Wednesday, August 30, 2023

the usual

It's only Tuesday, the day after I taped over the third hole in the outlet, but I do believe I'm getting the upper hand in my battle with the ants. Maybe not won the war...yet, but no ants on the kitchen counter today and one of the ant traps was doing brisk business next to the other pocket door in the kitchen. And again no ants this Wednesday morning. I'm encouraged.

Now if my pecan trees would stop dropping green nuts that would be fine. I've been watering the trees every day for what, two weeks now, and this morning I picked up about two dozen green pecans and even more that had already turned brown. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll get a crop or not though I still see a lot on the trees. I water them for about an hour and a half to two hours depending on what time I get up and how weary I am of watering stuff every morning and evening. Today I slept late and did the minimum out there.

Had a wakeful night last night. Spent a couple of hours playing games on my phone. The dog was restless, I guess I was disturbing her sleep. Then she decided she needed to go outside and when I got up she started barking until I could get the back door open. She went out about 5', turned around and came right back in. What the fuck dog? What was that all about.

When I went out this morning after sleeping later than usual, it was in the 70˚s outside, with an occasional little breeze, it was...nice but here at 10 AM it's almost 90˚ already. Triple digits for the next week and then it's supposed to drop in the high 90s and still no rain for the foreseeable future. I have no desire to invoke the gods but I wouldn't mind a little tropical storm right about now.

Our local red shouldered hawk has been visiting lately. I've seen it several times either on the chain link fence railing or the edge of the old turtle pond. I've just been letting the water evaporate because the thing hasn't been mucked out in years and really needs it. It's down to about 10” deep now, too shallow for the hawk to drink from from the rim, too deep for it to get down in there and splash around so I put a plastic basin on Big Mama's old sunning spot and filled it with water. 

I don't know if that will be helpful for the hawk or not but it was the best I could do. And I moved the birdbath from where it was into a more shady spot for now though now I can't see it from where I sit in the mornings.


Since I don't have anything to write about besides hot and dry or ants and pecans, I'll report on the current state of the Republican clown show.

Trump and his minions co-defendants are doing everything they can to lie and cheat their way out of the indictments against them, the consequences of their actions, from claiming that they were only challenging the results of the election or acting on orders or that their position at the time gave them immunity or trying to get their case moved to a different jurisdiction where they believe they can get it to disappear and so far the DAs and judges are having none of it. Well except for Judge 'Loose' Cannon who seems to be bending over backwards behind the scenes to get the documents case thrown out. Other republican politicians from state level to federal are doing what they can to make the cases disappear including but not limited to calling for investigations into DAs Willis and Bragg on state and federals levels, threatening to refuse to fund the government if the DAs prosecuting Trump et al aren't defunded, in Georgia invoking a new law about to go into effect that allows them to remove elected prosecutors not doing their jobs, screaming that this is election inference from a weaponized DOJ under the orders of President Biden all while Trump himself is saying he intends to jail his opponents if elected, once again threatening civil war if Trump goes to trial Their desperation to shift the focus off Trump and onto Biden is pathetic.

Since republican efforts to impeach Biden via all those bogus investigations produced not one scintilla of evidence or proof of wrongdoing even from their own whistleblowers and witnesses they just can't let go of that particular wet dream of retaliation. Now, their position seems to be who needs evidence or proof of wrongdoing. Joe Biden is president. That's reason enough for them. Apparently McCarthy knows he doesn't have the yeas to pass a vote for an impeachment inquiry so he may just start one anyway or maybe just go straight to drawing up articles of impeachment to mollify the far right wackos that elicited that promise from him during his fight to become Speaker.

Monday, August 28, 2023

trees and ants and meds

A couple of the commenters on my last post offered suggestions on watering my pecan trees and they both had one thing in common, placing the source of water at the bottom of the trunk. The problem with that, according to the certified arborist that spoke at one of the EarthLabs, is that there aren't any feeder roots at the base of the tree, just the big artery roots. The small feeder roots are spread out under the canopy and only in the top 15” - 18” of ground.

Using a search engine to further clarify, one site says the critical watering zone is two thirds of the height of the tree away from the trunk with a soaker hose spread around the tree or a sprinkler or just letting the water run or a 5 gallon bucket with holes in the bottom for small newly planted trees.

I looked at several sites and they all say basically the same. I use either a sprinkler on low that throws a circle of water out about 4' or 5' in diameter but not up in the air or just turn the hose on low flow and let it run under the canopy, usually about 10' – 15' away from the trunk, which is what I'm doing this Sunday morning because I only have one sprinkler and I'm using it elsewhere. The birds, btw, are loving the sprinkler. They dart in and out of the spray, hang out on whatever plant or shrub.

My trees are mature, 25” - 35” diameters. Two of them are on either side of the septic drain field so I figure they are getting some water from that. The third does not and it seems to be the one that's dropping the most green pecans though the other two are as well. I've filled the 5 gallon bucket from the previous post to the rim and am starting on another.

Sunday the ants were on the kitchen counter when we got up, seemed to be ignoring the bait trap but by mid morning they were gone for the day at least. I located an area in the upper cabinet to seal and did that. Today, Monday they were back on the kitchen counter ignoring the bait trap so I followed their trail and dammit all to hell, they were coming in and out of the third prong hole from the outlet the coffee pot and grinder are plugged into, neither of which have that third prong. The little faces look dismayed do they not? 

How the fuck do I stop that up? I put a piece of tape over it. Speak no evil, especially ants.

Friday I spent a good deal of time on the phone trying to get meds straightened out. August 20 I renewed my two meds for the afib, sotolol and eliquis. A few days later I got an email that their pharmacist was holding up the eliquis and they had tried to reach my doctor to no avail but my other scrip was on it's way only they sent out the larger dose instead of the one I ordered. Three phone calls from me to the online pharmacy and one to my doctor's office and two return calls from his nurse who also called the online pharmacy and it was finally straightened out and the eliquis is on it's way. But while I had the nurse on the phone I told her I didn't think the lower dose of the sotolol the doctor put me on 3 months ago was doing the job, that I was having way more frequent and sometimes long breakthrough episodes. She told me to go back on the larger dose since I tolerated it well, that the doctor had lowered the dose because he thought I had complained about not having any energy (which I think he probably must have misunderstood something I said, maybe confusing motivation with energy, because he did say something about more energy), and I remember telling my husband when I got home that more energy was the last thing I needed. And then, of course, the heat dome came and sat on us and that was the end of any energy.

P.S. I'm trying to be better about replying to comments which you may or may not have noticed.

One last little observation. White wing doves, when they sit on a branch looking down, look like miniature vultures. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

plagues...ants, heat, drought

Every time I foil the ants it takes them a few days to find another way in. This morning they were on the kitchen counter maybe coming in from the upper cabinet but no definite entry spot. Killed them all, started my watering cycle of the pecan trees, fixed breakfast, sat at the table and looked down to see a thick trail of ants coming from under the baseboard to an ant bait that my sister gave me that is under the table. I had never heard of these or seen them before, Terro liquid ant bait. You snap open the tube and inside is a sweet borax laced liquid that draws the ants which then lay a pheromone trail to the food source and back to the nest encouraging more ants to come and eat their fill. The borax kills the ant after they ingest it. When I looked down at the bait tube and it looked to be half full of ants crowding in.

So I put a second one down next to the baseboard where they were getting in. Then I checked the one between the refrigerator and the wall, and yup, it was starting to draw ants. Checked the second one by the baseboard about an hour later and it was already half full of ants. I only had the three so I ran up to the hardware store and got more.

Several days ago I decided to pick up the green pecans that had been falling to see really how many I was losing before I started watering my three trees. I set the sprinkler out with a 4 or 5 foot diameter water spread for half an hour and then move it to another spot from about 7:30 – 10 AM. The ground is so dry and hard that I'm really unsure how deep the water gets but hopefully now, a week after I started this, it's getting deep enough to reach the feeder roots which only occupy about the top 15 – 18 inches of ground. Anyway, so far I've picked up a 5 gallon bucket's worth though not all big green ones (they turn brown a day or two after they fall) but all sizes from about an inch to the big fat ones still hanging on. 

I had no idea I was losing so many. And that bucket does not include the one the squirrels plucked and gnawed on. The other reason I picked them up is because when the mature nuts start to fall, I won't be fooled by the bad ones that have already dropped.

I've cut back more of the coral ginger and swore I was going to cut back the yellow ginger because during the day they are shriveled up but this morning they looked not great but not terrible and I couldn't do it even though I know there is no hope of them blooming. And because temps from 100˚ - 103˚ which is what we've been getting every day aren't bad enough, Sunday is predicted to get up to 108˚. Just the one day though and then back to what we've been getting. Not supposed to drop below 100˚ til next month.

Looks like the farmer won't need to spray defoliant on the cotton this year. The intense heat and drought are doing a fine job of defoliating the plants, probably already dead.

Well, I did actually accomplish something this week besides watering. The stool I rest my feet on at my high desk was an ugly plastic covered thing that was cracked and split with the little bit of stuffing coming out so I cut three squares from the old quilt batting and cut a bigger square from some left over fabric from one of my skirts, sewed a casing, ran some elastic through it, and voila! New footstool cover.

Jade and I did finish putting her quilt back together last Tuesday. Joanne's (from Cup On The Bus) sister is going to quilt it for us so I need to get it mailed up to her. Here's the front and back.

Not much blooming out there now and what is is not profuse...a couple of the plumerias, the yellow bells, the crepe myrtles, and this little double purple althea.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

quilt do and re-do, ants, fingers crossed for rain

Jade has been here the past several days to work on refurbishing her quilt. 

You might remember that a while back we freed the intact quilt top from the torn backing and batting. She found a cotton tablecloth at a resale shop that had the same colors as her quilt top that she thought was big enough for the backing. So on Friday we started to put it all back together only the tablecloth was not big enough so we used the part of the old backing to cut two 6” panels adding one to each side and a narrow strip across the bottom. Very patchwork which I guess is apropos. Yesterday we taped the backing to the floor, spread out the batting and cut it to size, spread the quilt top on top of that and pinned it all together. Then I started sewing the three pieces together around the edges, got two sides done before we quit for the day. 

Sunday I finished sewing the three layers together and then the bias tape binding on three sides. When I laid it out to pin the tape on the last side it became apparent that our calculations on the size needed for the back and the batting was short by about 1 1/2” on the width and about 3” on the length. How the fuck did I miscalculate so badly? We started out by taping the top to the floor and measuring it. So the top is bigger than the bottom which is going to make quilting it a pain in the ass. My anal and perfectionist self wants to take it apart and start all over. When first made we didn't quilt it, I just sewed knots on a 5” square grid which worked fine until a boy and his dog moved into Jade's room at home after she left for collage (my daughter had a habit of taking in stray kids) and didn't take her quilt with her. The boy and the dog loved her quilt though, loved it to pieces so this time it really needs to be quilted.

Edit: When Jade arrived Monday I told her that since the top was 2+” longer than the bottom we should probably take it apart and add on to the back because otherwise when it was quilted it would probably pleat the top. She told me she dreamed last night that I was going to want to take it apart. I guess she knows me. So of course we did. Not perfect but better. Today I'll sew the bias tape binding on the edges and we'll call it done. Much easier to make a quilt than to take one apart that has been used and washed and apparently shrunk a bit from use and try to remake it.

Still having ants in the house. Saturday they were trying to come in under the threshold of the door to the garage so I laid a line of cinnamon along there. It's a good thing I bought the big jar at Costco. And Sunday they were on the stove and a small trail heading under the refrigerator. Killed those with the orange oil spray, the house smells like oranges and cinnamon. There was an article in the Saturday Chronicle about ants invading people's homes so I'm not the only one being plagued by them. Seems to be a common problem from the heat and drought. Their recommendation on dealing with the ants? Seal up the places where they're getting in. Gee, that never occurred to me. Monday and so far today we are ant free.

Now that I'm having to water my pecan trees in the hope that it will stop the trees from dropping the green pecans I'm sacrificing some of the stuff that I can't seem to water enough anyway. I've cut back all the white butterfly ginger, the coral butterfly ginger whose growing tips have turned brown and dry since they won't grow anymore or bloom (the rest will probably go soon), pulled out the zinnias, cut back the toad lily growth as it was all dying anyway. Haven't cut back the yellow butterfly ginger yet though I imagine I will in the coming days as they are starting to suffer and only a couple look like they are putting out bloom buds and they should have started blooming last June anyway. The leaves on the pink plumeria planted in the ground that gets the most sun are getting sunburned and turning yellow even though I water it every day. AccuWeather is still predicting rain for today and it is overcast from the tropical storm Harrold which is right now pounding Corpus Christi and Rockport, two or three hours down the coast from us. Whoa! It's raining, a quick little downburst of hard rain lasted less than 10 minutes but hopefully just the first of many today.


Another MAGAt has responded to the republican hate machine against LGBTQI+ and calls for violence and murdered a woman in California, a shop owner and mother of 9 kids, because he didn't like her pride flag out front, was carrying a gun, and wasn't content with just venting his spleen vocally. The armed suspect fired on police and was killed when they attempted to apprehend him.

And former Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis, also indicted in Georgia, is shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that Trump won't be paying her legal bills. I find that kind of hilarious. I mean, come on, Trump isn't even paying his own legal bills. That money is coming from the chumps who donate to his campaign.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

hot, dry, crappy day, and MAGAt violence

Wednesday morning. High today predicted 103˚ (feels like 107˚), high tomorrow 104˚ (feels like 108˚). No rain in sight until maybe Monday.

Tired of listening to me bitch and moan about the heat? I'm tired of me bitching and moaning about the heat. At least our lows have dropped into the mid to high 70˚s instead of the 80˚s. Quite a shock when I went out this morning at 7:30, it felt almost cool at 78˚. 78˚ is what we keep the AC on in the house.


Friday, damn, where did the week go? Today's predicted high, 104˚; tomorrow and the next two days 103˚ but the liars say Tuesday only 91˚ and it will almost certainly rain! We'll see. I'm not holding my breath (forecast has already changed...less cool and less chance of rain).

This has been a shitty day since the moment I got up. The ants were back in the kitchen swarming the cat and dog food bowls, this time they seemed to be coming from under the quarter round and baseboard along the wall in which the pocket door slides, entry point far enough back in the space between the wall and the refrigerator where I can't really reach unless I pull the fridge out and the fridge does not slide easily on the vinyl flooring I put down in the kitchen after the flood. It tore the vinyl in two places the last time we moved the fridge. The orange oil spray did reach back there so I managed to kill them all but it's going to take some major caulking around the baseboards. In the meantime I'm moving the food dishes to a different room.

After I dealt with the ants I went out to set up the hose and the sprinkler. My neighbor Gary asked yesterday if I had noticed any green pecans falling and yes I had noticed that the trees were starting to drop a few. He said two people have told him that he should start watering his trees because this extreme heat and drought was causing them to go into survival mode and let go of the developing nuts. My three trees are on the edge of my septic drain field and I figured they were getting some water from that. The one that has azaleas around it gets watered when I set up the sprinkler for the azaleas. So this morning I put the hose under one of the others and let it run for 30 minutes moving it every 10 minutes. Then I went to the front and set up the sprinkler in the big flower bed there and managed to completely soak the skirt I was wearing so I had to come in and change.

And then after I had made my oatmeal for breakfast and was carrying the bowl to the table I managed to leave a trail of honey spilling over the edge. Also, ants in the dining area (and later in the day another invasion over a spot of honey that I missed coming in apparently from under the quarter round against the outside wall). I have no idea where those came from, no telltale trail. Killed them one at a time. So then I had to clean up all the dead ants in the kitchen and dining area and got out the vacuum and as long as I had it out I did all but the two small rooms, the hall, and the big bathroom but I was dripping sweat by then so they can wait.


Now in other news we've all heard, I'm sure, of Trump's 4th indictment in Georgia and right on schedule he and his most ardent cult members immediately started screeching about how unfair and unprecedented Biden's weaponization of the justice department is, which of course is just more screeching by the howler monkeys to deflect from the real reason for the indictments, which is Trump's constant criminality. They cherry pick sentences or portions of a sentence out of context from the 99 page indictment as proof that this is all a political sham, the proverbial witch hunt. But Fani Willis has spent 2 1/2 years investigating Trump's conspiracy to overturn Georgia's election in his favor and she's not fucking around. Even if he manages to still get elected, he cannot pardon himself for state crimes and Georgia's governor does not have the power either. But that's not what I really wanted to write about.

It's the threats of violence, the promotion of violence that Trump and his goons are indulging in knowing full well some wacko will act on it. Immediately after the J6 indictment for his conspiracy to install himself as president one way or another after an election he lost and after being warned by Judge Chutkan to refrain from violent rhetoric, Trump threatened retaliation against those 'coming after him'. A Texas woman has been arrested for making death threats against Judge Chutkan calling her a slave, a bitch, using the n word, and telling her “we want to kill you” and they would came after her family as well. Matt Gaetz at a political rally told the crowd that “only through force do we make any changes”. Last week a man made several assassination threats against Biden and other democrat politicians on social media. When the FBI knocked on his door he came at them with guns drawn. The FBI responded in kind and the right wing is making a martyr of his bullet ridden carcass. Now someone has released the names and addresses of the members of the Atlanta grand jury that delivered the indictment and they are already getting death threats as is Fani Willis. And then of course, there's other republican politicians calling for violence and a civil war...Andy Biggs, Clay Higgins, wannabe Kari Lake, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert with their assault rifle fetishes. And these people call themselves christians, they wear their religion on their sleeves, they brag about it.

Granted, those republican politicians calling for violence are just the most wacko fringe but here's the thing. Not a single member of the republican party is calling them out. Their response to these calls for violence, these dangerous leaks of prosecutors and grand jurists personal information, is silence. This is the republican party. Silence, because if there are those who think this is wrong and dangerous, they are afraid to speak out for fear Trump's core will turn on them. Cowards every one. They go along with the lies and gas lighting for the most selfish of reasons...they might not get reelected which, as far as I'm concerned, should disqualify them from being reelected anyway.

This is what the republican party had become under Trump. They have been increasingly harder to get elected because their policies are unpopular when they have actual policies, they have done nothing but obstruct instead of govern, they run completely unqualified candidates and so have resorted to lies, gas lighting, accusations, gerrymandering, and voter suppression in an effort to force themselves on the American public. They don't actually care about the common man but are all in on power and minority rule. Case in point: Senator Tommy Tuberville has held up hundreds of armed forces promotions leaving our leadership positions empty and affecting our national security because he objects to the armed forces paying for the travel expenses for women in the armed forces to get the medical care they need re abortion. They don't pay for the abortion, just the travel expenses if they have to go out of state. He doesn't care if it's an ectopic pregnancy or if the woman is carrying a dead or deformed fetus that probably won't survive anyway or even if a baby is the last thing she needs or any fucking reason. He only cares about the power he wields and the desire to get his way.

Republican Secretaries of State are removing thousands of voters from the roles in their states. Check your registration often. And vote.

If you made it to the end here, my apologies for the length. Turned out I had a lot to say.

Monday, August 14, 2023

several little things and one big thing

The fucking fire ants were back last week. They came in from under the threshold strip like last time and into the bowl of dry dog food so I guess the caulking I did previously did not seal it up. Got out the orange oil spray, dead ants. Tossed out the dry dog and cat food, cleaned up the dead ants. Moved Minnie's and Cat's feeding station into another room temporarily and the next morning a thick trail from the threshold to the trash can, in the trash can, and up a corner of the cabinet and onto the counter where they had just started to fan out. Dammit! More orange oil spray and cleaning up and then I spooned cinnamon along both edges of the threshold and each end and into the space where the pocket door is as best I could. Cinnamon because ants don't like it and won't cross it. That was Friday I think. The cinnamon is still there until I get around to prying up the threshold again and see what there is to see. But no more ants for now.

My surprise volunteer datura bloomed. It's been several years since I had one growing in that spot. This morning there was a hairstreak butterfly snugged down in it as far as it could get. I thought maybe it was stuck because it wasn't moving so I shook the flower a bit and out it flew.

Here's a picture of one of my rock rose blooms and I have no idea what kind of bug that is on it, not even sure what category it is, but there were several hanging out on the blooms.

This little anole was tiny, as in just hatched tiny. Couldn't be more than a day or two old and very shy as this was the only picture I could get.

This is a bluebonnet with a bud growing in the easement in front of the Wicked Witch of the West's lot. I can't tell you how unusual this is to have a bluebonnet getting ready to bloom in August especially with this heat and drought. It just never happens.

These three pots had succulents growing in them, three different plants. The juvenile cardinals have pecked and eaten them down to nubs. This has never ever happened before. And there's a bird bath nearby that I replenish every day.

Those are the little things. The big thing is that today is our 47th wedding anniversary. It's such a big event in our lives that it always sneaks up on me but usually I'm aware a few days beforehand. Not today. Today I completely forgot until Marc wished me happy anniversary at breakfast after we'd both been up for about 2 1/2 hours. Oh, yeah, that's today. No plans at this point, restaurants traditionally closed on Mondays. We haven't done anything to mark the day since pre-covid when it was a movie and dinner out. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

cooking, watering, shopping

Because I only have to provide dinner twice a week it allows me to 'cook' as opposed to just put a meal on the table so I'm always trolling for new recipes. I don't do something new every time but I've tried several new recipes lately though I haven't always taken pictures. I've made garlic butter baked cod with a cherry tomato sauce (really good), improvised my own gumbo with instant roux powder, okra, onions, celery, catfish and shrimp, and rice (better than I thought it would be), and most recently blistered broccoli pasta with walnuts, parmesan, and mint (also really good).

Thursday I printed out a recipe for french onion galette but I have to find gruyere cheese which is not to be found in this little town nor any of the acceptable substitutions two of which I've never heard of so I guess I'll be making a trip into Shopping Mecca to the giant grocery store there which I need to do anyway because the grocery store here stopped carrying the organic mayonnaise and the orecchiette pasta that I like so much.

High 90s was bad enough. Now that we've hit day after day of triple digits with no relief in sight for the foreseeable future, shit is even worse. My toad lilies are dying no matter how much water I give them every day, same with the white butterfly ginger. Even the drought tolerant mistflower is wilty. The rock rose, members of the mallow/hibiscus family, don't seem to mind, getting along with the watering I do in that flower bed which is less than some of the others. The picture is off the internet because I can't seem to remember to take a picture of mine in the morning when they're open.

I've started walking the dog in the early mornings while the street is still mostly in shade. Finally got to visit my friends at the other end of the block. Leonard was sitting on his porch yesterday so I stopped to chat and Judy heard my voice and came out so that was nice. Haven't seen them, or anybody on the street, for weeks.

Made a run to the Evil Empire Friday to get a new hose for the little backyard and a new sprayer nozzle to replace the one that leaks more water than it sprays out. Also got a nicer soap dish to replace the crappy plastic one in the bathroom and a new pair of cheap sandals of which they had maybe half a dozen left but miracle of miracles, one pair in my size. And then to the new hardware store/lumber yard in town for 3 repair kits for the hose in front that I've already repaired twice. You'd think I'd have just replaced that one but the hose in the little backyard is ancient, stiff, cracked, and not worth the trouble to repair.


I'd intended to publish this yesterday, yesterday being Friday, but instead of uploading the pictures I decided to repair the hose so I hauled it inside to work on it. Found the slit that I thought the geyser was shooting out from, cut the hose and put it back together with the repair kit, then found another slit about 6” away and another slit about 6” away in the other direction and then examined the hose and found not just the two bulging spots but two more that would soon be bulging and declared the hose a piece of shit and undid the repair I had just done and then removed the two repair/splice pieces already on the hose and in the process gouged a bit of flesh off one of my fingers that bled profusely. So back to Alamo H/L to return the three repair/splice things I had bought earlier and bought another new hose. After that I had to fix dinner which was no great shakes either.

And today, Saturday, I finally girded my loins for a trip to Shopping Mecca down the highway in Rosenberg but first stopped at the little market on the way for some okra, yellow squash and another little miracle, peaches. The owner of the market scoured the state and found one orchard that still had some but these are absolutely the last Texas peaches of the season. Then on to SM to the grocery store there to get the gruyere cheese and a few other things including stocking up on the organic mayonnaise and then to J C Penney's to get some shorts which I didn't expect them to have being the end of summer and stores are putting out their winter merchandise and another miracle of miracles they had two pair in my size of the style I like. Then to another grocery store at the other end to stock up on the orecchiette pasta and finally swinging by the Evil Empire to return the 16 gauge extension cord and get the 14 gauge that I should have bought.

Between yesterday and today I am shopped out and hope I don't have to go into another store for the foreseeable future.


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

because the extreme heat and drought weren't bad enough...

Everyone I know is sick of this heat and drought. I just looked at the weather forecast. Triple digits for the next seven days, zero chance of rain for the next ten. I am weary of watering every fucking day. I'd let the zinnias which are on their last legs just dry up and die except butterflies are still visiting them.

I haven't walked the dog in weeks but this morning I noticed that the street was mostly in shade so I put the halter on Minnie and off we went. I was sweating profusely by the time we walked to the other end of the street and back even if most of it was in shade. My neighbor Gary has been asking me if my pecan trees have webworms and yes one of the big ones by the house has some about 25' up and the native at the back of the lot has some. He's been telling me that they started at the far end of the street from me and have been moving my way, that the trees at the other end were almost completely denuded, never seen them this bad. I haven't really been worried about it. We usually get a little every year and they don't do much if any damage. Then I walked Minnie this morning and oh my fucking god!

This is horrible! Everyone's trees are covered with pecans, big clusters of fat developing pecans after three years of nothing and now with the trees denuded by the webworms, they might not have the ability to continue to develop the nuts. Or, as Gary says, once the worms die off the trees will try to regenerate using up their reserves that they would use next spring to leaf out. He asked if I wanted him to come and spray the webworms in my tree but the webs are too high for his sprayer to reach.

It's not just that we may all lose our pecans but people are losing their shade. This is a picture of my neighbor's side yard. I don't know if you can really see how much difference a good shade tree makes but the only place the grass is still green is directly under the canopies of those three trees and he's getting webworms in his trees as well.

In other news the bird feeder has been mobbed with white wing doves the last few days. There are 16 in this picture (taken on zoom through a dirty window). 

Also after months of no squirrels on the bird feeder, one bastard of a squirrel has been able to foil my deterrence and for the last three days straight, I have seen it on the bird feeder but have not seen it actually get up there so I don't know how it's doing it. This morning, peanuts and cracked corn and spilled sunflower seeds on the ground and this bastard is sitting on my bird feeder. I moved the ceramic elephant plant stand much farther away in case it was leaping from there and raised the downspout section so it was under the dome by propping it up with bricks but what I really need is a longer section of downspout.

But this morning I saw something unexpected. My bougainvillea froze down during last winter's arctic freeze and never came back and eventually I just quit checking on it but look what I saw today when I was out watering.



Sunday, August 6, 2023

local use of language

Roderick commented on my colloquial use of the verb 'to fix' as in 'I fixed pancakes' in a previous post, as if there was something wrong with the pancakes that needed repairing. I replied that there was indeed something wrong with the pancakes as they weren't pancakes yet. I use another colloquial form of the verb as in 'fixing to' do something which has been commented on many times during my life but here's two examples:

One, when I was 20 I spent a year at the Chicago Art Institute and one of the classes I took was ceramics. The first day of class the instructor gave a tour of the ceramics facility and we passed an area where the slip molds were and there was one of these molds perched precariously on the edge of the counter and the edge of a stool. I pointed this out to the instructor. Now you have to understand that at 20 I had never left Texas to live anywhere else, born and raised in Houston which at this point in time was not the 4th largest city in the nation and it was well before the city population exploded in the late 70s and 80s from people moving in from out of state and my Texas twang was strong. So back to my calling the instructor's attention to the slip mold, “That thangs fixin' to fall,” I said as I pointed at the slip mold. He didn't seem concerned about the mold but it stopped him in his tracks, looking at me he demanded, “Where are you from?”.

Two, I've written about being a river guide and on one private trip with my friend and fellow guide John whose daughter and her boyfriend/husband (? I forget which) from New York state had come down to visit and John had arranged this trip for them down Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande in Big Bend. The daughter's BF/H had prepared a list of things he wanted to experience while in Texas, one of which was Texas barbecue and two others were the use of certain slang. It's a 12 hour drive to Big Bend from Houston and it was dark by the time we got to the campground/little store where we would pick up our shuttle driver so we just laid out our sleeping bags on the ground to get some sleep before we got up early for put in on the river. At some point during the night I woke to feverish whispering and flashlights, John's daughter and the BF/H were sitting up freaking out over something. What's wrong I asked. Something is rooting around over there, over there being very close to where we were all sleeping. It was a small group of juvenile javelinas that the owner of the campground would throw feed out for. 

image via the internet

Anyway, I was a little annoyed that I had been woken because the next day was going to be a lot of work so I clapped my hands loudly a couple of times and yelled at the javelinas to 'git!'. Ding, slang #1. Later in the trip I used 'fixin' to' do whatever it was and the BF/H joyfully ticked that one off his list as well. Glad to oblige.

Friday, August 4, 2023

third time's the charm?

image via:

We've been waiting for Trump to be indicted for J6 for so long that when it finally came it was...not a let down but I expected it to have a greater emotional impact. I was more excited by the indictment over the stolen classified and super secret documents and his cavalier manner of handling them and his possible sale of their contents to our enemies. Not that I think that case is more important. It's not. I guess what I really felt was sad, sad that an ex-president not only conspired to overthrow the most secure election in our history but actively participated in the conspiracy and then finally, when all their previous efforts to change the outcome of the election failed, sent an angry armed mob to the Capitol in a last ditch effort to stop the peaceful transfer of power that this country has been known for and proud of, to capture and hold at the very least, or murder at the very worst, Vice President Pence and speaker Pelosi to allow Chuck Grassley to call the election for Trump all because he lost, because he is a spoiled petulant bully of a manboy who has always been able to buy, lie, threaten, cheat, steal, or sue for whatever he wanted and get away with it and if destroying this 250+ year old experiment in self determination would get him what he wanted, sobeit.

I read the entire 45 page indictment on Wednesday. There wasn't much new that I hadn't already read about or has been speculated about, his and his 6 co-conspirators efforts through lies and lawsuits and fake elector schemes and pressure on fellow republicans and threats and ruined lives, but it was all laid out in a timeline with evidence and receipts. Five of the unnamed, and un-indicted for now, six co-conspirators are fairly easily identified, all lawyers, all knowingly acting outside the law. Several names are being bounced around for co-conspirator #6 but we don't really know who that is for sure.

And here's the really scary part, twice in the indictment when warned about the consequences of their stunt, the co-conspirators shrugged it off. First instance: when a 'senior advisor' (thought to be Mark Meadows) told co-conspirator 2 (thought to be John Eastman) “you're going to cause riots in the streets”, Eastman replied that there had been times in the nation's history when violence was necessary to protect the republic. Second instance: when a deputy White House counsel (also thought to be Mark Meadows) told co-conspirator 4 (considered to be Jeffery Clark) that “there would be riots in every major city in the United States” if their stunt to throw out a free and fair election and install Trump as president worked, Clark responded “that's what the Insurrection Act is for”. Let that sink in. They were fully prepared to call in the armed forces on American soil with live ammunition, to declare martial law to put down any protest against Trump's instatement and the destruction of our democracy, fully completing their coup just like every third world dictator does. And you know those are the men Trump admires...Putin, Kim Jon Un, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, the Saudi's...those men who rule with an iron hand who jail or murder their opponents.

Once in total control, Trump plans, if re-elected, to not only pardon himself, his co-conspirators, and all the insurrectionists charged and jailed for their part in storming the Capitol but also to stop any remaining investigations, as does every other republican running for president with one or two exceptions. DeSantis has said he's ready to slit throats on day one if elected. I've already referred in a previous post to the republican plans for the government and our country if they get back in power, already accumulating a list of loyalists they plan to install in every other position of power. You can learn more about that by researching Project 2025.

But back to this indictment. Only Trump was indicted and the belief is that Jack Smith wanted to get Trump to trial as soon as possible since he is a past and present danger to the republic and in fact has said he wants a speedy trial. Smith, in his press conference announcing the indictment, reiterated that the investigations are continuing and he's not done yet so we can expect more indictments, obviously the 6 co-conspirators but hopefully those members of congress who also participated in the planning and execution of the attack on the Capitol and the attempt to illegally install Trump as president.

Trump, of course, pled not guilty at his arraignment as he has every accusation and indictment against him. He's on his social media platform making the same old accusations against Biden who prudently has stayed away from and silent about the investigations, letting his independent DOJ take care of their business. Trump is continuing his assault on truth and liberty, that these investigations are politically motivated solely because Biden is afraid of Trump, that Biden has weaponized the DOJ (and here I want to insert that Smith has 86 witnesses and every. single. one. is a republican), that it's a hoax, a witch hunt, that if they can come after me, they can come after you. Well, yes, break the law and the law will come after you. Which, really, what else would you expect from Trump. As usual the republican party is silent except for those participants in Congress who were fully behind Trump's attempt to overturn the election and who continue to vocally support him and do his bidding. And of course the MAGAts who are so far down the rabbit hole of cult worship that they will vote for him even if he's in prison.

This was a sad day indeed for this country. There is no charm. Even if Trump does end up in prison he has divided and will continue to divide this nation, to make violence an acceptable response, to make it OK to lie, cheat, steal, intimidate, and threaten, to refuse to accept a clear defeat, to make it acceptable to be their worst self in public and to feel proud of that, to be openly hateful and racist and to go out of their way to make life harder for the vulnerable. This is his legacy. And this is why a third of the population of this country will never ever desert him. They will believe his lies and absurdities, they will absolve him of all wrongdoing because he gives them permission to be their worst selves.