Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from The Great State Of Texas

Archive for the tag “gardening”

Strange Times In The Cactus Patch


Life in the cactus patch has been a bit odd the past month. The spring rains assaulted us like an Indian typhoon. Our veggie garden, thanks to the downpours, is boarding on fantastic and the landscape plants are strutting their stuff like a drum major. I am down to my last two classes for my Master Gardener certificate from Texas A&M, and upon receiving that document, I will be a certified plant snob, ready to impress or offend everyone I come into contact with.

I can picture myself sporting an English tweed jacket, bucket hat and Wellingtons, patrolling Granbury’s historic neighborhood’s dispensing unsolicited advice to the horticulture-ally uneducated.

“Mam, you shouldn’t plant those Hollyhocks next to the roses, the two species harbor a great dislike for each other.” You get the picture. I will be insufferable.

“Good God, help me!” it’s been 66 days and no presser from Kamala Harris. Imagine, after every gentle question from her adoring group of reporters, she cackles like the lunatic she is, and that passes as an answer?

Over at HBO, Bill Mahar blast the liberal media for portraying Israel as the bad guys. I’m not a fan of his, but he shoots straight from his liberal hip and takes no hostages, and he’s not Jewish.

As if he couldn’t get any creepier, Sippy-Cup Joe, in front of a “live” audience at a military base, tells an 8 year old girl he likes the berets in her hair, and she looks like she is 19 sitting there with her legs crossed. What the hell? Can one of his handlers put duct-tape over his mouth.

Switching gears now: I caught a little cancer back in the spring of 2019. Summers are usually boring around here, so it gave me something to occupy my time. SBRT is a high dose radiation treatment from a robot that looks like a Star Wars toy. They stick all sorts of devices up your backside while strapped to a table; kind of like what Frankenstein experienced. I asked my oncologist if the radiation was good? He said ” oh man, it’s the best, right from Los Alamo’s labs and endorsed by Oppenheimer.” So I’m being radiated with the same stuff that built “the bomb?” Yeah baby! Two years down the road, I am cancer free, but now have to deal with the side effects of massive radiation damage to my bladder, prostate and urethra. Pissing a stream of blood like like a vampire for 4 months is not for girly men.

I haven’t had a haircut in seven months. Look at the money I have saved! In 1970, my hair was long, now in 2021, it’s longer than it was then. Bald guys look at me with disdain. They hate me.

It’s never too late to rebel against something. I’m 71 years old, I have earned the right. I’ll let you know when I figure out what my choice will be.

Last week, Texas passed a law that allows every man, woman, child and animal to freely carry a firearm. Children toting 22’s, dogs with an AR15 strapped to their harness and grandmothers wearing twin holsters filled with shining Colts. The streets of Laredo comes to mind. Imagine getting into a argument at H.E.B. with an old lady over the last loaf of rye bread, and she pops you with a chrome-plated 9 MM. This will add new meaning to the saying “Wild Wild West.” Granbury, my town, is installing a new sign on 377; ” Welcome to Granbury, Where history lives. Beer and Ammo next exit. Yeah man! God Bless Texas.

Your-tube, My-tube, Everybody’s Got A Tube


I’m considering starting my own YouTube channel. Why not? Everyone and their dog has one, even my eight-year-old Grandson. His channel is just starting so I am waiting to see what comical videos he post. That goofy little kid that makes videos playing with toys made 10 Million bucks last year, so Jaxson can make at least that much.

What to call it, that is the question. I could use the name of my blog; Notes From The Cactus Patch, but then it’s all writing and no videos. Who wants to read a story on YouTube? No one I know.

I’m an old dude, so I could hone in on that and make it about dealing with younger people working in retail and how they make me want to smack them, because they are ignorant, insolent and disrespectful. But then, that would make me an angry old man basically yelling “get off of my lawn you little shit.” That would give YouTube an excuse to cancel me, being their employees are all “wokies,” which is a word I made up to fit that particular sickness.

I am an artist, a painter to be exact, so I could put on my purple beret and a velvet cape and give painting lessons while speaking in a bad French accent. Now that might draw some viewers.

Gardening is my hobby, and takes most of my time these days, so I could broadcast from my garden giving tips while talking to the plants, killing bugs and fighting fungal diseases. Nothing is more educational than an old fart talking to a cucumber plant, pleading with it to grow some little veggies. On the other hand, my Tomato plants are quite informative and have told me to expect a bounty harvest in July. The Okra has yet to say one word. I think they are pissed off because I planted them too close to the Corn plants.

My hair is snow white these days, and about a month away from being able to put it in a Paul Revere And The Raiders pony-tail. It’s longer now than it was in 1970. Go figure that. I also played in a rock band up until 2019, so I could do guitar covers from my back-yard. Flay and jump like Pete Townsend with my garden in the backdrop. Of course my wife would be just off camera with an oxygen tank.That would certainly be entertaining. To my family, maybe.

I will mull this over for a while until the right formula grabs me, then you will be the first to know.

Good day, and eat your veggies.

My Texas Garden of Eden That Never Ends


When my wife and I purchased our home, it was newly built. Sitting on a rocky hill facing Comanche Peak, the beginning of the Texas hill country, it was the perfect size for us, and the view was beautiful. The exterior was dirt and rock, a clean slate for a landscaper/ artist. That is how I see myself these days; or did for a short while.

A railroad tie retaining wall was added and backfilled, then dirt for a backyard, then 4 pallets of grass, then more dirt, then a 12 yard load of 1 inch gravel, then 6 yards of decorative pea gravel and I wasn’t even close to installing plants. I should probably mention that I was going through radiation treatment for cancer at the time I was doing this task, and my wife Maureen was working as a nurse here in Granbury. I was trying to get as much done before the high dose radiation kicked my ass, and by some miracle, I succeeded and then collapsed for a few months to recover. The ordeal was only beginning.

Our intent was to install as little as possible, using gravel, rock and native Texas plants to save water and time. The less maintenance the better as you age, but, somewhere during the process, my OCD Artistic Creative gene kicked into full gear. I was helpless and my body went with the flow. There was no sleep; only nightmares of plants multiplying and gathering for a siege. I am the Alamo, the fauna is the army. Every waking hour was spent spreading gravel, digging holes, wrestling with unruly petulant plants and dangerous cactus. I was a slave to the land, and could see no reprieve. By this time, the radiation was taking it’s toll on my body. I looked like Betelgeuse on a good day.

My wife suggested counseling, so I called a local radio plant show, the Dirt Doctor. He told me I was a sick puppy and to sell the house and move or I was going to collapse and expire while holding my Craftsman shovel. He happened to know a guy that would give me a good price. Right?

I called my famous friend Dr. Wu. He suggested I come in for a series of acupuncture treatments and Chinese meditation to rid me of my plant based demons. Neither one did any good. I was still as possessed as Rasputin and the siege of the greenery advanced. I tried to ignore them. It didn’t work. The plants, still in their plastic pots, sent telepathic signals to my tortured brain. They were making a pod person of me so the landscaping could continue when I stroked out.

Six Chaste Trees, multiple cacti, Oleanders, Texas Sage, Lantana, flowers, more cactus, Agave’s, Salvia, more cactus, more gravel, rock retaining walls, 100 bags of top soil, large rock stacks and sculptures, bird feeders, Canna’s everywhere, stepping stones to nowhere in particular. A landscape vision out of control. And then, for no apparent reason, we constructed a raised garden using concrete block and 50 bags of soil. The garden didn’t do squat. A few tomato’s, some cucumbers and some okra. It’s back to H.E.B. for veggies.

More later, the remaining plants are knocking on my door and staring into my Ring Doorbell.

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