Showing posts with label the mama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the mama. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Within Seven Years

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
The above photo is from seven years ago. That was the year the Mama decided it was okay to have planter boxes in her garden. She devised them herself, using loose boards, branches, and rocks.

At first, she grew vegetables in this box, but they didn't do to well. Too much shade from the miracle, apricot, and persimmon trees. I think it was four years ago, she decided to simply grow flowers in that box. "I like flowers," she said. "I want lots of flowers here." New flowers went in the box, as well as cuttings from her geraniums and daisies. I had my doubts. What was I thinking, right?

Yes, the box is full flowers. That's what it looked like this past March and April. The rear of the box is now full of geraniums.

Here's what the box looked like a few weeks ago. The Mama put up the headless scarecrow in hopes of scaring off the animals that were eating the apricots. Hasn't worked. But, I don't think she really minds too awful much. 

I'm linking up at ABC Wednesday, which was started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and continued today by Roger, Di, Wil, and others of the ABCW team. To find other Y posts by bloggers from around the world, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Watching the Mama's Garden Grow—Seven Weeks Later

The Asian pear tree
Back in May, Molly the Cat suggested I keep tabs on how certain parts of the Mama's garden are progressing throughout the summer. Here's the original post.  And, here are what those spots look like seven weeks later.

Bean vines are climbing up the wires. The Mama has harvested a hand full already.

Other kind of beans are growing in the middle boxes.
See how well the morning glories have grown.

Because it's not being watered as much (drought, you know), the apple tree
hasn't many leaves. A few apples are growing though. You can see one near the
top right hand corner of the picture.
Mama planted four eggplant plants at the end of May. I'm impressed at how they're bursting with fruit in simply four weeks. We ate one eggplant last week. It looks like we'll be eating more soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

X-ray Vision

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
The Mama doesn't drive anymore because she can't pass the eye test for her driver's license. (Thank goodness for that.) She gets annoyed with night and dimly lit scenes in movies on the TV because she can't quite make out what's going on, no matter how bright we make the monitor. But, in her garden, the mad horticulturist has x-ray vision, with a side of radar.

Do I see that lone, lemon leaf in the middle of the geraniums? Of course not. The Mama does.

Do I see the banana blossom sprouting within the banana grove? Nope. The Mama does.

Do I see that big chayote hanging in the midst of the miracle tree? Uh-uh. The Mama does.

It's the letter X at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and today hosted by Roger Green and his ABC team. Click here to check out other X posts by bloggers around the world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Wonderful, Wondrous Work of the Wizardess

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Three weeks ago, I showed you, dear readers, a photo of my tomato plant that got broken by the wind and the Mama put back into the soil. Quite a few of you expressed faith that the Mama's wizardy would help nurture it back to life. Well, here's what the tomato plant looks like as of yesterday evening.

Vibrant! I helped a bit by plucking off the dead leaves that you see in the top photo. Maybe I inherited some of the Mama's authentic green thumb and fingers gene.

I want to show you another wonder in the Mama's garden—the Blenheim apricot trees. She started with one tree, which is the one on the right with all the drooping branches full of apricots. The first two or three years that the tree produced, the Mama collected many of the apricot pits and planted them around the backyard.

See that tree on the left with the lone apricot. That's the first fruit of the second generation tree. There's another second-generation tree by the fence that burst forth with fruit this year, too, but with a dozen or more apricots.

The Mama has a rule about the first time a tree gives fruit. She has the Husband eat it. That way, the Mama says, the tree will grow more and a lot of fruit for years to come. How true is it? Well, the Husband was the first person to eat an apricot from the original tree.

It's the letter W at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and today hosted by Roger Green and his ABC cohorts. Click here to check out other W posts by bloggers around the world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The View of the Mama

A rare second: The Mama not fidgeting, not picking up leaves, not doing anything. The moment after I clicked the camera, she picked dried leaves off the rose bush in front of her.

It's ABC Wednesday. My theme this round has been The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumb...and Fingers. Click here to check out what other participants are writing about the letter V.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Unobtrusive Apple

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and her Authentic Green Thumb. . .
and Fingers
See the apple in the picture.

 I didn't see it when I took a photo of the branches this morning. So, I was utterly surprised when I saw the apple in the image on the computer.

The Mama and I didn't notice any blossoms on the tree earlier this year. I wonder how many other apples are hidden underneath the branches. Once I post this, I'm going outside to point out the unobtrusive apple to the Mama. Maybe we'll find others.

By the way, this apple tree, as well as two other apple trees, grew from seeds that the Mama planted nearly 28 years ago. Yup, from apples that she ate. People told her the tree would not ever bear fruit. Ha!

It's ABC Wednesday, a wonderful meme started by Denise Nesbitt and currently being administered by Roger Green and his wonderful ABC team. Come check out other U posts by bloggers from around the world.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Last Day in May Ramble

Today was watering-the-flowers morning, so Tilda-Hilda and I didn't go out for a ride. Maybe later if I can fix the twist in her tire, which makes her go bump, bump, bump. I didn't think much of it until I looked it up online. Experts say it's not a good idea to ride with a warped tire. The descriptions about what may cause a twisted tire reminds me of panties riding up. Poor Tilda-Hilda! If I can't fix her tire, then she's going to the bike shop tomorrow.

Watering the Plants

Our county finally imposed restrictions on water use for landscaping during the drought. I think it ought to stay in place even after the drought is over. But, that rant is for another post. Currently, everyone is allowed two days a week to water landscaping, which for us is Wednesday and Sunday. We water everything by hand. It takes longer, but it's more efficient and saves on water. So we think.

Because the Mama has a tough time of managing the hose, without spilling water all over the sidewalk, I water the flowers in both the front and back yards.  I leave watering the vegetables to her, which she can do any day of the week. The Mama has been kinda good about leaving the flowers to me. Still, she can't help watering any flowers next to the vegetables, if she thinks they can't wait another day. I don't make a big deal about it, like I would've have last year.  (I'm maturing.)  I just skip the flowers she has watered.

As for the lawn, I don't water it. Neither does the Husband, which is usually his task to do. He might later in the summer if the Mama starts watering it when we're not around. She likes her lawn. I don't blame her. We tell her she has to choose. Vegetables or the lawn? Interestingly, the two times that the Mama watered the lawn, it rained the next day.

Tiny Avocados

The other evening I was curious about whether the avocado tree had any fruit. It had a lot of flowers a couple months of ago. So, while Molly the Cat was eating her dinner alfresco on the patio (a story for another day), I checked out the avocado tree. Ooh la la! If all goes well, we're going to have a big crop this year. Right now, the fruits are the length of a fingernail, more or less. Here's how one branch of baby avocados looked this morning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tomato Plants

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers

Today, I'm showing you photos of the Mama's tomato plants.  She has one huge tomato plant growing in her squash patch. That's it in the above photo. She says the plant has two tiny fruits.

The Mama has four tomato patches in various parts of the yard. The tomatoes all started as seedlings in this box. In other words, these are the plants that did not get transplanted else where.

All the patches of transplants are quite healthy. Here's one of the patches.

Then, there's my tomato plant. This was supposed to be a pot of milkweed for the monarchs. Ha! A week ago, the wind blew the tomato plant's container on its side breaking off the branch. The Mama, fortunately, came along and stuck the branch back into the pot. The tomato plant just might make it.

It's ABC Wednesday. That's where I'm linking up today. Click here to check out other participants with me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sparkly Dancing in the Shed

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
It may not look like the Mama is smiling, but she is. She's happy as a lark in the photo. Pourquoi?

One reason is that at the time I snapped the camera, it was raining cats and dogs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was indeed standing in the rain and grinning ear to ear. Rain, as I've said over and over, is scarce in our part of the world.

Prepping camote (yam) stems for her vegetable garden was another reason the Mama was gleeful. The previous day, the Husband and I bought her four bunches of camote leaves at the farmers' market.  She had been snipping away for about half an hour before the first raindrops plopped on her colorful clothes.

While I was dancing in the rain, the Mama was dancing inside the shed. Not physically doing the cha cha, but mentally. Just look at the sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her lips. Instead of cooped up in the house, the Mama was sitting snug and dry in the shed, stripping off camote leaves from their stems, while the rain drummed a cool beat on the metal shed.

That was last Thursday. Yesterday (Tuesday), the Mama had another happy day when she planted the camote stems into the ground.

Today is the letter S at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by a team of wonderful folks led by Roger Green. Click here to read posts by other participants.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Mama's Roses

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers

The Mama loves her roses. They're all over the back yard.  In odd places, such as the middle of her banana grove.

Some of the roses started as branches that she pruned from the roses in her front yard. Others are branches that she pruned from those branches that she pruned from the roses in her front yard.

I'm sure, there are third and fourth and fifth and so on and so forth generations from either the roses in the front or the back yards. Did I confuse you? Let me just say that it's been years since the Mama has planted a new rose bush.

She prunes a branch off one of her rose bushes and sticks it in the ground where ever she pleases. She waters it and that's it. No special food or fertilizer.

The Mama's philosophy: A branch takes and roses bloom, or it does not. But, she always hopes it will. From what I've seen, since I often water the flowers now, her transplants bloom 90 percent of the time.

Today is the letter at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by a team of wonderful folks led by Roger Green. Click here to read posts by other participants.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Watching the Mama's Garden Grow

Sometimes Molly the Cat and I like to wander in the Mama's garden (which is the whole back yard) first thing in the morning. Molly does her sniffing-the-ground rounds, while I take photos of the sights. There are always new things to see, such as "Wow, look how well the Asian pears are growing."

This morning, Molly said, "Why don't you keep tabs on the progress with pictures?"

Well, she looked at me as I was thinking it. And, you know how cats have a way of transferring their thoughts to our minds. I agreed with Molly. So, over the next few months, I shall take photos of these spots in the Mama's garden.

Vegetable boxes

Vegetable boxes (another angle)

Apple Tree

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
Serenity now?

Go into the Mama's jungle then.

The north end, in particular, is where you can surround yourself with a quietude.

As you make your way along the narrow paths, flower and vegetable bushes and vines brush against your legs and arms in welcome.  Be careful though. You may need to crouch a bit beneath the tangles of branches of apricot, apple, and persimmon trees. And, there may be fruit hanging low up ahead.

Today is the letter Q at ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by a team of wonderful folks. Click here to read posts by other participants.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From the Archives -- Taboongow

Here's another post that I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird Says Chirp. Chirp. FYI: I slightly edited the post for today. Tomorrow, I shall be back to regular posting. Maybe.

Gourds for the Eating
(originally published November 20, 2008)

Several years ago, in the upcountry of Maui, I heard birds coo, “Ta-boong-ow. Ta-boong-ow.” I wondered if they were hungry for the gourd, and whether they wanted the long, bat-shaped ones or the ones that look like hourglass women.

Taboongow is the Ilokano word for upo, which is the Tagalog name for the gourd. (Please note that I’m phonetically spelling ta-boong-ow according to what my American ears hear.) Many people think of this vine-growing vegetable as an ornamental plant to dry and use for display or to make into crafts or musical instruments. Taboongow is also yummy to eat when they are still fresh. If you eat the gourd young, you can eat the center white part as well. Otherwise, you cut it away so you cook only the light-green part.

There are many types of gourds. Taboongow is known as the bottle gourd. They are light green and smooth-skinned. They may grow straight, roundish, or curvy. They are not to be confused with the bitter gourds (bittermelon) or the ridged gourds, which are made into loofahs when the fruits are dry.

The Daddy grew taboongow every year and when he passed away years ago, the Mama continued the annual sowing. In recent years, she lets the vines climb up the fruit trees in the back yard. This year, the Mama had a decent crop. We have been eating taboongow almost once a week since summer. Usually, when the Mama cuts up a fruit, we cook part of it into a soup and she freezes the rest uncooked for the winter. This year, the Mama and I decided we’d just cook each fruit she harvests and freeze cooked portions.

Taboongow doesn’t have a strong taste. In other words, it works with almost any spices and herbs you want to add to it. I’ve experimented a lot this year. So far it has tasted good with a curry, coconut, basil and thyme, or cilantro base. I’ve cooked it with shrimp, bacon, chicken, tofu, fish, or pork. All good. I’m sure it would taste good with beef. Hmmm.

Taboongow soup is one of my favorite dishes. The basis of my soup goes like this: Sauté onions and garlic. Add chicken or pork, if you’re using it. Once meat is brown, add tomatoes. Once tomatoes are broken up, add any herbs and/or other veggies (bell pepper, celery, etc.). Add up to 1 cup of water. Put lid on and simmer until meat is almost done. Now, stir in taboongow so it is coated with the liquid. Cook until the taboongow is translucent.

Things to note: The fruit is 90 percent water, so your soup will get a bit more flavorably soupier. (Are there such words? asked the Husband) Also it has been years since I’ve added salt to my cooking. So, add in salt where you normally would when making a soup.

Monday, May 4, 2015

From the Archives -- The Mama and Her Superstitions

Today is another archival post from my first blog, Cu'Pie Bird says Chirp. Chirp.

(originally published Tuesday, October 9, 2007)

Today was originally supposed to be my mom's quarterly doctor's appointment, but because it would be falling on the ninth of the month, I had to change it. According to my mom, the ninth is a bad day to go anywhere, make critical decisions, just do anything important. Hence she reminds me that I should not be traveling, paying bills, or signing contracts on the ninth. 

However, this is in contradiction to an astrological article I once read that stated the ninth is a lucky day for Sagittarius. So whenever my mom tells me not to do something because it's the ninth, I tell her it's okay for me. But I do wonder whatever happened to her--or to an important adult in her life--on a ninth or on successive ninths that causes her to say the ninth is a bad day. After all isn't that how superstitions begin.

When I was a kid, I was reprimanded with my mom's superstitions. A lot. I have no idea if they were passed down to her or if she made them up on the spot. But, they worked. My first memory is standing on the kitchen table as my mom was fiddling with something at the sink. Who knows how many times I must've stood on that table because I have a notion that I enjoyed standing on it. Instead of yelling at me to get down, Mama calmly said something like this, “If you keep standing on the table, your children will also stand on tables.” Whoa! I got down. Even as a small girl, I knew that wasn't something I wanted. Guess I knew how much of a handful I was for my mom.

As I grow older, I find my mom's superstitions charming. I pick and chose which ones to pay attention to just because maybe there may be something to them. One superstition is not to clip your fingernails on a Tuesday.

Being today is Tuesday, I won't be going anywhere near the nail clippers. Doesn't matter that the ninth is my lucky day.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

From the Archives -- My Turn

I'm posting articles from my archives for the next few days. Here's a piece I wrote for my first blog, Cu'Pie Baby Bird says "Chirp. Chirp." 

My Turn
(originally published August 9, 2007)

Thirty-six years ago, my mom didn’t hold my hand, but pushed from behind to ensure I looked good for the prom. Yep, I went to the prom, the only date I had in high school. Even in hindsight I am amazed I was asked to the prom. (Thanks, Mike!) Guess there is something to having a nutty, sparkling personality. I say that facetiously. Let’s also say that by the end of my senior year, I finally embraced the fact that I looked and thought somewhat differently from the norm and went with trying to conform as a nonconformist. So my idea for a prom dress was sewing a patchwork granny dress.

My mom nixed the idea very quickly and adamantly. She enlisted my dad and together they took me shopping for a dress at a genuine dress shop in Salinas that specifically sold fancy dresses for fancy events. Among all the pink and white frilly dresses, was a simple, but elegant, lime-green satin and chiffon affair, which actually looked better than described. It was in my size and it was on sale. And when I put it on, both my mom and I knew it was the one. I didn’t feel like a princess. Maybe more like Cinderella. I was glad then and still appreciative that Mama disregarded my desire for something, okay, I’ll say it, conformingly hippie-like.

Thirty-six years later, I have returned the favor. Yesterday, I held my mom’s hand as we maneuvered the shops in Salinas for the dress for her fancy event. In a few weeks, she will be walking down the aisle as part of the wedding party for a godson. It’s been a very long time between fancy events for her, probably since the late '70s.

It only took two stores to find the perfect sparkly, yet subtle dress. It’s a flowing, taupe- colored, floor-length dress with delicate beading on the bodice and jacket. It’s the kind of dress that would make any stoical woman smile and say giddily, “It’s a princess dress.” Even though the straps, the hem, and the sleeves on the jacket were too long when she put the dress on, we both knew it was the one. Alterations can be easily made to the dress. Just like the bittersweet changes that have been taking place between my mom and me.

I am so glad that years from now I will have a memory of Mama and me walking slowly hand-in-hand through the mall, searching for her perfect fancy dress and having found it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Head Pollinator

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic
Green Thumbs. . .and Fingers
For nearly 27 years, the Mama worked in applied seed research. She had a hand in getting the stink out of broccoli and creating an oblong tomato that would be easier for machines to pluck without bruising, among other horticultural feats. This was many years before genetic engineering in agriculture came to be. Back then, seed research involved people cross pollinating generations of cabbage, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, squash, peppers, broccoli, melons, and other vegetables and fruits.

It's not as easy as you think. It takes steady hands and a focused mind. And, if you're working with the Mama, you definitely cannot be a slacker, at least on the job. I ought to know. I worked for her for two summers when I was a teenager. One of the best paying jobs to have back then. The Mama was the supervisor of the crew of seed technicians. Summer being the busy season, she hired two or more teenagers to help out. She wouldn't hire me until the summer after I graduated from high school.

There were many aspects to the Mama's job.  I only learned how to be a human bee. Even more than 40 years later, I still recall the basic things to know, which applied to any plant. You carefully strip a female's dress (petals), making sure you don't touch any part of her reproductive organs with your fingers or your tools. You harvest male flowers from the correct rows. And, you have to make sure that neither the female or male has already opened and, thus, possibly been compromised by bees, butterflies, or other pollinating insects. You also have to remember to cover the pollinated female with the proper covering and tag her with the male's ID number before you move on to the next one.

It was very fascinating work. Looking back, I would've loved to have gone through at least one full cycle of the process of planting seeds to threshing the seeds and bagging them.

San Jose Mercury News, 1968

Today is ABC Wednesday, a meme began by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now headed by Roger Green and his helpers. Click here to read posts around today's letter P. 

If you've come from the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, my Y post is over here.