Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Little Rain

OMG We had rain! I'm talkin' major rain for W TX. 3 and 1/2 tenths inches on Saturday night. Plus BIG hail. Big enough to put a major dent in the truck, break out a skylight and shatter a glass window. Boo!

Howsomever (as Richard Pryor's Mudbone said --- and I love my Mudbone and Richard Pryor), the rain watered the horse grass. So much so that I haven't watered since Friday. Tomorrow (Wednesday) time to set the sprinklers again. Haven't seen the little shoosts come up thru the ground. Thank you, Lisa Douglas of Green Acres, she talked about the shoosts coming up thru the ground. Yes, I am waiting for those shoosts. After one week of watering, and with some rain, I'm hoping to see something popping up thru the ground. There is nothing so awesome as seeing little, tiny (redundant, much?) green things coming up thru the ground.

You know, I am so focused on the horse garden that I haven't yet planted our tomatoes, jalapenos, whatever. My bad. Got to have me some tomatoes, if nothing else from our garden.

Love and green things to all of you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

So what do you think of this? This is a workshop in Germany that makes wooden bunnies for Easter (picture courtesy of Gawker). I think it is an awesomely weird and interesting picture. I still think "Rabbit Zombies" is the best label for it. Do you have another title?

I insist on buying eggs from free-range chickens at my local grocery stores, although they cost a little more coin. Big Guy is from the "an egg is an egg" school.

Comic Dimitri Martin had a thought on free-range chicken: he thinks one should buy only caged chickens. His reasoning: "A free-range chicken has dreams. That chicken may be planning to go back to college!"

Here's to chickens and eggs, and bunnies: wooden, chocolate and fluffy!

Most of all, here's to the children: hope the Easter Bunny left you lots of good things.

Travelin' with The Family

So the Big Guy and I are watching some clips from the New York Auto Show this am. They're showing a new Honda Element(?). This van caters to dog-lovers. Only in America, folks. I guess it's no more self-indulgent than the Harley-Davidson edition Ford Truck. Now, don't get me wrong. All you Harley lovers can rest easy; I think the Harley Ford is very cool-looking. And, of course, I love me some dogs. It's just a trifle decadent to have one's mode of transportation so personalized. Anyway, back to the doggie Element: the seat covers are washable, the floor mats are stamped with little dog biscuits, it has a pull-down ramp for Precious to disembark and a large carrier with water bowl and fan to keep several dogs comfortable under the ac as they travel in the back. It also has a dog carrier attached to the passenger seat behind the front seats. Just like a baby seat.

Contrast this with the way my parents transported their kids on the family vacation in the 50 and 60s.

We took two vacations each year. Every spring we would travel to the Hill Country of Texas to Buchanan Lake. This is a large lake (for Texas) at the northernmost point of a chain of five lakes in Central Texas. The Hill Country is beautiful any time of year; but, especially in the spring when the hills are covered in bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. We stayed in a little cabin along with many spiders. I was scared silly; but the parents just told me I was being a baby. Daddy would go out on the lake about 4 am to fish, and maybe one or two of my brothers would accompany him. There was also a dock that Daddy and I would fish from later in the morning when he came back. We never caught anything at that time of day, but it was good father-daughter time. This annual outing would occur around Easter when everybody had Good Friday and the Monday after Easter off from school/work.

Each summer we drove to Illinois to see my maternal grandmother. That was a one-week, 1,000-mile journey from West Texas to Southern Illinois. Grandma owned a farm which produced hogs to send to market, and corn to feed the hogs. This trip was always taken in June as soon as we kids were out of school and at the beginning of the stifling Illinois summer with the heat, humidity and chiggers. God, I remember those chigger bites -- they lasted until well after we returned home to dry West Texas.

Back when we traveled, there was no Honda Element in which to traverse the miles. Hell, there was no such thing as a Honda or Nissan in the late 50s in the US. Some owned station wagons; however, Daddy worked in the oil field and he drove a big-ass Chevrolet or Pontiac. Always GM, Daddy would kiss a black man before buying a Ford -- and he was a racist homophobic just like any good West Texas man in the 50s (except the black men and the homosexuals). Now these cars were larger than many apartments in NYC or San Fran. My mom and dad, me and three brothers could easily fit in this vehicle. Me and my two older brothers in the back seat, Daddy drove and Mama and my baby bro in the front seat. Trust me, plenty of room. Not enough for siblings, you understand ("Stop touching me!"), but plenty.

These cars were heavy. As in, lots of metal. Major metal. 50's metal. Not this lightweight, namby-pamby shit we drive in today, no sir! These cars weighed almost two tons. Metal dash, hard plastic steering wheel and no seat belts. No air conditioning. Daddy was smoking Winstons all the way. Of course, he opened the tiny little triangular side vent they used to have on the driver & passenger windows, so the smoke was vented out. Somewhat. No baby seat; the baby just rode in Mama's arms or swaddled on the seat between them. Daddy drove like a maniac, pedal to the metal all the way. Had to make time.

Praise the Lord, not one accident in all those years.

Oh, yeah...we always took the family dog.

Good times.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Grass Garden

Well, it's time to begin the annual garden. Working the soil with a little hand spade, planting small tomato plants and some herbs. Water it all in, and wait for the bounty.

We started a new garden this year, in addition to the aforementioned 50 sq foot patch for Bloggerella & the Big Guy. We planted a horse garden. Yes, we bought pasture seed, deadly though it may be (see previous post "Grass Alert") that we hope will become a horsey heaven for Blazey & Chocolate Star.

This has been a dream of ours since we were blessed with these two, huge pets. Since we have no farm equipment, such as a tractor and an irrigation system, it was always just a dream. See, West Texas land is, if lucky, covered in buffalo grass and mesquite trees. This is desert: think arid, barren, yes, hardscrabble land. Annual rainfall of 12 inches doesn't provide for lush fields. If one owns a horse or two, the pasture very quickly becomes nothing but sand on top of caliche rock. We literally have about 3 inches of soil before one encounters solid rock.

I know this is so because three years ago, BG worked his fine-looking butt off planting 3 desert pine trees in the pasture, at my behest, so the horses would have some shade. To plant those 3-foot tall (small?) pines required hours of literally banging on rock with a heavy-ass six-foot wickedly-pointed bar that jars one's very being as it strikes the unyielding rock. We lost 2 of those trees. The lone remaining tree is still 3-feet tall because my darling, dark chocolate mustang with the temperament of a wildly-hormonal, obstreperous teenager insists on rubbing her belly on the little trees, thus breaking off all new growth. For some reason she leaves it alone now, so I have hope we can celebrate a robust 4-foot tree with a funky non-top by the end of this summer. Woo hoo!

Despite that dispiriting adventure, we decided this spring to try planting pasture grass in an attempt to cut the feed bill somewhat as well as to replenish the land. Thanks to Craig's List, I found a dude living just a few miles away who would disc our land for $45 an hour. Score! I didn't know what "discing" was, but I was told we needed it. This amiable fellow brought his tractor over and proceeded to break up the ground with these round discs (redundant much?). As the granddaughter of a farming family, I felt a tiny bit of heretofore unknown DNA strand stirring as I watched him work our land. And, it was exciting to see this sandy, rocky ground turn into some surprisingly dark, rich-looking soil.

Two hours later, we were on our way back to the local farmers' co-op to purchase more seed. See, I planned to tend around 900 sq feet, a fair amount of land to hand water. Big Guy, on the other hand, had our friendly farmer dude disc more than half of the horse pasture, at least an acre of land, which Ask.com tells me is 43,560 square feet!!! No, that is not an excessive use of exclamation points!!!

So at 3 pm BG begins seeding the area with your regular suburban lawn seeder. I water by hand behind him to moisten the ground so the seed at least sticks to the soil; and then BG starts hand watering as well. FOUR BLANKING HOURS LATER, we finish hand watering all the seeded area. As God is my witness, that one acre I so proudly watched being disced ("watch" being the operative word), had grown to the size of a small, Saharan country.

Yesterday, I continued the process of watering, this time setting 2 sprinklers out, and moving them every 30 minutes. Began watering at 8 am and finished at 7 pm, eleven hours to water the entire area. We have those sprinklers they used to water schoolyards when I was a kid that water a large circular area. Every time I walked into the pasture to move the sprinklers, these small black birds with a cunning yellow stripe on the wing (one of you birders will know what they are) were feasting on MY seeds. I yell "Get your bird butts outta here!", they scatter...and return when I leave the premises.

This morning, I saw the Big Guy off at six am. It was a beautiful morning, still dark, just a slight, gentle breeze and a gorgeous, full, yellow moon setting but still high on the western horizon. So I started the sprinklers again. Our weather calls for a "wind event" today with sustained 30-40 mph winds, gusting to 50. I wanted to water as long as possible. Moved the water at 7 am, and fed the horses. Went out at eight o'clock and moved both sprinklers again. As soon as I had them where I wanted, suddenly, like a switch being thrown, the gentle breeze blew into blustering winds. The high wires were singing their eerie song when the wind really blows. I turned off the water since the spray was just blowing away. No watering today. Hope the wind keeps those little black bastard birds away. Hope it doesn't blow away all the seed. *Sigh*

To be continued...

Siberian Tiger Cubs

Aw.......Cute little Baby Kitties,
Who will Eat You when They are Big!