Saturday, March 31, 2007

March 2007

Yay, I did it! A whole month of Photo A Day.

Closet (drawer) art

One of my Personality Types Artist Trading Cards

I have been getting a growing itch to get back to completing this Sixteen Personality Types set I had been working on awhile back; nine more to go. Reading Fawzan's blog and seeing his and his wife's ACEOs has inspired/shamed me about these ATCs sitting in a drawer, gathering dust, incomplete. It came up in my consciousness yet again this morning while writing to another one of our artist BHS classmates. (Hello Helen!) Maybe it's time to get serious about finishing these.

After finishing the garden, after finishing planting those trees, after finishing painting the bathroom, after finishing ...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wish fulfilled

A poor quality picture, but I'm excited about this.

For several years, I've been watching and wishing for something like this band of slender trees along a neighbor's property line. You can't tell it right now in Spring, but soon you won't be able to see into their yard at all.

Not only do these trees, Chinese dates (Ziziphus jujuba, aka Jujube), make a fine living fence and would be perfect for the back of my property line, they also produce fruit in great abundance. The little "dates" are sweet and edible. The best part is the tree is quite happy in this region, fruiting and growing wildly well even in our hot, dry climate.

Like I've said before, in West Texas I haven't met a thriving tree I don't like.

So after eyeing these for years, I finally screwed up the courage to ask if they would mind letting me have one of the saplings growing near the road. Mind? Heck, I could have all the suckers I could dig, was the reply. The black tub you see in the foreground is filled with about ten little saplings, hopefully ready to be prolific for me. :) A big hug is owed to Jorge for digging them up for me yesterday evening.

According Wikipedia, the Ziziphus is thought to be originally native to Syria, and has been cultivated in China for 4,000 years!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bon voyage

Yesterday's stack of books ready to go out to bookmoochers -- reducing my book collection, and reducing my stamp collection. Two birds!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Huevos de la villa gallina de Jorge

That title is horrible Spanish, I'm sure. I was trying to say "eggs from Jorge's chicken house." Jorge, my boyfriend, says the only way I'll learn is to speak it, errors and all. So, there you have it, errors and all.

In any case, aren't they lovely? The hens have begun laying just in time for Easter. How kind of them!

These beauties are from the efforts of a whole new batch of hens. Sadly, the previous four were killed by a dog Jorge recently adopted, Milagro, who didn't yet know the rule of Everyone Gets Along Or Else at Jorge's place. Pancho Villa, the rooster, survived the carnage somehow, probably something to do with those three inch spurs he sports on each ankle. I miss dainty little Sylvestra. She used to be Pancho's Number One, clucking by his side all day long. Jorge hasn't yet named the new ladies. I guess he's waiting to make sure Milagro has learned his lesson first.

Keep your fingers crossed because we sure do like these tasty, free range, brown eggs!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Art from Canada

This loveliness arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

These are two ACEOs*, one an original and another
a print, by artist and BHS 70s alumnus Fawzan
Barrage. Fawzan, who lives in Canada, specializes in
plein air watercolors. You can see more of his work
via his blog. There you can also learn where to purchase
his work -- in both large and small formats.

*ACEO stands for "art card, editions and originals."
ACEOs are trading card-sized works that allow
individuals to collect affordable work by
budding and established artists. eBay has become a huge
resource for purchasing this kind of art.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Into every life a little rain must fall

The young elm framing the back of my house.

We've had lots of rain the last week. No one here
dares to complain because soon we will go without
a drop for months. The trees, grass, and all plants
around here are drinking it up happily.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Big, red, juicy tomatoes

Hard to believe that in a few months these tiny seedlings
will be producing big, red tomatoes, warm and juicy on the vine.
The life force is amazing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Time for Tabouleh

Tonight I made a big batch of tabouleh. Not only do I eat it as a
salad in its own right, I also use it sort of like a non-spicy salsa,
adding it to just about everything, except maybe ice cream. I associate
tabouleh mostly with the warm months and don't make it much during
the winter. Today's batch was the first of the year!

Here's my large batch recipe (makes enough for a barbeque or party).
How does it differ from yours?

2 bunches of parsley, chopped finely, about 8 loosely packed cups
(I'd prefer flat leaf, but usually can only find curly leaf parsley)
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped, about 4 cups
1 large onion, chopped, a bit less than 2 cups
2 Tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint
juice of 3 lemons, about 1/2 cup
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cracked wheat, soaked in hot water then squeezed dry
Salt to taste

Now if I could just master the making (or finding locally) khoubiz!
Sigh, tonight I have to use that packaged Pita from the grocery store.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Typical view

The wind was blowing so hard today, I stayed inside. Here, though, is a picture I took earlier in the week. It's pretty much the typical West Texas view about five miles from my house.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Les parapluies de...Odessa

My subscription to Netflix continues to bring me pleasures I had never even knew I was missing. And not just new films, sometimes very old ones I missed the first time around. Last night I watched the 1964 French film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. What a gem, if you like singing, which I do, and if you like 60s fashion, which I also do. Besides, I dig saying the French word, "parapluies."

It's been raining here all day (and likely to be raining through the weekend), so I thought a still from the film would work for today's photo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Periwinkle eye

Katlynn, my granddaughter, discovered my blooming periwinkle patch.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blogging about Blogging

You know you might have spent too much time on the computer on a day when you all you have to blog about is blogging.

Still, I'm very happy to announce the new BHS70s blog is ready to go. If you want to contribute, be sure to email us there. And whatever you do, don't forget to do leave your encouraging comments for us poor, poor, pitiful, lonely, where- is- everyone blog authors.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Scooted over for a visit

Just about the time I was thinking about what to make for supper, who do I see scooting down the road? Daughter Star Bright and granddaughter Kitten riding their electric scooter the 1.2 miles from their house to mine. It was a beautiful evening here and we spent most of it outdoors. Kitten and I watered the new garden bed, Star Bright and I talked about what veggies and flowers we want to grow this year, and Star Bright showed me some ribbon crocheting she's been doing. We talked about books we've been reading, a friend who just had a baby, tossed around some ideas for their family vacation. It was a nice Spring evening spent together, all the while being entertained by the now talkative (and funny) Kitten.

Oh, and for supper, we made up a quick batch of huevos rancheros.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bringing the outside in

It was a beautiful weekend here, warm but not too warm, sunny but not too sunny. Just right weather for spending outdoors, which is exactly what I did. I got the new vegetable bed planted, as planned, with Porter tomatoes and onions. I'll call it my "Glenn bed." Glenn was my neighbor across the street who loved to grow vegetables more than just about any one I ever knew. He passed away a couple of years ago, and his wife gave me all his seeds. Thousands of seeds that he had deemed "juicy" "big" "sweet" (his labels) and saved year after year from his own garden. It was a fabulous gift to me and it's only right that my first vegetable planting after his passing should be in his honor, with his seeds. Let's hope they grow for me!

This weekend I also did a little pruning. Those "weedy" elm branches were so lovely I decided to bring them indoors to enjoy a bit longer. The observant will also recognize the BHS 125th anniversary poster in the background.

A quick google search on "porter tomatoes" resulted in this information. Glenn especially loved homemade tomato juice, so no wonder he saved seeds from his Porter successes:
Porter is a tomato variety originally introduced by Porter & Sons Seed Company of Texas, that is especially suited for the conditions of the Texan climate. This lovely little tomato variety produce a great abundance of deep red colored, smooth, plum shaped tomatoes with a tender skin. Each fruit weighs from 2-4 ounces, is blemish free and posesses an exceptionally sweet flavor. Porter is especially ideal for use in canning, sauces and for making tomato juice. Resistant to drought, cracking and sunburn, which makes it an ideal tomato for the hottest of climates! Excells even in high humidity! Porter is an excellent choice for growing in containers. Indeterminate with regular leaves. Matures in about 65-80 days from transplant.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rethinking the Vegetable Garden

I'm rethinking my vegetable garden. I've had a garden with raised rows for a while now and over time have become unhappy with the inefficient use of space. Basically, the way it has been, I can only plant a single row of plants because of the inclined sides. Additionally, I miscalculated the amount of space needed to walk comfortably between the rows. I'm too clumsy for this arrangement, what with the narrow paths and inclined beds.

So, beginning today, I'm trying these 4' x 8' beds with a 4' path all around them. My plan is each weekend to build, install, and plant one bed. I'll go this year with six beds in the interior of the plot, and if it works well, I have left room to expand around.

Sitting here tonight, dirt under my fingernails and sure-to-be sore muscles, my concern is now how to effectively keep the paths weeded. Almost any mulching will work, except against the one thing I'm sure to have plenty of: Bermuda grass. Arg. The bane of my (organic) gardening world.

Note to self: need to buy a sharp hoe.