Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day and we are ever more closer to extinction, us and every living thing on it, from human activity and any headway we were making has come to a screeching halt in this country as our current government cares nothing for the health of the planet, promotes fossil fuels over renewables and in fact throws road blocks up to renewable energy all so his rich buddies in the fossil fuel industry can get richer. Not satisfied with stifling renewable energy sources, Trump has rescinded EPA standards for clean air and water giving industry the go ahead to dump their toxic waste in our air and waterways and removed this country from the Paris Climate Accords. If ever a species deserved to go extinct, it's us. Unfortunately, we're taking everything else with us. We are currently in the midst of the 6th planetary mass extinction and it's driven by humans. Our oceans are dying from overfishing and pollution, our soil and fresh water is poisoned with insecticides and herbicides, our insect populations that comprise the underpinnings of a healthy planet are decimated, our food is frankenfood more chemical than natural ingredients or genetically manipulated joining bits from disparate species, our weather is getting more and more extreme while we crack the bones of the earth. I wish I could be optimistic but I fear we are past the point of no return and while some countries are committed and acting to eliminate fossil fuels and waste, most are unwilling or unable to institute the immediate and drastic changes that would be necessary to save us from ourselves, to save everything from ourselves. Woe be to us and well deserved.

Love the Mother. She's the only one we have. Treat her as if your life depends on it because it does.

Past Earth Day posts (yes, been a while since I did an Earth Day post):

2015  - our separation from the natural world is making us sick
2014 -  god forbid we should alter our behavior
2013 -  our food is poison and we wonder where all these health problems come from
2012 - we seem to have forgotten that we are not separate from nature
2011 - the plastic challenge
2010 - we are drowning in trash

Saturday, April 20, 2019

sleepless, rain, and an unexpected visit

I've been sleeping very late this past week, too late for my yoga routine in the morning after the first pill of the day and then coffee while I read or write blogs unless I want to have breakfast even later! That's my excuse anyway. In reality, my morning yoga routine only takes 10 – 15 minutes. Wednesday night, though, after I fell asleep reading and then put my book aside and turned off the light the brain sez to me, 'Me, you didn't really think you would just go right back to sleep did you?' I was awake for hours trying to convince myself to sleep. Tried solitaire, tried more reading and bubkis. Did finally start to drift off just as the sleeping dog under the covers somehow sensed the brief flash of lightning from the predicted storm beginning to move through and jumped up throwing off the covers wide eyed ears erect and trembling. When the thunder rolled through and it began to rain the panic panting started and she decided laying under my chin and panting in my face was the safest place to be, that or on my pillow above my head pulling my hair every time she moved restlessly which was constantly. Needless to say, no sleep was got that night. No biggie for the dog who just curled up and slept all morning and early afternoon after the storm passed that brought us almost 2 1/2” of much needed rain and cooler temps.

Still spending my days outside but I'm not getting near as much accomplished. Tuesday I finally got the grass dug out of the back long side of the old garden and edged in bricks, all except for the far end which needed fire ant remediation first. Which I did yesterday there and other places where they insist on being in and next to my flower beds.

I've picked dewberries three times. I only pick every other day. Maybe one more day of a good haul but we'll see. There's a lot on the ditch side of the fence that I can't get to because while I can put on long pants and boots and climb down in there, there is so much poison ivy that I won't attempt it. Probably.

The love-in-a-mist is approaching full bloom and the Cinco de Mayo rose has opened its first blooms.

Another large dead limb covered with lichen fell out of one of the oaks. It reminds me of a coral reef.

We had a visit yesterday from a guy who grew up in this house and his wife. They're here for an annual family reunion and they stay with my neighbor Gary who is his childhood friend as Gary lives in the house he grew up in. I had met Keith last year while walking the dog, he was laying in wait for me in Gary's front yard and we chatted for about half an hour and I invited him to come down and look around if he wanted. He never did but the doorbell rang a little after four yesterday afternoon, a rarity since only strangers come to the front door, and it was him and his wife, Virginia. They're about our age, a few years younger perhaps. And really nice people, it was never weird as we had them in and let them look around and talk about how it was when he lived there as a kid and how it's changed and the memories that came out. The different landscape, the different neighbors, the same neighbors. Now the yard has trees that weren't there and the ones he remembers are gone. And more recently the changes we ourselves made after the flooding from Harvey. Anyway I sent her off with one of the potted up confederate rose volunteers and a bag of seeds from the woodland petal pink and maybe they will survive in Arkansas.

Monday, April 15, 2019

berries and frogs and heartbeats

Well, no thunderstorm, no rain materialized but it did bring us a hellacious wind that left the ground littered with leaves, twigs, and small to medium branches and cooler temperatures and so half the day it seems was spent watering the yard yesterday. The other half sitting out in the nice weather in the shade with my book which I can read in the bright natural light without my glasses. And then the first pick of the ripe dewberries. 

I didn't think we would get many this year as while they bloomed profusely, we haven't had much rain since and the developing berries were small and looked shriveled and this may be all we get even though since the flood the vines have grown monstrously and are taking over around the shop and the fence along with poison ivy and thornless greenbrier and virginia creeper and wild grape vines and dotted with volunteer hackberry and pecan trees. It doesn't help that the guy who mows mows further and further away from the fence every time he mows. I fluctuate between determination to clean it all out and despair, the despair usually sets in after about 10 minutes of trying to clean out one small section. It won't be long before the shop yard is completely surrounded by its own growing wild space.

I have a bromeliad that currently sits outside next to the back door. This morning when I went out a green frog was perched out on the end of a leaf? frond? 

Looking closer, it also harbored a lizard deep in the recess. 

And the little green and brown frog from the post before last was nestled deep in the ginger.

An update on my heartbeat song...

I'd been having two afib episodes a day most days in the week after my last cardiac RNP appointment and prior to getting wired up with the monitor and the day I returned it only one and only one the next day and then 3 days of none and then the next day two. That day she called to give me the results of the monitor reporting the two episodes of 'flutters' (which I took to mean a less severe form of afib which in itself is an improvement) and she wanted to add another med to see if we could get it stopped altogether. OK, I said and went to pick it up later in the day but did not start it because I was not really thrilled about adding another medication. That would make for thyroid that I have taken for years, the blood thinner (doesn't actually thin the blood but slows the clotting function), the beta blocker, and now digoxin which she picked over increasing the dose of the beta blocker because the digoxin doesn't affect blood pressure (she's very concerned that my blood pressure will drop to a dangerous level). Also, can't take this new one with high fiber and it interacts in a moderately negative fashion with the thyroid med so can't take those together and the next day I had no episodes, the next day one, the next five days in a row none. Yay, I thought, the beta blocker is finally doing it's job and I don't need this new drug. Then the next three days in a row, one episode a day and then yesterday two episodes that between the two of them took up most of my waking hours. Totally discouraged me and so I started the new drug last night with dinner and so far today the heart is steady freddy. So we'll see. Still not thrilled with 4 meds but if things work I should be able to quit the blood thinner, because, as I told the RNP, if I'm not having afib episodes, the blood isn't pooling in the upper chamber of my heart and so not creating clots and so I shouldn't need the blood thinner, right? 

Theoretically, she replied.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

not gardening, not politics, not art

Overcast and windy, humid but pleasant temps in the mid to high 70s, predicting a thunderstorm for this afternoon and I hope we do get some rain, otherwise I'll have to water this evening. I woke up at 5 AM this morning and, with the window in the bedroom open, it smelled like rain but no, it wasn't. I've lost track of how many days in a row I've been working outside with a few days off mixed in. Today would be a good day except for the wind which gets tiresome after a while but I'm just not feeling it today. I walked around earlier enjoying the beauty and I have two new areas ready for some plants and a rosemary that needs to be put in the ground, plants in pots that need to be moved to their summer positions, bricks and mortar blocks scattered around that need to be consolidated in piles for easy access later, more hay grass seed spikes to cut down across the front (my main activity yesterday) but none of it has spurred me to action. I guess I'm having another rest day today.

the whole chinese fringe flower tree

I saw my resident coral snake Thursday early evening as I was clearing out some grass and weeds from an area next to the house. I only saw it as it moved away being the shy creature it is. It moved further into the recesses of the flower bed with the pansies, poppies, and larkspur by the fence. Later, I disturbed it again when I went to water my miniature stunted red bud tree in a pot at the far end of the old garden bed which is now filled with love-in-a-mist at that end. It moved further in getting away from the showering water.

There's a cardinal building a nest in the mock dogwood. Three days ago it was a very loose jumble of small twigs.

So, this wasn't going to be about gardening or the yard but I don't have much else to write about unless I want to rant about the thug of a mob boss who occupies the Oval Office, when he deigns to work at all, when he's not vacationing at one of his properties or putting on one of his rallies or attending a fundraiser, who has told his Homeland Security guy to just go ahead and break the law and he will pardon him and who has posted a very dangerous hack job of a 9/11 video against a muslim Congresswoman prompting death threats against her and her family by his supporters while he cozies up to the Saudis, Putin has now declared that the US is no longer leader of the free world, that no one trusts us and it's time for another country to step up (can't imagine who he has in mind) while Trump trashes every consumer and public protection that exists all while the GOP stands silent and refuses to reign him in and you know that were it a Democrat president doing these things they would be screaming holy hell. But that shit just raises my blood pressure and makes my afib go nuts.

I am starting to think about making art again. I find my mind wandering that way now and then. Not enough to actually get engaged with it yet but I do have a new piece forming in my mind. Perhaps tomorrow. Or not. I'm on the last book (#8) of the Outlander series, a little more than halfway and I would really like to be done with it.

We'll see.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

garden photo dump

More working outside this week. Still pulling up hay grass seed stalks from amongst the bluebonnets in front. I swear I break off one and it sends up three more. I gave the azaleas their second fertilizing, one more next month and then they get a new layer of mulch. Spread fertilizer among some of the flower beds, put a layer of mulch around the white butterfly ginger. I try not to use too much mulch as bumble bees nest in the ground and mulch prevents them from digging in and bumble bees are now on the endangered list but the white ginger suffers from our hot summers so much and the azaleas and roses benefit from it. I do leave plenty of open ground but even so I haven't seen any bumble bees so far this year though the honey bees did show up. They're pretty busy amongst the poppies and larkspur and the declining bluebonnets. Staked up the big clump of miniature gladiolas which the rain and wind flattened along with the poppies. Tuesday I connected the long day lily bed with the round one I put in a few years ago, something I intended from the start. The ground was perfect for digging after the inch of rain we got last Sunday, not too wet, not too dry. 

It was also our hottest day so far this year and it was a race to get the grass and weeds dug up before either I suffered heat exhaustion or the ground dried up before I finished. I put a layer of mulch over the newly exposed ground temporarily. 

I should have worked a bag of compost in first but there was the heat exhaustion thing going on. I have other small chores on the agenda for today and tomorrow or as long as this weather or I last.

I've not seen this kind of frog before, sort of a cross between a green frog and a tree frog and it's little, maybe an inch, and yesterday I saw another one unless it's the same one. Hard to get a good picture as it was camera shy.

A fairly large dead limb fell out of the water oak and had this pretty little fungus growing on it, again, a kind I have not seen before.

Future pecan crop, weather permitting.

The buddha contemplates a tail.

The first daylily of the year. Seems a bit early but others are sending up scapes.

The leaves on the chinese fringe flower are the same color as the skirt on the house.

The miniature gladiolas are starting to bloom.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

you could wander around here for days and still not see it all

As mentioned, my sister and I stopped at Old World Antieks on state highway 71 outside La Grange  on our day trip. This was my second time to poke around there and they have expanded the 'store' part greatly. There's also several huge warehouses you can wander through filled with row after row of racks and bins filled with stuff that you wonder, first, what the hell it is, and second, what the hell anyone would do with it, and third, why the hell they bought this stuff in such huge quantities in the first place. Besides the store part and the warehouses there is also a huge covered open sided barn full of doors, both plain and ornate, and an outside area full of wrought iron and other odd objects. They are also big on religious iconography.

So, in pictures (click to embiggen)...

stone pear shapes with hooks...I have no idea

crucified Jesus by the dozen

or a boxed set

flattened fan blades

painted aluminum trash cans $75 - $95

Sunday, April 7, 2019

more spring blooms and a neurotic dog

We're having a welcome rainy day, well, except for the fact that after it stops it will be too wet outside to attend to any of the remaining spring chores and plans and plantings for early summer. But we need the rain as the ground is dry and cracked even though the dog has been a quivering and panting mess, ears up and tail tucked since the first raindrop fell and the lightning and thunder makes her want to hide behind the washer or refrigerator. There is no consoling her and this will continue until the rain stops or she exhausts herself.

The last few days I've mostly been just piddling out in the yard as opposed to doing anything major, pulling up handfuls of seed spikes every time I go out in my futile attempt to control and diminish the hay grass that has invaded the big backyard, potted up some stuff to share with my neighbor Judy, got my giant zinnia seeds in starter pots. I did get the white and purple iris bulbs from the Buddha garden dug up that haven't bloomed in 3 years and man, were they deep and embedded in the roots of the maple tree, the althea, and the little dogwood which are all clustered together. It'll be awhile til I get them replanted as I have to decide where to put them somewhere else and I still have the oxblood lilies that I dug up out of a nearby ditch last fall to get in the ground and the clump of yellow walking iris that my sister gave me.

The poppies continue to be magnificent and a rogue pink one showed up among all the red, another big frilly red bloomed, and I did get a purple!

The love-in-a-mist are finally starting to bloom, the rocket larkspur is filling out as is the german verbena.

The amaryllis are starting to bloom and the mock dogwood has been gorgeous if very early. Seems to me it was past prime but still in bloom in June last year.

And I am still totally unmotivated to do any art preferring to spend my days outside while the weather permits. There will be plenty of time for art during the long hot summer.