Sunday, August 31, 2008


Those of you who know me at all know that I'm a big fan of the Andy Griffith Show, or TAGS. There is a website called "The Front Porch", which is inhabited by the Porchsters, a group of people of wide interests and fields of endeavor. We include a couple of gospel singer/songwriters, some nurses other than myself, a pet groomer, an electrician, a goat rancher, several homemakers, teachers, and others too numerous to list. We have been together for a long time, and consider ourselves a family. We each have a "handle", something closely (or loosely) related to TAGS for the most part, but not entirely. One of our members goes by the name of Goober, and it is by that name that I shall identify him here.

Goober recently wrote a comment to one of my blogs, that of Sunday, August 3. He has been busy at the garage, and it was a bit belated, and then I was slow in finding it, but when I read it, I wanted to make sure that everyone else read it as well. So, for today, Goober will be a "guest blogger". I have copied his comment and will post it here for your convenience in reading it.

Thanks, Goob.

You pose the question "Have we forgotten about 9/11"? Sad to say I think the answer there is, YES! We've seemed to retreat as a people overall (I know there are lots who are still very much aware, I'm speaking more towards a prevailing sentiment) into the pre-911 days where we were sure that we we untouchable. Things that we saw happen around the world could never happen here. But we were wrong.

That morning caught us off guard and too comfortable in our day to day importance. The collective ego of the American public just couldn't comprehend that possibility that we'd be attacked on our own land. I'm not laying blame on any person or party for allowing it to happen. Though there were opportunities to eliminate the threat that Bin-Laden posed...if it hadn't been that day and at his would have been another time and another terrorist. It was inevitable, because we were asleep. We allowed an enemy to walk through our doors that we proudly wave open for the world, and strike without hesitation.

Now...America is back to dozing again. We're not totally asleep yet...but the head is bobbing. We've focused all that righteous rage that held us through those times, onto to making sure we don't offend anyone or 'over react' to a people and practice that fosters hate towards us as a standard. I'm not lumping all Muslims into this hate pool...that'd be silly. But there are absolute indicators that Muslim extremists are still up and active and ever growing in the diligence to attack again.

We're at a place where we're about to elect our next leader. I'm a supporter of Mr. Bush...not that everything he's done in office has been done in a way that I agree with, but overall I appreciate his commitment and heart to do the right thing. Our choices for this election are troubling. Mr. McCain has several areas where I agree with him...and I believe he certainly has the experience and smarts to lead us in a time of war. I don't believe he shares the convictions of our faith...not totally, and don't believe he'll be a President that will champion the same agenda as we expect Republicans to push. Not to say that it has to be an all or nothing, but there is a moral flavor that may not be as strong in him.

Mr. Obama...just flat out scares me. His mantra for change and delivering the hope so needed makes me uneasy every time I hear him. Many have been talking about him being the anti-christ and all that...I don't believe that, but I certainly believe that his views foster a rapid growth of the move away from Christian values and standing up for what we believe, regardless of whose feelings get hurt. He's also made it quite clear that his experience in leading this country through a time of war is weak. Yet...he maintains a healthy standing in this race...and that's troublesome.

While I appreciate the historic significance of him being the first black man to be in this position...that should not be why he's voted for OR against. It's wrong either way..and is racism no matter how you slice it. Votes should be cast on the experience and ability to lead, not the color of the candidates skin.

Have we forgotten? Yes...and it's going to be a harsh wake up call at some time. I agree with's going to be worse. And while we're busy making provisions to not offend anyone, making sure we're allowing for all beliefs and celebrating everyone's values (except of course Christianity. Just say Howard Dean talking about the Obama camp reaching out to Evangelicals and "People Like That"), we're slowly letting the guard back down, and letting the trouble in the door.

God help us...

August 29, 2008 5:47 AM

Saturday, August 30, 2008


This morning I received an email telling me of a challenge being faced by a friend, a former Sunday School class member, who has moved away. Her son's little daughter is quite ill, with what appears to be a neurological problem, possibly a brain or spinal tumor, or a buildup of fluid in one of the two, cause unknown. She is due for some sophisticated tests, which will require extended anesthesia. This is, of course, the stuff of which nightmares are made for parents. We who have been parents fully understand that.

Guess what? We who are now grandparents know that it's going to be no picnic for my friend either. Something like this is hard on the little patient, very hard on the parents, and in some ways perhaps even harder on the loving grandparents, who by nature's design can mostly just stand by and support. The parents must, and should, make all the plans and decisions, and we grandparents can only watch. If we have differing opinions, we can help most by keeping them to ourselves. That's probably a good thing, because there's no law that says we're right all the time, even though we think differently, and at a time like this, the parents don't need the added pressure of having to justify or defend the decisions they're making. No, this is our time to shine in the area of loving support and encouragement, and most of all, prayer.

Only another grandparent understands that we are not only watching our grandchild endure suffering, but we're watching our own child as well. My son and his precious wife lost a baby to a lethal birth defect. He only lived an hour, and I remember only too well the pain of watching my son mourn his son. When he was a little boy, we protected and guarded him, and to a great extent were successful in keeping him from hurt or harm. As he grew up and took control of his life, he had some knocks and disappointments, but he was strong and rolled over and through them with very few scars. The sudden death of his father hurt him very much, but again he was strong, and was a source of strength for me.

Then came the loss of his precious little son, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to shield him from that pain. My own heart was in shreds at the loss of our precious little grandson, but it shattered completely when my tall, strong son broke down in sobs, and there was nothing I could do but stand dumbly by, patting his shoulder.

I watched him with pride as he pulled himself together and gave his grieving wife the support and love she needed so badly. Both of them were numb with grief, but they did what they had to do, made the decisions that must be made at a time like that, planned a funeral and ultimately, in their own hearts and minds, surrendered their little son to God.

The other grandmother is my dear friend, and the two of us cried together as we watched our children walk through the darkest valley of their lives. And we watched them with pride. They picked up the pieces of their life together, focused on the son they already had, and in time made the courageous decision to have another child, not allowing their recent experience to frighten them. They had a strong and healthy little boy.

They became active in a support group for parents who have lost babies or young children, and have been instrumental in helping that organization grow and spread across the country. They have dealt with their grief and used it to fuel their determination to help others who are enduring the same kind of loss. Out of loss, they have produced gain, and we grandmothers are very proud of them.

The whole point here is that these young parents did all this with only stand-by help from us, the grandparents. As hard as it was for us to stand on the sidelines and watch, that is still as it should be. We are no longer the players, we are now the cheerleaders, and that's really not such a bad place to be.

I can't speak for all grandparents, but personally, when I stand by and watch one of my children make good decisions, succeed in some endeavor, or raise their own children well, I feel affirmed. It tells me that my husband and I must have done something right as we were bringing them up in this difficult world. True, we had good clay to work with. The kids were bright and had good hearts. They made us look good and made our job easy. We probably couldn't have ruined them if we'd tried, but still, I can't help taking some pride in their accomplishments. They are good parents, and are bringing up some delightful children of their own.

It's fun to keep the grandkids for a day or two, and indulge them at birthdays and Christmas. We rejoice in their victories at school. We listen to their little confidences, and play the advocate for them with their parents at times.
Now, here's a secret that some grandparents aren't willing to admit, but I will. There's a certain relief in going to bed most nights without having to turn our "mommy ears" on, to listen for the sounds that tell us we need to go running for a mop, or initiate a search for a bottle of cough syrup, or just sit by a bed and rub away the pains in growing young legs.

Oh yes, we're willing to do this when we're needed, to give the parents a shot at some vacation time, or just to have some quality time with the grandkids. Still, we know it's temporary, that the parents will be back and gather their chicks and take them home, and any grandmother with a shred of honesty in her soul will admit that she's glad she's a cheerleader now, not an A-team player. The ball has been punted, the baton passed, and life is good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Last Tuesday's Dallas Morning News carried a story about a man, Jim Greenwood, in the Stonebriar neighborhood in Frisco, whose "neighbors" have objected to his 2007 Ford F-150 pickup being parked on his driveway. It seems it doesn't meet the "upscale" standards of the Homeowners Association. Big honking SUVs are okay, but not this late-model pickup. According to a man named Bill Osborn, a board member with the HOA, the SUVs are "fancier" and "plush with amenities". Therefore, presumably, they're acceptable, in spite of the fact that they're as big as a Sherman tank. The board states that Mr. Greenwood must keep his truck in his garage.

The truck, apparently, is driven by Mr. Greenwood's teenage son. The family also has a car and a Suburban, and a two-car garage. Which one of the three would you park on the driveway? All three vehicles probably leave in the morning and return in the evening, with those driven by the parents most likely remaining in the garage therafter. If the boy is like most teenagers, the truck probably also leaves and returns in the evening. It seems logical for the truck to be the outside vehicle, to avoid a lot of shifting of cars.

I'm sorry, folks, but this seems like a reeaaally nit-picky issue, and I think the HOA needs to grow up. So there is a late-model, nice pickup truck parked on a driveway. This is Texas, dear hearts! Get over it.

You think you have problems? You should drive down my street in the evening, every evening. We don't have a Homeowners Association. I wish we did. My street is extra wide, and the houses are set back at least ten feet farther from the street than the city requires. My father built almost every house on the street, and he planned it so it would be open and roomy, and wouldn't look crowded and congested. Well, I'm glad he can't see it now.

There are cars parked on the street in front of more than half the houses. One house sports five cars, one has six, and one has at least eight and sometimes more. There are four lined up on the double-wide driveway, and the other four are in the street. They were parked in the yard until somebody complained loudly enough. Now they're on the street, and one van has been in the same spot, with a flat tire, for weeks. I can only wish that they were nice late-model pickups. No, most of them look like they were built by kids out of junk-yard parts. Fenders or doors that don't match, missing bumpers, and one has a cardboard window.

Now here's another issue. Eight cars presupposes that there are eight licensed (?) drivers in that house. That would be eight adults, right? There are also five or six young children, obviously not drivers, living there. In addition, I've seen some young women walking around the neighborhood in the evening, but have never seen them drive a car. I'm thinking that there are at least sixteen people living there, maybe more. This is a single family dwelling. Looking at these numbers, I can only conclude that there is more than one family living there, or if not, then the parents need to kick some grown kids out of the nest.

My best guess is that these folks are illegal immigrants. They appear to be Hispanic, and the only language I've ever heard any of them speak is Spanish. I tried once to speak to one of the young women on her evening walk, and she only smiled and nodded, with a blank look on her face. It appears to me that there are several families, pooling their resources, in order to afford to live in that house. I've noticed also that some of the cars seem to disappear now and then, but are soon replaced by different cars. Impounded? Someone went back to Mexico and someone else came in? Who knows?

They finally quit having their front-yard parties, with kegs and boomboxes and people sitting around in and on the cars. They moved to the back yard after enough neighbors complained, but the music is still heard, late on a Saturday night.

I fully recognize and acknowledge that situations like this are the very reason for having a Homeowners Association. As I said, I wish we had one. We need one, because it's obvious to one and all that the City of Irving is not going to do one piddling thing to enforce whatever zoning laws we may have. It's too bad we don't have anyone living on the street who has any political clout in town. If we did, I'll bet those old zoning laws would be trotted out and put to work, at least in this case.
I wish we had a city government with the integrity to police situations like this, but we don't.

Since we don't, I wish we had a Homeowners Association, but we don't have that either. I suppose it's too late to form one now, though perhaps that needs to be investigated. If we do manage to charter one, I would certainly hope that we will frame it in such a way that it addresses real issues, not stupid little things like somebody parking a 2007 Ford F-150 on their driveway.

Friday, August 22, 2008


It's been a while since I've been at this keyboard, I hope my small readership hasn't drifted too far away. When last here, I was very concerned for my friend Joe, and I'm happy to report that he is doing extremely well. In fact, he and his helpers were here this afternoon briefly, as I had an irrigation line that was spouting heavenward, rather than gently dribbling at the base of my roses, as it's supposed to do. A temporary repair was made, and they will be back next week after obtaining a necessary part, to complete the repair. As I said, Joe is doing well, looks good, and is a bit testy regarding the restrictions which his doctor is still imposing on his activity. He's being pretty good, though. Like most men, he's stubborn and impatient with such things, but stupid he ain't.

Anybody want some goldfish? We have had more babies out there in the pond, there's a small school of inch-long goldfish darting about. I don't know where they hang out from the time they hatch until they reach that inch-long size. I've never seen any that were smaller, but I know they're very tiny when they hatch, so where are they in the interval? There are water lilies and a lotus plant in the pond, and stones and a couple of flowerpots, so I guess they just hide out in the crevices and under lily leaves. Obviously, they hide somewhere, because there they are! Really, I will have to "thin the herd" at some point, because the pond will only support so many, but Joe said he'd take my excess. He has a very large stock pond/small lake on his property in the country, so they can go there. Good grief, I wonder how big they'll get in a huge environment like that?

We have had a lot of much-needed rain. I sat here at this window on Wednesday afternoon, and watched as the rain literally poured down out there. The big birdbath had become so thick with algae growing in the bowl that I had deliberately let it dry out. Scrubbing it out doesn't work all that well, but if you let it dry for a day or two, you can literally sweep it out with a whisk broom, or knock it out with a hard water jet. The result will be a very clean bowl, almost like new.

So, the bowl was empty when the rain started. Twenty minutes later, it was running over, and that thing is three inches deep! Now, I realize that being bowl-shaped, it isn't an accurate measurement of rainfall, but it must have been at least two inches, even allowing for the sloping bottom. That was a lot of rain, and I swear the grass grew an inch, before my very eyes! Alas, so did the nutgrass in the flowerbeds.

I absolutely despise that stuff. One day there will be nothing there, and the next day there's a huge stand of nutgrass, waving as I walk by, daring me to come and pull it up. Usually, I can't resist, and will grab the largest, most annoying clumps and pull them up. This, of course, is the very worst thing one can do with nutgrass. Since it propagates by underground shoots, pulling it just breaks those shoots, which has the same effect as pruning plants above ground. Prune a chrysanthemum, and it will send up two shoots where you cut off one. Pull up a clump of nutgrass, and it will branch and make two (or more) shoots where you broke the original root.

It's hateful stuff, and its worst trait is that it grows very well in mulch! A good layer of mulch will discourage almost any weed, but not nutgrass. It thrives in mulch! The only real cure for it is a weed killer, whether chemical or organic. RoundUp works well, because it not only withers the visible plant, but it also kills the root and therefore all the little baby plants that are sitting there about to emerge. If you pull up a large clump very gently, lifting with a hand spade to avoid breaking the root, you'll find that it extends like a string, with a little node, or "nut" here and there along the strand. Those little nodes will sprout and send a new plant up to the surface, so one plant soon becomes a dozen or more. Vicious, terribly invasive plant, and extremely hard to kill out.

This mode of propagation means that my trusty corn gluten meal is mostly ineffective against it. I use corn gluten meal as an organic pre-emergent weed killer. You just spread it on the lawn and in the flowerbeds in early spring, before the weed seeds germinate, and it will keep them from doing so. Nutgrass does seed if you let it get old enough. You will see the seedheads forming on the biggest, most mature clumps, but even if you put out corn gluten meal and prevent its seeds from germinating, it just tunnels underground with those wretched node-laden strands, and pops up to laugh at you as you walk by.

I don't like to use chemicals, whether as fertilizer or weed killer, but sometimes with nutgrass there's just no other way. Vinegar applied full strength works to some extent, and isn't harmful to anything else unless it comes in direct contact. It doesn't contaminate the soil, and in fact can be beneficial as it dilutes itself into the ground with watering. On small invasions of nutgrass, it works well. However, with a full-scale, all-out, no-holds-barred invasion such as I have in two of my flowerbeds, I don't think the vinegar is going to work. I may have to fall back on RoundUp.

However, I can't use RoundUp or vinegar, either one, until I'm sure it won't rain for a couple of days. It does no good to apply them if they're just going to be washed off. They both have to stay on the plant to do any good. Since there is more rain predicted for the weekend, I guess I'm just going to have to sit here at this window and watch as the Devilgrass grows, and its little imps pop up everywhere!

Be blessed, my friends.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Will we wake up in time?

The view from my window today is not a very pretty one. In fact, it's one that causes me great concern, and I want to share that concern, because only when we all recognize that there is indeed a problem, will we begin to do something about it.

I subscribe to a Christian news agency, "One News Now". Some of you may be subscribers as well, and if so, then you've already encountered the things that are troubling me today. Here's one article, copied and pasted directly from the ONN website:
Tyson Foods warms up to Islam
Associated Press - 8/3/2008 6:45:00 AM

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - Workers at the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Shelbyville will no longer have a paid day off on Labor Day but will instead be given the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr as a holiday.

According to a news release from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a new 5-year contract at the plant included the change to accommodate the hundreds of Somali Muslims who work at the plant .

Eid al-Fitr — which falls on Oct. 1 this year — marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

Union leaders say implementing the holiday was important for the nearly 700 Muslims, many of them Somalis, who work at the plant that employs a total of 1,200 people.

The Shelbyville Times-Gazette newspaper quotes union spokesman Randy Hadley as saying the negotiating team felt this change was "extremely crucial, since this holiday is as important to Muslims as Christmas is to Christians."

The newspaper also quotes the union as saying two prayer rooms have been created at the Shelbyville Tyson Foods' plant "to allow Muslim workers to pray twice a day and return to work without leaving the plant."

So what about the other 500 workers at that plant? Just forget any Labor Day weekend plans with their families, I guess. I'm curious as to the legality of this - last time I looked, Labor Day was a recognized national holiday. It seems to me that a better solution would have been to continue granting Labor Day holidays to the non-Muslims, and have the Muslims come to work. Then on Eid al-Fitr, whatever that is, let the Muslims off while everyone else comes to work. Better yet, instead of picking on Labor Day, let the Muslims off on their holiday, and then have them work on Christmas while the Christians are off. The best solution, of course, would have been to tell them all to return to Somalia, where they can have all the "Fitr" holidays they want. That, however, would not have been very PC, and might have affected Tyson's bottom line, so they would never do that. No, instead, they just knuckled under, and gave the Muslims one more victory.

And now it's time for the Christians among those remaining 500 workers to stand up and demand a prayer room too, as well as breaks to go and avail themselves of the opportunity, and then, please Lord - actually go there and pray. This country needs those prayers, obviously.

Now, as if the first news release wasn't annoying enough, here's another one, and it concerns - guess who? - the Somali Muslims. Here's a charming little story regarding those good people:
Somali Christian martyred

A Somali Christian has paid the ultimate price for his faith.

Hussein, the 28-year-old victim, had converted from the Muslim faith to Christianity. Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern says he (Hussein) was confronted by Islamic extremists who demanded to know if he faces Mecca when he prays, which is required of Muslims.

"Hussein says he doesn't face Mecca when he prays because his God is omnipresent and he can face anywhere to pray," Racho recounts the incident. "[T]he extremists were very much enraged by his comments, and they killed him."

Upon learning that her husband had been shot to death, Hussein's wife went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn baby.

Hussein had been working as a teacher and was described as extremely successful in evangelizing the community.


These are the people to whom Tyson is granting their holiday at the expense of everyone's Labor Day weekend, and for whom their "prayer rooms" have been built. I certainly hope those rooms are facing in the right direction - if not, I guess Allah can't hear them.

Across the world, Muslims are murdering people for being Christians, or for even having a Bible in their possession. They burn churches, sometimes with the congregants trapped inside. They bomb trains. In Indonesia, a favorite practice is to cut a suspected Christian's nose off, so everyone will know. They hack off heads. Several of their cultures, including the Somalis, practice female genital mutilation, all in Allah's name. I've cared for some of those women at my hospital. Here, in this country the Muslims hate so much, we are building prayer rooms for them, accommodating their holidays, allowing them to build their big onion-domed mosques in our cities, and just falling all over ourselves trying to please and appease them. I'm sorry, I simply don't get it.

When are we going to wake up?

And now, I'm going to quit preaching and start meddling, as my childhood pastor used to say.

With all this going on, and the countless other horror stories we've all heard and read and in some cases witnessed, why on earth are we considering electing someone to the Presidency who comes from a Muslim background? Oh, I know, I know, he denies being a Muslim, declares himself to be a Christian, and perhaps he is. I'm not his judge, only God knows the truth of that claim.

What he does not deny, because he knows he could easily be proven a liar, is that he has many family members who are known Muslims. We've all seen the "family picture" on the internet, and any first-year journalist could come up with facts and figures, and many have done so.

I'm old enough to clearly remember the last few years of WWII, and I distinctly remember when President Truman had to make the tragic decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima, and a few days later, on Nagasaki. He was harshly criticized by many for that decision, but the fact is, he ended the war with Japan. The Japanese would not have gone down and surrendered otherwise. The proof of that is in the fact that the bombing of Nagasaki was necessary. Hiroshima wasn't enough! Without those bombings, the war would have ground on for years.

Tragically, multiplied thousands of Japanese civilians were killed or terribly injured in those bombings, and the effects of the radiation lasted for many years, in some cases even until today. It was a hard decision for Truman to make, and I'm sure it haunted him to his grave. However, had he refused to drop those bombs, many, many thousands of American service personnel would have died as the war went on. If the Japanese could have made it to our shores, you can bet they would have bombed our cities. Los Angeles and San Francisco would have been the first to go. They didn't have nuclear power, but they could have caused a lot of death and devastation, and would not have hesitated to do so. And so, President Harry Truman did what he felt he had to do.

Now here's a question. Let's say that his name was Harry Yamamoto, and he was an American of Japanese descent, second-generation probably. Let's say that his dear sweet little grandmother lived in Hiroshima, and he had aunts and uncles and cousins in that city, and in Nagasaki. Could he, would he have ordered the bombing that ended the war? Could you? Would I?

So, here we are at an unthinkable point in the history of our country. We are rapidly being infiltrated by Muslims, and if you think all of them are coming here because they just want the American way of life, sweetie, have I got news for you. Perhaps some are. Many, however, are here as part of a larger plan, make no mistake about it. Like it or not, we are in a war with these people. Have we forgotten 9/11, and the many other attacks that have been leveled against us in the past couple of decades, by none other than Muslims?

In the midst of this, we are actually allowing a man named Barack Hussein Obama to present himself as a candidate for the Presidency of this country of ours. He may not be a Muslim himself, he says he's not. However, he has said he's a Christian, and then turned right around and made statements that would cause me to wonder. However, as I said earlier, I'm not his judge, God knows his heart, and I don't.

I do know this. He has a lot of family, including, yes, a "dear sweet little grandmother" who live in Islamic countries. He has uncles and aunts and cousins living in those countries. Whatever his own conviction may be, he has a lot of family members who are professing, practicing Muslims, and who reside in Muslim-dominated countries. This is well documented, and isn't subject to debate.

So, here's my question. In this time of covert warfare, terrorism, counter-terrorism and grave instability, do we want a man in the Oval Office with ties to Muslim nations? If push comes to shove, could he, would he, give the order to bomb a Muslim country, where he has family living, in order to defend this country?

In my heart of hearts, I sincerely feel that it is going to come to that, and probably sooner than we think. They are becoming more and more bold, and I believe there will be another attack like 9/11, and probably worse. It's a matter of time. We are not dealing with logical, thinking people with any kind of rational thought going on. These people are fanatic zealots, who think they're ensuring their place in paradise by the murdering of Christians and other "infidels". If you're not a Muslim, you're garbage, not fit to live. Oh yes, we're at war with them right now, and it won't be much longer before we find ourselves in an all-out, declared and committed war. When that happens, will our President be able to do what is necessary to end it? Or will he have to wrestle with the guilty knowledge that he's ordering the deaths of some of his own family?

While I consider Mr. Obama to be much too inexperienced for the office of President, I do not consider him to be stupid. He knows, he must know, that a war is coming, and he surely has already settled within his own heart what he will do when it comes. I'm very much afraid that we can all easily figure out what his decision was.

Frankly, that scares me to death.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fatigue and a few flowers

Good morning, everyone. I've been away from my window for a few days, limited to just quick little visits, due to an unusual work schedule. Work a night, off a night, work, off, and work again. Since these are twelve-hour night shifts, that many in such proximity can keep you busy. Sleep becomes the Holy Grail.

Anyway, it's over and I have a few nights off, back to back. My daughter and granddaughter and grandson are coming tonight for a quick weekend visit, and I'm looking forward to that. I must fire up the front-end loader and clean the house before they get here, but that needed to be done anyway.

The view from my window this morning is about what you'd expect as July dies and August is born. Colors are fading, and many have disappeared completely as the relatively tender annuals succumb to the brutal heat. Even the tough and resilient coneflowers have faded, their bright pinks and purples turning a weary gray. Enough of them have dried and gone to seed to ensure their return next year, so George pulled them up on Tuesday, along with everything else that was spent and done. Everything that remains out there now is semi-permanent, as tolerant of this heat as anything can be expected to be, and is mostly foliar, with a few flowers here and there.

The barberry is beautiful, it just doesn't seem to mind the heat, and its pretty purple-green foliage is so nice. The knockout roses are blooming very lightly. In spite of the publicity that surrounds them - everblooming, never need to be deadheaded, etc. - they do benefit from some pruning and deadheading now and then, and I haven't done that. I need to get out there with some sharp shears and a trash bag, and give them a quick haircut. They'll reward me in a couple of weeks with a fresh flush of blooms.

The crape myrtles are blooming, but again very lightly. They're not doing too well this year, I think I need to feed them. I have a bag of organic fertilizer in the garage, it's just been too hot to get out there and apply it. It's almost too late now, though. I'm not sure that fertilizing and forcing bloom this late into the heat season is a good idea. I must ask John, my neighbor with the garden center, who is my resident consultant.

There's a bit of color out there still. Black-eyed Susans back by the fence, yellow lantana near the bird-bath boulder, pink and purple verbena brightening up one end of the rose island, and multi-color moss rose (I love moss rose) sprawling across the little side path by the pond. An occasional water lily graces the pond itself - one is a brilliant blue, and is so pretty.

A yellow one bloomed a couple of days ago, and the pink one bloomed earlier in the summer, but seems to be about done with it now. The lotus, of course, gave me one incredible flower, and that's all. I hear that they often produce several, but mine has never bloomed more than once each season. Too bad - but that one bloom is worth it. Gorgeous!

Speaking of gorgeous, I got a lovely surprise earlier this week. There are probably at least twenty-five varieties of iris out there, and while they put on a spectacular show in the spring, for the rest of the year they're just an ever-increasing spread of spiky gray-green foliage. Not unattractive, but I like flowers better. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions. There are some varieties which are classified as "remontant" which means they'll re-bloom later in the summer, or very early fall. One of those rebloomers is "Total Recall", and it's well named. Here's what it gave me on July 28!

This particular beauty has a very tight blooming habit, meaning that the flowers are closely spaced along the stem, and some are double-socketed - two blooms emerging at almost the same time from one bloom socket. This gives a lovely mop-head style to the flowers, and they're just so pretty.

I have several remontants out there, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there will be more flowers this summer. Even the commercial growers will tell you that remontancy is not guaranteed - it's strictly up to the iris! It's possible that Total Recall will be the only one. On the other hand, there may be several more. Harvest of Memories will probably put in an appearance, it usually does. It's a much deeper yellow than Total Recall, more like a deep gold. It's behind the fountain boulder, and is gorgeous when it rises up and waves to me over the top of that rock. It rebloomed last year, I hope it stays true to form.

And now I have some very good news. My friend Joe is doing very well, after the terrifying events of the past week or so. He had a pacer/defibrillator implanted yesterday, and will possibly go home today, if not then tomorrow for sure. His activity will be limited for a while, but if I know him, he'll find a way. He'll get his helper to drive him, and they'll keep working. I certainly covet his presence here, to advise and suggest, especially as the seasons change, but if he thinks he's going to pick up a shovel, he's got another think coming.
Like most men, he's a bit muley when it comes to taking care of himself, but I think this chain of events has gotten his attention, so perhaps he'll be a bit more cooperative.

His wife is planning to camp on his trail and make him behave.
She called me last night with an update, and it was so good to hear joy and hope in her voice, instead of the fear that was there the last time we spoke. I know many of you have been praying for him along with me. Please continue. God is good.

And now, I must get busy. Stay out of the heat, everyone, if you can.