Thursday, December 24, 2009


It snowed all day here. Very little of it stuck, but the monkeys scraped up enough to make a few snowballs. Loved seeing them have snow on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas y'all.

Merry Christmas Y'all

We Wish You a Merry♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪We Wish You a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥We Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...

Merry Christmas to all of my Blogging friends.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What a Difference a Few Years and Some Organic Matter Makes

I bought this house and started this garden 13 years ago. The native soil is clay. Well it might have been better before the years of cotton farming. However, after that, all that was left of the soil was clay. Over the years I have amended this soil with tons of compost. I used to dig it into each plot a couple of times a year. I don't do that anymore. I just mulch with finished compost, shredded leaves, coffee grinds or the neighbors grass clippings. The soil is now beautiful, friable, drains well and smells good. It is a pleasure to work in it. Weeds pull out easily and flowers, herbs and vegetable thrive.

Today I went and volunteered to work at the local middle school. The campus is less than I mile from our home. There is a very dedicated teacher who is leading the Environmental Club. She and the club put in a flower bed in front of the school last spring. They amended the soil with compost and used mulch. Today we were planting tulip bulbs in that flower bed. Under that heavy layer of mulch was wet, sticky, heavy clay. I think it could have been used as modeling clay. It stuck to everything and had no humus at all. After a few years of mulching, they will have the same crumbly, sweet soil I have in my garden.

I hope those children don't get discouraged by that soil and give up gardening.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Driving the Slug Bug

We have a 1971 VW Super Beetle. We bought it at a pawn shop (not kidding). It is Manly’s daily driver and I think it is the cutest thing ever. It has been blue, green, gray and striped. Right now it is white and has oversized fenders. Obviously, this is a work in progress which may never be a “completed” project.

Most days I drive the truck and Manly takes the motorcycle. Today it was bitter cold. There is not a heater in the bug, so I told him to take the truck and I would do the fetching and delivering of the monkeys with the bug.

The little guys walk across the street to school, but Teenage Monkey needs a ride. The little bug didn’t want to start because of the cold, but we got it on the road. It was fun watching kids walking to school stop and punch each other playing the slug-a-bug game.

This afternoon, I had to run a few errands and needed to put the bug on the highway. This can be a challenge because sometimes it’s get up and go has got up and went. It did just fine today.

There is a certain way a old VW sounds, smells and feels. When I was a little girl, my dad had an old bug. It had a hole in the floorboard. We could watch the road go buy under us. I remember riding along while the hum and vibration of the thing made me sleepy. Baby Monkey road along with me today. I looked over and he was barely awake. It has the same effect on him that it had on me when I was a little girl.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am grateful for.

My amazing enormous family
My wonderful husband
Our house full of critters
All the plants who grow, it seems, just to make me happy
Good food
A great job
Wonderful friends both in my physical and virtual worlds
Being asked for my ID to buy beer today. Kid says, 1964, really, you don't look it. I wanted to kiss his face.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why I am not Sewing Tonight

We interrupt this quilt to bring you entitled cat. We will be back to sewing as soon as her majesty moves her butt.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Feel Like a Real Heal

Okay, I've been a really bad garden blogger. My feed has been messed up for months. I tried to fix it once or twice, but then gave up.

Today, I went over to Blotanical and found some messages and sweet things and I just feel terrible about it. I really do miss it, but can't figure out how to fix the problem.

Hopefully, I will figure this our OR somebody will save me.

Sorry Y'all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bleary Eyed in Texas

Dear Eye Glasses Guru,

I really need your help.

Last year, at this time was about the last time I worked on a quilt. Just about that time I started working at the library. With my amazing time management skills, I managed to find Facebook instead of quilting time. Durn.

This last week, I began quilting again. This is perfect timing because I have reached the level of virtual farming in which you cannot spend your entire day at said activity without starting another game. (two of my friends have signed up their dogs, not kidding). Virtual farming is a Facebook book thing in case you were wise enough to avoid that internet crack.

Anyway, so now I am quilting again. Yet, something shifted between last year and this year and it seems to be my eyesight. Last year I used reading glasses only to thread needles. This year, I kind of need them to quilt.

Here is the problem, I have awful reading glasses skills. I have seen professionals use them. They have them perched on the end of their noses looking all wise and capable. I perched them on the end of my nose, forgot to look up and smacked myself in the head with the quilting hoop when everything went blurry.

I have cleaned off my desk top several times because of crazy depth perception. A glass of water ended up in the floor - I missed just by a little.

My eyes really hurt right now, I’ve strained them pretty bad. If you have any advise on the use and maintenance of reading glasses please please pass it on.

No, I don't need them to actually read yet. Maybe I missed a step.

Sincerely ,

Bleary eyed in Texas

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Garden Tour With Kiddos

This morning we had a tour of our Garden Learning Center in Kaufman. The group that visited was the Crandall Middle School Environmental Club. Yes, Middle Monkey is a member. He could barely contain himself. A lot of pictures were taken, but I cannot publish pictures of other peoples children and I really looked mean. Apparently, I take garden tours very seriously or I need a pair of sunglasses.

The kids were great. The sorted their lunch trash for recycling. They were polite and well spoken. Only one of them acted like a punk. When I pointed out his punkishness, the peer pressure to straighten up was immediate and effective. Never saw it work that way before, AWESOME.

We explained the rainwater harvesting systems, irrigation systems, rain garden and plant groupings by water requirements.

This is why I love being a master gardener.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Here is my veteran with his quilt from the Kaufman Quilt Guild. I married him 12 years ago today. Best decision I ever made.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Composting In Situ

We are having the most fabulous fall weather. I've been down with a bad bad cold for a couple of weeks and have not been able to truly enjoy it.

Today I sat outside on my handy dandy gardening stool and weeded the pepper beds The soil is fabulous. The only thing I have done differently is mulch with the neighbors grass clippings. The grass clippings I put on earlier this summer have completely broken down leaving soft, friable, rich dirt. The peppers are so loaded with fruit that they are laying over on the ground from the weight.

The leaves are falling from all of our trees so I added those to the grass clippings and mulched the beds again. I also got a huge back of coffee grounds from a local coffee shop and spread those everywhere, not even bothering to compost them. I think I will call this method composting in situ.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Honoring Service and Sacrifice

A young man from Terrell, Texas was killed in Afganistan recently. His name was Shawn McNabb and he was an army staff Sgt. I have heard news of his death in the local news a couple of times and was sad, but not truly touched by this young man.

This morning I went to work on the CSA farm, Eden's Garden with Marie, the farmer. We were just beginning to sort veggies for shares when she received a phone call from a neighbor. I hear only her side of the conversation that went something like, " Yes I've got a flag. I might have a red white and blue shirt. I'm going to bring a farm volunteer with me." After locating a red sweatshirt for me and a shirt with a flag design on it for Marie, we gathered up a couple of flags and loaded up in the truck.

We we went to gather with many others on an overpass along I20 to observe the funeral procession of Sgt McNabb. I expected a couple of people on the bridge, what I found when we got there was amazing. Fire trucks lining the bridges and people standing side by side holding flags. We only knew one of the dozens of people who lined that bridge, but it didn't matter. I learned later that there were groups on the overpasses in Terrell, Forney, Balch Springs and Mesquite. One of my neighbors was with a group at the beginning in Terrell.

At first we talked and took pictures. When the lights of the squad cars leading the procession came into view, everyone became silent. There were too many vehicles in the procession to count. Many veterans road in the process on motorcycles. Some of those men solemnly waved to us and there were a scattering of salutes.

After the funeral had passed, we were all in tears and hugging complete strangers. It was the most amazing/sad thing I have ever been a part of. I was glad to join this group to honor that young man's service and sacrifice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This and That

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I found this butterfly coming out of it's chrysalis a couple of days ago. We are having the most beautiful fall weather perfect for gardeners and butterflies alike. My cool season veggies have been in for a few weeks and are doing beautifully. The broccoli is already more than a foot tall and the cabbage about eight inches across. I planted onions, but I cannot remember where.

Hope you are all having a wonderful fall.

Does anyone know when sweet potatoes need to be dug up?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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Recently, I have not had as much time for blogging. I have been using my blogging time to work out. Yes, every day I have been going to the gym and trying to take care of this middle aged body that is showing signs of breaking down if I don't take drastic measures.

I've shared before that my blood pressure has been a problem. Well, recent lab work revealed some other potential problems with triglycerides and blood sugar. Nothing is at crisis level, just needs to be turned around now.

This is week three and I have lost six pounds, my blood pressure has responded nicely and I have much much more energy throughout the day. The added energy has led to more working in the garden, which looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Two other very weird but great things happened (guys you might want to stop reading now). I started having hot flashes about two years ago. Not severe, but annoying as hell. I have not had a hot flash in three weeks. The only thing that has changed is the exercise. Also, I have really badly calloused feet. They split and crack looking awful and hurt terribly. My feet are now nice and smooth. It has to be wearing tennis shoes and socks every day.

I will get back to garden blogging soon. Maybe not as frequently as before, but I miss it and y'all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Teach A Boy to Grow Garlic

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My Middle Monkey has a good friend. I am very grateful for this good friend. He has a wonderful family. I have known his grandmother for years. She is a member of our local garden club and a lovely women.

They have a love of music in common. Last week they practiced their instruments (clarinet and saxophone) outside in the back yard. It caused the neighbor to believe that a cow was being murdered in our yard, but I digress.

These boys spend a lot of time together. Last weekend, my boy went on a Boy Scout camp out with his friend and his friend's parents. Tonight, the friend is spending the night with us.

This afternoon, I talked the two of them into planting my garlic for me. The friend said he had not seen garlic in cloves before. I let them pull the papers off and separate the cloves. I told them to plant the cloves pointy side up about five inches apart. Then, I set them loose in the garden.

They are teaching my son to survive in the woods. I am teaching their son to grow his own food.

Win Win

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smelly Monkeys

In the ongoing saga of "make these boys leave my stuff alone" I bought pink socks and some pomegranate body wash. Guess what the boys smell like tonight? Somebody help me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fog Flowers

The rain has slowed and everything is deep dark green. We have had only one sunny day this month. The roses have their faces turned down away from the wet fog. Me too.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

The First Pair of Boots

I remember getting my first pair of boots. I’m not talking about cute boots to wear to school, I am talking about my first pair of work boots. They were thick leather and tough. Those boots could stand up to Mesquite tree thorns. I needed them to ride horses and work cattle. These were no girlie boots. If I had been a boy, I’d have gotten the same kind of boots. My Dad took me to get them on our way to my grandparents farm/ranch. This was during the spring, when we had to work calves. I love those boots, still have them and they still fit. I was 13 when we bought them so that makes them more than 30 years old. They have not been out of the closet in years. I think I need to get out some saddle soap and clean them up, just for old times sake.

Yesterday, I took Baby Monkey to Eden’s Garden, the CSA farm we joined as a work share. He has had boots, but not work boots. He did not need cowboy boots, he needed mud boots. We stopped on our way and bought him a pair so he could work with we me on the farm.

After a couple of weeks of heavy rains, everything was sopping wet. We worked together in the muck and the mud. We planted 80 cabbages. I hand picked cucumber beetles and he squished them for me. Finally, he picked some tomatoes while I planted some beets. He seemed to enjoy himself, and it was much less messy that working cattle. It was muddy, but at least it wasn’t muddy, bloody and smelly.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Pockets a Pet Story

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Yesterday, Manly took me out to eat breakfast at the Cotton Gin. As the name would imply, the eatery is in an old cotton gin. We were driving on the service road of 175 and a tiny kitten was cowering right in the middle of the road. There are no houses anywhere near this spot. Someone, who has earned some seriously bad karma, had dumped this little black calico kitten. She was bound to get run over or die of thirst. When I say tiny, I mean about the size of a tennis ball tiny.

Without even looking at me, my man pulled over. I jumped out and scooped the poor little thing up. She did not run away, that's right, this kitten is not wild (how bad should that karma be?).

When I tried to feed she choked because she was trying to wolf it down too fast. We got her a little wet food, which I usually don't feed, but she is just too little for the hard stuff. I put a tiny litter box made from the lid of a Tupperware container. She immediately used it. That's right people, this kitten is litter trained(evil dark karma?). Did I mention, she is about as big as a tennis ball.

I posted our situation on Facebook, and had a home for her within an hour. She will be living with my best friend. Sometime this weekend, she will go to her new home. We are just trying not to get too attached to the little thing. The picture above is her hanging out in the pocket of Teenage Monkey's hoodie. We are calling her pockets now, but I am sure Meme will come up with a better name.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Time Somebody Has Gone Too Far

I have to share a bathroom with the Monkeys. I do have my own vanity and sink, but it is only sacred ground to me. To them, it is a science experiment. My makeup, perfume and moisturizers are the chemicals. One time, they put my makeup and perfume on the dog. That’s right, eye shadow, blush and Chanel #5 on a German shepherd.

Last week one of them Baby Monkey who will remain unnamed put the baby powder in the bathtub while he was taking a bath. He also used all of my fancy spa bath gel. He smelled really good, but he looked a little ashy.

There has been tooth paste on the toilet lid. The shower curtain and a towel were once caught on fire. There is always a layer of water, dirty clothes and the smelliest sneakers I have ever smelled in my life on the floor in there.

Once a week I have a fit and fall in it. Then, and only then, they clean it up.

They have gone to far this time. Baby Monkey Someone is messing with my hair stuff. The reason this is important is because you should not mess with a woman’s hair stuff just on principle. However, when a woman has curly hair, the hair stuff takes on a whole new level of importance. Curly haired women need products, lots of products. On a mildly humid day just a little mousse might work just fine. On a rainy windy day gel, smoothing serum and a cream detangler may be necessary. Every once in a while a ponytail and pomade will make for the perfect hair day. This happens about three times a year. Those are very special days. Most days, I am just trying to keep it from looking like a bushy tailed squirrel is living on my head.

I am considering running away to an all female convent where all the nuns have curly hair and take a vow of leaving each others stuff alone.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mole Sauce

The peppers, they were labeled wrong. I was supposed to get Serrano, habanero, and jalapeno. I got habanero, jalapeno, and cayenne. So my After Burner sauce will be missing the Serranos this year. I also had to figure out what to do with the cayenne peppers. I concocted a hot season salt with them that has yet to get a decent name. Trish suggested George. Silly.

I am finally harvesting the jalapeno peppers. I usually just preserve them in a little white vinegar, but there is always way too much left over every year. I hate wasting them. So I did a little searching and found Mole (Mo Lay) sauce. This sounded good. For my version I roasted five jalapenos on our grill and then dehydrated them. Then I placed them in our food dehydrator over night. I was planning on storing them or I would have skipped that step.

This morning I decided to try a mole sauce. I put the peppers in our mini crock pot and added about a cup of water and 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar. After a couple of hours I added 1/3 cup of brown sugar, fresh ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon, and, for lack of a better name, George salt. I let this simmer for another couple of hours and then used my wand blender to blend in the peppers. Then I added about 1/2 a cup of ketchup. That's right ketchup. I baked some chicken with this sauce and it was lovely.

Don't be hatin on the ketchup. My mama makes the best barbaque sauce ever with ketchup as the base.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Beautiful Storm

A beautiful storm blew in this evening. First the wind brought the black and gray clouds, which layered over a pink and gold sunset. As it turned dark, the full moon floated over the high clouds. Lightening reflected green off of the black clouds and white off of the gray clouds. This is the most beautiful storm I have ever seen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Turf War

The yard, it is out of control. Have I mentioned that? Everyday, I pick an area and cleaning it up. The side yard was yesterday. There are three antique rose bushes, Sweet Autumn clematis and artemisia along the fence next to our town's lovely ditches.

One of the rose bushes is Dr. Van Fleet, a grandparent of New Dawn. This plant is a killer. It puts out eight foot long canes and roots wherever it touches soil. It has thorns as big as thumb tacks - Not just the poky part of the thumbtack, the whole thumbtack. The artemisia was given to me as Sweet Annie artemisia, WRONG. It is the invasive Artemisia vulgaris now taking over growing in my yard. So I have two killer plants growing right next to each other.

Here is the problem, the Dr. Van Fleet rose bush and the artemisia decided to have a turf war. Literally a turf war, they grew out into the tiny little bit of grass that is left on that side of the house. The rose attacked with its fierce thorns and the artemisia used a smothering tactic. What a mess. Something had to be done to break up this fight.

I waded into the fray and started cleaning up the neglected, shameful mess. The artemisia pulls up very easily and it smells good. The problem is it was covering up the very thorny rose canes. I am wounded, but they are only flesh wounds and the side yard is actually a yard again. The artemisia smells good and will make lovely fall wreathes.

Hopefully, the rest of the clean up will be less dangerous.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blotanical Awards - You Made Me Feel Special

Okay, I am going to have to start paying better attention. Yesterday the lovely Becca congratulated me on the nomination. Did I mention we were tweeting on twitter? I was all, "What?" She went on to tweet that I had been nominated for a Blotanical award. Well you could have knocked me over with a feather because my feeds don't even work over there right now. THANKS BLOTANICAL, I love you.

The nomination is for the Best Texas Blog category. I fully expect to by completely trounced by all of the other nominees. Those gals can write and take pictures. The others are Digging, Zanthan Gardens, The Bicycle Garden , and Great Stems. They are all fine blogs and bloggers.

I am not here to ask for a vote. I am pretty sure I have a snowballs chance in Texas in August to win this thing. But do go check them out and do a little voting if you are registered on Blotanical.

I have already voted so don't try to bribe me;)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weeds, Mosquitoes and Hummingbirds

We have had a lot of rain. Now we also have a lot of mosquitoes. The other outcome of all of this rain is an overgrowth of weeds. My yard is out of control. Manly and the Monkeys took care of our tiny front lawn, which is a lovely St. Augustine. The side yards, flower beds, and back yard look like jungles. I worked on the side yard this evening until the mosquitoes ran me off. Pulled about half of the knee high weeds. Did I mention those mosquitoes are as big around as quarters. They hoover right near my face.

Along with all the weeds and mosquitoes, the hummingbirds have arrived. They are floating around the salvia and Turks cap blooms and just make me happy. I wish they would eat the mosquitoes.

As soon as I get this yard back under control I will post some pictures. Right now, it is just to embarrassing.

Happy Fall Y'all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumnal Equinox Brought It

Sweet Autumn clematis, some kind of salvia and Meyer lemons getting ripe.

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Today is the first day of fall and it actually feels like fall here in North Texas. Usually this time of year we have warm or hot weather. This morning it was in the 70's. A t-shirt was completely comfortable. I went to lunch with Mamala and one of the sisters. When we came out the temperature had dropped into the 60's and we needed sweaters.

Hopefully, it will get just cool enough tonight to kill off these mosquitoes.

Happy fall y'all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Practically Perfect Weekend.

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Ever have one of those perfect weekends? This weekend was a close to perfect as I can ask for.

I am off on Fridays, so Friday is the first day of my weekend, but then I have to work on Saturday so my weekends are sort of split up. Not this weekend, but we will get to that.

Friday morning, another master gardener and I went to the Middle School, which is aptly Middle Monkey's school. We met with the Environmental Club's leader and the principle. The meeting was to discuss putting in another rainwater harvesting set up. The leader and the principle were enthusiastic. Looks like another 500 gallon tank has a home.

After that meeting, I went to work at the CSA farm, Eden's Garden, in Balch Springs, Tx. I am a member on a working share. Nothing much is being harvested right now and mucho mulch has to be spread. The farmer, Marie, is a very interesting person. We are in the getting to know you phase and are sharing our stories. She actually asked me, "So, what's your story?" I like that kind of directness. I wouldn't have twenty years ago, mostly because I wouldn't have had a story, but at this age, I've got stories. We both come from large families; her's Italian American, mine mostly German American (but mixed). One of the other working share members showed up with hilarious stories about why the Rooster, Snowball, is a jackass. Apparently, Snowball likes to wander off and get himself in trouble. Very enjoyable few hours or hard work and lively conversation.

Lunch time arrived, and I had to skidaddle as I had a hot date with Manly Man. We took the motorcycle, I now have named Silver, to Dallas and ate lunch at Jimmy's Deli. Jimmy's has the most awesome sandwiches to be had in Dallas. I won't say it is as good as po boy's in New Orleans, or the monster sandwiches at Carnegie's Deli in New York, but still, the best sandwiches to be had around here. It is also a full on deli with lovely foodie treasures on every isle. We were on the motorcycle and could not buy anything, which is probably for the best.

Following lunch, we took a ride through down town Dallas. If you have never ridden through a large city on the back of a bike, I strongly suggest you do it at least once in your life. I was able to really look around at a city I have been familiar with for most of my life. I love old buildings and there were plenty to oogle. I asked Manly to take me to the old court house. If you look at the pictures, you may recognize the location of a national tragedy. Yes, we went down to Dealy Plaza. I have never actually gotten out and looked a Dealy Plaza. I have driven through it countless times, I should have gotten out earlier.

The old courthouse, now a museum, is a beautiful building. I love old courthouses and will be boring you with many more of them. I am actually seeking them out now, instead of just being happily surprised when I accidentally come upon one.

If you look close in the second picture of the courthouse, you can see Manly with the bike. The next picture is of a Segway tour of Dealy Plaza. The tour puttered past us and then looped around about the time we were ready to saddle up and ride off. Then there was the Segway vs. Silver coolness smack down. The first Segway rider declared that her ride was cooler than ours. A few guys back commented on the relative coolness of Manly's helmet vs. his. It was a bicycle bike helmet for Pete's sake. The final man on the tour pointed at Silver and then at his Segway ride, and commented "It just isn't the same." Before it was over, I was laughing so hard I couldn't get on the back of the bike.

Friday evening we celebrated Teenage Monkey's birthday. Mamala made sweet and sour pork. She learned this recipe from a maid who worked for her family while they were stationed in Formosa. This is the real deal people and about the best stuff ever. She did pull the "You need to come over here and learn how to make this before I die or you will be sorry" guilt trip. So I guess I am going to learn how to make authentic sweet and sour pork, poor me;)

I took Saturday off so Middle Monkey and I could participated in the Trinity River Trash Bash. 70 or so middle school and high school kids and a handful of adults split up into teams and picked up trash along the stretch of highway that leads up to our branch of the Trinity River. There were prizes for weirdest thing picked up, overall quantity picked up, and highest quantity of recyclables picked up. We allowed our team to rob the bottles and stuff out of the baseball diamonds trash cans, giving us an unfair advantage. Hey, we kept them out of a landfill.

The weekend would have been totally perfect if it wasn't for giant mosquitoes. I can't get out in the garden because of the awful beasts. All this rain has set up the perfect habitat for them.

Hope you had a great weekend too minus the mosquitoes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Save Some Seeds for the Garden Faerie

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Here are some of my yard long beans and red noodle beans. These were left on the vines long enough to make seeds. I will be saving the seeds for next years garden and also to share with other garden bloggers this winter. Monica of Garden Faerie's Musing will be kicking off the progressive seed exchange again and I am getting ready.

The yard long bean seeds are offspring of the first package of seeds I bought years and years ago. This is the first year I have grown the red noodles. They are a lot of fun and easy to see to harvest. They are also out producing the yard long beans.

Here is a short list of seeds I will be saving for next year.
1. Lemon basil.
2. Collards
3. Angel's Trumpet
4. Texas Star Hibiscus
5. Dill.
6. Parsley
7. Yard Long and Red Noodle Beans (of course)

What seeds are you planning on saving?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why You Should Not Ask Me About Plants

Today, I talked to the reporter from the Dallas Morning News. I feel sorry for people that make the mistake of asking me about plants and gardening. I get so excited I can't get myself to shut up. We talked for more than an hour about fall gardening, composting, soil, my favorite plant and on and on and on. Poor thing didn't know what she was getting herself into. I just loose all control and sound like an obsessive crazy person. I did the same thing to a poor patron at the library last week. All she wanted was a good book on gardening, but she ended up getting and earful. Hopefully, the writer can organize my ramblings and get something coherent out of it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Now This is a Fashion Statement

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This says, "I don't care what the neighbors think."
This says, "Knobby knees are in"
This says, "Gardening is more important that appearances"
This says, "I either need bigger feet or smaller thighs"
This says, "I buy my footwear at Tractor Supply."

Happy rainy day y'all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Blessed Rain

We are finally getting good and wet. It has been a hot, dry summer here in Texas. I know those south of us are in much worse shape than we are here. Two days ago it started to rain. This is the kind of rain that farms, ranchers and gardeners love. The rain is falling slow and constant. There is not much runoff,just a lot of soaking in. I have not had a chance to check the rain gaiges, but I know we are above two inches because the rain barrels and overflow buckets are full.

I put my fall veggies in at the perfect time. The cabbage, collards and brocolli transplants are happy and perky. Yesterday I noticed that the beans, squash and corn are all coming up. This rain and cloud cover will help them get off to a great start.

While the rain is a blessing to me. The critters I live with are less pleased. The bunnies are mad about getting wet, staying inside all the time hurts Abby's doggy feelings and the manx are running around the house like their butts are on fire. (I would say tails, but they don't have any). So far the monkeys have not gotten cabin fever, but I bet it won't be long.

I hope you are getting wet if you need it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Step by Step Fall Vegetable Garden Preparation and Planting

I have received a request to do a newspaper interview. I figured I better get my information together before the reporter calls me. I don't want to appear to be a fool, at least not to the readership of the newspaper. Y'all know I'm silly, but the rest of the world doesn't need to know, do they?

Here are the steps to creating a fall vegetable garden in north Texas.

1). If you have not gotten a soil test, have one done. Kits can be picked up at your County Extension agent’s office.
2). Amend the soil with organic matter = compost. Work in 2 to 4 inches.
3). Fertilize according to the recommendations from your soil test. Phosphorus is frequently over used. I use blood meal, bone meal and alfalfa.
4). Select plants. My short list is: Cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, garlic, onions, dill and collards. I also squeeze in one last planting of squash, beans and corn (three sisters) on Labor Day weekend and say a prayer they get to live long enough to make me some food.
5). Water transplants and seeds with liquid fertilizer. I use a fish product or rabbit manure tea.
6). Mulch heavily. I have been using the neighbor’s grass clippings with great results. Shredded leaves make nice mulch as well. I use bark mulch as a last result, because they tend to rob nitrogen while breaking down.
7). Water deeply and infrequently, but do keep the plants evenly moist.
8). Crucifer vegetables are heavy feeders. I foliar feed once a week with a liquid fertilizer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My monkeys pushed the envelope this weekend and we had to take drastic measures. They left me with a pile of laundry and a stack of dirty dishes that took four hours to clean up. Then they got into a fight. What we had on our hands was privileged boy syndrome because mama has always done the lions share of the work. Manly is not a mess maker. I am sometimes. With my less than stellar housekeeping skills (I once used a rake to clean up their bedroom floor), having me do it all is not going to work.

I restructured the work load and now I don't do the daily dishes or their laundry. Baby Monkey now has to sweep the floors, natural sweep the two rugs and take out the trash. Tonight my house is clean and tidy and I didn't do any of it.

They are not little anymore. They need to learn how to take care of their own space. I don't want my future daughters-in-law to have to wait on them and I am not going to do it anymore.

Housekeeping wasn't really a problem until I went back to work. Even part-time work cuts into housekeeping and gardening time. I am willing to give up the housework, but not the gardening.

They each have a job to do and they better do it or they won't get dinner until it is done, period.

Mama is finished.

Friday, September 4, 2009

That Time of Year Again.

The time has come. I will use this long weekend to plant my fall/winter garden. I bought 18 broccoli plants, 18 cabbage plants and 9 collards. I also started half a flat of squash, half a flat of cucumber and one last flat of black eyed peas (really, this is the end of the black eyed peas) As soon as they are available, I will get two bunches of onion sets. There will also be butternut squash, lettuce, sugar snap peas, garlic, parley and cilantro. Later there will be potatoes. If there is enough rain, there will be a lot of food.

I love to garden in the fall and winter. The weather is usually mild and there is more rain.

This summers garden was pretty pitiful after about the first of July. I always have such high hopes and I am usually disappointed because of the brutal Texas heat. Let all hope for a fruitful, pleasant fall and winter.

Have a great holiday everyone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meme... it's been a while.

Here’s a fun Meme that I was invited to by Racquel of Perennial Garden Lover. I don't know what I haven't shared on this blog. I don't seem to have boundries anymore. It has been a long time since I've done a meme.

I copied this from Racquel who copied it from Cameron who copied it from Helen.

There were conditions with this Meme award. In order to participate I needed to:
1. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Reveal seven things about yourself.
3. Choose seven other blogs to nominate, and post a link to them. There are so many good ones, this is difficult.
4. Let each of your choices know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.
5. And finally, let the tagger know, when your post is up.

Here it goes:

1. I can do the splits.
2. I used to travel all the time and I want to again.
3. I have 16 nieces and nephews.
4. They don't call me Aunt Debbi, my best friend's children do.
5. I can keep a secret forever.
6. I used to have a horse named Twinkles.
7. I wear a size five and a half shoe. This bit of unimportant information was suggested by Cinj.

Now, I know this meme is going through the garden blogs like wildfire. Therefore, I pick you all and you choose to play or not. Keep in mind though, I really want to know your shoe size.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ellis County Court House

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I love old court houses. We have some real beauties here in Texas. There are also some really ugly ones. These pictures are of the Ellis County Court House in Waxahachie, Texas. This building is beautiful. It is pink granite and red sandstone. It is covered in carvings. Yes, some of those windows are curved. The court house was built in the 1890's and it has been restored.

The legend behind the faces is that the stone carver was in love with his land ladies daughter, but she didn't love him back. Like it will, love turned ugly, and the faces became more and more hideous.

We spent the morning in Waxahachie. I had to take my mom to get her fingerprints taken so she could renew her real estate license. We had breakfast at the Court House Cafe, a greasy spoon with horrible service and great food. Then walked around the court house. We shopped at a great resale shop and ended the day at a quilt store.

I spent sometime this afternoon browsing through a book on Texas court houses and I plan on visiting more of them. I am already familiar with the court buildings in Denton, Dallas and Brady. Wonder how I am going to get Manly in the truck when he figures out what I'm up to?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Leek Potato Soup

6 New or Yukon Gold potatoes cut into small cubes
1 Large leek rinsed and cut up in small pieces (discard the tough green leaves)
4 tablespoons butter
1 pint half & half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons thyme
salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the potatoes and leek until tender. Return to the pot and add warmed half & half, milk and butter. Blend with a wand blender. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. It takes more pepper than you would think.

It is better when it is cold outside.

What are you having for dinner?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Elementary School Garden - Advise Wanted

A friend has asked for my advise regarding installing a garden. This will be a children's garden at an elementary school. Have any of you done anything like this? If so, any advise?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This is Why I Love Being a Library Lady

Name This Concoction

I make a hot sauce every year that can peel the hide off of your tongue. It contains chili pequino peppers, habanero peppers, Serrano peppers, good cider vinegar and sea salt. It comes with a laundry list of disclaimers so that no one blames me when they have a horrible out come the day after eating too much of it. With that in mind, Nancy of Nancy's Garden Spot named my sauce After Burner.

This spring I bought my pepper plants like always. The tags that said Serrano pepper lied. Those peppers were Tabasco peppers and I can’t use them to make hot sauce. I hate it when the nurseries mislabel the plants. I spend all that time nurturing the plant only to discover that you have been taking care of an imposter.

Not to let this mistake get me down, I needed to find a use for these thin skinned peppers. I dried them and then crushed them into a powder with my mortar and pestle. Then I got a wild hare and added dehydrated garlic, coriander seeds and sea salt. This stuff smells great. I’ve never had anything quite like it. I added a couple of tablespoons to my last batch of jambalaya. Manly said it was my best ever.

So here is what I need from you. This spicy mixture needs a name. So far there are no disclaimers because there is no reason to use enough of it to do bodily harm. It smells wonderful. The coriander adds a lemony scent.

Anyway, leave me a comment with your ideas for a name.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Workday on The Farm

First Workday on the Farm

Today was the day. I began working on the community supported agriculture farm, Eden’s Garden. I worked with Marie, the farmer, and Anise another work share member. I will work a couple of hours each week in order to receive my share of the farms produce.

We mulched and pulled weeds talking the whole time. Marie used to work at the same nursery I used to work at. We just worked there at different times. Anise is a comptroller for a local ministry. They are interesting, fun ladies. This should be very enjoyable.

When the weather cools off, I will switch to working Friday afternoons and take the monkeys with me. Hopefully, they will learn just a little more about where their food comes from. They will thank me some day. Don’t laugh, they will.

Today I brought home purslane and lambs quarter. I put them in a bowl of water to rinse and didn’t think anything else of it. I intended to look up some recipes and do something with them for dinner. I gave a sprig of purslane to Teenage Monkey and he loves it. He just keeps eating it. Turns out the stuff is really good food both the taste and the nutrition. He can have all he wants.

Next week, we will spread more mulch. I need to find some newspaper to put down under the mulch. We don’t take the paper, so it looks like I maybe dumpster diving in a nearby recycling box. Wonder if I can get arrested for that?

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Naked Ladies are Here

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If my garden keeps it up, the blog is going to totally lose it’s PG-13 rating. Since the butterflies are getting it on, the naked ladies decided to show up. The lycoris is beginning to bloom. This is my first year for the pink, and as you can see, it is a little pitiful. The red lycoris are also called school house lilies (but that’s not as much fun is it?). They are called naked ladies because the blooms show up before the foliage. There foliage grows all winter here and then dies back in early summer when it begins to get hot. Then in late summer or early fall the blooms pop up. Now I know that fall is really on it’s way. I believe this is my favorite time of year because of all the blooms and all the butterflies.

The other blooms pictured are Turk’s cap and a sun flower. They have nothing to do with naked ladies. I just think they are pretty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Orgy

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There is an all out orgy going on in my garden. When Middle Monkey came to me and said, “I just saw two butterflies fused. Maybe they are Siamese twins.” Er…hum. Did I shy away from my duty to education my son on the sex lives of butterflies? Nope, I thought it was funny asking if they were stuck together by their butts. Then told him it was all about making babies. Poor kid, I have probably damaged him for life.

Tonight, while watering the pitiful pepper plants and admiring the gulf fritillary butterflies, I noticed something sad. The passion vine is a disaster. Most of the leaves are gone. The caterpillars have destroyed it. All of those beautiful flying orange creatures have made millions of spiky, scary looking, black and orange babies. There were at least thirty adult butterflies circling each other like they were speed dating. I hope my passion vine survives.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do Your Know Your Watershed?

If you read this blog very often, you might know we have water issues. Our bills are outrageous. I try very hard to use as little city water as possible. I never really gave storm water much thought other than being grateful that rain fills my rain barrels. All that changed today.

I spent eight hours in a watershed stewardship workshop today. So what the heck is a watershed? Is it the shed where you keep the water? Nope. Is it the outhouse? Nope, not so much. A watershed is an area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes to the same place.

This workshops was focused on the Cedar Creek Watershed. It turns out I don't actually live in that watershed. We are in the Trinity River watershed. This is confusing as the Trinity river is part of the Ceder Creek Watershed. Confused yet?

I learned a lot. Looking at charts and maps, it seems that the biggest polluters are farming and ranching operations. Guess what the pollutants are? If you guessed sediment, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides you would be right.

I also found out that compost can be bad for our watershed. If it is washed into the rivers and eventually to lakes, the nutrients can cause algae blooms and water plant overgrowth. In order to keep that compost in my garden and not washing out into the ditch, I am going to plant ornamental grasses all along the fence above the ditch. This should be pretty and functional. I just love it when being good ecologically speaking gives me an excuse to buy more plants.

Eight hours in a classroom setting is just too long for me. I felt like my head was going to explode. They covered a ton of information. If you have an opportunity to go to a workshop or lecture of this type, take advantage of it. It will change the way you think about water.

Got to give credit to Texas Agrilife Extension for putting on such a great program.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Voice Double

I'm back.

I survived a night with three of my nephews, two monkeys, my oldest niece and a giggle of her teenage friends. There is also a snake in their house AND a cat who wants to give hickies. The youngest child is just shy of three and the oldest is the niece at `16.

There is a funny thing about me and this sister who made these nephews and that niece. We don't look anything alike, but we sound alike. I've been messing with the heads of people who know her since we were teens. She was in high school and I was in college when she met her first boyfriend. If he happened to call the house when I was home and I answered,I wouldn't tell him I wasn't B. The ruse would go on until I answered a question wrong or became hysterical with laughter. That boyfriend truly hated me.

Sister's loving husband, who took her to Boston for her big 4-0, has never ever mistaken me for her or her for me.

Last night the niece brought home that giggle friends. They couldn't see me in the kitchen, but I could hear them coming in the front door. I asked the niece a question and one of the boys said, "I thought your mom wasn't home." The niece and I explained that I am not her mom, just her aunt. This kid says, "I've got to see her." He must have been shocked. Again, we look nothing alike.

I think I might be able to play this game all the way until we are very old women.

Fun times.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And The Winners Are

And the winners of the string bags are............Monica of Gareden Faerie's Musings and Judy Low of Diggin It. Sorry I will get the links corrected tomorrow. I am at my sister's house watching about 15 billion children and teens. They have a Mac and I don't know how to copy link locations on it. Silly machine. Thank you all for the sweet comments. I will get an email out to the winners tomorrow to arrange to send the bags once they are complete.

Curmudgeon will also receive a bag because she commented before I decided to give some away.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bag Give Away Update

I am shutting down the bag give away at midnight. Tomorrow a Monkey will pick two winners. Curmudgeon got special consideration, she commented first before I decided to give them away. We will pick two more bloggers from the comments to receive bags. (Unless you asked me not to include you) Be back tomorrow with the news.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Farmers' Market Bag Give Away

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I've decided to make three of these string bags and give them away. I already offered one to Curmudgeon. The other two recipients will be selected by a Monkey drawing. Those of you who commented yesterday are already in. I don't mind international mail. Commenting more than once will not increase your chances. Getting your significant other to comment will.

The bags are made of crochet thread. I don't knit. I use a loom. The bags are great for shopping at farmers' markets. They are really stretchy. Don't use them for boxed things. The corners of boxes break the threads. The bags shown in the picture are not the ones I am giving away. I am making three new bags. I think I might dye them with Koolaid just for giggles. Anyway, if you want a bag, leave me a comment. I'll leave this open until Friday.