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

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Dollar Tree Witch Redo and Crockpot Success!

I try to stay out of Dollar Tree unless absolutely necessary, because of my very bad habit of picking up things I don't need. But for some items, like cellulose sponges, I do have to run into the Dollar Tree. And Dollar Tree is the only place around here that has 2 and 2.5 gallon slider "Ziplocks," which I use to organize my cross stitch projects and to store dog kibble in the freezer. The special veterinary dog kibble is really spendy and I like it to be fresh for them.

Dollar Tree hanging witch

Of course, this last time I went I had to go and latch onto a hanging witch decoration. I like cute decorations, and this witch is almost too scary. The "BEFORE" is in the photo above.

halloween lights in a courtyard

Anyhoo, I got ready to paint up the little plain witchywoo after running errands today. My legs get very tired during the day, despite all the surgeries. And then I could NOT find my little paint pots! Oh gosh, WHERE are they? I did have some other paints, but not the little set that has all the usual colors. Boo! So I did what I could. I was just too tired to run back out to Wally World for the little paints and dangnabit I know I have them somewhere.

dollar tree witch hack

I am pretty happy with the witch! The strange flakes on the face are actually really big glitter. It looks good in person. The camera does not capture it very well. The bit of gray hair is from a fake bun I bought myself to try to make it look like I have some hair left on my poor head.

redo upcycle dollar tree witch

I put her up high on my courtyard iron fence, so that the very little kids won't see her very well. I don't even know what I'm talking about: With this COVID business, our governor may very well shut down Trick or Treat again this year and no kids whatsoever will be in danger of getting scared by my decorations. But I want to be ready. I might change the eye color to blue. The red might be too scary.

funny green witch with gray hair on fence

I finally got around to making a big crockpot full of "apple pie filling." I followed my own recipe, out of my head, and it really came out good! The "secret" ingredients were to put whole cloves in an emptied-out teabag and let it stew in there, and also to put two tablespoons of maple syrup in. Also, put brown sugar. If you don't like cloves, you would not like the stewed apples, though. They are heavy on the cloves and on ginger. I take the peels off my apples before I stew them up.

Lore: Keep breath fresh by putting a whole clove between teeth and cheek, like a chaw. DON'T SWALLOW IT. Yes, I most always have a clove chaw. What can I say, ladies? I run around barefoot in a muumuu with a chaw. I WAS born in Arkansas.

Additional clove lore: If you feel a cold coming on, get a teacup and fill with orange juice. Squeeze in 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime. Put in a dollop of honey. Now float at least five whole cloves in it and a small piece of candied ginger. Heat it up, sip it all down. Then eat the piece of ginger, and put a clove for a chaw for a few minutes. Put Vicks under your nose. Then prop yourself up to sleep for at least the first three hours. This is my Granny's never-fail remedy and it works for us!

It's getting to be "cold season." Do you have any family remedies that work for you? I'd love to hear them!

Kind regards,

Holly, The Olde Dame

Monday, October 4, 2021

A Little Free Paper Craft and Some Pecan Lore

Since I'm in-between employment, I've been making a lot of digital tags for my Etsy shop. I decided to print out my new favorites and make some cute "Mason Jar" decorations. I drink out of canning jars of all shapes and sizes and use them for storing foods and small items. And they make such cute rustic vases!

MerryNeedle on Etsy - Mason Jar Digital Tags
It was wonderful to sit on the bed with the dogs and cut out my "scraps" while a sweet OLD Hallmark movie played! Oh yes, the movies are silly and syrupy, but I find them to be a nice background to crafting! Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, it doesn't matter. I like to link the entire end of the year together and enjoy all of it, zusammen! But the NEW Hallmarks are not to my taste at all! They seem kind of trashy!

I have a link to a special set of these silly little tags just for my bloggie readers! It's at the bottom of the post. The ones for bloggie frens are not in the Etsy shoppe, but are just for you to enjoy, if fussy-cutting and glueing is fun for you!  

I went "running" with my buddy, my dear hubby. I gathered some rare jujubes, which are tasty but are mostly a big seed. They are falling off like a rain of dried plums! I don't know if they are visible, but like most things in the desert, the branches have HUGE thorns.

Then it was time to go check if the pecan groves have begun to change leaf colors. It's still too early.
The pecans are still ripening, still in their husks. I gathered several fallen pecans still in the husk (they are no good for eating if they fall when unripe), because they are a surefire cure for ringworm! 
Sometimes I take in litters of kittens that need bottle-feeding, and many times, these poor things have ringworm. There are pharmaceuticals to combat ringworm, but I feel the green husk juice is more effective. It does stain the skin and fur, but the quickness of the cure is worth it. It eventually fades, usually before the kittens are ready for their "furever homes." I have the green pecans I picked up stored in the freezer for future use.
I have heard that green pecan leaves are also effective, but I haven't tried that. 

Did you know that it's LUCKY if a pecan "beans" you right on the noggin? It is!

There was a roadside shrine among the trees. These are common here, and are called descansos. They are protected by law when placed along a public highway or roadway, and many are very elaborate. They are placed at the sites of fatal accidents. I try to drive very carefully, and the descansos remind me of how important it is to continue to do so.

I'm just about to start a fun crafting project where I take a Dollar Tree hanging "witch" and hopefully elevate its appearance somewhat! I hope to pop in later this week with a "before" and "after" post. I like the Norwegian "kitchen witches" and hope this will bring those funny witches to mind. I do not like "scary" things, but I do love kitschy funny ones!

I hope you are all doing well this first full week of October, bloggie friends! Anything special planned this week?

Kind regards,

Holly, the Olde Dame
USE THE LINKS or they won't print correctly!

Link to the "Autumn" Jars:


Link to the "Winter" Jars:


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

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Hurry, Fall! And Millions of Golden Yellow Blooms

This year, we are having a week of FALL WEATHER, when it is usually still very hot. Amazing!

Come along with me and see a spectacular sight in our area. It is a display of millions of yellow daisy-like blooms, on the property of a wealthy individual who has a house perched atop an area of low peaks. He sows and irrigates these flowers with miles of drip irrigation pipe. I almost want to say they are Maximillian Sunflowers, but the leaves are different.

expanse of sunflowers in the desert in fall

From across the valley, an area of yellow/chartreuse is visible. That's his property! And that's how I discovered his display when we moved here in 2019. I thought, "What's making that color?" Chartreuse is probably my very favorite color. I am somewhat of a "prepper" and in my grab 'n' go bags, I make sure I have a couple of Prismacolor colored pencils in chartreuse. I don't want to be caught in a disaster without a chartreuse colored pencil.

As we drove up, they got yellower and yellower.

I like how the road signs and hydrant match the flowers!

There was a greenish light on the flowers underneath the palm fronds

Actually, I do have drawing paper and several puzzles and word game booklets in each bag, along with a deck of cards. I'm kind of divided on the deck of cards. Have you read "The Hiding Place"? It is a true story of WWII. Middle-aged Dutch resistance member Corrie ten Boom is put in a concentration camp for helping Jews. Someone gives her a deck fashioned from pieces of paper, perhaps toilet paper. Her father had always been against card-playing of any type, but she was fascinated and played Solitare to while away the days in, fittingly enough, solitary confinement. Eventually, she stopped, feeling that she was letting the cards function as some kind of good luck power instead of concentrating on God's power.

If you haven't read the book, it's fascinating. I had an old copy of her original telling of her story, "A Prisoner and Yet," that she wrote herself without the help of professional writers, and it was quite different than the eventual bestseller they crafted. It was plainer, more down-to-earth, unpolished, lighter on "miracles," and the events didn't dovetail nicely as they do in the better-known version of her story. It was, in fact, very different. It is hard to find any mention that this was her FIRST book, published in 1947, perhaps because it is so different from "The Hiding Place." Lots of wisdom in her books.

But I digress from our flowers! 

I could not manage to catch a butterfly with its wings open as it drank. This one has its wings folded.

I have never seen as many butterflies in Las Cruces as I have this year. Even far away from the swath of daisies, the butterflies are everywhere, mainly yellow ones, quite small. WHY does everyone LOVE butterflies but HATE poor caterpillars? 

Millions of butterflies flew over millions of blooms! Where the irrigation pipes had leaked and the ground was still wet, thousands of butterflies gathered along the length, constantly flying up and reforming little groups. I don't know if they were siphoning up water, or minerals. I poured out a thermos of cold water, in case it was water they were wanting.

These blooms have already become a part of autumn for me here. I love the markers of fall, wherever I have lived. I am sad to "lose" some with each move, but there is always something new to embrace, too. 

When I lived in Maryland, there was the turning of the leaves. In Ohio, pots of mums -- the huge pots -- were on every stoop and porch. On Whidbey Island, there were the sea storms of great force, human-sized "porch scarecrows" at most homes, and maples deep in the fir forests that had leaves the size of turkey platters in yellow, then orange, then red. In Tucson, the green corn tamales started to appear for sale. The signs along the Gulf Coast were more just a mental feeling and the items that started appearing in the stores.

What about where you live? Is there something special that happens each autumn? 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

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