Our Little Yard Guest

yard guest

We are in the process of redoing my mother-in-laws front, back and side yards. And there is a ton of work to do, after years of neglect due to age and health, Royce and I have tackled something we may not be prepared to do. But, we’re totally committed so new fences to new grass and plants are going in over three growing seasons. There is so much to do it will take that long! This year is the first season of our renovations for her. We are beginning by focusing on the lawn. In the Texas panhandle this is a tall order, apparently, especially when her old lawn has laid dormant for nearly ten years. The only spot to show any old growth after a month of watering is this small patch in the middle of the back yard. We are still waiting for the grass seed to sprout (fingers crossed it does — we’ve had more than the average amount of sand storms this season so our neighbors just may be the proud recipient of a new lawn!) This morning Royce mowed this one little patch of grass and this afternoon an extremely plump bunny settled in and feasted on the clippings.  I think I’d best put a fence around the newly planted garden!

garden Yes, folks that is red clay and sand in them there rows! But we have corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, sweet basil, peppers, okra, red onions and even some flowers here and there.

I’m also putting in a few flower/hardscaps beds in around her long front porch and upgrading some furniture she has out there. Early mornings and late afternoons, Royce and I love setting on her front porch and watching all the birds and rabbits — that our dog Spike chases out of the yard — enjoying each others company and the ever present Texas plains breeze.



Is it Open Season yet?

Open gardening season that is because I’m fidgeting my my seat to make my yard look like this here photograph>>>>

The greenhouse is planted up with all sorts of veggies and flowers. And I’m just waiting for mid April to come around so I can get them all into the ground. Our friend Jerry was out yesterday — a real soothsayer to be sure — and mentioned (1) I’m a wee bit too early with the greenhouse plantings and (2) the greenhouse (which if you recall was moved to avoid being blown over by the winds here) is not getting enough sun to be considered a greenhouse and that we need to put a heat lamp inside it. Well-Dag, I never thought of that! Of course we need a heat lamp in that silly flimsy little thing. This morning, I pretended to ignore Royce when he reported his and Jerry’s conversation — I’m good at doing that — and simply knotted my head in agreement. Now, maybe he’ll buy me that heat lamp I asked for a month ago :) Woo-oho, Thank You Jerry!

I write a lot about placement of a vegetable garden in the landscape. I write about it mostly because I can not count the times ‘someone’ has said to me in past years that they didn’t have room for a garden. Naysayers! This is totally not true. You can have a garden in a tiny apartment for Pete’s Sake. Once long ago in the land of Oz that is exactly what happened when several tenants and I along with the on-site property manager converted a weedy patch into a garden. The area wasn’t large but it was long enough for two shorter blocks of three rows each and one of longer block two rows each in the middle. 1912212_10151965465036404_231239209_nThe entire process was fun and very rewarding to all of us. 

As the saying goes: You’re never too old to learn — and in my case never too old to be taught a thing or two. In fact, if the mind lays idle too long the body soon follows and you get cobwebs between your toes and behind your eyeballs! Don’t let that happen!! Stay engaged in life. Growing a vegetable garden sweeps out the cobwebs, for sure and for certain.  

<<<<<diagram of community veggie garden



When I share gardening information with someone I find that I’m usually picking up a few helpful tips from them as well. I love how that works. So please feel free to leave a comment and share your tidbits with me; I’ll be sure to pass them along.

images2Here’s wishing you a bounty from your garden this year.

Snapshot of a small Texas Town

In my humble opinion small towns are the most wonderful places to live. Shallowater, Texas is such a place. It is a place where people call you by your first name proceeded by a Mr. or a Ms. — “Well a big howdy to you Mr. Royce” “It’s a beautiful day Ms. Marilu” … Yes, somehow (if only to me) living life in a small town is better and kinder on the soul. The air is cleaner and the ground is smoother under your feet. Even if there are a mountain of weeds and some pretty large tumbleweeds to contend with around here, I prefer it here over larger communities. Oh, and yes and the wind! Oh, my word, the wind can blow me over at times. I wasn’t quite prepared for this, actually. Last Sunday was a beautiful day, Royce and I were setting on the porch swing taking it all in when the wind (and accompanying sand) blew us back inside. But, every place has its goods and not so goods about it. So I adjusted and decided to fall in love with the goods, and ignore the not so goods, as in more colours of brown than green, the bloody dust storms, tumbleweeds and dryer humidity than I am use to. Besides, the goods really do outweigh the not so goods. Where else on this planet could I find as many wonderful folks to call my new friends than I have found here. So, I think we’ll stay put for a time here in Shallowater and I’ll continue to focus on the positive.

Shallowater is a city in Lubbock County, Texas, United States. Shallowater is on U.S. Route 84 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Lubbock. The population was 2,484 at the 2010 census.[2] It is part of the Lubbock Metropolitan Statistical Area. Shallowater is located on the high plains of the Llano Estacado which lies at the southern end of the Western High Plains ecoregion of the Great Plains of North America.

We just call it the lower Texas Panhandle here in these parts and expect everyone to know what we are talking about!

250px-Relief_map_of_Texas256px-LlanoEstacadoShadedRelief300px-Northwest_Escarpment_Llano_Estacado_2003 This gives you a view of the Llano Estacado Region. As you can see it is wedged in the panhandle region (near Lubbock) and the area is rather flat with sparse vegetation, and with a lot of Tumbleweeds and Mesquite trees.

our m tree

This lovely Mesquite is one of several we have on the property. It has yet to leaf out but I can see signs of life.

A traveler driving down highway 84 to the south of Shallowater might not notice that they are passing by this little town. In actuality, it is a tiny pen-point on a large map. But if they were to notice and stop I think the few minutes it takes to tour our little downtown area would please them and might even give them a dose of nostalgia as they looked at some of these old abandoned buildings  .. I am always wondering what went on in those buildings one hundred years ago. My soon-to-be mother-in-law Ruth is quick to fill me in on a few of them. These days the businesses that thrive here in Shallowater do so because we Shallowaterians frequent them to make sure their doors remain open! It’s nice that I don’t need to drive the short trip into Lubbock to pick up a gallon of milk, or fill the tank with petrol and the shop keepers here are so friendly you want to shop here. So, if the traveler moving down Highway 84 took the time to stop I’m sure s/he’d be impressed by — if nothing else — the friendliness of the folks here.

So, if you are ever in my neck of the woods traveling down Highway 84 going east to west — just a stones throw outside the city limits of Lubbock — don’t blink. Don’t miss our little town of Shallowater. Stop. Stop and grab some apples to nibble on your way to somewhere else.


4 Corners Mart in Shallowater, Texas


Here’s a picture of those enticing apples to nibble



Of course if you are in need of a bandage because you touched your hot tail pipe like I did once a stop here>>>1514415_10151871245281404_1748970320_n 1013297_10151870522861404_1113691499_nmight do you good. The Shallowater Clinic with adjoining pharmacy would surely take care of you as if you belonged here. And that’s a promise.

Or perhaps (i-am thinking outside the box here) but what if the poor traveler’s hair is a mess — in that case I’d suggest pulling off Highway 84 and into Sweet Currey Salon.


Sweet Currey. You can get your hair and nails done at this shop for slim pic-kins to your pocket.


See, they do a wonderful job! This is me on the 40th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday (somehow it seems kinder to my soul to think this way) …. Sweet Currey did a marvelous job.


A few other places of interest will be talked about in next weeks post, if I get around to it. index

Then again I might talk about Shiann — for she is needing to be talked about.


Shiann is the most adorable #11 grandchild I have!

2014 Arrives with a BANG ….. as in slamming pot lids to pan bottoms in the ally James

What can I say —- we are country folk —- not exactly red necks but not high fa-lute-ten folk either. The proof is in the puddin’ (that’s pudding for y’all other folks out there who don’t talk it like we do) —- JOKING aside, when I moved to the great state of Texas from Ohio by way of other places I’ve lived over the last sixty plus years I knew it would be an adjustment for me. What I mean is: I thought I’d be thrown into a world of big hats, high boots and watermelon seed spittin’ contests. None of this happened.

The lower panhandle of Texas, around the city of Lubbock, is as progress as any place else in the country. The shops are plentiful and fashionable — upscale and downscale — the area is well laid out which means you can find your way around fairly easily. There are enough places to grab a bite to eat that you could eat three squares for a full year and never go to the same place twice. Heck, they even have a nice university (Texas Tech University) in Lubbock. Wow…..but there is one slight difference here in this small town I live in of very few souls, so …. (see paragraph 4 for details of that!)

Now comes New Years Eve and I’m thinking to myself — ‘self, what is in store for you tonight??? And, should you be worried!’  — by way of reflections of other New Years Eves spent in a foreign land, you know places I had never lived before during a New Years Eve Celebration, I’m really contemplating what’s in store for me in Shallowater, Texas as 2013 turns into 2014 in the blink of an eye at midnight tonight.  Will there be kissing — Lord, help me! I hope not! — Will anyone expect me to join them in song? Truth be told I can’t hold a song note if my life was on the line to do so, therefore, joining in the cheerful singing of Auld Lang Syne isn’t something anyone within fifty feet of me wants to endure my attempt of trying.  In fact, my singing voice is so bad, that when my kids were teenagers a threat of using my musical attributes got them to straighten the heck up, especially if their friends were present. I mean, ever want to get your kids to leave you alone so you too can enjoy an outing — like, for instance, a 4th of July beach party — then just start yodeling the Star Spangle Banner in front of their friends and they’ll go away and leave you alone! I have personal knowledge that this works. :) So, apparently singing is out unless I wish to be tossed out on my ear which I do not. I’ll spare all the seniors this evening and mouth the words, like my mother and I always did in church, instead. Think this is my best plan of action . . .

So, as I was saying, I was wondering what this small town had to offer on this important night of the year when one bids farewell to a year well spent and embraces the hopes and dreams of a new year. My wondering days ended with an invite by my future mother-in-law to join her and a group of her friends . . . so . . .

New Years Eve in Shallowater, Texas will be spent at the local Baptist church with a group of senior citizens playing card games and watching ‘the ball drop’ at midnight, after which they’ll all wish each other a Happy New Year and head for their respective homes. Most will drive the dimly lit streets the few blocks needed to reach their destination, but, I’m told, repeatedly, that everyone knows where they are going and have driven the route a thousand times so nothing should happen between point A and point B, right? I’m nervous … I know how poorly I drive these streets around town at night and I’m twenty years junior to some seniors venturing out tonight.  And this is the difference between the city of Lubbock and the town of Shallowater …. street lights! We need ’em. Or at least put some 1000 watts in those darn things would ya so I can see at night.

Here’s wishing all of you the most prosperous 2014 possible. Blessings from my home to yours; ‘Peace Be With You’. 




Yahoo….I’m down one size and moving towards my goal

august happenings

Everyone sets goals for themselves around this time of year of all the things they want to achieve the following year. I’m no exception. My goal is a simple one: HEALTHY LIVING which includes dropping a few more pounds. It’s been over six weeks since my last McDonald’s McDouble hamburger and a senior citizen soda for a whopping sum of $1.76 (US) for the both! According to my daughter Lisa Marie, who usually paid, I’m a cheep date. Over the last six months I’ve weened myself off of any and all fast food joints. As a result I’ve dropped one pants size and am actually close to dropping another! Amazing what my eating habits did to my body inside and outside. Who would have thought a small hamburger every now and then, a glass of soda once or twice a week, a few cookies or other snacks would pack such a wallop. But over time it did wallop me into a size and body I didn’t want. On the other hand who would think that changing a few things — for example, switching soda for water or ice tea and NOT saving room for dessert — would reap the benefits it has in such a short time. I’m really jazzed about this and, frankly dears, the results are spurring me on for more, more, more!!

The other day we went to a lovely Christmas party at one of Ms. Ruth’s church friend’s home. The food was yummy, trust me, I could have had seconds but my tummy wasn’t use to that much food anymore. So, I guess you could say my tummy stopped my tummy (and thighs & cheeks) from growing … Ha! Simple little changes and I’m wondering where my brain was thirty years ago when I should have made this kind of change for optimum health. Surely, had I done the switch back then I’d never have felt a need to do the switch later in life. And, just maybe my skin wouldn’t be so droopy (not the least bit laughing — or no LOL added to this sentence) around the middle.

So, my dear readers, a word of caution: take care of your health now so you aren’t forced to take care of it later. I don’t even miss those several brownies anymore which is a very good thing!



Happy Friday Y’all — wake up and smell the coffee!

Always — always when Friday rolled around my steps had more spring to them because the work week was coming to an end and I knew it. One more day and I could breath a little easier, relax a little more, heck, I could stay in my p.j.’s longer! I looked forward it it.

Around four o’clock on Fridays, all work begin to slow to a crawl and I found myself watching the seconds click off the office wall clock willing it to click over to five o’clock. Most other area law offices had already closed by noon, so returning calls after my lunch hour was fruitless. I never tried to settle any accounts after noon. In fact, I only left messages if I needed someone in our or another office to do something before noon the following Monday. Otherwise, whatever it was waited until the following work week began. Those days were so simple.

By the time I ended my career, I had switch from easy law cases (bankruptcy, evictions, real estate closings, etc.) and got into criminal law and things changed. Criminals are not the easiest cases but they can be the most rewarding, especially when you win the good fight and save some fellers skin. After the switch, Fridays were just as important as any other day of the week, as well as most Saturday’s and sometimes even a Sunday thrown in if Mr. Vernon and I were working on a capital case. Gosh I miss those days when I felt like I was going some good for some pour lost soul. I’ve often wondered over the years if indeed what we did truly helped, and changed someones life, or if they just kept on keeping on with their wild ways — even though at the time every client had high hopes of a new and improved future existence. Over the years I’d always wondered if our clients lives had been changed for the better by our efforts, if they indeed had turned a corner and were more productive citizens. Unless they are a repeat client in which case you have your answer. But the others that you never hear from again, you usually don’t get an answer to that question.

Then one day I was standing in line at the post office and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to find Jim, an ex-client of mine, standing behind to me. Jim was the darkest skinned man God ever created, so much so that his pearly white teeth was in sharp contrast to his skin colour and he was the biggest man I’d ever know. He towered over everyone and had forearms the size of small tree trunks and a neck as large as my waist! Even though he was giant sized, I always thought of him as a gentle giant. His demeanor and cadence told you he was nothing to fear, except I knew what he had once be charged with — and that was to fear for sure and for certain — but here he was, standing there and smiling down at me. I think he wanted to pick me up into the air and hugged me right then and there but all he could say was that he never thought he’d see his Angel again. — He’d called me his Angel. — I guess to him it was an angel’s intervention that kept him alive and out of a prison bed. To me, it was my job, and I was at that moment as grateful as he was that he was in a post office line, waiting his turn and free to live out the remaining years of his (as he told me) harmonic life.

It was nearly Christmas the year I turned and saw him standing behind me. I think about him this time of year and wonder how he is doing. He reminds me that I did not waste my time all those years ago on people others would have discarded.

Of course, there were a few folks I wanted to walk straight into the “….” chamber. I’m only human. I make no apologies for feeling this way. Jim was not one of those though. I’m glad he didn’t suffer more than he did and that his time on the other side of bars was limited to the time it took to try his case. That, in my opinion, was long enough to change his life into one any mother would be proud of. So Jim is my reward for my work. At least it let me know I did some good in this life.

My time with Mr. Vernon and before that two other attorneys of equal merit was an education in being non-judgmental of others situations. “There for the grace of God, go I” is a good motto to live by.

It’s Christmas time. The time of giving of oneself and of joyfulness of the heart. Good deeds and kindness. I pray, dear Lord to: Let it last for more than a few days or weeks in most folks lives.

Bless you my dear reader this Christmas season. Happy Christmas and a very happy Friday too.

Finally…..the computer is up and running……

…….and hopefully, it isn’t running away from me! Although, at times, I wish it would fly out the window to greener pastures (Guam, Virgin Islands, etc.) where I could set under a tall shade tree sipping “courage-liquid in a tall glass with one of those cute little umbrellas in it” but alas, were I am is in the great state of T-E-X-A-S where the trees are as tall as the nearest fence post, which are by the way the state’s substitute for said trees I grew so fond of whilst living in the Eastern and Southern US states. I prefer green to brown any day! I shan’t even approach the subject of dust storms, the voluminous light breezes the locals have grown so accustom to, nor will I approach the fact that the air is so dry-dry-dry my skin is shrinking and quickly becoming rather wrinkled.

Lotion? Yes, I have bottles of the stuff but thus far, three weeks and counting into my stay the lotion isn’t doing its job!

So what is holding me here? That is a very good question and one I’m going to gleefully answer. He stands about one inch (give or take) above six feet and has a weird mustache I’d dearly love to remove (during the dead of night, with sheers, as he sleeps) but will leave alone because I’m smart that way. Besides, he hasn’t as suggested how he’d like me to cut my hair, so………

Smart women don’t mess with a Texan’s handlebars.

Another reason is simply that I am totally and head over heals in love with the dude from Shallowater . . . and this in and of itself plants my slippers firmly beside his. Besides, today when he said I was beautiful and the way he said it, (he may need new glasses) when I didn’t have a stitch of make-up on, wore a p.j. top covered by a zipped up workout jacket, hair kind-of-combed, and (dare I say it) slouching over the kitchen sink like a three year old would do, I knew I’d made the best choice of my life and all the dryness, the brown flat landscape and breezes anyone else in their right mind would call a good strong wind coming through vaporized. Those things weren’t important any longer. What became crystal clear was how important I am to him and in turn how important he is to me and it doesn’t matter if this land of dust is called home, or a mountain top somewhere where the kids can’t visit (well, maybe not that/there!!) the thing that matters is that for the remaining years I grace this planet Mother Earth, home is where he is, and I’m happy with that.