Maybe My Thumb Is Slightly Green

I actually think I’ve discovered the key to indoor plants: the right light. Duh. I know I’m not the first person to say that. Right? If you’ve ever read a plant book, I assume you’ve read about light requirements.

The white blooms with pink stamens are so lovely.

I did well with the orchids in Austin, but I have come to realize I finally got my Christmas cactus in a place they like.

This one is peachy white. Maybe I need to get a standard pink and peach one to go along with these two.

They didn’t bloom much at my old house, but since I set them in this window that gets bright light at the ranch, they’ve been really happy.

The first year we were here, the big one got over-watered and I thought it was dead. But nope! It’s white flowers bloom first, then the pink ones will show upon January (two plants are in there).

So many friends have very old Christmas cactuses, and I hope these live to a ripe old age. I was sad to lose my very old ones when we moved to Texas, but now I’m doing well again.

Share your stories of these beloved plants in the comments, if you want to.

Just Enjoy the Season

This row of cypress trees has only been at my office in Austin for a couple of years, but they already make a striking autumn display.

I often just walk around and enjoy whatever season we’re experiencing. It’s the last part of autumn here, and in central Texas that’s when the leaves change, and for a week or so, it’s really lovely. It’s been that way in Austin and Cameron this week.

The sky last night was very moody. It rained later. Too bad we hadn’t set up the weather station yet.

Last night I got home after a late meeting, just after sunset. The landscape looked so stark and beautiful in that light.

Brody the cattle dog sniffs the excellent smells of the mown hayfield.

The guys who lease the Wild Hermits land have just made hay out of our pasture, and the dogs love the smells. And the dead mice, no doubt.

I love leafless trees. The structure fascinates me.

Enjoy what I saw last night!

Carlton and Vlassic roll in…something.

Weather Fun to Come

Me with weird hair, my kids with lots of hair, and Lee with no beard. I knitted my shawl from yarn spun by a friend.

Yesterday was Lee’s and my tenth wedding anniversary! We married late, but this one is working! I enjoyed looking over our wedding photos yesterday, so indulge me while I share them.

My attendants, all still good friends, even if I don’t see them often since I moved to the ranch. Carolyn was South, Suzanne was West, Deana was North, and Susan was East.

We had our wedding on a labyrinth at our Unitarian Universalist Church, with my attendants representing the four directions. They were all good sports about it.

My funny big kids and funny little dad.

Having my kids and my dad there meant so much to me. We were all so happy. I have the kids ties with their family tartan as a remembrance.

We were surrounded by our dearest friends, which felt great. I highly recommend getting married in the center of a circle of friends.

What about the weather?

Well, it got chilly after the sun set in 2008, but I wanted to talk about 2018!

Ooh! Can’t wait to set this up.

Proof that Lee really knows me is the gift he found for me. It’s a weather station that’s WiFi enabled! He said he thought it was quite the gift for a Master Naturalist. Smart guy.

I’m pretty excited about the data we can collect with this thing. Wind will be really interesting; it’s so windy here at the Hermits’ Rest. And this will make Lee’s rainfall statistics more accurate.

I’m now ready for ten more years of fun with the Hermit of Hermits’ Rest!

Everything Is Broken

Sometimes the stars align (or something more scientific happens) and the same thing keeps happening to lots of people. I think it’s often just that we pay attention to things that remind us of our own lives and that people like to commiserate, so it appears a lot of folks are going through the same things.

an egg plate
An intact Longaberger deviled egg plate. I got mine during my intense basket-buying phase in the 90s.

The past week, things have been breaking. On Thanksgiving, my deviled egg plate took a tumble and smashed, probably because I didn’t put it away properly. But, darn, it’s discontinued.

We also lost a coaster when it jumped off the table.

broken clock
Poor concrete-colored work clock in a very Humpty Dumpty state. Should it be put back together again or replaced?

After I talked to friends this week, they kept reporting broken objects in their own lives. And when I went to the reception area at work, there was poor Erin with a very smashed corporate clock (but it was ugly anyway).

Maybe it’s a metaphor for larger things. When something breaks, you have to decide whether it’s worth it to try to repair it, or to start all over again with something new.

It sort of reminds me of parts of the world in general today (governments, health care systems, stuff I shouldn’t go into). At least some things CAN be replaced. I want to be sure to keep the natural beauty I love safe, because our planet’s the only one we have.

Orchids: A Shared Hobby through Generations

One of my reblooms from earlier in the year. The white one is budding again. The purple one has added new buds to the end of the stalk in the photo.

I come from a long line of plant lovers. Both of my parents had the green thumb gene, so I grew up in Florida surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers. While my dad focused on the lawn and large plantings, in her later years my mom concentrated on a beautiful collection of orchids that she grew on a patio with a slatted roof that my dad had built for her.

Lynn and me in 9th grade.

During those years, one  of my dearest friends was Lynn McCrain. We spent a lot of our early teen years at each other’s houses, talking about horses and painting our nails. Naturally, our parents got to know each other.

My mom and Lynn’s dad discovered a shared love of orchids. The two of them took great pleasure in each other’s discoveries, shared plants and tips, and made both of our homes more beautiful. When my mom passed away in 1984, my dad made sure Mom’s orchids made it to the McCrain house.

Lynn says this one also smells good. Wow.

Fast Forward!

Many years have passed, and Lynn McCrain Molitor still lives in her old neighborhood, and she is still my dear friend. Also living with her are many, many amazing orchids in her beautiful yard, some of which I’m sharing here. I have taken great pleasure in seeing Lynn’s orchid photos on Facebook, every time thinking back to our parents’ shared love.

These colors in another of Lynn’s orchids could not be prettier.

I thought the green thumb gene had mostly eluded me, especially when it came to orchids. I love plants, but am better with wild ones. However, things have changed for the better. 

These also smell good, according to Lynn. I want more of this kind, some day. I like the clusters.

The orchids I’d tried to grow in Austin did okay, but never rebloomed, even when I followed instructions. But, once Anita and I moved to the little Villa Park casita, I started to get reblooms on the phalaenopsis (that’s mostly what I have; things from the grocery store). 

This is the orchid that just finished blooming and is already at it again. It’s white with purple inside.

And now that we are in the Bobcat Lair house in Austin, I’m beginning to feel like I could start my own McCrain-style jungle. All I can figure is that the large and very expensive argon-filled windows on the east side of the house are orchid heaven. 

These new buds were not there when the plant originally bloomed!

They aren’t even pausing between reblooms. One I just got at the grocery store is already putting out a new flower stalk. Another lovely little purple one finished blooming, then pushed out new buds on the same stalk.

It’s small, but it’s a bud on the work orchid.

At least I THOUGHT it was the windows at the house. Early this week I looked over at one of the little orchid plants I have at work, and by golly, there’s a new flower stalk coming up.

Plus

Actually, all the plants in the Austin house are extremely happy. I planted a small aloe plant to sit in the kitchen bay window where I keep small plants. After a few months I realized it was taking over the window. We just had to re-pot it because it had become top-heavy. It looks as good as the ones my mom used to grow in the ground in Florida. Maybe it will bloom, too!

The aloe plant that wants to take over the house.

Sigh, it really pleases me to see that Lynn and I are carrying some of our parents’ legacy on. I hope some of my plants last as long as Lynn’s.

(photos not by me are by Lynn Molitor)

Moving Slow

Everyone has those times when even the simplest task becomes a burden. For me, it’s been getting my car inspected to renew my license plates.

First, the dealership forgot to do it when I got its yearly checkup.

Then, when I finally remembered to do it in Cameron, the place that was open didn’t do it, and the place that would do it was closed.

Yesterday I left work early to take care of it in Austin. Turns out Siri thinks a lot more places do inspections than actually do. I went to four places, patiently waiting to be spoken to, only to find out many car repair places don’t have an inspector.

By the time I got to the Lamb’s near my house, I could not wait 1.5 hours.

Today I went back. 1.5 hours again. Fine. I’ll buy myself a nice mug and a snack at the new Starbucks. I’ll live.

Have a smooth day

I do hope your mundane tasks go more smoothly than mine!

PS:

Ha! I was wrong! I clicked “send” on this blog and immediately got the call that the car was done, in only 45 minutes. That was just enough time for a pleasant cup of coffee and blogging. Yay for the Lamb’s on Far West!