Category: gardening

Tues. Jul. 26, 2022 – Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!

Humid and hot, with a small chance of rain.   So someone will be getting rain.   Yesterday, when I was coming home from my pickup down south, there was a huge storm cell west of me.   I outran it north and then cut across west, and only got a bit of very light drizzle.  A bunch of people got a good soaking though.  Nothing at my house at all.

I’ve been watering the grass and the raised beds.  Little to show for it in the garden but the grass is growing.

Did my errands, have more to do today.   Got some stuff for the house, for my non-prepping hobby, and for the BOL. Today will be a lot like yesterday, maybe with a bit less driving.   I did score another of the 7cuft chest freezers.   I’ll have to find a spot for it.  It may sit empty until I catch some meat on sale, or I may give it to a buddy.  $75, new in box, but probably scratch and dent under the foam.

I’m bidding on some solar panels.  They look like 200w panels.  Used of course, but 20 in a lot.  4 lots, but I only want one.   They were installed for some sort of traffic or camera control, and come with the big aluminum roadside enclosure boxes.  Last time I got one panel, and the box brought enough when I scrapped it to pay for the panel.   No batteries, inverters, or charge controllers though.  Wish me luck.  I’d love 4000w of solar at the BOL or here.

Infrastructure.   It’s critical, and is usually only noticed in its absence.  Plan to provide for your own needs.  And plan to reduce those needs to something that you can provide.

To smooth everything out, you should have some stuff stacked.  Lots of stuff 🙂

n

 

 

Mon. Jul. 18, 2022 – home again, home again…. blah blah

I’ve got too many posts with the same title…

And to many days that start with HOT HOT HOT,  and yet it IS hot.  And humid.  It was hot at the lake too, hitting 99F a few feet from the water, and much higher further away.   Sunny too.

I did a bunch of small stuff this weekend, mainly because for one reason or another it is stuff I can safely do, or have all the stuff present to do.   Bigger more important things languish… but I can make the place look better and function a little better.

SO ..

I installed the new freezers, and moved stuff out of the kitchen to one of them.  I installed a handrail on the steps I built for the dock.  One of our neighbors who we would like to see more often will be much more comfortable with a solid handrail.  I back filled a bit of a hole at the edge of the same steps.   With the lake down, this would be an excellent time to backfill all of my bulkhead to fill the gaps where water gets UNDER the concrete wall.  Too bad I’m not ready and don’t have the time.  I could start with less but to do the whole thing would take about a dozen cubic yards of material.  I suppose there will be a period of low water next year too.

I did normal visit things, cutting the grass, cleaning up debris, making the place look loved and lived in.

And I tried out my new crawdad traps.   Overnighted two traps, baited with dog food and freshwater mussel… and one had a whole mussel that died before I could cook it.   That trap had 7 or 8 small ‘bait fish’ in it, including one inside the mussel shell.  All the bait was gone.   The other trap in deeper water (3 ft vs 1 ft) had bait left, and nothing inside.  Too small a sample size to draw any conclusions.   The bait fish would have been handy for a morning session trying to catch bigger fish.

Collected and cooked some mussels.   Not horrible, but not New Zealand Green Lips in garlic butter and white wine either.   I should try some smaller ones next time, and cook them in something besides water.  The coons harvested and ate at least one other large mussel, I’m finding one big shell a night on the steps of the dock.

Turns out one of the trees in the back is a peach tree.   Local wildlife has left ONE peach intact so far, but it’s still small and green.  I did find a well gnawed peach pit on the patio, so there was at least one other fruit.  It’s too small a tree to have much fruit anyway, but a nice discovery.

I’m trying to figure out what we actually have in terms of plantings and beds.   The previous owner’s wife was an avid flower gardener, and there are several neglected beds.   One is full of bulbs and flowered earlier.   One is wildflower and rose bushes- the butterflies love that one, but I’m going to take at least half for a ‘salad’ and herb garden.  There is a rock garden with what looks like blue agave… there were several flowering trees, and now I found the peach.   I have done a bunch of weeding and cleaning because “hey, free landscaping!  hey, free trees!  hey, free flowers!”

Speaking of the garden, I’m abandoning my  veg garden at the lake for the rest of the year.  I’ll try again in fall.   I pulled up 4ft of each row, didn’t find a single veg, so it looks like nothing sprouted.  I took the ‘deer guards’ off and cut the watering time to 5 minutes daily.  I can still experiment with how fast the grass grows back, and how little water I can put on the plot.   The most useful thing to do might be to cover the whole thing with black plastic, and let the summer sun  bake the heII out of it.   That is supposed to kill  a lot of the stuff in the soil, including the nutgrass.  Don’t know if there is enough time to try it this year, before the fall garden needs to start.

At home the cukes or zukes are still growing vines.   The grape vine is climbing the trellis.   The collards are thriving.   Peas and beans died.  So I stack cans of veg.


Plenty of the same stuff to do this week as last, with the added complication of picking up D1 from a local ‘leadership’ class at 3pm every day.   Kinda cuts short my workday.  Oh well.  If I can’t drive all over town, I can play chess with D2.

Stack some memories as well as canned goods, they will be there to get you through when the going gets tough.

 

nick

 

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

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