Wednesday, September 21, 2016

face to face

Last Sunday I drove to Gruene (pronounced like the color green), an almost 2 1/2 hour drive, to meet up with my friend Dana who lives in Ohio. Dana flew into Austin a day early on work related travel and since I don't really know anything about Austin and I was in charge of the outing I picked Gruene, a historic small town in the Hill Country about an hour south of Austin. Well, it was a small town at one time. Now it's been encompassed by New Braunfels and has become a designated historic district.

Gruene was established upstream of New Braunfels on the Guadalupe River in the mid 1840s by the German immigrant Gruene family. They planted cotton and built a mill on the river. Other buildings followed as the family cotton farm prospered and drew more families including the Gruene Hall which is now the oldest dance hall in Texas which continues to draw big crowds with live music just about every night. You can read a more detailed history of the town, it's rise, fall, and rescue, here. Nowadays, it's a tourist destination.

Anyway, last weekend was one of their Market Days that they have every month which was basically an art and craft fair so I thought that would give us something to do and then have lunch and then just sort of drive around the area up River Road to Canyon Lake and then back around to Gruene via Purgatory Road (sounds more exciting than it actually is).

This is the first time Dana of Bug's Eye View and I have ever met face to face 

but the visit felt like spending the day with an old friend, which she says, I guess we are. Dana and I have been connected to each other via the blog world for 7 years.

I had to scroll back through my old posts trying to find when Dana first started showing up in the comments which turned out to be August 2009 after just selecting ones at random and man, did I write some great posts! So yeah, Mary Moon, what the hell happened?

We strolled around the market fair with vendors selling handmade items and Texas sourced foods and stuff but it was really hot even at 11 AM which was the time we arranged to meet and I had forgotten to bring a hat and Dana didn't have one either so we retreated into an air conditioned antique/gift store

and then a garden metal art and other doodads outdoor area where I found a kinetic art piece I want and did not take a picture of and then two shops that turned out to be standard souvenir shops and then we checked out Gruene Hall the oldest dance hall in Texas 

and then had lunch at the Gristmill which is located in the old cotton mill on the river.

After lunch and our little scenic or not so scenic drive around the area it was time to part ways.

Dana had commented that the scenery wasn't much different than what she was used to, green, rolling hills, rivers and she was hoping to see what it was like where I lived so I stopped and took a photo on the way home of my neck of the woods...the flat flat coastal plains where agriculture and cattle reign supreme...and sent it to her.

Monday, September 19, 2016

we lost William yesterday

Those are the words my neighbor Leonard greeted me with when I was walking Minnie Saturday evening.

William was another neighbor who lived next door to Leonard and Judy. I would often stop and chat with William when I was walking the dog and he was out, sometimes with his dog, sometimes not. I've only known William for about a year, maybe a little longer. His house was at the other end of the block and I only met him once I started walking Minnie regularly. He lived with his partner Edith. They had been together for 9 years.

William was a big rig trucker who got laid off his regular run last December as the pick-up point for his load was moved further away and the company hired drivers that were closer. He picked up another run soon after. He was an excellent driver, having just received an award for driving a million miles without a single accident or ticket.

Last Friday, William was on his way to Rosenberg on his motorcycle when the traffic had come to a stop because of all the construction on the highway that is being upgraded from a state highway to an interstate. Unfortunately, the 18 wheeler behind him did not stop in time and William was crushed between the truck and the car in front of him.

I can't help but think that had he been in his pick-up or a car he would have survived. It doesn't matter how good a motorcycle driver you are, how safe you drive, how alert you are, how careful you may be. None of that matters when someone plows into you and the only thing between your body and 2,000+ pounds of steel, your body and the pavement, is the clothes you are wearing.

Rescue workers have a term for motorcycle drivers. They're called 'organ donors'.

Friday, September 16, 2016

little things while I work on the big thing

the end of a small branch that I pinched off an althea I saw at an estate sale last spring which my sister rooted for me

the butterfly ginger which needs no other explanation

a monarch caterpillar

the rising full moon

this little morning glory, about the size of a quarter, sprouted under the totem bird feeder, a gift of the seed or a visiting bird

the rainbow this morning

the new growth in two places on my peach tree, the first new leaves since I planted it last spring and it started to slowly decline

and an estate sale find, found with an elaborate costume dress and cape

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

imperceptible hints and progress

The other day, Thursday maybe, I was out in the yard mid-morning and caught one of those breezes with an almost imperceptible hint of cooler air, a brief ahhh and then it was gone. Saturday, while I was working at the store, the flags on the Courthouse Square at the Veteran's Memorial were standing straight out from a north wind. 

Saturday's sunset

Sunday morning it was pleasant enough that I got out there and did some fall maintenance, things like pruning mostly. In fact, I guess that's all I did judging from the piles of debris I left in my wake as I moved around the yard. I cut out some of the ginger canes, the earliest bloomers that were starting to look old and ragged. The newer canes are the ones that are blooming now. Then I pulled out the already dead tall orange cosmos from amongst those still growing and blooming although they have all fallen over for the most part and in some cases, already rooted themselves to the ground where they touch. Picked off the gone by zinnia blooms, pruned a stem off a white plumeria and potted it for a trade for a red plumeria. Pruned out some dead canes on the roses that climb up into the crepe myrtle and oak, cut back the spent bloom stalks of the purple cone flowers and easter lilies, pulled up the poison ivy that sprouts continually in the yard, and there is still so much to do, always the case in late summer because during high summer and the dog days, NOTHING gets done outside.

These are our seasons...spring, summer, high summer, dog days, late summer, fall, winter.

That little respite was short lived.

I've been working inside on the last diagram now that the first stencil is cut and marked. 

Marc should start the sandblasting next week as he is still getting the temporary blast tent set up and we have to hire some guys to help us move the panels around. 

Our walk in blast booth, an 8' x 12' Tuff Shed is too small and short to easily get the glass panels, which weigh 200 lbs apiece, inside. We abandoned the old Tuff Shed at the city house when we sold out two years ago because it was easier and it, like everything there, was infested with termites. So we bought an identical one for out here or so we thought. This one is easily 2' shorter than the old one which makes the door considerably shorter, something we didn't notice until they had it built. It's a much less pleasant booth to work in, as if you could call the first one pleasant but at least that one didn't make you feel like you were going to bump your head all the time.

One more sign summer is ending even if it's not apparent by the outside temperature.

Friday, September 9, 2016

job update, wound update, and late summer in the yard


I finished cutting the stencil on the first panel last Friday and started marking it up in preparation for the sandblasting. I left the faces for last because I still wasn't sure how to do them or what the fuck I was doing. I have changed the diagram so many times that even I don't know how to interpret it. Wednesday I just said, fuck it, grabbed the 'I don't care tool', and finished it. It comes out the way it comes out. Now I've started on the last diagram and so far it is fairly untroublesome is that a word? spell check doesn't seem to think so.


It seems to be healing nicely though I noticed last night one of my stitches came untied and I didn't get nearly the bruise I thought I would.  2 1/2" top to bottom, front left thigh about halfway between my knee and bottom.  Still tender though not as much. The most tender part is the slight bulge above the would so now I'm wondering if some of the tissue missing out of the wound got shoved up under the skin above it. The last two mornings it has been zapping me with stings for about half an hour.


Late summer in the yard has been droopy with the heat and the rain. We had rain and rain and rain with a few dry days here and there and oppressively hot. The roses and altheas look tired and scraggly. 

The zinnias have finally taken off though and the four o'clocks too and now that they have, I realize I'm going to have to move the four o'clocks elsewhere as they want to take up too much space though I am enjoying their sweet perfume in the evenings. 

The yellow angel trumpet that I planted in the long day lily bed 3 years ago is blooming for the first time and the beauty berry is showing off and the datura is finally blooming. 

The ginger is still giving me some blooms and the penta, well, the penta only stops blooming if we get a little freeze. 

The front yard is a totally neglected mess right now and needs an overhaul.

Monday, September 5, 2016

23 stitches later...

There are some gory pictures further down so...just sayin'...

Sunday I headed into the city in the truck to pick up the landscape blocks and a light table from our friend's studio, the one that is getting evicted after 40 years. Then the plan was to head to my daughter's house to shower and change and go out for lunch and to see the opening play at the Main Street Theater for which she had two comped tickets as she knew one of the actresses and the director plus where she works is where the theater gets all their printing done.

I say was because things didn't go exactly as planned. I had about 2/3s of the landscape blocks in the truck when I stepped off the side of tailgate backwards, something I had been doing all morning and have probably done a million fucking times, and somehow managed to dig the sharp corner of the tailgate into the thigh of my left leg ripping up a 2” triangle of skin and leaving behind about a teaspoon of fat and tissue. If I hadn't been wearing shorts or even shorts that came to my knee I might have just ripped the cloth and gotten a deep scratch. But no, because that's not how I roll.

the culprit

It didn't really hurt, though I knew I had hurt myself, then I looked down at the blood running down my leg and OH FUCK, smashed my hand down on the tear to staunch the bleeding and hobbled into Gene's studio where we got a good look at it and it was horrible though not really bleeding at that point. So I called my daughter and told her I couldn't go to the play, that I was in trouble and needed to go the emergency room, and could she come get me. Which she did and took me to the nearest medi-clinic.

As it turned out, the doctor that stitched me up was my previous primary care doctor who retired from his private practice two years ago to work at an emergency clinic. I was lucky, he said, had it gone any deeper I might have damaged muscle or torn a tendon. So, 3 stitches inside to bring the tissue together and try to minimize the divot I'm going to have in my thigh and 20 stitches to close up the flap of skin.

the wound

stitching up the tissue

tacking down the skin

stitching up the edges

all done 

Brian, Gene's friend who was there to help get the light table into the truck, looked at the pictures and said, 'you know what this means, right? In a past life you were attacked by a chicken and it really messed you up.

So, stitched and bandaged, Sarah and I went on to the play because that's also how we roll. It still didn't hurt, there was some sensation but not what I would call pain.

stage set for The Revolutionists

After the play we dashed back over to Gene's to get the light table in the truck, Gene had been kind enough to load all the rest of the landscape blocks for me, and then we went for an early dinner since we had missed lunch and then I headed home.

Once home and on my couch I sort of gave in to the stress, took some ibuprofen, and went to sleep. It is tender today and I expect I will have a terrific bruise and a Frankenstein scar but so far no real pain. 

how it looked Monday morning

I go back in 10 days to get the stitches out.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

signs of something

Perhaps not fall exactly but definitely the end of summer. Another heat record breaking summer.

The tallows are dropping their red/orange/yellow mottled leaves.

New plumes are emerging from the clumps of pampas grass.

The leaves of this plant that grows in the fields have turned white.

I saw two Vees of migrating birds this week, geese I assume though they were silent as they flew south overhead.

The ox-blood lilies are starting to bloom.

I'm pretty sure, for a couple of mornings and evenings in the last couple of weeks I felt...a hint of a change in the air.

And the days are definitely getting shorter.