Shelter in place

One interesting option while doing shelter in place is the chance to do all those things you just didn’t have time for. Maybe work in the garden, maybe organize your clothes or cupboards, hem those pants, etc. You can even spend the time learning new skills, cooking, yoga, exercises, whatever. All those videos you’ve marked and wanted to watch, well now you have the time.

For me, its been walking the dogs, every day. Since they are two small dogs, one is 11 lbs and one is 9 lbs, I don’t have to do long walks, but a couple of walks a day are good exercise for both me and the dogs.

Since DH is in the hospital (he fell) it falls to me to walk the dogs every day. Its definitely bonding time with the dogs. But I am getting worried about having enough dog treats, strange things we worry about.

But on to the garden, the weather here in Austin has been warm, then cool and light rain. We have a nice light rain here today.

We did get the outside deck finished, so now I can figure out what I want to do for raised beds. Since I’ve been using various types of pots, and they do well, I would like to start considering some raised beds. I didn’t want to put in raised beds until I had actually gotten the deck finished. I wanted to know how much room the deck would actually take. And of course I know where the steps will now lead.

Even though you may have a plan in mind, sometimes its best to wait until you really see what you have. Sometimes measurements don’t do justice to reality. I’m not looking at making the raised beds using some of the corners you buy, than just add wood. The advantage of those is the size of the bed depends on the wood cuts. It makes it easier to get a more custom sized bed instead of buying a precut/premade system.

Once I decide on where the raised beds are going, then I can see about where I need or want to put a watering system. I will need to put in a drip water system once the raised beds get in.

Our weather has been cool for Austin, others would probably cal it warm. Today we’re at 73, with 77 for tomorrow. This is good weather to get seeds in. I’m planning on getting some squash/zucchini seeds in this week. We certainly have enough warmth to plant these seeds.

I have had some problems with a few seeds not sprouting, but since we had a couple of nights of cold weather, I replanted seeds for those plants that have not come up. I’m starting to see some of them sprouting, so I’m hopeful.

Overall the garden looks good, I’ve been able to pick various peas, snow peas and shelling peas. I would prefer more plants, but I’m working with what I have.

I”ll let you know how the raised beds go.

Welcome to the new normal

Hopefully this will be a temporary new normal, but coronavirus AKA COVID-19, is upon us. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring for any of us. And tomorrow will be difficult for some, and horrible and horrifying for others.

But we have to remember there are other things still to deal with*. And that includes weather, and what to do. Since I’m a gardener, I will keep up my garden and checking on weather. Here in central Texas we have had another cold front. We’ve had rain and right now cooler weather.

But since many people are probably at home, now is a good time to work on your garden. Its going to help with your stress level, it gives you something to do with your time, you can even use it as a learning process for children, and in a couple of months you will have veggies.

So on to gardening. We’ve been having rain, so I’ve been using this time as work-in-the-garden time. Since we’ve had some strange weather, warm than much cooler, some of my seeds have not sprouted. So I’ve taken this as a chance to put in more seed. Mainly my tomatoes and peppers have not sprouted yet. But since we are well into the nice weather that is coming, ad no freeze at all likely, its really a good time to begin working on your garden here in central Texas. I’m sure other areas of the country are not even close to being able to sow seeds, but this region definitely is.

My parsley is growing well, I even have some strawberries ripe for picking. These are part of my permanent collection of plants. Parsley keeps coming back year after year, as do my strawberries. A while ago I did put some see in. And some of my seed has sprouted. My peas are growing, and there are even some peas ready for picking. My swiss chard, and spinach have just barely started sprouting. But my carrots and beets are looking okay.

Also, we were lucky enough to get our deck put in. Its not a large deck, only 12′ x 15′, and its made of synthetic material, not wood. It has a black metal railing and a set of stairs down to the grass. Its almost finished, I’m waiting for the gate to be installed. But I now have an easy to access area to put my herbs. I’m getting started with moving things up to the deck. So far I’ve moved my thyme, mint, oregano, and baby basil up to the deck. I call it baby basil since its just barely sprouted. It won’t be ready for picking for a while.

If you get Old Farmer’s Almanac growing guide emails, you’ll know what should be planted either under cover or in the ground in your area. There are other ways to know what needs to be planted when, but they are what I use mainly. I don’t personally like using the back of a seed packet as it tends to give you a long period, months, when something can be planted. I want to know when to plant something to give it the best chance of survival and produce veggies for me

So let’s get back into the garden, whether that means in the ground, in pots, or whatever you use. Happy gardening.

*I don’t say that flippantly. I am a caregiver so I know that those duties don’t stop just because of this virus. But I have to keep my spirits up. I have to keep looking toward tomorrow.

Hijacked

Unfortunately this website was hijacked and someone deleted all the information on it. With help, we have been able to restore information back to the website. There has been some loss of data, there is only so much I can do. But I don’t believe there has been too much loss.

But my apologies to anyone that was looking for specific information and can no longer find it. Such is life.

One bit of data that I know was lost was a posting about a cold front. I have that image and would like to post it here.

This is an image of a weather forecast from Feb 2020 showing a cold front. You can see that on Tuesday Feb 4, 2020 we were scheduled for a high of 81, with a drop down to 34 for that day. The following day we had a high of 40 with a low of 29. That qualifies as a cold front. To give you an additional idea of what a cold front looks like, take a look at the following image.

This is actually taken from another residence we had. At that home we had a weather station that recorded this drop in temperature.

This is how quickly the temperature can drop when a cold front arrives.

This is what we had happen in a previous cold front. I have personally found cold fronts interesting.

Wish me luck as I attempt to repost any lost information I can find.

Gotta love Winter in Texas

True to Texas weather, we had a few nice days, then late yesterday the temperature just dropped. Today, at around 3pm we have made a high of 48. How does it manage to go from low 70’s yesterday to not even 50 today? Well, that’s Texas weather for you.

Late yesterday around 4pm the temperature began dropping. It had been warmish, nice, not hot, but then the cool weather came in. And now its just simply overcast and cold outside.

Now I realize if you are living in a snowy area, 48 might seem warm. But here in central Texas this rates as cold. Yes, we can get colder but its still cold for Texas. With luck tomorrow will be 10 degrees warmer, then the day after will be 10 degrees warm that than (or 20 degrees warmer than now). But that is the way it goes in Texas.

The funny thing is I gad received an email from Old Farmers Almanac saying it was time to begin planting seeds inside. Me being the gardener I am just put seeds in the pots outside. With this cool weather we will see what sprouts, or sprouts soon.

One change I have begun this year is since I don’t have formal beds for vegetables, I am planting in pots. I have purchased some of the 10 gallon plastic pots and some 15 gallon grow bags (the heavy felt type of bag). This year these are what I will be using. My thinking is this, I need a way to be able to move plants around as I get to know the sun and shade of my yard. I don’t want to put in any permanent growing beds until I better understand what is available in my yard. Also, I’m planning on getting a deck put in, and that will also change shade and possible heat spots in my yard. Pots for this year while I get to know my yard better.

One funny story- last week I decided to pull the strawberry plants out of a pot that had potatoes growing. I had potatoes and strawberries in the same pot. That’s not a good growing combination (you have to pull the potatoes out of the ground meaning you pull out the strawberry plants to do that, not so good for the strawberries). Well what I didn’t know was there was a fire ant nest in the pot. I put both hands (no gloves) in the pot to pull out the strawberry plants and ended up with about 20 or so ant bites. Unfortunately, I reacted to the ant bites and ended up on oral steroids in order to bring down the swelling. So the moral of the story – check your pots before sticking ungloved hands into them.

Strange weather

We’ve had some strange weather. Where I have written about the fact it has been warm, we have now begun having fog. The past few days we’ve had fog, some of it heavy and dense. Its also lasted long into the day, into late afternoon. Today the fog was heavy until around 4pm. It didn’t so much lighten up as it became a slow drizzle mist, heavier and drippier than fog.

This evening, by 7pm it is heavy enough that roofs are dripping, walkways are wet, not just damp. There are puddles outside on our stairs. But when you stand there it doesn’t seem like rain coming down, just more like heavy mist.

But I’m sure its good for the plants. We haven’t had rain in quite a while and can use the moisture. In that way I’m glad for the weather. One issue is that it isn’t particularly cold. That is nice in a way but not in others. You need something to keep you covered from the wet, but at the same time it can leave you too warm. If you don’t wear a jacket or something the wet and not quite warm gets cold. And with the wet, that cold-wet just saps the warmth from you.

Its strange, cool, not quite warm and wet. But if it were too much warmer weather would feel like a sauna, that would not be better. How much longer will we have this weather, I don’t know. The forecast says rain tomorrow and the day after. We shall see.

2020 Is here

Welcome to the new year. Its just begun, and it means we should be in winter, but here in Texas its warm. The weather station here at the house says we’ve hit 76 degrees. This is a warm winter. Really warm. Not good. And not much rain happening either. We haven’t had much, and there’s not much in the forecast. And what little we’ve had has been really more of trace amounts. Drought, yup.

Bad winter here in Texas. Warm and no rain.

On the other hand it has allowed some interesting things. Since its warm, not yet hot, and the nights are not that cold, I’ve spent some time transplanting plants I wouldn’t normally have touched yet. I’ve had an issue with some plants in pots where the pots are disintegrating. Through time, sun, wear, other issues (weed wackers are bad for pots), some of the pots are bad (cracks and holes) even though the plants in them are good and growing. So I’ve taken this nice weather opportunity to get a jump on transplanting. Since the next 2 weeks are all nice weather, I figure it will give the plants a change to grow roots even if we do eventually get some cold.

For example in the next ten days, the coldest night (only 1) is 34, but most are in the mid 40’s. About 3 nights are even going to be in the mid 50’s. This is not winter weather. The almanac (wunderground.com) says our norm daytime temperature should be around 61, with a nighttime low of 40. Not the 76 and 47 we are looking at. It is warm with no relief in sight. It might sound nice, but its just not.

And of course it means how and when should we actually start planting seeds? Will we get some cold weather? Its possible, but nobody seems to know. And with this warm weather it could mean any plants that are growing due to the warm would suffer freeze damage if we do suddenly get a cold snap.

But because it is so warm I might use it as a chance to replant some dead plants. Since the front yard was planted by the builder, some of the plants really were not the best to put in. About 5 plants have died, at least they are crispy at this point. Their twigs snap if bent, I’d said dead. So I’m thinking this might be a good opportunity to pull them and plant something else. Why not do my best to make good use of this weather. But I’ll do it with the possibility of cold still to come.

Such is gardening work in central Texas.

Bad winter

For some that heading may not make sense. How can it be a bad winter when its been so warm? Well, that’s the problem. Where we’ve had a couple of cold days or nights, overall its been a warm winter. Its so warm a lot of my cold weather plants have bolted, gone to seed. We’ve been in the 60’s to low 70’s for the past week. Few nights have gotten down below 40, with most in the mid 50’s.

That may sound like great weather, but for plants its not so good. Not good freezing days and nights to kill off bugs, warm enough to put flowers out, yet its still winter. And since it is still winter, we could still have a good cold. That means any plant that is setting flowers with the possible setting of fruit will take a hit and damage if/when we do get some good cold weather.

Its so warm when I was outside today there were bees out and about in the garden. That sound great, but again, what will happen when/if we get that good cold freeze.

And with this lovely weather we’ve been having, we haven’t had much of any rain.

Bad winter.

Cold!

Its 9:30 AM, Driftwood weather says 29 degrees with a wind chill of 17. Houses in the neighborhood have white spots in the corners (ice, frozen rain?). But the neighborhood roads are dry and I’ve seen cars out driving on them. Somehow we are supposed to get up to 46. We’ll see.

We warmed up to the mid 40’s, but with the breeze it was cold outside. In the sun it was warm enough for the boys (dogs) to spend time outside. One dog spent time in the sun, sitting out on the grass. But I don’t hold my breath for it to stay this nice. Tonight is supposed to be cold. Not sure what tomorrow will bring.

UPDATE: its about 9PM and we’re down to 28. It will be cold tonight!

Cold front is here

They’ve been warning about a cold front hitting the US. Here in Austin we are getting the cold front today. The weather forecasters have said here, Austin but closer to Driftwood, we are due to get down to 27 tonight and 25 tomorrow night.

This morning, around 10AM it was a balmy 70 degrees, with humidity. We left the house at 10:50 and it was 69, humid enough to wonder about rain. Since its been overcast rain is a definite possibility. By the time we finished our appointment, around 1:30, it was down to 55 and a fine mist/sprinkle outside. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and by the time we got home it was 45 and light rain (jacket suggested). Now at 5PM it is still 45, windy, and still light rain. They are calling for thunderstorms, and it definitely looks like that could happen. And we have a wind advisory for this evening.

Where the 45 I have listed is what I show here at our house (thank you Oregon Scientific and LaCrosse Technologies), the weather as listed on other websites show 37 right now. I believe it. My units sit on the back patio so they may read a bit warmer than if they were outside the patio. But that’s where I have them, so that’s where I get the temperature from.

The weather radar does show a wintry mix not far away from us, and that might make it here to us this evening. I expect it will. They are saying rain and freezing rain plus wind for tonight. Tomorrow we hopefully will hit the mid 40’s, then drop down to 25. We’ll see how it pans out, but it is a definite freeze hitting our area. I’ve covered what I can and pulled some plants inside the house. Let’s hope I’ve done what needs to be done.

Happy Halloween

and all that…

Well it was a cold night last night. And tonight is due to be cold again. Some weather people are saying its the coldest Halloween in 28 years. I believe it. We did hit a high of just over 50, but we are due to hit a low of freezing. Its just after 7pm and we are down to 46 already. Its cold out there.

I was good and covered the lemon tree, moved the succulents, and anything I thought might freeze close to the house. But its cold enough that some of my joints hurt, or better put my wrists ache. So do my hip joints and knees. Such is getting on with age. But better that than the alternative. I’d rather be alive than not. Even with the aches and pains. And I figure if its cold enough for me to ache, plants need to be cared for from the cold.

Well tonight is Halloween. We got our first kids around 6:45PM. I really expected to get some earlier, but no such luck. Its cold for the kids to be out so a lot of kids are well covered. And since we live in a neighborhood, we are getting kids. We probably still have too much candy, but who knows. DH is sitting by the front door handing out candy. We have the candy in a large bowl (my popcorn bowl) and we’ve been letting children just pick what they want. One bag was about 350 pieces so I’m thinking we have more candy than we will have kids. But who knows. This is a large neighborhood, we could have lots of kids come.

At any rate, tomorrow we should be up to low 60’s for our highs, though the lows will still be hovering around freezing. But by Monday we will be back into the 70’s with our lows back in the 60’s. How’s that for Texas weather.

But this is our first real cold. Will Cedar Fever follow?