Thursday, September 22, 2016

Searching for Deplorable's

Yesterday was the International Day of Peace, and in the United States it ended with scenes of rioting in North Carolina.  

 Peaceful thoughts do not come easily when our leaders, and would-be-leaders, speak in terms that incite anger and hate.

Consider Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks that half of Trump’s supporters belong in “a basket of deplorables" She has also said that his supporters were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic."

Unfortunately, she is not the only person that feels that way.

Earlier this week, I read a contemptuous remark about the “deplorables” who are supporting Donald Trump for president. Hillary’s adjective-loaded remark was mild compared to the contempt and hatred expressed in this conversation.

Apparently these “deplorables” are thought of as little more than garbage to be cast aside. A second person made the shocking statement that they should be deported.

Really?  Who are these “deplorables”—are they the people Hillary labeled racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamaphobic. If so, what makes them worse than the racist, domineering, and elitist followers of Clinton?

Or, are the “deplorables” the people who are uneducated, poor, on welfare, even homeless?

Face the facts, folks. With the exception of “Islsmaphobics” (which I assume is Hillary’s word for those who fear terrorists), each political party has a good supply of followers who fit the descriptions above—plus a great number of people filled with hate.

There are racist among the wealthy, the poor, and the unemployed. The same applies to those who hold sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or Islsmaphobice views.

So trash this snobbish contempt for those who are in a different social position, and those who have different values and opinions. These are people who own businesses, stock the grocery shelves, and clear our streets of rubbish. They wait tables, enforce the laws, and bury our loved ones.

They should be honored for holding one, two, and occasionally, three jobs to provide for their families

They are not a “basket of deplorables.”

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Dog Named Buck

After a long search, a new dog has joined my household. He’s a Shih Tzu that came with the name Buck. His owner gave him to me because of a change in his life style. He was obviously loved and well cared for and had a happy home for a year.

Before that, his history is sad. He had been so abused that he lost one eye, and had so many stickers embedded in his little belly, that it took hours to pick them out. How I feel about that is best left unsaid.

I will not change his name. He was named after his previous owner’s father. I think that’s a sweet and thoughtful legacy.

I’ve had him five hours and see there are to be changes in this household. Closet doors are to be kept shut. Shoes are to be stored in the closet—always. If I don’t want sofa pillows tugged to the floor, do not leave them near the edge.  I don’t understand his obsession with this,  because he does not chew on them or nap on them.

This is going to be interesting. 

Although Buck has settled in nicely and had several naps in my lap, at present he is pacing the floor, ears alert. I expect he’s missing his other family. It’s sad that dogs don’t understand the changes in their life.

Maybe in a few days, he''l tell me what he thinks of hie new home.


Monday, August 1, 2016

The Bull Nettle

 These pretty white flowers belong to a very vicious plant that dot the fields of many North Central and East Texas farms. Writing August on the Farm last week caused me to remembered numerous stinging, itching encounters with them.

The flowers mature into a small walnut-sized pod that turns brown in late summer  and opens to expose three hard-shelled beans. My Mother told me that they were safe to eat if I removed the tiny white tip on each bean. So I decided to check the internet to see if she was right.

What I found was a great blog—Rick Hammer's  Flora of the Texas Rolling Plains of the Texas Rolling Plains. It was there I found some interesting facts about bull nettles,  and also comments from other readers, telling of their very painful contacts with this plant.

To understand why their experiences were so panfuls take a close look at the photo, left, and read what Rick Hammer has to say about The Texas Bull Nettle or Cnidoscolus texanus.

"Notice both the main stem and the stem branches.  All are covered with hispid or bristly hairs. But these are not normal hairs; they are extremely painful, stinging hairs. The leaves are covered with the same stinging hairs as well.  Here is how this plant defense mechanism works: If the foliage or stems are touched, the glass-like hairs break off in the skin (yours or a hapless four-legged fellow creature) and act like hypodermic needles. The “needles” release a toxin which causes an intense burning sensation. This effect is a type of allergic response known as contact urticaria and the reaction can last for several days."

Victims wrote of suffering painful itching rashes lasting up to three months. One said his hand was so painful, he wanted to cut it off. One person wrote "....have severe swelling, bruising, and HUGE dark red to black blisters from my knee to my foot. The pain & itch is so intense I practically keep myself knocked out with Benadryl and have gone through 3 tubes of Cortaid in 2 days."

Another tells being a teenager and going camping on the Guadalupe River. He described their adventure thus: "Some of our more mentally altered group decided it would be a grand idea to run down to the river to skinny dip at midnight – BAD IDEA.  It sounded like a pack of panthers trying to pass kidney stones. One of our party had to go to the hospital for steroid shots."

Shots may be the only way to ease the misery for some. There were other suggestions, (some not very ladylike) but it seems there's no dependable relief.  I see that I was a very lucky girl because after a few hours, my itching went away—if I didn't scratch or rub the place.

One writer said he had a field full of bull nettles. According to several reports, he probably won't be getting rid of them soon. Their roots go deep—sometimes three to six feet and are massive, and they seem imperious to both commercial plant killers and homemade concoctions.

Oh yes—many youngsters, besides myself, enjoyed eating the bull nettle beans, and none mentioned removing the little white kernel on the end.

I am glad I found Rick Hammer's blog, and I expect you will enjoy it also.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

August on the Farm

Out on the farm in the days when crops were planted, cultivated, and harvested by horse drawn implements and that long-handled tool called a hoe, August was welcomed as time when the crops were ‘laid by’. A horse and plow would only damage the full-grown plants, and the heat was wilting the few weeds that had escaped the hoe.

Life slowed down—but never to the point that was nothing to do. The corn ears were dry and hanging haphazardly on the stalks. It was time to sweep out the old log crib and soak the wagon wheels so the metal rims wouldn’t fall off as the corn was hauled in.

My Dad hooked his team to his wagon and let the team pull the wagon slowly down the rows of corn, while he pulled the ears of corn off the stalks and tossed them into the wagon. Leather gloves were not a luxury—they were a necessity for wrenching off all those ears in their dry shucks. Trip after trip was made back to the barn, where the corn was unloaded into the crib to be saved for winter feed for both livestock and meal for cornbread..

Another job finished, but another waited. Those leafy cornstalks couldn’t be left in the field to waste. They, too, were saved for winter feed. But they didn’t just nicely arrange themselves into nice teepees like those in harvest-time pictures. That took days of hot, stingy work by human hands.

Dad had a large curved knife he used to cut the stalks. Then they were bundled into a manageable size and tied with a length of binder twine. Then the bundles needed to be carried or dragged a short distance to where they were shocked. Not electrically, but in teepee shapes called corn shocks. The dragging was my job. I hated corn-shocking time. I was't real happy with child labor, either.

It’s not surprising that I looked forward to school starting. But wait—there were Saturdays, and the peanut crop to be harvested. I’ll rest a few days, then tell you all about it.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Two Friends and a Bottle of Sherry

I have a friend named Bessie Mae, that comes over and drinks coffee with me each morning, and we sit around the table with our coffees and talk about our ailments—I’m ninety and she’s eighty—so we have a lot to talk about.

Anyway, sometimes we talk about other things, like our kids and recipes, and stuff like that.  So one morning we got to talking about a recipe for a sherry cake. Let me tell you, that is one delicious cake, but I’ve never made one myself because I don’t keep sherry in my pantry—at least not real sherry, and that’s what the recipe calls for.

Well, the more we talked about how good it was, the hungrier we got for that cake, so we decided we’d run out to the liquor store out on the highway—well of course I don’t mean we were going to really run out there—we’re not that lively anymore. In fact, we don’t walk too well, but you know, it gets pretty boring just sitting around all the time, even if you do have a new ailment to talk about every day, so we decided we’d just make a little trip to the liquor store—in Bessie Mae’s car, of course. I don’t drive nowadays.

It’s not because I can’t—I just didn’t want to fool with taking a driving test again. My gosh, I took one a few years back—well, I reckon it was about seventy years ago, but anyway, I’ve parked my car for awhile. I may change my mind about taking that test, though. It’s just that I don’t hear too well and might irritate the trooper if I kept on driving after he said stop.

Oh well. Back to our trip to the liquor story. I got my walker, and Bessie Mae got her cane—she’s younger than I, remember, and she’s one lively lady. I think it’s because of her red hair. Anyone with hair that red just has to be lively.  Come to think about it, I don’t remember her hair being red when she was younger

Oh well, back to our trip to the liquor store. It wasn’t far, so we made the trip without any problems. One guy kept honking at us, but we didn’t pay him any attention. We just figured he was trying to get Bessie Mae’s attention on account of her hair. She has that effect on guys, you know.

Well, anyway, here we were at the store, so we parked---well actually we parked several times. Bessie Mae kept ending up kinda catawampus with the lines. But she finally got parked straight enough so nobody would bump in to us—she’s had her left fender repaired three times because of the careless way people park.

We had a little trouble at the door. I can tell you it’s not easy to hold a walker and open one of these heavy doors some stores seem to like nowadays. And then the darn thing kept trying to close before I could get out of the way.

So there we were, and I can tell you that there were so many bottles we didn’t know which way to turn, No one paid us any attention, until my walker knocked a couple of bottles off a shelf. That’s when a clerk came over and offered to help us.

When we told him we needed a bottle of sherry so we could make a sherry cake, he tried to tell us we needed cooking sherry. When we told him the recipe called for real sherry, he just shrugged and pointed to another aisle and said “Take your pick, ladies.” and walked away.

Well, I thought he could’ve been more helpful, but that’s the way it is nowadays. Anyway, we found the sherry without any more help, but we had no idea there were so many kinds. Finally, Bessie Mae picked out a bottle she thought was pretty and said “Let’s get out of here,” so we paid and left. No body asked us to come back, which I thought was a little rude, but it really didn’t matter, because I had no intention of ever visiting that place again.

I think Bessie Mae was a little annoyed, though, but she didn’t let it affect her driving. She obeyed the speed limit and didn’t get distracted by all those people that honked and waved to get her attention. They all seemed to be in a hurry and looked like they were out of sorts about something, so we were glad to get back home and take a little sip of that sherry.

That cake can wait until another day.