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About three and a half months ago we had Hurricane Harvey. Today we had snow on the coast as did much of South Texas! The last time it snowed was on Christmas Eve of 2004. Early this morning neighbors were out again (as after Harvey but this time welcoming the change in weather) reveling in the magical wonderland that our neighborhood had become. We were bundled up in coats, hats and gloves that had been stored away and seldom used. The past couple of weeks have been very warm and air conditioners were still running and shorts were still being worn. Kids and adults were trying to make snowmen but with meager results as most had little snow-making experience.
For those for whom snow is a normal occurrence, feel free to skip this post: spoiler ahead, it is mostly of snow! But perhaps I can be forgiven as it may not snow for another thirteen years. Husband gets the credit for them.
By noon the sun came out beautifully and the snow began to melt, but for a time our coast was a magical place and children created memories of the year it snowed. Cheers!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY NOV. 23
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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.
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.”
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.
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
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