Her day of reckoning looms

•August 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

within the garden

 

it’s time for Fall planting.  The time of year where a Southerner asks, “Do I dare bother?” With a drought and triple digit temps, we gardeners tease ourselves.  Seed packets are scattered before us as we attempt to recall the hope of lushness yet to be realized. Suddenly a hot breeze blows, the sun beats us back into reality.  We retreat, back into the air conditioned confines of our human habitat to take refuge, and with given time, we’ll get around to doing what it is that needs doing.  And just as we are prepared, word comes that mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus have been discovered down at the local fire station, just four blocks from the house.

Bug spray has been my perfume of choice this summer.  A necessity, these days.  I’ve personally known two people that have caught this horrible virus.  Both were hospitalized for months, and suffered debilitating consequences.  Each worked tirelessly to resume their normal lifestyle.

Today is “Debbie Downer Day.”  I traveled out into the backyard to snap a few photo’s, and thus remembered that it’s been weeks since I promised we’d revisit the ‘contest’… and I promise we will. Let me give you a glimpse of what it will be based upon:

 

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Just as I was thinking this item had finally “bit the dust,” with it’s curling brown and yellow leaves, I discovered that this sucker is actually regenerating new leaves.  Remember when I discovered that she is an invasive species and can wreak havoc upon cotton crops? Thankfully I can report that my neighbors cotton crop is handsomely doing well.  Thriving in fact, but I’m afraid that won’t be the case if these pods burst forth with their numerous seeds, become scattered by wind and take up residency on the other side of the stockade fence.

Here’s my game plan:  After I write this, I’m going outside and place a large plastic bag over it’s head.  Maybe, better yet, I’ll place a large trash receptacle over her head, anchor it down and suffer this girl to the heat of Hades for a week or so.  I’ll place heavy rocks atop the barrel to insure that item stays in place!

Normally I’m tame.  But today is no normal day.  I decided that when I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  I tried coffee, music, and watering the beautiful flowers that still bring hope that Hades hasn’t won this round.  West Nile virus, a drought and water restrictions just think they have me beat!  As I type, I am suddenly feeling better. I’m banishing the blues to that trash can.  Talking always helps me feel better. Thanks for listening.  I am no longer, “Debbie”… I’m back to being Grounded.  ;)  Here, let me leave you with a treat.  I think everyone deserves a bit of loveliness in their day.

 

This is for you

 

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And so is this

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Life is a journey, not a destination…

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Birthday, Mips!

•August 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

 

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Today is M2’s birthday.

 

I can’t believe it was 24 years ago that I was welcoming our miracle baby into the world. And a true miracle she was!  In the midst of being treated for a brain tumor I was warned that my chances of giving birth to a second child was slim, to none.  This news was beyond devastating.  Each time a friend and neighbor announced an upcoming birth, I wavered back and forth between extreme happiness for their family, while suffering deep sadness for ours.

When I learned I was pregnant, it was a time of wonder, surprise, but also one of great trepidation.  Medications I was taking to suppress tumor growth were stopped, but worry entered into the picture.  Not for myself, but for the health of my unborn.  Test after test were administered, genetic counseling was one of them, after an amniocentesis was performed.

I threw myself into planning her nursery, refusing to accept that there might be complications and health concerns for either of us.  My oldest daughter brought me peace of mind.  I would look at her and think to myself, “What a beautiful gift!”  I concentrated on the awesomeness of her specialness and refused to go into a negative mode.  Together we recreated “her nursery” in blue and white gingham.  (I knew M1 was a boy from the day I learned I was pregnant.  No one could sway me into thinking of pink gingham, or any other alternative color scheme.)  With M2, we were informed of the baby’s gender during the genetic testing and counseling period.  The doctor’s wanted to prepare us for any possible challenges, and even though that was twenty-four years ago, I was amazed at what was known and how little public information was available without the access of the medical community.  Our family never lost hope.

So, today when I think of a 24th birthday, and I celebrate with M2’s favorite sweets, I give thanks.  Our family is truly blessed.  Miracles do happen.  Never give up on Hope.  :)

 

Happy Birthday, Mallory!

 

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Flaming Candles, 2BuckChuck!

•August 15, 2014 • 2 Comments
The above lovely ladies are his favorite people.  He won't tell you that, but 
leave it to a group of sisters to embarrass a single male in the midst of raging
female hormones.  He's not sure how he survived the shame of being the only boy
in a group of five women, but we are thankful he hung in there with us.  He's our
hero.      


(WARNING: this post contains content not appropriate for anyone under age
21 or anyone that can read.  I'm guilty of pranking my beloved brother.  
Join with me, but don't stand too close to the cake.  This fella's turning 
65.  I'd like to have my upper lip waxed, but these eyebrows are already 
a bit sparse.  If he goes hurricane force on blowing out the candles we're
all in trouble!)

.....

Burp!

 

‘cuse me, I’m typing a birthday wish to my brother, formerly referred to as, Bubba Joe-Fred.

He recently informed me that he’d like a nickname change.  Awe shucks, why not oblige

him?   I’m blessed with four sister’s and just this single bub, so what the heck!  Let’s go rogue

on him and give him the gift that pleases.  He wants to be renamed 2BuckChuck.  Thinks it fits

A bit better than that Bubba Joe item.  Must be something to do with his Wyoming birth roots.

Or perhaps those early days of manhood where ‘wining and dining’ the ladies meant a burger

from the hamburger joint, and a bottle of cheaply, and pungently ‘perfumed’ vino, confiscated

or ‘conveniently’ delivered at said location by a rendezvous resource(s).  Memories either fade or

take on a whole new dimension of “reality” when we are in the speed-cycle of life.  Let’s help

build this tall tale into high fashion by high noon!

So join in this festive celebration and grab a brewsky.  Help Hannah and I sing a few bars of

what has now become his favored song, cuz let’s face it, if this is the SIXTY-FIFTH time he’s

heard it, it becomes sweeter each year you return to hear it!  ;)

 

(Please note that Hannah is ready for a sea rescue.   I’m over here saluting, Congratulaions Mr. C.R.W., Retired USN Master Chief, “2BuckChuck”.)

 

 

Happy Birthday 2BuckChuck!

 

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A reason for all things…

•June 22, 2014 • 15 Comments

P1170326   When you have fourteen separate personalities* you are allowed to follow any fork in the road you wish. I’ve chosen to do that today.  Some of  ‘us’ may take a road of solidarity, others, while holding hands, will chorus in unison.  And still, there will be one or two of us that simply decides we’d prefer to remain anonymous, hidden and unobtrusive. Allow us, if you will, to invite you along.  We’re harmless, but intentional.  We’d like you to enjoy our journey and consider it a part of yours, as well.

CONTEST  (rules to follow)*

What is this? Be the first one to correctly identify this plant and you will receive a box of chocolate chip cookies, homemade  (if you’ve brave enough, and if not, a $25.00 gift certificate to enjoy…I get to surprise you, and yes, I promise it will be legitimate and will contain a receipt of authenticity…legit value, fully redeemable).  Okay kids, put those thinking caps on and let’s rip open this mystery.  It has intrigued me since it’s birth in my garden a few weeks ago.  This week it decided to ramp its energy and mystify me even more.  The plant produces both flowers and seed pods, and since I’m a rocket scientist and not a biologist, does it do so: once by bloom and followed by pod, or as an asexual derivative?  (Yeah, like I really know what I’m talking about.  I really, truthfully, only understand dark matter.)  Forgive me for pretending I understand, Botany. Growth began in what I thought was the sunflower patch.  Fair enough.  There’s room.  Besides, over to the left, a few feet away, a climbing squash? cucumber? cantaloupe? took up residency. That’s fine.  No worries.  Sunflowers?  I think they took journey upon the breeze and are nicely adjusting to the trade winds.  Hopefully they are enjoying Tahiti, Bali, Bora Bora and the likes of beauty they deserve.  My only concern:  Why was I left behind?  I own 14 suitcases! You’d sure like to see some pictures now, wouldn’t you?  Settle down or I’ll eat half of the cookies, or reduce your gift certificate to a whopping $12.50.

Now, let us go bravely into the land of my ignorance

shall we?

Yes, yes we shall.

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I don’t sleep walk with my flashlight, and that’s a dog-gone shame!  I might have discovered the nightly habits of this sweet, mysterious lady/gent.  I have pulled three of the dark pods off to examine them, but must admit that I do not know if they have a function beyond offering seeds, and hopefully said seeds are non-poisonous to my sweet friends that might dine upon them.  Might I also note.  I planted these within that sunflower patch I had hoped to establish, using a packet of seeds purchased while visiting Northern California.  (AND NO, I DID NOT PURCHASE MARIJUANA SEEDS!  I have fourteen personalities.  I’m not trying for a world record of the unknown magnitude.  Geez!  Anyone thinking that should automatically withdraw from the contest immediately.  YOU ARE OFFICIALLY DISQUALIFIED.  My birth-state is Colorado, BUT I reside in Texas!)  My seed pack purchase was for something labeled, Organic Skyscraper Sunflowers.  Growth habit of up to 15 feet.  That height factor REALLY caught my attention!  I knew Jack lived in that beanstalk, and I was hoping Jill resided in the sunflower, and that the two of them would become lovers, thus choosing to marry.  I could hold their wedding, or at least beg them to allow me the honor of their reception.

So there you have it.

And here are my rules.

Everyone shall abide by them:

Never assume you know something that you don’t.  Be proud to ask for assistance.  Ignore your shame and realize that you are actually allowing others to gift you.  It’s like when the teacher asked for a show of hands and you sunk into your seat for fear of not knowing the answer.  You tried to appear inconspicuous.  God only help you if you proved you were stupid.  Got news for you kids, “I’ve never met a stupid person and neither have you!” All of us have found ourselves among the ignorant, and that’s a blessing.  For each and everyone of us has also been, and will be, from time-to-time, ignorant.  We are blessed, not cursed.  Now give yourself a pat on the back for being human.  Also, I refer to having 14 separate personalities, actually that is a misnomer.  *I have a mental illness, but it’s always been defined under, “Clinical Depression” and was done so, I suspect, because of how medical insurance was once limited by it’s coverages for specific forms of such conditions.

Absolutely NO SPAMMING IS ALLOWED!  I won’t track you down and ‘get cha’, but I know who will and they can, and will, legally do so!  Rules of the Internet, obey them and abide by them, or suffer the consequence(s).

One winner only.  I’m far from wealthy.  Heck, aren’t we all!  At least 99 per cent of us are, anyway.  And, if you’re in that top one percent.  I congratulate you, and encourage you to play along with us.  If you win, would you mind accepting the gift certificate and offering it to someone in need?  Maybe match it, tenfold?  Thank you.  All 99% of us, “Thank you” and I’m sure the majority of us really do hope that YOU win.  :)

Cookies, if you chose to have cookies as your prize, I will mail them to you within the week of your winning.  They will be shipped, Priority Mail, United States Postal Service.  Let me know if you are allergic to any nut product.  My kitchen is NOT a NUT FREE ZONE, and no! It has nothing to do with my friends dancing in my head.  Can I offer, Kosher?  I’m sorry, I cannot.  I eat meat, especially beef, pork, and would not and will not lie to you.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to offer this contest to participates outside of the United States due to the prohibitive nature of shipping expenses and my ignorance on restrictions on mail codes outside of the U.S., HOWEVER, there is one exception:  All United States ARMED FORCES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR ENTRY if they can submit, privately, a military address.

Does this read like a book?  Of course it does.  If I condensed anything the other thirteen girls would be offended.  We all have things to say.  Now you have places to go.  Shoo-fly, shoo!

Please allow me to introduce our winner

…I erroneously named Mrs. Hoberg, until I was ‘reminded’ that the real winner was, in fact, her daughter.

 Meet Miss Zulu Hoberg

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Yes, I understand that a few of you may question the validity of this contest and that my family may have had an unfair advantage.  That just ain’t fair!  No way, no how, AND, we have to make this fair, or I won’t be able to sleep with myself.  Yes, the other thirteen girls will steal my covers and ban me into the spare bedroom.  I am frightened by things that go bump-in-the-night and am needy for the comfort of my others.  So…tomorrow, after the dental appointment and a prior commitment, I will work on a new contest.  Sorry, none of my relatives will be allowed to participate, including all 14 of me, and the others listed within four sisters’ and my brother’s known genealogy,   I promise I didn’t rig this thing today, but then I got to thinking (a rare thing, I know), and decided there was no difference between a grocery store contest give-away (where employees are not allowed to participate, nor their family members).  How was it proper for me to ‘create’ a set of rules that could not be governed openly and honestly?  Oh dang, here I go again, writing a book and loosing you to the t.v. set, the smartphone, etc.  Stay tuned and keep contemplating: Cookies?  Gift Certificate?

(In fairness to the dog, she DOES receive cookies.  Organic, dog-friendly, and made by me.)

I win twice. :)

Memorial Day, 2014

•May 26, 2014 • 2 Comments

 

Red, White and Blue

 

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Stars and Stripes, too

 

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They fly freely

 

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Because of you

 

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Dedicated to all that have given their lives for our freedom.

Gone, but never forgotten.

*The above photo’s were taken from a Southlake, Texas, business.  These flags are dedicated to each person lost on September 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center bombings.  Each Memorial Day, without fail, there  is a flag placed and flown to honor them.  They too, are fallen soldiers, and will never be forgotten.

Thank you, Mr. Claffey.

The down and dirty…

•May 17, 2014 • 3 Comments

 

This is a story about love.

 

True, pure, and sincere.  Nothing rivals this for me.  It’s a gift.  All of it.  It doesn’t belong to me, but to Him.  It began years ago, digging in the rich red sand soil of Northern Oklahoma.  No children, hubby and I would come from work and toss work clothes aside for yard attire.  We’d work, but it never felt like work.  It felt like a release, a way to put the day behind us and to see the progress of seed packets, rainfall, good dirt, a sprinkling of hose water now and then.

FIrst it was chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, as we strived to create our wonderland.  And somewhere, along the way, we learned about organic gardening.  We threw ourselves into reading all we could.  The journey had begun.  We would find some summers a true battle, plucking tomato worms and tossing them to their death by drowning within water buckets we carried as we scoured the plants.  Squash bugs gave us quite a run for our money, too.  Once they hit one plant, I’d pull up the entire plant and discard it into the trash bin in hopes of keeping ahead of their onslaught.  I recall losing all my zucchini and crooked neck squash one year, only to be blessed with a massive amount of Peter Pan’s and Blue Hubbard’s squash.

We taught ourselves, over time, to develop our beloved compost pile.  We treasured it and treated it as a poster child for all things, wonderful.  I’ll never forget the early frosty morning I looked out the kitchen bay window and announced to hubby, “Look, is that steam coming off of the compost?”

We jumped from our seats and ran wildly into the garden.  I rather doubt we even thought about a major fire fight damaging our house and the rest of the neighborhood.  We had read about this!  We were witnessing smoke and fire with overwhelming joy.   A compost pile so active it was producing gases that would give promise to a wonderful free fertilizer and soil conditioner come Spring planting.  We also took to turning the pile, fully, each day, being sure to get the most out of our goodies, and to insure the pile didn’t ignite into a fully flaming inferno.

…..

We live in North Texas these days.

 

We still compost, but we are not fortunate to have a free space sitting openly that can benefit from full sun for the better part of the day.  We’ve had to shift our strategies, but that has not hindered nor discouraged our ongoing obsession.  Have a look at a few of our options:

Old wood log storage, used for wood burning fireplaces.

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Notice the green trash cans?  Those are used during the winter when there is an over abundance of waste from trees shedding leaves.  The bit of red you see leaning inside the frame?  My beloved pitch fork used to turn my pile.

…..

Here’s my new invention.  I read about it last year.  Wish I could recall where, because I would love to compliment and give credit where credit is due:

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I came across a group of men installing a new landscape bed.  They had a massive amount of these black plant pots they were just tossing into the back of their truck.  I asked if I could purchase a few.  They refused my offer and told me to help myself.

These particular ones are heavy-duty, have large drainage slits and work beautifully for composting ‘on-site’ and with the added bonus, acting two-fold.  Instead of using a drip system, or making the mistake of watering the whole plant, these allow me to water and feed, gradually.  Sincerely kids, I have not fed my chard, and tomorrow will be my third harvest!

…..

Do you see the large leafed plant at the bottom of this photo?  That’s comfrey.  A plant that any serious organic gardener MUST locate and plant!  Be prepared to water this thirsty little girl a lot the first and second year, but once fully established it will send a rather large taproot to a moisture source.  Where ever you plant her/him, give it room to grow, to spread, to overtake.  And never look back in despair.  By cutting the leaves and the flowers and cramming them into a container that can be sealed, you are onto making one of natures most amazing fertilizers.  (I have three rescued cats and go through large buckets of litter.)  I will pack a container fully, snap on the lid and set it aside until I need to give an item a boost.  Eventually, this mass of leaves will turn into a stinky dark liquid that you can dilute and use at your convenience.

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Look what the week ahead holds promise of…day lilies.  Multitudes!  I do have a concern, and I guess this is where I best express it so maybe others can learn from it.  I was gifted the native orange ‘ditch lily’ or as some call it, ‘tiger lily.’  I gleefully brought them home two years ago and placed them among my prized other day lilies, some of heirloom and prize-winning standards.  I will be ill if I discover cross-breeding has affected my special specimens.  If you hear a loud shout and wail coming from the south, you’ll know it’s that lady from Texas that has been wounded by her greed.

…..

Josie’s Yucca

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I’m growing this for a very special niece, well, actually, all of my nieces are special, but this one holds a place in my heart as if she were my third daughter.  As many of you may know, I don’t have grandchildren, but Josie is mom to two beautiful children that treat their ‘Auntie M’ as if she is as important as a grandmother.  What’s really nice, the other two grandma’s tolerate this and only add to the specialness.  Well…on to the story.  Josie’s hubby, my nephew, is a women’s collegiate basketball coach.  An amazing young man, dedicated to his family, his team and his faith.  At one point Josie and Aaron moved to Texas.  I had a small yucca sitting off in an area of the yard that I didn’t know what to do with.  Then along came the kids.  They were excited to get some transplants for their new home, it was in need of some outside fashion accessories.  I obliged.  Along with other items, Josie asked if she could have that Yucca.  Thank goodness, the orphan found a home!    What’s even more amazing, it bloomed for her, prolifically.  Warp into the future and another yucca sprouts.  This time I dug it up and named it, Josie’s plant.  That sucker is going wild!  Currently the family resides in the N.E. region of Arkansas.  I’d like to transport it to them, but at this point we need a truck.  And we’ll need a forklift if it spends another summer at ‘Auntie M’s.

…..

This was today.

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I should see an abundance of butterflies soon.  Each day I encounter more bee’s; different types, too.  This makes my heart sing.  We need our bee’s.  Their decline will bring our decline.  Plant just one plant that they can feed upon.  And don’t worry, they are not there to sting you.  Don’t swat at them, nor bother the area they are working.  Let’s give bee’s a chance.  Please, and thank-you.  :)

Amaryllis in bloom

•May 14, 2014 • 2 Comments

 

 

A Christmas gift from my son-in-laws family,

received a few years ago.

 

 

 Each year the bed grows larger and more beautiful.

 

 

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Volunteers of the compost pile

climbing a borrowed trellis

 

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(Tomorrow I hope to plant a red yarrow and an oak leaf hydrangea.)

 
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