A reason for all things…

•2014/06/22 • 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

•2014/05/26 • 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…

•2014/05/17 • 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.

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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.

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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

•2014/05/14 • 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.)

Checking on Mr. Snips

•2014/05/12 • 6 Comments

 

Munching along the Guara Road.

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This fuzzy-wuzzy character is hiding this morning, but rain is about to fall, so surely he has headed for safer territory.

The mighty feast of the guara has its bloomings bare, and it’s branches scrawny looking, but noting his size, all will rebound once his feast frenzy has ended.  Which should be soon.  This picture was taken at the end of last week; I glimpsed him yesterday and he is one chubby camper.

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 Centering a universe

 

Candy-Cane Amaryllis

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She’s preparing to unfold and capture the world with her beauty

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Milkweed, Bottlebush & Euphorbia;

Milkweed is the orange/red/yellow, Bottlebush is the purple.

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Field of Cilantro Flowers, a haven for the bees and butterflies.

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Color is a magnet, as is scent,

Pink Penta, butterfly magnet extrordinaire!

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Bougainvillea vine

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Flowering Knifophia (Lime-colored) also known as poker plant.

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Native Nandina, prepping for berries.

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Swiss Chard*

Lovely to look at, more lovely to eat.  A beautiful plant in the garden.  Kissed by dew and raindrops.

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This item is so versatile it will make your head swim!  ;)

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Little Porters, Cherries and Plum Tomatoes are making themselves known!

(I believe these are porters.)

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Home.  Sweet.  Home.  :)

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The spinach and kohlrabi crops have been harvested.  Georgia collards and Siberian kale are taking up shop in their place and should soon make an appearance.

The compost area is reworked and is boasting a boatload of “unknowns.”  Something is in need of a trellis, but I’m not into wood shop adventures.  It will be interesting to see what kind of rig shows up to aid and assist.  I’m known for my free-styling, what-cha-ma-call-it’s.

;)

*I erroneously reported the Swiss Chard as Red Kale earlier today.  For shame, for shame.  I know better.

Extra-special delivery!

•2014/05/02 • Leave a Comment

 

 

Happy 30th birthday, M1

 

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This is an extra-special birthday.  Megan and Jake arrived home late yesterday afternoon.  Today we headed North to visit with Grandpa and Grandma.  We enjoyed our day along with Aunt B., M2 and J2.  Hannah, the doggie, came along and spent the best part of her day swimming in Grandpa’s stock pond.  Labs love their water!

(P.S. M3 needs to remember to recharge her battery on her camera.  I have one photo to prove a birthday happened.  Oops!  I’ve been promised copies of others though, thank goodness.)

Nana B and Auntie M are in a contest…

•2014/04/27 • 2 Comments

 

competing for a piece of the shovel

 

Two sisters, two gardens. What could go wrong?   Nana B had the nerve to send me a photo of her new greenhouse a week or so ago.  And then yesterday she mailed me a picture of her 90 foot by 15 foot newly planted garden plot.

and this is the prize!

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c

I was going to offer my heart

 

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but it belongs to, Hannah

 

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Okay, I’m don’t have a chance in Hades of becoming close in production, especially when you see the plot of land I refer to as my garden.

Oh, did I mention she has a pond she uses as a watering source, and a very skilled hubby that has built an irrigation system?

Do I sound peeved?  Actually I’m not.  I’m only green.  My thumb infection spread throughout my body.  It’s not a jealousy infection, or anything to do with fake chemicals.  I grow organically, the green was caused by harvesting.

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Scroll down and I’ll show you my lunch garden.  It can also help us though dinner if we don’t gorge ourselves.  Forget about getting a breakfast feast from it.  Just nibble on herbs and dig for grub worms for protein.

 

Welcome!

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I planted her last summer.  She was growing in a store.  I chose to put her into a place where she would be appreciated.  Hawaii and Texas want to “Welcome” everyone!

Even those holding a ‘chewfest’ over at the lone cabbage plant.

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I didn’t care for those fast moving weather changes this winter.  This onion agreed.  He said to heck with bulbing, He’s chosen to expose  himself as a seedy character.

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Drink plenty of water and tea before you arrive for lunch.  Spinach is going to bulk us up (if we don’t steam it). That red chard is going to have to have an extra week before we tap into her.  Drink water and eat bugs for a few days.  Share with your neighbors and leave my caterpillars, butterflies and earthworms alone.  Oh, and don’t come hollering if a hummingbird or honeybee awakes or fans you.  They own this place more than we do.  This food camp wouldn’t be if it weren’t for them.  Come early. Some caterpillars are onto us.  Our harvest dates are colliding.  (Go left and you can chew on cilantro, go right and chomp on an onion.)

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If you’ve never eaten Swiss chard you are depriving yourself of a delicious treat.  Eat it hot, eat it cold, but eat it.  It’s one of the most amazing items discovered.

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  Herbs.  They’re versatile, enjoy being ridiculed as ‘minor’ and don’t mind being ignored.  Some critters use them to nest.  Dill weed nests the caterpillar that later become the beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly.

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 Oh look!  I failed to tell you about the kale.  Ain’t she pretty?  Look up, she’s frilly and sits between the comfrey and the abundant sage.  Check out that basil!  My third planting this season.  Weather frost kicked butt on the earlier plantings.

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It’s obvious that sister over in Texarkana has earned that beloved Shovel Trophy.  Let us not fret, stew, worry. or blow bad Karma her direction.

I’ve got some consolation surprises for my cheer section.  Sit back and just enjoy.

It’s been a rough ride, but as long as we’re still in the game, we ain’t lost.  We’re just over here looking for our dignity.

 

:)

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 petunia!

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 impatien!

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 marigold!

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This, a Native of Texas…and I have forgotten her name.

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I will post her name tomorrow.  I grow two varieties of these.  They appear like dancing butterflies and form a swirling pattern during heavy bloom. Guara!!! That’s our Beauty Queen. Just a few hours of sleep and several cups of coffee, but that’s the pretty flowers name. Enjoy!

:)

P.S.  We all win, don’t ‘cha think?  We all love nature and if you don’t, how on earth did you wander over here?

 
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