Showing posts with label autumn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label autumn. Show all posts

Friday, November 19, 2021

Not So Fast

I have been out-of-pocket because of a very bad flare-up of my arthritis and my liver problems. My diabetes went bonkers, too.

For years, I have tried to find something that would return my life to nearer normal in terms of health. I searched and searched for a doctor, a medicine, a method, an herb, something to return me to normal, to end the pain, to end the inability to stand or walk for long, to end the diabetes, to fix the liver. My friends, my family, my husband all impatiently wanted me to "be fixed." Not for my benefit, but for theirs. 

Despite that, I no longer pray simply to be "fixed," but to be at peace with God's will. I pray for strength, for grace, for "oomph" in the face of my medical problems. When I taught grade school, my classes always knew my mantra when handing out treats, coloring pages, and so forth: "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit." 

It's hard to "keep in life" with medical problems. But I'm trying. I'm trying to stay in the game. I saw so much beauty, so many interesting things this past week! Yes, I regret I can't walk around much, but I do walk around. Better 100 steps than no steps!

hot chile peppers bright peppers getting ripe

I don't want to stop trying to get better, but I want to stop feeling ashamed that I can't be 100% again. It's a fine line, to accept that some things are simply God's will, and to keep trying. I think there is a lot of blame in our society, for those who have medical problems. There's suspicion that they "caused it," that they don't try hard enough to get better, that they're lazy or unworthy or something. That they are flawed. Oh, God forbid someone is flawed in the time of Instagram and Facebook!

red autumn winter berries ash tree

I went to the botanical garden here almost every day this week. I looked at the plants. Some aren't doing great. Should they feel ashamed? Should we question God's handiwork? Some have broken limbs, or their trunk is twisted, or their flowers small, or their berries not as bright as others' are. And they are all beautiful to me! To be growing in the harsh desert! All are intriguing and amazing!

twisted weeping mulberry

My main mantra is, "Keep on keepin' on" and in that spirit, I am! I heard about a possible way to help my liver and help my inflammation, maybe help the high blood pressure and diabetes: Fasting.

I am fasting and eating a small amount once a day. I am going to have some 48-hour fasts, too, after these first five days of 24-hour fasts are done. I think every religion on earth has a lot of fasting involved, at least in olden times. I know our priests fast every Friday, but they do not mention it.

autumn leaves and palm tree in desert new mexico

My first day of no food until 9 p.m. was tough. I had a small bowl of soup and six green olives and was still very hungry. The second day, better. I had more soup and some crackers, and was still a bit hungry. The third (today), better. I had half a hamburger and felt full. I hope tomorrow and the following day will be better still! And then the two-day fasts: That's where the real benefit to health is supposed to kick in. I'll let you know! 

Have you ever struggled with the expectations of others towards you? Have you ever tried fasting?

last roses of autumn 2021

Sharing "the last roses of autumn" with you!

Remember this in times of doubt:
Your heart's like a ruby,
Your mind's like a pearl.
Your faith's like a diamond:
You're a gem of a girl!

Kind regards,
Olde Dame Holly

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Indian Summer? And Swept Paths and Yards

It is suddenly much milder than it was during the last days of October. Last night was "supposed" to have a low of 39, which is, as my husband likes to say, "Only 7 degrees above freezing!"

But instead, the low was only 50, and today had bouts of clouds but ultimately cleared in late afternoon, and was very mild and pleasant.

I went to the very old cemetery, San Albino Cemetery, I wrote about on the blog before. (<---Link) Many people were there, and many of the graves had been cleaned, and new flowers and decorations placed. 

Beautiful San Albino Cemetery, All Souls Day, 2021

Some of the graves had simply been "swept." 

"Swept" grave in San Albino Cemetery, Mesilla, NM 2021 All Souls Day

[An aside: Did you know that in Colonial times, "swept yards" were de rigueur? Yes, no one of any account would have had grass in their yard or along their garden paths. I can remember, as a very small child in Arkansas, helping smack wetted clay soil into a hard, smooth surface along the garden paths. We always put a "slip" of clay on our paths, and raked the loose soil around the paths constantly. I have something of a "swept" yard here, too, in parts.]

This family is taking no chances. Not only is there a lovely old statue of Blessed Mother Mary gracing the grave, but a smaller statue of Mary as she appeared as the Virgin of Guadalupe has been wired onto the iron fence in front. Do you see the rotund little "mariachi" musician playing his horn to the lower right? 

Blessed Mother Mary statues and mariachi statue in San Albino Cemetery 2021

I am still not used to these ground-level graves. In New Orleans, everyone must be buried in vaults above ground. I was very frightened of the idea of being below the ground! But my sister-in-law, and many visitors to New Orleans, were uneasy with all the crypts, like a stone maze, a stone city, in those old cemeteries. 

During my visit to the cemetery, I sat on a bench next to a little sign that said, "Welcome Steelers Fans." I am unsure about who the Steelers are exactly, other than being a football team, but I felt they would not mind if a neutral party sat on the bench to pray. 

steelers fans San Albino cemetery 2021

I keep seeing a television advertisement with a frail-looking Joe Namath hawking some kind of Medicare supplemental policy. I was astounded: I recall him as "Broadway Joe," the good-looking, vital, sinuous quarterback of the New York Jets. Now, I could easily tackle him. 

I brought along Rosaries with me, and my favorite Rosary to pray, and on as many of the neglected, worn crosses as I could, I placed a Rosary. I chose the graves where no trace of a name remains. Sometimes families die out, even our great Mexican-American dynasties here. I had both beautiful Rosaries, and the free Rosaries from the missions. I need to get more Rosaries because dozens of plain crosses remain unadorned.

I said the Rosary many times because there are so many to pray for, so many to remember, and of course, we must remember the unremembered, if that makes any sense. Of course, God remembers us all, down to our last atom! What a comfort!

On the way home, I saw this arched gate, which I just love. It is pretty no matter the season. A "ristra wreath" adorns it this fall.

ristra wreath old mesilla 2021

Do you have unusual cemetery traditions in your area, or strange gardening traditions, like "swept paths?"

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Monday, November 1, 2021

Welcome, November, You Blustery Rascal

And so the year rolls along, and now we are in November. But we are not done with "witches," oh no. For now comes the time that sees storms known as "witches" in the Great Lakes area -- The Witch of November. You may recall the storm that sank The Edmund Fitzgerald referred to in the Gordon Lightfoot song thusly - "...when the Witch of November comes stealing!" 

There will be bluster. There will be leaves down and underfoot, crunchy or sodden by turns. There will be sad-looking gardens that you'd swear were neglected for years, after just a single blast from November's weather cannon. 

fall leaves changing color 2021 pecans yellow golden

Here in the southern desert, the leaves will finally change. It has begun!

pecan leaves changing color in fall 2021

For Catholics, November is the month to pray the Rosary daily and help the souls in Purgatory. It may just be here in the very different borderlands area, but Rosaries said on All Saints Day (today, November 1st) and most especially on All Souls Day (November 2nd), if said in a graveyard, have tremendous oomph, and can lift a soul right out of Purgatory, one per Rosary. If that doesn't get a good Catholic busy with the beads, I don't know what will. Of course, you will find me at the cemeteries today and tomorrow, favorite Rosary in hand. (I know Rosary is not usually capitalized, but I'm capitalizing it!)

pecan tree yellow golden leaves 2021

November will bring us Thanksgiving Day, a holiday I remember with especial joy, and with such bittersweet feelings. I found a YouTube video by someone who calls herself "Little Poet," and in the video, Little Poet sings a song she wrote, "Thanksgiving Day." It's very evocative of those bittersweet feelings!

I never used to watch YouTube videos except for do-it-yourself type of things, but now I watch Little Poet as well as a woman who found herself without much of a retirement, Dee Burks. Dee is sharing how to have a better retirement. Dee is no-nonsense but enjoyable and kind. Little Poet struck me as sugar-sweet at first, but I enjoy it. Take a look at her "channel." All these terms are new to me, and I don't seem to be finding many other "YouTubers" I like, except for those two, but I am sure there are more good ones. And many more bad ones!

I hope your November will start off beautifully, continue contentedly, and finish fantastically! 

Hallowe'en Roundup: At least 170 trick-or-treaters! I made 170 little bags, that's how I know it was at least that many kiddos. I also had two large bags of Smarties and one of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups "just in case" and boy am I glad I did. But it wasn't just kiddos. The demographic changed during the 2-hour window, which is really 3 hours long because the late-comers are swarming until 9. 

At first, while still not full dark, it's the neighborhood moms with very little kids, and some with their dogs, too. I have special dog treats handy for them. The cutest thing was when I handed two dog treats over, and the family looked like they were going to just burst. Finally one child spoke up, saying, "There is a chihuahua in the wagon." Oh my, the poor chihuahua was getting overlooked! He got a treat, too, and the relief was palpable. 

Then, when fully dark, it's neighborhood elementary age and tweens thronging the street. And this is also when very young parents with their new babies in strollers come. The parents are dressed up, as they are barely out of their teens themselves, and the baby always "matches" them. It is SO sweet, and they are SO proud of the baby.

As it gets later, the teens arrive, and are boisterous, but not bad. Sometimes I give a good shriek at their gory costumes and feign fear, and they love that, but anxiously ask if I'm too scared. 

Then there is a definite change, as very little kids start arriving again, this time with parents also carrying "calabasas" for candy. The costumes are pretty threadbare all around. These are our regional neighbors from the El Paso and Juarez area, as evidenced by their license plates.

Some people in our area get angry at these families for coming up from El Paso and Mexico, but I give the parents a lot of credit for bringing the children to an area they know is safe and that will let them enjoy a bountiful amount of candy. The shy smiles of the parents, too, is heartwarming. Unaware I can tell what they are saying, I hear many touching things. Few outside of this area understand the abject poverty of Juarez.

Not one child, not one adult, failed to say "thank you" for their treats! 

The candy necklaces and the glow sticks were the hits of the night. Next year, I am getting more glow sticks, because I ran out.

I hope your Hallowe'en was as fine as mine was!

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Falling for Pumpkins

Well, my bloggie frens, I kind of went over my budget and my minimalist idea to get just a single pumpkin this year. I actually have five of them, ranging in size from (and these are the scientific terms for punkin sizes, or as punkins are termed in pig Latin, "unkinpays"): Teenincy to small. 

The teeniest are actually not punkins, nor pumpkins. They are a gourd, but everyone thinks they are pumpkins. I'm not going to tell them they are not pumpkins! Who would have the heart? 

gourds and pumpkins with lighted candle

So I have two tiny pumpkins - ahem - one little pumpkin, and two small pie pumpkins (not shown) destined to be baked up into dog treats. 

Where did the three smallest ones come from? Were they a gift? Yes, I gave them to myself. They came from the agricultural students' test gardens. I went back over there. They came from the MUD in the test garden. I could feel them under my flip flops. I went foot-fishing for gourds.

You know you live in the desert have "dress" flip flops, and "regular" flip flops. Thank goodness I didn't have my fanciest flip flops on! Please excuse the state of my feet; I have no excuse except to say the desert is hard on the feet.

flip flops in the desert

Shown: Fancy flip flops, suitable for interviews. These are pretty rare in that both glitter AND fake fur are present.
The entire test garden is now knocked down and plowed under! All the pretty corn plants and the tomatoes that had so many ripe fruits! Oh, those silly students! I wish I had gotten a corn stalk when I had the chance. Grrr. Only the itty-bittyest of the pumpkins-slash-gourds escaped the tractor. Sounds like a horror movie for vegetables: The Day the Tractor Came.

It really was a bit horrifying, because once I got home and set the purloined pumpkin on the mantel, FIVE BIG ANTS came out of a hole in the stem. I screamed, forgetting the size differential between myself and the ants. 

I have been unable to locate the ant family.

Later, we drove by the Sprouts natural food market, because they have the strangest pumpkins in town. [Author's note: Is anyone still reading this? ha ha] They were a bit out of my budget, but the pie pumpkins were not. I have not altered the colors in the photo of one of their big cardboard boxes of pumpkins. Such strange pumpkins! 

blue yellow orange white pink pumpkins

And the flesh-colored ones didn't even look real. They looked like styrofoam or plastic! Very odd. 

strange flat cinderella type pumpkins flesh colored

When I used to drive my husband around, he would get out with me and go look at something. Then, he began getting out maybe every other stop. Then, he stopped getting out most rides. Now, he almost never gets out. The doctors are finally trying to find out why he's gotten so weak. In the meantime, I got the idea to take photos of things I see, and then he looks on the camera and sees the sights, while we are still parked. 

I showed him the pie pumpkin bin. I took the photo and then went and asked him which to pick, which I thought was really sweet and inclusive of me:

pie pumpkins in box

And he said, "I don't give a BLEEP, get whatever BLEEP pumpkins you want, you ditzy BLEEP. You're the pumpkin maniac, not me."

Aw, did you think it was going to be a heartwarming story? NO! He has to rein me in sometimes, when I try to make life into a low-budget Hallmark Romantic Mystery or what have you.

Continuing our drive, I spotted a sign that said "Pumpkins." I didn't need more pumpkins, but still, the sign did say Pumpkins and the siren song of the pumpkin is difficult to resist. Diagnosis: Punkin Fevah. I followed the road the arrow pointed down -- for miles -- then another little handmade sign -- miles -- and another -- miles -- and another -- miles -- then a really big sign, pointing down an unpaved road!
Someone has a farmstand and a lot of pumpkins, ristras, gourds, and so forth! It was very cute and had a play area for kids. It was in what I'd call a "farming family" compound near the Rio Grande. Just a modest area. I was very surprised when my husband got out of the car and then walked slowly over to me, giving me a $20 to spend. I think he regretted calling me a Ditzy Bleep. No, he didn't regret it. Yippee! I was like a kid with her allowance, and I bought another ristra, this one to go in his room. He was very pleased, and surprised I didn't go for a bleeping pumpkin. But the smell of chiles drying is just incomparable and I know he loves it! It's almost a honey scent.

farmstand with pumpkins gourds
Shown: Bleeping Pumpkins (scientific name, Unkinpays bleepibleeps)

I hope you enjoyed going along with me on my aimless drive (with gas at $4 a gallon) into the World of Pumpkins. 

I hope you have a wonderful week! Many blog friends are having medical problems, or their loved ones are. You are in my prayers.

Kind regards,

Holly, the Olde Dame 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Huge Bur Oak Acorns and Will There Be Food Shortages?

I was very surprised to find some Bur (also called Burr) Oaks already dropping ripe acorns here. This is a month earlier than they would drop them when I was in West Texas. My eyes were as big as these acorns, to see them by the dozens on the ground! And more coming!
green huge bur burr oak acorns 2021

I bet squirrels could live the entire winter with just a few of these hidden!
bur burr oak acorns in a hand 2021

I did have a long post with some sad Depression stories about acorns, but I think I won't bring extra gloom into the post today! 
bur burr north american largest acorns oak

No, today I'll just enjoy these acorns. Champie sneakily took one for his very own, and is still guarding it a day later.

Ain't he an ugly little thang? But well-loved!

I had to go shopping today and get some supplies. My husband is very concerned that there will be shortages of food, and wanted me to stock up on some of his important items (like Little Debbie powdered donuts, ha ha). So I went to Walmart, and didn't see any shortages, except of some frozen dinners and also of bottled water (the small bottles, not the jugs). But I was so surprised to see ALL the Christmas stuff already up in the garden center area. It looks terrific! I have been hearing that all of the things are stuck offshore in the big container ships! But our Walmarts are full, at the mo'.
The Hallowe'en stuff is in the middle of the store, and it also looks great. I saw a lot of the "Farmhouse Style" autumn decor items and a lot of pretty wreaths and signs. They even have pretty lap throws, and the things for the kids are so cute.
cute halloween accessories 2021

Nothing is "sold out" yet. Is that good or bad, I wonder? Are people not buying, or is there enough to restock each day? 
I really enjoyed wandering around the aisles. On one of the Christmas aisles, there are interesting tableau encased in glass, and filled with water. If you press a button, swirls of glitter come up and the scene lights up! These are not shaped like snowglobes. I thought that if only they plugged in, they'd be a great addition to most homes. But they have batteries, and I don't buy things that only run on batteries, especially weird button batteries that are so expensive.
The Olde Dame is on the prowl for cute items!

I drove over to Albertson's Grocery to try to find the frozen dinners hubby likes, and they have begun putting out Christmas foods and decor, too! The Albertson's here are much smaller than the ones in Midland and the ones in Tucson. But I did notice that along with the rotisserie chickens, they now have roasted turkey breasts, too, ready to eat! 

They do have a really big deli and their food is very good. Expensive in a way, but good. Have you noticed? You used to be able to save a lot of money by "copycatting" deli and restaurant foods at home. Now, ingredients are so expensive that you don't save any money! I find that very strange! 

How can the Village Inn sell a big pecan pie for $14? The ingredients cost me $14, and that's not including the energy to bake it! I just don't understand this modern world.

Are the stores where you are already decorating for Christmas? And have you noticed how expensive just plain food is anymore? 


Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame (and gettin' older)

Monday, October 11, 2021

Autumn Decor by People and Nature

I had to go downtown on Sunday to drop off some seeds I sold on Etsy. The main post office has three big mail-drop boxes. The mail is very slow, so I didn't want to wait until tomorrow to do it. I was thinking if dropped off Sunday, on Monday it would be one of the first pieces handled. Seed sales are suddenly up again.
My husband acts grumpy, but he really likes being my "hand model" to hold seeds and other things I sell. "Do you need me to hold anything?" he will ask hopefully when I come home with seeds! "Of course, honey!"

The above is NOT a commercial! It's just an example of the little photos he likes to be in.
But I dropped the little package of seeds between the car and the mailbox! And I had just been thinking, "Gosh, I hope I don't drop the package! That'd be pretty bad!" Oh no! I opened the car door, hit it against the box, and could not reach down far enough to grab the package from the ground. And I hit my head on my own car door. Ow. I had to back up, open the door again, and get out to be able to reach down. I was so glad no one was waiting behind me during this elegant show of my graceful ways.

pretty desert store

Driving back, I saw the little store I love so much, and they have decorated the outside for autumn. Gone is the summer theme that had the pompoms and oranges and lemons, shown in a summer blog post. Now, all is silver, gold, white, and turquoise, but autumn items! I thought it very elegant. I like the regular colors for at home, but the store's color scheme was pretty.


The windows really caught my eye. I thought some lace panels had been added, but it was just paint! I am going to try to paint a lace "valance" on my bedroom window now. It's just bare, except for some blinds. 
painted lace on window pane

After driving down Main Street, I went to light some holy candles, and I had an extra $2 to light one exclusively for a job, which I need very badly indeed, and shockingly, the Perpetual Adoration Chapel was LOCKED. I have never encountered a locked door at a main cathedral before. I'm floored by this. All the smaller parishes lock up tight, yes. But our main parish? I hope I can find out what is going on, without sounding like I'm being disapproving. I know we had a lot of trouble with disturbed persons going in, so this may be what caused the change. But it was awful, that locked door.

On the way home, I decided to stop and take a look at the university's agricultural students' garden. It is in sad shape! I think the weeds took over there just as they did in my little community plot! Most of the garden has been plowed, and what's left is just a mess. And so many pumpkins, tomatoes, and corn just left unharvested and falling off the plants! Some of the vines were already plowed over but are still trying to ripen off their fruits.


I was so sorely tempted to take some tiny pumpkins just lying in the dirt, but of course I didn't. I put one of the tinies on top of another pumpkin and took a photo. Maybe a student will see the little pumpkin and take it to their dorm room!

There are at least 100 birdhouse gourds, still green, in part of the garden. I hope they will ripen and the students will gather them. I wonder why the university doesn't have a farm stand, so the students can earn money for their college studies. They used to do that where I went to college, but that's a long time ago now and maybe it is passe. I feel sorry for the students today. They aren't getting much of an education, and at such a price, too.

I had a heck of a time walking along the garden rows. My arthritis is so much worse lately. I can remember running up and down farm rows like a little goat! I watched "It's A Wonderful Life" (in color) again a few days ago, and boy is the quip true that the old guy on the porch says to a young Jimmy Stewart: "Youth is wasted on the young!" I've decided to get a cane, the kind with "feet," like the "HurryCane" they used to sell on television. I'd rather hobble with a cane than miss out on my little adventures!

Ah, my "exciting" life! But I'm grateful for my little pokey life. It doesn't feel pokey to me, actually. Every day I see, think, hear, or read something amazing!

Here's hoping each of you will have a good week ahead, light on the worries of the world, and heavy on amazing!

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Monday, September 27, 2021

Treasures of Nature, Early Autumn Edition!

Rain in the desert is a wonderful thing. You won't hear people out here singing, "Rain, rain, go away," as I did back on the Gulf Coast. It's such a rare treat here, and it makes all the plants perk up and bloom, or turn green or into their fall colors. 

When he was four, my son said, "Mama, why do you always say, 'God's Green Earth?' It's brown!" He was a desert boy! Yes, it's brown, usually. Pretty shades of brown and red and ochre, like a piece of a Picture Jasper gemstone! But when sparked with the green or the changing leaves or the blooms, it's lovely. It puts heart into the viewer.

We had such gully washers Saturday and Sunday, and lovely sunlight inbetween! It was exciting, although the dogs don't share my enthusiasm for lightning and downpours. I drove my husband around for a ride both days during the sunny part and we went to see the sights. 

tiny yellow crab apples

I snuck into the closed botanical park again, to get some more windfall crab apples. They are all over the path, and I don't know why, but the ants are not interested in them.
I got two fallen pomegranates, too! There were some teeny tiny yellow crab apples, but I didn't get them.

We drove around in the valley and up into the foothills as well. We always see something new! I am going to try to pan for gold dust in the arroyos near the mountains! I just have a feeling...but I'll wait for true fall weather. The water runs like a torrent through all the arroyos big and small during these storms. Very dangerous to be in them when it's raining on the mountains, even if you are miles away. But I looked at the sandy arroyos and thought, "gold dust." We shall see! 

sandy arroyo las cruces nm

Up in the Terrero area in the north of the state, I found nuggets of silver in the Pecos River! Big nuggets! That was almost 30 years ago. I don't think we have silver here, but I have heard many settlers thought there was gold.

I did find treasure, though! 

Pyracantha berries turning all shades of orange! While I was taking pictures, a very elderly gentleman with a wild mane of purest white hair stopped his old truck and called out to me. He wanted to make sure I was okay and not having car trouble. That made my day! Such kindness!

2021 pyracantha berries ripening to orange

More treasures:

Beauty Berry, in shades of metallic magenta. As a youngster, I made "ink" from the berries. But it dried gray.

beauty berry metallic purple

A stump filled with fallen leaves!

Fragrant eucalyptus leaves from a tall tree!

Prickly pears with their ripe "tunas" along an old fencerow!

A bee's feast where birds have torn open a ripe tuna! You can see a flying bee "at 7 o'clock" coming in for a landing next to her friend!

And this is pretty enough for a Christmas card, nature's red and green composition!

This week, it's fall cleaning in preparation for the holidays. It's just me and my husband, and our four pets. But I like to keep up our little traditions, and one is to clean thoroughly before the holiday decorations go up in earnest. Since this is "the Land of Enchantment," it takes a lot of dusting and sweeping to keep all that "enchantment" corralled!

A guilty pleasure: Listening with half an ear to sappy holiday movies -- Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, or Christmas -- while cleaning or while drawing my new digital tags for the Etsy shop, or applying for jobs on the computer. Oh, those are sappy, sappy, dripping with sap movies, and I find them to be balm to the soul! 

This week is exciting because our parish is having a potluck on Saturday. I am thinking of taking a pecan pie. The meats will be provided, by the Knights of Columbus. Whenever our priest mentions "the Knights," he will solemnly intone, "I myself am a Knight." I think that's so cute.  

I hope each and every bloggie friend has a WONDERFUL week! If you have time, please drop a little comment and tell me your news or a thought! 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly