Thursday, July 30, 2020

still uselessly wandering around

More rain yesterday, another inch. So, of course the electricians showed up yesterday to hook up the house and septic system. The guy was under the house when the heavens opened and a heavy downpour ensued. Just what you want when you're working on electricity. He was trapped under there til it abated somewhat. I had just walked over to the shop to check on something and so was trapped in the shop. It's been rainy, overcast, or drippy every day since Saturday. I think we've about reached the saturation point so it can stop now. Can't we just have a nice soaking in rain every 4 or 5 or 6 days instead of these long periods of no rain and then days and days of rain? Apparently not. Not in the time of climate change. Well, the sun is out today with puffy clouds and it is hot and humid, steamy actually, and the mosquitoes are back. The electricians finished today and the AC guys are scheduled for Monday. Once the AC is in I have to get the surveyor back for the final elevation survey which will prove the house and AC unit are as high as they need to be and submit that to the county.

When we came up with a timeline last February for getting the house and getting it ready for Pam to move in we didn't realize how quickly it would all come together even with the pandemic and so set a drop dead date for the end of November which would give her a month to move before putting her house on the market after the holidays as our fav realtor recommended at the time. I thought we would have to order the house which would take a couple of months right there but as it turned out we bought one off the lot. So now, next week the house will be ready to start moving into. But things have changed in the interim. Apparently Sugar Land, then Richmond/Rosenberg have become too citified with Houston stretching out and Wharton has become a real estate hot spot. To which Pam and I always wonder...why? There is NOTHING to do here. Our few restaurants are mostly Mexican food and barbeque or fast food or a country kitchen where they serve the food on styrofoam with plastic utensils, no movie theater, no bowling alley, no aquatic center (all of which El Campo does have 12 miles further down the road as well as a much better selection of restaurants). We do have a funky little outdoor public pool and several brand new sports stadiums for the local schools, one gym, no nice pubs, no shopping besides Walmart. What we do have is a glut of hair and nail salons. And churches. Lots of churches. But I digress.

I've read that with so many people working from home during the pandemic, some businesses and employees are finding that that works just fine and it may actually be a sea change, that when the virus is under control via treatment and/or vaccine that some businesses will continue this way giving up expensive office space as they find their employees are more productive working from home which frees people up from having to live near their place of employment. Hence the migration out of the city to this little podunk agricultural town. So, checking with our fav realtor about the new timeline, she says every property she has listed except for one run down shack has a contract on it. Houses go on the market and they are snapped up.

So I did absolutely nothing yesterday, and I'm pretty useless today too, except read a little more in the book I'm trudging through and once again spending too much time online. These last 100 pages are taking forever. I've sort of lost interest, no longer care much for the main character, just want to get to the end. Why don't you just put it down, you ask? Because I'm stubborn that way. Surely something will redeem it at the end.

I did make a raspberry and blackberry crostata on Tuesday. I'm liking these better than the pies I usually make because there are just two of us and by the fourth day the crust is soggy on a pie.

I have nothing more to add unless I want to talk about politics and the latest bullshit from the twitler-in-chief, which rest assured there is plenty not the least of which is him whining about how popular Dr. Fauci is and how nobody likes him, him as in Trumplethinskin and so he had to make up a lie that he was invited to throw out the first pitch at a Yankees game which was news to the Yankees and the White House staff as well, and then claimed that he was just too busy to do it as another wall is being built around the White House at Trump's command, this one a 13' high anti-climb wall. You can't even see the White House from the street anymore. Or that he's musing about postponing the election, something he does not have the power to do, only Congress can do it and that ignorant Pompeo saying that Barr will decide if the election should be postponed except Barr doesn't have that power either and whether there's an election or not, his term will end on January 20, 2021 and since the entire House will be up for election, every House member's term will end on Jan. 3 which would mean the ranking Senator takes his place until there is an election. Not to mention the over 150,000 dead Americans. And he wonders why no one likes him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

rain, repairs, and resist

Hurricane Hanna made landfall Saturday afternoon/evening just south of Corpus Christi at Padre Island. It's far enough down the coast that all we got is rain which we got off and on all day Saturday, 2 1/2” total. Some bouts of hard rain but mostly not as the bands swept through with pauses in between in which I got out there with a shovel or hoe trying to direct the accumulating water away from the part of the house on slab. Of course, the lowest part of the property is right around the slab.

I've been pondering lately my complete disinterest and lack of motivation in making art. No drawing, no watercoloring, no model making or glass casting. It's not like I don't have plenty of time and opportunity though I have been blaming it on the remodel of the bathroom, then the remodel in the shop, then the house hunting and preparation for it to be delivered but the truth is, I just don't have the interest these days. As if finishing the heron box last December was the cap on my career. Apparently. My colored pencils and watercolors stay spread out on the small work table as I studiously ignore it all. I tried to do some sketches at one point for a new piece that's been floating around in my mind but after three days of zero progress I gave it up since I do have some pieces I can offer the gallery for their anniversary show in September. If this keeps up I'm going to have to change the description of my blog.

Although, the more I look at the picture of the begonias on my Friday post the more I think I might draw them. I even went so far as to print out a couple of images and even opened my sketchbook to a clean page but that's as far as I got. Maybe tomorrow. I'm trying to finish the book I'm currently reading but it's gotten tedious here towards the end and not holding my attention. But then nothing seems to be holding my attention.

And so yesterday it was tomorrow and I did not draw but I did go to the grocery store and I did finally mend my skirt. You might remember last spring when I made three skirts. I wear two of them all the time around the house and on my walks, when one goes in the laundry I wear the other. As it happened, a couple of weeks ago I looked down to see that I had caught my skirt on something and there was a big tear, two sides of a square, each leg 2 1/2”. My first attempt was a total failure. I lined everything up and put cellophane tape over the tear on the inside and then zigzagged over it on the outside thinking all the little holes would perforate the tape and I could just pull it off when done. Wrong. So seam ripper and scissors in hand I ripped out all that zigzagging making the frayed edges even worse but I remembered I had some lightweight interfacing, the kind that you can iron on, so I got some of that out, cut it into an 'L' shape and pressed it on over the tears on the inside and then stitched around it and then zigzagged in the middle and I think it did a fine job.

Another rainbow formed as we were coming back from yoga last night (is it night if it's still light outside even though it's after 6 PM?). It started at one end, then started at the other end until it arced across the sky. Short lived and not very strong, nevertheless a picture was got through the windshield.

My sister and my daughter think all I do here is rant, rant about things I can't change and I'm working myself into a heart attack but they are wrong. Things don't change if no one speaks out, if no one observes, if no one shares what they see and learn, if no one resists, if no one confronts, if no one puts their body on the line, if no one informs why it is essential to vote, if we turn a blind eye to the subordination of the constitution and the rule of law and allow a would be dictator supported by a compromised Senate to rise. I resist. I resist by refusing to stuff the anger. I resist by shining a light, however small, on the evil that is this administration. I resist by communicating with the people and our political representatives. I resist because there is no guarantee at this point that we will have a fair election with all the voter suppression perpetrated by Republicans or even have an election. When the Justice Department is compromised and the head Attorney General of the United Sates has become the fixer for a corrupt president supported by his corrupt political party with his own militarized secret police force which is right now being sent into the cities and states governed by the opposing political party to suppress the demonstrations and 1A protests against police brutality and inherent racism in our judicial systems, there are no guarantees, there are no guarantees this same brutal force will not be deployed to prevent people from voting.

This blog was never meant to be about fluff though I have published plenty of fluff. It was and is a chronicle of my life through memories and current activities and what catches my attention, and, to a lesser degree, a history of the time in which I live and my place in it. It's the good, the bad, and the ugly; mine and the world's. And while I don't consider these essays rants I will continue to write them as long as events demand.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

week 19

Trump is starting his daily pandemic press briefings again sans any scientists or health care officials because apparently someone convinced him it would make him look good. At least there were none planned for the first one. I haven't watched any of them so I don't really know who is present. He still has no plan, still wants to defund testing, is still bored with the whole thing and wants the country to move on even though he was forced to cancel the RNC national convention planned in Florida. Even though he did finally suggest wearing masks is a good thing. Meanwhile, Trump plays golf while Americans sicken and die.


Oxford University has had some success with a possible vaccine. In their limited first trial it produced antibodies and the ever important T-cells but there is no proof that it actually protects someone from getting the virus short of intentionally exposing them or for how long. More, bigger studies are forthcoming. 


A doctor in Dallas has what he thinks is a life saving treatment for covid-19 patients, an inexpensive generic steroid used to help asthmatics for more than 20 years administered for 5 minutes through a nebulizer followed by an antibiotic and a zinc supplement. All of this administered early on when patients are first having shortness of breath and painful breathing has an immediate effect and patients recover. All the patients he has been treating since March are still alive. This is the protocol that has been used in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Iceland, countries that have had very few deaths. The current CDC and WHO protocol is to go home and get over it until you are so bad you need emergency care. You can read the article here  but this site is listed as 'questionable' for a far right bias with a 'mixed' rating on factual reporting.


Other studies and trials in the UK have reported:

An experimental drug, SNG001, delivered via an inhaler and based on interferon beta, a protein produced naturally in the body that plays an important role in coordinating the body’s antiviral response, given to hospitalized patients has reduced the need for ventilation or death by 79%. 

The steroid dexamethasone, a drug that fights inflammation, given either by mouth or injection has been found to reduce mortality in hospitalized patients. I wonder if this is the same steroid the doctor in Dallas uses. 


The US hit over 4 million cases this past week. Florida has surpassed New York for total cases. Even so Trump and his toadies still want schools to reopen in full and in person though it's not clear how many school districts are going to do that. Some of the proponents of this push admit that their grandkids won't be going back though it's fine for your kids to go back as our incredibly ignorant senator John Cornyn is trying to convince us kids don't get the virus and if they do get it it's mild and they aren't infectious. Again, he says children with the virus can't infect anyone else. Because he thinks the virus can choose whether or not to be infectious? I'm sure all those parents who have sick or dead kids will argue this point.


My county has 499 cases. They are still reporting just one death but people here are starting to question that as they have personal knowledge that more than one has died.


Current US statistics as of today 7/26/20, 14:23 GMT (last week's totals in parenthesis): cases – 4,318,247 (3,838,389), deaths – 149,414 (142,895) though how accurate these numbers are is anybody's guess considering Trump is trying to control the numbers by having all data sent to HHS instead of the CDC.

Friday, July 24, 2020

a little rain, heat, humidity, aluminum vs copper, and other minor matters

Well, apparently all I had to do to get it to rain was complain about not getting any rain though it wasn't all that much, only 3/4”. Still, better than none, though there's a tropical storm in the Gulf headed our way. It's been trending more south the last few days, was projected to head right for us or rather Matagorda earlier in the week, yesterday it had shifted to Port Lavaca, and today it's aiming at Corpus Christi. As such it has been mostly cloudy to overcast all week and more rain is predicted for later today and tomorrow. But do you think this little bit of rain and the cloudiness has made it a little more bearable outside? Ha! If you think that, you know nothing about humidity. Thirty or forty minutes outside wielding the long handled nippers and sweat is dripping off me. Wednesday I hacked some virginia creeper off a small section of fence along the front of the shop property standing in the ditch, Thursday some ironweed further down, and today a rose bush that had long branches laying on the ground and some small trash trees along the property line side of the barn that were already too big to be successfully dug up.

It's been so hot and dry that all the pecan trees are damping off lots of small branches. 

They haven't started to fall yet but they will. This is a neighbor's tree but my three look just the same. And I'm not seeing many pecans up in the branches so I expect there won't be much of a harvest this fall, at least not from my trees.

Progress on the house has come to a standstill while we get estimates from electricians to hook up the house and the septic system. I have three estimates ranging from $1690 - $2090 depending on copper or aluminum wire. Right now we're waiting for one of them to confirm copper in their price and be more specific than 'August' for when they can do the work. It never occurred to me that there was more than one kind of wire so I spent some time yesterday researching the difference between aluminum and copper. Copper is more expensive by about twice and heavier but it has better conductivity and a smaller expansion rate when heated. Aluminum is cheaper, lighter, more flexible, has less conductivity and expands more when heated which can lead to weakening of the wire and breakage. Every article I read said that there is a danger of fire if the aluminum is not installed correctly. However, most home builders switched to aluminum in the 50s and 60s since the price difference is considerable if you are wiring a whole house. The manufactured home is wired with copper so we've decided to go with that. And Pam just called, they only use copper and can start next Thursday or as soon as they get the wire in.

I also spent part of this week investigating flood insurance as our FEMA supplied policy expires in October. And as long as I was at it I got a quote for our car insurance to see if we could bring that back down from when our current insurer raised our rate after the grandboy wrecked the truck. He hydroplaned one night right into a brand new Lexus. Of course. Had to be a brand new Lexus.

It's getting a little breezy out there (though I have just been informed that our county is no longer included in the tropical storm watch) and my birds haven't shown up for a couple of days so wondering if they sense the storm coming. I don't put the bird feeder out in the summer when food is plentiful even if they have to work for it because it wouldn't do for them to get dependent on humans but soon after it was emptied for the last time this year a young male cardinal would come and sit in the tree outside my window, peer in, and chirp at me so I've been putting a handful of seed out on the elephant plant stand every morning and evening. Usually he's waiting for me and will swoop down before I even get back inside totally unconcerned about me or Minnie or even the cat who likes to lay on the little patio right outside the door. Pretty soon he showed up with his lady friend and later with a fledgling. After a while the blue jays came to get the peanuts and then the chickadees and titmice got in on it. I went out to take this picture

and before I got back inside, I could hear him chirping and then there he was!

What else have I done this week...touched up the paint in the big bathroom that discolored from a leak in the attic that was easily remedied, painted the white glue to blend in on the naked lady though I haven't set her out yet as I can't decide where to put her. Not next to the tree again because...squirrels. Bought 10 peaches on Tuesday that were firm, needed a bit more ripening before I used them for a pie so I put them in my netted basket on the kitchen counter, they looked good on Wednesday but didn't have time, and Thursday morning they were so gone by they were soft, oozy, and moldy! All of them! Don't think I'll be buying anymore of those peaches. Not something I did but the crop duster was out yesterday, zooming low and banking over our house, spraying defoliant I guess on the already dying cotton field. Seems a little early for cotton harvest to me but maybe not. All the farmers who had still been waiting for their turn with the harvesters late August when the Harvey flood hit lost their entire crop, including the one at the end of my street.

And now for the end of post flower pics.

more coral ginger

mexican bird of paradise


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

another few days in the life

It continues to be hot and humid and dry. So dry. The cotton in the field at the end of the street is suffering, wilted with large swaths yellowing. 

I don't remember this happening the year of the terrible drought when the whole state was in exceptional drought and Texas lost millions of trees to wildfire and also from lack of water. Feed corn must have been planted in that field that year which they don't harvest until it is completely dried out anyway.

Monday evening, though, it was raining east of here and a rainbow developed while I was walking Minnie

and then Monday night a storm blew through but was mostly just lightning and thunder. We recorded 3/8” of rain. It cooled things down a bit if only temporarily. And then this morning I woke to a decent rain, or rather it was raining decently as long as it lasted, less than ¾" worth.

My neighbor whose husband died suddenly last December had a crew come in and whip her acre that had gotten out of control (this is not to be construed as a criticism especially considering my own yard maintenance style but simply as an observation) back into shape. It took them two days. There was a lot of stuff to recover and uncover. It made me wonder if she's thinking of putting the house on the market soon.

Grandgirl Jade, who is finishing up her third year at University of Texas San Antonio I know, right! is moving into a new apartment with a friend and she claimed our old dining room table that we have been keeping for her over at the shop. You might remember I got the score of a lifetime at an estate sale, a round oak table with lion paw feet, a leaf, and 6 chairs for $80. She came and fetched the table and chairs weekend before last and last Friday I got this text from her...

I'm going to have to stay away from the news and all things Trump for a few days. Trump's deployment of his DHS and prison guard and border patrol thugs in Portland and the upcoming deployment to Chicago to instigate and engage in violence is making my afib act up. Trump is doing this as part of his 'law and order' re-election strategy, and he's only doing this to democratic run states and cities as a way to delegitimize the Democrats, as proof that Dems are soft on law and order and that if they get elected the country will descend into chaos. So he is sending in his secret police to escalate the violence to create the 'proof' he wants. And in Portland that's exactly what happened. The protests had dwindled down to about 100 diehards hanging out at a park, barbequing and making music and now with the uncalled for violence from these unnamed police, the protests have resurged. Never mind that the country has descended into chaos under Trump's hand ot that this maneuver is illegal as no one in Portland asked for the feds and federal law enforcement must be requested. As for Chicago, their mayor is a black woman. He needs no other reason to demonize Chicago and send in the feds though I did read today that the police union sent a letter to Trump asking for help because they are just as racist and misogynistic as he is.

A few more pics from around the yard...

been seeing more of these little tree frogs

and I saw the tiniest little anole yesterday that must have just hatched but it scooted away too fast for me to get a picture.

Summer stalwarts Katie ruella which is basically a dwarf tamed wild mexican petunia though they also spread easily,

and the yellow bells (also called esperanza and tecoma stans) are blooming,

and the coral ginger is starting to bloom.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

week 18

Trump is now convinced that EVERYBODY is lying about how bad the virus is, how many people are dying, how horrible the deaths, how horrible the disease even if you don't die. Everybody...the WHO, the CDC, the scientists, the doctors, the nurses...they are all lying to make him look bad and derail his reelection. Well, actually he only retweeted this by Chuck Woolery, an ex game show host but those are some of Donald's favorite people.


I had my first covid related dream, that I remember, early Sunday morning. I was in an indoor space but it was huge and I had arrived there with some other people, family members I think, in someone else's car (this bit is from Friday when Pam and my daughter Sarah and I went to the estate/closed antique store sale on Friday) but once there I was alone and nearby the woman who runs Hesed House was starting some sort of demonstration involving fiber so I went over to watch. She took these clumps of wool I think and rolled them up into snakes and then started picking them apart and then other people came over to watch and crowded together and I realized none of them, myself included, were wearing masks and so I started backing up and turned to go to the car to get my mask and remembered we didn't come in my car and I didn't have a mask and then I started coughing and I was rushing to get outside and pushed through the doors and then I woke up and I was coughing for real and I'm sort of freaking out wondering if I've been infected from all the people I've been around connected with getting this house set up but then it stopped and I've been fine.


An new study by researchers in Europe suggests that corona mortality rates are likely to be lower in countries where diets are rich in fermented vegetables. Significant changes in the microbiome caused by modern life and less fermented food consumption may have increased the spread or severity of the disease, they say.


Trump has ordered all hospitals to stop sending covid-19 data to the CDC and send it to HHS instead and then the next day the CDC website was stripped of it's covid data. It was reinstated after the uproar but will no longer be updated and the app that enabled hospitals to send their data to the CDC was removed so that there would be no way to continue to send the CDC the data. Make no mistake, this is Trump's attempt to control the numbers and he will cook the books to make himself look good to increase his chance of reelection, telling us all that infections and deaths are decreasing when in fact they are still increasing. They give all sorts of reasons like the current system was too slow and cumbersome and that may be, however I do not trust anything that comes out of HHS. 


Trump has ordered the CDC director to ignore the subpoena to testify at the House Education and Labor Committee hearing set for next week on the reopening of schools.


And in Texas our Attorney General has said that religious private schools are exempt from reopening guidelines cause, you know, religious freedom y'all.


Walmart issued a nationwide mandatory mask requirement.


Trump is pushing to eliminate billions of dollars for testing and contact tracing and the CDC from a relief proposal by Senate Republicans.


Coronavirus cases are increasing in 40 states and the US, averaging 65,800 new cases a day last week, and we have more confirmed cases per capita than any other major industrial nation.


Current US statistics as of today 7/19/20, 15:7 GMT (last week's totals in parenthesis): cases – 3,838,389 (3,385,377), deaths – 142,895 (137,620) though how accurate these numbers will be in the future is anybody's guess considering Trump is trying to control the numbers.

Turns out I forgot another white flower in the yard (see the previous post). It's a type of gardenia, I think, but it grows into a very large shrub and the leaves are big, almost 8” long and the flowers are on a bloom stalk. I thought it was called star of India but I googled that and did not see my plant so I don't know exactly what it is.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

where did the week go and white

I was going to write a post Thursday, and then yesterday and now here it is Saturday. I have no idea where the week has gone. I went to yoga on Monday and Wednesday evenings. I've not been very good about doing my daily routine in the morning the past two weeks, maybe I've managed about half the days. Maybe. Not today. But yes yesterday.

Wednesday CenterPoint sent a crew out and installed the meter so now we are getting estimates from electricians to hook the house up to the meter and hook the septic system up to the house. The first one from a local man and wife team who my sister and I have both used before but we thought their estimate was pretty high. I'm waiting to hear back from another individual, I have one more to call on Monday, and Pam is waiting to hear if the company in Rosenberg that did my daughter's house is going to show up on Tuesday for a look see as their crew was exposed to the virus by a customer and of course only the estimator tested positive but he feels fine and will wear a mask and I'll be standing far far away.

My ennui of the last couple of weeks seems to have dissipated somewhat. I did make the crostata out of the cherries but it didn't improve them at all however the addition of vanilla ice cream did. I spliced the last bad place on the hose with the kit my daughter picked up for me in the city. I finally glued my concrete naked lady back together (she's 33" tall) though she's got a serious crack around her ankles with some small chunks out which I'm going to fill in with the gorilla glue I used to put her back together. The glue is paintable so after it cures completely I'm going to touch it up. 

I finally got the rest of the house vacuumed but my house cleaning urge seems to have vanished now. I'm thinking I must have accomplished something else but I can't think what beside watering and a bit of cutting back some of the easter lilies gone to seed and turning brown. We did get a very minor amount of rain yesterday, very light, for about 20 minutes. I was out in it across the street while Rocky was gathering up tools and stuff being all but done with the deck 

and moving the stairs that came with the house around to the back door. It wasn't even raining enough to get my clothes completely wet before I came in and it felt good really to be out in it. Today it rained pretty good for less than 10 minutes while the sun was shining.

I think today I'll do a punch list on the porch/deck (needs the spindles on the stair handrail), plumbing (two hose bibs still need to be put in and the water pipe secured up under the floor of the house), shop room and half bath (minor things like the light switch in the half bath) and roof across the back of the shop that had gaping holes at one end that Rocky had his helper fill in but needs a patch as well. I had repaired a long length of that edge of the roof four or five years ago but it finally failed. Hopefully this new repair will last at least as long or longer. It will have to be inspected every year.

Or not. Maybe tomorrow.

On the national scene, Trump and Barr have deployed their Secret Police to Portland ostensibly to protect federal buildings and monuments, but in reality to instigate and inflame with more brutality the already dying out protests in a bid to improve Trump's sinking poll numbers. Trump keeps tweeting LAW AND ORDER and yet he refuses to abide by the laws of this country that restrain a president from becoming a dictator. These armed and unnamed men in battle gear are not going after looters or those engaged in violence but 'escorting' citizens off the streets into unmarked cars taking them to unknown locations with no Miranda and no charges leveled. This my friends is unadulterated fascism and Barr has already announced that he plans on deploying them all across the country violating our civil rights...our right to protest, our right to free speech, our right to protection from illegal search and seizure, our right to a free press.The governor of Oregon and the mayor of Portland did not ask for them, do not want them there. And not a peep out of the 'states' rights and small government' Republicans. And where are all the 2nd amendment folks who claim that the whole purpose of the 2nd amendment to allow an armed citizenry is to protect the nation from government imposed tyranny? Where are all these right wing militias protecting the citizenry from this governmental tyranny and illegal seizure of citizens?

So as not to end on such a depressing note...more pics from the yard, the white edition.

The white ginger is starting to bloom but no picture yet. The plants have really been suffering in this heat, can't water them enough, and the one or two flowers so far wilt quickly so I finally got out there today and put up the shade cloth which I can drape over them during the hours when they're in full sun.

The bridal bouquet plumeria is in full bloom. It's hard to take a good picture because the plant? tree? Is 7 1/2' tall.

This is our native passion flower vine. Pam gave me a piece and I planted it over at the shop on the dog pen fence (the previous owners had a german shepherd so there is a large hut/dog house and fenced area). She warned me but I didn't care...then. It is so invasive it's coming up all over the yard after it smothered the dog pen fence and now it's trying to colonize the fence I spent all those weeks clearing this spring. It rarely blooms but it is a larval food plant for fritillary butterflies.

Spider lilies. I brought these from the old city house.

The white orchid tree is still putting on blooms.

This althea or rose-of-sharon is just now starting to put on buds.

I tried for years to grow gardenias. Either they died outright or they just never grew and never bloomed until this one bush which has grown and bloomed profusely. It already did it's main full bloom a couple of weeks ago but now it's putting on a second less profuse set of blooms. I pick one in the morning and put it in a little vase next to where I sit and it perfumes the air all day.

Next covid update on Monday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

more progress and stuff seen around the yard

Saturday Rocky and his current helper planted the meter box pole. 

My sister Pam then set up her new account and the meter is ordered and power should be brought to the pole one day this week. Then we get an electrician to come and hook it up to the house and wire in the septic system and then call the AC people to come install the condenser and hook it up. Rocky delivered the supplies for the small porch/deck for the front of the house yesterday and he's out there now getting it built. And Gunnar showed up yesterday afternoon and got the water hooked up. 

digging the trench for the water line

He had a little Kubota tractor with a digger on one end and a blade on the other and when he was done with the plumbing I asked if he would grade that dirt for me behind the house and he did! Saved me a buttload of work and didn't charge me extra.

Other than that, nothing new is happening. It is still hot as blazes, not fit for man or beast out there except for the long haired cat who likes to lay out in the garage on the concrete during the hottest parts of the day and sleep or observe.

Saturday I decided to finally dig out the volunteer maple tree that sprouted in a shallow dish of succulents and repot it. I'm afraid I killed it instead. The dirt was hard as a rock and while I thought I was being careful I ended up breaking the main root. I suppose I should have watered the pot first. It still had an intact small root so I went ahead and potted it up, watered it well, and brought it inside to recuperate but the leaves are drying and curling and it is not happy.

Sunday I was finally bored enough to do some house cleaning. I got both the bathrooms done and yesterday I cleaned the windows and the window seat of the bay windows in the living room and then vacuumed the upper house. Today I did the weekly shopping including going to Walmart to see if they had a couple of items the HEB did not and bought some cherries then came home and made tuna salad for lunch. Ate some of the cherries with lunch and they are terrible! They looked good, good color, nice and firm but they have no flavor, just bland. These are the worst cherries I have ever eaten. I guess I'll use them to make a pie or a crostata so they won't go to waste.

Pictures have been piling up so here's a few from around the yard.

little tree frog


red crinum lilies

succulent bloom

the white orchid tree had 25 open flowers this day

the rangoon creeper has been exceptional this year and this is only half the bush

Sunday, July 12, 2020

week 17

Pence announced that the administration will be encouraging US health workers to reuse their PPEs, increasing the danger to their own health that they face while caring for the sick even though he says supplies remain 'very strong'. And apparently that's a lie as health care workers have already been reusing their PPEs because Trump has not put the force of the government behind making sure our health care workers have what they need to protect themselves.


Trump is desperate and all he can think about is getting the economy going to boost his re-election bid. He wants the kids back in school so the parents will go back to work and so he is pushing hard for all the states to start in person schools again in August and so to that end he is threatening to withhold federal aid to those schools that do not open because he doesn't have the power to order the states to do what he wants. He is not, however, helping school districts deal with the cost of outfitting the schools to make them safe for students and teachers alike. And of course Education Secretary DeVos is demanding that schools open on time in August fully with in person instruction 5 days a week, dismissing distance learning and limited classroom instruction. These people care nothing for Americans or our children.


Trump has formally withdrawn the US from the World Health Organization. In the middle of a pandemic. Fortunately, it can't go into effect for one year and Biden has pledged to rejoin on his first day as president.


Virologists and scientists are finding evidence that the coronavirus may not have originated in China after all but was already dispersed around the globe and laying dormant until environmental conditions were just right for it to become active before the first outbreak in China. Spanish virologists announced they had found traces of the disease in samples of waste water collected in March 2019 and Italian scientists have also found evidence of coronavirus in sewage samples in Milan and Turin in mid-December, many weeks before the first case was detected, while experts have found traces in Brazil in November. Read the article here


We hear that people recover or they die. We don't hear about all the people who suffer for months before they recover or the continuing health problems they suffer from damaged organs after recovery including the brain. Neurologists in the UK have published a study of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom. You can read the article here


While there is still no cure for covid-19, convalescent serum therapy is emerging as one of the most promising strategies. In a  study at Houston's Methodist Hospital of 25 critically ill patients, 19 improved including 11 that were discharged. 


Every department in the government is compromised. HHS accused the CDC of undermining the president by publishing scientific data about potential risks of the virus to pregnant women because as far as this administration is concerned the only thing that matters is that Trump isn't made to look bad.


Trump has not asked Dr. Fauci for a briefing for two months and he is being prevented from speaking to reporters because he tells the truth about the pandemic running rampant in this country. And it is running rampant. And so, of course, now the White House is running a campaign to discredit Dr. Fauci by publishing a list of all the times he was wrong in the early days. What they aren't saying is that the statements Dr. Fauci made about the virus were based on the limited scientific knowledge they had at the time. But that's really beside the point as the whole reason for the campaign to discredit him is not because of predictions based on limited knowledge but because he continues to refute Trump's assertion that the US is doing great. The fact is we aren't doing great. 70,000 new cases nationwide on Friday alone and 15,300 new cases in Florida on Saturday, the highest number yet for a single day in a single state.


My county is up to 328 cases. They are still reporting only one death but people here are starting to question that.


Current US statistics as of today 7/12/20, 17:09 GMT (last week's totals in parenthesis): cases – 3,385,377 (2,964,797), deaths – 137,620 (132,473)

Almost half a million new cases in one week.