The May Family  
The May Family; Garland, Texas


22 March 2005

Garden prep, 2005

Based upon the success of last years' vegetable garden, we are continuing the enterprise this year and roughly doubling the size. Having full dismantled the obsolete swing set, the dimensions of the plot have been increased from one hundred square feet (10x10) to around one hundred ninety-five (10x19.5). This is nearly equal to that which we planted a decade ago.

Though technically belated by three weeks, we are getting almost a month's lead over the growing season experienced last year. Being based upon a raised bed philosophy, the plot expansion brought with it the need to augment the fill material. To the existing soil mix was added eight cubic feet of multi-purpose landscape mix, eighty pounds of composted cow manure, four cubic feet of homemade compost and twenty-five pounds of organic fertilizer. All ingredients were mixed well with a tiller and spread evenly within the frame. Water was then liberally applied and, following a few days of aging, will be sown with seed and transplants later in the week.

An unrealized

21 March 2005

Moss Point break

Continuing what is but one aspect — albeit the highlight — of this year's Spring Break holiday, we have just returned from spending five days with Jen and Christopher in Mississippi. We have been looking forward to this extended visit since Thanksgiving. Following is a summary of our itinerary.

  • Thursday
    following a late start, were on the road by 1100; arriving in Moss Point at 2030
  • Friday
    while Christopher was at work in the morning, the rest of us took a walk along the beach in Pascagoula — where we learned this is one of the most dog UNfriendly cities in the South (canines are allowed neither on the beach nor in the parks!)
    we were met by Christopher at The Shed for award winning smokehouse fare
    Collin and Herman spent an hour or so with Christopher surveying CPs near the NERR
  • Saturday
    Collin, Herman and Christopher went on a hike in the NERR, while Elizabeth accompanied Jen to classes at Driftwood Yoga
    after reuniting with the women folk in Ocean Springs, we attended the annual Herb & Garden Festival
    Elizabeth left with Collin early in the afternoon to meet Rebecca and Poppa in Pensacola for a child exchange
    meanwhile Herman accompanied Christopher on a weekly survey of nutria in a wetlands mitigation area near the Pascagoula shipyards
  • Sunday
    Herman assisted Christopher with the construction of two bridges, while Jen busied herself with trail blazing
    Elizabeth returned with Rebecca by 1000
    the late morning and early afternoon were spent on a boat tour of the NERR under Christopher's guidance
  • Monday
    arose early and were on the road by 0730; arriving in Garland at 1800

Among the interesting subthreads of our visit was our last meal together. Jen organized a sushi dinner wherein everyone contributed to the task of creating the fare before sitting down to share it together. As with most repasts that are worth consuming, it was a labor of love in that it took longer to prepare than to partake. It was well worth the effort, nevertheless, and provided a new appreciation for those who do so as a profession. The hounds looked forward to our visits to The Shed as they were the recipients of fresh pork long bones, which served to keep them occupied for long stretches.

As is our custom on such trips, we ate on the road. The only stops were for fuel and to exercise the hounds. On the return trip, an exception was made when we stopped for breakfast a few miles east of Baton Rouge. This combined with a lengthy stop at the mile marker 34 rest stop between Lafayette and Alexandria contributed to the additional two hours for our return trip. It was there that we met a couple with three hounds of their own. One was an older greyhound only slightly larger than Catalina, while the other two were introduced as "Texas Coyote Dogs" — lurchers of greyhound/irish wolfhound ancestry. These were substantial beasts with the general outward appearance of a greyhound, but endowed with the size, powerful jaws and deep chests of a wolfhound. Individually, they stood several inches over Oberon; who, at eighty pounds, is no slouch. They were apparently on the lookout for us as they had heard of another party traveling in the state with hounds.

We enjoyed ourselves so much on this visit that we are already making plans for our next! :-)

13 March 2005

Spring Break in Florida

Rebecca departed this morning to spend the week with her grandfather in Viera. In fact, both of the children will be spending their breaks entertaining and being entertained by Poppa.

This week is Rebecca's spring break from school. She will arrive early in the afternoon and will remain until Saturday. As we have done in the past, Collin and Rebecca will change places in Pensacola next weekend. Collin will then be staying until the following weekend, whereupon he will fly back to Texas.

06 March 2005

23rd NTIF

The majority of our afternoon yesterday was spent at Fair Park. We attended the annual North Texas Irish Festival. It was obvious that it had been several years since our last visit to the Celtic heritage festival. In the past, it was held in the relatively cramped confines of the corridor between the Cotton Bowl and the Embarcadero Building. During the last six years, it has moved to the relatively spacious accomodations of the Esplanade between the Automotive Building and Centennial Hall.

This was also the first year that we have taken Catalina and Oberon. They had a great time visiting with other canine friends as well as meandering through the exhibit halls. Though originally slated to number over twenty, in the end our party was was composed of eight. We met Margaret and Theodore near the Texas Hall of State. Unfortunately, they did not bring Pumpkin, Samantha and Duke. Mark was feeling under the weather; so, their party of five was absent. John and family were simply a no-show without further comment.

We roamed the grounds for the better part of four hours. Guinness, Irish stew and other favorites were staples enjoyed by all. The kids fared best with respect to goodies, though. Rebecca purchased a cord necklace based upon a Celtic knot design, while Collin took home a sword and new t-shirt. Elizabeth and Herman renewed their musings on the subject of adopting an Irish wolfhound to compliment the other hounds in our household. The prospect is far from settled.

Though it has been several years since our last visit to the festival, we have already resolved to return next year. The people watching alone is well worth the cost of admission! ;-)


continue to the February 2005 archive


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last edited: 2005.04.11