Friday, May 31, 2019

winter and spring reading list

This is two quarters of book reviews since I missed the winter edition still plugging away on the Outlander series.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon - Book 5 of the Outlander series. The further adventures of Clair and Jaimie and Brianna and Roger. It's the autumn of 1771 in North Carolina and the drums of war are starting to beat with certain factions of the colonists rising up and protesting. After the Gathering of the Scots that have emigrated to America, Jaimie, the recipient of a large grant of land from the governor, is called upon to form a militia from among the settlers that Jaime is responsible for and to help put down the rebellion. Jaimie treads a thin line between seeming to support the Crown and not doing any real damage since he knows who will win this particular war. Other things happen, life on Fraser's Ridge, a wedding at River Run, an apparent murder that all the pieces don't fall into place until the end, a tragic incident that has a life changing effect on Roger, the continued hunt for the pirate that raped Brianna and the actual unexpected confrontation, the return of Ian and when the author is advancing the story or character development it's a good read though I find myself skipping over overly descriptive passages and pages because she seems determined for every one of these books to be 1,000 pages.

A Breath Of Snow And Ashes by Diana Gabaldon – book 6 of the Outlander series. A gang of thugs is robbing, killing, and burning the cabins of settlers in the back country, Claire gets kidnapped by said gang of thugs wanting the stash of whisky and has to be rescued (again), Claire makes ether and performs an appendectomy, the rebellion that was fomenting is breaking out in violence between the Whigs and Tories with the Highland Scots being pressured to fight for the King, an epidemic sweeps through the Ridge and Claire almost dies, Roger decides he's a minister, Jaimie is sent as Indian Agent to get the local tribes to fight on the side of the Crown, Brianna sets out to bring running water to the house and makes matches, Jaime declares for the revolution, Fergus and family move away from the Ridge, a murder in the garden of which Claire and Jaime are accused, Claire once again needs to be rescued, Brianna is kidnapped by the pirate, an early battle of the Revolution, Brianna and Roger and the kids return to their time, and the big house burns to the ground.

Had to stop and read something else.

News Of The World by Paulette Jiles - Captain Jefferson Kidd, a man turning 72, veteran of three wars and ex-printer with a full life, family behind him drifts through Texas in the years after the Civil War making his living by giving readings from various newspapers in the small towns and settlements, entrance fee a dime. In Wichita Falls he agrees to return 10 year old Johanna, a recently recovered captive of the Kiowa who was adopted into the tribe for four years and has completely forgotten her previous life with her parents and younger sister who were killed in the raid in which she was taken, to family near San Antonio, a 400 mile journey through lawless territory. Kidd takes her under his wing, protecting her and teaching her English and how to be white as these children that are taken by the Indians always return irrevocably changed. The story is their developing relationship as they begin to depend on each other while he tries to prepare her for her new life as they travel across the state for Johanna's fate is ultimately in Kidd's hands. This is a wonderful little read, short at 210 pages, small size, thick paper, and I totally recommend it.

Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles - tomboy Jeanine, her father's favorite, tags along helping him, getting him home, covering for him. Jack Stoddard, itinerant oil field worker, dragged his family, his wife and three daughters, all over Texas chasing after oil strike after oil strike looking for work during the depression years. An oilfield exposure to bad gas ends his life and leaves his family to continue without him. Jeanine and her older sister Mayme, her younger sister Bea, and their mother Elizabeth return to Elizabeth's abandoned family farm, their only assets some cash and their father's racehorse. Elizabeth gambles their money on a wildcat oil well, Mayme gets a job and Bea goes to school, while Jeanine keeps the farm, brings it back to life only to face having to leave it as would, inevitably, her older sister and her mother. When Bea suffers a terrible accident, Janine sells the race horse, Smoky Joe, and enters into a partnership of sorts with the man in order to pay for her sister's medical care hoping that Smokey Joe be the answer to their dreams and problems.

Back to Outlander.

An Echo In The Bone by Diana Gabaldon – book 7 of the Outlander series and more of the same outrageous stuff...kidnappings, leaping off boats onto other boats, getting conscripted into the Continental Army, etc.

Written In My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon – book 8 (and last) of the Outlander series and more of the same outrageous stuff but they all end up back on Fraser's Ridge and live happily ever after. So glad to be done.

Cut And Run by Mary Burton – Texas Ranger Mitchell Hayden drives out to the Hill Country to meet with an informant, Jack Crow, only to find he had been tortured and killed. A few days later his FBI agent daughter Macy shows up and finds a burner phone in her father's hiding place and begins to check out the three addresses listed in the maps app, the first a secluded ranch house that appears to have three graves in the back yard. After visiting the second address, a bar named Second Chances, she is brutally run down in a hit and run. When Medical Examiner for Austin, Faith McIntyre, visits Macy in the intensive care unit she discovers that Macy is her unknown identical twin. Thus starts the investigation into Jack Crow's death and the ones that follow as they uncover the past abduction of young women, raped and impregnated for the babies perpetrated by people close to Faith. It's a race against time to find the truth before Faith herself is targeted and to rescue the fourth and last young woman before she gives birth.

Make Me by Lee Child – a Jack Reacher novel, Jack has stepped off the train at a dot on the map of a town in the middle of 10,000 acres of nothing but wheat fields named Mother's Rest. Thinking it was an interesting name for a town which must mark an event that happened on the wagon train trail west he sets out to explore the town and find the marker that explained the name of the town. He didn't find anything and no one in the town seemed to know why it was named thus but what he did find was ex FBI private investigator Michelle Chang looking for her missing partner after receiving a call from him for back-up. Unaware that every move he has made has been watched and reported on, Reacher with nothing to do and nowhere to go decides to stay and help Chang either find her partner or find out what happened to him. So begins their investigation which leads them to Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Francisco barely ahead of the effort to make sure they don't succeed before returning to Mother's Rest for the showdown with an organization that operates through the Deep Web.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

I've been wanting to write about and have avoided writing about the current administration in equal measures. Another year and a half of the Republicans giving Trump free reign and this country will be unrecognizable as if it's not already.

It's Memorial Day and I think this just about sums it up. I saw this post on FB two days ago.

Such a special day! Get your Trump MAGA gear now!

And he tweeted have a 'happy' Memorial Day. Be happy as you pay your respects and mourn our war dead.

And to top it all off, he has so little respect for our military criminal justice system that he is planning to pardon convicted war criminals guilty of murdering unarmed restrained prisoners and shooting and killing innocent unarmed Iraqis. And here in Texas our Republican controlled state congress has passed another voter suppression bill that would make it more difficult for our wounded and disabled veterans to vote.

Meanwhile Sec. Of State Bolton is beating the war drum against Iran with questionable 'intelligence' and VP Pence tells West Point grads that they should expect to see combat, and Trump tells the UN to accept rape as a weapon of war (and I guess torture as well since he thinks that is a pardonable offense).

And on the this Memorial Day weekend Trump tweets from Japan that he not at all upset with N. Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un test firing missiles.  As usual he stands with a murderous tyrant and against our own intelligence community because he and Kim share an opinion on  'low IQ individual'  American citizen Biden but I don't know why that would be surprising since he gave Saudi Arabia a pass for it's brutal murder and dismembering of a journalist and has declared another one of his fake national emergencies in order to bypass Congress who refused to OK the sale of billions of dollars in weapons to that brutal regime while Princess Wannabe Ivanka sits next to Saudi royalty and praises their record on women's rights apparently not understanding that if she were that man's wife or daughter she would not be sitting there but would be sequestered in the women's quarters.

So yeah, happy Memorial Day.

In other ruinous Trump policies, the trade war with China, which is raising prices for American consumers, is killing our farmers (figuratively and literally as suicides are up and bankruptcies are at an all time high) who we are having to bail out with a 'socialist' program from the government who has caused the problem in the first place amid reports that farmers haven't seen a penny so far except for a Brazilian company who got $62 million.

Trump finally got his puppet in AG Barr who claims a president, this president anyway, is above the law and who is obstructing House intelligence committees, refusing to honor subpoenas (while he sends a woman back to jail for refusing to honor a subpoena) and filing lawsuits to protect Trump because that's what innocent people do, right?, obstruct justice and refuse to testify. Not satisfied with simple obstruction of justice Trump has now demanded Barr investigate the people who he considers his political enemies for treason. And the Republican party just sits back and lets it all happen while sitting on every bill the House has passed.

Now the states that the far right Republican Christian Taliban controls are passing illegal total abortion bans criminalizing women (but giving the men who don't want to be fathers and who impregnated them a free pass) while they cut pre and post natal health care and access to birth control with the intent of forcing the issue back to the Supreme Court where they think they can get RvW overturned with Trump's two appointed justices.

And finally this little bit...after denying Trans people the ability to serve in the armed forces and making their service on shaky ground if they already serve and trying to make discrimination against LGBTQ legal so that they can be denied a job or fired from their jobs or denied adoption or US citizenship to kids they have already adopted or denied health care or refused at homeless shelters because of 'deeply held bullshit religious beliefs', the Trump campaign unveiled a new T-shirt...LGBTQ for Trump for Pride month. I shit you not.

Had enough? I have.

Friday, May 24, 2019

it's been a busy week

Monday was my last day with the monitor for which I am eternally grateful because even the sensitive skin patches caused redness though no welts or raw spots. So now my records have been sent to the electrophysiologist and the referral made and I'll call next week to get an appointment. But then I thought about acupuncture and did a quick internet search to see if this was something that might be beneficial and several articles I skimmed through seemed to indicate it was so I think I'm going to investigate this further, find an acupuncturist relatively near and give it a try before I succumb to ablation. It surely can't hurt.

Grandgirl Jade came out Tuesday afternoon with her mother's sewing machine (because she wanted to learn how to use that one) and a box full of sewing projects. I hemmed two pair of velvet pants, the first of which I just did a double turned hem and stitched it down and of course it rolled because that's what velvet does I hate to sew on velvet so for the second pair I got some hem tape and the results were better (I offered to redo the first pair if she wanted to rip out the stitching but she decided it was fine), altered a dress twice because it was still too big the first time, cut and hemmed several pair of thrift store blue jeans that Jade had bought to turn into knee length shorts for her upcoming study abroad program in Costa Rica, finished altering a pair of jeans in the waist. She's leaving Saturday for 2 1/2 months, living with a local family.

Anyway, I've been sewing for two and a half days. After the first day we had both sewing machines set up while Jade worked on remaking a pair of jeans that were too big in the waist and too baggy for her young adult sensibility. I declined to completely remake that pair preferring to go to a resale shop to replace them but she persevered, had seen videos on how to do it and she did a good job and I was proud of her. 

She had intended on spending only one night but it took us longer to get enough of the work done and so she didn't leave til yesterday evening.

So this week has been all about sewing and kittens. 

The kittens go home on Tuesday. The dog has accepted their presence and while she doesn't actually play with them she doesn't shy away when they get too close though at first she couldn't decide if her job was to play with them, protect them, or intervene when they got too rambunctious. The cat however has not only not accepted them, she's getting more aggressive, not satisfied with just hissing anymore, she's beginning to growl and swat at them.

Yesterday a crew showed up to clear all the poison ivy, virginia creeper, briar vine, wild grape, dewberry, and trash trees (hackberry and pecan) from around the cedar tree next to the gate to the shop yard and the fence for a ways on either side which had become totally overgrown after the flood and completely beyond me to deal with. The first guy I had out to give me an estimate quoted me $1000 which I thought was excessive so my neighbor gave me the name of another guy to call and he quoted me $450 for the same work. Needless to say I went with #2.

After, of course, but take my word for it, it was completely overgrown, couldn't see the cars, couldn't even see the fence, and stuff was grown up from the ground into the tree and all around it so you couldn't even get to the tree.

Today the plan is to get the hanger glued to the back of an old piece for a friend 

and get the mulch spread out under the azaleas but since it's already mid-day and 86˚ the mulch will have to wait til tomorrow morning since I have to give the tomatoes some attention when it cools off some this evening.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

spring is just a memory

and summer with its heat and humidity and mosquitos is firmly settled in. Ugh. I usually try to hold out til June 1st before turning on the air conditioning but when the thermostat said 82˚ and 82% humidity inside at 12:30, I caved.

Any work outside not done will probably not get done. Or at least minimally. The summer garden is more subdued than the riot of color of the spring garden and while we get the threat of rain it doesn't materialize and I'll spend a lot of time watering, like I did this morning. And will again this evening.

It's been a snaky spring. Besides seeing the resident coral snake twice in one week I saw this guy twice in a matter of days as well. First spied when I noticed the dog with her curious stance looking closely at something under the magnolia tree.

At first I thought it was trying to swallow an old seed pod from the magnolia thinking what an idiot. When I looked closer I saw it was swallowing a toad with only it's back legs and butt sticking out. 

I thought it was a rat snake but my friend Andy says it's a hog nosed snake, that toads are toxic except to them. Then I saw it again a day or two later by the garage door.

Besides the living snakes I came across two medium sized snakes squashed in the road while walking the dog and two little garden snakes as well. And while digging out more of the mexican petunias I found this shed skin.

Saw a clump of orange dots, looked closer and this is what I saw...

they started spreading out when I jostled the foliage. These baby spiders are about the size of the head of a pin (click to bigify).

The green frog was back on the bromeliad but I haven't seen him again since.

Big Mama was out prowling around. She does this for two reasons in the spring. Either she's feeling the urge to lay eggs or she thinks I'm not feeding her enough. I'd lay odds on the latter. I noticed I'm down one more goldfish. Her posse is getting smaller.

And while I don't have a picture, the lightning bugs have been coming out in the evenings and I saw my first dragonfly, sure signs of summer.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

cats and dog

The kittens arrived bright and early Monday morning and we got the little things settled in the back bedroom and then left for the run to the airport. Of course there was a wreck (we surmise) as we were stopped for a good 15 minutes if not longer and while this section which narrows down from three lanes to one usually moves slow, at least it moves. Fortunately we were before the right lane ended at a must turn right road and while the middle and left lanes were dead, the right one was zooming past as people turned off to go around. Being in the middle lane, we opted for the unknown and made the right turn. Pam had managed to find the alternate route on her map app but really all we had to do was follow the traffic back to the highway which was dead empty at the point where we got back on. So, wreck as the road construction would not have stopped morning commuter traffic that long.

Anyway...kittens! When I returned from the airport the kittens had settled themselves on one of the pillows on the bed. 

I have a piece of plywood across the doorway so that I can see in and they can see out but they can't get out. They were a little skittish for about half the day but warmed up quickly. Minnie, only because I made her, and I sat back there while they got used to us, the kittens totally unafraid of the dog who trembled if they got too close. 

We spent a lot of time playing with the kittens, well, I did anyway. Minnie kept getting stalked. 

Later I ran an errand (leaving the back door open as I do when the weather is nice) and when I got back the kittens were nowhere to be found. I looked under all the furniture, in the boxes, in the closet, in the little bathroom and no kittens. Oh shit! Pam is going to kill me, I didn't think they could get over the board and now I've lost the kittens. I looked in my adjacent workroom, no kittens, outside searching the little backyard calling frantically, no kittens. I hear Marc from inside, well at least one of them is back here on the bed, he says. The little devils had burrowed under the quilt.

Day 2 was their trip to the vet to get checked out and they are plump and healthy and happy to be back from that weird and scary place.  

On day 3 Minnie still prefers not to be in there with them but she's been nose to nose with each of them and doesn't tremble anymore. And by this morning, Day 4, she's decided that they might be toys after all. They were up and playing rough and tumble and Minnie watched for awhile and then bounded over and the two kittens sprang apart and went all Halloween cat. She must have thought that was funny because she did it several times. Either that or she thought she needed to break up the fight.

Later I looked up to see Zack scrambling over the board across the doorway to the back bedroom. A quick search confirmed that his brother Daryl already had. Well, no keeping the back door open for the rest of their visit. They played in my workroom 

and then disappeared. I finally found them sleeping in a far corner behind a mountain of stuff.

Awake again and playing they have expanded their exploring to the kitchen.

Emma the cat wants nothing to do with them and expresses her displeasure with a hiss.

Fun and games, kids, fun and games.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

bureaucracy and medical devices and rain

You might remember that I spent about two weeks last February filling out the application and submitting it and all the supporting documents which amounted to over 80 pages for the Texas Land Office's Homeowner Reimbursement Program for damage from Hurricane Harvey. Well, last week I was finally contacted about my application and a meeting was set up for me at 2 PM Monday a week ago for the second phase. I was told to bring the five documents that proved my identity, ownership, residency, income, and any monies already received even though I had already submitted those documents. I arrived at two to find there were three appointments made for 2 PM with only two representatives available so being the last to arrive I had to wait about 45 minutes til they could get to me. I handed her the documents and she asked me if I had anything that proved I was living in the house at the time of the flood, my driver's license and voter registration not being sufficient since I could have had a change of address between then and now, she says, even though these were acceptable when I first turned in my application and I have no idea what would suffice). She took them but said they might question it later though when I got home I saw that my driver's license has an 'issued on' date on it that precedes Harvey and obviously FEMA was satisfied on that account. Then she asked me how many invoices I had (42) and how many I wanted reimbursed (all of them minus the money I had already received from FEMA). Then I had to sign all the releases again that I had already signed when I first submitted the application. Then she tells me that I should hear from them in about another month for the third phase (second phase being this meeting and first phase the initial application).

What's the third phase, I asked.

Submitting the invoices, she answered.

You mean the invoices I already submitted?


If I'm doing all this again, what the fuck was the point of the 2 hours I spent in their office in February transferring the application from paper to on-line and submitting all these documents? I think I'll go over all the invoices and receipts and select ones that add up to what I spent after the FEMA money was used up in case those are just the ones they want. I know how much it came to because I already added it all up.

It's a good thing I'm spry and limber with all these fucking hoops they keep making me jump through. 


Sunday was two down and one to go in my three weeks of wearing this monitor. When it arrived I stomped around for two days because it was not the one they told me I would get but I finally pulled up my big girl panties and attached all the electrodes and for the first week and a half I was proud of myself for being a big girl. Now? 

I am totally over this fucking thing and ready to be done with it. 

I mastered sleeping with it after the first couple of nights by wearing a tight undershirt and tucking the battery pack under my pillow where it's out of the way. I have to replace the electrode patches every three days and after the second set I had welts and raw spots from them and called the company to have them send me the non-allergic electrode patches. I managed to get the third set on relatively unaffected skin while I waited for the new ones which arrived in time for the fourth set. I'm still having episodes with an occasional day free and they seem even less severe for the most part so I'm hoping that when I finally do see the electrophysiologist he's going to just pat me on the back, tell me it's not that bad, you can live with this, keep taking the medication, and send me on my way.


Last Friday a week ago we got 2 1/2” of rain. The following Tuesday we got another 1 1/2”. Last Thursday evening a large system of waves of thunderstorms and heavy rain passed through and finally let up around 9AM Friday  giving us 4" and we got another nearly 1 1/2” Saturday. That's almost 9 1/2” in 9 days and we didn't even get the worst of it. North and east of us got pounded and flooded. We're getting a break today but they're predicting more rain for next Tuesday and Wednesday. The storm Thursday night brought in much cooler temperatures and it was downright chilly and very pleasant today and would be perfect for working out in the yard if it wasn't so wet and the dirt sticky mud. I did pull out all the poppies in the back flower bed since after the pounding Thursday night whatever seed pods that were left and the dead plants themselves were pounded into ground and mostly turned to mush. The remaining flowers on the larkspur were also pretty much done in but I've left the plants til they go completely to seed. Most of the clasping leaved coneflowers too. Things are going to look pretty bare until the summer bloomers really get started up. More zinnias will go where the poppies were but the seedlings aren't ready to transplant yet.

We're having intermittent sun today and seeing as how it's Mother's Day I'm going to be just as lazy today as I've been all last week but come Monday I'm once again swearing off social media and see if I can't get started on some art work, at least cleaning off my work tables and getting organized. Well, after the kittens get settled in. On second thought, make that Tuesday.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

dogs and cats

Wednesday I got a message from a friend who rescues and fosters rescue dogs and more than just a few have become permanent residents. Anyway, she asked if I had some newspaper piled up for another rescue group that had 10 puppies coming in. I usually take my accumulated newspaper to the vet but as it happened I had a one foot tall stack and she came by to pick it up. During our conversation she mentioned she had some half feral 6 week old kittens. My sister has been on the lookout for a kitten so I told her  and she wanted to know if she could go look at them. I texted my friend...

Me: my sister wants to know if we can come look at the kittens

Debbie: Ha ha! Did you explain that she will have to walk through a pack of dogs?

Me: no but she'll be fine.

So we arranged to go look at the kittens Thursday. Now, I knew about the dog pack, Debbie posts about them often, but I hadn't given much thought to what 'walking through a pack of dogs' really meant. When we drove up, following Debbie to her house out in the country, the pack got all excited (they don't see many strangers she says) barking like mad and jumping around and crowding the fence and gate...all 20 or so of them from little bitty to about knee high, all friendly and waggy tail and the noise was deafening. We had to squeeze in through the barely open gate while Debbie and her husband tried to keep the dogs from squeezing out the barely open gate and then we were surrounded by a swirling mass of dogs each trying it's best to get close and smell and jump and lick while we patted and spoke to as many as possible until the din finally died down. Moving from the fence to the house to the garage was more like shuffling instead of walking for fear of stepping on myriad toes as they followed moved along with us but they were all friendly and obviously treated with love and tender care and we never felt afraid and it was really kind of joyful.

about 3/4 of the pack

They also have a fenced area for fixed feral cats and the kittens were the result of confusion about who was going to the vet and who was just getting turned loose and the feral cat that was supposed to go to the vet for fixing ended up pregnant because they couldn't catch her again, hence...kittens. They had scooped up the newly born kittens and put them in the garage where the mother left them as she was able to get in and out through a partially open window and so Pam and I held the babies and she decided to take two of them home with her.

So, of course, my sister is leaving town next week for about 10 days but I had told her that if she wanted to take them home now instead of waiting til she got back to pick them up that I would bring them to my house and baby cat sit. So that's the plan. This way they will have two extra weeks of socializing instead of two extra weeks of being half feral. It remains to be seen how our older cat Emma will feel about this as she has always been an only cat and has never played well with others and then, of course, the dog but I'm not worried about her.

Anyway, I'm sure it will get sorted out after the first couple of days and it will be fun having kittens in the house for a little while.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

spring segues into summer and a future big change

Actually it was more like took a giant leap. We went to bed one night early last week and it was still late spring and woke up the next day in summer. It backed off some a few days later, been overcast and getting rain, 2 1/2” Friday night and another 1 1/2” Tuesday with more supposed to come and yesterday we were back to summer. The heavy rain passed us by this time pounding towns east of us with some flooding. But temperatures and humidity aside the spring bloomers are just about done and the summer ones are starting up. All but a few of the easter lily buds have opened, the poppies are gone by and the larkspur is past prime and both going to seed. The love-in-a-mist has been done for a while and is nothing but seed pods that haven't dried out yet. The transition is always scraggly and the county came by and mowed down the bluebonnet plants on the street side of the ditch that were going to seed. We usually leave them until they have all popped so I hope they will go ahead and mature for next year.

The purple coneflowers are in full bloom, the day lilies are starting up, the gardenia is in full bloom as are the clasping leaved coneflowers, and the tallow trees are blooming.

you wouldn't think that the nondescript tallow tree blooms would be so sweetly fragrant but they are

I cleared out the poppies from the bed against the fence because I don't necessarily want them volunteering in there again and I needed the space to get some summer bloomers in there. 

I did get all the plants from the second trip to the nursery and the garden club plant sale in the ground or in bigger pots last Sunday. The zinnia plants from the seeds a fellow blogger sent me are about 8+” tall. It will be a while before everything starts to be showy. 

someone was curious about the bat-face cuphea, the flowers are small, perhaps 3/4" but the bees and butterflies like them

Another big change may be headed our way besides the change of seasons. I've written often about the 12 acre field behind us, most recently when it was in full bloom with indian paintbrush. Soon after we bought this place we sort of appropriated part of it, mowing about another 20'-25' and that is where the burn pile was and where the compost pile and wildflower mini-meadow is. Well, last year or so that field was up for sale. The sign stayed up for a couple of months and then one day was gone and the status quo remained so we figured the person/s took it off the market. Unfortunately, it sold which I found out last Sunday when I went outside to putz around and saw two Asian men standing there just behind my property. I grabbed the dog and threw her inside and went back out just as they were leaving by cutting through my backyard and my other neighbor's side yard to get to the street where they were parked. I walked toward them and asked what they were doing.

So, yes, they had bought the field but had been too busy to do anything with it until now and were looking it over but weren't sure where the property line was; they had tried to access it from the street (the one my street dead ends into) but the overgrowth (pecan trees, wild grape, trash trees, poison ivy, and god only knows what all that makes up the wild space that surrounds the east end of the field on three sides) was so dense 

they couldn't attempt to get through. They hadn't made any decisions about what they were going to do with the field, maybe a trailer park oh joy but they were still considering their options. I pointed out the stake that shows where the property line is, that we had obviously been using part of the field which he replied was not a problem and thanked me for taking care of the property and then they left. I looked out Monday and they were back standing in the same spot only this time there were four of them.

Now it remains to be seen where this will go, what they will decide on to make their investment pay off, and when. Three things come to mind...the trailer park he mentioned with even more spotlights beaming into my backyard and house, apartments, or low income small houses the last two of which come with battles with the city government concerning septic/sewer systems, something they won't need with a trailer park. Whatever they do we will lose that section where the wildflowers and compost pile are unless by some miracle they decide that the back half of the field isn't worth clearing and build on the front half of the field, something that's not likely to happen

our property line is right on front edge of the wildflowers  in the middle

standing at the edge of the unmown field looking across the part we mow, the wildflower meadow part which was mostly bluebonnets earlier in the spring, toward the back of the house

We'll also lose our unobstructed view of the sunsets which has already been compromised by the neighbor's container. 

So I see a very tall fence lined with timber bamboo along our back property line in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

day trip to the Strand

As mentioned my sister and I went to Galveston for a day trip for my birthday last Friday. It's about a two hour drive from here but fortunately we were able to use county and farm-to-market roads with better scenery and avoid the heinous gauntlet of the remaking of Hwy 59 into Hwy 69 between here and Houston and then the forever under construction and heavily trafficked I-45 to Galveston not to mention just the normal horrible traffic in the city. Instead of the crowded and touristy beach, since we have a much nicer beach experience in Matagorda which is only an hour away from home, we went to the touristy historic downtown area called the Strand which is lined with bars and restaurants, souvenir shops, beachwear shops, a variety of unique shops including a rock and gem store, chocolate/candy store, a tea and herb shop, a Mexican import shop, a Native American art shop, the Galveston Art League, several nice general gift shops, and hands down our favorite, the Hendley Market.

Our first stop after we parked turned out to be the Hendley Market, not by design but because it was the first shop we came to that wasn't a souvenir or beachwear shop or bar/restaurant.

The Hendley Market is full of a variety of unique and fun items like...

(click to bigify)

in case you can't tell, dried seahorses with dragonfly wings

anatomy prints

the back wall has a case of folk art nativity scenes from countries all over the world, this is about half of them

And so much more!

these were my purchases

After we spent a good 45 minutes there we crossed the street to the rock/crystal/gem store and from there headed back to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. We sat out on the deck built over the water with ocean going oil rigs on one side and the tall ship Elissa on the other.

After lunch it was back to the Strand and the rest of the shops and when we'd seen all we wanted to see we headed to the causeway via Broadway and passed this cemetery where all the bodies are buried above ground in concrete crypts because the island is so shallow and flat if you just stick 'em in the ground they tend to float back out. This particular day, the cemetery was a sea of coreopsis.