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.

 

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.

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4 Corners Mart in Shallowater, Texas

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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.

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

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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.

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Shiann is the most adorable #11 grandchild I have!

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.

a life spent unwisely?

a life spent unwisely

Housework? Please! I’d rather eat a worm!

It’s Thursday and I’m plotting a new scene I’m about to write. I’m alone with my thoughts. And except for a sable brown cat’s meandering there is no other movement in the house.  I like it this way sometimes and today seems to be one of those times I appreciate the stillness and quietness of this little house more than not. Although, I’ve managed to put on my jeans, I’m still in my sleep shirt and my hair is tousled.  This is a writing day — ponder, scheme, play with words —  and a day to detach myself from dishtowels and other things that draw my attention.

Focus — focus — focus!

I’m trying to write, but it seems my focus is on something other than writing, which is stalling out the words. And this is the dilemma I find myself in on this Thursday. Awe – My perfect day to write has gone awry.

So I pull out the newly serviced sewing machine. I take the blue unfinished quilt from the chest and look at it. Should I stipple or machine tack a design here and there on it to secure the (sandwich) layers together?  I decide to do both. Stipple along the sides and place a design (star) in the center of each block. The quilt is for my grandson’s twenty-fifth birthday and I really should finish his first before I finish the others.

But, first I wonder outside to water the herbs that are growing in pots on the back porch. I discover the soil is as dry as sun-weathered moist-less sand.  The herbs drink up the water quickly.  mental note: pay closer attention to the herb pots!

I come back inside. I draw myself a tall glass of ice water and decide to blog before I begin the task of machine quilting.

After blogging, I’ll sew and ponder the ‘words’ that need to be written, and I’ll write them later today because I really do need to do this too. Awe, the life of a retired woman, a writer, a quilter, a gardener and someone who is unable to focus on this Thursday because she is thinking about a lovely walk in Old Town.

 

Life in my World on August 8, 2013

It has been a long time from last posting to this one.  So here is what is happening in my neck of the woods:

First thing is: I’m totally bored! Why is this?

One: Because there is not enough for me to do to fill my entire day. In past years I had children to tend to which kept me pretty busy. Plus, I had more than one bedroom to clean and many more dishes in the sink. These days I have more time to do the few things which my hands are responsible for doing.  In turn this leaves too many hours with nothing to do at all except twiddle them.

Two: The sewing machine is in the shop.  My labor of love which is quilting by machine is on hold as is the new kitchen curtains.

Three: The garden is at the old house where I am certain the new tenants are enjoying all my lovely tomato plants. At my new abode, there are bushes that need whacking and a rose bush that needs serious attention but . . . I’m not the whacker or pruner.  I long to have another large garden filled with all sorts of vegetables and flowers and where the butterflies and birds visit in early morning. Soon — perhaps soon.

Forth and final: It’s sad to say but I’m not even walking as I should because we now live in an area where I don’t feel safe to walk alone during the times I like to walk.  In fact, I do not see other walkers out on these wobbly sidewalks during evening hours either. The neighborhood, which dates to the early 1900’s, or perhaps earlier, is well established with lovely trees up and down each street and would make for a delightful evening stroll if I were to take one.  Of course, I think these few city blocks where I now live is in need of a face–lift.  I’m always saddened to see older homes not cared for and the yards less than lovingly tended to. This house on Saint Charles Avenue was built in the 1920’s and is the least nice on the block, which will change, and is the reason we are here which is to remodel and beautify our tiny abode. The surrounding areas two to three blocks away are quite run down so we are not doing more than what is necessary to secure a pleasant renter who will treasure this house. To say I don’t like it here is a true statement.  But, I do like this little house because it has so much charm and character. This house takes me back to my childhood, especially the kitchen with it’s old tall cabinets and the yellow laminate counter-tops. A real bonus is the pull out cutting board, one just like my mother had many years ago.  In all things there are bonuses and blessings — one only need look for them.

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But, soon my life will change ::: for this I give great thanks — For I am being blessed!  It is summertime and the grandchildren are coming around to play with an old lady and keep her young, don’t you know.

Plus,  my mother’s house in North Carolina which was left to her first grandchild, my daughter Lisa Marie, is on the market for sale and when it does sale she will purchase a new house in Montgomery or Miami County (outside city limits) with enough land to have a garden and a few chickens! I will put on my gardeners/farmer’s hat once again and begin to build a nice life in the country.  As I have decided that I do not like city living one bit this can not happen too quickly.  Hint hint dear daughter.

I am blessed to have passed my mammogram once again with flying colours ::: this is indeed a real blessing and one I never take lightly.  The ”Ladies” seem to be happy to remain with the living and quite frankly, as a woman, I am happy as well not to have either one lopped off. It is amazing what they can do about cancer these days!!! Both my mother and her sister Ruth were as lucky as I, both only having an out patient procedure for the removal of their cancerous tumor but my Aunt Estella and my step-grandmother Roxie, whom should have been as lucky, weren’t.  Somehow this makes me feel guilty. I wish the advancements in breast care and breast cancer remedies had happened a half century ago for their sake.

I think my best blessing is that all my children are doing alright. Not perfect but alright. Not perfect because life is never perfect . . . I keep thinking if they’d all love the Lord more it would help! Know what I mean? Maybe I should be more like my weird, and bible thumping Aunt Ester! But I’m not prone to stand on top of the coffee tables and preach when visitors arrive.  Aunt ester was a small woman with a big heart and she was my maternal grandmother’s sister and I dearly loved her but she scared the heck out of me too.  My grandmother although religious herself was more reserved about such things.  I spend much more time with Granny!

I am also blessed to have lived long enough to enjoy my 50th High School Reunion this month. I’ll travel to San Diego for this event  . . . “I look in the mirror and what do I see but an old woman staring back at me”. . .  and I am so thrilled that I’ll see so many wonderful friends while in California — of course, to avoid folks wondering who the heck everyone is there will be name tags with our graduation picture on it. Good Idea!

Life is good. Never take life for granted. Always be gracious to others and thankful for what you have. And always Dance In The Rain, So Saith I.

Garden Cages in the Snow

Garden Cages in the Snow

It snowed here in Huber, actually it is still snowing. Mounds of snow on the ground where a thriving garden once stood, now the dry branches of some flower stalks I was waiting to harvest are spoiled for the harvest but make a rather interesting site with the drifts of snow all around then, not to mention the vegetable cages and shovel left in the ground! Remind me not to get ill again next year when the garden is spent and needs tending to — to winter it.  It’s wintered now!! Or not, as the case may be so we’ll see how the spring planting goes this year….if I have an abundance of bugs I’ll know who to point the finger at …. won’t I? Should have drug myself right out of that bed and readied the garden for winter! By the way, that blue and pink balloon looking thing on the right of this snapshot is actually a snow buried  garden windmill (to keep the birds away) also left in the garden like the shovel.  We got (and are still getting) lots of snow in Huber ;)

Lesson of the Donkey

I am always willing to open emails from my friends. Some are silly. Some are not worth my time. And some, like this one, proves a point. Read on dear reader:

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.