Saturday, May 31, 2014

Point of No Return

Back in the day, I was a frequent bus rider. 

City bus drivers knew me by my name. My brother and I rode the city bus to school, since the yellow school buses did not pick up in our neighborhood. We paid $.05 a ride and were dropped off right in front of our school.

Even after I began teaching, I rode the city bus to work each morning and evening. One time I remember that I was the only white face on the bus and even frightened myself when I looked into the mirror as I exited. But I had a ride. And for someone who waited until she was 30 to get her driver's license, that was important. (Story about the driver's license in a future blog post.) 

Buses were not always dependable, but they usually got me where I needed to go. (Or at least somewhere down the street or around the corner!) 

When I moved to a larger city in my state, the city buses were not so regular and rarely went where I wanted to go. So I was able to "carpool" with teaching colleagues who passed my apartment on the way to work. 

I also began making use of Continental Trailways so that I could go back home to visit my folks. I had traveled that way while in college in the northeastern part of my state, and the hassle of getting to and from the bus station was always a problem that sometimes was more expensive than the actual bus ride.

This morning our 30 year old son is taking a real gamble. He needs to come pick up an extra vehicle from our house, and the quickest and cheapest way here is by bus. A Casino Bus! As we live near a huge casino, we have seen tourbus after tourbus roll down the highway from the big city where he lives to the casino near us. 

So he is on the bus to arrive in a couple of hours. After a nice lunch at the casino and maybe a few slots, then he won't return. Not with the bus, anyway. We are taking him home with us. 

This was my lunch at the Casino. Fried catfish and tartar sauce, hush puppies, cajun french fries, cole slaw, and a roll. I brought home half of this! Thank goodness for "boxes."

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mama Deer Chases Dog

Flip was flabbergasted! He sat and watched in awe as our neighbor's small terrier was chased across our front field by a mama deer protecting her young one. 

Sadly, we have no video. It all happened so quickly, that only Flip, my hub, and I "recorded" the amazing event. (This would surely have been a YouTube sensation!)

Before lunch yesterday, my hub called me to the front door window to look at the deer drinking from our pond. As the only deer we have seen recently was one in my raised veggie bed, this sight was a treat. That was until Cara showed up. 

Cara is a small black female terrier that our beagle Flip "hunts" with every morning from around 7-10 am. Flip had already returned home, and Cara was still "huntin'" (as they say around here). She was sniffing in the baby deer's tracks down to the pond, and Mama deer saw her. 

At that moment, the chase began. But the deer became the hunter! Cara could not believe that the roles were reversed. And neither could our Flip. As the deer got closer to his girlfriend, he woke up to the fact that he had to do something. So he jumped up, began barking, ran cautiously down to the edge of the pond, but by that time the chase was on down the road and over in our neighbor's yard.

And that was our sensation for the day (week, month, year, etc. ) at Wetcreek.

Since we did not get a video, you might enjoy this one: Deer Jumps Over Dog

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Boxwood Cuttings (Revisited)

Here is my original blogpost on boxwoods. Fifty Boxwoods

Today my blog friend Paulette at Cheerful Thrifty Door requested some explanation, so this is the email I sent her:

"My mother thinks we fill our time with crazy things like trying to root boxwoods, but with the cost of even small boxwood plants it is worth a try. And we have been successful both in The Netherlands and here in Louisiana.

In The Netherlands we just had to cut off a 4-6 inch twig, strip off the lower leaves and jab it into the ground where we wanted the plant to grow.

Here in southwest Louisiana, our soil is not so fertile. So we root the cuttings in good soil (usually composted from kitchen scraps and sand and rice hulls/manure). But I have heard of organic farmers who rooted their plants in wet sand.

This is what I do:
1.  Trim back my overgrown boxwoods. (We started several years ago with one $6.00 Korean boxwood from Lowes.)
2.  Prepare a window box or pot with the soil. Some stores sell special rooting soil. Never tried that, since we have "free dirt" and always some compost material.
3.  Make 4-6 inch long cuttings from the boxwood trimmings. Cut off the small branches and lower leaves. You want the cutting to give all its energy to making roots.
4.  I dip each fresh, damp cutting into rooting hormone that I bought at Lowes or Home Depot. So long ago I do not remember. Maybe it was even Walmart! I have read that you can use kitchen cinnamon instead. Never tried that, since my rooting hormone powder has lasted (and worked) so long.
5.  Then I just jab the powder coated end down into the wet soil and keep it moist for many months. You should see new leaves on the top and the stick will be pretty stable in the soil (roots).
6.  When you are ready to plant (early fall or early spring), lift out the rooted plants with a fork or your fingers. Then have fun planting."

Thanks for the request, Paulette. I will count my time as Master Gardener's time ;))). A lot cleaner than getting out in the garden! 


What idiots take their dog for a walk with an approaching rainstorm in sight? 

Well, you guessed it! We did last evening. 

Flip had cabin fever around 7:00 pm, and that is about the time for our daily walk. So off the three of us went. Two with open umbrellas and the third jumping from the canopy of one tree to the next. 

(Sorry, no camera shots! The camera would have been ruined from the downpour!)

After trying to dodge the sheets of rain, the three of us huddled in the middle of our gravel road under the two umbrellas until we knew that was a useless effort. (And, yes, our Flip was obedient and stayed right between us out of the rainfall.)

Then we headed back to the house. I don't know who was wetter, Flip or the two of us. Flip hates showers (the kind with soap), but he loves to be toweled off. So his bedtime started off well last evening.

And those 200+ boxwood cuttings (stekjes) that we prepared and planted yesterday afternoon got an extra watering to get them on their way to rooting.

Pond's up!  (We got 4 inches (10 centimeters) in that downpour!)

Hub's grass seed got water!

And we won't have to water the veggie garden for a few days!

Grow Babies Grow!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Missing the Beltway Apartment

Actually when the temps heat up here in southwest Louisiana, I miss the somewhat cooler temps in The Netherlands.

And I also miss some of this:Click Here

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Before It Rains Today

We haven't had rain in a couple of weeks. But the raindrops are on their way. 

Here is what our yard/garden looks like now.      [;))) Miniviper]

Our old "Mama Agave" made it through the harsh winter. Her babies and grand-babies did not do as well, but they are alive.

Bottlebrush blossom.

Our grapevine canopy is back.

New boxwood topiaries by the front door.

Daisies that have survived many seasons and are still beautiful.

Who needs sunflowers?

Candy cane hydrangea. And yes, it is time to weed out the grass in the mulch. It grows right through the geotextile fabric and the cedar mulch!!!!


My propagation miracles! Boxwood hedge that needs a haircut. Good job for rainy weather.

Another view of the first propagation crop.

These guys survived a cold winter, dry spring, and now hopefully they will take off running with some rain.

The "squirt fig" that seems to be making a come-back.

Maybe a handful of Ouachita blackberries this year.

These beautiful tomato plants were 3 inches tall when we went to The Netherlands in mid-March.We caged them before we left, but no one did anything to them for that 6 weeks or even the last 4 weeks we have been back home. (Oh, now they get 20 minutes of water every 7:00 am.)

Luscious leaves!

And huge tomatoes!

And that is what is happening in our garden. (Deer, possums, snakes, and caterpillars are busy, too.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Let Us Not Forget

"Caring for veterans shouldn't be a partisan issue. It should (be) an American one."

Jennifer Granholm

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Klederdracht Kapje

I am a native costume lover, and this garlic blossom reminds me of some of the beautiful caps you see all over the world. 

Enjoy this cap. Glad I caught this photo this morning, since this afternoon it was gone.

A lot of lace, a rich farmer's wife.                          Not much lace, a poor farmer's wife.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Which Way is Mecca from Here?

No photos! You'll just have to use your imagination.

Picture this:

Almost 69 year old "fluffy" white Dutch guy on all fours with his head near the ground out in the front yard of our home. 

He is looking sideways so that he can see if the ground is level after he has removed the heap of dirt (been there several years!) to another spot nearer our pond.

That was my laugh for today. I needed that, since today I can feel a pinched nerve in my back from all the weeding I did yesterday.  And my cleaning lady did not show up today!

Oh woe is me! Teehee!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Finished! Now What Next?

A six week vacation in Spring means three weeks of hard garden/yard work (just to catch up) when you return.

Remember how cold it was down here last winter? We lost lots of leaves on our agaves and even a few baby agaves that we planted in the ground in January 2013. This morning I finally pulled the grass and weeds from the tiny agaves, and found more alive than dead. We always have fledglings "waiting in the wings" for a chance out in the wide open spaces of our yard. So that problem is solved.

Then the boxwood hedge (hedgelette?) survived the frigid temps of Winter and the drought of early Spring. I started 75 cuttings before we went on vacation, and they look "alive." My hub and I just need to prune the oldest boxwoods to give them shape and make a few hundred more cuttings for the rest of the footpath. At the prices for boxwoods, I guess we could start a nursery!

Although I finished the first round of weeding/edging/trimming, it is time to hit the veggie and flower beds again. They aren't as bad as three weeks ago, but there is work to be done.

But we did it. And what is next?

Maintenance, of course!


And this time in the Heat of Summer!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's Just All the Dirt

How do you save money gardening? Why just recycle the dirt!

This morning I rounded up all failed pot plants (alias Pots of Dirt) and dumped them on top of rice hull compost in my wheelbarrow. Then I added some fertilizer granules and stirred with a shovel. Voila! Potting soil! The only real dirt!

Plants are so expensive (our local garden center charges $5.00 a plant). Don't even look up at the hanging baskets! They are waaaaay toooooo high (price, that is) and as boring as "dirt." Usually just one plant on steroids that begins drooping on the way to your house.

But this morning I potted up the $60 worth of "ho-hum" plants I found yesterday at a farm shop, and I hope that some added Miracle Gro will produce the front porch look I want. 

If I am lucky, there will be leftover plants on Friday at the 1/2 off end of Spring sale at the local garden center.

Photos to follow ;)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Stats Reader

Recently a follower wrote that she had not been very active in blogging but was coming back. According to what I could see in my Blogger Stats, either she or someone following her blog was part of my Audience. Anyway, "big sister" is watching who reads her Wetcreek Blog.

Today I noticed that someone from Nigeria is reading my blog. 

Actually, that is not really surprising to me, since our son is there on business. And just this morning he iMessaged a view from his hotel room and also a donut type treat called pof pof (puff puff) that looks and tastes like the Dutch New Year's treat called "Oliebollen."

Room with a view.

Bring on the powdered sugar!

Boy, how things have changed in the last 35 years! When I moved to The Netherlands in 1979, I had to pay $8.00 a minute to call home to my parents in Louisiana. The first time my brother and SIL phoned me and got a phone bill for $45, they never called again to "chat." Letters were not so expensive, but they took usually two weeks by air mail (today it is still one week!). Most business letters we get today from The Netherlands take 6-8 weeks, since those folks never use the correct postage. And what happened to Airmail stickers?

So having a "right now" chat with our son on this Friday is high tech! 

And keep following my blog. I like my Stats! I am on my way to 700 posts! Maybe by my birthday?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

So Sweet!

I have lots of sweet nieces, but my oldest one is the cherry on top of the cake. I don't think her sisters and cousins would disagree.

Wendy is our crafter. And a great one at whatever she does! Today I want you to check out her blog Made by Wendy Bellino .

Sunday, May 11, 2014

And We Ate Well!


My youngest brother and his dear wife fed us well today.

Oh, yes!

A true Louisiana barbecue!

I made sunflower cupcakes for my niece's bridal shower.

And a sunflower cake for non-cupcake fans.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

It takes two to make a mother. At least that was the way it was back in the "old days."

Here is a sweet photo of my mother and my father before they were eligible to be honored on Mother's Day and Father's Day. Our dear Daddy passed away back in 1998, but we still have our sweet Mom.

We will all be at my brother F's tomorrow celebrating Mom's 89th birthday, honoring her and all the other mothers in our family, and showering my youngest niece A and her fiance W with bridal gifts. 

Big Time Family Fun!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom

For as long as I can remember, I associated my Mom's birthday (May 7, 1925) with Mother's Day. 

Mom's birthday never fell on Mother's Day ( the second Sunday in May), but it was always pretty close. 

For several years now, my youngest brother and his dear wife have hosted a family party for my mom's birthday on Mother's Day. It is a time when we all come together to celebrate our Mom and our Memaw. 

Today is her 89th birthday, but Sunday we will celebrate with one and all.

How many are expected to attend?

Three children
Three partners of children
Nine grandchildren
Eight partners of grandchildren
Twelve great-grandchildren

Total: 35

Whew! My dear mom came from a family of 9 children, but her 35 is a "passel" of folks!

Happy Birthday, Mom. See you later, and I'm bringing the dinner.

As for the other 34 of you family members, see ya'll on Sunday at MOUF's.

The oldest and the youngest--Mom and Waylon

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Still Dealing with the Weeds

If you need me, I'll be in the garden.

The following photos I took on our vacation in Italy over a week ago.

Not our garden, but a girl can dream! 
Have a sunny Sunday!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Two Beds Made and Four To Go

We are home and running! No, not training for a marathon! Too old and "fluffy" for that! But we got back home Thursday and began cutting and pulling weeds and grass yesterday. My hub is the man with the big machines, and my work is usually by hand. But we are trying to put this yard back into shape while the temps are still cool and the ground is dry.

Surprisingly the grass/weeds in the yard were just over a foot high after 6 weeks of neglect. The grass/weeds in the gravel driveway was mostly tall dandelions that pull out easily.

I found all of my tomato plants and pepper plants hiding among the weeds in the raised beds. There was a bit of frostbite on a few leaves, but they will survive. The deer had gotten into the bolted endive and lettuce. Guess they thought I had left them a "salad bar."

Two raised beds clear and ready for production, and time to go out and work on a couple more. Temps are in the 50's F right now, but by lunch I will be "glistening."

No before or after photos. Just some work out in the morning dew. 

Bring on the boots! No flip flops this morning!