Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts

Monday, January 3, 2022

"In the Bleak Midwinter," Some Light!

I love that song, "In the Bleak Midwinter."

Oh, it's not midwinter yet, but it can feel like it when the Christmas lights come down and all seems dark. Even though the days are getting longer, January and February can still feel gloomy, especially in climes where it is cloudy and cold.  

I am extremely sensitive to light, or rather the lack of it. But even in the sunny desert, the winter days can feel dark. So, I always have a "substitute Christmas tree" ready for when the real tree comes down. I used to have a tall birdhouse on a turned table leg, but during the last move it disappeared, and so I am using a little birdcage I have, and reusing some "rice lights" or "fairy lights" that run off a USB plug. 

It uses negligible energy so it's on all day right now. I have a glittered bird's nest in there because I cannot yet let go of all the sparkle of Christmas! At night it gives a wonderful glow.

Morgy relaxing by the new display.

I saw on another bloggie fren's post that she has electric candles in her house year 'round. I am going to try for that idea, too! I hope some of the thrift stores will have some when they reopen this coming week.
And I am already at it with Valentine's decor. Just a bit! You might recall these items from last year, too.

We had a day of rain yesterday, unusual here. And then that cold front that's sweeping across the nation came in, and when the clouds lifted, there was snow on the mountains. 

I drove hubby up to the foothills and took some photos. We couldn't get close because the road had a gate across it. It's usually open.

Driving up to the foothills caused me to miss Mass at the parish I prefer. But God had a plan; Father Alex at the big parish had a homily I really needed to hear. It was about letting yourself feel joy, feel appreciation, despite the sadness in this world. To not feel guilt when seeking out joy and beauty. It's not a seesaw, where if you have peace and joy on one side, the other side tips up and dumps more sadness on the world! Well, he said it much better than I can. He feels that any happiness you have can help you reach out to others and combat darkness. "While you are biting into a piece of cake, don't let it turn to dust in your mouth because you think of the hungry children. Enjoy the cake and think of ways to help the hungry, and do it."

Some lore:

"When snow flies, rain falls, you see a bird on the wing, or breath is visible the first 10 days of January, so too will especial fortune and hope mark the days of the coming year."

Twelfth Night is coming! I will put up my usual post about it this week, maybe tomorrow. Don't forget to buy a new corn broom, if you can! Brooms are rather prominent in a lot of old lore.

Practical lore: 

525,600 minutes in a year! How many can you spare to help others and treat yourself kindly? 

This year, if you want to do so, get an inexpensive "planner" and on each date, write the weather, and if you feel inclined, write something you thought, or that you did. You will be glad you did, at the end of next year!

FOR THE DISORGANIZED: Get a very large box, if you are a disorganized person such as I. Get one of those photocopy boxes. Into the box, throw everything you think you might need, paperwork-wise. Receipts, notes you jot down, mail that you received. Keep it all in that box, if it has no other designated place. I used to have to dig through it constantly, but now my skills have improved and I am just comforted by it and don't often have to go rustling through it for something important. The box idea has helped a lot of young folks out on their own for the first time.

Thank'ee for stopping by! Do you know any New Year lore? What's on your mind today?

Kind regards,
Holly, The Olde Dame

Monday, May 10, 2021

Walk Like An Egyptian...Onion

Tra la, tra la, some of the Egyptian Walking Onions from the community garden have made "pups" and I have some planted in my garden at home now!

pups on egyptian walking onions

 You may recall, a nice gardener invited me to harvest both pups and big onions to get them started in my garden. I "traded" a big lemongrass clump for them. I also got a Jerusalem artichoke to plant from the deal! Made out like a bandit, as they say!

egyptian walking onions tree onions pups bublets

The pups of these unusual onions are tiny bulblets that grow atop the flowering stalk. They start growing right on the mother plant, and even start making roots. The weight of the developing pups causes the stalk to arch over eventually, and they then anchor themselves in the soil and in this way "walk" aross the garden, gaining about a foot each time. The bulblets ask, "Mother, May I?" take a giant step forward? "Yes, you may."

Each pup can be broken off from the top cluster and planted, and will make an onion plant.

radish onions going to seed

Goin' to seed...ha ha me and the plants both. 

The plot above in the community garden belongs to a REAL gardener. She is letting the Egyptian Onions make their bulblets and also letting her radish, I think, make seed. She has baby radish to eat in another plot. 

The onions are also called "Tree Onions." They look like a Dr. Suess tree!

I am fussing, fussing, fussing over my little courtyard. Some of the new plants were not happy in their places, so I did some switching around. It will be another month before everything hits its stride, I think, and soon I must rig up some shade cloth to shield them from the desert sun. And to think, some in northern climes are still waiting for their weather to warm up and plants to awaken! 

Yesterday I drove hubby to see a little manmade pond on the campus of his alma mater, NMSU. This was put in after we moved from here the first time, so I did not even know it existed until I saw it on a Google map. There were a few ducks, too! And some anglers. Evidently they stock it with trout. 

ducks in the desert

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Let's Play "That One Game"


I don't know. It may be the Cajun in me. Cajuns tend to be very nosey. Maybe in the swamp, they had to be nosey. "Is that a gator snout sticking out from under that car, or is that just the neighbor doing some engine repair?" "Are the kids playing with a soaker hose, or a water moccasin?" "Is that a shrimp or a crawfish? Never mind, pass me some hot sauce." 

Maybe because I'm always writing a portion of "a book" mentally, collecting the things I hear to throw into it, but I tend to remember passing remarks. While my short-term memory is usually shot, things like this get stuck in it, taking up valuable and scarce room.

At work, the school was established by a pair of sisters. They are still there, and work together as the administrators. Oh boy. Boy howdy. Howdy howdy howdy do. Big sis and little sis. Little Sis is as sweet as a bucket of syrup, and Big Sis is as sweet as a gallon of vinegar. About two feet behind me, they started up a conversation.

Little Sis: "Um, oh oh, um, ha ha, oh Dee-Dee, Dee-Dee, do you remember that funny game we used to play? That game?"

Big Sis: "WHAT? What game? What are you talking about? We need to be getting ready for the board meeting."

Little Sis: "Oh, that funny game. You know, the game? Oh, we loved to play it. That one. Oh gosh. Tee hee."

Big Sis: "WHAT? You're a lunatic. What game are you talking about? We didn't play any games. We played dolls."

Little Sis: "Uh-huh, yes we did. We did play games. Oh, I loved playing dolls. But that one. That one momma said, 'You stop playing that right now or you will get warts.'" 

Big Sis: "WHAT? Get warts?"

Little Sis: "Yes, she didn't want us to get warts, but we never got any, did we? We loved that game."


Little Sis: "That game, that one game, that toad game. Toad Catcher!" 

Big Sis: "Martha Ann, we played no such game. What are you even talking about? Toad Catcher."

Little Sis: "Yes we did! We did! We loved it! Toad Catcher! We would play with the toad, we would catch it, and then it would be the other one's turn! Yes we did! You loved it, we played it, you made it up!"

Big Sis: "I did not. I never heard of this in my life."

Little Sis: "Yes, yes yes yes you did! And if the toad peed on you, you lost, you had to hide your eyes! And the toad was the baby, it was the baby and we'd make it a house, too."

Big Sis: "You are crazy, Martha Ann. I never touched a toad in my life. I would never touch a toad. Never."

Little Sis: "Yes you did! We loved that game! You made it up! Yes, yes you did!"

This went on for quite some time. Now I'm left wondering, DID Dee-Dee make up the Toad Catcher game? Is Martha Ann right? How exactly was the game played? 

My husband and I went to check on our community garden plot today after a drive to take some photos of a wild shrub called Mexican Buckeye, that is finishing up blooming. You can spot last year's big pods and this year's immature ones on the same plant.

Mexican buckeye blooms and immature pods

Mexican buckeye new mexico

At the community garden, the wild morning glory (the kind that spreads on the ground, convovulvus) was just spreading and climbing up the sides of the plot, and I wanted to pull it back so that the boards were free of it and it couldn't clamber down into the bed itself. So, I started pulling weeds on my side, and my husband started pulling on his side.

Then, he said, "Whoa! A frog! A frog!" 

New Mexico Woodhouse Toad April 2021

Southwestern Woodhouse Toad

I went over there, and there was a big, maybe four-inch long disgruntled-looking toad sitting, now visible with the weeds pulled away from his little house. I was astounded! A big, clearly an aged, toad, in the desert!

I took a few quick photos and we hastily put the weeds back on top of him or her, and then loaded some pine straw on top of that. There are lots of weeds around some of the unclaimed plots, so I hope he will be all right. I hope he stays by my plot, though. I did an image search on Google and found out that he or she is definitely a Southwestern Woodhouse Toad. And I wonder, is this how the game of Toad Catcher started?

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Maundy Thursday

Above: A photo of a bit of the stained glass windows at church. The pieces of glass are about an inch-and-one-half thick! I hadn't realized stained glass was that thick. Since it's spring, I tried to capture mainly the pastel tones. The church is dark and somber during Holy Week, making the windows even more striking than usual. Today is Maundy Thursday. The birds are valentining, the buds bursting, but within, all is very still and quiet.

I love to roll out obscure words, and my everyday speech is peppered with them. I know it's odd, and that I'm odd, but to quote that wonderful philosopher of the ages, Popeye, "I yam what I yam." I told something my father used to say to me in an earlier post. Now I will tell a very quick story that my mother told about me: When I was three, she rebuked me for something I did, some behavioral misstep. And she said I looked at her and said, "I am what I am." The End.

I must have heard that on Popeye. But I didn't like cartoons as a child; the way the characters were drawn, defying the laws of physics, always upset me. I can remember trying to get my legs to spin around as depicted on many cartoons, and trying to get my hair to move in that strange, undulating way of a Disney cartoon princess's hair. And to this day, Gumby makes me feel ill, off-balance.

Anyhoo, my love of archaic terms - well, that's why I always use the old terms for many things, especially holidays. Today is "Maundy Thursday," or Holy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper, the day that Christ gave us The Lord's Prayer, and so much, much more. 

virgin mary holy card with sand verbena purple

I am always moving things around on my indoor shrine. I like to move some pieces to a little nook at the corner of my bedroom window. My shrine is to Mary. I have a very old statue of her that is guarded by a fierce-looking china tiger family (told you I was strange). I keep the statue guarded, but the Holy Cards I like to rearrange. This is the "nook shrine" today, with one of my favorite Holy Cards and some sand verbena in a Cracker Barrel restaurant maple syrup bottle. Reduce, reuse, recycle! I will dust the shrine nicely and show it off in a future post.

purple sand verbena in a cracker barrel maple syrup mini bottle

But THIS I will show off now! This is the incredible giveaway I won from Rugs and Pugs <---Link!. If you haven't visited that delightful blog, you are missing out. Rug hooking (wool!), cross-stitching, pug-loving, wit, wisdom, and beauty, it has it ALL. Go ahead, click that link, go see! 

Wherever you are and whatever your beliefs, if any, I hope you are having a lovely Maundy Thursday!

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Flower of the Family

My father used to have a joke he liked to tell. He would say that I was "the flower of the family -- the bloomin' idiot."

My family was exceptionally intelligent, except the baby of the family -- me -- lagged far behind them. In my family, the intellect was the be-all, end-all. My siblings had extraordinary intelligence, as did my parents, especially in the areas of mathematics and music. I have no real talent for either one, although I tried very hard to do well in those subjects and please my loved ones. But I never pleased them!

I do feel I have a special gift, however: I am transported by beauty. Sometimes I feel like my heart will burst when I see certain flowers or hillsides or paintings; or the way the light goes through a vase at sundown or a leaf at sunrise, or through Champie the Chiweenie's ears anytime, making him look like a dog with bright pink petals growing from his head. Note to Champie: You are a handsome, handsome lad, my fat and faithful friend, and you wear those petals well.

Here are a few more "purloined pictures" (thank you, Joanne from Cup on the Bus) from the little park I "accidentally" found myself in after accidentally scaling a rock wall (at MY age!) and accidentally avoiding detection by sneaking about. I was NOT the only one to enter this off-limits park, however; a well-known ne'er-do-well character wearing a black mask (over its eyes, not its nose and mouth) was there before me! Yes, the paths were covered with paw prints of raccoons! 

Hope you enjoy. Three kinds of crabapples and some other pretty plants like quince and redbuds were also blooming. Some are not in sharp focus; I was too busy trying to sneak to concentrate.

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Free "Spring Springing" Cross Stitch Chart!

free merryneedle merry needle cross stitch chart easter spring

free cross stitch chart bunnies spring easter

Here is a little free chart (see link below with color charts, symbol charts, and key) with two versions based on both my Jumping for Joy design and a good friend's primitive bunnies (used with permission) that she stitched long ago. I hope you will enjoy stitching it, if cross stitching be your hobby! It is easy enough for a beginner to stitch, too, for those who may be interested in taking up cross stitching. I am unhappy with the date, as I noticed it is off-center. "Free, and worth every penny," as we say. I flipped the top flower motif for an alternate version. The alternate version just has the color stitches shown, not a symbol chart also. I have run out of time because Spring Break is over for our school, so it's early bed and back to work tomorrow. Out of time to play, BOO! 

Use this LINK <--- so that you get the PDF of this chart. It's stored on Google Drive and that is as safe as things get on the internet!

sun shining through a palm frond

I hope you all have a great Monday and a great Holy Week. We had a fantastic Palm Sunday Mass, very moving. Our priest, several of the Knights of the Altar (altar boys and girls), and deacons put on a spoken-word play. Our priest has a really great voice.

I did something naughty today. I snuck into a closed park to take photos of the crabapple blooming there. This is an open-air park few visit that has been closed for over a year, due to "COVID." The lure of the spring blooms was too much. I had to miss them last year. Even if a person lives to be 100, that's just 100 times to see crabapple blossoms. This photo shows the old and the new: Last year's shriveled crabapples, and this year's promise.

shriveled crabapples and new crab apple blooms

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Lilac-Violet Cactus Welcomes Spring in the Desert


chalkware chickens hen rooster vintage

Before showing off the "unicorn cactus" as I like to call it, here is my favorite kitchen decoration. These little chalkware chickens are always on display. The hen was painted by my son while I painted the rooster, when he was very little. I love children's artwork and handwork. Their creations are so open, so fresh! 

agave in spring cactus in las cruces nm

I had to mail some seeds that I sold, so I stopped by the landscaping at City Hall, which is downtown like the post office.
Spring arrived within a week: Trees that were bare last week are fuzzed with green this week.  Ice plants have dozens of blooms and have plumped up. The agaves (above) are stretching out. I think the center of the agave looks like a little dolphin face. And the prickly pears are barnacled with buds.

purple prickly pear santa rita cactus desert southwest

I am very partial to these
lilac-hued cactus, called Santa Rita prickly pears. They are a very unusual spot of pastel color in the landscape. In winter and early spring they are lilac and purple with aqua; by late spring and summer they will turn more a pastel blue gray.  In the landscape, they are striking. I wasn't the only one taking photos of them; in nearby Old Mesilla, tourists had phones in hand, taking photo after photo of the violet-hued prickly pears that line the famed La Posta restaurant's parking area.

lilac purple santa rita cactus

I know many of you are still awaiting spring to truly show herself! But when it is over 100 degrees here (37 C), you will be having the last laugh as everything dries up in the heat!

purple cactus santa rita prickly pear

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Your Favorite Smell, Garden Surprises, Desert SNOW in March and Printable Spring Tags!

Well dearies, here we have some free digital speckled spring tags to download and print out. I was thinking of speckled eggs, and flowers, and decided to combine the two. As always, please use the link, because Blogger compresses and resizes images posted and then they don't print properly. TO GET A GOOD LOOK at the tags to see if you want to download them, RIGHT CLICK and choose "Open link in new tab" and that will make the little magnifier appear.

You can download from Google Drive (safe) from this LINK <-----

speckled egg spring tags florals free download printables penniwigs
Amazingly, it snowed today here in the desert -- on our mountaintops. It sprinkled some cold rain on the foothills and in our valley, the Mesilla Valley, where the Rio Grande is and where the chiles, onions, cotton, and pecans grow.

las cruces new mexico organ mountains snow in march 2021


The mountains are the Organ Mountains, so called because the tall granite outcroppings (locally called "the needles") looked like organ pipes to some, probably homesick settlers who had left such heavy instruments behind. I can't really imagine the grit that the people had who moved here, the ganas, as they say in Mexico. All these g-words, basically meaning the desert pioneers had guts.

Update on my community garden plot: Whoever had this plot before was a blue-ribbon gardener. I thought I was going to have to amend the soil and dig a lot to prepare the bed. But no! My very first shovelful of soil showed that not only was it already amended, but it was PLANTED! With strange bulbs, pushing up to the surface! And the bed has different mints including apple mint, big mounds of what turned out to be the best-smelling lemongrass ever, other herbs yet to be figured out, and I don't even know what-all. Some heirloom tomatoes, too.

I gingerly poked in a few seeds of sunflowers along the western side of the plot, for shade. And put in a few pumpkin seeds (bush pumpkins) and some Korean Melon seeds that were given to me by a fantastic gardener in a seed club we're in. But I didn't dare dig anything. I just made little holes with a stick.

Those with mint-phobia, don't worry. In the desert, mint cannot take over your beds. They are limited by the extreme dryness and easy to keep in bounds with watering methods.

I am most excited about the lemongrass. I haven't grown it before. I gave it a good haircut and the little blades are already coming up from the roots. I think it's one of my new favorite smells!

What is your favorite smell? Does it vary by season, as mine do? 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Friday, March 19, 2021

Early Spring Blossoms Abounding

I am somber today, thinking of several new blog friends who are undergoing trials and tribulations. They are good people, and it seems so unfair that they have these burdens on them. But it is as St. Paul said: "Who can know the mind of God?" 

Some bloggers are also right in the danger area of the bad storms and tornadoes we are having. "Tornado Alley" has shifted since I was young; many in Eastern states have been in peril.

Back in autumn, I predicted a severe spring, with winter hanging on. The signs were there.

My mind is all over the place in this post. Just a little tired, I guess.

In gardening news: The bottlebrush trees that I thought were dead have poked up some little new branches from the roots. In fact, it seems all of the plants I thought were gone, are not. I gave the courtyard a good soaking when I got home from work.

The strangest garden happening is that the winecup is putting up yellow buds. These are deep magenta blooms, thus the name, winecup! What is happening, with these yellow-petalled buds? The leaves are deep green!

I hope that near or far, these blooms bring a little bit of sweetness to your day.

bright orange quince blossoms in spring

apple blossoms in spring apple blossom pink

pretty narcissus daffodils jonquils yellow and white

pretty white spring pear blossoms

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Plants Think It's Spring

The cactus are beginning to bud out, so I think in the desert, Spring is here. Early spring, yes. The mesquite and the pecans probably won't leaf out for six more weeks. They are very cautious trees. But everything else will be decked in new leaves and flowers by then.

prickly pear cactus in spring desert

I never wanted to live in the desert, yet I have spent the majority of my life in them, first the Sonoran desert, and now the Chihuahuan desert. Two different husbands, and both insisting on the desert! For the past 39 years, only 6 years have not been somewhere in a desert, and each husband was miserable away from it.

terra cotta horse from gardening pots at lowe's home improvement center

But we are to bloom where planted, and I love many aspects of the desert now. I love the tiny pink and white spotted geckos who live behind my outdoor front lantern, venturing out at night to grab the bugs the light attracts and hanging around on my ceilings inside to cool off during the summer days. I love the big "blue belly" lizards who zip around the yard and like to go to the birdbath for water. I love the roadrunners who stop by, as big as chickens but as fast as cheetahs. Too fast for me to get any good photos. And I love the many hummingbirds who nest in one of my mulberry trees, and have racuous "disputes" all summer long. Tiny birds, BIG voices! I love all the agriculture along the river, and our hundreds of little "ditches" you can walk along that carry the water to farms and homes in the valley. Most of all, I love the brightness of the desert. 

pretty deep blue sky above las cruces new mexico with flowering branch white flowers

I also love the age of the desert cities. There is much old architecture here. Until COVID entered the picture, I was working in an 1847 adobe building -- with no interior bathroom. Yes, it has an outhouse! Can't find my pictures, so I might go by and take a snap later.

A narrow street running though the old part of town is called the Camino Real of the interior lands - "the Royal Road." Spaniards traveled this road from Mexico City to Santa Fe 500 years ago. 

One of my favorite places to view the Adoration is San Albino Basilica, in nearby Mesilla. At night, the interior is lighted up incredibly, and the extremely intricate tall altar is "just heavenly."

san albino church mesilla new mexico at dusk

spring weeping willows in las cruces new mexico

Autumn is my favorite season, but I think spring is when the desert is at its best! So I'm enjoying the stirrings of spring. We don't have the gorgeous bulbs and beloved flowers like peonies here, but we do have our own type of beauty. 

Kind regards,

The Merry Olde Dame, Holly 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Giveaway Winner and...Shy Violets Already

Nature is so amazing. Where there was ice-blasted grass and brown soil, there is now new green and a sprinkling of early violets. These are growing near a grotto on the grounds of a former convent. I lived here once, long ago. I think these are the only violets in Las Cruces, and they grow only near the Grotto. I think they grow for Mary, Queen of Heaven. Since I lived there, the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe was removed from the Grotto. They can remove her statue, but the very earth remembers!

spring wild violets near a grotto in las cruces new mexico

And...we have a winner! I did this old-style, with bits of paper that we put in a bag, and my husband drawing the winner. 

Sheri at Red Rose Alley, a delightful blog, congratulations! If you email me your address, I will send off your giveaway items.

This was so fun for me, that I am wondering...any of you interested in a giveaway featuring seeds? I have so many, many unusual seeds, for all climates and all skill levels. Let me know in the comments if anyone is interested in a Spring Seed Giveaway, and please, if you have any thoughts or stories about gardening from seed, tell them in the comments or even in a blog post, as your time permits. I know weekends can be busy.

See you soon, on the blogs...

Kind regards,

The Merry Olde Dame, Holly