I know I mentioned in Do Not Operate Machinery and probably a few other posts that Momma always said I didn’t have a lick o’ common sense. Momma had common sense. Poppie has common sense. For me, it’s just not there. The obvious is never obvious to me.

Momma left for God’s greener pastures almost two years ago and I now cook dinner for Poppie and I. On the days my agenda is full, I fire up the crockpot. Yes, I know we are supposed to call it slow cooker because crockpot refers to a name brand but I like crockpot, okay? Mostly because crockpot sounds like it has some mental issues. Like me. I am new to crockpot cooking. Even though wild claims were made that it would not set your house on fire while you were at work, I was afraid to use them. I had a very tiny one that might have been able to warm up a can of baked beans but I never used it. Not even once. Over the years, everything but the actual crockery deteriorated to near-nothingness.

I bought a new one a few years ago. Holding 3 quarts, it seems to be just the right size for two people. At $14.99, you can’t expect it to have a cord holder but I always wanted one. The cord dangled everywhere because I was too lazy to use a twist tie on the cord.

The other day, Poppie put my crockpot in my “mailbox” at Poppie’s house with the cord fastened like this:

crockpot plug-5953

Genius! It’s a darn tootin’ cinch I would have never thought to bend the end of the cord like that and slip it through the handle. Not in this lifetime.

For all you folks with a defective or missing common sense gene, I hope this helps.

I’m so sad. Zorro, my beloved baby kitten, now almost 5 months old, wants to be an outdoor kitty. I wanted him to be an indoor-only kitty. We have been in a battle over this for some time. I relented a few weeks ago when he almost drove me nuts (well, more so than usual) with his howling demands to go out.


Zorro on cypress tree

The other day I needed to go outside and tried to throw one of his toys in the opposite direction to distract him from the door. Initially, he was fooled but quickly realized he was being duped and flew between my legs as I was half in and half out the door. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, honest.

That evening, I was at Poppie’s to cook dinner for us and needed an ingredient from my house. I thought Zorro was playing with Big Foot and walked to the back door. Zoom, he was out the door and 50 feet from the house, beyond the circular daylily bed into the dark before I could get the door shut. The light from the house doesn’t shine that far and I wasn’t about to go after him. The jaunty bounce of his rear indicated he thought that having Momma chase him was a lark and a half. I got so mad, I stomped  back to the house and left him out there. He finally came back up to Poppie’s French doors and Poppie got up to let him in. He kept trying to come over to kiss and make-up but I was having none of it. Finally, he had to crawl up in Poppie’s lap (something he never does) for some attention. It was 10 p.m. before I gave up my pout. I was justified, you know. Nobody wants to think about being bested by a three pound cat. I believe he has entered the Terrible Two’s of Kittenhood.

On the other hand, he is the best snuggle buddy. This morning, before getting out of bed, I was checking emails on my hand-me-down laptop. Zorro climbed up on my left shoulder and we sat cheek-to-cheek reading email. Isn’t that just the sweetest?

This post is for residents of Jacksonville, Florida. Linda Cunningham is holding her very last herb festival for 2014. This is the time to pick up holiday gifts and herbs that do well in cooler temperatures.

For those of you who read the comments on my blog, “BeckyB” will be there with her fabulous soaps. You might want to take a gander at her since, like me, she orbits the Crooked Moon. Just in case you wonder what that kind of person might look like…

Cunninghams Dec. 2014-



When I first wrote about Lion’s Tail, I was trying to explain that there was more than one variety and my first acquisition of seeds were for the wrong variety (the one with fat leaves).  I finally got my hands on the kind I wanted at one of Cunningham’s herb festivals about this time last year. It was just a stick but quickly grew to 4 or 5 feet tall. Late in the fall, it bloomed. The orange blooms on this variety, known as Leonitis Leonurus, are much more vibrant. Unfortunately, a lot of the buds did not get to develop because of early freezing temperatures.

Close-up of blooms

Close-up of blooms

Looking down on the blooms

Looking down on the blooms

This is how much it had grown by June 6, 2014

This is how much it had grown by June 6, 2014

I do not know whether or not it will survive this winter and it’s a cinch I don’t have seeds because it bloomed so late. If it does live, I will have to dig it up and move it. I planted it at the back of the flower bed, too close to the house, because I was expecting it to be a single stalk with tiered whorls like my previous variety, Leonotis nepetifolia. Once I planted the new variety in the ground, it began to branch heavily like a Fire Bush. Needless to say, it is crowded. I do hope it lives.

I should award myself a Dingbat Certificate. I went to all the trouble to mostly clean out the green house and then fill it with many of my favorite potted plants.

The weatherman threatens a hard freeze with the possibility of 9 hours of 28 degree temperatures in my neck o’ the woods. Tuesday, I ran around the yard with my “dead body” sheets to cover up the rest of my beauties until the yard truly did look like a crime scene.

My two-year-old Meyer Lemon tree, with it’s first fruits, was hauled inside the greenhouse after much dragging, grunting and groaning.

Meyer Lemon - first crop

Meyer Lemon – first crop

Three really huge lemons

Three really huge lemons

Used my hand to demonstrate size

Used my hand to demonstrate size

So what do I do? I forget to close two of the greenhouse windows. I forget to turn on the heater or any of the heat lamps. It would have been easier to leave everything out in the cold.

We have a leash law here but a lot of laws are ignored by the citizenry. Two big dogs periodically show up in the yard and promptly leave via a hole in the fence near my Fern Bed. I told Poppie about the busted fence but a lot of what I tell him goes in one ear and out the other.

Last Monday, the dogs caught the two cats – Big Foot and Whiskey – out in the yard a little too far from Poppie’s back porch. They treed Big Foot in one of the cypress trees.

Big Foot

Big Foot

When I came on the scene, Whiskey’s fur was puffed up twice his size as he dared the two dogs to mess with him. I drove down the street, where Poppie was jawing with the Golf Cart Boys, to tell him his cat was in the tree and promptly left the scene. I forget where I had to go.

I later heard that Poppie had to get a ladder to get Big Foot out of the tree. Our neighbor, The Hippy, said Whiskey was lying at the base of one of the trees near Big Foot (I was never clear on where, exactly) and I didn’t see Whiskey until midnight. I let him in the house and he couldn’t even get up on the bed. His fur was crusted with pitch from lying in that flower bed under the cypress tree. I looked him over and couldn’t find anything wrong with him but he apparently had a serious case of Bad Dog Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  He refused to go out for the next four days.

Amazingly, the fence was immediately repaired.

Whiskey finally went out on Saturday and spent the day at Poppie’s. He came back to my house Saturday night and hasn’t been out since. Will I need to shuffle the budget around to pay for cat therapy?

Every now and then, after you have suffered trespass after trespass from a particular plant, you whip out your Southern lexicon and declare “it needs killin’”. That happened with my Cherokee Rose, Rosa laevigata, also known as the Georgia State rose. It became the Georgia State rose in 1916 at the request of the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Clearly, those poor women were just as ignorant as I when I dug it up along the roadside somewhere in Florida 20-something years ago. Being jungle-worthy, it has not limited itself to Georgia. It has naturalized in Alabama, Florida, and is probably on its way to Mississippi.  It had numerous faults I discovered over the years:

  • It bloomed only in the spring and it took most of those 20-something years before it ever put on a serious show.
It was full of blooms in 2013 and 2014Photo taken 4/4/14

It was full of blooms in 2013 and 2014
Photo taken 4/4/14



  • It grew wildly arching stems 6 and 8 feet long all along the fence top, just out of my reach, and it was a major aggravation to whack it back with the clippers because it had an excessive number of rip-you-asunder thorns.
  • My neighbor, Country Boy, even complained about those stems on his side of the fence. He didn’t admit it, but I’ll bet one of those stems snatched him right off his riding mower.
  • Birds flocked to it because of the red rosehips. One bird had the audacity to build a squatter’s nest among the stems that I knew nothing about until I got too close and he flew in my face. I almost fell over backwards trying to get my face out of his way.

This summer, the sheer weight of it tore two pickets off my wood fence. Granted, the fence is 19 years old and showing a little wear but none of the other fence parts are falling off so that became the last straw.

A snaggle-toothed fence is the last straw

A snaggle-toothed fence is the last straw

cherokee rose fence damage2-2406

This view shows 3 pieces torn down

I went at that rose bush with a vengeance.  It took me a couple of hours over four days to chop it down. Near the ground, the main stem was at least 2 inches in diameter. I talked Poppie into chopping the roots out and it better not come back. If I gotta kill it twice then I’m throwin’ out my shovel so I don’t dig up anything else I’ll regret.

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