Saturday, December 5, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We used to have Thanksgiving with my folks and Christmas dinner with Lyn's folks. After my Mom contracted cancer, Thanksgiving was scheduled as normal, even though she was getting sicker by the day. She just insisted that she could still do it. The day before Thanksgiving she called and said she couldn't do it. Lyn and my sister volunteered to pull something together but she said no. Lyn and I had Thanksgiving dinner at some restaurant in Round Rock and it wasn't all that good.
Lyn told me this wouldn't happen again. Like I've said before, I am a lucky guy. I married a woman that loves to cook and is very good at it. She said next Thanksgiving would be at our house, no ifs, ands or buts about it. My Mom passed away the next February, and my Dad passed away five weeks later. About a month before the big day, Lyn told me I had better start rounding up some people for Thanksgiving as she was blowing it out. She was cooking it all and it was going to be a big meal for just the two of us.
I came up with nine the first year. The second it jumped to thirteen. The third it was fifteen. The next it was twenty two. This year it was back down to fifteen. My sister always comes but Lyn's siblings go to their in-laws. However the last two years Lyns sister, her husband and their two daughters have come. The couple that owns the local feed store are always here as well as several customers of mine. A couple of neighbors come and a couple people that are just regulars at the feed store as well as a couple of friends. Some can't make it some years but make it others. This year we had two newbies. A young fella that works at the place that I buy pipe and his wife came. She is expecting on Christmas day and her doctor had told her not to travel as they had some problems with the pregnancy and should stay close. You can't have an expectant mother to be missing Thanksgiving. Katina of Gardening in Austin and her husband were supposed to come but something came up and they couldn't make it.
The turkey was deep fried.[that's my job] Lyn cooked two pies and a pumpkin cake as well as candied pecans for snacking. My sister brought peanut brittle and Fran at the feed store always brings a vegetable snack tray that is to die for. It's huge. Lyn's sister, Chickie, brought a big pasta salad that is always a big hit. Lyn made fresh green beans right out of the garden and mashed potatoes from ones I had dug in the summer. You can always tell the corn was our corn as it is so dark yellow. Lyn made a new dish this year that was absolutely wonderful. It was sweet potaoes in a hollowed out orange. There has never been any store bought bread in our house so of course there was home made bread and home made rolls.
Like I said, I'm a lucky guy. I have so many great friends, a wonderful wife and great holidays. I hope all your Thanksgivings were as good as mine.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
She has built what must be the king of bottle trees. I like hers better than any I've seen. Mr. Cole just thinks it is hard to trim around.
She also has more bird feeders than any one I know. The tin around the trees is to keep the local coon population out of the feeders. You might notice a deer in the back ground. They have to feed the deer early in the evening so the wild hogs don't get it all.
They moved here from up north to retire where it is warmer. They have always let me have access to the river to fish since the first time I met them. I had to drag my kayak off a dirt bluff to get to the water. I kept telling Mrs. Cole about all the beautiful plants I would see down in the riparian zone that didn't grow on the higher ground. Early this summer I went up to fish and she had hired someone with a dozer to build a road down to the water so she could see them as well.
Ground Cherry was thick in places with their Chinese lantern looking fruit.
Across the river was huge thickets of Inland Sea Oats but I couldn't get close enough for a picture. I did spy a Cardinal Flower on the other side of the river. You can barely see the crimson red of it in this picture.
On a little higher ground was clumps of Marsh Fleabane. It really looks good in clumps of several plants but kind of plain by itself.
Along with the Pigeon Berry was this beautiful sage with vibrant blue flowers. The plants were over four feet tall. I believe it is Bog Sage but I'm not sure.
This is such a beautiful place owned by beautiful people that like other people to enjoy it. They moved to Texas for all the reasons others do. They have had to resort to signs to keep people out as the trash left by trespassers has gotten to be too much.
Now their mail box is being vandalized so they had to get me to build them a smash proof one.
If your ever on the road between Oakalla and Kempner and see an older couple out picking up trash along the road stop and ask if you can check out the river for plants. They are small in stature but rather large in spirit. Tell them you know me, it can't hurt. I just wish they were being treated a little better here in Texas.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The summer Shrimp plant stayed looking good all through the heat but its blooms are gone now, replaced by the fall Shrimp plant. I staggered the two when I planted this bed so I would have blooms from spring all the way to frost. The summer plants have more yellow and green in the blooms than the fall ones. This is the summer Shrimp back when it was blooming.
These are the fall Shrimp plants now. You can see how much darker in color they are, showing a more maroon color.
The little Spanish Flag that hardly got up in the summer has come back and even got a few blooms on it. I didn't plant this and have no idea how it got here but I am glad it is. I had to look it up to know what it is.
While all the other Austin area bloggers were posting pictures of their Ox Blood Lilies, all I had showing was a few leaves. I had hardly watered them all summer and thought they may not make it let alone bloom. But let the deluge begin, water and then blooms.
The Duranta had a pitiful blooming in early summer but came on strong after the rains.
The Hummingbird plant, while not blooming prolifically, did bloom a little all summer. With mega doses of rain it is a stunner. Please excuse the dirty hand, I am a gardener and I never wear gloves, ever.
The Garlic Chives that has never bloomed since I've had it finally bloomed. I guess it will only bloom when flooded.
I felt lucky to have all the roses put on a few blooms one more time before settling in for the winter. The Mutabilis put on the most and had roses in the all the different hues that it's capable of.
The Belinda's Dream only had a couple but they were beautiful and smelled great.
And the Knockout has the most blooms. That's why they call it a knockout probably.
Because of my total lack of gusto in pruning any plant, the Don Juan only had blooms so high I couldn't get close enough for a picture without a ladder. I could still smell the blooms though and that's what counts. The Chief says she is going to prune it this year as I'm such a wuss at it.
The Turks cap hasn't had a bloom on it for most of the summer but is making up for it now, it's really loading up.
The Stone Crop is running a little late this year because of the drought but it finally made it. The bees are loving it as well.
What happened here? I think a Zinnia bloom must have fallen here and all the seeds came up in one place.
The fall Astor is right on schedule, drought or no drought. Being a native, you can expect performance, no matter the weather. Although I knew it was a native, I had never seen it in the wild. While on a kayaking trip on the Llano river at Junction last week, I saw it blooming in a profusion of color all along the banks.
We didn't plant much of a fall vegetable garden this year because it was just too hot when the planting needed doing. We did, however, plant a couple of beds of beans. They are going to make, I think, before frost. They have little beans all over them. You can also see the huge Cinnamon Basil in the middle of the photo. I always plant a few of these in the beds because I just love the smell, my favorite of all the aromatics. I also think they help keep the bugs away from the other plants.
There are still two cantaloupes on the vines that were planted in the spring. I think they are going to make it before frost as well.
I have two watermelons as well. I haven't gotten to eat one off this vine yet this year. All the vines died in the heat except this one, and it has gone crazy since it rained. Maybe it will be like one year when I got to eat a fresh off the vine watermelon at Thanksgiving. That would be great.
Why would anyone plant radishes like this? I love radishes and always have them in the beds when it's cooler weather. Favorite is a Russian radish that is an heirloom, so I save the seeds. It takes a few more days to mature but gets as long as a carrot, takes heat well, tastes good and doesn't get woody. Back to the first sentence, why? When they came up and I saw how they were, I at first didn't understand. Then I saw the edge of a chewy sticking up and knew the secret. My dog, Bonnie, had buried it, shoving all the seeds into one row. I know I will have some deformed radishes now as I don't intend to thin them.
There's more but you get the idea of just what rain will do. It's too bad we went so long with out any of it.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The next day Lyn and I were back to shoveling sand and making ready to move a couple more tanks in. Getting the sand at the same level as the existing tanks is hard work and takes a lot of time. Moving the tanks around is even harder. They really aren't that heavy, around 400#, but they don't have handles. I weigh about 185# and Lyn weighs about a buck ten so pushing these around is really tough. We got it done, however, and now I'm ready for the rain on Monday and Tuesday.
It's starting to look quite impressive. With the eight inches of rain we had last week, all of these would have been full. As it was, we got 9,000 gallons in the tanks. The tubes at the top are the overflow tubes. I made them long enough to have the overflow fall beyond the pole that holds the sand back. After the last rain it was evident that it was important to do it as we had a major washout of sand. There is screen mesh over the ends to keep mosquitoes out.
Here is one of the reasons I'm doing this. This is the entrance to the Lauren concrete plant north of Seward Junction on Hwy 183 at 3:00 in the middle of the day, watering their driveway. Talk about wasting water. Hardly any of it is falling on the grass. That's my drinking water they are wasting.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I really didn't like this as I would have to have a line to every tank. It finally registered that I could just drill a hole in the center of the top and put in a larger line. I already had a 4" hole saw bit so I went with 3" PVC as the outside of the fittings are 4" and it would be a perfect fit that I could caulk to keep mosquitoes out of my water. The unused 1 1/2" holes would be the over flow holes and I could easily put screen wire over them for mosquito protection. It is also a little easier to do the plumbing as I can get by with only having the inlet line go to three tanks.
I now have three tanks hooked up to receive water. The new hook up looks like this.
All I have to do now is level off 50' more ground, shovel in a lot more sand, move and level five more tanks and do the plumbing only on the bottom of them, and then I can start on the pump and filter house. I'll keep you posted.