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Showing posts with label summertime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summertime. Show all posts

Friday, June 23, 2017

What a State We're In!

Another postcard from our past might show this picture!  Texans are fond of all things shaped like Texas. I have seen Texas shaped cookie cutters, cake pans, and cornbread pans.  Belt buckles and T-shirts embellished with the familiar shape seem to be everywhere and there are even entire stores dedicated to all things Texas. So no surprise that there are swimming pools shaped like the Lone Star State. There is a Texas-shaped Lone Star Lagoon at Six Flags over Texas in SanAntonio. In December 2016 the Mariott Marquis Houston opened near Discovery Green Park, readying for the Super Bowl. 110 feet above ground level at eh hotel perches the Texas-shaped lazy river pool for guests to enjoy.This was outlined in blue lights for the grand opening.

But long before these pools, was a community pool called the Texas Pool in Plano, Texas. It opened in 1961 and is still in operation for the 2017 season, inviting members to swim across Texas. It is a saltwater pool, and generations of Plano residents have enjoyed it. Our 3 sons were among those. We moved to Plano in 1976.  I remember packing them and their swim paraphernalia into the car to go.  In later years we would have our own pool but I will always remember their shouts of "Marco!" and "Polo!" and making a splash in Texas!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Harvest June 13, 2017

Summer may be a few days away on the calendar, but it has already arrived with a vengeance here. You only have to open the door to the back porch, which feels like opening an oven door. It is pleasant very early in the day, but by 8:30 this morning, the heat was wilting.  We are harvesting plenty from our small raised bed garden.  We need a bigger picking basket because this one is overflowing and we still left tomatoes on the vine beginning to turn pink. We try to pick them at that stage to get ahead of the birds. We enjoy this rush of producing now because we know for everything except the okra and peppers, the heat will soon stop flowering and fruit setting. Tonight we will have tomato and corn pie.  Gumbo tomorrow. Pickling and freezing will enable us to use most of it, with some to share as well.

Blessed with bounty!

Sunday, July 5, 2015



Nora celebrated the Fourth of July with water!  She discovered the fun of sprinklers and splashing, tasting drops and chasing bubbles,  and made it all new again for the rest of us.  We lined our front sidewalk with tiny flags, grilled hot dogs and sweet corn and finished with homemade ice cream. But it was her little girl's excitement and laughter that made the day one we will always remember. I recently saw a billboard by the freeway that announced "Memories happen without warning." It was advertising vacations in Colorado, but we don't have to plan a trip or travel for the happening. On our back porch, on July 4, 2015, hearts filled up and ran over with happiness that is now a forever memory.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Four O'Clock

It is four o'clock in the afternoon on this Thursday, September 5, 2013.   I am not referring to the time of day in the title above but to the sweet old fashioned flower by that name.  I am remembering sticky, hot September afternoons many years ago when my sister and I sat on the swing in our screened front porch and made our own breeze as we pushed off with our feet to swing back and forth.  There was no air conditioning inside the house, so the shaded porch with its green painted wood floor and blue ceiling was as cool as we were going to get unless we ran through the sprinkler. I can hear the creaking of the chains which held the swing, the song of the Katydids in the Chinaberry tree, and see the shrubbery nestled up against the house on Sunset Street.  Sitting on the porch meant being close to the flowers.  Mother's flower beds held huge hydrangea bushes in the back yard, forsythia, Hawthorne, and a few rose bushes with annuals like Bachelor Buttons and Touch Me Nots and Old Maids in between.  But in front, just on the outside of the porch screens, Cape Jasmine and Four O'Clocks thrived. 

 I loved watching for Four O'Clock flowers to open in the evening air, knowing they would close by the next morning. I liked to pick the flowers, careful not to tear them at the base, and stack them in rows, making decorations and necklaces. I can smell their fragrance, light with a hint of vanilla, and feel the cool tissue papery petals.  They came in all colors - magenta, yellow, white, but the coral of the flower in this photo is the one I remember best. When they went to seed, the hard round black nubs were easy to collect and replant.  

I think the seeds of loving to garden were collected and planted while I was stacking the Four O'Clocks.







Monday, July 1, 2013

Texas Summer

Summer on the Texas Gulf Coast does not wait for the calendar to mark the solstice.  By late May and early June, we experience burning heat, sprinklers on the lawn,  homegrown tomatoes and hot peppers, katydids singing in the evenings, Crepe Myrtles and Chaste Trees blooming, suppers from the grill, iced tea, cold watermelon, bees buzzing around the basil.  The Touch Me Not seeds are popping, Morning Glories are purple delights, roses slowing down for a second breath, and there are a hundred shades of green. I may complain about being hot, but I love so many things that summer brings.

For Memorial  and Independence Day celebrations, we get the little flags back out to line the sidewalk, and celebrate  birthdays for Joe and Ben.  July brings a bumper crop of figs on our tree,  Vacation Bible School fun, plans with my granddaughters, and family outings.  It will get hotter, and we will watch the hurricane tracking news. We keep ceiling fans whirring and add a buzz fan or two for the back porch. I am thankful for cool evening breezes wafting scent of honeysuckle and cooling the flagstone paths in our garden.

 Summertime!

"Now summer is in flower and natures hum 
Is never silent round her sultry bloom 
Insects as small as dust are never done 
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun 
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee 

Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun."

- John Clare, "June"


Friday, September 21, 2012

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

One of the great advantages of living on the South Texas Gulf Coast is that we have two growing seasons!  It is true that Spring gardens often get burned with summer heat that comes on fast, but Fall gardens can be so rewarding.  I planted new tomato plants about a month ago in containers that were shaded part of the day.  Now that cooler temperatures have arrived, they are setting fruit.  Squash and cucumbers went in a few weeks ago as well.  This weekend, I will plant some Kale, collards, bok choy, and lettuces.  If we have a typical mild winter, they will still be thriving until next Spring.  One year we had an unusual snow day early in December and I have photos of the greens frosted with snow which only seemed to give them second wind!  I love planting seeds.  When my granddaughters are here, they like to plant their own rows.  Our garden may be small, but it adds so much pleasure and of course, good nutritious food for our table.  I will add a plug for Baker Creek Heirloom seeeds, my favorite seed catalog.  www.rareseeds.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summering



Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker

We had two weeks of very unusual weather for July - two weeks of rain every day, heavy rain on a number of days and darkly overcast skies with thunderheads even on the dry days!  This was not associated with a tropical storm or hurricane and was so very much in contrast with last summer, one all remember as a brutal drought.  Many areas north and east of the Houston area received more than 14 inches of rain and experienced flooding.  We were thankful for our 6 to 7 inches and most of all, for the drop in temperatures.  This morning, although there is still a chance of some showers this afternoon, the sun is up early and burning brightly. Hot!  As I was clipping blooms from our leggy basil plants and cutting some of its bounty to hang up and dry,  I was thinking how herbs hate to have wet feet and could almost see soggy soil baking.  It is going to be a true to Texas summer day!

There are many reasons on the Texas Gulf Coast to experience the power of summer.  Flooding rains, blistering heat, the challenges of helping animals and plants survive, getting into an oven everytime I need to drive the truck, fire ants, mosquitoes, electric and water bills, sunglasses sliding down my nose along with perspiration - these are among the ways we spend our summertime.

At the same time, we experience the refreshment of cooling showers, sunshine on our shoulders, singing cicadadas, ripening figs and berries , the flourishing of fragrant herbs, air conditioning, iced tea, cold watermelon,  and a healthy dose of Vitamin D!   "summertime, and the living is easy....fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high!"  Papa doesn't have to be rich, and Mama may not be good lookin', but "hush, little baby, don't you cry!"