Wednesday, March 3, 2021

First the Lemon, Now the Orange, I Guess I'll Put The Comforter Away Until Next Time

Last week I noticed that the Lemon Tree was shaking off the winter chill.  It's growing and is taller than I am in its pot.  It's also sprouting all sorts of little leaves.  I'm going to need to go out back and try to cut some Bamboo to stake the thing up.

While out there, I noticed that all the Mango Inflorescences have begun to form little bright green pea sized Mangoes.  There were flies and bees all over the thing pollenating the flowers, so I am hoping it will be a good year.  I have promised one person already that I would try to start some Mango trees for her.  I will probably have more than that one, especially if I am blessed with a lot of fruit.  The tree is even throwing out a lot of leaves so I know that once fruiting season is over in early summer, I'll be out there pretending I know what I am doing and trimming it back like a tree surgeon.

They don't really like that and will pout next year.

Now, I walk past my Orange tree.  It's a Honeybell Orange, which if you don't come down here to Florida you probably don't know.  It's my favorite kind of Orange, very similar in taste and texture to a Mineola Tangelo.  Soft, sweet, and floral, they have a lot of juice to give.

I planted it shortly after we moved into the house so I'd say it was there since 2008 or so.  It's in a bad house, next to the fence and the carport so it gets hotter than it prefers.  We routed the outflow from the air conditioning to it so it gets passively watered by "free water".  It had stopped flowering about two years later, and never really gives fruit let alone blossoms.

But there was a flower on it.  Popped open and smelling amazing.  Then I looked along the branches and there were dozens of blossoms waiting to open.

Yes, it will be a good fruiting season.

I used to marvel at the orange groves up in central Florida when I would ride through on the way here.  There are groves planted right up to the edge of the road right of way and you could literally pick fruit without much effort.  

But the nicest thing about driving past a flowering orange grove is the intensity of that sweet smell that wafts off them.  I am getting that same smell here at the house.  I walked out to the tree and just took it all in.

Mind you, Honeybells are not supposed to have seeds, but if I do have one that puts out seeds, I'll plant them. 

I'll let you know how that will go if they do.  I many not be able to harvest anything until next winter anyway, they have a season that is later in the year.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

What do you call a cow in an earthquake? A milkshake.

Having ridden a motorcycle back in the day, I have learned to be very aware of my surroundings.  I also learned that if you drive scrupulously to the law of the road, you get very annoyed at everyone else who isn't.  Who knows where you may end up, avoiding things like Deer and Ditches. 


Where is your wife?

While riding my Harley, I swerved to avoid hitting a deer, lost control and landed in a ditch, severely banging my head.

Dazed and confused I crawled out of the ditch to the edge of the road when a shiny new convertible pulled up with a very beautiful woman who asked, "Are you okay?

As I looked up, I noticed she was wearing a low-cut blouse with a cleavage to die for. "I'm okay I think." I replied as I pulled myself up to the side of the car to get a closer look.

She said, "Get in and I'll take you home, so I can clean and bandage that nasty scrape on your head."

"That's nice of you," I answered, "But I don't think my wife will like me doing that!"

"Oh, come now, I'm a nurse," she insisted. "I need to see if you have any more scrapes and then treat them properly."

Well, she was really pretty and very persuasive. Being sort of shaken and weak, I agreed, but repeated, "I'm sure my wife won't like this."

We arrived at her place which was just few miles away and, after a couple of cold beers and the bandaging, I thanked her and said, "I feel a lot better, but I know my wife is going to be really upset so I'd better go now."

Don't be silly!" she said with a smile. "Stay for a while. She won't know anything. By the way, where is she?"

"My guess is that she's still back there in the ditch."

Saturday, February 27, 2021

I was at an emotional wedding, the cake was in tiers.

It's a triple play today because I am feeling generous.  Yes, more doofy humor on a saturday.

Teacher & Student Joke

Teacher: "If I gave you 2 cats and another 2 cats and another 2, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Seven."
Teacher: "No, listen carefully... If I gave you two cats, and another two cats and another two, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Seven."
Teacher: "Let me put it to you differently. If I gave you two apples, and another two apples and another two, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Six."
Teacher: "Good. Now if I gave you two cats, and another two cats and another two, how many would you have?"
Johnny: "Seven!"
Teacher: "Johnny, where in the heck do you get seven from?!"
Johnny: "Because I've already got a freaking cat!"


Since that is a little short... Here are two more short ones from across the pond!


The stunner next door just came round complaining about items going missing from her washing line and threatened to call the police… 
I nearly crapped her pants!

The other day, my wife asked me to pass her lipstick but I accidentally passed her a glue stick.
She still isn't talking to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Lemon Tree Says Winter Has Peaked

There's a routine here.

Every morning at 7:30, go out, inspect the irrigation, look at the plants, make sure the orchids are getting their "drip feed" watering.  Then look at the pool and decide if it needs to be scooped.

There's always time to come back out later and check.

Rack decides he wants out again about the time I am looking for a mid morning snack, so that's a good time to give things a once over.

Somehow I missed all of this when I was out there. 

I have a couple lemon trees that I am growing from seed in a pot.  I'm not too knowledgeable about them, so I'm accepting that I now have a monster of a tree that is growing in one long spike toward the sky higher than I can reach.

It never really grows that noticeably, so in the time that the Mangoes have put out their inflorescences, the Lemon is demanding notice.

 You see it had paused over what passes for Winter here, two weeks of "cold" a few degrees above freezing.   

Since then it has awakened.

I was standing behind it and watching the dog near the pool.  I didn't realize a Lemon has thorns, but this one does.  Thorns that could probably be used in an Old Time Gramophone once dried and tempered.

Then I saw that the tree is putting out a host of new leaves.

I have yet to get any fruit from the tree but going into Spring this tree is just enjoying life.

It will be a good fruiting year.  The mango tree in the backyard and on the corner have quite a few inflorescences, the hibiscus in the hedges are blooming like mad, and I have little purple ruellia growing in places here and there.

The Hibiscus is the biggest surprise since this is the first plant that the Iguanas attack.  My red variegated one seems to be one that the Iguanas dislike.  I have always had flowers on the plant, where my yellow hibiscus gets stripped bare.

So it won't be this year that I get my first lemon.  There are no flowers yet, but the tree is healthy.  They don't seem to mind being in a pot, so I have another year or three before replanting.  

On the other hand if you need some needles for your olde tymie gramophone, I can get them off my tree!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Autocorrect walks into a bar. DUCK!

 Having just come back from a dog walk, I can say I have seen too many Ducks.  Anyone know of a good Chinese Takeaway that serves a tasty Crispy Orange Duck?

Didn't think so!

Spring Fishing

Three guys were out fishing and drinking beer one fine early Spring morning. The lake's ice was now completely melted and the sun shone bright.

As one of the guys stood to pee he lost his balance and teetered overboard. When he hadn't surfaced after a few moments one of his friends dove in to try to rescue him.

Minutes later the rescuer pulled his unconscious friend to the surface and rolled him into the boat.

The third guy immediately began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Seconds later he stopped and said, "Man, I don't remember his breath being so bad!"

The other guy replied, "Yeah, and I don't remember him wearing a snowmobile suit either!"

Saturday, February 20, 2021

If Apple made a car would it have Windows?

While you are out and about, you can see lots of things, just try not to run over them.  Luckily there are options.

Man and the rabbit.

A man was driving down the road when he saw a rabbit hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the rabbit but unfortunately it jumped in front of the car and got hit.

The Man being very sensitive and an animal lover pulled over and went to look at the damage done. To his dismay, the rabbit was dead. The driver felt so awful he started crying.

A woman was passing by in her car when she saw the man crying. She pulled over and went to check on him. " what are you crying for?" She asked him. He narrated the whole story to her.

The woman told the man not to worry. She knew what to do. She opened the trunk of her car and pulled out a can. She went to the dead rabbit and sprayed the contents of the can all over its body. Much to the man's shock and delight, the rabbit woke up, good as new. It waved its paw at the two humans and hopped off.

The Man was so happy. He thanked the woman over and over again. "Say," he started "What is in the can?". He asked curiously.

The woman turned the can around so the man could read the label -Hair Spray. Restores life to dead hair".

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

My Job Is To Watch. I Am Rack.

I have a job.  I watch.

I watch everything.  My people, the passersby, the house.

I see you go by every day and I am happy to see you.  

You are a friend.  If you weren't I would let my people know.

Once, you came to my door, and I told my people.  They were surprised but it is my job.  I made sure Dad knew and he made things right.  He got you home, and that is a good thing.

Dad tells me I'm good, and this is how I am.  I do good things.

Now when you visit, you let Dad take you home right off and that is a good thing.

I watch that door, it is my place, it is my job.  He has said I can be there so it is one of my favorite places.

If I am there, I can see the world.  The world can be scary with lots of noisy things.  When Dad came to take, he picked me up and carried me to that door.  He said "You will always be welcome here, safe here.  Welcome home."

I never had a home.  When I was young and not yet full grown, someone had me and did not understand that we don't always like loud things. 

Then he took me to a place far away and left me with someone else.  I liked them, there were lots of people to fuss over me, to heal my wounds, to make me better.

Dad found me on some place he called Online.  It must be a big place this Online.  I heard him say there were lots of others still waiting but very few like me.

Dad likes what he calls Cow Dogs or Working Dogs.  Dad says they are smarter.  That means I'm smart too!  

We went a long way to where Dad lives in the warm place.  Lots of things to do, lots of things to see, even that lake in our place.  He took me into that lake once to make sure I could be safe.  I was and he does not make me go in there any more.  

I can watch him in the lake.  I like that.   I lay in the deep green grass, under the trees where it is cool.  Next to the flowers.  

When he goes into the water, I worry but he always comes out safe.  He knows that he can count on me to watch.

Always I watch.  

I don't like it when he goes away, so I wait.  I don't think he knows how much I want to go with him but always I get excited when he comes back.  

I try to tell him.  He says I can't talk but I try.  He calls it "Yodeling".  Do you know what Yodeling is?  I try to say "Hello" but he says "Scooby Doo can't talk either, it's all right".

It is easier when I know what is happening.  Sometimes I hear "I'm Going Skating".  I don't know what that means but since Dad likes it, I like it too.  I can't come.  He says I am a Sprinter, and it is too much.  So I wait in my place and watch.

But being a Cow Dog is a great thing.  He says I am the smartest of all kinds of dogs.  Something called a McNab.  I guess not everyone can be a McNab.  I wonder if that's Dad's name too or is it just something special for him to say?

Well anyway I'm going to let him know that someone is here.  He says I'm going to sing the song of my people.  When I do that, he tells me to go into the bedroom but I can't do my job from there.

This time, I'll be quieter about it.  If I do I can stay in my favorite place.  Next to Dad and on my mat next to him.

Yep, it's my job.  It's much better than being outside on a farm.  I know others that did not like being on a farm and they just walked off.  Maybe that is how they end up on that Online Place?

And sometimes, once in a while, Dad sneaks me something good, just because I am a good boy.   Extra special just like me!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

I used to be possessed by many spirits...I drank them all.

 If you waited this long for your valentine, you are probably too late.  Quick, start making pancakes!

I will say I had a very nice conversation with someone who I care for yesterday who gave me some ideas on how to make some specific chocolates.  Of course I'll share them here when I get them done, and really chocolate making is trivial, just remember that your results will only be as good as the ingredients like anything in life.



Woman gets test results for her husband from the doctor

Doctor: Well, ma'am, your husband can live a long and healthy life, but we have to observe a strict regimen for him, or he won't. First, no agitation. His heart doesn't take that well, so you have to speak quietly and softly to him, don't require him to make any hasty moves, don't wake him rudely and most of all, don't yell at him suddenly. He needs three good meals per day and you have to cook them according to the exact preparation specifications detailed in this folder.

This continues for almost half an hour. The woman nods and goes home where her husband is waiting for her, asking "What did the doctor say?"

Wife: "He said you're gonna die".



And because the world is not as cynical as that story, I have another cynical one for you.  Enjoy your chocolate.



The Magic Drawer

Before their marriage, the groom told his wife that he will marry her on the condition that he will have one drawer in the home which only he may open. She may never open up the drawer. She was very interested to know what he might be hiding in the drawer, but she agreed.

Ten years past, and she hadn't yet opened the drawer. One day, when her husband was traveling overseas, she couldn't control her curiosity anymore. Even though she waited ten years, she had to know what was in the drawer. She opened it and found three eggs, with a wallet filled with thousands of dollars.

She telephoned her husband immediately and said, "I'm sorry, I feel so terrible, but I couldn't control myself anymore. I opened the drawer. But please tell me what are the eggs for?'"

Her husband replied, "Before we got married I vowed that every time I lied to you, I would place one egg into the drawer."

"Wow," she replied. "After all these years you only told me three lies! I'm impressed. So what's all that money about?"

Her husband replied, "When the drawer gets full, I sell the eggs."

Saturday, February 13, 2021

To be frank...I would have to change my name.

 Here's the thing.  I have worked with many people of many different levels of capacity. 

The bottom rung people are just learning the task.  Give them time.

Those just above the bottom rung are the ones who do the most actual practical work.  

Just above that there are the people who show others how to do things.  Big Picture People.  The Business Analysts or Project Managers, if you will.  They are the Border Collies (Well, McNabs, Really) of the farm keeping people in line and making sure that everything happens in time and under budget.

Then above that you have "Managers".  I have still to figure out what these people actually do.  If you ever read the Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, these are the people who were deemed not necessary by their society and launched into space.

Being a Project Manager by trade, I have had the displeasure of working under too many incompetents that have been "Kicked Upstairs" simply because they were ... well lets just call it "agreeable".

Oh by the way we are descended from them in that universe.  But do find a copy and read it, it's a wonderful lark through the universe in its own weird way, and you will find many wonderful allegories through life.

Don't forget to bring a towel.

The answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42.


A group of managers were given the assignment to measure the height of a flagpole.

So they go out to the flagpole with ladders and tape measures, and they're falling off the ladders, dropping the tape measures - the whole thing is just a mess.

An engineer comes along and sees what they're trying to do, walks over, pulls the flagpole out of the ground, lays it flat, measures it from end to end, gives the measurement to one of the managers and walks away.

After the engineer has gone, one manager turns to another and laughs. "Isn't that just like an engineer, we're looking for the height and he gives us the length."

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Mango Season or How A Mango Grows

 I have an annual weird date with a tree.  I am documenting that information for the next year. 

This is my crib sheet.

I may be a bit of a tree hugger, with my own more than casual life-long relationship with plants, gardens, and landscaping, I would say I have earned the name.

The specific tree I am speaking of is a Mango tree in the backyard.  In its case, it is a "Coghsall Mango" that has been bred to be smaller than the monsters that I see in my neighborhood.  That is relative since I have once trimmed the daylights out of my own fifteen foot tree (Call it 5 meters my non-American friends) down to my own height of 6'4" (193CM).  I will repeat this after fruiting season ends.

Ok I am showing off with my mental mathematical gymnastics.  A bit.

Anyway it is a progression of things to look for.  

Early Summer, May to June, I have to go out and hack my tree back.  The tree will put out new growths from the cut site that look like a hydra or an octopus.    Don't go below about eye level, 6 feet or so.  Leave some leaves on the tree so it can thrive.

Around Xmas, the neighboring Hagen Mangoes begin to put out inflorescences.  Be patient.

Around late January, my tree will begin to put out little acorn shaped buds.  They're bright green if not Chartreuse.

These acorns will grow, then split and put out small mango leaf shaped leaves with little spherical bumps.  Each of those bumps will grow into an inflorescence.

Later these inflorescenses will grow into something that looks distantly like a TV antenna with the bumps splitting open into dozens of mango flowers.

If I am lucky, each inflorescence that holds 50-100 "Proto-Mangoes" will be visited by bees.  The tree is smarter than I am and usually no more than three actual mangoes will form on each inflorescence.  

The extras fall off.

The fruit will be ready to eat by summer.  The recipe for Mango Jelly is simple - four cups fruit chunks, 2 cups sugar, 1 packet of "Sure-Jell with sugar".  Mash the mixture.  Cook on stove until it begins to jell.  Jar and can for gifts later.