On a recent overnight trip Husband and I stopped in Crystal City, Texas to check out a historical site (future post) and found Popeye the Sailor Man. The city claims to be the “Spinach Capital of the World,” so it seems appropriate for statue of Popeye and a Spinach Festival that started the day after we were there. The festival featured music, a beauty pageant, carnival, a spinach cook-off and for the first time ever, a spinach-eating contest. Contestants had to eat cans of spinach; I assume they did not have to open them Popeye-style. It was 52 degrees that day so it was cold for us in November. The next day it was warmer.
Inspired by a El Dia de los Muertos Street Festival last year that I wrote about, I have created an altar(ofrenda) in my home. These altars are to remember and honor the dead. November 1 is All Saints Day and November 2 is All Souls Day. The Day of the Dead is celebrated November 2 although some seem to combine the two days.
Day of the Dead –
Paths of flower petals and
burning incense guide
spirits to the house of the living.
Tables with favorite food and drink.
orange and yellow flowers,
all offered to the spirits.
Then the living go to
graves of the dead.
Custom says ill fortune, illness
death or worse
those who make no offerings.
Who will decorate my grave?
Who will bring me food?
Who will talk to me?
Cremation may be best f or me.
Below is a closer look at my orfenda The pocket knife is for my father; the clip earrings for my mother; the wine bottle for another relative; the carnations for a friend; matches with Mexican Loteria characters for those that loved to gamble; sage for cleansing. I needed marigolds! Maybe next year.
MAY THEIR SOULS FIND THEIR WAY TO MY ORFENDA EVEN IF ONLY IN MY HEART.
While out for my morning jog I found this new couple in the neighborhood. They seemed timeless, classy and trendy.
FIGHTING FOR THE NECTAR IN OUR BACK YARD
September is the time of year when thousands of hummingbirds make their way south for the winter. This section of the Gulf Coast seems to be right on their migratory path. The 29th annual Hummerbird Celebration that was scheduled for Sept. 15-17 was canceled as the Fulton-Rockport area is recovering from Hurricane Harvey. The festival provides education about the visitors as well as an opportunity to see them close up; many people put up dozens of feeders up and open their yards to the public. This year residents and businesses are busy making repairs and trying to get back to normal so a festival in the midst of chaos was just not possible.
A few days after Harvey left I saw my first hummingbird in the back yard and got out my three feeders and mixed some nectar for them. I was sure there would not be a Hummerbird Celebration this year and worried about these tiny jewels that normally feast on flowers and feeders in the area. Even in my neighborhood we were still dealing with downed fences, repairs and downed trees. But the birds were not forgotten.
As they began their annual descent upon the Fulton-Rockport area volunteers started to help and donations came in for them as well as those affected by the storm. Wild Bird Unlimited stores collected donations and sent feeder kits complete with poles for hanging. Winter Texans sent money. The crew from the King Ranch’s nature- tour brought 100 Best-1 Feeders made in Poteet , Texas. Outdoor writer for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times David Sikes wrote:
“The ranch’s nature staff decided not to burden Rockport residents with DIY hummingbird kits, white they were in the throes of the storm. So the King Ranch crew began filling and putting out feeders themselves at six Aransas Pathways nature sites.
Aransas Pathways is a collection of sites in the county aimed at creating and preserving nature area and historical treasures for locals and visitors.
Attached to the feeders is a laminated note, explaining how folks can adopt a feeder. This would involve keeping the feeders filled and clean. Within a week or so seven had been adopted.”
WHEN THE FEEDER WAS NOT SO CROWDED
Some locals have put up feeders amid the debris just to make it more normal and help restore life to the community. Most of the flowering plants and shrubs that the hummers feed on were torn apart by Harvey’s winds. The mayor of Rockport and local companies have encouraged aid for the hungry travelers. In the fall they come south and cross the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico and Central America; in spring they make the return trip north. I will keep my feeders up until they are gone. Usually the last ones move on by the end of October but I always leave one up for the stragglers. When spring comes I will welcome them back! Right now they are keeping me busy refilling them at least twice a day.
THIS ONE SHOWS MORE OF THEIR IRIDESCENT COLOR.
RECIPE FOR ARTIFICIAL NECTAR (SYRUP)
1. Use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
2. Boil the water 1-2 minutes. Stir in the sugar while the water is still hot. Let cool before filling the feeder.
Store unused syrup in refrigerator for as long as 2 weeks.
PHOTOS BY HUSBAND
Mabon is a harvest festival, the second of three, that encourages pagans to “reap what they sow,” both literally and figuratively. It is the time when night and day stand equal in duration; thus is it a time to express gratitude, complete projects and honor a moment of balance.
View of our back yard with a bedraggled oak tree. Back fence is leaning slightly but that can be easily corrected.
Harvey made landfall in the middle of the night here with rain and shrieking winds as we listened through the night in darkness with storm shutters down. The power had gone off hours before. The morning brought gentle rain and stillness. Our neighborhood was fortunate with little damage other than downed trees, limbs and fences. The eye of the hurricane went in a little to the north of us so we did not experience the strongest of the winds which damaged and destroyed many homes. Flooding took its toll also. Harvey worked its way up the coast to the Houston area and into Louisiana. Relief and rescue efforts are ongoing. I am sure many of you have seen the devastation in the news. Our power came back on Monday evening.
Daughter across town had little damage to her home beyond downed fences and broken limbs. The USS Lexington Museum where she works held fast anchored just off North Beach in Corpus Christi.
Son in Houston had no loss of power and no flooding. He works for United Way of Greater Houston and was able to volunteer taking 211 calls.
My 81-year-old sister is staying with us as her home in Victoria still has no power but little damage.
Ironically, on Friday my brother-in-law called to check on us and invite us to ride out the storm with him and my sister on their ranch outside of Freer (80 miles to the west of us and 60 miles from the border of Mexico). I declined as we wanted to stay. Two hours later I got a call that their house had been completely destroyed by a fire; they got out unharmed but could save nothing. They will rebuild, but at 89 years and 86 years old it will not be an easy transition. Thursday we drove out to see them. They are strong people with a proud Texas attitude. My brother-in-law could joke that he really hated to lose those new boots and hat he had just bought.
Life goes on. I am grateful for all that I have. My heart breaks for the loss of life, damage to property, and hardships (financial and emotional) that the hurricane has brought. It has encouraged the best in people as neighbors and strangers help each other. Governments, military, non-profits and volunteers have pulled together to help. May it bring our country together. Thanks to all who have shown concern for this Coastal Crone! I am far behind in responding and reading blogs but life comes first. Sending good wishes to all! The sun is shining brightly today. Cheers!
Hurricane Harvey is soon to be an uninvited guest on the Gulf Coast of Texas. It is gathering strength as it approaches land and is expected to be a category three hurricane. The last time one with that strength hit here was in 1970 with Hurricane Celia. We are prepared for the worst. Many people have already evacuated.
We have chosen to ride it out here in Portland, just across the bay from Corpus Christi. While we are a block from the Nueces Bay, we are on a bluff so we are not worried too much about flooding. On all the windows we have shutters that roll down easily manually. Plant and furniture on the patio have been brought in or secured. The neighborhood is quiet with some homes boarded up before the residents left. Some, like us, have chosen to stay.
We have plenty of food, water, libations, candles, flashlights and an emergency radio. Last night we had over an inch of slow rain. Today the wind is picking up slightly and it is drizzling off and on. The heavy rains are expected to start later this afternoon. Predictions right now having Harvey make landfall around midnight but that could change. More later.