Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

My week has been a sweet adventure.  Sunday and Monday I got to visit my daughter and help put a few finishing touches on my grand baby's room.  We even packed bags for the hospital, and now we wait.

Back home Tuesday, Mr. J&C and I put up Christmas lights on the outside of the house and visited with our neighbors.  We caught the folks next door out decorating on Tuesday evening and took our bottle of wine over to visit - with glasses for them Sharing is one of the perks of friendship.  I highly recommend it.  Standing out in the lovely evening air (the high temperature that day was in the 70's, it was 60 or so just after sunset), lights sparkling, visiting with neighbors who have become friends - life can be perfect. 

A "JOY" sign for sale at Montgomery Street Antique Mall.

Wednesday I got to meet and have lunch with fellow blogger, Jenny Schouten Short.  Her beautiful blog, Two Tumbleweeds, is one of my favorites.  Jenny is a native Texan, who spends half of her year in the Netherlands (the hot half!) and half the year in Fort Worth.  We enjoyed lunch at a local antique mall and got a chance to get to visit with each other.  Looking back on the day, I am reminded of the expression "A friend is a present you give yourself."

On Thursday, Mr. J&C and I shopped and prepared for the coming ice storm, which arrived as predicted late Thursday night.  And we've been here in the house ever since, because, trust me, it's cold outside.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Wishes

I wish cheesecake had no calories.
I wish the Cowboys would win today.
I wish everyone would be kind.
I wish self cleaning ovens really were.
I wish everyone truly felt loved.
I wish there were no weeds in my garden.
I wish the UN would (and could) outlaw killing
in the name of god (any god).
I wish ....
once I get started, it's hard to stop.
I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Land Line

I could not wait until I got my own telephone. 

October 1978 - First apartment and a phone with my very own number!  Life was good. 

It was just eight short years ago we moved into this old house and, before we settled in, I made sure we had a working telephone.  At that time, I had my cell phone but still wanted, needed, loved my home phone.  New number for this side of town -  we moved all of 20 miles and that meant changing our number.  Good times.

Here I am, October 2013 - thirty five years of  'my very own number' and I'm not so in love with my home phone.

On Friday, Mr. J&C and I took steps to let go of our land line and, if all goes according to plan, we will sell it in the neighborhood garage sale at the end of the month.  We each have a cell phone.  The poor home phone seems to only get calls from people trying to sell us stuff or persuade us to vote for the candidate of their choice or folks asking for donations. 

This sign is on our front door, a gift for Mr. J&C when he
retired in January.  If only I had something similar for our phone.

What about you? Do you still have a land line?  Are we making a big mistake?  Or, like butter churners and rug beaters, are home phones no longer necessary?


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Going Out in a Blaze of Glory

Autumn has (at last) come to Fort Worth.  Cooler days, longer nights - I love this time of year.  The Morning Glories ("Papa Ott" variety) in my garden seem to 'know' that their growing season is coming to an end.

In early September I had blooms like this.

A volunteer wandering through the flower bed.

First Saturday in October.
It amazes me how many more blooms there are when the temperatures come down to a reasonable 82F and we get a little rain.

Hope your week is colorful.


Monday, September 16, 2013


The past few weeks have been wonderful -- busy, busy, and just a bit crazy. 

First, I'm going to be a grandmother!  Due at Christmas - I just wanted earrings, but no, my daughter and son-in-law insist - a baby before the New Year.  Our family is growing - how exciting!  Someone new to love.  Sigh.

Also, my son graduated from Texas A&M and we now have a second lieutenant in the family.  He's off on adventures of his own, much loved and thought of, and we are very proud of him. 

I've visited with many of my family and friends lately (still have a few on my list that I hope to see soon) - you are all loved.  Hope you are happy and doing well and, if any of you are coming to visit, please call an hour before you arrive so I can change the sheets and clean the bathroom...

In all the excitement I forgot to mail a package to Betty Lou at American Vintage Quilts so tomorrow I'm off to the post office to mail some fabric to her.  Fabric I promised her in June has been sitting here gathering dust while I've been out having fun.

I'm going to try to post on a more regular basis, it helps me get things done and lets my mother and my children know that I'm still here.

Mr. J&C and I have been harvesting okra and having all kinds of fun cleaning house and ---- o.k., we have harvested and eaten okra from our garden a few times.  We've also been to a few college football games, slept in a several hotels, eaten delicious food, and traveled a bunch (two oil changes in two months a bunch).  One of us may have to dust - soon - I hope it will be fun.

Well, I sat down to get you caught up on my adventures and I almost forgot to tell you about the big change here at the house...

I moved the hummingbird feeder to the front yard, next to the dining room window - now meals are livelier on both sides of the window.

Happy Monday!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Visiting Blogs

August - 100F days, 80F nights... ugh. These are the days when I question why I live in Fort Worth, Texas... With this heat it makes sense to stay inside and read blogs,  drink glasses of iced tea, and pay a little more attention to my own blog.

This is one of my favorites - day lilies
from my mom's garden - thriving in the Texas heat.

I find myself dreaming of travel and I like to check out bloggers who are enjoying a summer with warm sunshine-y days and cool nights. Jane, at Marigold Jam, makes life in England sound so tempting. 

Jen, in Canada, captures beautiful pictures and weaves stories around them in her blog Muddy Boot Dreams.  Her post on Wednesday reminds me that while I may picture Canada as all hockey and snow, they have their own summer heat, drought, and beautiful flowers.

The heat seems to make the day lilies happy.
I'm here in Fort Worth, trying to find ways to beat the heat but thankful for my friends and neighbors. Besides, Mr. J&C loves Texas and I love him - so here I stay.

While I complain about the heat, I must admit I am proud of my adopted home state and follow several (many) Texas bloggers.

There's a Jane in Fort Worth, at New Dog Learns Old Tricks.  Her adventure in June with yarn was an example of friendship, recycling, and talent - love the way she put the old squares together with multicolored new yarn.

And Theresa, with her Run A Round Ranch Report, makes life in the heat of Texas look so cool. Love her pictures and stories - especially the dogs and ducks... and horses, turtles, wild birds, barns...

Thanks, Mom!

And then there's Jenny, at Two Tumbleweeds, exploring all things Dutch in the summer - she seems to have the best of both worlds - living in Holland in the summer and returning home to Fort Worth each winter. 

Thanks to all of you who entertain and inform and, even in this heat wave, make me smile.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ground Rules

There have been a few problems in my garden this year because I thought the rules didn't apply to me. My plan for an arbor with purple wisteria on one side and gorgeous, white clematis on the other side is not to be, at least not in the spot I planted them.

Wisteria healthy and green.

Wisteria grows like a weed and doesn't always bloom where it is planted, especially when it doesn't get enough sunlight (current location). I thought I could plant it where I wanted to plant it (counting on its 'weedyness'), not where it needed to be planted.


Wisteria shading Clematis.
Last week I admitted defeat and trimmed it back, I also plan to move it in December to a location where IT will be happy (I'll try to adjust). 

It's a good thing I got pictures of last year's beautiful clematis blooms because I got nothing this year. Too much shade - because of a wildly, healthy, weedy, green wisteria blocking out the sun and giving me a green/yellow, pitiful clematis this spring. Turns out the old garden rule of "heads in the sun, feet in the shade" is one I need to remember and follow, so maybe next year I can have beautiful blooms on my clematis and beautiful blooming wisteria.

After I trimmed up (cut down) the wisteria I added a few pots
so this corner of the garden wouldn't look so bare. (Notice
the clematis is all greeny-yellow and sad looking.)
I left a few leaves on the wisteria, and noticed new growth on the plant in less than a week. Now to keep every thing trimmed, mulched, and watered.

Gardening (and baseball) - there's always next year.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Loving My Neighbor

I love to grow things in pots.  The last few years my collection has grown and grown - pots all over the patio and pots on the front porch.  I had to set an alarm on my phone so I would remember to water all of them - every other day in the summer and at least once a week in the winter.  Several of them are tucked into the garage in the winter, they get a little shabby, but they survive and, when Spring returns, they thrive.

The trouble with containers is the little saucer that collects the excess water - it keeps the water from going all over the place but it can provide the mosquito with the perfect little incubator and nursery.   

Here in north Texas the West Nile Virus is a major concern.  It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes (not all mosquito's have the virus - most are just annoying) and even if you get bitten by an infected mosquito, you might not get the disease.  I say this so you won't call 911 the next time you get bitten.

I have no desire to be known as a Mosquito Rancher so I try to follow all the rules the City of Fort Worth gives for minimizing mosquito breeding.

I've cleaned up my act - well, my patio actually, and put away most of the saucers.  I've scattered the containers around my garden, tucked them in the mulch - no need for a saucer.  A bonus - I took the time to check where the water goes when the sprinkler is on and almost everything gets watered even when I'm not here to do it.

These seem to be adjusting to their new home.

I still have a few pots on the patio and by the front door but I'm very careful not to over water.  I figure it's worth it to help myself and others in my community stay healthy.  I am helping people I don't know and may never meet, still, it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to realize we are all in this world together and little things we do (or don't do) can have a big impact.

Admit it, you are probably doing something to make the world a better place.   I would love to hear about some of your adventures - comments are always welcome.  I'm off to read blogs and drink tea on this hot, hot summer day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


These days we start early - our (please notice I'm sharing the ownership) garden gets better every day. 

This Spring, I have had another sweet reminder of one of my friends.  I was afraid the red lily that my friend, Paula, gave me two or three Easters ago had been lost with all the pulling of weeds and cleaning out the flower beds - I was happily surprised to see Paula's Lily had survived.

It just popped up one day, tucked in behind the grapevine.
Sometimes Mr. J&C's weeding is reminiscent of bush hogging. Somehow we missed this and I got to watch it grow and bloom another year.

It had blooms for about two weeks - thanks, Paula!

Thanks to my garden companion, I'm becoming a better gardener. I have always tried to keep up with the rainfall and water accordingly, but I've been slow to weed. Now I'm checking on the garden once a week for weeds - bonus! Mr. J&C weeds!

I have even (GASP!) thrown out plants that haven't "performed" well in my garden. My thinking being weeds and useless plants are drinking precious water.

Planted in November 2009, this purple crepe myrtle has
 gotten smaller every year. It easily came up out of the ground -
the root ball was almost nothing.

I'm also compromising with Mr. J&C - he wants the plants not so close together so it will be easier to weed. The work we've done so far looks good and it has been easier to weed. 

Update:  I got reimbursed the money taken from my checking account back in April.  This is a good thing for me, but we all will pay for this with higher prices.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Here on Gilligan's Isle

We still have a few things to work out - being together all the time is something new for me and Mr. J&C.  Yes, we love each other but, each other all the time is...well...  different.  The first few months life was great.  We traveled, we worked in the garden - then we both got a cold. 

Just a common, every day, nothing special cold.  We don't do 'under the weather' very well.

This is not something I planned on and now I'm behind.  I've still got gardening to do, several packages to mail, and I haven't even been in the mood to talk - that is sick!

As the month comes to an end, I looked at my poor, neglected blog and decided to reach out and say "Hello!"  Miss you all, hope you are well. 

For a little more than a week we locked ourselves up in the house afraid if we ventured out we might give someone our cold.  It's like we were marooned on Gilligan's Island.

So being bored and not wanting to really do anything, I googled Gilligan's Island and I found, among other things, a drink.  Here's the one from the Mixologist App on my phone:

Gilligan's Island:  Pour 1 ounce vodka, 1 ounce peach schnapps, 3 ounces orange juice and 3 ounces cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker.  Mix well and pour into an ice filled glass.

At the time I was taking heavy duty cold medicines and all of them warned me not to have alcohol.   So I didn't try the drink.

As if to pile on, a friend (thanks, Dawn!) posted to Facebook a recipe for slushies.

Vodka Slushies:
1 1/2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
2 cups vodka

Directions:  Combine all of the ingredients in a large plastic container. Freeze for several hours. It will not freeze solid, but rather achieve the consistency of a slushy.   Scoop into punch cups or wine glasses and serve.

Due to the meds I was taking I could only think about drinks and drinking.  Now that I'm feeling a bit better (and off the medication) I thought I should put my own spin on an adult frozen beverage. 

Frozen Castaways:
3 1/2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail
1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
3/4 cup of vodka
1/2 cup of peach schnapps

Stir and sample.

Directions:  Combine all the ingredients in a large plastic container.  Freeze for a few hours.  Stir every now and then so you can have a quick taste.  Scoop into pretty glasses, enjoy.



Friday, May 3, 2013

Orange Surprise

I flipped my orange bucket over to catch some rain water (rain was in the forecast, nothing happened) instead of water, I caught Rodney.

This makes the second animal I've caught in my
bucket, I've got to stop doing this.

Poor baby.  He (or she) was happy to be free and I am thankful I discovered my prisoner before our record setting cold front arrived in North Texas.

I now have a couple of lizards living in my little birdhouse.  I'm hoping they will keep the bugs away this summer. 

Take a closer look - Rodney's about to
pop inside the birdhouse.

I'm afraid my adventure (the one I hinted at last week) is not a tale of world travel but a sad lesson in 21st century money management.  I got a call from my bank fraud hotline a couple of Saturdays ago and was told someone in southeast Texas was using my debit card at the same time I was using it in north Texas.  I won't go into details because I have very few and I'm still waiting to hear the outcome of my appeal for the charges (just under $900) made on a counterfeit card with my information on it.   This is one of those "What am I supposed to be learning from all this?" life lessons. 

I am still learning. I encourage everyone (no matter where you are in life) to keep learning, be open to new experiences... learn from the mistakes of others, and pay with cash.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wine with Everything

A magnet on my fridge
(Trash Talk by Annie - her humor speaks volumes to me.)

Hope you are having a wonderful week.
I'm on an adventure - details coming soon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Little Something Sweet

I got a newsletter from Redenta's Garden (one of my local garden centers).


Saturday April 6

10:00 am - Canning with the Farm Girls
Come learn how to can and preserve your own food
 in The Farm Girls Canning Demo
Workshop. They will take you
through the necessary steps on canning,
along with canning terminology.
This is a demo workshop,
not a hands on learning class.

My friend, Cindy, and I already had plans to make jalapeno jelly that day, we decided this might be fun so we attended the demo and walked around the beautiful garden.  Then we headed back to her house to whip up a bit of jelly. 

Ready for me to add my label.

I blogged about our jelly making adventures (here).   On Saturday, we picked up a few tips from The Farm Girls (loved these women!). I haven't opened a new jar of jelly so I can't tell you if letting the mixture sit for 30 minutes helped the sugar soak into the bits of pepper.  We also took their advice and bought ripe strawberries, sliced, and packed them away in the freezer - later on this month we plan to make strawberry jam.

I did save a few of the ripe strawberries for Mr. J&C and myself.  We had a wonderful dessert on Sunday - Strawberry Shortcake.  After breakfast I washed, sliced, and added 2 tablespoons of sugar to the berries.  Covered them with plastic wrap and stuck them in the fridge.

Late in the afternoon, I used a cup of biscuit mix (use what you have on hand or just make from scratch enough dough for two biscuits), added 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and cut a heaping tablespoon of butter into the mixture.  I added about 1/2 cup of heavy cream and mixed everything (had to add a tablespoon or two more cream).  Then I wet my hands and divided the mixture in half.  Shaped two biscuits, excuse me, shortbread cakes.  Cooked for 20 minutes in a 425F.  I didn't preheat the oven.

Not quite biscuits, not quite cakes - flash a little too bright.
I let the shortcake cool for almost an hour.  Then I poured 1/4 cup whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and a little sugar into mixing bowl.  Whipped the mixture for a few minutes, and (finally) assembled our dessert. 

I could have used a ripe peach (or two) or blackberries, blueberries, or cherries - I just used what I had on hand and it was delicious.  We enjoyed our sweet treat while watching the Texas Rangers - they won! - baseball is back.  Life is good.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Borrowed Mule

Pulling weeds is back breaking work, especially hard is trying to get rid of all the Bermuda grass.  Where did that stuff come from?  We have a beautiful St. Augustine lawn, but somehow we have Bermuda grass in all the flowers beds.

Having knee surgery last year put me way behind in garden maintenance, now Mr. J&C and I are knee deep in weeds.  I am happy to report that we are half way through our garden cleanup.

Beautiful flower bed, notice the grapevine up front
- it already has blooms (well, one or two).

We are trying to get all the work done before the Texas heat returns to Fort Worth.  I thought we were all HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY ---  Until I heard my husband say I was working him like a "borrowed mule."

Mr. J&C hard at work.

Picking up a thing or two at local garden center.

What is one supposed to do when the 'help' starts complaining?

I've given him (and me) the day off.  I've even sweetened the deal by giving him his choice of whiskey.

Lessons learned this week? 

Be good to your garden help - and yourself.


Friday, March 8, 2013


I love my Texas home but it took me a while to adjust to the way we do seasons around here. There are years when I miss whole seasons. I can be just minding my own business and then, half way through a winter afternoon, I realize summer is here. 

The calendar says March so I think it's about time for Spring. Cold mornings, mild afternoons. Could it be that Spring is really here?

These started blooming three weeks ago before I got
out there to weed that section of the garden.
Many thanks to my friend, Mernie, who years ago gave me these 'Texas' daffodil bulbs for a birthday present.  I received them in September and planted them in October. They've grown and multiplied every year.

I may not be a zealot about using plants that are
grown for a Texas garden - but I'm getting close to it.

I've been going through old pictures, instruction manuals, and files (trying to get the house organized enough so Mr. J&C can find anything - without me having to stop and show him where "we" keep things). 

I moved the plant information card to the
top just for this picture.... work with me,
I'm trying to tell a story.

Turns out I had more than one garden notebook, so for now I'm keeping my garden stuff in a box. One a rainy day I may put everything in notebook, but this box idea is sort of growing on me.

I don't usually keep birthday cards but for some reason (the turtle maybe?) I kept this one with the plant instructions.  It reminds me who gave me such a great gift and I figure if someone gives you a perennial they hope each time you see it you'll think of them and smile.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Garden Workers

Retirement Perk -  I have a helper in the garden this year.  Who knew two people working in the garden would work so much faster than just one? We started at the front door and have trimmed up the shrubbery along the front of the house. We added new bark mulch giving the front of the house a nice, clean look.

A little over a week ago I cleaned out a pot, added fresh soil, and tore open a seed packet.  I took a chance and planted some cilantro in a new spot this year.

Cilantro - Week 2
I usually sprinkle seeds in the autumn, planting herbs straight in the flower beds mixed in among the perennials.  This year I plan to have several pots of herbs just outside the back door.  Cilantro is one of my favorites, I like using the leaves in salads and salsa, or chopping up a handful and throwing them in a pot of pinto beans just before I serve them.  At this stage of the game these are just wishful plans - right now I'm babying sprouts and watching the daily weather reports to keep my seedlings healthy.

I got this idea from my Mom: Using plastic wrap
to protect the 'cilantro babies' from the cold weather.
Mr. J&C and I have ended several days cold and covered in dirt - tired, tired. But proud of our accomplishments and looking forward to what we will do next.


Friday, February 15, 2013


Sunny and 67 F on  February 14th.  If you and yours celebrated Valentines' Day, I hope you had a wonderful time.  Mr. J&C and I tempted each other with chocolates.

Over the last few weeks I've gotten several seed and garden catalogs so I know that it is wintertime.  I love that every year, in the dead of winter, I receive these beauties...

I love to look through them and dream.  I have learned by sad trial and error (and who knows how much money!) that all I can do is dream - and plan.  I take my time wishing and hoping and finally, when I'm ready to buy and plant, I take my pictures to my favorite local shops and buy.  They have plants that may survive in my area and it makes more sense to buy plants that have a fighting chance.

What's tempting you this week?



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In the Black

Our first month of retirement is coming to a close.  We traveled around Texas and then went east to spend a couple of weeks with my family in north Georgia.  We got to visit the Georgia Aquarium last week - it is wonderful

If you want to feel small just stand in front of this aquarium wall.

Now we are home and ready to explore what this new life holds for us.  One of our first snags occurred doing the laundry.  Mr. Joy & Comfort picked up a pair of black panties and asked, "Whose are these?"  I just looked at him - and them - and him...  Let me see... only two people live in this house.  Whose indeed.

Like most women, I've owned a pair, or two, or three of black undies since I graduated high school.  I like colors and lace and - well, honestly, I thought I had made a better impression on him in them.  Maybe he did work too much...

I explained that they were mine, recently worn and now washed, ready to be worn again.  I'll make sure he notices next time.