Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conjunto pesado 1994

This poor scan of a tee-shirt is part of the continuing scan-o-rama series (click on image for larger version). It's from back when the conjunto fest was very small and intimate, under the trees at Parque Zaragoza. The legend says: "Brown Distributing * La Pena * Parque Zaragoza proudly present CONJUNTO PESADO heavy-duty conjunto." I can't find my little poster these days and am unable to read the name of the artist (bottom center) from the tee-shirt. The legend goes on to say "Sunday July 17, 1994 * 12 noon - 10 p.m. * Parque Zaragoza." Then follows a list of this appearing: Los Pinkys, Conjunto Aztlan, Henry Zimmerle y su conjunto, Johnny Degollado y su conjunto, Santiago Jimenez y su conjunto, and Valerio Longoria y so conjunto." In the early days, this was a stand-alone event with "free admission * dance contest * cash prizes." Johnny Degollado still organizes these, but they're now at Fiesta Shores, cost a little money, and form part of the Cinco de Mayo celebration, so the weather is much cooler. We still attend, as we have from the very beginning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Effanem rolled wool-felt crusher hat found again

Thank you, Johnson Woolen Mills, home of the famous greenie wool work trousers and many other treasures. Johnson Woolen Mills, a Vermont institution since 1842, offers these hats, and in exact sizes and several colors. The printed catalogue shows two more colors than the on-line shop does, so it may pay to call. We settled on the traditional green. There are other headgear items out there labeled "crusher hats," but these are the hats that never wear out but are sometimes lost. These hats can be found on line from time to time offered as vintage items and for more than they can be bought new. I'm glad to see that Johnson still offers remnants suitable for making very heaby-duty braided rugs.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Volunteers and returnees

We're very surprised to find clockvine (thunbergia alata). The vines must have been there all along, just holding their own, and are now encouraged by the cooler weather to bloom. Both kinds of flowers seen so far have black centers. We're also finding nasturtiums springing up in very strange places, although only one has bloomed so far. Some creature is smart enough to extract seeds of hyacinth beans by some sort of drilling method, it appears. Fennel is back in bloom, and both kinds of milkweed are really flowering profusely. No paperwhite flowers have opened, but there are plenty of fat buds. In addition to the ranunculus and anemone leaves appearing everywhere in the grass, we're also seeing many leaf spears of Dutch iris. Morning glory flowers are few, but seed pods are everywhere. Cosmos are beginning to form seeds. Mockingbirds remain busy with lantana berries. It's time to start eating some of that leaf lettuce.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We've heard warblers passing through this week, but haven't sighted them. All our milkweed (mostly in pots) began again from seed this year since not one plant survived last winter's cold to have a jump on the spring. Only now are both varieties (all-yellow ones and those producing flowers that are part yellow and part red-orange) beginning to reach the stage of producing seedpods. For several years running, they've produced pods several times during the summer. As a result of last winter's severity, neither pride of Barbados nor lantana remained leafed out until spring, and both began anew on fresh growth. The lantanas flowered just once, producing just one crop of berries so far, now ripening. Pride of Barbados produced just one set of seeds, and these have just this week popped open. Seeds of garlic chives have dropped from the papery remains of the flowers that produced them. Hyacinth beans are nearly done flowering. All the various kinds of morning glories are now down to two varieties: Heavenly Blue and a fleshy white variety (name unknown); the rest have gone to seed. Heavenly Blue is tapering off, but remains most heavily in bloom way up in a redbud tree. Redbud leaves have fallen; pecan leaves are beginning to fall; pear leaves are beginning to change color; Rose of Sharon leaves are about to drop. Leaves of returning ranunculus join those of several kinds of returning anemone. Leaves of pink oxalis have appeared again, and now the oxalis is blooming. The first paperwhite narcissus to appear this year now has a half-dozen bud stalks. Some Bright Lights cosmos have gone to seed, but the three plants that survived the summer are still covered in flowers. A few volunteer nasturtiums are to be seen, and one has even produced a flower the approximate color of a pale orange sherbet. Clematis has leafed out again now that it's cooler. Chile plants are now very ornamental. Parsley, basil, thyme, and marjoram are recovering from the damage done by whatever noctural creatures love greenery; rosemary never suffers. Someone couldn't resist some bargain bulbs of Martinette (new to us, these look a lot like Suzy from the picture--yellow perianth and orange cup), along with Minnow (always a favorite), Thalia, and a few other odds and ends. They went into the ground last weekend, so that's done with. By next weekend perhaps it will be worth getting out the rake for pecan leaves. Four o'clocks are nearly done blooming and some of them are beginning to break down. Leaves of allium, oxblood lily, and lycoris radiata are visible everywhere. Turk's cap is producing some "apples." The grass has pretty much gone dormant. It's not brown, but it's not growing much, either.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Abundant acorns

There have never been more acorns, or larger ones, than the oaks have produced this year. Joining those scavengers who smite the pecan trees to bring down nuts that haven't fallen are people scooping up acorns to take to their deer leases. They are so large this year and so numerous that they produce a contant report, as though of gunfire, as they strike vehicles and the ever more popular metal roofs. They make more noise than the largest hailstones.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

When the shelves are bare

Austin Public Library has been very busy clearing its inventory of actual books. I'm glad that I read the novels of Sybille Bedford when they were there; only one copy of one novel remains. Some time ago, I found a sale copy of The Sudden View: a Mexican Journey (1953; republished as A Visit to Don Otavio: a Traveller's Tale from Mexico). My copy is from Counterpoint and bears the republished title; it cost under $7 and was worth every single penny. This is a very funny book. Coincidentally, Bedford stays where we did when she's in Morelia, at the Hotel Virrey de Mendoza. I'd like to track down a book from which a funny quote is drawn: Viva Mexico! by Charles Macomb Flandrau.