Is That A Green Thumb????

If I get the light just right I believe there is just a hint of green, or maybe not, I should know more in a couple months or maybe weeks if it goes real bad.

Thumb (Small)

The past few years my flower beds have found their way into several of my blog posts. I have told you about my plan to return them to the days when Sharyl was in charge of flower beds. I must confess, it was false promises, there has been no improvement, the things have continued to deteriorate and the only maintenance they have received came from a big Weed Eater and a garden sprayer filled with Round Up.

I don’t have a before picture, you should probably thank me for that, I do have a now picture I will share. I am hopeful the thing will be deserving of an after picture, however I am not confident and please save me the embarrassment, don’t ask.

I really had good intentions all those other times. I just didn’t have sufficient motivation and I didn’t have a clue where to start and if you don’t know where to start you sure as heck don’t know how to finish the thing. My only involvement in “our” flower beds was to carry some mulch or some fertilizer (uh oh I forgot the fertilizer) and put it where I was told or maybe dig a hole or sharpen Sharyl’s hoe. I did nothing technical and certainly made no decisions.

I think my motivation came in the form of peer pressure. I see one friends home a couple times a week, his flower beds are always very presentable, maybe not yard of the week nice (sorry Richard) but they look good. I kicked back in the shade and watched another friend as she started the transformation of her flower beds from that “it’s been a long winter” look to a “welcome to spring” look. I thought, if they can do that surely I can.

I usually call on my girls for direction for those household chores their mom did. This time I was out of luck, one of them was expecting me to advise her, the other hires a gardener.

I analyzed where I was and where I wanted to go, then lowered the standards about three times and set what I hope is a realistic goal for year one. I had two plants in the bed that were tough enough to survive all those years of weed eater and round up, I didn’t know what they were but I wanted some more of those. I also didn’t want any of those little things like periwinkles and impatiens that I would need to plant again next year.

I tore a little twig off one of those survivors, put it in my pocket and made my way to the garden center. I found a match for the survivor, Nandina, added some Azaleas, Hosta and Day Lilies. I also picked up some landscape fabric and a bunch of mulch, that stuff should reduce the requirement for weed eater and round up. I don’t get as nervous in the garden department as I do in household goods or heaven forbid Hobby Lobby but I’m sure not as comfortable as I am in hardware, electronics or NAPA.

As uncomfortable and unsure as I was shopping I figured out real quick that was the easy part. The physical labor involved in getting the ground ready was way more than I anticipated. The next issue was deciding where all this stuff should go. Hosta, Azalea, Nandina or maybe the Nandina over there and the Day Lily over here. Grammar check sure doesn’t like that last sentence, deal with it OK. I got it laid out to my satisfaction and got an opinion and approval from a couple experts before I actually planted them, thanks Patty and Becky. I’m not sure how knowledgeable they really are but my definition of an expert is someone that knows more than I do about a given subject or thing; I have even been called an expert a few times in my life; I don’t remember the field but I know it wasn’t flower beds.

The finished product; well it is almost finished I still need to trim some of the excess landscape fabric. I would have already done that but I can’t find my scissors; I have looked everywhere except under the landscape fabric. Maybe I’ll just buy another pair.

Flowerbed 2 (Small)

One note of caution, if you can avoid it don’t try to put down landscape fabric alone on a windy day.

I have four more flower beds but I think this year I’ll continue with Weed Eater and Round Up routine or maybe some Monkey Grass in one of them.

Thanks for spending some time in my little world; keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.


As MY World Turns…..

I did one of these early in the “Random Thoughts” run titled getting back to normal or establishing a new normal or something like that. The point being that getting back to normal was not an option; I needed to establish a new normal.
I think I have done that, just please understand that my new normal is somewhat abnormal and continues to evolve.

Life, or to follow the title “My World” has slowly become kind of a fun place to be. Sure I still spend a lot of time at home alone but except for those cold gray Sunday afternoons like yesterday, I think those will always be tough, I am even OK with that. I spend a lot of time with friends and family or just running down the road. Those times are what makes it fun again.

If this one gets to your side of the keyboard please give me a break. I am doing it from my favorite writing venue, my lake place, however I am doing it on my iPad with a neat little WordPress App. My trusty old laptop and good keyboard are here too. Remember that abnormal I mentioned.

Last time I was here I talked about botball, baseball, weightlifting and Little Rock. I stopped here on my way to The weightlifting deal in Little Rock. Lake houses have a summertime and a winter time shutdown and startup procedure. The winter process is more complicated, especially for an over analyzing do it yourselfer, it’s ok for me to say that.

Part of that process is to simply turn on the water, make sure the hot water tank is full and flip the breaker to the on position, in a little while it will be possible to take a hot shower. I did that along with the other things on the mental list. I then went to dinner with a friend, we had a good dinner and a good time but I came home early.

Google said it was 3 1/2 hours from here to Little Rock; I needed to be there at 10:00 in the am, meaning I had to get up earlier than my new normal time. I turned the hot water faucet in preparation for the nightly personal hygiene routine. Surprise, no hot water, no hot shower and definitely no cold shower. Thank god I was going to a gym full of sweaty weight lifters; I don’t think anyone knew it was me.

I was sure all I needed to do was replace the upper element, wait a few minutes and take that refreshing hot shower. All I needed was a new element and that special little wrench that every good do it yourselfer (spellcheck doesn’t like yourselfer I’m gonna use it anyway) has. I knew I had one at home but just to be sure I would get one for here; the silly things just cost about seven bucks.

The Lowe’s in Conway, AR had the element but they were out of the wrench; not to worry I probably had a wrench here or I could get innovative. I’m not gonna bore you with details or maybe I don’t want to give you that kind of laugh at my expense. Two days later after touring western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma hunting that stupid little wrench and replacing everything on the water heater I found a busted pipe. It is hard to heat running water.

That shower I tried to take Friday night finally happened about noon Monday. So goes the life of a hardheaded old do it yourselfer. Some things in the new normal are very much like the old normal. There was a time not so long ago that a failed water heater wouldn’t have made the top ten on my problem list. Things are OK in my world if that water heater deal was at the top of the problem list.

The rest of the lake run was good. We even took one boat on a little shakedown cruise, after I had that shower of course. It was cold but it was also fun.

A quick recap on baseball, botball, and weight lifting. Luke and his buddies finished 3rd out of 35 teams in the botball competition. Braxton qualified for nationals and set a new personal best in Little Rock and Cale is pitching well, his record is 4 wins and 1 loss.

I know, that’s not very exciting stuff but that is my world today and I kind of like it. A plan is starting to come together for some real fun and exciting stuff just over the hill and around the bend. More on that later.

Hope this works. Good Night and God Bless!


Bot What??????????

Have you ever needed to be two places at the same time? I think we all have. Back when I had a day job that included airports and hotels, and I had that weekend rodeo habit, I really needed for that to happen a few times. But try as we might it just isn’t possible.

I need, or maybe I just want to be three places Saturday. If I couldn’t do two when I was young, I sure can’t do three at the same time now. I guess it is time to make a decision.

The Choices: Botball, Weightlifting or Baseball

Luke’s Cleveland Elementary Botball team will be competing in a tournament here in Norman, Braxton will be lifting weights in Little Rock and Cale has a baseball doubleheader in OKC.

My comfort zone tells me baseball. I wasn’t good enough to play the game but I have watched a few hundred of them over the years and I am at home at the ballpark. I understand the language and kind of know when to yell and when to shut up and sometimes the popcorn is good.

I didn’t even know how to spell Botball. I knew they had those contests but I didn’t know Luke was into that sort of thing.. For some of you approaching my age it is a contest to see who has built and programmed the best robot. I find it intriguing; if only I were 50 or 60 years younger I might be good at something like that.

I have two of those weightlifting things behind me; one in Missouri the other just south of the Red River. I am beginning to understand the difference between a “clean and jerk” and a “snatch”. I still need my calculator to convert kilos to pounds so I kind of know how heavy those things really are. The only weightlifting experience in my past was throwing 100 pound bales of alfalfa hay on the truck and I have loaded a few pretty heavy black diamond watermelons on the midnight shift.

Baseball was eliminated early. There will be another game next week and the next and it is probably going to rain or snow anyway.

Eliminating one of the other two was tough. I have never been to a Botball deal and I think it would be interesting; Norman, Oklahoma is a lot closer than Little Rock, Arkansas. The down side, I’m not sure how my nerves would react to a full day with a gym full of young computer programmers, not to mention the smell (excluding my grandkid of course).

I haven’t been on a road trip in a while and except for that quick lunch stop in Mena in November it has been even longer since I have been to Arkansas. There is a whole bunch of sweaty people in a gym at the weightlifting deals but I will only be there a couple hours and you guys have been enough miles with me to know I kind of like the open road.

If I may borrow the title to an old Ferlin Husky song,” I Hear Little Rock Callin’”. Sorry Luke and Cale, I’ll catch you guys another time.

I thought I better steer this thing back toward the lighter side; thanks for making the trip.

Keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.


The Old Swimmin’ Hole…

swinnin hole (Small)
The old farmhouse and barn are gone; the crossties from the railroad are probably being used for landscaping or maybe fence posts. The rails were probably melted and new stuff made from the steel. The old swimming hole survived; it is still where it was on my last visit there more than a half century ago.

We just called it “Coon Creek”; a deep hole in a small creek by the Santa Fe railroad in southwest Pottawatomie County. To a bunch of country kids that didn’t know about backyard pools, and the closest public pool was 20 miles away, it was a good place to swim; bathing suits were optional.

I have a lot of memories of time spent there. Most of those memories are good; a place to cool off on a hot summer day, a place to make big plans for the future or lie about yesterday or to just kill an afternoon with good friends.

One of those memories wasn’t funny at the time; about six of us decided it would be more fun to swim than to go to class. We were very surprised when the school superintendent walked under the tracks and around the bluff and said in that all too familiar voice “You guys get your clothes on and drop by my office when you get back to school. I got to sign that big old paddle one more time.

I mentioned the thing was deep. It was real deep, probably 25 or 30 feet; one of our many little tests of skill was to touch the bottom of the thing. To prove you had been there you had to bring some mud to the top with you. Although no one admitted it I think we would agree it was very cold, dark and scary at the bottom. The return to the surface from that depth was a struggle filled with apprehension; you held your breath, you did it alone; seemed like it took forever but it was only a few seconds. I remember relief in seeing light through the surface, and the huge breath of fresh air as I wiped the water from my face and the hair out of my eyes. It was also possible to find that cold dark bottom if you misjudged where that hidden ledge was over on the north side.

Thank you Google Maps for facilitating the trip down memory lane and for the picture.

Is it OK if I move from the literal swimming hole of my youth to the figurative swimming hole of life?

My years in life’s swimming hole are not unlike those days at Coon Creek. I’ve spent time with friends, made plans for the future and yes, probably lied a little about yesterday. There were some good times and some times with my head under water but never in the dark, cold, scary deep part; I could always see that light at the surface.

Two years ago today I slipped off that hidden ledge on the north side; I was at the cold, dark, very scary bottom of life’s swimming hole. Unlike Coon Creek, it takes a little longer than a few seconds to resurface, however I could breathe, at first I had to remind myself but after a little while breathing became natural again. I haven’t done this one alone; faith, family and friends have always been there for me. I think I am nearing the surface; it is no longer cold, dark and scary and I can see the light reflecting off the surface. Some days, (today was one of those) I still need to wipe the water out of my eyes (literally) and brush the hair out of my face (figuratively on that one). The years have changed the surface and I am trying to adjust to those changes.

I forgot to grab that handful of mud but trust me I touched the bottom.

To Conner; I think you would have loved the camaraderie and competition of Coon Creek but I don’t know if a three shower a day city kid could have handled the mud. I love you and miss you every day. Give MawMaw a hug and tell her I love her and miss her.

It has been a very long day; thanks so much for listening and for helping me up off the bottom.

Good Night and God Bless.