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