Friday, July 30, 2021

Are You Crabby?

 I am crabby over here! That's right, crabby! 

It's because I'm a member of P.L.A.N.T. It's a super-secret organization. Oh, you've heard of it? People Looking Around Nature - Trespassers.

As a member of P.L.A.N.T., I have trained long and hard to be able to sneak into off-limits nature garden areas. I carry specialized equipment: An old towel, a baggie, and a baseball cap. My weapon of choice: A rosary.

The old towel is to lay atop walls, so that I can avoid the bird poopie that is always on them. The baggie is for pretty things I find on the ground, and the cap is a practical disguise. The rosary speaks for its beautiful self.  

These "walls" I speak of -- just so you know: They are two or so feet high. Sadly, my knees are shot, and I can't just step over a wall, or even onto it. No, I have to sit on it, then ow-ow-ow pick my legs up and place them on the other side, while sniveling and swiveling. I told my husband that I travel like a turtle travels: Very slowly, and along curbs until there is a low place. I can't even step up onto a normal curb. It's very irritating. I think it may be time for a cane. "GROWING OLD AIN'T FER SISSIES."

I just had to go see the progress of the crab apples in the still-closed-due-to-COVID park here. Yes, the college and all of its public parts are still closed, because goodness knows fresh air outdoors in the desert with the wind blowing across hundreds of miles of unoccupied land is very, very likely to cause illness. SARCASM!

My mind is on those crabapples. My mind has been on crabapples since I first saw them at four years old. I love them, and I love pumpkins and dried gourds and dried corn. Too bad there's not a way to track how much time I have spent with visions of them in my head. I have a magpie mind, and glad of it!

I can't recall who it was, Dickens or Hawthorne?, but they wrote of a wonderful Christmas hot punch, with "brown crabs" [crabapples] bobbing in it. I am determined to get a few ripe ones and have them in a hot cider this year!

I feel so badly for those whose minds can't find happiness in nature, in wholesome activities, and in simple things. I was so very blessed to never have a wish for drugs or bad things. 

Evidently, though, I have a wish to trespass into public gardens. I can justify it up and down, but it's possibly still naughty. So, I just had to sneak in and see the progress of the crabapples. Did any "take," after the beautiful blooms? If so, were they beginning to turn red? 

They are indeed many crabapples on the trees!

crab apples on trees in the late summer
Two crabapples side by side

They are beautiful!

ripening red crab apples canopy
It was so fun to be beneath the canopy looking at them!

I got a few from the ground, but I am seriously contemplating going back when they are ripe, and getting a jar of the windfalls.

crab apples on branches
So many little crabapples ripening!

I think I might make a crabapple cordial. I am typically a teetotaler. I did make blackberry cordial in years past, for gifts and also to keep (as a prepper) as a medicinal (Like in Anne of Green Gables). When we moved off Whidbey Island, I gave that last bottle away, though. So, I have no cordials in the house at this time. 

crab apples
Early windfall crab apples

On August 1st, I "jump" the season and start decorating for autumn! I start with apples and apple decor and buffalo checks and so on, and then September 1st the pumpkins start muscling in! By October 1st it is FHM. Full Hallowe'en Mode. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Do any of you make cordials or wines? And when do you start with your autumn decor?

Monday, July 26, 2021

Today is Wash Day! Or Maybe Green Beans!

Well, it's actually almost Tuesday as I type this out. Work is so very hectic. I work late every day and barely make a dint in the pressing work! I am paid for 3 hours a day in the summer, Monday through Thursday, but work at least 8. I feel I can't let the students down. But -- while I do agree it's good to work "For the Glory of God," as the bookkeeper, I notice that while that is said, 'tis not followed, by the administration. Ahem.

But...back to washday, and I just heard the washer stop its spin, so that means into the dryer and tumbling and tumbling till good and dry. I often use the line, but not at night, and it's also RAINING in the desert (just a bit here, but deluges elsewhere). Pray we get a bit of one of the deluges, please!

We sang this song when I was young. Maybe I should re-title this post as "Green Bean Day." Oh, I run so late. My nickname, among several, was "String Bean" as a girl. We called green beans, string beans. Remember settin' on the porch, snapping beans and pulling those strings? Ah, those skinny days. Where did they go? 

Today is Monday! 
Today is Monday!
Monday, wash day,
All ye hungry brothers,
We wish the same to you!

Today is Tuesday!
Today is Tuesday!
Tuesday green beans,
Monday wash day,
All ye hungry brothers,
We wish the same to you!

and so on...Wednesday Soup, Thursday Roast Beef, Friday Fish, Saturday Payday, Sunday Church...

Here is a picture of part of my laundry room shelf. The laundry room is actually just a stub of a hall off the main hall, and what a racket when I'm doing laundry. But the shelf shows the influence of the culture here: I absolutely LOVE the smell of the Mexican laundry soaps. I put a good shake into every load, along with the Gain, the Out, sometimes a spray of Febreze, sometimes a measure of the washing soda if something has that doggy smell from my dear doglets. (My chiweenie is nicknamed "Stinkbug" and with good reason. Smelly little creature, but I love him.)

laundry shelf

New Mexicans know how to do laundry. The air is fragrant on washdays. My neighbor long ago, an elegant and kind woman, first showed me the Ariel washing powder. Her whole house smelled so fresh and good. I throw a handful into the kitchen garbage can each time I change the liner. Not shown: Big boxes of Gain powder, ORIGINAL scent only, please!

So the washer churns and the dryer cartwheels while I am trying to catch up on the blogs and do a bit of housework, a bit of crafting, and a bit of gardening.

I have been in the desert long enough to get excited when it rains, and rush to take photos of the raindrops. 

sprinkling rain in the desert

Storm light; I love it! Some raindrops are visible in the left corner.

two small doggies

Whither thou goest, I will go (to stomp down baby lemon grass and onions...)

old terra cotta strawberry pot

Old terra cotta planter we inherited when we bought the was foretelling my new body shape...

Chi-chi-chi chive talkin'...

And my favorite "task," making pinkeeps out of my stitcheries. And NO, it is NOT too early for autumn decorating!

On our Sunday drive, we saw some pretty sights, too:

Rows of grains and sunflowers planted between thousands of pecan trees...

My future pecan pie ingredients...

Pretty horses next to the pecan groves. The flies were fierce and their tails were slashing and hooves stomping!

Someone is having a bumper crop of "tunas" (prickly pear fruit)...

View from a neighborhood called Raasaf Hills -- millionaire row -- pecan groves stretching out for miles.

Well my dear bloggie frens, have a wonderful week and I will be hopping to your blogs to read your posts! 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Monday, July 19, 2021

Boo-kays and Summer Days

Last week was my 26th wedding anniversary. My husband, at 86, sometimes just doesn't care, and doesn't want to care, about festive times! Especially anniversaries. So this year, I decided to remember it myself. 

There is nothing I like better than a homemade bouquet. After work, I stopped by an old abandoned adobe house and got some coral vine and some silver lace vine...tsk tsk, trespassing...into my best plastic pitcher they went...

I love the old-timey the vines that covered the shed at Granny's house...she had Spanish Flag vines, too...I haven't seen seeds for them in a few years. Then it was time for a trip to the community garden, to see what was blooming in my plot! 

A sweet scurrying friend stopped by to wish me "Happy Anniversary." He was heading for the safety of the Jerusalem Artichoke patch of the plot next to mine. I'm wondering how those are harvested. I guess they are dug up, like a potato?

The sunflowers were so pretty. I love the tissue-paper look of the petals against the sun.

There was a single zinnia blooming, and I snipped it. Back to the house, and a few flowers were cut from the courtyard. My faithful Sand Verbena always has a few bright blooms!

And there was one of the last glads, too...

I must have chocolate for my "party!" So I took off again and got some chocolate-covered walnuts from the grocery store. The bulk food aisles are DANGEROUS, don't ya think? All that yummy candy...bin after bin...but I felt the walnut part would cancel out the chocolate part, and overall it might could be considered a healthy food that way...? They say to eat more nuts!

I will admit, there was a piece of cake involved, too. But I ate it right up, no photograph first! In my defense, it was a very nice piece of a grocery store carrot cake, sold by the slice, and I so rarely can have cake.

(Don't worry about hubby! He was fed and watered, too. I brought him some takeout he likes.)

It was getting dark by now, and rain had rolled in. I guess it happens quickly all over the globe, but in the desert, sometimes it seems to happen in an instant: Blue sky, sun beating down, then the sound of wind as the clouds rush over and climb the mountains. The rain made the evening feel so cozy! Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the rain!

The fairy light jars blinked on...I don't know why, but every night that makes me feel so happy...

The doggies had to get something, too! They needed a "party favor" and seemed to like their "chews." These are the specially treated American rawhides that are more tender than the usual rawhides. I don't know, I read on the internet that rawhides are bad, but our vets have felt these kinds are okay. I don't let them chew it down very far.

And there you have it.
Homemade fun is the best!

I hope your summer days are going well, too, as we head towards those tough Dog Days of August!

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Friday, July 9, 2021

I Heard A Caterpillar Chewing

Howdy there! I'm "glad" you're here!

Happy summer's day, my bloggie frens! I went out into the courtyard this morning, coffee cup in hand, to look around, sweep, and just enjoy. The pups especially love going with me, so it is our new routine. We used to go to the back patio first. Now that's second. 

pretty blue and red flowers

Old, new, borrowed, blue!

A big bush squash of some type is growing in one of the fire-rings! It has silvery leaves. That is some lemongrass in there, too.

The doggies are so good about staying inside the gate, which they can squeeze through. I just say, "Enh-enh-enh, no-no!" and they stay inbounds!

doggies at the courtyard gate looking out

Catmint! Growing well now.

Looking up the courtyard towards the circle driveway. I love the little circle drive because I hate backing up! 

One of the first things I saw this morning was that my orange mint was quite raggedy, with many a bite out of its leaves! I put the coffee down and started looking closely at the clump of mint, trying to spot the caterpillars. I was having no luck, and that's when I heard it.

mint eaten by caterpillars

Crunch -- crunch -- CRUNCH! I could hear the caterpillars as they took each bite! And I could just listen a bit, and know where they were! It was quite noisy at first, and then as each was found and relocated, it got quieter, until I could hear no more bites being taken. It was a plucking sound, a snap and a crunch kind of sound.

I Spy...a little minty caterpillar!

As I picked the stems they were on, immediately they would go into their defensive posture, designed to scare predators, I guess. They rear up, Caterpillar Rampant. Poor things, just an inch or so long, and trying to scare me (it worked; I frequently shrieked). I don't want to kill them, because I am just worn out with all the death and misery on the news. I don't want any carnage in my own courtyard. But I worry that by moving them, even with a goodly supply of plucked mint (and basil, which they were also eating but less heartily), I might be sentencing them to death. 

I love the little canning jars with the solar fairy lights in them. I have two hanging on the gate, two hanging off a pine near the street so the walkers can enjoy.

The sun is bleaching the pink color of this jar!

My husband says he thinks they will inch right back over and get on the mint again, anyway. I put them about four feet from the mint. I will have to go "listen" for them later, and see if they did find their way back to the caterpillar salad bar. I will let them stay if they come back. Mint has good regenerative powers even eaten to the ground.

The sedum is coming along. It was just a little stem I planted this spring.

My winecup blooming again after the rains, against a pretty silvery neighbor.

I do not know what kind of squash I planted. Or if it's a bush pumpkin. We will find out, I hope!

Any pests over your way? Weekend plans? 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Flower "Fireworks" and Some Actual Ones!

Hello Bloggie Frens...and Happy Independence Day!

My tiny crop of striped and bright zinnia blooms are the garden "fireworks." Pop, pop, pop -- pops of color that I hope you will enjoy seeing! The photos don't do them justice! They are so bright!

zinnia striped dotted dashed

magenta zinnia bloom

peppermint zinnia

huge zinnias bright petals

And below is nature's "Cherry Bomb" - a big burst of flavor, for sure! I handed all the other ripe ones through the fence to some picnickers who had been admiring them! 

single cherry tomato

And sadly, there were no Friendship Pagodas, which I always miscall as Happiness Pagodas, in our firework stands. I walked into three different stands but...did not find any. Something fun was that one of the stands was owned by an older lady, like me! And she suddenly remembered them and looked them up on her iPad thingie and said she will order some for New Years! 

TNT fireworks hen and rooster fireworks

But I did find something interesting, as you can see above, and I will probably remove and throw away the fireworks part and just leave the cardboard, because I am like these fireworks - a big chicken when it comes to the POPS and BOOMS! Defused, these will go on top of one of my Mexican primitive cupboards.

Lastly, here is a lil' video of my fireworks "haul." The "crackling balls" are going to be given to the teens across the street, who love to light fireworks, as they don't exactly "crackle" but rather POP! I lighted one after the video and it was so loud that both my dear chiweenie and I cowered.

I will be lighting the smoke balls and smoke bombs tomorrow to celebrate, and as always, I have my "Freedom Fire" going in the firepit in the back yard. I go poke it up and keep it going all night, so that at least in my yard, the fires of freedom glow and shine! 

I have been around the blogs today finally, and have seen a lot of lovely patriotic and interesting posts! So much beauty, so much heart, in this renaissance of the Blogosphere! Hip-Hip-Hooray! Although, I was sad to see a blogger I admire taking a month off! But -- that's how it goes. 

And although I don't cotton to hymns being sung, as I have a terrible voice and a tin ear, I have been walking around singing "Yes, We Have No Bananas" for several days, and as much of "It's A Grand Old Flag" as I can remember, although sometimes I get the Mad Magazine version popping up in there, after fifty years! The Fourth just brings "forth" light-hearted summer songs!

If you are having a bleak day, sing "Yes, We Have No Bananas" and see if it takes some of the doldrums away! We had a real-life version of this, after asking at a restaurant if they had a certain dish: "Si, tenemos, pero no hay." Which is: Yes, we have it, but there isn't any. Oh, we laughed and laughed. It makes sense while not making sense. 

Plans for the Fourth? As always, I cherish any comments you share! 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly