Friday, December 26, 2014

Two Christmas Stories-The Liles Extravaganza, and 50 for No. 50


Everyone came to our house this year for Christmas. We had a houseful, and that’s the best part. AJ and Erin even brought their aging dog, Harper, so we had three dogs, one house cat that checked every box, and one cat that darted in every time the door was open to cuddle with Maya. One of our better Christmases. The results were two large leaf bags of trash after the attach on the packages, and being the recycler that I am, enough bows, gift bags, and tissue paper to last me till i die. Caroline’s gifts, at her request,  were donations to St. Jude’s, sponsoring animals at the Clovis Zoo, and a donation to Heifer International, bless her heart. Her husband Neil receive what he wanted-beef jerky and certain candies, and self-repairing targets for practice with a box of bullets. He is easy to buy for. Colten got lots of gift cards and the new XBox. AJ’s gifts were things that worked right in with his hunting-bullets, a meat-grinder/sausage-maker and the bullets and self repairing targets. Erin got gift cards and kitchen utensils as she loves to cook. Maya got her first IPhone, a real surprise, I think, and other things. Ben now has a gaming chair and a remote-controlled helicopter. Bill got two magazine subscriptions and clothes. He is the hardest one to buy for. I am the easiest to buy for; everything is fun for me. I got a new Painted Pony, a beautiful belt, lots of Opium perfume. and a new Kindle Fire HD 7, which was totally unexpected.  But the biggest surprise was the giant horned lizard, horny toad as we like to call them, that Bill snuck in under my nose and took me outside to see after all the wrapped presents were opened. What fun!

We had taken in the new Hobbit movie on Christmas Eve afternoon, and all went to our candlelight Christmas Eve service at our Methodist Church that night before tucking into bed to wait for Santa to come. Christmas day was full of the gifts, too much to eat, and an afternoon of really good visiting and fellowship.

But the other side of Christmas is that not everyone was as blessed as we were. I’m not bragging about all our wonderful gifts; I am trying to make a point of comparison. God graced us with way more than we deserve. I received this Christmas letter in a card for Tara Simons Orsak, a family friend, former student, and fellow Aggie from Edna, Texas,  the town we moved from to Muleshoe. Her letter touched my heart and I felt the need to share it with you. I asked her permission to reprint part of it just as she wrote it, and she graciously agreed. I couldn’t retell it any better than she said it herself. The event happened closer to Thanksgiving, but it serves, I hope,  to make us all realize we have so many blessings that we fail to recognize, and I think it restores faith in human nature and what love can do. I hope you will read it to the end. Here is what Tara wrote after updating us on other things her family had been up to.

“Events of the past few weeks have forced our family to stop and reflect on the bounty of blessing that we have in each other and in you, our friends. I wanted to share this story with you.

On November 25th, three days after a surprising win in a bi-district football playoff game, one of [her son] Cade’s friends, classmate and teammate, Noah Ortiz, lost his life in a house fire along with his four younger brothers and sisters, Nicholas Ortiz, Julian Ortiz, Lilyana Hernandez, and Areyanah Hernandez.This tragic event devastated our small town. Noah was a defensive tackle for the Edna Cowboys, wearing jersey number 50.

Amazingly, the Edna Cowboy football team, with heavy hearts, rallied around the family that suffered such terrible loss, and continued to play football in Noah’s honor for three more weeks, in a most improbable playoff run, becoming state semi-finalists in Texas’ Division 1, Class 3A bracket.

During the regional playoff game, the first game after losing Noah (#50), Cade as the ball holder, was able to take the hike and lay on the ball in order to forego the extra point after a touchdown and make the final score of the game 50-28, in honor of Noah.

Our opponents in each of the playoff games, representing the towns of Ingram, Halletsville and Cameron, made donations of more than $16,000, $19,000, and $36,000 to Noah’s family prior to each game. In addition, more than $60,00 was collected in two online accounts. God shows his love for us through the actions of others and through tear-filled eyes we have seen that there are many loving people in this world.

There continue to be many tears shed for the loss of these precious children. At the same time, our community has been so excited about the success of our team and humbled by the compassion and generosity of people from other places. We feel that we have all been a part of a nightmarish fairy tale. Our boys have grown as teammates and young men while we have all witnessed God’s plan, power, mercy, strength and love. May we celebrate all of these things god has given us. in addition to the best gift of all, Jesus.”

God’s plan is hard to understand at times, but his grace and his Son are our gifts.



Video news story link:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Billy Ray Cyrus is an Icon? Really?

I came across a note I had made to myself a while back about an MSN home page bit about what had happened to some musical pop culture icons from a few years back. Okay, so I should have addressed the issue then, but I didn’t for some reason. But I have to do it now because I have to have closure on this because I was shocked by the people chosen for that list. I didn’t write down the whole list, but most of the ones that made the list were not worthy as far as I was concerned. Billy Ray Cyrus, Randy Travis, Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks, were the names I had major issues with.

I mean, come on. To begin with, the first definition in the dictionary , which is always the one that is the most relevant, says that an icon is a religious symbol, and those symbols have been around a lot longer than pop culture. Symbol is the key word in any definition for icon, along with emblem and idol given as synonyms. And of course, in these days of computers, we use icons as representative symbols of functions on our computer screens.

It is the last definition, however, that has to do with modern pop culture icons, which defines an icon as an object of uncritical devotion. And there it is. You’d have to be uncritically devoted to Billy Ray Cyrus to consider him an icon. He may have had a hit song, but let’s face it, the only things he will be remembered for is that tacky mullet hair-do and that he is the father of Miley Cyrus, who, unfortunately, has some  uncritical devotees of her own. Randy Travis, Shania Twain, and the Dixie Chicks all had their 15 minutes of fame and earned a niche in musical history I guess, but icons? What did they contribute to their genre? What have they left to the world of lasting value?

Maybe I place too much value on the word icon, because to me the status of icon should be reserved for those who actually made a contribution, created something new, or were so good, so talented in their career that they carved out a special place in history for themselves. The world legendary comes to mind, even though I couldn’t find legend and icon linked semantically in my dictionary or thesaurus. Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Beatles, Barbra Streisand, BB King, Elton John-these would be people I would call icons, legends in their fields, people whose creativity and talents had an impact, changed the world of music, whose names will stand the test of time. Legendary performers who deserve icon status.

You can add your favorites, your objects of uncritical devotion, to the list, but for goodness sake, make it someone worthy of the title. Otherwise it won’t mean a thing to be called an icon.

And we have way too many unworthy icons floating around already.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Trip to the Christmas Tree Farm

Thanksgiving at Kyle was no stress this year; Erin and AJ did all the planning and cooking. All we had to do was eat and watch football. What a deal! We also took in the newest Hunger Games installment, Mockingjay, Part 1. Friday, however, was a big day for one of this family’s Christmas traditions, a trip to the Christmas Tree farm in Elgin to pick out and cut a fresh tree. I tagged along, not having experienced this particular rite of the holidays myself. Let me tell you, these tree people have it down to a science. And it is a popular family outing worth the time and money.

Elgin is about an hour from Kyle and not a bad drive on the toll road. it was fun counting the vehicles we met that were already loaded with their treasure and on their way home.I think we quit counting around 17.


When we arrived, the parking lot was full and families were milling around getting reading to pick their tree. Before getting into the actual tree selection, we admired the animals on display. It seemed like a random selection, but they were all happy as could be in the same pen: a duck, pot-bellied pig, goats,a  llama, a donkey, and a chicken. In another area we found three pretty white rabbits. The tree farm also had two mazes and playground equipment for the kids to enjoy as well. A store and a couple of booths also gave Mom a place to do some shopping as well.


AJ was given a tag to put on the chosen tree, and then the wagon and trailer rolled around to take us into the field of the trees.

Rows and rows of neatly manicured trees.

We pulled around to the back of the field, and the search was on for just the right tree. Which didn’t take long to find.

Customers are given a saw when they disembark from the wagon so they can fell their own tree, which AJ did after the final selection was made.












Then the tree is loaded onto the trailer and taken back to headquarters. The tree is placed on a vibrating table surface for maybe 30 seconds for all the dead needles to shake loose and fall off the tree.

The tree gets wrapped, measured, has a hole drilled in the trunk for better water absorption, paid for, and happily taken home,

where it patiently waited for its lights and ornaments and presents underneath to come.

Alas, I did not think to take a picture after all the lights and ornaments went on, but you can see that it will be a lovely tree for the family to enjoy during the whole holiday season.

Merry Christmas and God bless us everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One More Rite of Passage Into Old Age

So. Both eyes are free of cataracts now. What can I say? Well, for one thing, thank you, God, for doctors who figured out the surgery in the first place that allows me to keep my sight. I have always heard that the question is not if you get cataracts, but when you get cataracts, because if you live long enough, you will indeed grow cataracts. So I appreciate the fact that I have been around long enough to have grown the little darlins’.


But since I was such a good patient, I was rewarded with a meal at the Outback after each surgery, even with that lovely hair and stylish outfit.

Not a bad deal, I must say.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Channeling Roger Ebert: Interstellar

I had three hours to kill one evening on my last trip to the lake last week and decided to take in the newly released movie Interstellar. If you like psychological sci-fi on a grand scale minus any creature costumes, you will probably like this movie. Who am I kidding- if you like Matthew McConaughey, you will like this movie.

If you follow movies at all, you know by now that Christopher Nolan, of Batman fame, co-wrote and directed this space epic about Earth becoming unable to sustain human life and the search is on for another planet in another galaxy for Earth’s inhabitants to relocate, to save mankind, as I believe Michael Caine’s professor puts it somewhere in the movie. And of course, it falls to McConaughey’s astronaut character, Cooper, to find that planet. The chances of finding that planet and/or getting home alive are slim and none, and his super smart daughter Murph knows this and won’t give his mission, which of course he has to accept in order to save her and the rest of his family, her blessing, which sets up the second conflict of the plot.


You can read all about the inter-galactic plot elsewhere, which gets all involved with worm holes, which actually are discussed in real science, despite not having been totally validated but considered a hypothetical topological feature of space time. The plot is also heavy with the theory of relativity and gravitational pull. The good part is that unless you are a real theoretical physicist like Kip Thorne, whose work inspired the film and who worked as a consultant with the writers, you won’t have a clue what it all means, but it sounds scientific, so it really doesn’t matter.


You can also research the science behind the movie, and yeah, it is a movie, not a high-brow film, but here’s what I have to say about it. The music was way too loud, especially when the audience needed to hear the dialogue. I found it a bit contradictory that the world was going to end due to this blight killing all the food crops, and yet Coop’s farm boasted acres and acres of  corn. No sprinkler system, yet green and ready to harvest. And the dust bowl-worthy dirt storm didn’t seem to phase it. Obviously the movie-makers had not been in Muleshoe during one of our newsworthy dust extravaganzas. I realize that, according to the story, one hour in space is equal to seven years on Earth, so the astronauts don’t age while on their little adventure, but even at that, McConaughey never needs a hair cut or a shave, and I guess they could take care of all that in the space station, but it seems like they should have looked a little different by the end.

But then, maybe that was because they also spent time zipped into these cryogenic/deep freeze/suspension/suspended animation kind of containers full of some kind of life-extending liquid. This piece of equipment might have been explained, but I could have missed it while being bombarded by the music. But I digress. The point is, I found those scenes sad somehow, and perhaps claustrophobic. What if no one was around to unzip them at the right time? What if it didn’t work? What if they choked on it? What if the bag holding the liquid springs a leak?

Just the whole idea of catapulting into space with no guarantees of the outcome seemed heroic and brave and suicidal. And sad. Which is exactly what real astronauts face every time they go up. Which should give us a new respect for our modern-day explorers.

But I digress. Not to be all critical, there were some nice touches. Nolan has said his interest in science fiction was influenced by the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, which all younger movie-goers should see to appreciate the origins of this story and to see HAL, the robot who inspired TARS and CASE in this movie, although I thought the only robot was TARS, who was rather cool and very articulate. There is a casting surprise late in the movie, and if you read enough other reviews, you will learn who it is, so don’t read past the spoiler alerts. That will take the fun out of it. Visually the movie is intriguing to watch, especially the outer space scenes and the scenes on the three planets being considered for the new home of humanity. Some of the scenes were obviously computer-generated, but some of them were filmed in Iceland, and those were really cool, no pun intended. Michael Caine has a good time with voice-overs of his recitation of Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night, which this former English teacher rather enjoyed, but other reviewers found a bit pompous.


If say much more, I will give away too much, So here’s the deal. If you aren’t prone to over-analyzing and beating  it to death, which I have been told I do (okay, maybe just a little), it will at least leave you with lots of questions and give you something to think about instead of the current perils in this world. So don’t be afraid to give it a chance. Just be prepared to sit a while and take ear plugs to endure the music. And don’t buy a large drink, unless you are prepared to sprint to the restroom in the middle of the action.

And McConaughey makes it easy to keep watching.


Not a bad deal, I must say.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Curtis Shelburne Entertains at the Muleshoe Heritage Foundation Annual Meeting.


The turnout was light at the recent Muleshoe Heritage Foundation Annual meeting, which is a shame, because those who bothered to come were treated to a mini-concert by Curtis Shelburne. Refreshments were plentiful and delicious; the music was a pleasure. Curtis shared several songs from several of his CDs and shared stories of the recording process, things he learned along the way and things the audience had not a clue were part of the business. For example, the number of tracks needed to get just the right sound; the technical aspects of pulling it all together; the talented people he worked with along the way.


He shared with a variety of musical genres. My personal favorites were the Elvis arrangement of Peace in the Valley, and Long Black Train, with the help of granddaughter Brenley who is in Kindergarten and daughter of my former student Chris Shelburne, granddaughter Rylee, step-daughter of Stephan Shelburne, another former student! Another favorite that I had not heard in, oh, gee, forever, was the Nat King Cole classic, Unforgettable.

We had to laugh when his wife Juana interjected that we would have to tell him to quit because he enjoys singing so much he will go on forever! So he ended with an appropriate sign-off,  I’ll Be Seeing You.

On the way out, I checked out the new landscaping at the office. It dresses the building up quite nicely.
Lots of history is on display at the Heritage Center. I suspect it is like most landmarks and tourist attractions in other cities. Residents in New York seldom bother to take in the Empire State Building, for example. Don’t do that. You will be pleasantly surprise at the things you learn and the memories that are revisited if you bother to go. It is a nice outing when you think there is nothing to do in Muleshoe.

Of course, you won’t be serenaded by Curtis, but you will learn some things you never even thought about.

Not a bad deal, I must say.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Honey, Anyone?

When Bill received notice that the San Antonio office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service was putting on their bee workshop again this year, like the one he attended last year (“The Bee Keeper Moves the Swarm,” July 27, 2014), and asked me if I would like to go this time, I was more than ready for the road trip. He wanted to reinforce what he learned last year, and I just wanted to learn about the bees so I could help when needed. And considering that the bees love collecting pollen from my cactus flowers, I wanted to learn about them, too. I found out they are quite remarkable little creatures.

This road trip took us through Big Spring right about lunch time, so we treated ourselves to a meal at the newly restored historic Hotel Settles. The hotel is a story in itself, perhaps for another time, but you can see here that it is a lovely structure.



We enjoyed our lunch and continued on to San Antonio, hitting town just in time to enjoy 5 o’clock traffic.

We ate that night at Las Palapas Mexican Food Restaurant, apparently a San Antonio staple with twelve locations, whose sign stated they are closed on Sundays to allow time for worship and family. I found that interesting in a city the size of this one. The tortilla soup was pretty darn good. They served soft corn tortillas instead of flour, which was a bit different.

The next morning we drove about a block over from the hotel for the workshop at the Extension Office, led this year again by Molly Keck, David Rodriguez, Mike Cole and son Travis, and Bryan Davis. We spent the day learning all kinds of things about bees. For instance, bees are attracted to the color yellow, so perhaps that explains why they spend so much time on the prickly pear blooms. Honey bees are eusocial insects, like ants and termites, because they take cooperative care of their young, have reproductive divisions of labor, a caste system if you will, and have overlapping generations. Drones mate with the queen, help make the babies; worker bees, well, they do all the work. This is a simplified list, but they clean the cells for the larvae, nurse the babies, store nectar and pollen, and a host of other things. And they have cool little pouches on their back legs where they load the pollen to take back to the hive, and you can see the the dot of yellow if you look carefully. And the queen, well, she really is the reason we have the concept of the Queen Bee. She is larger than the others, rules the hive, is supplied with royal jelly by the others, lays the eggs, and pretty much does whatever she wants. She does eventually die, like they all do, but in the meantime, she’s the diva of the hive. We also learned that bees in Texas are all Africanized, thanks to the African bees that migrated  to us from South America. I don’t remember why or how they came to be in South America. The main difference to native bees is that they are a bit more aggressive, but use of smoke and slow movements when working with them calms them enough to get the job done. Bees in the New England states are more docile because they have not been Africanized yet, and you might see bee keepers there using only the bee bonnets and long gloves when working with the hive.

After sampling local honey and realizing they have different flavors depending on where the majority of the pollen was gathered, drawing for door prizes of bee equipment, we adjourned for the day, and we set out on a mission to find Pappadeaux. Couldn’t get the car GPS to work as it was the first time we had even tried to use it, had no luck with my IPhone GPS as I had just gotten it (Can you guess our ages!?) literally the day before, and finding out we had managed to get on the longest feeder road in existence that took us no telling how many miles which finally dumped us on the Bandera highway.We turned around, got back on the 410 loop going the other way, and found Pappadeaux’s. Success at last. And more food than we should have eaten.

Saturday was the demonstration day, the pay-off. We drove to Mike Cole’s place in Atkins, outside San Antonio, suited up, loaded the smoker, and had hands-on experience with his bee hives.


We opened the top hive, and it was amazing how many bees were in there! Mike had several boxes stacked, and with the calming help of the smoke, we checked all of them and found an unbelievable number of bees, honey, brood, and developing larvae. We didn’t ever come across the queen, but she was in there somewhere or it would not have been such a thriving, successful hive.


In both pictures of the frames, the dull gold cells on the left are brood cells, full of developing larvae. The black holes are open cells with the developed larvae almost ready to come out. If you look closely at the top picture, you can see a bit of shine in the black cells. That is the babies. The grayish-gold stuff on the right of the frame is actually honey in honeycomb. And I think you can see all the bees moving around on all of it. I know the honey doesn’t really look much like honey at this point. Trust me; that’s what it is. There are ways to get the honey off the comb and into the form you would recognize, but that is another story. 

Then the bee boxes were restacked, and we headed back to the house. The suits by that time were getting a bit hot and we had aggravated the bees enough by then.

Being a bee keeper really isn’t that hard, and yet there is much to know. I have just scratched the surface here. Even if you care nothing about collecting honey or don’t need the bees for their pollination work, it would be worth attending a bee workshop just to realize how important they are to our ecological system and to appreciate the amazing things they do. 

And if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Tradition Continues-Korben Begins Football

We watched our son AJ play many a football game. We followed grandson Colten’s football career all the way from 7th grade to graduation; this year Korben, Caroline’s 12 year-old son and one of our new grandsons by way of husband Neil, took to the field in Texico, New Mexico, Wolverine green wearing number 84, which was Colten’s number, for the start of his football legacy.

The first game we attended was a combined effort of the 7th and 8th grade teams on both sides. Alas, this was a tough game, and the 7th grade members did considerable watching from the sidelines.

The next game was at Bovina and number 84 did a good job on the kick-off team more than once.

This game was a lot more fun-Texico won!
The game we watched last week was against Ft. Sumner, and Texico was overpowered. Korben played, but the team was unable to pull it out. They did, however, manage to make some nice plays.
And that’s football. You win some, but you don’t lose some; you just run out of time.

But it’s fun to play.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Soccer GrandMom; Movie Date

After she finished the series, Maya insisted I read The Maze Runner trilogy, which I did, so when the movie came out on September 19th, I thought it appropriate that we see it together. I couldn’t get down there on the opening week-end, and I knew she would want to be first, or maybe second, in line to see it with one of her friends anyway, which was understandable. But she graciously and eagerly agreed to see it a second time with me. And why not? She enjoyed the books and what teenage girl (well, almost teenage) wouldn't be willing to watch Dylan O’Brien race through the maze again for another two hours?

So the date was set; I drove down for our big night out to discover that brother Ben had decided to play soccer and had his first practice and game that same week-end. So I got two grandkid events for the price of one trip-a soccer game and a movie. What a deal!

And pizza. But that came later.

Ben’s practice Friday evening went well, but a trip to the store was in order before the game at noon on Saturday, and that’s when I had my first taste of being a soccer mom, AJ and Caroline and Colten  being into the smaller ball sports when they were that age. I know about baseball and softball cleats, gloves, and balls. Shin guards, soccer socks, and soccer cleats were a whole new experience. How hard could it be, buying socks? Harder than you might think, especially when shopping with Ben! Shin guards weren’t that simple, either. And for a while, the only shoes we could find were in girl colors, but the right pair finally surfaced.

So then we rushed back to the house to load up chairs, blankets, and edibles and made our way under a puffy gray sky to the soccer fields. Ben’s game was at 12:45, so when we arrived other games were under way already. Little soccer players were in constant motion all over the place, using up excess energy waiting impatiently for their games to start while the kids in the ongoing games were scurrying about chasing the ball and kicking each other in the shin guards. Not hard, but moms, I suspect, were glad they had gone to the trouble to provide them.


Ben went in as a forward, I think was the position, and did well, but the coach put him in as goalie after the other team racked up 3 points, and he did a really good job stopping more scoring, but alas, the damage was already done, and they lost. But it was the first game. They will get better.

After a little rest, it was time to load up again for the original main event of the week-end, The Maze Runner. i expected the audience to be young people, but it seemed like there were as many adults as kids there. So our group fit right in- mom, grandmother, 12 year-old, 9 year-old. We had all the bases covered. For those of you not into the current blitz of YA dystopia novels, this story is about a group of boys who are saddled with the task of figuring out how to get out of this maze and why they are there in the first place. And that’s just the first conundrum they have to deal with. When the second installment, The Scorch Trials, comes out, another road trip to see it will be in order.

But back to this movie-no sooner would these kids manage to figure out how to overcome one overwhelming obstacle when another one would magically appear. I was worn out by the ending, which of course, left us all dangling and anxious to see how the group deals with a new set of never-ending adversities in the next movie. I was so caught up in the story that when Chuck (spoiler alert) dies, I really did shed a few tears.

Loaded down with pizza, we compared the book to the movie and shared favorite scenes on the way home.

And just before we reached the house,  Ben calmly showed us the tooth that just then decided to come out!


A fun ending to a memorable day. Can’t wait to do it again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

West Texas Weeds

The good news is that we finally had some measurable rain: the trees burst forth with new growth; the pasture greened up again; the temperature went down to tolerable numbers; burn bans were taken down; everyone breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the lushness brought on by the moisture-moisture being the key word up here. Old-timers don’t talk about the rainfall; they refer to all the moisture we had.

The road in front of our house.

The road north of the pasture. Now, if you live in Houston this may not look like much water to you, but up here when it does this, we think it is the beginning of the 40 days and 40 nights Noah prepared for. And of course, because it doesn’t rain much, drainage plans are never considered very important-until after it rains.

The bad news-and you know there always seems to be a down side to good things-the bad news is that the weeds love all that moisture,too. I suspect that the prevailing stereotype of West Texas geography is of a flat, sandy, barren, brown stretch of land that grows mostly prickly pear, yucca, and the ubiquitous tumbleweed (aka Russian thistle). And that’s partly true. But give us a decent rainy season and the tumbleweeds flourish along with all their weedy friends. Shoot, we can grow weeds that rival the Johnson grass that fills the ditches along the Gulf Coast. All they need is a little water.

This last batch of rain is the second good set of showers we have had this year, and I was just feeling pretty good about how clean I had the flower and cactus beds and how the walk path was free of spurge and had few, if any kocia (sounds like kosher) weeds along the border of the path, and then Boom! Here we go again.

I’m not sure I know a kocia from a careless weed, but I do know they are both flourishing right now and are a pain. I think this one is a kocia and  is growing on the other side of the fence by the walk path. I pushed it over in the picture below to show its trunk. I mean, these things are like trees! That stem is fatter than a linebacker’s middle finger! We have had them get five feet tall. It takes tree branch loppers to cut these things down when they get this big, and unfortunately, they got ahead of me and my spraying schedule, so I will have to take the loppers to them again.

The aggravating thing is they can be mowed or shredded, but that doesn’t kill them; it just cuts them down to ground level and then the lowest branches  just spread out and start over at the ends.

The Bermuda grass behaves like a weed when it gets too much rain. I don’t know if I will get all the grass out of this yucca or will just have to keep pulling up the long runners.

Mushrooms popped up here and there,

and these nasty little black ones come up all over the walk path. I say nasty because if you step on them, then you leave a black mess wherever you walk.

The spurge and milkweed magically appeared in the walk path, so it is spray time again there. I didn’t take any pictures of them this time, but the bindweed (an infuriating little vine in the morning glory family) and tumbleweeds are going to love all this rain, and by the time I can get it all pulled up at one end of the cactus bed, both weeds will already be coming back at the front end.

But we really can’t fuss too much about rain up here. We take the good with the bad, the flowers with the weeds, and consider ourselves blessed when the clouds finally drench us again.