Category: gardening

Thur. Jun. 30, 2022 – gotta get busy

Hot and humid, but a bit less thanks to the rain… which came late yesterday afternoon.  It was 79F when I went to bed, so not exactly cool…

Spent yesterday doing auctions and email.  Felt pretty much back to normal, if a bit fatigued.   Turns out D1 had a Dr appointment, right smack in the middle of my normal day, so that kinda kept me home anyway.   I did get some grocery shopping done, and picked up a few cans and other things for the BOL.  One consideration is, do I stock the BOL with all new stuff, so it lasts the longest, or transfer existing stuff, most of which is aging with some small chance I will use it soon?  I will probably end up doing some of both, but it is a consideration.

There is a fair amount of wildlife at the  BOL.  So far, besides fish and turtles, I’ve seen deer, a beaver, a momma raccoon, and the kids saw a possum.   Snakes too, and birds of course.  Supposedly there are armadillos being pests and digging under foundations in the neighborhood but I’ve never seen one.  The neighbors have also taken wild pigs, so I know they are around in the nearby woods.   The longer I’m up there, and the more I look, the more I see.  Oddly, very few squirrels, although one neighbor is supposed to be death on squirrels so maybe that’s why.  Lots of free range tucker if needed…

But the stories I’ve read have the local animal and vegetable population quickly reduced to nothing, in the event that people start eating them in earnest.  So I am not counting on “living off the land” or even the small part of the land I have as a garden.   I’m stacking food in cans for that.

Definitely, learn about the food that currently surrounds you wherever you are.   And it may provide variety and a supplement to whatever you’ve got stored or can buy.  But don’t think it will be enough to sustain you and yours if push comes to shove.

Stack food.  And friends.  You’ll need both.

nick

 

Tues. Jun. 28, 2022 – headed home later

Hot and humid, but less of both than Houston proper.  It got plenty hot yesterday but I did a bunch of work anyway.

Weeded the garden.  Not seeing any veg plants.  Could be a total failure.   Well, I’ll learn something in any case.

Cut the grass, did extra string trimming for the big holiday weekend, and poisoned the ant mounds I felt comfortable using the poison on.

Cut the grass in the adjacent community lot and boatramp too.   I was on the mower, had enough gas, and was feeling pretty good.   It coincidentally let me explore an unimproved version of my lot.   I’m pretty sure it was deeded to the HOA because of the little creeks running through it.   There would be some challenges building on it.   Nothing you couldn’t overcome for lakefront land, but not as simple as throwing up a house.  Anyway, we missed the community cleanup event so I felt like it would be a good deed in advance of the busiest weekend of the year.

You might guess I was feeling pretty good.   I’m headed home today because I think I’ve finished with this cold.  Cough may stick around for a while, but I felt pretty much normal all day.

I’ll get a couple more things done, after sleeping as long as I can, and then I’ll head home to reload and head back, in a couple of days.

My buddy is giving me more contractor names, so maybe we can get moving.  Or maybe it will be more of the same, but at least it MIGHT move.

FWIW, this is apparently a great time to be a contractor.   More work than you can do, and people are resigned to paying high prices.   If you can get the stuff to do the job, Robert is your father’s brother…

If you think you might need work done, you better stack up the stuff you will need.   Because it might not be there later.

So stack it up.   And start collecting names of contractors and tradesmen.  You will need them eventually, and it can’t hurt to be known to them.  Meatspace.

Oh, turns out there was some petty crime drama at home while I was up here.   More on that later.

Stack it up!

nick

Mon. Jun. 20, 2022 – ah Monday, so much potential….

Hot and hot.  Humid of course.  And hot.   Apparently the country is under a “heat dome”.   Used to call it ‘summer’.   There was certainly lots of ‘summer’ yesterday.   111F in the sun, near the roof…  but I’m not a roofer, so it was probably closer to 100F in the real world of my back yard.   I’ve got to get another sensor somewhere in the shade so I have a gut check on the highs.

Spent the day catching up on auction and home stuff, and opened cards for Father’s Day.  Kids are off at camp now for the week, and I’ve got stuff to do.

I did harvest about 6 more blueberries when I checked the gardens.  Heat has been hard on the tomatoes.  And everything else really, but the tomatoes and my grapefruit tree especially.   Peppers are not doing well in the heat either.   Apple tree is fully leafed in and looking strong.   Zukes and/or cukes are flowering and haven’t died yet. Grapevines are growing, which is nice.   I thought the freeze killed one of the two.  It’ll be a couple of years before I pick grapes again though.  Setbacks in the garden would have dire consequences if I was counting on it for food.   Good thing I’ve got canned veg.  🙂 And good thing I’ve got canned meat, as the local squirrel population is much reduced since we cut down the pecan tree.   There is still a lot for them to eat- oak, cherry, pine, mushrooms, and other seeds, but the pecans must have supported a dozen more than we have now.

One small change to the very local ecosystem, and a big change in the animals that depend on it.  Something to think about.

Right now, the garden is the backup to the canned goods, not the other way around, and I’m under no real illusion that I’ll get more than a couple of meals out of my current situation.  But I am learning some things.   Mainly that it’s harder than it looks!   Get started climbing the learning curve, even if it’s just in containers on the porch or in the driveway.

And because gardens are fickle, finicky things, stack the canned goods high and deep.

nick

 

Mon. Jun. 13, 2022 – huh, Friday the 13th falls on a Monday this month

Hot, more hot, and a side of humid…

Starting at the BOL this morning.  Then home later.

Did a bunch of work yesterday.  Mostly cosmetic, but a couple of logistical things too.  See yesterday’s late comments for details.

And then I saw a beaver.  Still pumped about that.

I need to head over to the electric co-op, then get started home.   Normal crazy Monday too, with an ‘away’ swim meet on top of everything else.

Practice a little extra awareness today.  Things are getting weird.

And stack some food.

n

Sun. Jun. 12, 2022 – I beg your pardon, I never promised you a …..

Texas morning, hot and humid, followed by Texas afternoon, hotter still.  And fwiw, there are a lot more bugs here than at home.   More biomes means more bugs I guess.

Got ceilings scraped.   Some stuff put away.  Got the yard mowed, and in under an hour.  Doesn’t look like a baseball stadium, but doesn’t look like a jungle either.

 

Spent some time floating in the water, and some time eating s’mores and listening to the radio by the fire.  Big bright almost full moon meant few stars, and I didn’t see any more meteors.  WTWW played today’s post title, and I was surprised when I listened to a song I can sing along with…it’s pretty good advice.

The garden has actual vegetables in it, and will take a bunch of weeding to put it right.  The nut grass is relentless and thrives here.   I’ve cut back the watering schedule again, as it is clearly too wet and nut grass loves wet.  Don’t know if I’ll get to the weeding…   but even if I don’t I’ll try spraying it with molasses, as the intarwebs suggest.

That said, I might stay through to Monday.   The main benefit is going and standing in the electric co-op lobby until I get to see the person I need to see to proceed with the electrical work.  Calling has not worked.  The secondary benefit would be time in the garden Sunday evening  AFTER the sun stops trying to boil my brains in my head.

Playing that decision by ear, and with an eye on the septic system.  We’ll see.

In the mean time, I hope everyone is still stacking…

nick

Sat. Jun. 11, 2022 – I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…

Hot, and humid, because Texas!  Well, EAST Texas anyway.   Cooler here than Houston, and probably more breeze.

Made it safely to the BOL last night despite the late start.  Everything in the back of the truck was still there when I arrived.   No one ever died because they put on an extra strap…

Among my pickups yesterday were two big solar panels.  They had been dropped and damaged during shipping, so I got them for $5.   The glass is shattered, but I’m hoping to salvage some or all of the cells, and the diode or MMTP on the back.   First and very cursory glance says I may just be out $5.  It’ll be interesting to put them in the sun and see what or if they put anything out.  That project is going to have to wait though.

All the normal stuff needs doing up here, and we need to make more progress on livability.   The garden needs some attention for sure.

Maybe I’ll taste the nut grass, and if I like it, I’ll just grow a garden of nut grass….    Probably easier that way too.   It’s a bit funny that the local electric co-op magazine has an article in it this month about local foraging.   They specifically cite grocery shortages and rising costs as reasons people took up foraging, and for more people to start.

Every account of prolonged conflict I’ve read had people eating grass.  I’d like to do better than that.  I intend to do better than that.  But if you need a little extra, NOW is the time to figure out the wild groceries around you, while there is still 911 and medical care 😉

There are lots of references available, and I don’t know one from the other, but if it interests you, there is probably a local expert to help you learn.   Just remember, if it was better or more efficient for feeding people, we wouldn’t be farming, and in a long term event, even the grass is eaten to the ground before too long.  Don’t count on living off the land——–

Stack up all the things!

 

n

Fri. Jun. 10, 2022 – ah Friday, the end is in sight.

Gorram hot, and gorram humid.    Well over 100F yesterday in the sun, which was everywhere.   And the breeze was intermittent.  In the shade, with a breeze, very nice.  Anywhere else?  Gorram hot.  And more if it today.

Had a nice night at the pool, although I’d have preferred A/C and a book, but meatspace… and meet space.  Kid didn’t do well swimming, but she works at it.  There were several dads I chatted with from our old pool and it was nice to catch up.

Today I’ve got a bunch of pickups, ones and twos mostly, and almost all for the BOL.   I’ve got shopping to do too, I need more drywall mud.   I’m going to try molasses and water to kill the nutsedge in my garden plot.  It’s supposed to work while leaving the crops alone.  If I don’t spray it on the crops.  And if I can get some.

Then it’s load up the truck and head out.   Work for the weekend includes – scraping popcorn ceilings.  Painting out paneling.  Maybe some plumbing work in the bathroom, or the kitchen.  Cutting of grass, weeding of garden, and various and sundry other small and large tasks.

Gotta get pickups done and trucks loaded first though.

Make your own stacks, and stack them high.

nick

Mon. Jun. 6, 2022 – D Day 1944.

National forecast has Houston in clear weather for the next three days.   Goes without saying it will be hot and humid.   Beautiful just a couple of hours north though.   Ah well, it is what it is.

Started yesterday at the BOL, did a bunch of work, and came home.   Now I get to do a bunch of work here too.  It’s all the normal stuff, plus the stuff that got put aside.   I don’t know what I’d do if I could actually catch up.    Up north I didn’t get back to my garden weeding, it was just too hot in the sun, so the carrots will have to compete with the grass for another week.    Here I’ve got grass to mow, gardens to weed, and maybe some blueberries to harvest, if the birds didn’t get them.   Plus a ton of stuff to move or put away, or organize.

Then there is all the stuff that needs fixing… and that is a growing pile too.   And the hurricane season has officially started, so there is all the normal hurricane prep to do.   This is not the time I’d have picked for rotating stored gas, but again, it is what it is.

It will be a short work day for me on top of everything else,  as D2 has a swim meet tonight.

Monday is not my fun day.

But hey, no rest for the wicked.

Do some stacking.  Don’t get caught lacking.

 

n

Sun. Jun. 5, 2022 – working, but not just…

Cool morning, to hot day later, but still nicer than Houston.   It was at least 10 degrees cooler up here yesterday.  Still brain boiling hot in the sun though, so I waited a bit before weeding in the garden.

 

I don’t see any sprouts, well, one or two things that might be veg, but mostly I see grass.   Pulling it by hand, I can do a row in about 10 minutes.  Two rows and my back is screaming at me though, so I didn’t get the whole thing weeded.  Depending on temps, I’ll do more today.

I’ve got inside stuff to alternate with outdoor stuff to try and keep reasonably cool.

Last night was great.  I spent a bit of time at sunset actually fishing.   Didn’t get even a nibble, but I spent the time casting and tried a couple of different baits.   Then after dinner, I lit a fire in the metal fire pit out on the dock and spun the dial on the shortwave for a couple of hours.

Nice open bands, heard some DX I never manage to hear, and even an australian station that I rarely hear at home.   I need a good antenna and a bigger radio… or a good radio and a bigger antenna….

Since I can see the stars up here, I’m motivated to learn more about them.  There might even be some astronomy content in the future.  I did see about a dozen nice meteors, more than when we were watching the shower, but they weren’t as dramatic.  Neat to see in any case.

Lots of big splashes on the lake too.  If I could figure out how to catch them, I’d be eating fish tonight.             Figuring that out is fairly high on the list of preps.

Speaking of preps, I did move some more food up here.   We could go a month without starving, but we’d be pretty bored.   I’m working on expanding both duration and variety.   A chest freezer and a big UPS is pretty high on the list.  ‘Course, septic is too.

Still stalled on the big projects waiting for other people.

Got plenty to do in the mean time.

BTW the propane “camping” instant water heater is working really well.   It’s a bit of a comfort item, although hygiene is important, and morale is too.  $200 well spent so far.   No idea about longevity, but the only negatives in the amazon listings were people who let it freeze with water inside.   Given proper maintenance, I don’t see why it couldn’t last a long time.      If you’ve got the basics covered, I can vouch for how nice a hot shower is when you are filthy and sore.

One more thing to stack.

Stack all the things.  You are your own infrastructure provider.

nick

Fri. Jun. 3, 2022 – Friday so soon? Well, yeah, so get busy….

Hot and humid, chance of rain… but probably not.  Just like yesterday.   SOMEONE got rain, but not me.  In fact it was hot and sunny most of the day.

Did some errands yesterday.   Went to the grocery store.    Baby formula and mexican sparkling water were both limited quantity and empty shelves.  Canned veg is still just the basics, but there are a couple more choices than last time.  You can get french cut green beans and mixed vegetables now…

The best part was that USDA Prime sirloin beef was on sale.  <$6 /pound and <$7 depending on whether they took off the cap before packaging.   I bought all I could afford and fit in the freezers.   Saved $100 according to the receipt, and there weren’t any other sale items.  In fact there was a real dearth of sale items in the store.  Small avocados were $1.09 each, and “big” were even more.  The “big” are the size “small” used to be, and “small” are tiny.  Limes that used to be 6 for $1 are 50c each and have been for some time.   If it wasn’t provably hard to keep the dang trees alive, I’d be looking for another lime tree.  And I wish I’d planted avocado 10 years ago, although it probably would have frozen too.

Buy it when you see it and stack it high.


Today I’ve got a pickup for my non-prepping hobby, one for some plumbing supplies, and one or two I’ll put off ’til next week with personal stuff or stuff for the house.   Then I’ll load the jon boat back on the truck, fill the bed with more stuff for the BOL, including more freezedried buckets, and two flats of canned veg.   I also bought some yeast packets to put with the flour in the buckets at the BOL.  I’d forgotten about that.  Then at some point we’ll head back up to the lake.

There’s plenty to do here, and more there, so something will get done.

It just might not be what I PLANNED to do.

Stack it while you can.

n

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