Category: gardening

Mon. Mar. 6, 2023 – another work week begins

Cool to start, nice all day.   That’s my expectation.   We’ll see what happens but the weather liars are fairly sure it won’t rain…    Sunday was beautiful.   Really beautiful.  FINALLY we are getting some Spring weather.

Of course, a few years ago, I was wearing my cool vest to the Rodeo around this same time, and moaning about the heat.   It’s nice to have a long Spring here in Houston, when we can.

Spent the day (once I had stretched and loosened up enough to move) taking stuff back and putting it away.   I still have some stuff here at the house to re-stack.   I’d like to do some cleanup around the places I store it though.   And there are some things that need to be thrown out or scrapped.

I had to get rid of about 20 boxed potato side dishes that I had forgotten about.   They were in a tub, under the tarp in the driveway.   Water can condense in the tubs over time.   They weren’t moldy or showing signs of water damage,but they were old and the cheese sauces were undoubtedly past usability.  Mad Max rules, I’d have tried them, or at least tried to salvage the potatoes.  Not at this point though.   I expect spoilage and waste due to my really poor storage conditions.  I’m willing to tolerate it so that I have enough food on hand.

After returning the trailer, I totaled up my expenses for the hamfest.   $10 entry fee (which I could have skipped, as I never even picked up my ticket), $15 for 3 parking spaces at the swapmeet, and $54 for the trailer after taxes and fees.  I might have saved $20 if I was able to return it on Saturday afternoon, but $20 was cheap since it let me spend time talking with guys, and  hanging out for an extra couple of hours at the hamfest.   Including gas and a bottle of water, I grossed about $1000.  Don’t know what my net profit is, but I’ve got that money back in my safe instead of locked up in goods sitting in the tubs in the garage.  Sometimes getting your money back is the best you can do.

Today will be more cleaning and putting  away.   It’s long overdue, and while not ‘top of list’ it makes sense to do it while the stuff is out of place.  I may even take the time to scrap out some stuff for my next run to the junkman.

And with this weather I really need to make some decisions for the gardens here, and at the BOL.   I usually wait too long and have poor results.   I’m determined to get a jump on it this year.  If it’s not already too late.

Food security.   Worth putting some time and effort into it.

If you can’t garden, and I really can’t, you’d better stack it up…


Tues. Jan. 24, 2023 – same old, but more…

Cold again, and clear, but windy.   It was pretty chilly yesterday whenever the sun wasn’t hitting me.  And it got very unpleasant around 7pm.   It’s not quite as bone chilling at midnight, but cold enough to promise cold for today.

I did a small repair to my Ranger.  Swapped some parts from the parts truck to the driver.  The plasticized “rubber” over the cruise control buttons fails and crumbles.   I’ve replaced them with NOS once, and now with the ones that have been sitting in the donor vehicle for the last few years.   They are already failing, but I soaked them with silicone spray.   It seems to help, for a while.

Did some ‘domestic bliss’ (cleaning up around the house, laundry, shopping, etc.)

Got the CO2 pistol out and did some target shooting in the yard.   It’ll put holes in stuff, and dent sheet metal.   I remember meaning to do a lot more work with the airguns, but then we bought a BOL…   was nice to do some trigger pull work.

Collards made it through the freeze and cold spell, nothing else did though.   Time to start planning for gardens, here and at the BOL.

Bid on some pavers for the BOL.  Didn’t win them.  They would have made a good short term solution for hardscape around the house after I remove all the broken concrete.   They went for more than I was willing to pay.  Something else will come up.

Today is a trash run, and auction pickups.  If I can, I’ll drop some stuff off at my auctioneer.  That will clear some space at the house and in the storage unit.  That would be a Good Thing ™.

I’ll be stacking some stuff, and organizing, and generally getting ready.   All y’all should be doing the same.


Sun. Nov. 20, 2022 – 11202022 – just didn’t happen

Cold and wet.   Low 40s to start, and if it keeps raining, to continue as well.   It was 42F when I went to bed.  Rained all day Saturday.

And partly because of the rain, I never really got anything done.   I got things started, but not finished.   I’m definitely not ready to head to the lake for a week, especially with a big meal in the middle.

Wife got home ok, said Vegas was about like always, and crashed out.   I ended up puttering around the house without much forward movement.   I spent a lot of time cooking, between pancake breakfast for the kids and the double meatloaf dinner.

I did take a look at the garden.   Watermelon vine is still there, still has flowers, but no fruit showing.  The lime tree in a pot that I thought was frozen has leaves on it.   The grape vine grew about 8ft, and still has leaves.  The herb garden is finishing out with the basil budding, and the rest either disappeared, or just small plants.  It’s enough to make me buy another couple flats of canned veg…

Plans.  Hah.   No plans for you!

We’ll see how today shapes up.  There isn’t a burning need to get to the lake today, and I’ve got stuff to do in town on Monday.   I may just plan to go up then, and let my wife have a quiet day at home.  Plans.  Hah.

There is comfort in plenty.  Stack some plenty.


Sun. Oct. 16, 2022 – headed out of town… got work to do

Cool and damp.   Getting warmer later.  It was fairly nice all day, but the humidity was high.   Sweat running down my back just standing around… yuck.  And likely more of the same today.

Did some of my stuff.   Got some Halloween stuff done, but first thing on the list today is getting a bunch of stuff out and set up.   I’m well known in the neighborhood for my decorations and that is a good thing.  I’m the guy with the great Halloween display and the cool Christmas stuff, not the weirdo waiting for the end of civilization.  I’m the guy who helped everyone out with plumbing parts after the freeze…   meatspace baby.

We’ll probably get around 150 kids if the weather is ok.    And I’m dressing up this year.   Been growing facial hair to help sell the costume.  It itches.  I don’t have a lot, and some of the facial scarring keeps hair from growing on one cheek, so it’s not symmetrical, but it’s the first time I’ve ever had sideburns.  My indian friends think it looks good.  Some of the younger guys think it looks good.  Everyone else thinks it looks silly.   I’m undecided.  Change is sometimes a good thing.  Hard to try something completely new at my age.   And I’ve been growing it for a couple of months, because it’s so thin and slow growing, so it looked even worse than it does now, as it finally looks intentional.  My oh my, don’t it make ya wanna cry.

Did some weeding in the raised beds.  The collards continue to do well, so I pruned them and weeded that bed.   And surprise, surprise, the watermelon started to grow!  It’s got vines and flowers.  Also, one pepper plant and one cabbage survived, and are growing now.  I weeded that bed too.  The biggest bed, that has the herb garden, is really only growing chives and the grape vines this season, but they are doing ok now.   Both vines had frozen back to the dirt, but they are climbing the trellis…  and even better, one of my potted citrus, that I thought was completely dead, is sprouting leaves and they are not growing just from the root stock but from the tree.  The other herbs are doing ok, other than the rosemary.  I can’t keep a rosemary bush alive for more than 2 seasons.  So it looks like I might have more garden than I thought.  Hooray.

Anyway, plan for today is more Halloween, some shopping at Lowes, maybe a dumpster run on the way out of town, and finally back up to the BOL.    Crew will be there around 9am  to start the actual foundation support work with the helical piles.  That should be interesting to watch.   If I get the plumbing parts I need at Lowes, I should have stuff to do all week while they work on the foundation.  If not, the list of other jobs is long and varied.  I’m sure I’ll stay occupied.

And I’ll be stacking more canned goods up there.   That will let me increase the stacks here too.   Stack it up fellow ants.  Don’t be a grasshopper.


Tues. Oct. 4, 2022- holes are being dug, site is being prepared…

Another cool morning followed by hot afternoon, and cool evening.  Definitely Fall north of Houston.

Started yesterday about an hour earlier than planned, but on the other hand, they didn’t need me to move most of the stuff I was planning to move.  The holes confirm that the old foundation repair was doomed to fail from the beginning.   No soil to bear on under the down hill side of the house.  Sand, and silt.  Good thing these helical piles don’t care…  They are due back here today at 7am and hope to finish the digging today.

Lake was down even more.   This would be a good time to work on the rotten support pilings for the dock as most of them are out of the water now.   Too bad I’ve got other fish to fry.

Skeeters are out in force.   They don’t usually bite me, and if they do it doesn’t raise a welt, but the buzzing in my ear drives me mad, and I can feel them on my skin.   This is the first visit where they were really noticeable and for some reason the house is full of them.

Asked one of the neighbors that’s been up here a long time what fruit trees he thought would be hardy and would grow well, he suggested peach and plum.  Said that apples didn’t do well.  I already have a persimmon tree.  Can’t remember if I’d mentioned that.  Fruit is delicious and sweet.   Big seed though.  I can’t recall ever eating a persimmon before.

Didn’t see any animals last night, but there were lots of raccoon and deer tracks in the mud along the shoreline.  DID see a big snake in the water as I was packing up my radio…   since he was under the water and still, I’m guessing ‘Plain-bellied Water Snake’ based on color.   Hard to tell at a distance though.  I do not care for snakes, especially ones that lurk.   It’s country out here.

Stacking up good will and ties to the community this week.  Knowledge too.   Stack something good.


Tues. Sept. 27, 2022 – 4 years ago today…

…friend of the blog and prolific commentor OFD,   Dave Hardy, went to his reward.  Church-y language, because he believed in the power of The Church, as it was, and should be.   I hope he’s watching with a bowl of pretzels and a bottle of Moxie.   And if it turns out to be more than a spectator sport, we could all use a little help buddy… Prayers for those he left behind.    Raise a glass to Absent Friends.


Cooler but warming later here in Houston.

Didn’t get a lot done yesterday.  Did get some stuff sorted and put away.   Cut the grass.   Broke down and vac sealed the remaining meat from the shopping run (just the vac sealed pork tenderloin.)    Got three nice roasts out of it, and decided not to do any chops.   Cooked one roast for dinner with collard greens from the garden as a side.   Collards are on their second or possibly third year, and still produce.   Had a loaf of the shelf stable sourdough bread too, since I was already running the oven.

Felt kinda ‘off’ all day.   Too much sun on Sunday maybe.

Today I’ve got stuff to do.  Pickups, drop offs, and moving stuff around.   I need to do some more tax paperwork, and some office work too.  There is always something more to do.

Like stacking all the things, you need to do more of that.



(have I mentioned that D2 is taking up the trombone? And that beginning trombone sounds like moose in heat?  LOUDLY in heat.)

Mon. Sept. 26, 2022 – home, stuff to do here as well as there…

Hot.   Humid.  But cooler to start.  Still saturated in the morning though.  The lake was a nice break from the Houston heat.   Somehow the heat there is different, maybe because I’m out working in it.  (Kidding!  Hot is hot.  I just don’t have a lake to float on with a cold beer at the end of the day in Houston.)

Spent the day breaking rocks in the hot sun.  Shoveling dirt and rocks.   Shoveling sand.   Moving rocks.  There was a whole lot of activity involving rocks.   And shovels.  And no beer at the end of the day as I needed to get in the truck and drive home.  No floating either.

I did get a bunch of broken concrete moved and put to good use filling behind my bulkhead.  It (not coincidentally) also cleaned up the work area for the foundation guys.    To get better access to where I was hiding stashing USING the broken concrete, I pulled up two of the dock’s deck boards.   And I do think that I’ll just flip all the boards over.  That will be a lot cheaper than replacing them (most of them are very damaged by the sun and water) and the undersides look almost like new…  a little pressure washing, and they’ll look new.  If I was doing it to sell the place, it would be super shady and scam-y, but since I’m doing it to myself, it’s nearly genius!   Dock repair and beautification are pretty far down the list, so it won’t be happening soon, in any case.

I also met another neighbor.   He spends most nights fishing off the HOA pier in the fall and winter.   Says he’s got a freezer full of deer (from his deer lease nearby) and a freezer full of catfish from the lake.  Didn’t have any piggy.   Interesting that most of the people up there are well used to feeding themselves off the land.

I need to get ready for a fall garden up there, even if the first try was a complete failure.   Time for some soil additives and maybe some different seeds.  And rototilling in the dried grass.  Maybe I’ll have time while the foundation guys are working.

There’s always more to do.   Always be working to improve your situation.

And stack the things!



Thur. Sept. 15, 2022 – how did it get to be the middle of September already?

Less hot, still humid.   Definitely “Fall” weather coming, but still plenty hot in the afternoon.  I barely broke a sweat cutting the grass yesterday.  That was  a  nice change.

Spent the day catching up on auction stuff.  It’s funny how it goes in waves.  Sometimes I see a ton of stuff I need/want.  Sometimes there is little.   Sometimes you see an item in a several unrelated auctions, sometimes you go years without seeing a particular thing.   There are a few things I’d still like to get more of.

Generators.  Solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and batteries.  Water treatment.  Unfortunately, EVERYONE wants those things at the moment.  Same for wind generators, building materials, and construction equipment.  There’s always something more to stack.   Especially when you have as many projects going on as I do.

Plan today is pickups.   I only got a few items but they are at different auctioneers.  So I’ll be making a big loop today.  Organizing storage would be good too.

Wife is still work from home, but both kids should be back in class today.  That should cut down on my distractions.  Suddenly time is flying by again.   I’ve got foundation guys starting in about two weeks, if everything stays on schedule.   I should be meeting with them on site to do their final walk thru before starting any day now, but I haven’t heard from them.  Add that to my list for today, I guess.

Speaking of lists, make some.  Think hard about what you still need to get to help you through bad times.   Make an actual list.   Then work on getting those items or skills.  Small engine repair?  3d Printer?  Gardening class?  Roto-tiller?  Couple of acres in the country?  Canning jars and lids?  Seeds?   Fertilizer?  Goats?   You know your needs better than I do.   Do what makes sense for you and yours.

And stack the stuff high.


Sun. Aug. 28, 2022 – Meatspace baby. Get out and do something with people…

In the heat and humidity if necessary, but get out in the world around you.   In Houston, of course, we got both kinds of weather, hot AND humid…  Some parts of town got downpours yesterday including where I was.  I didn’t notice from the hotel ballroom, but some of the other attendees mentioned it.   Biblical was a word used…  Couldn’t tell a few hours later when I left for home.   At home the only evidence was that the koi pond was full to the brim.    It was 77F in the morning, and barely 80F when I went to bed.  Fall is definitely here.

Time to start thinking about the fall garden.   The summer one hasn’t really done much, although I have a couple of squash plants still alive, they’ve only just set flowers.   The collards are ok, but nothing else really grew.  Oh well, I’ve said it before, I stack cans because my thumbs are not green.

Had another fun, but long day on the show floor.   Chatted with lots of people.   I’m not selling the big pieces I wanted to sell, and the smalls aren’t gonna send the kids to college, but I’m grossing a couple of bucks, and might make a little money.   It’s more about being with fellow enthusiasts though.   The selling is just a framework for the get together.   It’s more than a little bit like the joke about the two antique dealers stranded on a desert island— one is having a “going out of business” sale, and the other is buying inventory…..  but it’s a great way to see people from all over.

And it’s a nice break from normal routine.

So I’m back there today, really hoping to move a couple of items, with a couple of bins of new smalls, because even though it’s the last day, I just got them un-buried from the stack, and I’d like to set an example of continuing to sell to the last minute.

Even in my hobbies I’ve stacked it up!

Better though to stack up some necessities.   And vital to have some links to humans and a community.



Tues. Aug. 23, 2022 – like sands through an hourglass….

Hot and humid, seriously.  Why would I lie?   It was certainly humid yesterday.  Even just sitting outside while working on my gennie I was soaked to the skin.  Today should be the same, with the BOL due to get T storms and heavy rain, but Houston just sweltering…

Did some inside desk stuff to start the day, but finally decide it was time to get the gennie running.   The kit went in and the directions were pretty clear and straightforward.   The longest time was taken up putting stuff back together before I could take it apart and add the propane conversion.

There is one thing that doesn’t make sense, so I’m going to take the advice in the instructions and call them today.  If it needs fixing, a simple drilled hole should solve the issue.   It took more adjustment than I expected to get it running and the idle circuit seems to have an issue.   Since the missing hole is part of the idle, it all makes sense… sorta.  It does run, and I can run with it how it is.   Still, I think it can be better.   I still have to figure out a good mounting solution for the regulator and drill a big hole to pass the hose through.   My drill and step bit are at the BOL though, so that detail will have to wait.  With a couple of minor tweaks it should be great.

I also cut the grass and did some weeding.   Ants.  Freaking ants.  Raised bed is full of them.  I hate ant bites, I’ve got 3 new ones  on my hands from the BOL, and another from my garden here.   I’m going to have to look at the poison to see if I can use it in the raised bed and still plant veggies later this fall.

In other pest news, whatever has been moving around in my garage and knocking stuff off my shelves found the rat trap bait yesterday.  Stupid thing ate its way into the box and snacked on the bait.   I’m hoping it doesn’t die in the garage walls or soffits, but I’m hoping it does die.   Drought is causing stress for the wildlife and vermin too.  One of my buddies reports coyotes moving around his property, eyeballing his chickens.  His dogs aren’t up to fighting coyotes, and he has reasons why he can’t be armed properly.   I think he’s gonna be feeding coyotes.

Pickups and driving around today.   And maybe some prepping for my sale/show this weekend.   But certainly lots of stuff to do.   (ha, fragments, and style violations! I’m feeling saucy.)   I was still pretty sore and stiff yesterday from the sledgehammering and breaking rocks in the hot sun, I’m hoping to be back to normal today.   Say it with me — “we’ll see.”

Time to stack some things.



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