I admit, I don’t know what I’m doing. Everything about my current environment differs from anything else I’ve known. The learning curve has been steep.
The first photo is of a dragon fruit bloom. Our first year here, I watched the blooms, waited and then, nothing…
I learned they often require hand pollination. So this second season, I began hand pollinating the blooms. And nothing. Nothing, that is, until late in the season. The fruit set.
You can imagine my initial surprise when the fruit starts gained in size, instead of just withering on the plant. This surprise was surpassed when I saw the fruit turning red and eventually appear ripe.
What a weekend! It was Tom’s 50th Class Reunion (twice delayed), which sent us heading to Scottsdale, AZ for Memorial Day Weekend. The class reunion was great and provided my hubby with the opportunity to connect with folks from his past, talk about high-school pranks, project cars and hobbies. We enjoyed much laughter and good connection with some of his former classmates. During the video presentations of senior pictures, I realized those students looked like the kids I graduated from high school with 50 years ago. They sure looked young! My guess is they were like the kids I graduated with. They thought they knew much about life, Didn’t we all experience a surprise?
Though the reunion was fun, our accommodations were the highlight of the weekend. We stayed in the house where Tom grew up. A home built in the early 50s, designed by a renowned architect and built by Del Web as one of his first homes before he became famous for building communities. This house was a one of a kind in a unique neighborhood developed by invitation of the owners of Ride ‘n Rock Ranch. This house was the initial build within the area and identified as the Ranch Guest House. The owner never stayed in the home, but used it as a perk for his executives and for tax benefits. A breezeway separated the bedrooms from the main structure, with each bedroom having its own entrance and a private bathroom. Tom’s parents were the second owners of the structure. During their tenure there, they enclosed the breezeway, which resulted in the first bedroom being connected to the main part of the house.
There’s a one lane road leading to the home, which is set back with plantings and trees lining the walkway to the entry. I felt like I was entering an enchanted zone.
The current owners are passionate about the history of the home and understanding changes performed on the property. They have amassed a huge history on the house and the neighborhood.
Tom has told me many stories of the place and his growing up experiences. I have to admit, I struggled to understand the layout or the neighborhood. His stories came to life for me. It felt like I stepped back in time.
We’re home. Landed, unpacked and adjusted to another time change. We’ve had time to process the early months of 2022. It feels good to be home. We returned changed; different from when we left in January. We immersed ourselves in the Irish culture of County Kerry; we reconnected with old friends and made new. Any time one opens themselves to another or something new, they change.
Our return in 2019 and again in 2020 started me thinking I needed to slow down and not rush through life as I was. I had no plan for implementing this change, but recognized it was something I needed. (Enter Covid), which made the change possible. Ha-ha.
The Pandemic left me (Linda), believing God was refining his church. What Ireland revealed to me convinces me of this belief even more. Pastors would tell us they lost some members, they gained some members during Covid. We saw them last in January/February 2020, just prior to the world closing its borders because of Covid. The difference in those congregations/fellowships between 2020 and 2022 was discernable, and so encouraging. People appeared more committed to their faith, and so much more compassionate and committed to their fellow believers. Covid did not surprise God, nor has he stopped working in the hearts of believers around the globe. These communities were more confident in themselves and what they believed. I returned to America with hope in my heart. Hope that we too in America will draw strength from our faith, that we’ll become more committed to the basis of our faith and that we’ll have more compassion for those around us.
When I think of the friendships in County Kerry, my heart is overflowing. I’m grateful for the time I spent with fellow believers, fellow writers, friends of mine.
Between Ireland and home, we spent a week with friends/family in Dorchester, England. It was a time of relaxing, refreshment, and renewed friendship. Sometimes I wish the Atlantic Ocean was not between me and my friends.
There may be more thoughts later, but for now, I’ll just share some of my favorite photos.
The end has arrived. It was time to purge the agave before it became rigid and too tough to cut. The blooms hosted bees, honey birds and some butterflies.
When the stalk fell, a mild sweet fragrance filled the air.
Pieces cut to fit the green waste mounded on the ground.
Then each was stabbed with a pitch fork and dropped in the bin.
Smaller pieces were scooped in.
Few pieces wait for next week’s trash collection day.
Check out the close-up bloom. Each of those tiny tennacles were feeding zones for all the flying critters that hovered around the blooms once they opened. After sitting in the sun for several days, there was no fragrance, and no visiting creatures. This piece will join its kin in the bin next week.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this marvel of nature with me.
We’ve yet to determine what will be planted in the agave’s former location. But the next selection will take into consideration the little bridge and mature size of the plant.
Thanks for watching this amazing transition with me. It’s not over yet, but we’re getting closer to the end. I expected the flowers to bloom before the death cycle became evident. So, future photos will have fewer leaves on the bottom, and perhaps there will be yellow flowers. Or not…