Recent Entries to this Blog
Guess I am officially old now
Category: Life happenings | Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:01 pm
My Grandmother had blue hair, from my earliest years of childhood I can only remember her having blue hair. In a perverse way I thought it was pretty cool to be the only kid in my grade whose Grandmother had blue hair....and who had been divorced. Considering the times (I started school in 1952) being divorced was not something talked about in polite company but being not quite the 'polite' child my mother would have preferred I did talk about it.
Back to the blue hair.....my grandmother started going gray at the age of 18 and by the time I was born when she was 36, she was totally gray. The popular way to treat gray hair in those days was to brighten it with laundry bluing.....why not, it was used to brighten white clothes. I am not sure that there were any official instructions for that use, my grandmother must have figured that if a little was good then a lot was better.....it turned her gray hair a pale blue.
When I was a young woman I vowed that I would never dye my hair when it started going gray. I certainly didn't plan on bluing my hair, that was cool on my grandmother but not gonna happen on me.
As I got older the gray coming in was a mousy color and with my dark hair it looked terrible so I gave in and started dyeing it. To make a long story short, over time I developed an alergy to the coloring used in the hair dye. I stopped using it and let my hair grow so I could get all the colored part cut off. I got my hair cut really short last week and realized that the gray is looking pretty good so I think I will keep it. Besides now I don't have to prove I am eligible for the senior citizen discount when I buy something or we go out to eat....like the cashier couldn't see the wrinkles before? sheesh.
But even with the gray hair, wrinkles, a 42 year old daughter, senior discounts, senior sized portions at restaurants and aches and pains that were not there a few years ago being old hadn't really sunk in.
Then today reality hit.....I received my first Social Security Benefit payment.
But what the heck, I've got extra money and am going plant shopping.
This blog entry has been viewed 2257 times
Whining, this past week and weekend plans
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:50 pm
It is another scorcher today
It was a scorcher yesterday
It will be a scorcher again tomorrow.
And this evening we go to our nieces high school graduation ceremony which will be held outside in the football stadium. My luck we will be sitting where we can see the setting sun in all it's glory.....boy won't I be happy about that. But Amanda did buy me a purple and white parasol at the A-kon last weekend, that should help some.
Okay, now I have my summer heat whining done for the weekend.
Yesterday morning I finally got more plants in the new bed out front.
The two Mystic Spires Salvia, two Scabiosa atropurpurea - 'Black Knight'
two Coreopsis and a Maximillian Sunflower. Of course the wind was fierce all afternoon and thru the night, but it looks like they rode it out with no problems.
The three Sweet Violets are in their hanging baskets waiting for Randy to get the hooks installed.
In potting up the new herbs the other day I found one that I had forgotten to include in the previous blog entry. I have two upright Myrtle plants. No info from the grower other than the name but it appears they will grow into large shrubs. That is a good thing since I want to use a variety of large shrubs to 'fence' off our front yard. I have a Texas Lilac and the two Myrtles, now to get a Rose of Sharon, a couple of Butterfly bushes, a Weigela. I would love to have a Burning Bush too.
I fenced in the massive and very prolific white shrub rose out front. It always looks so unkempt, now it has a woven wicker type short fence around it to help define it's place. That corner of the fence on the right side of the picture looks crooked because it is, the new entrance to the front garden will eventually be between that fence and where the white trellis is along the front.
Also started putting in a bed along the front of the house. Randy sprayed the area with soil sterilizer last fall so I just covered it with mulch. The trellis will have a Clematis and some painted birdhouse gourds hanging from it after this weekend.
There will be another trellis/clematis combo in front of the window too.
The pots will hold Coreopsis, Mexican Mint Marigold and Goldenrod.
This bed will extend down to the other end of the house but that is way too close to where we killed poison ivy a couple of years ago and considering what that stuff does to me, I am not going near it. That also is on Randy's to-do list for this weekend.
I wonder if Randy coming up with things to do away from home on the weekends lately has anything to do with the to-do list I have on the front of the refrigerator? Ya think?
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To Garden and Sweat or Stay Inside with the AC on Stun
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:38 pm
I worked in the front yard for a couple of hours Friday morning. It had been 8 days since I had been able to get anything done out there, it has been longer since I worked out back and I know the weeds are loving my absence but their turn is coming tomorrow morning.
Friday afternoon, it was only 92 degrees and that was the coolest it had been here in over a week, we took a drive to the other side of Dallas to one of my favorite garden nurseries. They have more different herbs than any place I know of and even tho the herb bed isn't ready yet, I can grow the herbs in pots until it is.
So with sweat running down the back of my legs I wandered thru the covered plant area digging thru the packed tables looking for the ones I wanted and eventually came home with.......
Lime Balm - I have Lemon Balm trying to take over the back yard already.
St. John's Wort
Also picked up a Eucalyptus citriodora, according to the growers tag it is supposed to be 3 to 10 feet tall. I can't find any info on one remaining that short or info on growing them down here, but it came from an Herb farm just the other side of Dallas so I hope they do know what they are talking about.
A Bat-faced Cuphea, never had one before and just couldn't resist that cute face. It is considered an annual this far north so I will keep it in a large pot and move it into the bloom house this winter.
A scented Geranium with no ID tag and 'Mr. Personality' working there was no help at all. I swear there are just some people who should not be allowed to work with the public!
The last two Milkweed plants they had. I got some milkweed seed from the Monarch Watch group a couple of years ago but since they don't guarantee there to be actual seeds in the envelope, I bought 5 envelopes....no plants ever came up. We were on the migration path for the Monarchs coming up from Mexico this spring and usually see several in the fall, the Milkweed should give them some food for their journey this year.
There are still some herbs I need to look for, should have just bought seeds to begin with and I would already have the plants.
Now I have the plants....I just have to find the fence panels I want.
Early this morning we went to Lowes for mulch, organic potting soil and some edging. Another project for the front yard. One of these days the heat will be too much even early in the morning, the mosquitos are already too much to be out in the early evening. COME ON FALL!!!!!!!
This blog entry has been viewed 592 times
Fred from on high - Updated
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun May 18, 2008 1:03 am
I did a count of the plants I have in the back yard. There are 100+ varities with many of them being in multiplies, like the Canna, Snapdragons, Iris, etc. that brings the total up to almost 300 out there.
Now you know why I am working on getting the front garden made, I am literally out of room out back. :)
Randy got up on the roof for updated pictures of Fred this afternoon. He had taken pictures of the same areas just almost exactly two years ago, for comparison you can check out the others here.
The cucumber trellis is bare so far, I just hope I didn't wait too long to get the seedlings in the ground, the Fig tree that has gotten huge, my pots of Okra and Blackeyed Peas along the mulch path and the birthmonth garden in the upper left.
A little to the right, assorted plants and the covered patio.
Just a tad more to the right to catch the arbor that is oh so slowly being covered by a Carolina Jessamine.
Still going to the right, now you can see the so far hidden area under the really large Hackberry tree I have changed my mind a couple of time about what I am going to do with that area, it still just sits there.
Also the picket fence with the Iris in front and all sorts of cuties hanging from it.
Don't look at the mess, sorta rearranging the bloom house and some things haven't been relocated yet.
This one is from a little further up the roof and over a tad. You can see the back fence with the fence panel trellis and the Canna bed at the corner of the house.
This blog entry has been viewed 733 times
New plans for the front yard
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:25 am
Now I am getting excited about creating a garden in the front yard. For a couple of years I have felt the pressing need for doing something out there since all my efforts have been put into the backyard and the front yard has been looking really neglected.
But nothing I have come up with has really sparked my desire....until this last week. Ideas have been boiling up in my mind, plans have been creating an overflowing froth like you get when the pot of potatoes is on a burner that is too high and the water and startchy foam flows over onto the stove top. Oh, geez, it's almost midnight and now I am getting hungry.
I have been going over all the plants in the backyard that need to be divided and the seedlings that need a place to call their own and have realized that I probably don't need to buy new plants this year. I have mentioned this to Randy too and like I told him, if you remind me I said that I will deny it.
The front of our house faces West, that means hot Texas summer sun from about 11a.m. until sundown. So my plans are.....
on the north side of the driveway I have already planted some free Canna Tropicana that I received last August, there are two Oak saplings I received free from the local squirrels hiding a winter meal and forgetting where they put it and a Rosemary plant that outgrew it's pot last fall.
In that area I will be transplanting, 3 Mexican Mint Marigolds, 3 Coreopsis, at least 3 of the Blue and Black Salvia that are trying to 'rule the world' from my backyard, some Lemon Balm that is the co-world ruler want to be, 2 Cardoon that are ready to leave their pots, a Maximillan Sunflower, the 2 Mystic Spires I bought at the grocery store and interspersed among them will be at least a dozen Gladiola bulbs.
The spot for the new mailbox I picked up for free will hold a red Morning Glory vine and loads of Zinnias.
In the main front yard,in addition to the shrub roses, two Hawthornes bushes, two squirrel planted Pecan tree saplings will also be ......
In front of the porch I want a 6 foot rectangular trellis with a potted Clematis (one named Celtic Skies that I ordered from Michigan Bulb) and loads of Zinnia to keep it's roots shaded. On the trellis hiding in the vine will be three birdhouse gourds that I made a couple of years ago.
I want to make a raised bed, size yet to be determined, that will hold a few rose bushes. In the fall I will scatter bunches of wildflower seeds in the raised bed, those will grow and bloom before the Roses next spring and look wonderful.
Have you ever seen the movie "Practical Magic"? It is one of my favorites, in fact the herb cabinet the Aunts have is what inspired the shelves Randy built me last month. Anyway, they have a fenced in herb garden that I love!!!! So, since I want to grow some herbs for teas and whatever, we are going to fence in, maybe an 8foot square area for the herbs using some picket fence panels and a gate.
I have a Texas Lilac Vitex that will be planted on the south side of the front yard. And I want at least one Snowball Viburnum too. I am planning on closing off the front yard from street view with the use of flowering shrubs.
Randy sprayed a soil sterilizer on the ground along the front foundation of the house to kill the old shrubs, St.Augustine grass and a patch of poison ivy. I will not be able to plant there until next year but I can put some planters along there for this year.
Tomorrow I start digging up, dividing and potting up the plants in the back yard that will be moved and
I will be taking pictures of the areas before and after the plantings. Oh, boy, I really hope this all turns out like the picture in my mind....otherwise I am going to be very ticked off. :)
Last edited: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:32 am
This blog entry has been viewed 1383 times
Repotting seedlings and finding lost seeds
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:35 pm
Yes, the lost seeds have been found. They hadn't run away together, nor had Pixies been playing games. It was just a simple matter of my starting to do one thing, getting sidetracked and then forgetting to finish the thing I started. Please, someone tell me that they have done the same thing, I don't want to feel I am alone with this affliction.
I found the Cucumber and Moonflower Vine seeds along with the Roman Camomile and Alysum seeds that I had not yet noticed were missing, two jar lids to be used as watering trays under pots and a couple of styrofoam meat trays kept for the same purpose, all sitting on Randy's saw table in the back room. I was heading out to the bloom house with them last weekend when Randy was building my new shelves, he needed me to help and I just never got back to my original plan.
Yesterday I did get some seedlings repotted, some are still too small and some are more than I need. The excess seedlings will be repotted next month and once I determine I have no need for them I will contact a lady at the community garden in the next town to see if they can use them.
Cucumbers, Hyacinth Bean Vines, Red Bean vines, Grampa Ott Morning Glory. I decided that most of the Zinnias I had started would be put directly into a large planter out back when they are big enough.
I bought some Bleeding Heart and Astilbe roots a couple of weeks ago, got those in pots. I have been told that neither one will do well here but that bit of info came from the same Master Gardener who couldn't ID some of the plants in his own yard at the lecture he gave, so I think I will try them and find out for myself...thank you very much.
Also received two boxes of plants I ordered and got them potted. Maximillian Sunflowers, Red Valerian and 4 mini Roses - Green Ice, Lavender Lace, Hearts Afire and Stars and Stripes.....in other words, pale green, lavender, bright red and red/white stripe.
When they and the pot of mini Roses Randy gave me for Valentines are ready they will be planted in the rustic wood doll bed I bought at a thrift store a while back to make a 'bed of roses'.
I have a large galvanized tub that I filled with Crocosmia-Emily McKenzie bulbs, hopefully I will have a mass of red/yellow/orange blooms in a few weeks.
I found that my Spiderwort had two 'plantlets' growing next to it, so I got one transplanted to it's own pot. The other one will be moved today.
This blog entry has been viewed 1465 times
Musings from todays gardening with a muttering thrown in
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:50 pm
I got some Hollyhocks in the ground this morning, don't know how good the quality is they were a bag of 7 from Home Depot. The two Double Red's I planted last fall stayed green thru the winter, even during the light snowfall and ice we had earlier this month. Now they are starting to put some height on.
I got some Canna-Princess Di planted too. They are short ones about 30 inches tall and a peach cream color. I have them in the first bed with the big birdbath so I can see them from the door while doing laundry. I noticed that the White Coneflowers I planted last fall have broken the surface.
The Black Magic Lilies and the Monte Negro Lilies are both on their way skyward, really looking forward to seeing those bloom. Two of the 4 Black Iris are coming up and in that bed are some Glads coming up that I really don't remember planting there.
All of the Blue and Purple Bearded Iris are getting tall too. It shouldn't be too much longer until I can start my day by inhaling their 'popsicle' fragrance and remembering good times from my childhood.
I took all the Tulip bulbs out of their pots and even tho there were only 5 blooms out of 52 bulbs, the bulbs themselves have been busy multiplying like crazy. I have them in a bucket and plan on covering them with soil, labeling the bucket and sticking them in the really shaded area under the Hackberry tree for the summer. If they survive then I will replant them in late fall. In their stead I planted Bachelor Buttons (cornflower) in one pot, Marigolds in one, transplanted some purple and red Zinnias to one, planted Calendula seeds in another. The last of the pots is a decorative planter with no drainage and very shallow, so I am going get another Water Lily and add it to my water garden.
Put three Blanket Flowers in the ground.
Only three of the cucumber seeds I planted have come up, I need 5-7 to produce enough cukes for the pickles I need to make. Went looking for the packet of cucumber seeds to plant more and cannot find it anywhere. It should be in the box with all the other seeds packets but it isn't. Okay, I have to buy more cucumber seeds. Also was looking for the Moonflower Vine seeds, the weather is warming up nicely so it is time to get them started.....they are nowhere to be found.
Either I have pixies playing tricks on me like DevonPete or the Cukes and Moonflowers have run off together. Wanna bet that both packets will show up less than a week after I buy more??
Tomorrow will be 'repotting day' all the seedlings are ready for the next size pot. Some will have to stay potted while I work on the front yard.
Oh, yeah, the front yard. Guess I will start cleaning out some area for moving Lemon Balm, Mint Marigold and a couple of small Malva Zebrina that have come up in the wrong place and several Coreopsis that I dug up last fall.
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The Seige of the Alamo - a little Texas history
Category: Life happenings | Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:08 pm
Day 1 - Tuesday, February 23, 1836, General Santa Anna's army of over 4000 men arrive in San Antonio to quell another uprising of settlers who want freedom from the oppression of the Mexican government. By the time they arrived, many families had left the town, Colonel William B Travis and his garrison of men had moved into the Alamo.
Santa Anna's moved into the plaza of San Antonio and hoisted a blood-red flag of no-quarter from the church tower.
Day 2 - Co-commander James Bowie, who had been ill for weeks with pneumonia and TB, turned over his responsibilities to Colonel Travis. The bombardment of the Alamo begins.
Day 3 - Two more batteries of General Santa Anna's army are in place and join the bombardment of the fortress. Colonel Travis sends out another plea to Sam Houston for help. A cold norther moves thru that night.
Day 4 - Mexican gunners are firing steadily. To conserve ammunition the defenders have not begun firing back altho Davey Crockett and some men are busy with their rifles and they rarely miss what they aim at.
Day 5 - Mexican troops attempt to cut off the water supply to the Alamo. Travis sends Lt James Bonham to Colonel Fannin in Gonzales with another plea for help.
Day 6 - The cold norther has abated but replaced by cold drizzle. Cannonading continues and the constant harassment tactics are having their intended affect on the Texans. Another attempt to cut off the water supply to the Alamo is made. Davy Crockett with his fiddle and Scotsman John McGregor with his bagpipes stage musical duels to cheer up the men.
Day 7 - The mexican troops are digging trenches and throwing up earthworks closer to the Alamo.
Day 8 - 32 volunteers arrive at the Alamo from Gonzales. There are rumors among the men that Fannin is on his way with hundreds of men but those are just rumors.
Day 9 - Wednesday, March 2, the weary men in the Alamo are unaware that Texas Independence has been declared at the temporary capital of Washington-on-the-Brazos.
Day 10 - Mexican battalions arrive to reinforce the army. Bonham returns with news that Fannin is not coming. Travis sends a rider to Washington-on-the-Brazos with another plea for help and also several personal messages from the men to their families.
Day 11 - Enemy entrenchments now completely circle the Alamo and the Mexican battery begins firing shots into the walls. Plans for storming the Alamo are being made.
Day 12 - Mexican battery to north moves closer, defenders are dodging cannon balls that come crashing thru the wall. Travis assembles the men, tells them there is no hope of help and their choices are surrender, try to escape or stay and fight.
Only one man chooses to escape and no one considers surrender. Santa Anna makes plans to attack the next morning.
Day 13 - Sunday, March 6, 1836.
Between 1 and 4 a.m. the Mexican troops move into position, surrounding the Alamo.
At 5 a.m. Santa Anna gives the signal to attack.
Four columns advance on the Alamo, twice repulsed by the Texans.
The north wall is breeched and the Mexicans pour into the plaza of the Alamo - desperate, intense fighting with heavy Mexican casualties.
At 6:30 a.m. the fighting is over......The Alamo has fallen.
All 189 defenders were killed but they took out an estimated 600 Mexican soldiers before they died.
The defenders came from all over the world. Some had come to settle this wilderness from other states or foreign countries, some had heard of the uprising and left their families back home, just to get in on the fighting.
Randy's 4th-great Uncle, Eliel Melton, had come to settle in Texas from Georgia, when the uprising began he signed over all his properties to his brother, Ethan, went to the Alamo and died there.
Beginning in 1519 Texas has been under the flag of 6 nations.
Spain 1519-1685 and again 1690-1821
France 1685 - 1690
The Republic of Texas 1836-1845
The Confederacy 1861-1865
The USA 1845-1861 and again 1865 to Present
Texas is the only state that was an independent nation before joining the U.S.
Our state flag is the only state flag that can fly at the same height as the US flag when they are flown on serarate poles.
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Now if even half of them sprout I will be happy
Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:12 pm
Yesterday was a warm one, 81 degrees for a high. But that wasn't reached until around 4pm and by then I was exhausted, happy and back in the house relaxing.
The day began here of course, I always peruse the Stew when I first get up...that and a cup of coffee wake me up and start my day right.
Randy and I went to breakfast and then to Home Depot. He was looking for something to seal the back window of his pickup truck, a minor item compared to what my mission there involved.....seeds and bulbs. Those are the nectar of life, the things for which gardeners live, the gold at the end of the rainbow...okay, I might be pushing the envelope with that last metaphor but I think you get my point.
I came home with Zinnia's in three different shades of purple, MoonFlower, Poppy-Lady Bird, Cosmos in shades of pink and white. I might have mentioned at some point that I do not like pink in any form but I think the garden needs it for variety.
And cucumber seeds for pickle making of course.
I also bought two packages of 'roots' ... 7 assorted Hollyhocks and 5 assorted Astilbe.
When we got home I changed into gardening clothes, picked thru the assorted packages of seeds that I have from last year and end of year sales last fall and started planting. The bloom house is now home to a couple of hundred potential plants.
Added to the seeds I bought yesterday, I also planted...
Red and Apricot colored Zinnia
Two other color combos of Cosmos
Scarlet Flame Zinnia
Grampa Ott and Scarlett O'Hara Morning Glory
Black Gem Cornflower
Black Knight Sweet Scabious
Butterfly Asclepias-Bright Wings
Sublime Dark Blue Larkspur
Pear Tomatoes in yellow and red
Last summer I had such fun watching the caterpillars of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly chow down on the two Fennel plants and then watching all those butterflies flitting around the yard that I decided more Fennel plants were in order this year so last fall I bought three Sweet Fennel and two Bronze Fennel plants and kept them in the warm bloom house.
I transplanted them to larger pots and now have 6 of the Sweet Fennel and 4 Bronze Fennel, those things multiply like rabbits! Not a problem tho, I will plant some out back and some out front and really have butterflies all over the place.
The Spring Snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) are blooming, at least some of them are, the others have been blooming in early summer. As sometimes happens I don't 'put two and two together' as quickly as some people and it just dawned on me that maybe I have two different kinds, Spring Snowflakes and Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum)...well that's cool. I have wondered why they bloomed at different times, they weren't labeled differently when I bought them.
The tulips are coming up nicely, squirrels are eating some of the leaves so a few of them will look a little weird when the get larger. At least they aren't digging up the bulbs.
Some of the Daffs are coming up, but way fewer than half of what I had last year. And the newest additions I planted last fall have not shown themselves yet. Durn, I planted 36 bulbs last fall, I would like to see at least a couple of them show up this spring.
This blog entry has been viewed 827 times
Cinnamon-- A Christmas story of two loaves
Category: Life happenings | Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:48 pm
Many years ago I became an avid homemade bread maker and took over the cinnamon bread for Christmas morning breakfast tradition that my Mom had started when I was a child....slaving over the dozen or so loaves from proofing the yeast to baking. And a new generation of family members began to expect this tradition every year. Two and a half years ago my oven died and as of yet I have found no really compelling reason to replace it, besides it makes great storage space in my small kitchen.
This year I finally remembered that when Mom had found frozen loaves of unbaked bread in the grocery store freezer section, she had started using those instead of making the dough from scratch....if it was good enough for Mom it was good enough for me.
I put the loaves in the fridge to thaw....didn't take as long as I expected. When we returned home from the movie on Monday the rising dough had filled the bag and had to be cut out. Got two loaves all done and on to rise. They were small loaves so I thought I would try baking them in my toaster oven instead of taking them to Lisa's unbaked the next morning.
Did you know that bread dough will burst into flames when it touches the heating element in an oven??? Well, I didn't.
After they cooled, I cut off the burned sections and covered them with aluminum foil ....then forgot to refrigerate them to prevent further rising.
Christmas morning I found......do you remember the episode of the I Love Lucy show where she takes this 6 foot long, 2 foot high loaf of bread out of the oven?.... that is what I thought of when I turned on the kitchen light yesterday morning.
They were huge and flopping over the sides of the small loaf pans....a picture of Jabba the Hut flashed before my minds eye, not a pretty sight.
I pulled the loaves from the small pans, but them in larger ones....we baked them when we got to Lisa's.
They had collapsed into the pans and looked terrible and I explained why that was.
But they were both gushing over how good it tasted and how nice it was to have my homemade cinnamon bread again, I just didn't have the heart to tell them the rest of the story.
This blog entry has been viewed 993 times
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