Monday, December 30, 2013

The walking salesman...

I walk.

A lot.

I have a knee that requires exercise to keep mobile, and said knee prevents me from things like jogging,  seriously, a half mile run will leave it hurting and swollen, so... I walk.

The thing is, in Texas, walking its unusual. 

Of course, in the summer, 100+ temps make it hellacious,  and in this area, where most people live around 30 miles from their job, it often seems like we're physically attached to our vehicles.  One of my good friends, who jogs 5 miles three days a week, will not walk 2 blocks to his mother's house.  For most people in this state, walking is just not an option. 

Except for me.  I walk,  a lot.

Usually, I walk about 2 miles, every couple of days.  But, periodically, about once a month, I get a bug up my nose, and I decide to do a long walk.  I'm about 4 and a half miles from the center of town, and the post office, and I got it in my head to walk it.  I had an Etsy package that needed shipped, and I decided I could make a quick stop at the drug store for a small item I kept forgetting on the way back. 

I was about halfway along, plugging down the sidewalk of a busy four lane road, when a cop car pulled up.

Two officers got out. 

"Can I help you?"  I asked.

Cop 1 answered, "we got a call that a vagrant was walking through the neighborhood."

He was practically rolling his eyes.  His body language, his intonation, everything about him said flat out that he knew this was a bull crap call, but he had to do his job.

Cop 1:  so you haven't been sneaking through peoples yards our anything, right?

Me: just walking down the sidewalk.  That's why it's here, right?

Cop 1:  pretty much.

So, basically some nervous Nellie didn't want a member of the public walking on a public road. 

The cops have no legitimate reason stop me, but a call was made and he had to go through the motions. 

So cop 1 goes to call on his radio, and me and cop 2 just stand there. 

Cop 2:  So.  Where you heading?

Me:  post office.   Gotta mail this. 

Cop 2:  that's cool.

Both of us:  bored sigh. 

Cop 2:   long walk. 

Me:  yeah.  Nice day for it tho. 

Cop 2:  yes sir it is.  Where'd you get that?

Me:  what?  Oh the skull patch?  I made it.  Sell them on line, and at the flea market. 

cop2:  you made that?  (Leans closer)  is that crocheted?  My wife crochets.

Me:  yeah.

Cop 2:  that looks cool.  my wife would be so into that.  What you get for those?

So basically, some yuppie called cops on the terrifying vagrant, and I got customers out of it. 

That's just how I roll. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My first Christmas present

The Cooper's Hawk came back this morning. 

Today he left me a feather.  Don't know what I can possibly get for him.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Rambling away

Saw a rather handsome Cooper's Hawk in the yard this morning.  He let me get within 20 feet of him, but want tolerating a camera pointed at him and flew off the second I tried.

Not a great weekend at the flea market.  Got the typical Texas holiday weather... ankle deep mud with the occasional freeze. 

Wears your nerves. 

I don't do much for the holidays anymore.  I give myself the gift of quiet.  (I'd explain, but I've explained in previous years and I no longer feel the need to justify myself.)  

Of course, that doesn't keep people from trying to force it on me...  but I'm getting pretty good at bowing out firmly by gracefully.

The day after Christmas May be busy... the gentleman who owns the flea market owns a firework stand and may need help... from December 26 to December 31 is prime time for that business... almost as busy as the fourth of July.  I'm first on the list for sales help. 

That should be good.

No real subject for this post.  Just some ramblings...

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Just a commission I made and decided to share....

Monday, December 16, 2013

I've been upcycling again...

Recently being locked in due to weather conditions make me crafty due to shear boredom.  No point in getting out when everything is closed up, right?

So, I found these beer bottles by the side of the road... bud light platinum,  they do blue bottles because blue glass is just so cool... and I decided to turn them into hanging vases. They're great for rooting and or growing cuttings...

Not totally my idea.  A former dealer at the flea did this with clear bottles and macrame.  But I don't enjoy macrame much, although I will admit it would be quicker tha the crochet I chose.

This is a first experiment... it has problems... but its ok, huh?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

life among the redneck idgits.

yeah... yeah... yeah....

I know I live in semi-rural Texas, and the last thing I should be shocked at is redneck idiocy... but I'm one of those Pollyanna people who believe that most people possess basic logic.  And I'm not exactly anti-redneck.  Lets face it folks, I work in a flea market, I used to drive a truck, I was raised on military bases, most of my uncles were either career military or farmers, and I can recite about every country music song recorded before I segued into gothic and punk in the mid 80's.  I got a pretty good dose of redneck in me.  It's not redneck that bothers me... but every once in a while, idgitness catches me off guard. 

So there I was just minding my own business at the flea market, having a good harmless gossip with a fellow vendor... (about how we think the market should be run... let's not call it gossip, we'll call it a brainstorming session, yeah... it was a brainstorming session...) 

At this point, one of the local crazies... (there are several, flea markets tend to attract a few more than I'd consider it's fair share, but what do I know..) but one of the crazies walked into the booth, and began expounding tea party politics. 

The lady vendor I was brainstorming with immediately found something to straighten on the shelves.  Causing me to think, "Leaving me to deal with him.  Thanks sweetheart, I appreciate that..."

I very politely said that I never discuss politics. 

Lady vendor piped in with... "I'd really rather not discuss this..."

And we kept making these noises... less and less politely, as he continued to hold forth on OBAMA. 

Now, here's the thing. 

Lady Vendor and I are on very opposite sides of the political  spectrum.  But we manage to get past it, primarily because we're both salesmen.  (Or salespersons... if we're gonna get politically correct about it...) It does not behoove a salesman (person) to get into conversations about politics.  Yeah... you might make a customer love you, but you've got just as much chance to make them hate you.  Besides... collectable china doesn't really have a political  position, unless it's got the politicians face on it, and quite frankly, unless the politician was assassinated, his face hasn't got that much resale value.  Besides, I've never seen or heard of a political discussion that changed anybodies mind about anything.  There is no combination of bluster, fact, or charm that magically turns a Democrat into a Republican... or vice versa... so the discussions are useless, and a waste of time that would be much better spent examining Fitz & Floyd china. 

Therefore, salespersons tend to be very good at nudging a person into other areas of conversation. 

As stated,  fellow vendor and I tried the polite noises... I then tried the standard "So... what are we looking for today?"  and I even  tried "So... do you do Civil War reenactments?"  Which sounds strange I suppose, but he WAS wearing a grey Confederacy uniform.  I kid you not.  I couldn't make that detail up if I tried. 

But nothing was deflecting this guy.  He was on a roll, and he was plowing through... with the singlemindedness that sets apart the fanatic political believer.  Or the schizophrenic.  The similarity is uncanny. 

Then he said something along the lines of... "we need to impeach him in the old Southern way.... with a rope..." and I felt it boiling up...

Fellow vendor was left speechless... shocked eyes... mouth gaping... but this did not stop crazyman... oh no...

He went right into... "And nobody can tell me he was a natural born American  anyway..." 

and I exploded.  I don't mean I began arguing.  I don't mean I shouted or even yelled... I exploded as only a full throated baritone who took 2 years of voice lessons from an opera singer can.  Add  to that the fact that I learned to curse on army bases, and said education was then supplemented by Sailor, Marine, and Army uncles.  I'm saying I began bellowing in a voice that was once famous in Dallas when I worked in Punk Rock Bars.  We're talking a voice that could be heard across the punk rock bar, in the DJ booth, by a DJ who was wearing his headphones. 

Now, I'm not proud of what came out of my mouth.  But I'm not ashamed of it either.  It is what it is.  I'm not going into the total bellow... but I will admit that it started with

"Eat shit you two-bit-twat-faced-racist-fuck..." and it went on from there... which  demonstrates an ability I learned specifically from my father... taking a whole bunch of little curse words and combining them into one great big one...  

He ran. 

Which kinda amused several people in the market, as several vendors have, over the last few weeks, been cornered by him.

I doubt he's coming back... and if he does, I doubt he'll try it again with me.  Or maybe he will.  Hell I don't know. 

But I will address this one thing... the Birth Certificate thing is complete and total idiocy. 

Obama was born in Hawaii... here's how it works people. 

When the President first became in politics... way back when he was in Chicago... the CIA opened a file on him.  They do this so that they can be aware of any security risks to the public and to the subject of the file.  Chicago is one of the most volatile political situations in the US, and several government agencies keep their eyes on it. 

Since he started as more or less a community activist, the file would not have been extensive.  As he proceeded up the ladder of politics, the file got bigger as more data was added... when he became a Senator, it was thoroughly updated, and when he announced his intent to run for President, it was gone over with a fine tooth comb. 

At pretty much all points though, the most basic information would have been collected, checked and verified.    And the most basic of information, where was he born, has been verified by several government agencies, several times. 

If he was not eligible for the presidency, it would have been taken care of very quietly, out of public view, and none of us would have ever heard of it.  They might have pulled Mr. Obama to one side and had a silent chat, but it's far more likely that they would have had a chat with several key persons in the Democratic party, and nothing public and embarrassing would have ever come to light. 

Nobody would have been hurt, nobody would have been threatened.  It would all be done very gentlemanly, but Mr. Obama would have never gotten through the nomination process. 


So cut the moronic bull shit.

Friday, December 06, 2013

crochet skull pattern.

way back on the day before Halloween, I showed a pic of a crochet skull I made.  Specifically, I'd seen some on Etsy, and I decided to see if I could come up with a pattern, and I did, and a few people asked if I would share the pattern, and a couple of others sent me private messages asking if I was going to sell it. 

Well, On my other blog, which I just started for the express reason that I'm sick of trying to find the used envelope I wrote something on, I'm collecting my patterns. 

The Crocheted skull pattern is there...

yeah, I'd do an imbedded link if this blasted computer would allow such a thing... I don't know what that blasted glitch is, but it's getting seriously annoying. 

If you're interested is crochet patterns and the other crafty things I'll be posting there, feel free...

Dang it's cold...

Well, our weather hit.  No real snow just sleet and freezing rain.  Ted tho take a few pics, and I'm not happy with them, But it could be because the dim light right now, or maybe it's my mood...

If the following pic had a little more light involved, it might make a good top edge for a Christmas card... 

For some reason I like this one.  Don't know why, my art teacher would be having fits about composition and background... but it makes me happy.  Does need more light though.


And this metal spinner that hangs on the 

is just depressing.  The sleet is ongoing, and we're nowhere near the end of this, so maybe I'll get some photo ops yet.

went out with the intention of getting some ice and snow on the Christmas displays.  Doesn't work out.  The inflatable Santa, when ice encrusted, looks like he had one to many eggnog s and passed out in the lawn... and i must say, he has absolutely no business piloting a magical flying sleigh in that condition.  

Thursday, December 05, 2013


A few months ago, in August, I maintained I could handle the cold of winter better than the summer heat. 

I lied.

Actually, that may have been the biggest pile of bull I've ever tried to sell. 

Yes, the heat drains your energy, makes you sweat more than you can drink, and is just generally miserable, but the cold is physically PAINFUL.  It makes my joints scream inn agony.  It feels like I have a clothes pin permanently attached to my nose.  My face wants to crack. 

Ok... I'm exaggerating.  A little.  Not that much really. 

But there's a big ole snow storm expected, late tomorrow, and I'm not looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Random updates

 Just an update on various things... The Rhipsalis pilocarpa, aka Mousie, the subject of yesterdays post, has opened his first bloom today...
there are at least 50  buds currently on the plant, and more will probably develop
 over the next month or so.  This is the first opening of the flower, it will probably open wider, not that it's that big or impressive.  This pic shows it next to my big ole' man paws...
This next pic isn't particularly attractive, but as you can see, the pineapple (Ananas comosus)  is rooting along just fine.  Another week or two,  and I'll look into potting it up.  The top of the plant is spreading out a little, no doubt gearing up to start growing it's actual long leaves, and the remaining leaves further down on the cutting are definitely fading.  The plant sheds these juveniles as the longer true leaves start growing.  No pic of that though... it's really unattractive...
And the next pic of the pregnant onion (Albuca bracteata) shows it doing something a little unusual.. the end of the flower stalk is splitting in two.  Not something it's supposed to do, but I've seen the plants do it before, so it's not terribly uncommon either. 
And now, we're expecting a rather dramatic temperature decrease this evening, possibly sleet, and freezing rain.  All this week it's been quite nice out,  so I'm off to batten down the hatches and do what I can to prepare for the onslaught... hope all the blog people are having a great day! 
ps... the blasted computer isn't working to it's full capability, and therefore, I can't add the proper links to past posts.  It's all very annoying... but there we are. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Plant Profile - Rhipsalis pilocarpa

 I am doing another plant profile post... I got sidetracked from them for a while, but I'm back... This beauty is Rhipsalis pilocarpa. 

As far as I can tell, it has no common name, other than the pretty much standard rat-tail cactus that most of these long thin Rhipsalis get called.  However, I've always called it mouse tail... the stems aren't as thick as a rats tail, and I don't like rats, and while I'm not terribly fond of mice, I will admit they're cuter than rats... so I call it mouse tail.  Or Mousie for short. 

Also, I'm told that the species is rarely encountered.  Which is rather amusing, as I found it on a clearance rack at Lowe's Hardware  store for $5.00.  I acquired this plant at the same time I acquired the Rik Rak cactus that I wrote about in a previous post.  It hung around, and it paid for itself, as I took some cuttings and rooted them to sell for a couple of bucks each at the flea market. 

About three weeks ago, I brought him in from the porch and placed him in the back breezeway, where he gets light, (not as much as outside, but it's the best I can provide) because there was a frost coming through.  Today, when I went out to check the plants on the bench out there, I noticed this...

Flower Buds! 

Which is cool... the flowers should be about 1/2 inch wide, and will be followed by red fruits.  and this thing is covered with buds. so cool...   

The plant, as I mentioned, is supposed to be rarely encountered in cultivation, and is known to only seven locations in the wild, around Rio de Janeiro and San Paolo.  There are 4 known variations in the cultivated plants, but it isn't known whether these are natural variations tied to their wild locations, in which case they would need to be divided into subspecies, or if these are variations that have shown up in cultivation, in which case they'd have a cv added onto the end of their name.  

It's an easy plant to grow.  Given bright light, say in the shade of the front porch, it has green stems covered with white fuzz... these are kid friendly by the way... they're hairs and not spines.  Given stronger light, the stems will supposedly  turn purplish and the hairs get denser. 

These are jungle cactus, so in the heat of an arid Texas summer, they're watered every couple of days, and every day in the triple digit days of August. 

They like a rich, quick draining soil mix. 
Miracle Grow potting mix with some (undyed) bark mulch mixed in works just fine, or you could come up with your own mix. 

Any stem that gets knocked off will root if put in soil and kept moist... or cut a few stems off and make a little clump in a pot, which  will quickly root and fill out in a couple of months or so.

and that's about it.  I'll post an update of flowers and fruits later...  

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Just a howdeedoo

Between the flea market, the etsy store,  and the Thanksgiving induced coma, i haven't had a split second to even think about posting on the blog... so sorry to abandon all of you...  

The first freezes of the year have hit... almost everything on the garden had moved into its winter sleep... except for the roses.  These were origionally some of those grocery store mini roses... 
The blooms are still tiny, but the plants are now 3 feet tall and about 5 wide... and they're blooming despite the freezes...