Showing posts from 2013
Yes, its been a while.  I know.  I haven't posted as much as I should.

So what's been going on here?  Well, we've had some cold weather.  We had a week long cold front with night time temperatures down to 24.  Some day time temps that barely made it above freezing.  It kept us cool/cold with temperatures around 30 degrees below our normal.  But it has had one advantage - my tomato plant has finally died.  I was going to keep it wrapped up and warm but I decided not to.  I don't want it in that same place next year - its in a plastic raised planter.  But the planter got moved from one stop to another, and its not in a good spot at the moment.  So I left it unwrapped and let the cold freeze the plant back.  Its not a nice dead looking plant.  Now I can try to get the tomato cages out of it.  The tomato plants had grown into the cages so well I couldn't get the cages out until the plants died.  So now when we get some warm day I will go out and pull up the cages.  Al…
What weather we've been having.  We've started having freeze warning.  We've been covering plants.  And so far so good.  Yesterday I picked 2.5 lbs of tomatoes from the plant.  But considering todays weather, that may be the last I will get from it.  Its 10 AM and its 38 degrees and raining, blowing rain.  Let's just say this cold came earlier then I thought it would and I didn't get the plants covered last night.  I thought we were supposed to get cold tonight, not last night.  So it looks like I'm off one night, and I may not get any more tomatoes because of that.  That's okay.  Its not the end of the world if I lose the plant.  There's always next  year.

update:  Its now 5pm, 35 degrees and a wind chill of 28.  We went out and covered the plants since its supposed to stay cold. Down jackets helped a lot.
Tomatoes are ripening!!  Today I picked tomatoes.  I'm making home made tomato sauce, with home grown tomatoes.  I probably need more tomatoes to do this with, but we'll use what we have and see how it goes.  Since I'm only feeding two, its not like I need a lot.  I guess its spaghetti for dinner tonight.

I'm also trying desserts for Thanksgiving.  I've read recipes that use puff pastry so I'm trying puff pastry topped with sliced apples, sugar and butter.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm hoping it goes well.  we'll see.  But if it does, its incredibly easy to make dessert this way.  Literally, put the puff pastry down on a sheet pan (I lined it with non-stick aluminum foil, didn't have parchment paper), top it with sliced apples, sprinkle with sugar, dot with butter then cook at 400 for 40 minutes.  Easy!!  Now I just hope it tastes good too.
Good news, we have a bridge.  We now have a way to get over the "creek" we get in the back yard when it rains.  Its a wood bridge, about 8-10 feet long, with a slight arch, and about 3 feet wide.  It sits on a concrete base on one side, near the house, and on blocks on the other side, near the garden.  Its unfinished wood so it will need to be sealed some how.  That's not happening today.  We are due for rain Monday thru Wednesday so we'll get a chance to see how well it works.

Other bits of good news:  the tomatoes are ripening and we finally ate the watermelon.  The watermelon was only about the size of a softball, more a personal size then a family size.  But it was sweet and good.  We'll try to grow some again next year.  The tomatoes are now starting to ripen in larger quantities.  I plucked over half a dozen to day and there are many more getting color.  There are still a lot that are green, but it looks like we may finally get our crop of tomatoes.

I was a…
Got another drencher last night.  Right around 4AM we got rain.  In about an hour we got 2.3" of rain.  At least everything is well watered now.  There's still a small chance of more rain today, then our next chance of rain in Wednesday.  Then we have 50% chance for it.  Could make for a messy Halloween for the kids.

This year we should have a few kids trick or treating.  It seems our neighbor is doing a hay ride for their kids to take them around the neighborhood to trick or treat.  Since we don't have many kids in the neighborhood, it would make it easier for the parents if they all get together.  Bill's thinking about driving the tractor down to the bottom of our driveway in his gorilla suit to hand out candy to the kids.  The kids might like that.

The yard is slowly shaping up.  Our bottom drainage problem area seems to have been fixed.  The regraded the area, got rid of the rocks and gravel, laid down seed then a mat to hold it in place.  And now the grass seems …
Yes, I know its been a while since I've posted.  But the last few weeks have been running by me fast.  I left on a trip and was gone a week, 8 days but who's counting.  But we still have somewhat weird weather.  Last night we got down to 46 degrees.  Definitely cool weather.  Where it may feel nice, its not so great for my tomatoes.  Yes, I am worried about my tomatoes.  I still have a load of green tomatoes on my plants.  I would like them to survive and ripen.

While I was gone I'm not sure what the weather did.  But I can tell you what I came back to.  My lovely acorn squash plant is not doing so well.  Most of it looks like it died.  With all the rain, I wouldn't be surprised. But I do still have one acorn squash growing.  Also it has another flower, though I don't think that will amount to much.  My small watermelon and cantaloupe are still small and I'm not sure they will grow much now.  My string bean plant has given me a crop of green beans.  Where they…
The weather has gone nuts.  In the past two weeks we've had rain.  Not light drizzle rain, think deluge.  For instance, last night we had well over 4" of rain in about 45 minutes at about 1AM this morning.  And about 10 days ago we had something similar, but over 5" of rain then.  This is Texas hill country type of land.  We have a little bit of soil, over rock.  The water doesn't just flow, it runs off this land.

We just came back from Home Depot.  On one of the road you could see where flowing water had deposited grass about a foot up a wire fence.  Some areas of roads are still covered in mud from water trying to drain away.  Yes, we need the rain.  And yes, it means the trees are getting a good watering as are the rest of the plants outside.  The deer now have lots to eat from all the new growth.  But that's a lot of rain in a very short period of time.

The other interesting thing about this weather, is our high temperature was at midnight - 74 degrees.  Ri…
Summer in Texas seems to be winding down - for Texas.  The temperatures are out of the high 90's.  We've had some rain, cooler nights (low 70's), and my plants are growing.  The deer are going into rut, its what passes for early fall here at the house.

 This is a bean plant.
 The roses are blooming again
 a baby squash - acorn squash I think
 A different squash plant.  Not sure what kind it is.
 My baby watermelon.
Now I don't know if these should be growing the way they are at this time of year.  But I think that because of the change in temperature, these plants seem to think its summer and time to grow. The squash plants have been growing so much I've had to set up trellises for them.  Some of these, the acorn squash and the big bean plant, were started from seeds a little while ago.  I guess they like when I planted them.  In the square growing box is another bean seed that was started before summer.  Its alive, but that's the best I can say for it.  Go figure. …
Still finding the tomato hornworms on my tomato plants.  Now I'm killing them by dropping the worms in soapy water.  It seems to kill them - I can watch them die.  With the days changing, and the weather cooling (for Texas that is) my plants are growing gang busters.  The tomato plants have lots of tomatoes ripening.  At least I should say the tomato plants in the square planter have tomatoes ripening.  The tomato plants in the RW planter (retaining wall planter) never got a single tomato.  They also didn't get any hornworms either.  But this weekend I hacked the RW tomatoes down.   If they are not going to do anything, I'm not going to keep them.  I've started getting ruthless with my plants.  If they aren't doing anything, I'm pulling them out or just dumping the soil in one big pile.  They earn their keep or they are out of here.

The weather has been changing.  We get some occasional hot days but the days/nights are starting to cool.  Not much mind you, but …
We have bugs.  Bugs in the tomato plants.  Big green caterpillars.  And I do mean big.  These things are eating the leaves off my tomato plants.  And with my happy tomato plants, I have big happy bugs.  BUT I'm not happy about the bugs.  I've been picking them off and putting them in a container with cactus.  We'll see if they like cactus.  And hopefully they can't get out of the container.  Not happy about these critters.

I looked them up and it seems I have tomato hornworms.  They grow into hawk moths.  They eat the leaves of tomato and pepper plants.  Actually they ate all the leaves off one pepper plants.  But the plant does seem to be trying to recover - its putting out new leaves.  I'm not sure how to get rid of these things other then to pluck them off and kill them.  I'm not sure exactly how to kill them.  So for now they are going into the cactus pot.  Its a pot of cactus I'm trying to kill off.  I dug it up with a hoe and put it into an empty pot…
Wow.  We have been having some work done at the house, extending the back patio and paving the area with pavers, changing out some plants, and getting mulch put down.  Yes, I know, we've had workers doing most of the work.  But we've been woken early - the workers usually started at 7 or 8 AM and finished by mid afternoon in order to beat the heat late in the day.  Its made for early mornings.  But the planters do look good and the patio extension looks great.  So it has been well worth the expense.

Things I am learning during this work.  Even plants they want full sun can benefit from some afternoon shade.  Many of the pots I had in the back near the patio got moved into what areas I could find that got some afternoon shade.  They are doing pretty good.  The couple of matching pots that were in full sun are growing, but not doing as well.  Moral of the story - afternoon shade helps in this heat.  As a learning lesson the tomato plants that get absolutely no shade, down in the…
Things I'm learning this summer.  I have two pots that do not have drainage holes - the strawberry pot and another pot.  Pot 2 has plastic taking up part of the bottom of the pot.  The strawberry pot is entirely filled with soil.  When we had our recent over and inch of rain, the strawberry pot was practically floating.  It actually had water sitting on the top of it.  I gently tilted the pot onto its side and let water drain out.  I hadn't realized the strawberry pot didn't have drainage holes.  I knew pot 2 didn't have hole, but I knew it had plastic in the bottom taking up some room.

I'm starting to wonder if holding water in these pots is not quite the bad thing during the summer.  Yes, the strawberry plants are getting some sun burn, but considering the heat of the sun and the fact the pot is sitting in direct sun with no shade - I'm not surprised some of the edges are getting burned.  But I wonder - if I don't put drainage holes, and put the pot somew…
How hot is in here your ask.  Well its now 11:15 pm and its 86 degrees with a heat index of 90.  Our high today was 98.  Welcome to Austin hot!
I know its been a while.  Got back from my trip last week and promptly got sick.  I'm getting better thank you.

Well talk about Texas rain.  Last night, around 12:45 AM we got rain.  We got 1-1/4 inches of rain in a bit over an hour, maybe an hour and a half.  At least we've had rain, and we still need it.
This is Memorial Weekend, and its raining in Austin, Texas.  We had about 1.25 inches yesterday here at the house, and its raining again today.  I don't know how much rain we will get.  It is very much needed, no question there.  But it is still strange.  If it were any cooler I would think I was back in Washington state. As is, we are in the 70's, ranging from the low to high.

But I'm sure all the plants will be happy for the rain.  This time of year I don't think they expect much rain.  But its here.  With the drought, plants and the reservoirs will be happy to get the much needed moisture.  And it hasn't all been those heavy downpours either.  Yesterday we got about the first inch of rain in one hour.  Then it was just kind of slow and drizzly.  It didn't rain overnight.  But this morning it started up again and its been slow and steady.  Just the kind of rain I would see in Washington.  But at least it should soak in well.  The rain won't run off too m…
This weather is making no sense.  We had rain last week, then dry.  Then this past weekend it began clouding over.  Right now it is cloudy, kind of misty, but 68 with 91% humidity.  At least the good thing is its nice weather for gardening.  Not too cold, but not too hot either.

I went over to my neighbor last week to see her iris' in bloom.  She had given me some rhizomes last fall which I attempted to plant.  Attempted since the deer insisted on pulling some of them put.  Well, it appears they are growing. This one is blooming in my garden.  Some of the others have buds, but have not quite bloomed yet.  We can hope.

The roses I had purchased online are also blooming.  Here's three of them.  Right now they are in pots, that's the best I can do.  But they seem happy.  Hopefully soon they will get a better planting.

The greenhouse has been well worth the time and trouble.

I'm not sure what kind of peppers these are.  They are actually a plant I bought last year, wrong …
The weather must be changing, even if it doesn't seem like it sometimes.  Last night we saw our first scorpion in the house.  We don't get a lot of them, but because of where we are we do get scorpions.  We do have a pest control system built into the house walls so that keeps most of the bugs away.  But last night I saw the first scorpion of the season in the house.  Bill stepped on it since I was barefoot - no more worry about that one.  But we must be changing seasons for them to show up.
The weather has been strange.  The past couple of days have been overcast but warm, in the 70's.  Last night only got down to 62, so that is a change in temp.  Especially since earlier this week we had night time temps down in the low 30's.  They keep saying we may get rain, 40% chance for tomorrow, Easter.  We even have a 50% chance on Wednesday.  I'm not holding my breath on it, we'll see if we actually get any.  But it is overcast with big billowy clouds.
Now that we hav…
Go figure.  Yesterday (Friday) they said today's (Saturday) forecast was a high of 86.  That has now changed to a high of 70.  It's already noon and we are not even up to 60.  Hopefully we'll get to 70, but we'll see.

The deer are not happy with the fence.  They keep coming up to it and looking in, like kids staring at a candy store they can't go into. I figure they'll get over it.  But we did get a bird feeder up.  And the birds have already found it and are coming.  We did find some old niger/nyjer seed.  The birds won't eat it but we put some outside the fence, just trying to get rid of it.  Well the deer like the niger/nyjer seed.

The greenhouse is doing great.  The squash plants have blossoms so hopefully we will get squashes soon.  The herbs are doing very well.  Even the berry bushes are putting out new leaves and growth.

I have had one unusual problem. I set some seeds out on a tray, it came with those compressed round soil pods.  You just add wate…
Go figure.  I planted how many daffodils and only one came up.
I know, be thankful I got one.  Maybe the others will bloom.  But its mid March and that's the only one so I'm not real hopeful.  Maybe we just didn't get enough cold.  I don't know.

But the fence has come along nicely.  Its 6 feet tall and will hopefully keep the deer out.  That remains to be seen, but we can hope.

I'm rather excited about the fence.  I'll be able to actually put plants out in the yard.  I'll be able to plant the new roses.  I'll be able to get some stuff out of the greenhouse!  Now if the deer will just cooperate and stay out.

The fence is coming along well.  Most of the columns are done and almost all the posts are in.  Next week they should put up the fence sections.  Then we'll actually have a fence and be able to keep the deer out.

But weird weather - this morning we woke up to fog, cool weather (we made it to 64) and heavy mist with light rain later in the day.  We need the wet weather and I'm sure the plants are thrilled to get the moisture. Tomorrow should be similar weather. Next week we're supposed to get into the 80's. Summer is on its way.
Okay we have a problem after that wind.  My bougainvillea is naked - it has lost every single leaf.  It was a new plant and looked nice.  But its only naked, not dead so I'm sure it will come back to life.  I may need to find a new place for it.  Right now it is sitting on the stairs so it is out getting the full force of the wind. I may have to move it someplace where it still gets sun but maybe a bit less wind.

The real problem is in the back.  All that dirt I moved in the back then seeded with buffalo grass seed, well the wind moved it.  Don't know exactly where it got moved to, but I've got some definite bare areas again. Of course, that is exactly why I'm trying to get grass to grow there.  The back patio is also full of dirt, weeds, twigs, and leaves from the wind.  We'll have to use either a blower to move that dirt out of the patio or we will have to sweep it off, but somehow we will need to clean that back patio off.  But the amount of dirt on the patio is…
Oh my goodness.  Yesterday was windy.  We hit gusts of 51mph here at the house.  It appears some areas even had power outages due to the wind.  It blew hard enough to tear one of the vents off the greenhouse.  Bill was able to retrieve the wayward vent so we'll try to repair it and re-install it.  But it meant that plants inside the greenhouse had to be covered last night.  And they will have to be covered the next few nights - we're due for night temperatures near freezing, below 40 for the next week or so. And I still have those little seedlings growing and they will not survive those cold nights.  Hopefully we won't be getting wind like that for a while again.  The center of the country has been in a cold spell with snow and such.  Us, we just got the wind.  Not even any rain from it.  Oh well.
Things  I need to remember for next year's winter.  Cover the Esperanzas and the Plumbago.  They both got a bit too much freeze damage.  Luckily they are both coming back.  The crowns are alive but the branches got too much freezing temperature. I also had a small problem with the iris' that Leena, my neighbor, gave me.  The iris' look like they are growing.  But for some reason the deer keep trying to eat and pull up one poor iris.  I don't know why. I keep replanting it, and they keep pulling it up.  I'm going to move it to the back and put it in a pot and see how it does. But overall the irises look good, like they are alive and growing.

The good new is it looks like we will be getting a fence.  It will be mainly black 6 foot tall iron, but it will have stone work columns sprinkled in there.  Since its about 350-375 feet of fence (maybe more) it will give me a large yard.  I just hope it can keep the deer out.  That's the clincher.  But we have the HOA's…
Oh how my garden grows.  

These were summer squash seeds I put in a pot in the greenhouse.  The dates of the pictures are accurate.  Good thing I only planted 4 seeds.  I didn't expect but 1 or 2 to come up.  Now we'll see how they make it thru the spring and summer.

This is a before and after of oregano.  This is a pot I had from last year.  It wasn't doing much.

 But it is definintely picking up this year.

I admit, I don't remember if this is peas, but I think it is.  I set it from seeds.

So it looks like the garden grows better then last year.  I admit last year this time we were not in the house.  So last year plants that got started, even in pots, started late, usually in the heat of summer.  That anything survived is amazing.   I even had a geranium in a pot that looked like it died.  Well its now got small leaves coming back up.  I'm tickled.
Glad to have nice weather back.  Last week was cold, both day and night.  One day we never got above 36 degrees.  Today its almost 1:30pm and we are already at 64 degrees.  Much nicer weather.

I think we may have lost a few plants from last week's cold, but we will have to wait and see on that.  Some of the plants in front look just brown, like they may have frozen.  But I don't know if they have died.  Some of the bulbs I planted are trying to grow.  They would do better if the deer would leave them alone.  But the deer outside are not looking good and are looking for whatever they can eat.  Hopefully they will leave my bulbs alone long enough for the bulbs to grow.  We can hope, and wait and see.

The plants in the green house are doing fine.  I did move some of the house plants that were outside into the green house.  Most of those house plants look like they will survive, though they do show some signs of damage.  One in particular, a spider plant, does not look good.  I…
They didn't say how much rain, but we are getting some light rain again.  We're not even up to a quarter of an inch, but at least its a slow light soaking rain.  The ground will be happy even if we don't get a lot of water into the tanks.

One interesting lesson - we had a green breathable plant blanket covering a set of plants.  The plants were under  a PVC frame, then the plant blanket on top of the PVC frame.  Well, it may be breathable, but not a lot of water got to the plants.  The center of the plant blanket, where water collected in a pool, was letting a small drip of water thru.  We had a pool of water on top of the blanket.  We just went outside to take the blanket off and realized that we had quite a pool of water on top of the blanket. Interesting thing to remember.  They may be good blankets to keep frost off of the plants, but they don't necessarily let a lot of moisture thru them.

Yesterday we had to go to Home Depot.  I picked up a new pot for the lemon t…
The weather seems to have warmed up today.  Its 1pm and we are up to 54 degrees.  Its pleasant outside.  I went out and checked the greenhouse, haven't done that in a few days, more like over a week.  Surprisingly, everything seems to be doing well.  I did go into the greenhouse last week to move some house plants in there, but that had been all.  So today I went in to check everybody.  Actually all those poor seeds I had put in the pots seems to be more then happy.  They are coming up.  IN DROVES!!  I think I planted too many seeds.  But they are coming up. It is I admit nice and warm, not to hot and with some pleasant sun in there.  I think the house plants will enjoy it for a while.  
I've decided that those pots that have the wrong soil need to be repotted.  I'm slowly working on it since I'm not quite sure exactly which pots need to be repotted.  But I think I'll just go with those that are struggling need to be repotted.  Today I repotted a sugar snap pea pla…
Guess what!! I think we actually got a light dusting of snow last night.  It didn't last, but you can see this fine, and not quite so fine line of white in the angles of rooflines.  So I think we actually got a little bit of snow sometime last night.  I'm not sure if we actually got rain too, but it is wet outside. Its still pretty cold out there, so until it warms up its probably not the best place to go driving.
Weather update - They are saying we may be in for an actual winter weather event.  What is that you ask?  Possible snow/sleet tonight.  Right now I'm not so sure it will happen up here where we are, but you never know.  I'm sure it would be unusual.  On the other had, if it actually happens, I wouldn't want to have to drive up or down our driveway.  Our driveway is just too steep and I could see it getting treacherous. This new weather is due to hit tonight and last thru tomorrow, Friday, around noon.  We'll see.
Wicked weather.  We've been cold, cool, and still no real rain.  The weather has been up and down, some cold and cool days - right now at 8:30 am its all of 35, after a low of 32.  We've even had some below freezing nights.  But not any real rain.  I say not any real rain because the other day we had heavy fog - the houses across the street were mere shadows.  That much moisture registered on the rain gauge, but no rain fell from the sky.  So the water catchment tanks didn't get any new water.  So I can't say it really rained.

And with some of these cold days, the humidity has varied widely.  One day it was cold and blustery, very windy, and the humidity level was down to 11% - that is dry.  Right now humidity is 78%.

But the holidays were nice.  We saw some family on Christmas Day.  Then the day after Christmas we went to see some other family here in Austin.  That day it was so cold I wore one of my down jackets.  That's how cold it was around Christmas.  By New…