Monday, July 29, 2013

Laundry room farming

Truth be told, what I really want to be when I grow up is a farmer. I want to grow pumpkins and sunflowers and a bunch of herbs, and I don't know what else, and then I also want to have my own little "farmers market" store. Not that I have a particularly green thumb, or that I would even know how to begin to do all that, but I do know such an endeavor would require resources that I don't have access to. 
     In times past, I've grown some pretty impressive gardens, and it is a mighty source of frustration that, for one reason or another, I haven't been able too for several years. I had a container garden in mind for this summer, but my tiny back yard is currently inhabited by grand dogs, one who is quit large! 

This is the wunna be lap dog, Goliath.

These are the actual lap dogs, Jaz and Chux. And also, Baby Duck #3.

     The Chief won't let me plow up the front yard for a garden. So what's a frustrated farmer to do?

Farm in the laundry room, that's what. Now, my laundry room is pretty small, in direct proportion to the rest of the house. Never the less, there are a lot of plants in there. There are more in the dining room, and in and the living room, but here in the laundry room...

there are also sunflowers and tomatoes and

some herbs and bell pepper! Okay, so it's a little late in the season for that type of thing, but I found these cute little kits on clearance at Lowe's home improvement.  

     And that's what I call urban farming.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer and Bummer...they rhyme

     I will be the first to admit that I have a history of being seduced by pretty words and promises, only to be betrayed, my hopes and dreams dashed, my feelings stomped all over...and then more pretty words and promises, forgiving and forgetting, always hopeful, in a repeated cycle for far too long.
     This is how I am feeling about summer, that seemingly delightful season of sunshine and laughter, of carefree days and sultry nights, vacations and swimming pools and gardens, huge 4th of July celebrations with all the extended family and it's swarms of kids and cousins. Summer has, hitherto, been my favorite season, hands down.  The smell of heated earth and asphalt and swamp coolers.,,Beautifully frightening thunderstorms, the smell of lighting and rain, the boom of thunder...waking up with the sun already shining, and a box fan blowing...road trips, gardens, tanned skin and lightened hair, flip flops and sunglasses...heightened creativity and moods....(More manic in the summer, more depressive in the winter)...a bright and shining beacon to look towards in the depth of cold, dreary winter...pretty words and promises that held true until..
    Somewhere in the vicinity of 6 years ago, we bought a house on 4 acres of land. It was an older home, a little shabby around the edges, but with so much character and potential! The land was largely wild, overgrown with prickly pear and mesquite bushes, and we had visions of large gardens and swimming pools...summer was well under way when we moved in, and that year, I made prickly pear jelly/syrup. Not caring to run into a rattlesnake unprepared, I put on heavy gloves and boots, and grabbed some tongues and my two with a gun and one with a baseball bat...and I harvested those prickly pear fruits with only a few stabs to the finger.  It was a long process of declawing them, cooking them, mashing them, straining them, gelling them, and by the time I was done, there was a wild pink mess in the kitchen and a precious few jars of (beautiful delicious) jelly/syrup.

     This is me, having a blast on the John Deere, clearing this space for the donkeys, Cooter and Cletus.

This is the house........

That was probably the last great summer we had. 

The following spring, when it was time to plant the huge garden I had envisioned, the cold hard truth struck me in the tiller.  Our big beautiful piece of land was right on top of a whole lot of caliche. Rocks. Rocks, rocks, rocks, and more rocks.  So we purchased an above ground pool instead of gardening. But the wind blew, carried the cover off to who knows where, and filled the pool up with dirt. Emptied, washed, and about to be refilled, the wind blew again, and completely wrecked the pool. The following summer, the sky fell, the economy did it's thing, and there was no work for us. We ended up homeless and bunking with relatives in Texas.  The summer after that, nothing much happened, and I mean NOTHING, other than a weekend roadtrip to Phoenix. Let me tell you...Phoenix a little far from Texas to be going in a weekend! There was always next summer, though, and I remained happy and hopeful. Then the next summer came. We moved. It took up most of the summer. The "industry" had opened back up, and The Big Chief resumed work (after a stint of very enjoyable but not well paid farm labor). He was working millions of hours and then having to commute an hour. So we moved in order to be closer to "the yard", and so that he wouldn't have the commute, and could be home more. Except, right after we moved, the oilfield boom opened up around Midland/Odessa/Pecos, and he started having to stay out more and more and more, and now he lives at a man camp near Pecos most of the time. So, that worked out well. We considered moving AGAIN, to that area, but so did everybody else and housing was near impossible to find. The FOLLOWING summer, Joey died,

and now this summer, my daddy died, as did the A/C in our newly purchased home, which makes the summer heat markedly less appealing, and some other unsavory stuff going on, the Chief gone all the spite of my scheming and planning.....THIS SUMMER IS NOT FUN!!!
     So you can see how summer has lost it's shininess, and how in the middle of this one, i'm not even thinking that probably there will be next summer, which is bound to be more fun. I'm thinking that I am DONE with summer's empty promises, and I am on the cusp of realigning my loyalties. I'm thinking that fall will make a good Favorite Season.

Monday, July 15, 2013


     I thought I would tell the story about how we became a duck family. Unfortunately, I can't really do that because none of us really remembers how it got started. It was during the week between when Joey died and his funeral, and there is just so much from that time that is very foggy. Somebody said something about my baby ducks, and it just stuck. And grew. Then I remembered the kiddy song about 5 little ducks going swimming..."5 little ducks went swimming one day, under the bridge and far away, mama duck said quack quack quack, and 4 little ducks came swimming back." (Get it? Because I had 5 little ducks, and now there are 4?)  That's when we started quacking at each other. And so here we are. The Ducks. Quack.
     I am aware that there are some sentence fragments in the above paragraph, which will gain an "F" in a freshman essay. But if Danielle Steel can do it, so can least, in a non-business, informal format.
     On another note: don't you just hate when it seems like a new leaf has been turned over, but then you find out that it's really just the same old leaf just pretending to be a new leaf? And then you feel all disappointed and betrayed and lied too and sort of dumb, but your already up to your neck in new old drama and you kind of want to throw up? Like I always say, you can take the horse out of the ghetto, but you can't make it drink from a non-ghetto trough. (I don't really always say that. I just made it up.)
     May we all live through Monday!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


     Over at Sparkpeople, we would call this a streak. It's a two day streak, so far, and that's how far I am into carb rehab (AGAIN!)
Am I frustrated with myself? You bet. Is that going to change anything? Nope.
     During my 5 weeks of summer school, there was no time or energy to make health/nutrition/physical fitness a priority.  I was just trying to keep my head above water, algebraically speaking! I ate what was set in front of me, and if nothing was, there was pizza delivery and convenience food. Besides walking between the Communications building (English) and the Technology building (Math) and a central parking lot, there wasn't a whole lot of physical activity, either. At the time, I just didn't care all that much.
     Now that i'm wanting to fit comfortably (and attractively)  into certain items of my wardrobe, I care! Now that I notice that my complexion is a little muddy, and my legs are drrrrrry,  I care! Now that I feel like a slug, I care!  Jumping back on that horse is not the easiest thing ever. Now i'm in detox, and also i'm hungry!! After downing the 500th glass of cucumber water, though, I feel lighter and less toxic already.
    Physical activity and eating well make me feel soooooo much better, physically and mentally!
So here I go again.

Sad Duck Quack

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Quacking up

I dreamt about Joey early this morning. I haven't dreamed about him over this past year as much as I expected to. In any case, it's not a mystery why I did now. Thursday, we were at Wal-Mart, two of my daughters, my grand-daughter, the chief and I, and in the next check out line, there was a fella who looked so much like Joey that my heart skipped a beat! It wasn't just me...all of  us looked at each other, sending eye signals. It was eerie, I tell you. My inner dialog went something like this: "Joey! Wait, that can't be Joey. I wish that was Joey! Does anyone else think that he looks like Joey? Yep, they do. He looks like Joey. Wish it was Joey."  So it's no wonder that he has been on my mind more than usual, a year plus post mortem. What I dreamed is that zombie-Joey(and by zombie, I don't mean a flesh eating zombie, I mean "zombie" in the sense that his body was there but his essence was absent) was at my Dad's funeral, and then there was a tornado.  I don't really know why the tornado was there, but it was! Needless to say, I woke up with a gloom-cloud over my head!
     The past five weeks of summer school was insane! Wall-to-wall algebra with some English squeezed into the corners! So glad that's over with! By some miracle, I passed my final in math and ended the class with a B! I don't know about English yet. Those grades haven't posted. I'm pretty sure that that grade won't be lower than a B. While my first two essays only earned a "C", the next two were "B"s, and don't know yet about the last two, but I feel pretty good about them. I did very well in the grammar portion of the class. That whole thing was so intense, and then was abruptly over with....I don't really know what to do with myself now!
     I can tell you that I gained a wee bit of weight back over that 5 weeks! At the time, I just didn't care! I was far too busy trying to pass math and write essays to concern myself with nutrition and fitness. We ate a lot of pizza and convenience food, I can tell you that! But now that my awareness isn't otherwise occupied, i'm feeling pretty bummed about it! Time for carb rehab! Again.
    Independence Day has come and gone! I was glad that the Chief was home, and our duckies were all here.  In days gone by, the 4th of July was our most gloriously celebrated holiday! Myself, my siblings and our families (and often, other extended family)would gather at mom and dad's, and there was food galore, the annual flag cake, and a massive fireworks display from the road in front of the house. (A perk of living in small town, USA!) The men took turns helping the kids light fireworks, and the whole thing was wrapped up with hundreds and hundreds of sparkles, with other neighborhood children joining in. Now, our family is so spread out, and our children are mostly grown. There are a few of us brother in law who passed away about 5 years ago, and Joey, and now my dad...things just aren't the same anymore!  This year, we had lots of food, and it was a pleasant family day.  We went and bought a ton of fireworks...and then found out that NO fireworks, including sparklers and fountains, were legal within town limits! Bummer, that! I don't know what we are supposed to do with all of these fireworks now!
    And that, my friends, brings us to today!