Glass, Cactus, and Chlorine

It’s rained a few times recently, which is a nice change from last summer.

The backyard- at least in the areas without imported soil, or plantings, or now covered by the brick patio- turns into saturated heavy clay after a rain. slowly most of it is getting covered up but previously we’d have to hose the dog’s feet off before he could come inside because it would pack up on his feet. You could ruin a pair of shoes by walking on it for any length of time.

I do NOT miss the mud.

I DO kinda miss the things we’d find in it though.

Glass from the backyard

Our backyard might as well be an archeological site- the mud was always giving up something after a rain. You’d expect it to be pull-tops from 70s beer cans, but it is most often shards of really thick glass. Luckily they are never sharp, so it isn’t dangerous, but I did always find it interesting to wonder what all the glass was used for and how it ended up all over the backyard. We found other things as well:

We found 3/4 of a doormat once- green plastic with the daisy in the corner- 80s? Before? It was completely grassed over and an inch deep in the soil.

My husband found a teeny bottle, 1 inch tall, that was intact.

Countless pieces of glass.

And then this thing:

Sheer pins

It’s one of the few metal pieces we’ve found back there. Sheer pins are designed to break once a certain level of force is reached as a failsafe to protect other parts of an engine. From a quick Google search I see them most often listed for use in snow blowers, but that surely wasn’t what they were used for here in Central Texas.

Just one of life’s mysteries and a cool benefit to living in a house from the 1910s I guess. The more we cover the less we find after rains though. Such is life?

In other news I found this picture of a cactus I got last August:

Cutest little thing!

And decided to show one year’s worth of growth:

Kapow!

It’s starting to thin out at the tips so I will be fertilizing it soon. Here’s the thing- even online cactus forums can’t definitively tell me what this is! Everyone says it looks like a rat tail cactus… which is what I was told when I bought it, but it’s too thin as well as too upright for that- rat tail cactus are trailing plants. Is a mystery but I sure do love it- it sits on my desk in front of a south facing window.

A fairly new addition to my “funny signs” list:

I’d be more concerned I guess if it was: Danger “Chlorine”…

Gots ta run, houses to clean, pets to feed, cluttered closets to continue to ignore…

Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda… no Offend-a

Reposted from October 2018…

Now when it comes to talking about Dia de los Muertos… as a white, middle aged, blond haired, green eyed guera, I consider myself no entitled-ass expert over here or anything. But know this- while I am not Mexican by birth I married one, we’re raising three, AND I made alters for Dia de los Muertos before the movie Coco came out. To further prove my bit of street cred, I totally love all things to do with the Mexican culture. Also I’m taking Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone. So like… Yo tengo sandwiches, ya dig?

Continue reading “Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda… no Offend-a”

Of Grave Importance

I was out on a construction site for work today next to the police station in Cibolo, TX… and there was an old cemetery across the street that looked beyond intriguing. I’ve discussed my love of old graveyards before here.

I wrote on that previous post about the peace of graveyards, and how time kinda removes the grief from death… but it wasn’t how I felt this morning. God, there were just so many children… parental loss and it’s screaming anguish was still so upfront in this graveyard.

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Nastasia born 1864, died 1867… “Gone to be an Angel” written on the bottom

The symbolism though… the lamb, the tree cut down too soon…

Or this one, that was excruciating to imagine those parents who lost their 2 and 3 year old daughters two days apart in 1890. What sickness was in the house… what grief those poor people endured. It still hung heavy in the air around this dual grave:

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Olga, just shy of 2 when she died on May 14th 1890, and Bertha, one day past 3 when she died on May 16th, 1890. Ow my fucking heart, History!

The ratio of children to adults was much too high for a normal (I use that phrase loosely), more enjoyable stroll around a graveyard. But there was still the normal interesting things that are what I like. (said the crazy person…)

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Buzzfeed style caption: Tree stump headstones are prevalent in graveyards from Victorian and Edwardian times. Find out why!

I always knew tree trunks were Woodsman of the World headstones… but turns out why there are so many of them is interesting. They were free with W.O.W. life insurance policies! And the Germans would be damned if they were going to pass up a sweet deal like that! Hence SO many tree stump headstones! A tall trunk is for adults, short logs are for children… not sure if the 2 cut logs the larger trunk is astride means they lost two children or just that they sprang for the more expensive policy package.

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She sells seashells down by the sea shore… FOR DEATH!

No one is REALLY sure why there are so many cemented in sea shell covered graves in the South… many of them far away from the ocean. Loose, non cemented in shells (often conch shells like the two closest to the headstone on the picture above) generally mean someone took a pilgrimage and brought it to the grave long after burial. (European symbolism there of a pilgrimage). Slaves often marked graves with shells because the ocean brought them to this place, and so the shells symbolized taking them to their final home. Perhaps these German immigrants used them for the same symbolism? My favorite theory (though I don’t think it’s right) is that shells were used s shingles on grave surfaces as a protective “roof”… so totally utilitarian. And while that DOES sound very 1800s German it doesn’t quite jive because the rest of the graves are so ornate. Shells have generalized Christian symbolism… we may just have to leave it at that and that it was just a Victorian fad.

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The Shrouded Urn… a great name for a mystery, now that I think of it

The urn was a symbol of death long after cremation went out of fashion, and the shroud symbolized variously: the last curtain between life and death, or protection, or that death has fallen over something. I’ve seen shrouded angels (fucking terrifying, lemme tell ya), shrouded fruit baskets, shrouded obelisks and urns… there were some pretty talented stone carvers back in the day. It’s one of my favorite things to look for in cemeteries, the shrouded statuary.

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Oh you!

And then there are the hands. The hand like that is SUPPOSED to be pointing up to heaven and God, but which always look like a shaking finger like “Oh you! You got me! Never saw that one coming, I didn’t!”

Next there are these, my VERY favorite things- enamel pictures from the 1800s. The glimpses of people… generally in the prime of their lives even if they lived to be old… which I LOVE. I HATE modern obituaries that only have the pictures from the very end of life… I love seeing people from another age, in their prime, looking out at the world like this! Now, as much as I love graveyards, I never wanted to be IN one before. Cremate me and cast me in the Frio River in Uvalde… but I’m tempted by the chance to be one of these for the next few centuries…

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Wilhelm Reimann

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Nestine Reimann. Only picture on a grave of a woman in the whole cemetery. Twenty bucks her middle name was Prudence. I bet you.

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Millennials are just the new Progressive Generation. (Do you have ANY idea how long it took me to research that joke? I was committed to it though.)

And inscriptions… There was one that read Asleep In Jesus from 1915 for a 25 year old dude. Which is just weird and I hope just the result of iffy English skills. Or this one:

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Germans are hardcore

It reads, or as damn close as Google Translate can get me, “The silent grave is unafraid of the Devil, because of faith in God and no fear of Judgement.” Well okay then.

I guess I love old cemeteries for the same reason as I like older neighborhoods and not the cookie cutter new developments. Variability! Individuality! Craftmanship! Interesting Things!

Here’s the thing, every once in a while I think like, huh. So THAT’S how I turned out, to be someone who likes old cemeteries. Who would have known when I was younger that I’d grow up to be that? Wonder if quilters or giant pumpkin growers or people who collect typewriters ever wonder the same thing?

Linking up with Samantha at Fake Fabulous HERE- check it out!