Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Signs Are There

To spite the 100 plus temperature we are experiencing, there are signs that fall is around the corner.  The oaks are starting to make their acorns.

The Yaupon is making little green berries that will turn red to feed the birds this fall.

And the Beauty Berry is turning a brilliant purple.

Some of the trees, however, are a bit ahead of schedule and turning red.

Yes, I admit, I am craving the changes of fall myself.  If only the temperatures would cooperate.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Remember Me?

It's been awhile!  Going back to school has me zapped.  When I get home at night I just want to put my feet up and take deep slow breaths.  That usually leads to a nap, by the way.  I remember this from last year, and it lasts about 2 weeks.  I already feel like I am getting in the swing of things, but give me a little more time.

One of my daily routines is checking my email and facebook in the morning while I have a cup or two (okay, call it what it is . . . two) of coffee.  I came across this article from Daily Good and really wanted to share it with you guys.  I hope you read it and find it puts a smile on your face.  Honestly, I couldn't believe they pulled it off keeping even their husbands in the dark.

So did you read it yet?  Well, go read it and come back.

Now wasn't that nice?  I love inspiring people.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School

You might have noticed that there have been no fresh posts lately.  I feel bad about that.  Taking pictures and writing makes me happy, but there just hasn't been time.  I read things like this from other bloggers I follow, so I know I am not alone.  Honestly, it doesn't make me feel any better.

I was so lucky these last few weeks to have my son and grandoggie here before college gets back for the fall semester.  It is the longest amount of time I have spent with him since he left for college.  And his puppy is a joy.  The truth of the matter is that we didn't do a whole lot, just hung around the house for the most part.

It was his birthday (my son's, not Pockets') this past weekend so we had a nice dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants in town, picked up a nice suit with all the trimmings for interviewing, shopped for furniture  and helped him get all moved into his new apartment.  I really enjoyed that too.  Do you know what an apartment looks like at IKEA?  That's it, all tucked into the bed of a truck.

So much easier to move when it's all still in boxes.  That's a couch, coffee table, entertainment center, storage shelving, nightstand, 4 chairs and a kitchen table, folks.

On my "Do People Really Do That?" list is the former tenant at his place.  When he left he took all the light bulbs.  Have you ever heard of that before?  It wasn't even the high efficiency expensive ones.  Who does that?

I hope to get back in the swing of things soon and have more time to do the things I love and tell you all about it.  I have really enjoyed going back to work and reconnecting with my friends and coworkers, but that will all settle down soon.  Until then, I hope you are all well as you send yourselves or your kiddos back to school.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another Yummy Summer Dessert

Something happens to a person when they start a blog.  It's inevitable.  You start to see everything around you as a possible post.  However, it is important to show some restraint.  In my case I rely heavily on my pictures to tell a story so I carry my camera with me a lot of the time.  There are just some places where that is not practical and others where it is just rude.

Last night I had dinner with a few of my neighbors and faced that dilemma.  I made a new dessert (Blueberry Almond Streusel Galette) that looked great (presentation is half the recipe) and it smelled great (almonds and blueberries, yum), but until dinner was over and we cut into it I wouldn't know if it tasted great.  To bring the camera or not?  I chose not.  That doesn't mean I haven't on occasion (Breakfast in the Great Outdoors and All About Me Day), but last night I just wanted some conversation and community.

As luck would have it, the dessert was really good.  So good, in fact, I may make it again this weekend so Breck can have some as well.  In the meantime, this is what was left after coming home.

This would be great with peaches as well.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

There Be Monsters

I have no idea what it is, but it must not be good.

And he is see through and spikey!  Crazy.

Found it on my beans this morning.  Ugh.  I have an email into the Aggie Extension office to see if they can help me identify it.  I'll let you know what I find out, though I might be the only one on the planet that cares.  I am a little weird that way.

On the upside, check out the celery.  Remember when I planted it from the root end of store bought celery on a whim (Celery from Celery)?

Then and now photo tells the story.

When it gets cooler I can put this out in the garden and then I hope it will really take off.  Now I want to plant another one!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stepping Out Of My Norm

I am stepping away from my traditional choice of reading material today.  I am forgoing monsters, zombies, and vampires.  I am passing on spies, special ops, and detectives.  Today there will be no Stephen King, Lee Child, or Brad Thor.  Today (it's pajama day Wednesday) I am reading  . . .  wait for it . . . non-fiction (gasp).

I stopped by the book store on Monday to kill a little time before meeting some friends for dinner and selected a sizable stack of gardening books from the shelves, pulled up a comfy arm chair in a corner, and spent an hour perusing the pages.  I love the Internet as a resource, don't get me wrong, but there is something about turning the pages of a book that cannot be replaced.  Books are a splurge for me, a luxury even. But sometimes you just have to pull the trigger and buy one.

I know what you're thinking and the answer is, "yes we have libraries," but I also love having that home resource to pull out on those rainy fall days and cold winter afternoons.  So after an enjoyable hour of reading, I reluctantly narrowed my choice to one and purchased  a book that will help me learn more about being a successful home gardener.

So with my cucumber trellis made, my cucumber seedling planted, my broccoli hardening off on the porch, my grandoggie Pockets at my feet, and the house to myself,  I will commence reading.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Leaving The Nursery

4 weeks ago I planted tomato and cucumber seeds indoors under a florescent light.  They are big enough now to move from the comfort of their little seedling nursery (also known as Breck's office) to the garden.

Before planting, I needed to get up some support structures.  Using what I had, Breck and I cut down several 7' yaupon and stripped them of their branches.  I then got out my drill and made holes in each branch at 12 inch intervals.

I used four of the stakes in a corner to plant my first tomato.   Using some wire I had laying around the garage, I secured the branches at the top to hold them together much like I did the teepee set up for the pole beans.

Then I ran wire through the holes I drilled to give the tomato plant some support as it grows.

It was hot yesterday so I only made one and called it quits.  This morning, as the sun was coming up, I planted one of the largest tomatoes under the structure.  I had to work quickly so I could get to a work function I had scheduled on time.

I wanted to leave a small collar around the stem to hopeful ward off cutworms, so I trimmed the lower part of my growing container (plastic cup) and removed it.

All that was left was to tuck it into a nice hole, spread a little more compost and a small amount of blood meal around and work it into the dirt.  Oh, and I watered.

I also buried a large plastic juice container salvaged from my recycling bin to use as a deep waterer (I know it's not a real word).  I drilled a few holes in opposite sides to water not just tomato plant #1, but also #2 which will get planted in the next few days.

Now that the dirt is backfilled around the jug, I can add water and compost tea directly to the roots.

Just like yesterday afternoon, today is a hot one.  Later tonight I hope to get my cucumber trellis up so I can get that little guy into the ground as well.  It is rapidly outgrowing its pot.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Day On The Lake

Breck and I set aside the day for ourselves yesterday.  No yard work.  No cleaning.  No cooking.  Just fun. We did something together we have not done in years.

I knew I would love our new truck.  The water level was low (keeping the motor boats away) and the waves were calm (low wind made for a nice 2 1/2 hour float).

I had really wanted to find and photograph some the the spoonbills we had seen a few weeks ago, but we just couldn't get to them.  Parts of the lake were only 6" deep.  Any more shallow and we would have had our work cut out for us.  Here is what we did see though.

All that lush green in the background should be under water.

You can see just how shallow it was.

My action shots are getting a little better, but I still have so far to go.

Now let me show you the ugly side of photography; what happens when you see something really cool, but have the camera on the wrong setting.  I had it on landscape so the shutter was too slow.

It made for fuzzy, out of focus pictures.

This shot was one of several in a series as the pelicans flew off the stump and into the water.

I didn't realize I had not taken a good shot until I got home and brought the pictures up on my computer. Part of the problem I am having is that I cannot see the screen in the bright sunlight to see what I am focused on.  I may need to invest in a view finder for my camera so I won't keep missing these opportunities.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


So many things make me happy living out where I do.  I love the sound of nothing.  I love the light of the moon.  And I love the creatures I share this space with.

Yesterday morning while having our morning coffee, I heard a bird call that was new to me.  I can identify the cardinal, the wrens, and the woodpeckers, but this morning I heard a bird that I had not heard since moving here 3 years ago.  Breck was quick to identify it as a quail.  We grabbed our binoculars and went to sit on the back patio to see if we could catch a glimpse.  We could hear its call, and others further away in reply.  We were not so fortunate then to see the lovely bird, but later in the afternoon, Breck sneaked in the front door from doing yard work  to alert me to the fact that the creature with the telltale call was foraging in our landscaping.  Of course I was thrilled!  I grabbed my camera and followed him to the front yard.

There in my bed was a Northern Bobwhite Quail.  At first he froze, watching to see what we would do.  He stood there only moments before feeling safe enough to continue his search for bugs.  He wandered into the lawn and did not seem the least bit intimidated by us, picking off a wasp here and there (thank you, Mr. Quail).

I was amazed how close he let us get, and how close he wandered to us!  So tame and not what I expected.

Hopefully he (yes a male) will stick around.  Judging from the turned mulch in my flower beds, he has been around a few days and I just didn't notice.  I will be more observant now.  Quail was on my list of birds I most wanted to see and photograph.  Since taking these photographs I have done a little research and found that quail live in coveys (groups of 8-20 quail), so my chances of seeing more are very good.  They are also on the Near Threatened list for extinction.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Twist On A Favorite

As you know, I have been on a mission to fill my freezer with meals for Breck.  I am pretty sure I am about out of room and need to stop even though I am compelled to make more.  Pretty sure I have 2 months worth of meals in there now.

The last item I made before reaching that decision was kolaches.  I have two blog posts that have been popular on pintrest and one is my Sausage Kolache recipe (the other is an owl pattern).  Yesterday I used my kolache bread recipe, but mixed up the filling ingredients a bit.

I used a 9 ounce package of ham that I chopped and 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar tossed with 1 Tablespoon of flour. This made 10 kolaches just like the sausage version (see Sausage and Cheese Kolaches).

Yum.  I may like these even better than the sausage and cheese ones.  (I made a batch of those too)

I'm thinking a teaspoon of dry mustard mixed into the 1 Tablespoon of flour would be great.  I may try that next time, but I also love this recipe just the way it is.