Monday, September 20, 2021

Shine On, Harvest Moon!

The huge and lovely harvest moon, bathed in a rich golden hue, rose early tonight! I don't take photos of the moon anymore; they always come out like a dot or a little yellow pea when I try! But I hope the moonbeams found you, wherever you are! 

I redid a bit of my mantel, to showcase a fine fat gourd and its tiny "baby." The large gourd is a bottle or birdhouse type, and the little one nestling at its side is a "spinner" gourd. Can you believe the gourd was only $3?

A bit of candlelight, and the room felt very different, very cozy and fall-like!

I just adore candlelight. I am excited to have found a little candle -- and now I can't recall where, which is ridiculous since I go so few places -- that came with a cork lid. When it has finally sputtered out, I will have a sweet tiny container, perhaps for little safety pins or buttons or beads. The glass is a pretty amber color. My mother had many, many amber glass items, and I never liked them, until I turned 60. Then, I adored amber glass! 

I added a little stool I have and put a fake punkin atop it, and I think I'm finally happy with the mantel...but perhaps not. I think I have a fake mouse or two to add to it, somewhere!

I did buy a non-essential item besides the candle and gourd, too...a ristra! A long one that is very pretty. Ristras are green chiles (that turn red when fully ripe) that are strung together in a lovely swag, and sometimes into wreaths. But the swag is the most common. They are a beloved symbol of the turn of the year and of Christmas here. They smell very good when drying.

They hang from most houses, both inside and out, and also hang from the light posts in that little nearby village of Mesilla that snuggles up against the city of Las Cruces. I think it's precious that most manger scenes include a ristra here.

Mine is drying by the front door. If I manage to get another job, I will get one of the four-foot ones. But this one is about 3 feet and quite nice. Once it's drier, it will go inside. I use them in cooking but not enough chiles are plucked from it to make it look scanty. It stays pretty until the next year. Ristras are said to bring luck to a house.

We had a scare with one of the pets, the Chiweenie. He didn't want to eat, and that is a huge red flag, so we took him straight to the vet clinic and he had to stay there a few days, on an IV. The vet thinks maybe he had food poisoning or "just a sick tummy." But he's back home and I have him eating turkey and rice, and chicken and rice, and some little white bread and turkey sandwiches! He's not 100 percent yet...lighted a candle for him and all pets today after Mass...

The vet bill almost sent ME to the hospital! Dreadfully expensive. Insanely so, but what can someone do? These are strange times, changing and in scary ways, I think! Some changes I like, but the pace of change seems to be so fast, the older I get, and I think a lot of the changes are toxic! But there's still beauty...and I hope you have a BEAUTIFUL week! 

Tell me, have you finished your fall decorating? And did you see the harvest moon?

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame, Holly

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Pumpkin Men, Bridge Mix, and Pretty Free Art Deco Hallowe'en Tags

It is time for my wooden Pumpkin Men to come out and greet passersby, the FedEx guy, neighbors, and if I had any here, friends. These are about five feet tall and made of wood. One of the members of a "primitives" group I belong to makes them and this is the 3rd Halloween they will be up. And they were reasonably priced, too!

Sometimes I hang a pumpkin bucket or a pail from their hands. This year I think they will be plain until I can gather some discarded corn husks from some of the ditches near the local farms. Then I'll tie on some corn husks.

The photo is before I added strings of lights to the courtyard. I got eaten up by mosquitoes last night but I am so glad the Hallowe'en lights are up! I got up about four times to look at them glowing in the night! I finally found true purple lights (at Walmart), not those red-violet lights often sold as purple. They're too pinky for me at Hallowe'en, although actually a lot of vintage graphics do show pink at Hallowe'en!

And...speaking of vintage graphics, I made up a quick tag set of Hallowe'en bridge tally ladies of yesteryear! Remember all those bridge tallies? Well, remember BRIDGE?

Oh gosh, when I was young, it was played so much more than now, I think. It was a weekly get-together at many homes. Gosh, they even named that collection of various chocolates, "Bridge Mix." I think it was the biggest seller at the Sears candy counter. 

By the time I entered college, the bridge tables in the Student Union had given way to the backgammon craze. Backgammon was everywhere, and I never learned to play it or bridge. My husband can play bridge excellently, and learned at about 10 years old. His mother would have numerous tables at her house once a week, and if someone didn't show, she'd grab him and he would sit in. And woe to him if he played poorly. She also held many dances, had studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory, and taught him to dance, which he despises. He does not remember any of it fondly, but I was impressed that she had taken pains that he have the social niceties. My brother nearest to me in age and I were raised like wild wolves.

Many fans of ephemera collect bridge tallies. I think I have one or two in my box of vintage cards and papers. I took these images from eBay auctions and cleaned them up. 

As always, USE THE LINK ---> Click for Tallies - because mean ol' Blogger squishes and reduces the image sizes of photos and graphics placed in our posts, making them print ugly. So, go right to the source for better printing.

In the Bridge Mix (chocolates must be capitalized in my book) -- notice my mind goes right back to candy -- I think there were (chocolate covered) raisins, peanuts, almonds, could it be Brazil Nuts also, vanilla creme, a rare "jelly" center, perhaps a licorice center. There was an all-nut bridge mix, too, but we didn't get that one.

Does anyone remember Bridge Mix? If so, what was your favorite piece? What's your favorite candy now? I'd love to know!

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame, Holly

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

dANGER Not Ahead!

I was walking around in Walmart, as I often do. That's how I find many interesting things. I wander around at my pace. And wandering through the Hallowe'en items, I saw this:

danger tape for halloween decoration at walmart

I had never realized that the word DANGER has ANGER in it, but that really resonated with me. Danger: Anger ahead! Righteous anger can be very useful, but at some point, it can become dangerous. Maybe it's a psychological protection or advantage to "nurse one's wrath" at times, especially if someone is trying to right a wrong for someone. 

But for me, the anger I have been feeling over the attempt to make me commit fraud at my former job is not serving me well, at all! I have not properly dealt with the confusion and fright I felt, or my fear at being without a job, and just lump it into "anger." As the college students say, I was "triggered!" I think it's easier to feel the anger than to feel the fear. 

The fear and fury has been just sticking me right into a molasses mindset! Stuck, scared! So, I'm working on that. I went to the cathedral yesterday and just sat two hours. Said the rosary several times, lighted candles, poured my troubles out to Jesus and Mary. Sometimes I am like a child who wants to be told she is right, and get a pat on the head and a lollipop! I felt that Mary did indeed give me that sweet pat and sent me out much stronger and calmer.

Going to the cathedral always gives me "ganas." Ganas is the Spanish word for "guts" or "gumption," for energy, for effort. If you tell someone "Ponle ganas!" it exhorts them to "get crackin'" and to take heart, to TRY! The very air in the church tells me √≠Ponle ganas! (Pohn-lay Gah-nass!) Pick yourself up, try! (see the candle flames like dots above the holy candles, to the right of the photo above? One of them is the Bloggie Frens candle!)

I was energized after being in the silent, cool church. I put up some indoor Hallowe'en decorations! Not much, but it feels like enough for this year. Closer to Hallowe'en I will get a pumpkin. I got the vintage cutouts for something like 30 cents after the season at Hobby Lobby in years' past.

And there is nothing like NATURE to get one's head on right and put things into perspective! I went for a drive and took my husband along, as it cheers him, also. We went from the very bottom of the Mesilla Valley to the foothills of the nearby Organ Mountains. 

The big reservoir upstream from us is not releasing any more water into the Rio Grande this year. It will not run again until March or April of next year. Now there's just a ribbon of water in the center of the river. I walked around in the riverbed and was so surprised to see that freshwater mussels of some sort clearly live in the river!

In a few days, even the ribbon of water will be gone.

You can see the mountains on the horizon. We left the river and drove up to them. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive to the foothills. 

I can tell by the color of the brush that autumn is nigh. 

What do you do to lift your flagging spirits or to combat anger and fear? Do you seek out nature? I know some of you do, from reading your delightful blogs. Do you also like to go into darkened churches to recharge and seek guidance? Or are you more the cup-of-tea or bubble-bath type? I like all of those things! 

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame, Holly

Saturday, September 4, 2021

It's Apple-Picking Time in the Desert!

As strange as it may seem, this area -- the Mesilla Valley -- was once known in the Southwest as an apple center. There is still a local family who as a labor of love run a very old orchard that had fallen into disrepair. They offer U-Pick during a few weeks of the year. As this is a missionary family who go overseas most of the year, they are not able to keep the orchard as spruced-up as those who are living here full time. Plus, the family is just a lil' bit weird. No judgment! So it's a wild and woolly little place. 

In the desert, trees don't grow as tall as they do in less harsh areas. A
very old tree might be only 10 or 12 feet tall. 

I went apple picking yesterday. I love to pick apples or any fruit or vegetable! But the mosquitoes were fierce and it was very humid in the orchard. I had mosquitoes trying to go up my nose and light around my eyes, the only places I hadn't put Off Deep Woods! 

It was still a lovely time, though. My husband didn't come with me, as it would be too far for him to walk to get to the trees, and I was also going to go from there straight to Mass.

TIP if you're apple picking this fall: If you see a spider web on an apple's stem, pick that one! Mrs. Spider has kept the bugs off of it and it will be a pretty apple! 

A few of the photos I took reminded me of the Garden of Eden, with a veil over the apple tree, before All The Trouble!

There were big apples and very small apples. There was a row of Jonathan apples, too, maybe my favorites! Below is a big apple of unknown type, and there were even bigger ones. I got one the size of a grapefruit.

A lot of what looked like "Grandpa Ott" morning glories were twined up in the trees and garlanding the apples. It was so beautiful. I wish the photos were as vivid as it looked in real life.

The windfall apples were everywhere and footing was tricky. Stepping on an apple in the tall grass either gave me a jolt as it rolled underfoot, or the unpleasant sensation of sinking in mush. I told the owners that they might want to "run hogs" in the orchard to clean up all the fallen apples, but I don't think they understood what I meant.

"Run hogs?" "Yes, borrow some hogs, let them eat up the apples." "Hogs?" "Yes, folks raising hogs, ask them if they want to bring their hogs and let them eat up the fallen apples. Run some hogs." "Hogs, like pigs?" "Yes, pigs!"
I bought two peck bags to fill. Each one holds about 14 pounds, but I put so many little apples in there between the huge apples that it was quite a bit heavier! "I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!" So I got to see first-hand a "peck!" 

I love the twin apples still connected at the stem!

I picked early so as to be able to make noon Mass. One peck was hauled into the church and put up on a table where there are free holy cards and such. 
I was early, and kept peeking over there instead of attending to my prayers, to see if anyone wanted any apples. I was getting anxious because no one took any. Oh ye of little faith! I finally settled down and looked up at Mary and stopped worrying no one wanted the apples. I always try to sit closest to a statue of Mary in any church.

After Mass, I stayed for what is called the Sacrament of Healing, where you can get blessed and annointed for maladies physical and emotional. I was nearly the last in line and when I left, there were only three little apples still in the bag! Hooray! Today I'm bringing most of the other bag, too. And I'm keeping some out for the priest. I'm keeping a few for us, to make some "fried apples" to put over ice cream, because I think that will tempt my husband to eat. If ONLY needing to be tempted to eat was my problem.

I am hoping the corn maze place will have pumpkin U-picking this year! Last year, nada, due to COVID, of course.

Do you go to any U-pick places during the fall, for apples or punkins or what have you? Or any special outings to gather things from nature for fall or winter?

[ =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-   <--- cat walking on keyboard made this interesting border! ]

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Cheap Entertainment and Bye-Bye to My Job

I haven't posted much lately. I find that when my life gets fraught with difficulties or upsetting things, I can't post. I just become what I call "stuck in molasses," unable to move forward for a bit. I go peek in at blogs, but sometimes can't leave a comment because I feel too bad.

I just finished up my two weeks' notice at my school secretary job and again am staring at, looking for a job. 

Sadly, there are toxic places run by toxic people in this world. There are people who aren't naturally good people, who do not try to be good people. There are those who demean, who lie, who border on violence, and sometimes they are the bosses. And Christian communities are not immune to having these people in them, in positions of power.

Even though I had been treated very roughly and harshly already at the job, I tried to just be calm and not let it get me down. But it went to a new level.

Short version of what happened: Told to alter the financial records in a way that was fraudulent, in order to appear in better shape financially before trying for a loan. Politely refused after spending hours seeing if it was possible to alter them in a non-fraudulent way. Called on the carpet and screamed at and demeaned for 40 minutes. Called mean names, cursed at. I shook all the way home. 

Sometimes, you have to draw that boundary line. I'm glad I did. I found out after resigning that the people who went crazy at me for not altering the books served time in the federal prison system for financial fraud at their former business. Wow.

In happier news, I decided to get the car washed in one of those wonderful automatic carwash places. I love going through them, although sometimes the poor guys have to delay the line, because I am very bad at getting the tire onto the little conveyer-belt thing. There are free vacuums at the end -- they are powerful!  I took my husband along for an "outing." He enjoys going on rides, usually, although that's getting tiring for him, too. The rides have to be pretty short or on very smooth roads.

carwash entrance

I do wish the conveyer-belt moved more slowly in these car washes. I think the wash would be better if the cars were in there a bit longer.

It is hard not to stomp on the brake while going through.

Even though I know it's just bullcorn, I cannot resist sometimes getting the "hot wax" portion of the wash as an "upgrade." It's just colored lights to make some suds look "hot," but I love it. I always think to myself, "I am paying extra for a light bulb to be turned on." I don't know why that's so amusing to me. But the color is just incredible. You are looking at $3 worth of color below!

This was a lucky carwash, because while vacuuming, I found my husband's long-lost pocket knife! Super lucky day! 

I hope you are having a lovely September! Brrrrr, the "ber" months! Yes, can't wait for a cool snap and the turn of the year!

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Blog Post with A Side of Butter

Last week was a whirlwind since it was the first week of school. I am so behind in blog visits, boo! This next week will be very heavy in terms of work, too. It's just how the school year runs: Come early, stay late.

I did get in a weekend drive, though. 

Our first stop was the largest local park. I had an idea that some unusual oaks might be planted in the park, and I was overjoyed to find them growing there! There were three Bur Oaks, and they make huge acorns with frilled tops. Here is a green one:

Burr or Bur Oak acorn growing

When mature, that acorn will fill your cupped palm!

There were some mighty sycamores, too, and you can see the leaves know that it is heading towards autumn. The light under the tree was so peculiar:

beautiful large sycamore in early fall

I hear some birdies like the seeds, too. They remind me of cattails, with tightly packed fluff and seeds:

sycamore fruit

I very much want to find a sweetgum here, for those round pointy seedheads they make, but so far, no luck.

I stopped by Holy Cross and ran in (okay, hobbled in) to light some candles. These three are for bloggie frens. I chose the "blue bank" of candles, but there is also a red bank. I go back and forth between the two. It was so lucky to find a "ten" in my purse, as Holy Cross is just $1 per candle, so I had that bank going pretty good.

Stopped by the completely overgrown community garden plot and saw an old friend, fatter than ever! You and me both, buddy.

Woodhouse desert toad

We went to lunch at Golden Corral. Golden Corral delights me, because it is what I call "home cooked" food. I love seeing the old-time foods that "no one" seems to cook anymore. Heck, America is eating out so much now, with home meals kind of scorned in many households! But where else can you find pan-fried cabbage, fried chicken livers 'n' onions, hamburgers served on buttered toast cut on the diagonal, pea salad, and bread pudding? 

old time hamburger

I had to take a picture of my husband's plate (below), because I got so tickled, although we felt bad about wasting food. Usually I run and get him a plate, but he wanted to get his own salad this time (and it was the only thing he ate, sadly). He started eating and was griping about the "potato salad" not being any good, and I wondered what he meant, because our Golden Corral doesn't serve potato salad. 

Then it dawned on me: He had loaded up his plate with BUTTER, thinking it was the potato salad. Oh boy oh boy! I stuck my roll in the picture to try to make it seem like perhaps it was destined for a roll, but alas, I'm afraid it was just thrown out. But he ate a lump of butter equal to the lump left!

Golden Corral plate

Back home, a pretty lantana bloom was waiting for us as the sun headed down. The lantanas sure took their time blooming this year! 

pink fuschia lantana

Oh! One dastardly thing that happened this past week and made me a bit down: I found that my cross stitch patterns are being sold (bootleg copies) by some very horrible people who are also stealing hundreds of other patterns, all taken from Etsy. So upsetting. I made one of those "DMCA copyright infringement" claims and presented it to the web hosting service, but who knows if it will work. It is a sophisticated operation that preys on small artists.

Don't forget the Prayer to St. Michael when you encounter evil!

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Well, bloggie frens, I will be popping and hopping over to your blogs this afternoon, and I wish you a blessed week, and strength for any trials and tribulations that come your way. And may they all be small.

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Friday, August 6, 2021

Harbingers of Fall

In reading on another (very lovely) blog, the blogess remarked that when she sees the purple wildflowers blooming, she knows autumn is around the corner. And I was struck by her observation. Yes, it's true: the blooming of the purple wildflowers is an early harbinger of fall! Oh, we have purples in spring, too; violets and Johnny-Jump-Ups and ajugas, but not the profusion of purples in the fall, mainly by dozens of types of Wild Purple Asters.

autumn blooms of wild purple asters

I have some in the front yard, that grew up from seed I scattered last year. Tiny finches love gathering on them and eating the seeds. These finches must be very light, as the stems on the plants are weak and droop easily. I have already thrown handfuls of seeds in the courtyard, for next year. Thousands of the asters are all along the Rio Grande. I gathered the seeds from there last year.

An early audible hint of autumn is to hear certain bird calls. When I lived in the Southeast, like clockwork would come the raucous call of the bluejay. They scream out those calls in early spring and then again when they announce autumn. Caw! Caw! When I lived in the Northwest, I would sometimes hear the honking of geese long before I saw them in their thousands, heading south. I only saw it a few times, but that was a highlight of my life.

When geese fly faster than usual, and quieter than usual, and higher than usual, it means that the coming winter will be very bad. 

I have not yet received one of my "feelings" about what the turn of the year will bring. I do think autumn will have a long "Indian Summer" this year, based on some caterpillar lore. I have seen several hawkmoth larvae much later than I should. What do they know that I don't? Nature may have told them that there will be something to eat weeks later than there normally would be.

However, those crab apples ripening so soon are sending another message! Or are they? Perhaps they are ripening so as to be able to be sown much farther than usual, as snows will be late? Or are they saying, "We must hurry; a bad winter awaits!"

To paraphrase St. Paul, "Who can know the mind of God?" 

Which reminds me! I am making a Nature Table for the lobby of the school again! I decided to make an "apple" table, with some crab apples from the Verboten Park, some little apple figurines and such that I have, and this thought (not original) printed out: "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple. But only God can count the apples in a seed."

Don't worry that I'll get in trouble with such a blantantly religious message. It is a private school!

Champie is welcoming autumn early, with a new sparkly collar. It is iridescent warm yellow, hard to tell in the photo. I made it out of a piece of a key lanyard.

I am still working on Sophie's collar. It is tapestry ribbon, with beaded parts. I just finished another little pillow-tuck, so her collar will be finished soon.

pin cushion pillow halloween fall autumn

I am always looking for lore and wise words: What are the subtle signs of fall in your area?