Saturday, October 31, 2015

Get your Allhallowgivingdebtmas on! Happy Holidays, Y'all!!

"A soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for All Hallows' EveAll Saints' Day and All Souls' Day to commemorate the dead in the Christian tradition. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, are given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who go from door to door during the days of Allhallowtide, singing and saying prayers 'for the souls of the givers and their friends'. The practice in England dates to the medieval period and was continued there until the 1930s by both both Protestant and Catholic Christians. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes continues in some countries today, such as Portugal (where it is known as Pão-por-Deus), and in other countries, it is seen as the origin of the practice of trick-or-treating. In Lancashire and in the Northeast of England they are also known as Harcakes. In the United States, some churches, during Allhallowtide, have invited people to come receive sweets from them and have offered 'pray for the souls of their friends, relatives or even pets' as they do so." ~ Wikipedia 

And don't forget to turn back the clock. I think I'll set mine back to about 1967!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Natives vs The Invasives

The Natives vs The Invasives:
Whose turf is it, anyway?

The instant I thought,


I should have known I was popping the top off a can of sacred worms!

Now, I'm a naturalist, say, I'm a naturalist, say, I'm always proud to say. Why, the hours I spend with organic compost in hand are golden. Have you ever tried to give yourself a wildflower meadow with no more than a pinch-penny packet of low count seeds? Just as I say, it takes judgement, brains and maturity to walk this road with old Mama Nature.

Grandson Demetrius Combs, 14,
begins a Mow No Mo' internship.
Some months ago I launched a one-yard Mow No Mo' campaign to show River City that nasty ol' water-guzzling, fossil fumes farting turf grasses are not the only way to do "lawn". There ARE alternatives ~ even for a couple of codgers on fixed incomes.

Our first objective was to remove all the khakiweed with its near-microscopic pricks from the yard. This has left considerable square footage of bare baked clay all across the patch.

The original plan was to power rake the bare spots and reseed with the Texas/Oklahoma Wildflower Mix (ITEM # 3341) from Wildseed Farms. Unfortunately, October ran out of money before we could order the seed. We may try again for November, but I fear that is pushing seeding back a touch too late, I don't know.

Meanwhile, on the back side of the house, the war on khakiweed was being pressed forward with even greater vigor and by strictly mechanical means, mainly a wickedly sharpened, straight-bladed spade that is sublime at scalping off the top eighth to a quarter-inch of former turf.

With reseeding to wildflowers stalled, I began thinking about alternatives to cover the bare patches. That's when my blind eyes were opened to Liriope! I call it my "burning ground cover" moment, you know, like Moses and his bush.

What a powerhouse ground cover! Extremely low maintenance in the drought- stricken Southwest and a champion at going forth and multiplying when offered the narrowest margins in which to spread. Best yet, I have an island of Liriope anchoring the back corner beneath our native redbud colony.
Experimental "diversity" garden tests both native and
non-native species for sustainability. 

The not so good news (in certain circles) is that the mighty monkey grass is a native of Asia, not Texas.
Some folks can get downright hostile at the mere suggestion of admitting non-native species onto Texas dirt.

That native vs. non-native issue did give me some pause. About 15 seconds worth. Then I realized sustainability within a community is totally dependent on diversity.

The diversity plot pictured above is my current holding bed for Liriope as well as moss rose (South America), sedum (Northern hemisphere) and native Texas blue mistflower.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"What kind of games do you like to play, gran'pa?"

"What kind of games do you like to play, gran'pa?"
California fashion fairies squatting in
the Tree Garden Tiny House.

Lord, if anyone is gonna make that "gran'pa" tag stick, this girl's it. Bless her heart.

She's 12, the merest wisp of a girl, and we had not set eyes on one another since she was 4 and I was too busy rushing over the hill to be bothered.

"What do you mean 'games', girl? What kind of games?"

"Oooooo .... you know .... board games ...."

Mind you, it doesn't help that she speaks with the tongues of Tinker Bell and of angels.

".... uh, do you l-i-k-e Monopoly?"

Well, East coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
"Monopoly!" I actually snorted. "Girl, I'd have you for snacks over a Monopoly board!" I thought to add that I'd beat her like a red-headed stepchild at the game but caught myself.

"Really! Do you have a Monopoly game we could play?"

And it didn't help that I had lifted her up, if only for a moment, just to slam her face down into disappointment.

"No, I don't have one anymore. I haven't played in years."

"Awwww, that's too bad," she said, genuinely feeling sorry. For me!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Great Divide, "Us" v "Them"

A new study proclaims that as much as 20 percent of California’s critical four-year-drought may be blamed on the shifting climate. Common sense seemingly would dictate that as temperatures rise and as rainfall patterns shift across Earth’s face due to climate churn, areas of drought like California and Texas and huge swaths of Africa also will increase in severity, intensity and duration.

What struck me in this report, however, was language; specifically, how we talk about our role in spinning Earth’s climate into whole other parameters never before experienced by a human species.

Park Williams is lead author of the study. An assistant research professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Williams noted,

“We can’t just ask the Earth exactly what’s been human-induced and what’s natural.”

What is “human-induced”, and what is “natural”. Do you see the rub?  Feel ~ as some of us do in our bones ~ the friction of “human” grinding against “natural”?

Here lies our Great Sin. Divorcing ourselves from Nature. Evicting ourselves, as it were, from the Garden.  

"Warlords of Ivory"

This week's Quick Pick Flick Warlords of Ivory airs Sunday, August 30 on a National Geographic Channel near you. Consider yourself a turd if you miss this film.

What are you doing to keep Texas Beautiful?

A shadow of his former self
Saturday ~ Sept. 12 ~ Sikes Lake ~ The Falls

It is time once again to clean up lovely little Sikes Lake. All are welcome to meet at 9 a.m. behind MSU's Wellness Center (east side of the lake).

After the clean up, hang out for the FREE LUNCH!!

Shout out to this event's community sponsors:
Rolling Plains Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist
Midwestern State University
American National Bank & Trust
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

By the way, if you can't be bothered to come out and help us clean up the lake, don't bother to bitch all over the Interweb about how trashy it looks.