Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Great Grandma Picked Up Sailors (a reprise)

I first wrote this story a couple of years ago. I've been thinking a lot about my mom, grandma and great grandma lately, and remembered this story. Most of the people reading this site weren't here when I posted it first, so unless you've gone through my archives, this should be new for you.

My great grandma picked up sailors. Yes, really, she did!

My grandma told me a story about her mom, my Maw Maw.

I knew my Maw Maw......and believe every word of this story.

My Maw Maw used to go out wade fishing in Corpus Christi Bay. She was in her late 60's early 70's, back in the late 60's and 70's. She was a good fisher woman. She usually caught whatever was biting and kept anything big enough to fry. She made a mean fried eel.

I haven't had fried eel since she died and do wish I could have it again. I never quite have managed to duplicate her cornmeal breading. It was wonderful. When she had a fish like sand trout, croaker, flounder or redfish, we'd even gnaw on the fins that breading was so good.

Occasionally, we tease my mom that my dad married her so he could have free access to my Maw Maw's cooking. Occasionally, he'd allow that it might be so.

Anyway, as she fished, she often ran across young sailors stationed at the Naval Base. They were too young to drink or go to the clubs legally and Corpus Christi didn't have all that much for a young man not bent on trouble to do. So, they fished.

They must have been thunderstruck at the sight of a little old lady with hair whiter than snow, a face that showed every laugh she'd ever roared, a short round body almost as big around as she was tall, carrying at least one pole, a stringer, a bait bucket, a pair of pliers or two and a knife, wading out beside them. She was only 4 foot 10 inches, so by the time she was out far enough to fish, she'd be up to her armpits, which would be about waist deep to most of the young men.

Occasionally, in season, the pole was joined by a flounder gig, and she was known to float a crab trap nearby, baited with a few chicken necks. She liked crab. She believed in being prepared.

Many of the young sailors, being basically landlubbers who thought the Navy would be fun*, didn't really know how to fish in salt water. More specifically, they often didn't have a clue how to wade fish in a shallow bay. My Maw Maw helped'm out, showing them how, where, when and what to use for bait. She also showed'm what to throw back and taught them to stay away from hardhead catfish, and provided some medical care when they didn't follow instructions.

Go here ) for reasons you don't wanna mess with a hard heads. Good eating, but mean buggers.

Then, she'd take a couple home (sailors AND fish), show'm how to clean the catch and fry it up for breakfast. She and my grandma were living together at the time, and my grandma said she'd get up at 4 am, to get ready for work, and walk into a kitchen full of sandy, salted young sailors, doing everything my great grandma told them to do and smiling while they did it.

I don't think Maw Maw or my grandma ever had to pay anyone to cut the grass, trim trees, dig a garden, pull weeds, wash a car, clean out gutters, turn a compost pile or paint a shed during any of those years. It got done.

Seems there is a long line of women in my family known to not let anything stop them from doing what they wanted to do. I need to remember that more often. I think I wanna go fishing. Any sailors out there?

My grandma said she had fun telling people her mom picked up sailors and had them over for breakfast. She claimed she rarely told the whole story. Said it was funner to watch the people's faces. She and my dad got along real well. They both liked a good story that ended at just the right time, leaving the audience to provide their own endings.

* back then, the recruiting jingle was "Join the Navy and See the World", and my dad says it was true, to a certain extent. Mostly tho, he said you mainly saw a lot of other guys in their underwear trying to sleep and not get seasick. Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Modest Tomato Harvest

They aren't many, nor are they large, but a pair of Caramelo and one lone Sugary is enough for 'Pup and I to share in a salad.

Looks like we're going to have to whack back some small new limbs from our neighbor's oak tree that are reaching over the fence and having a love affair with our Ash tree. This kind of fraternization must be discouraged, as it's offspring is deep and ever growing SHADE, just where I do need a little light.
Y'all have a good day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Houston Spring

This rose makes me smile. Doesn't she look pensive?

We missed the rains yesterday, but we'd gotten some the day before, so the ground is just about right for everything. The weather continues to vary between very warm (the 80's) to rather chilly (50's). Hey, terms like warm and cold are relative. Soon, we'll have lows at night in the high 70's and highs in the 90 to 100 range.

Whatever the reason, the front yard (alas, it has to be mostly yard for now), is happy. The garden beds are getting downright exuberant in their growth.

The mint and Mexican Heather (and some weeds..sigh) have pretty much filled up the front bed. Humm one of those pots looks cattywhampus, I need to fix that.

These are a couple of views of the beds by the driveway. The concrete dog is a new acquisition, my dear Pa-in-law used to have it in front of his house, but now, living in an apartment, he's passed it on to us.

The unruly looking fountain of grass is Lemon Grass. It needs to be divided...again. Anyone want some Lemon Grass?

Also in the picture are Esperanza (the yellow) , the pink rose, Belinda's dream, Pineapple Sage, and if you look closely, you'll see Angelonica, a day lily, and some Maid d'Orleans jasmine (which is blooming!).

A close up of the strawberry pot with the red geranium shows that the rescued Allysium has filled out and is blooming sweetly. Also growing are some more weeds. Dang.

Behind the Esperanza, in a stone circle, is Apple Blossom Yarrow, and a Fire Bush coming back from the roots.

The squash plants in the long bed of roses and day lilies are growing and have already started blooming. So far, the plants are small and pretty and no questions have been asked.

This rose bush (the Pink Franganza) and the day lily ( a yellow one that's been passed down to me from my grandma) were accidentally planted a little too closely together. So far, they've worked out an amicable living arrangement, so I'm not going to try to uproot either.

My herb bed. Closest to us is the fennel (blooming), chives, a rosemary bush, a largish marjoram clump (also in bloom), the lettuce, a pot of basil, and barely seen is a clump and small pot of oregano, slow to establish. There's also a couple of thyme plants and one very large clump of salad burnet. The Texas tarragon is in there too, but still small. I'd like to seed some more basil and I might try sticking a few cloves of garlic in there. It might be too late, but the bed does get some shade during the day.
You never know what will grow until you try.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's Been a BERRY Berry Good Day

It's been Berry Pickin' time for a couple of weeks. As we've driven around, here and there, I've seen people out in fields, bent over and looking...pleased with themselves. I knew why, it could only be that the wild black berries, known as "dewberries" around here, were ripening.

But before you can go pickin' you have to find a good patch. I found one. No, I'm not going to tell you where.
Ah dun found mine, you kin go find yourn.
Here's a hint: Look for a fence line that looks kinda like this:

And this was a GOOD patch ya'll. Problem was, it was on a......somewhat steep slope.


It was not easy getting to the berries, but in some ways, the slope helped. Once I got up there, I could sit on the slope and still get up. It took me some time, though, to get the gumption to go ahead and just get there.

Yah, it gets scary sometimes, knowing you could fall. I don't like scary gettin' between me and stuff I wanna do. So, sometimes, I ignore scary and just go.

'Course, I wasn't alone. 'Pup was there. 'Bout this time, he was sayin'..."Now you're down there, am I going to have to get you back up?"

He's such a sweet talkin' man.
Do you see the ripe berries? They're the black ones. The red ones are right purty, but a might pucker-makin' in your mouth, no matter how much sugar you use.

This is more like it.

It's more fun than huntin' Easter Eggs.
However, you'll note that I am wearing some gloves. Those berry vines are NOT thornless.

Eventually, we ended up with a respectable amount. It's just about enough to make a cobbler, if they last that long.
I have a feeling I won't be making cobbler with this batch. I hope to go out picking again next weekend.
Along the way, I found a few more treasures.

The Sensitive Plant is blooming.
This is why they're called Sensitive plants.

I also found a bit of my childhood. This clay tower is the home of a crawdad (crayfish). My brother and sister and I used to stick our hands and arms waaaay down deep, all the way up to our armpits to catch a crawdad.

Why yes, they did tend to be a little peevish at being dragged from their livingrooms...

After a while, I kinda let my brother do most of the reaching. My story was that he had longer arms. Which he did, really.
It was quite entertaining.
I hope all of you have had a blessed and gracious Sunday, doing things that make you happy.

Berry Pickin'

We're off to pick berries today. I hope we can beat the rainshowers and other pickers.......

See y'all later!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Progress, Oh So Slow

Here's part of the pond... the fushia is a real asset back there. On a sad note, looks like I'll be replacing my goldfish. The big black one is still there, but the two orange ones must have become dinner for a bird.

I've got some other plants in a bed of ferns. Nutmeg geranium and Rose Mint, and my mystery plant. Anyone recognise this plant?

My blue Morning Glories have escaped my yard and have invaded my neighbor's trees. This neighbor is behind my neighbor to the east of me.

One area of the backyard. The large wall of Confederate jasmine is very fragrant. The tree is an Ash. The long bed holds sword ferns.

The Pinata rose is blooming better than ever. My neighbors to the west have taken out their fushia colored oleander, and there is now more sun available to that corner. Ah......but it was a pretty oleander.

Speaking of Fushia (Checkerboard), I've never grown this plant before. It is a revelation for me and I'm very happy with it.
I did a little work in the garden today, but I don't have any stamina today. The pain is coming faster than usual today, so that meant I did a lot of recovery after very little work. Damn.
As a side note: I made a pot of beans tonight, and seasoned it with a bay leaf, epizote, and some thyme out of my herb gardens. Tomorrow, we'll have two ripe tomatoes and we'll be able to use some of the lettuce I'm growing.
Is anyone else getting a little nervous about the price of food? I'm going to do my best to raise what I can, but a limited amount of land with sun limits me a bit. I've snuck some squash and cucumbers into the front yard. I wonder if anyone would notice some okra? They do have some lovely flowers, and I prefer to harvest okra when it is still quite small. It's a lot more tender that way. Hummmmmmm
'Pup and I are making a new planting bed where we had a compost pile this last winter and the summer before. It takes some doing to amend the clay we have back there, but we've made a good start. I may be able to plant some potatoes in the bed this year, we'll just have to see.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Just LOVE Little Kids

I do, I really do.

You never know what they're going to say.

Now, first, you should know that my good bossman and I had agreed not to take kids younger than 4 as students. However, as business has been down a bit, he recently added a student to my schedule who is 3. He'll be 4 sometime in August.

My GADS is he tiny! His notebook/binder is about the same size as his whole torso.

His attention span is about 3 and1/2 minutes long.

He doesn't know the alphabet sounds, but bossman said "He has been going to Montessori school for long time, he maybe can take home a book, because he has been in Montessori for long time."

So, I send home a book with him. I have some of my own books there at the center and I let him take one home to look at and maybe an adult read to him.

He's a pretty good little kid.

Out of the blue, the other day, he told me his momma has milk. "uhmm", I said.

"She hab milk, but milk is for baby. She hab baby milk."

I start to get the picture. "ahh." I said.

"You hab baby milk?"

"uhmm.... no, I don't have baby milk."

At that, he takes a tiny hand and moves my arm. He then takes a tiny finger and pokes me in the boob.

"Yes, you do, you habs baby milk. You habs LOTs of baby milk."

He went back to writing his Aa's, satisfied that, I too, have 'baby milk'.

Some things, you learn, just are better not argued with a tiny person. They've developed their hypothesis, and collected evidence and checked it. Logic wins every time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just a Bunch'a Bugs

This is no where near all the bug pictures I have, but I may have to break them into groups. It just takes too long to find and upload all of them at once.

Hey........I've an idea!

How many can you identify? Have fun and leave your guesses in the comments.










Happy Earth Day..I'm BUGGED!

Just because I've had so many pictures of flowers, I thought I'd share some happy making bug pictures I've gotten recently, and in the past.

But he ate all of them.

Okay, Blogger's being a pain in the uhmmm DownLoad...and I'll just have to try later.

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged for a Meme by Knitting Painter Woman . Y'all should go over and say Hi.

Here are the rules for playing if you are inclined to following rules:
1. link to the person that tagged you.
2. post the {very important} rules on your blog.
3. list 6 very unimportant, random nothings about yourself {should be an easy one}
4. tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Let's see, most things about me are fairly unimportant, but here goes:

1. I love balsamic vinegar, really good balsamic vinegar, and will pay somewhat more than I should for it.
2. I have a HUGE number of tomato seedlings I've just re potted, and I've almost no where to plant them. Uhmm... any one need some tomato plants?
3. I was once the only white member of an otherwise all black Gospel Choir. I took a perverse delight seeing one woman walk into a pole as she was walking past us at a performance.
4. I used to have long hair. It was so long, it reached past my hips and almost half-way to my knees. It was a red-gold color and I long considered it my only "good" feature.
5. I won't eat soggy bread. It gives me the creeps.
6. Cilantro tastes like soap to me and smells like old dirty socks.

Anyone willing to do this meme is now considered tagged. It's kinda fun, coming up with the facts about yourself. You get to think what you consider important about you and what's unimportant.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Twelve Reasons to be Happy

All one dozen of my rose bushes (not counting the mini roses, one of which is blooming too) are in bloom or have a bud just waiting to open.

Oh, and the Star, or Confederate Jasmine is blooming......and so is the Angel Wing, and so is the Maid of Orleans!

OH, and the day lilies are beginning to bud out, and almost everything I've planted or overwintered this year, (that wasn't eaten by ravenous snails--curses on them!) is still ALIVE.

Even the Nicotiana, Mauve Mountain.

Okay, that's more than 12 reasons. So shoot me.

Bloomin' On and On...

The lilies are opening. Looks like the pink ones are first this year. I wonder, what color will the lilies that are growing so tall show?

My Peace rose is finally blooming this year, but I need to spray for black spot again. Dang.

We took the dogs to the Bark Park Saturday evening. We left as the sun was going down and the full moon was rising over the trees.

You know, I think I might be getting the hang of this Kodak. The Checkerboard fuchsia is dripping with some lovely flowers. By the way, does anyone recognise the plant behind it? I got it from Tea's Nursery, and it wasn't labeled......and sigh.......I forgot to write down what it is. It has red-orange trumpet shaped flowers, growing on a small woody bush, the leaves are dark green on top and purple underneath. The leaves are slightly ruffled.

I am enjoying the difference between 4.0 mg pixels and 8.2...