If you havent ever read my blogs, give them a go! You will be amused at my journey!
Me and Holo-Zoo are building a submarine here next to the pond. We're determined that we're gonna find out what's at the bottom of this damn thing...
** Image ID #1156349 Unavailable **
If you're new to my journal, you've got a lot of catching up to do. So, don't be a slacker, get the full story. Here are my first two journals for your reading torture.
You don't have to read them all at once.
Print 'em, and take them to that little reading room with the white chair. You know you love to read in there.
Or print 'em out and use them as doorstops, bookends, or paperweights.
You may prefer to leave a message on my voice mail. I award weekly Gift Points for clever, and or entertaining messages left there.
|Sand is the predominant soil type in our neck of the burned out lost pines. When we first were allowed back into the burned out remains of our neighborhood that's all you could see - burned out, blackened tree trunks against the ash and sand of a post apocalypse. Gray, black and white were the only colors visible in the spectrum.
Sand and ash was everywhere, nothing was alive. Some places were still smoldering and hot.
After the first good rain, we were left with something similar to the Gobi Desert. And that is what we are trying to plant things in. We actually have established a pretty good little oasis now that nearly two years have gone by since the wildfires.
This year I have employed a slow drip method of watering the trees in the back. We are in the middle of a severe drought. We had a good rain about 10 days ago, but we are not expected to have any more until at least the end of August. This means that all of our fledgling trees are being pounded by the Texas sun in temperatures of over 100 degrees every day. The pine trees are doing great, as their roots reach way down into the water table to get a drink. One of them is taller than I am now. I think they are growing nearly two feet each year. They are so soft, and bushy looking - very healthy. It's the peach, plum, red bud and oak trees that I am really focussing on. They are so fragile looking and seem to be affected by the heat very easily. They look better than they did last year, though, and I've only lost one of the plum trees.
As we speak, I am working from home today and am about to go out and rotate my trickling hose over to the next thirsty tree. I will let it trickle for 20 minutes or so, then move to the next one. This soaks the base really well, without wasting any water to runoff. The trick is to not run the water too fast. It has to be a slow enough flow to allow the water to soak straight down into the soil, rather than run off laterally away from the tree. I have carved out nice little bowls around the base of each tree, which I keep free of weeds by putting down some hardwood mulch and pine tree bark from fallen and burnt trees.
I also should cut the grass in the front either today or tomorrow. I have also devised a trickling method with the lawn mower for this. I just turn it on and push it down the hill.
So far, nobody has died or lost any limbs.
|The tree still lies across the bottom rail of the fence where it fell. Since I dont have any other material for repairs, I used the splintered remnants of the other rails to patch up the giant section that was missing, and I placed a call to Jack Russo, the grandson of Mrs Rose, who owns the lot next door. He didn't pick up so I left him a message. Then I called Mrs Rose and encouraged her to call her grandson and impress upon him the need to take care of this tree problem.
She told me what I already knew, that her grandson would have to take care of this because she was 86 years old and couldn't possible deal with it.
I dont have much hope that he will do anything about it. A year ago we went through the same thing, which ended in me sending them a certified letter mentioning legal counsel should they fail to act. They failed to act. But really, what can I do about it? You cant sue someone for something that might happen, but hasnt happened yet. Now somethin HAS happened but not to the degree that I can cost effectively bring legal action. What am I going to do? Spend thousands of dollars in legal fees over a mere hundreds of dollars in fence repairs? I don't think so.
We will most likely end up paying for the repairs ourselves and sending them a bill which will undoubtedly be ignored.
My repair job looks like a 5 year old did it.
Oh, well. At least I wasn't under the tree when it checked out.
|After our regular Thursday night round, I squeezed a few more holes in before it got dark. On the very first hole, right after I hit my tee shot, right down the middle, two guys in a cart pulled up and applauded my shot. I asked them if they would like to go ahead and tee off, thinking we might all play together.
They were terrible (worse than me, and that's saying something), and I could tell right away that I would have to pull away, and go on without them. I got my chance on the second hole, when my crappy tee shot was followed by a very good second shot that almost made it to the green. They were hacking away at their balls in the tall weeds and in the trees on the right, so I went ahead to the green, thinking they would be there awhile. I chipped up, missed the short put, and glanced back to see one of the guys over his ball about to take another hack at it. I finished off my putt and was headed off the green when I looked back just in time to see the guy's shot coming right at me. I did a Matrix move with my upper body and the ball barely clipped me in the side of the my right man-boob.
I kept walking like I didn't feel it or even see it.
Funny - because the previous week, Bovet teed of a par three at Colovista and as we watched his ball approach the green on a good line, some dude ran up on the green from the left (came out of nowhere) to retrieve a club he'd left, and got nailed by Bovet's ball.
He kept going like he didn'd feel it or even see it, too.
Then, this weekend Marv and I were playing at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Golf Course and I stupidly hit up on a twosome in front of us, and narrowly avoided plunking one of them in the head.
They were drinking a few beers and I dont think they ever saw it - even though I yelled, "FORE!" as loud as I could.
I shot 89 from the forward tees. Three pars in a row on the back 9.
|A couple of days ago, I was working from home and decided to knock off a few hours early so I could cut the grass before some thunderstorms came up from the Gulf. It was hot when I started, and in no time I was working up quite a sweat.
I got the front nearly all finished when I noticed some wind whipping up, and a few large drops of cool rain began falling. I kept mowing, relishing the drop in temperature, not bothered by the light rain, and finished the front yard. The blowing wind helped me open the gate to the backyard, and I started to mow inside the fence line, planning to make a perimeter cut, all the way along the fence. I got done with the first strip and was just about to make a 90 degree turn to the left, when a loud crunching, smashing noise made me lift my head just in time to see a large, dead, pine tree settling onto the shattered remains of an entire section of the fence, right where I was planning to mow next.
I was impressed by the damage. The tree could have just ripped the screws loose that were holding the boards in place. Instead it smashed through the planks like they weren't even there, splintering them AND knocking them off the posts they were screwed to. If I were any quicker at pushing the lawnmower, or if the wind had blown the tree a few degrees over in my direction, well, it wouldn't have been pretty.
Outside the fence on the adjacent property, the top half of another tall, dead, pine came loose, pushed by the wind, and landed just behind the first one. I had just enough time to put the mower in the shed before the wind picked up, and it really started raining hard.
I stood inside and watched the storm, chilled by my wet shirt in the air conditioning, and chilled by the near miss. This post-fire landscape is laced with tall, dead, pine trees, and every time it rains and the wind blows hard, we see and hear them falling all around us.
There are only a few more trees on the lots around us that pose a threat. Mainly they are threatening our fence, but a few could take out the shed or part of the house.
Both lots are owned by slow-moving retirees, who so far have not responded especially well to our requests for them to remove the offensive trees.
I think I will lay down under the fallen tree, and have someone take my picture. Then I will mail it the retirees and shake them up a little.
|Right now I have a cheese danish and twinkie wanna-be stashed in my overnight bag for future munchies. I like bakery items alot. Almost anything will do.
Baklava, turnovers, eclairs, danish, kolaches, any kind of pastry, really. Aww, who am I kidding - cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, pudding, even a peanut butter and jelly, or honey sandwich.... really, I'm a sucker for anything like that.
I normally have some coffee for breakfast, rarely anything else. Then, I have a small lunch, maybe a sandwich, or a burrito, and a normal sized dinner. No sodas, hardly at all, ever... No candy, chips, or sweets at all during the day.
Here's where it gets weird.
For some reason, when the whole house is asleep, I pull back the covers, and go looking for something sweet. It could be the Zingers I bought at the store earlier, or the Mrs. Baird's fruit pie. Or it might be the Nancy's cinnamon rolls on the counter. It could even be (for weeks on end sometimes) the peanut butter and honey sandwich (three slices of bread) or the vanilla ice cream (to which I add a banana, peanut butter, and chocolate sauce).
Dont even get me started on the newtons. I cant stop eating those. I will wake up in the middle of the night to eat a few, just so I can relish the big, cold glass of milk that follows. I really do this every night. Always have. Even as a kid, I remember sneaking into the kitchen when I thought everyone else was asleep, and eating things - prune danish, coffee cake, and one night, when I couldnt find anything else - cherry flavored aspergum. Yep. Childrens aspirin.
The funny thing is - I weigh about 140 and have never weighed more than 145 in my entire life.
The assumption is that someday my metabolism is going to take a long boat to China and I am going to end up as big as a house, eating sticks of butter and watching reruns of Friends. Either that, or I am going to be a human medical specimen because of my super metabolism, the power of which will one day be harnassed to solve the world's energy crisis.
Really it's all just about the big, cold glass of milk
We shall see.
|I am the Supreme Finder of All Things Lost.
If anybody in the house is having a coniption fit because they cannot find something, they ask me if I've seen it.
"Your coniption fit?" I ask, because I know that's not what they're talking about.
"No! My _______, smartass!" they reply. This includes Liberty and Nugget. Even though I know they can't really talk to me, I am convinced that's what they are thinking.
I've noticed during my reign of being the Supreme Finder of All Things Lost, that the things that are indeed lost, are not actually at fault. This I know even though the person that lost the thing will swear up and down that they left the lost thing "right here by the table! It HAS to be here!" And they will keep looking for it there as if it will suddenly appear, or was there all along hiding under a bush, or a pile of laundry.
But one thing we know for sure. The lost thing is an inanimate object. It has no legs with which to walk away. It has no mind with which to event think it might walk away. It doesn't even have the good sense to lie still. So, some other force must have acted upon it, someone must have taken it, or it sprouted wings and flew away in cloud of sparkling fairy dust. Or maybe, it was never there in the first place.
As Supreme Finder of All Things Lost, I am a fairly good visual auditor, if that's not a contradiction in terms. I notice things for a living in my career, and I seem to have these little visual files of where things are around the house.
The little rubber garden hose washers? Yes, I saw them in the basket on the kitchen counter.
The good rubber spatula? In the dishwasher.
The small garden shears with the red handles? They're in the wooden crate on the side porch.
Nugget's collar? Hanging on the broken branch of the neighbor's tree, last I saw it.
The new box of bandaids? In the kids bathroom in the big drawer.
The one Bud Light in the bottle that I hid in the back of the fridge? It's gone. Dammit.
Do people really go around not noticing these things?
When I was a kid, I lost my baseball in some tall grass in the backyard. It was the only baseball I had, so I really wanted to find it. I looked for the rest of the afternoon, and never found it. I prayed to God that he would help me find it, because I knew that it had to be there somewhere. It started to get dark, and still I couldn't find that baseball. Mom was calling me in when I saw a car drive past with a bumper sticker that said, "I FOUND IT."
I started crying and ran in the house. Over dinner, I told my Mom about losing the baseball in the tall grass, and praying to God that I would find it, and about seeing the bumper sticker on the passing car. She laughed and explained to me that the bumper sticker meant the person had found Jesus and was saved.
The next morning, as soon as I woke up, I went outside and easily found my baseball by the light of dawn.
And that's how I became the Supreme Finder of All Things Lost.
Your evil lies awake in darkness....
It tries to catch you when you're at your weakest.
It's playin' tricks inside your television.
It likes to hide inside your head,
where it talks to you,
with tiny speakers.
Inside your head.
Yeah - it talks to you.
But you ain't listenin'
To no tiny speakers,
Inside your head...
|The water hose in the back yard leaks so bad it sprays a little fountain of water up in the air from where it is attached to a longer hose. The leaking part is carefully pointed at one of the flower beds. Mysteriously, it never seems to need watering.
The water house on the side of the house is leaking right up by the spigot. It's a pretty decent sized leak, but not as prominently as the statue of the little naked kid squirting in the garden. I have that hose positioned just right over a watering can, so that the leak runs along the underside of the hose and across the top of the watering can, dripping inside instead of disappearing into the ground uselessly.
Liberty waters the back corner, Hattie fertilizes the flower bed by the master bedroom, and Nugget takes care of everywhere else.
And there's a big, light colored stray (Big Whitey) who sprays our back door... faithfully... every night.
As for me, I'm still regular like clockwork, and Marv still pees with the door open, and says loudly, "I'm tinklin' in here!" if she hears anyone nearby.
|There's a weird lamp that stands right by the master bedroom patio door. It stands on the floor, and reaches up with a one arm branching low into the tassled lampshade, and another branching higher into a collection of wide-brimmed hats that we use when we work in the yard.
A black and white bandana hangs from under the lampshade.
It stinks like the sweat that comes pouring off my forehead when I dig the holes for the trees that desperately need water and compost and mulch and coaxing to remain clinging to life in the face of the Texas drought, the scorching summer sun, the ants, and the sandy soil that wants to wash away whenever it does rain for few minutes late in the afternoon.
It keeps the sweat out of my eyes....
|I'm not inclined to mow all the coarse grass and wildflowers and other "non-desirables" that grow in the back yard. First of all, they're very much desired. I like them. Yellow flowers, little white flowers, little blue flowers, tall wavy grass, short viny grass, it all looks great to me. Second of all, they were here first.
We had some nice Bermuda grass installed in pallets around the immediate perimeter of the house, and we are encouraging it to take over the rest of the yard as quickly as it wants to. In the meantime, I am constantly being encouraged to kill, cut, poison and otherwise discourage everything else that grows in the yard for fear that they will seed and continue to grow. They are called "weeds", a name that comes dripping with bad feelings, and negative connotations. I am told to treat them as mean kids in the schoolyard, or drug activity moving into the neighborhhod - get rid of them at all costs.
"Mike, you have got to mow those awful weeds down in the back before they seed and come back again next year!"
I will balk at this until kingdom come and the cows come home. God planted some perfectly good foliage not named Bermuda, and made it grow in our yard. Who am I to kill it while we wait for the grass we planted to take over? Sure, eventually the entire yard will be Bermuda, but in the meantime, why rush it at the expense of the master landscaper's own vision for my yard?
We used to have a pine forest, but God grew weary of that blueprint and decided to burn it down and replace it with colorful flowers that grow in 100 degree weather, in soil so sandy you can almost hear the ocean.
I'm not going to mess with that.