An early morning walk at a nearby park reminded me of two things. First, that it is August and everything is pretty much dry and brown as it usually is by this time of summer. The scenery along the trails is rather blah except for the occasional color of prickly pear fruit.
These colorful bulbs gave me my second reminder: the usefulness of the prickly pear cactus. Long before the Europeans came to the Americas Native Americans were well accquainted with the many varieties of prickly pear and the usefulness of the fruit and the paddle like leaves known as nopales.
The paddles and fruit are edible and are commonly used to make a variety of dishes as well as soups, beverages, jelly, and candy. Obviously, the small spines must be removed first (which is not easy!). The small, tender paddles are known as nopalitos and are enjoyed locally with scrambled eggs, although personally I don’t care for them! In extreme drought when grazing grass is not available ranchers will use a torch to burn off the stickers and spines so cattle can eat the cactus.
The pulp and juice are believed to have medicinal qualities and are used in Mexico for treatment of wounds and ailments of the digestive and urinary tracts. A type of scale insect that lives on the paddles is harvested to make the cochineal (red) dye that is commonly used to manufacture makeup and as a natural red food coloring. Check the ingredients label the next time you eat something red and you may see “carmine” listed! At one time cochineal was so highly prized that its price was quoted on the London and Amsterdam Commodity Exchanges (per Wikipedia).
There are way too many varieties to even count, much less discuss here. But do remember that they all have stickers of some type which makes them very formidable. I prefer to stay well away from them!
This 1920’s theater is still serving the community today as a live performance theater. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the Caldwell Courthouse Historic District. Click here to read more about it’s long history.
Everytime I see these water troughs planted with flowers I enjoy the creative use of an item for a different purpose with stunning results. I think I need to visit a feed store and pick up one – at least a little one.
I suspect that these periwinkles may not look as perky after sitting in the 100+ degree heat we are having. But they were eye catching when I saw them a few weeks ago.
It was time for a long overdue day trip for this gal. I left home with only one address queued in my phone, my destination was the Caldwell County Courthouse. Other than that I had only ideas of what to do, no plan. But so it usually is with me, the day will just happen. And happen it did!
I had the courthouse in my sights and was crossing the street to it when I glanced to my right. Whoa! There was what appeared to be an old theater, I was distracted. Before I really checked out the theater there was another building calling to me, a library. Lockhart was already surprising me (and, yes I’ll share my finds on Doorway Into the Past very soon. The best was yet to come.
Driving into town I had seen a sign pointing down a side street that indicated a post office was nearby. So before I left town (much later after I arrived) I drove down that way just in case it might not be a new post office, but one from the New Deal era. And, maybe, just maybe there would be a mural in it. You never know.
The Post Office didn’t disappoint me on the outside nor on the inside. As I walked in the familiar vestibule arrangement brought back a rush of memories. Without hesitating I knew to look to the right for the mural.
I don’t have any definite information on the mural yet as there seems to be some conflict as to the name and the artist. The Post Office has a simple marker on the foundation that reflects 1935 as the date of construction. The Post Office was very crowded at that time and I wondered how many of those people knew that the mural was there and its significance. Perhaps they wondered why this strange lady with a smile on her face was making pictures!
The details are captivating! You just to have to remember to expect the unexpected.
No this isn’t really an Art Deco style china pattern, but it is quickly becoming my favorite just because it reminds me of the 1920’s and 1930’s styles commonly referred to as Art Deco. The gentle swirls on the rim and graceful lines could have put this china on the Great Gatsby’s elegant tables, couldn’t it?
In truth the pattern was manufactured from 1986-1999. I have a few place settings, a gravy boat, and a set of salt and pepper shakers that I treasure just for its creamy, neutral color and classic lines.
My love of pianos and piano music always pulls me to take a second look at any piano, but especially at the antique ones. I especially love the square pianos, probably from childhood visits with a neighbor, Miss Robbie, of my paternal grandparents who had one in her antique filled living room. These are a few that I’ve encountered recently, enjoy!
My love of vintage things has expanded from just looking at pictures and any display I happen upon to actually wanting vintage things to have in my possession to use and enjoy.
These little clip earrings immediately reminded me of my Mother’s costume jewelry that I so loved as a child. Theses were marked $2 as is – after I got home and looked carefully I realized that one is missing a rhinestone in the middle. But no loss as my pierced ears do not appreciate the pain inflicted by clip earrings. Instead these will be used for sweater clips and hat decorations. I have toyed with the idea of perhaps having the rhinestone replaced and the pair converted into post earrings, but for now they are clipped to this shutter for display. And, yes the collection is growing!
A mid-December trip took me on roads I had never traveled before, much to my delight. I had traveled through Lubbock before, but never had the opportunity to spend any significant time there. My nephew’s graduation from Texas Tech University gave me that opportunity as well as new sights to see along a new route. Exploring really is my first love.
My oldest grandson was making the trip with me and while he was totally absorbed in his phone; I was engrossed in watching the changing landscape. The drive had progressed well for several hours as we traveled through little towns, making a turn here or there. Two courthouses called me to remember them on the way home (I did) and I found a world of sheep and wool processing I didn’t know existed. The country grew more and more rugged as the morning went by; the temperature dropped, too.
Then over the top of an approaching hill appeared three windmills, new large modern sleek bladed windmills. Suddenly I had the grandson’s full attention. We quickly found a place to pull over and were snapping pictures like typical tourists. Looking back we laughed at ourselves, but at that time we were in awe. Windmills right before our eyes. Little did we know that we would see many, many more as we passed farm after farm. Some blades turning, others still, some in groups, and all facing many directions. I was still in awe and we stopped again to make more pictures.
The weekend passed, my nephew graduated, we celebrated and packed up his apartment. On Sunday morning we began the trip home, retracing our path from the trip north. Only this time I realized we had been climbing on the previous trip; we rounded a curve and there below was the most amazing view of the Texas Panhandle Plains. It was a cold, hazy morning, but even in the limited visibility it was beautiful.
As we descended into the valley my thoughts turned, as they often do, to those who had first come to this area. The Native Americans, the explorers, and the first settlers who carved out homesteads and ranches in this harsh land. I imagined those cold mornings in a wood house (or less) with no running water and possibly no real fireplace to generate any warmth. Walking out into the cold to feed livestock and perform chores. The challenge of scraping an existence from a rugged, barren landscape. The threat of natural disaster as well as attack from hostile Indians was always there. Many moved on, many did not survive, yet somehow others learned to adapt and co-exist with the land. It was difficult, and yet they persisted and they overcame. They survived.
Soon we passed a small ravine where a traditional windmill was working, blades spinning and, presumably, pumping water into the nearby tank. Many of these familiar icons have disappeared over the years as electric pumps took their place and the windmill was left to deteriorate. This one was fairly new and in good order. The hardy, adaptable settlers realized the value of the wind that never ceased; they dug wells, hooked up the windmill and had water for themselves and their livestock. The wind was a sustainable resource that brought improvement to their lives.
On the surrounding hills the modern, technology driven windmills were also working, capturing that same wind and funneling its energy from the sky into electricity for millions of homes (including my own). The wind farms are a little more complicated than pumping water into a tank, but they have provided a much needed method to generate electricity using a sustainable energy. Yes, they changed the landscape and the environmentalists think they are damaging, but they really aren’t intrusive and when you realize the service they provide the offset isn’t catastrophic.
I marveled at the idea of the old and the new working side by side, both using a resource that was readily available and would never run out or pollute the earth.