Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Loop to Loop

I love my grandoggies.  Of course they have grown a little since this was taken.  Well, Pockets has.

Pockets and TRex
They love to come and visit to play in the yard and chase the bunnies and birds.  One of their other favorite things is playing chase around my dinning room table.

However, the carpet is not really made to withstand that kind of abuse.  It is a decorative pile and loop carpet (my big splurge when we built) and their claws get caught in the loops creating pulls.

There were 4 pulls, but this was the largest.

Using an upholstery needle and thread I was able to weave the loop back into the carpet.

This wasn't something I was planning to post, so the photos are from my phone and not the best quality.  But you get the idea.

I pulled it through just a few loops at a time so it wouldn't get hung up.  In the end you can't even tell where there was an issue and the pattern in the carpet is not disrupted.

I love it when I can fix something on my own.  I know this is a small thing, but having it fixed makes me very happy.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A City Garden

I loved having a nice big garden here at the house in years passed.

Getting out there every morning to see what magic had occurred overnight with my tomatoes, carrots, and onions was such a joy.


Carrots and Onions
Cooking with my own food was such a pleasure.  Especially canning pickles and jalapeño slices.  But the thing I loved most that grew in the garden were the gourds.

The condo however has forced me to look at having a garden in a different way.  Without a plot of land to work I moved to pots and hanging baskets.

Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
I clipped and dug up some of the herbs from my house garden to plant in the pots.

Spearmint and Peppermint
But not everything will grow in pots so I picked wisely for my first year at attempting a hanging garden.

Oregano, Parsley, Chive
 I was surprised how easy it was to propagate the herbs.  Most of them I just snipped and stuck in the dirt, but some, like the basil, I stuck in water until roots grew then transferred them to soil.

Thyme, Rosemary, Thyme
This little guy is Sage and it's a good thing I clipped him.  Soon after I did the mother plant I took it from died.  It was choked out and didn't get enough sun.   Since this photo was taken 4 new leaves have grown and I'm hopeful it will do great.

If all goes well I plan to also try jalapeño, lettuce, and cucumbers next.  I still have more fence space and I get lots of wonderful sunshine.  Besides,  cucumbers in a hanging basket just sounds like fun.  The hard part will be getting it enough water.  I have a few ideas on that though.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Number 60: Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery

Can I just take a moment to say ahhhhhhhh.  Breck and I last visited a state park in August.  August!  Way too long, but that is all behind us now.  This past weekend we put aside our chores and hit the road for Monument Hill and the Kreische Brewery just outside La Grange, TX.

It is a beautiful spot surrounded by tall oaks and St. Augustine grass.  Back in the day and even now it is used for picnics and gatherings.  The museum has some wonderful old black and white photos of parties held here.

The monument is actually a crypt where the 36 Texans that died in the Dawson Massacre in 1842 are buried.  It stands on the top of a sandstone bluff with the Colorado River slowing by below.

The view.  Stunning.  I took about 30 photos from this spot.

There is a trail from the monument that winds along the top of the bluff.

When we passed this tree/bush I stopped to smell the purple blooms.  I told Breck it was a familiar scent that I couldn't put my finger on but made me think of childhood.  He nailed it and new the smell right away.  It smelled exactly like a grape popsicle.  I should have asked the Ranger what it was.

Breck spotted this Texas Spiny Lizard on the wall along the bluff while I was still snapping shots of the river.  He was very patient waiting while I switched cameras, switched lenses, and in general got my act together.

He even gave me a re-pose.

The Kreische's house is here, well placed for the amazing views.

Heinrich Kreische immigrated from Germany in 1849 and bought 172 acres which included the monument.  He was a master stone mason and built the 3 story house and raised his 6 children there.

Who was he and why is this important to Texas history?  He established the first brewery in Texas.   The brewery is now in ruins, buy you can still get a good view and a walk through the museum will give you a good idea of how it all worked.  There is also a tour, but we were running late in the day and opted for a hike around the property.

One interesting fact is that when Mr. Kreische would complete a brew, he raised a banner for the town to let them know all were welcome to come for a beer.    Reminds me of a neighbor when I was a kid who would raise a flag when everyone was welcome to come swim in their pool.

The trails are beautiful beginning with a switch back down from the bluff.

Breck was sneaky and squeezed in a shot of me checking out a Cardinal in a tree along the way.  I had to include it because he told me when he took it that he hoped I would post it.  You can see that on this day I hauled my own backpack full of camera gear.

So many scenic views.

We have been seeing more butterflies around here lately.  Spring has sprung.

Red Admiral
And warmer weather brings out the snakes too.  Sorry I missed the head shot.  As it was I was lucky to spot this Garter Snake at all in the brush.  Such beautiful coloring.

And while you're looking, can you spot the critter in this shot?

How about when I zoom in?

That's an anole with a bug in his mouth.  Sorry for the blur, but you loose quality when you crop.

One last thing before I let you go.  Mr. Kreische as I said was a master mason.  When you go to the park and hike around keep your eyes open.  His handiwork  is everywhere.  Some like his house, the brewery, and this bridge are easy to spot.

But there are some along the way that will take a keen eye to see.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Adding Space for the Inhibitors

My 2 inhibitors have been settling in at the condo and transitioning from country life to city life.  They have adjusted to the sound of cars driving by in the parking lot, lawn crews and pool cleaners outside the window, and noises they can't predict or understand coming through the walls.  The one remaining problem for them was space.  Almost 3000 less square feet to roam and no screened porch to nap on or to bird, squirrel, deer, rabbit, and bobcat watch from.  After weeks of leaving the sliding door open to the patio and watching their behavior (no trying to jump over the fence) I have been able to give them some more space.  I ordered a pet door to install in a window that leads to the fenced patio.

Not sure why I didn't do this sooner.

 And with only 5 steps and no tools it was a lot easier than the other projects I've been tackling around here lately.

After opening the window, putting the pet door in and turning a few knobs (that is already 3 steps), I added the foam weather stripping and closed the window.

 I did purchase window locks to install on the rails, but no tools required here either.

Kracken wasn't sure how the whole thing worked, but had it figured out in the first hour.  He was highly motivated to be outside.

Rudy took a little lot longer to get the hang of it so in the beginning I tied the door open so he could get comfortable going in and out.

After a week he figured it out and now they both spend most of their time outside.  It's not the screened porch, but it's a good substitute.

And though we don't have deer and rabbits, we do have squirrels, dove, cardinals, sparrows, and mocking birds in the tree outside for them to watch.