either) and a new store downtown (closed).  Then home again home.

Have a good weekend all!

5 Jan 2022

Oh – one other thing –


Thursday, February 3, 2022



Hey!  Could somebody north of Dallas please check – I think you left the damn door open and the cold is coming in down here!!

This morning at 6am, we reached our high temperature.  A chilly and wet 37 degrees and, now at 9am, the temps are dropping.  Ugh

I spent a good part of yesterday covering plants and moving everything off the back porch and into the house or shed (the shed – I can heat sort of).  Checked on and wrapped up my plumerias which are hibernating in my sister’s shop building (no way to heat that area) and took cuttings, juuussst in case. 

We are scheduled to have several days (okay, 3 days) of 20 degrees.  Not as bad as last February when the electric grid failed, but cold enough. 

Oh, in addition to closing the door coulda please talk to whoever is controlling the thermostat up there – they might need to 1. Pay better attention or 2. Get the repair guy out.


3 Feb 2022