Last week, I stated that spring had finally arrived; it looks as if Mother Nature made a total liar out of me. We have been having the weirdest weather imaginable for the month of April. Friday it was a nice, warm, beautiful day; Saturday was just the opposite, cold with the wind blowing a gale and the temperature dropping most of the morning and cool enough that I had to turn the heat back on. And, Sunday was somewhere between the two, with it being necessary to wear a jacket when I went to church and again when I went to a fundraiser, sponsored by our local children’s home, called “Bluebonnet Youth Ranch”. They had a wonderful barbecued chicken dinner with beans and “dirty” rice.
My week has been busy, as the first week of the month usually is. Four different organizations that I belong to all had their meetings the first three days of this week. It makes for an interesting challenge to keep up with the. The previous week, I had two bake sales in five days. This past week wasn’t quite as bad, even though I was head hostess for refreshments at our meeting on Wednesday. It all went well, in fact much better than I had anticipated. I guess it helps when the rest of the crew you are working with are all officers of the organization!
One thing that I have noticed this year, maybe more than some others is the yucca plants are blooming profusely. In traveling back and forth from Yoakum to Victoria, and in traveling to Devine, I have noticed several that are out in open fields that have as many as four and five ‘branches’ all bearing flowers that are creamy white to ivory in color and look like giant candles. And, the one in my daughter’s front yard is almost always humming with bees. They really seem to love the nectar.
Only a moth called simply ‘yucca moth’ pollinates the yucca plant. And, the yucca is basically a desert tree that grows primarily in the southwestern United States and it is related to the Joshua tree. The yucca is called by many names, including: Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Spanish Bayonet, Dagger Plant and Candlestick Plant.
According to the notes I had made, yucca will grow in the western parts of Washington, Oregon, all of California, parts of Nevada and New Mexico, all of Texas except the panhandle area and on through the southern part of Oklahoma, through all of the southern United States from Louisiana through Florida and up into Virginia and the Carolinas and beyond up the eastern coast line states, including Delaware and southern New Jersey.
The yucca, has sharp pointed dark green leaves, that are generally 2½ feet long, (sometimes longer), and about two to 3-inches wide at the centermost area. Some varieties have smooth edges on the leaves, but others have very rough, almost sharp edges. If you use them for landscaping, they should never be placed anywhere near a walkway because of these leaves with their sharp points. Even though the plant is considered a shrub, it can grow from six feet to sixteen feet tall. The ones in the wild seem to be about ten feet tall.
The yucca belongs to the Agave family and “yucca” is actually the genus name and there are over 50 varieties of this plant. Historical use has it that the Native Americans used the soapy leaves and roots for numerous conditions, including boiling the roots or leaves and making poultices and baths for skin conditions. Sprains, joint inflammation and bleeding also were believed to be helped when treated with a poultice or washing the area with a bath made of yucca.
Now, here’s a little bit of trivia that I found in my files. Some of it makes sense and some of them, maybe not so much!
According to Albert Einstein, if honeybees were to disappear from earth, humans would be dead within 4 years.
There are so many kinds of apples, that if you ate a new one every day, it would take over 20 years to try them all.
You can survive without eating for weeks, but you will only live 11 days without sleeping.
People who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don’t.
Laziness and inactivity kills just as many people as smoking.
A human brain has a capacity to store 5 times as much information as Wikipedia.
Our brain uses the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb!
Our body gives enough heat in 30 minutes to boil 1.5 liters of water!
Stomach acid (concentrated Hydrochloric Acid – HCL) is strong enough to dissolve razor blades!
Take a 10-30 minute walk every day and while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
When you wake up in the morning, pray to ask God’s guidance for your purpose, today.
Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
Try to make at least three people smile each day.
Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
Make peace with your past, so it won’t spoil the present.
Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Texas Turtle Cake
1 package German chocolate cake mix
1 stick margarine, softened to room temperature
1½ cups water
½ cup oil
½ cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine and mix together the above ingredients. Line a 13x9x2 pan with foil and grease the foil. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the filling:
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 bag caramels (1 pound bag)
1 cup chopped pecans
Melt caramels and mix with condensed milk. Spread over the baked layer. Sprinkle with the pecans. Cover with the remaining batter and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until done. Cool thoroughly. Frost with the following:
1 stick butter or margarine
4 tablespoons cocoa
6 to 7 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 box sifted confectioners sugar (1 pound)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt together butter or margarine, cocoa and milk. Remove from heat and add sugar and vanilla. Mix well and spread on cooled cake.
Turtle Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert
2 boxes ice cream sandwiches (recipes for this generally call for 19 sandwiches, however, the only brand available to me in Devine was Blue Bell and they come in boxes of 12 and are oblong rather than square).
1 jar (12-oz) caramel ice cream topping
1½ cup finely chopped pecans (divided usage)
1 container (12-oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 jar (12-oz) hot fudge sauce, (heat just before serving dessert)
Put one box of ice cream sandwiches in freezer while you make this, getting them out when you have the first layer in the pan.
Place 12 ice cream sandwiches in 9×13 metal pan, cutting one in half to fit corner. Top with ½ jar of caramel topping, and ½ cup pecans, add ½ of whipped topping and repeat layers using remainder of caramel topping, ½ cup pecans and remaining topping. Use last ½ cup pecans on top of the whipped topping. Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving. Cut into 12 to 15 pieces to serve and top each serving with dollop of warmed hot fudge sauce.