Autumn in Austin

The fun thing about central Texas and its weather is how much it stays the same (hot) yet how much it can change. Today we’ve gone from pretty warm, to rain, humid and muggy, sun, to rain, back to now overcast and its still in the 80’s. So it may change (sun, overcast, rain), but still stay the same (hot). But that’s the weather in this part of Texas.

On the good note, that means though its hot, its not blazing hot, plants are doing better, and with the rain I won’t have to water the next day or so.

We are due for more rain over today, tonight, tomorrow on through possibly Monday. Being central Texas we may get more of what we have today – changing from sun to rain then back again. But it also means if you begin planting seed or plants, they will get a wonderful combination of sun and rain all in the same day. So expect that we will begin seeing plants outside showing new growth.

I know seed I have put in is actually coming up. Since I’m doing it in commercial raised beds I can only hope for the best and see what happens. This past week I put in new seed. Some of my previous seed didn’t sprout. Considering that some of the seed is 3-5 years old, I can’t complain. I’ve been overseeding in the hope some will sprout. And some has, but not all of it.

And I need to get seed in as mid November is often when the weather cools and we can get our first frost. Scary thought, as that is not that far away. But we’ll see when the weather cools enough to concern ourselves with a frost.

On a different note, as we have been settling into the new house I have found a weather station. Its boxed, has all the parts, and looks fairly new. So given some help I hope to actually get it set up, and somehow figure out how to put the information online. Don’t expect this done quickly, I’m still doing most things myself while being a caregiver to my spouse. So bear with me as things take me some time. But with luck, I can get a weather station up and running, and with more luck get it online.

Wish me luck.

Funny but true

How do you really know when the weather is cooling down? Well over here I can tell by the hot water. When we are hot and just stay hot, hot water comes out of the tap quickly, quickly enough for you to burn yourself if you’re not careful. We’ve gotten blasting hot water out of the tap first thing in the morning in well under 3 seconds. But as the weather cools down we actually have to wait a couple of seconds, not much more than 10-15 seconds if that, to get hot water. But that’s nice because it means the cold water can actually be at least cool instead of lukewarm. Fun notes about weather and how it affects various things in our lives.

This is all a nice way of saying we’re starting to slowly cool down. Our highs are down in the low 90’s instead of triple digits. And our evenings have even hit a low of 70, instead of upper 70’s. This is Austin’s way of saying we are working our way into Autumn.

Hopefully we’ll get a weather station set up here at the house and I’ll be able to get more accurate readings and data. Hopefully that can happen soon.

Happy Labor Day weekend

What is up with this crazy weather! we are still in the 90’s. Today will be a cool down to all of 91, that’s a cool down. But we won’t stay there long. Tomorrow, Labor Day we will be back up to 97, with 99 by the end of the week.

This is not helping my garden. Plants are drying up. Even those in the shade part of the day are not faring well. Though the peas are still coming up. The tomato plant is alive but not producing anything but one small cherry tomato.

And don’t forget about Hurricane Dorian hitting the Bahamas, and expected to just touch the outer edge of Florida. But the Bahamas, the northern parts are expected to take the brunt of the storm. As of this post, I’ve heard Dorian is a category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 180 mph. They are calling it the strongest hurricane in modern records.

And yet here in Texas its hot and dry. We’ve had occasional rain but not that much. More would be nice. Lots of areas are on burn bans, no burning of trash or things. Some cooler weather and rain would be nice right about now. How it shows up soon.

Strange rain

Yes, once again we have 90-100 degree weather, but yesterday we got it coupled with rain. A short, probably no more than 15 minutes, thunderstorm down pour. This is just the way Texas likes to do rain. Keep it hot, and let it pour. Who knows why Texas does it this way? I don’t.

When I check out weather radar, you might see little patches of rain. And during this time of the year, it may develop slowly or suddenly. One minute its nice and sunny, maybe a few puffy clouds, then 10 minutes later you realize its dark outside. Then of course, it begins to pour. It starts with a few fat drops going splat all over the place. Then those few drops get their friends together and that heavy droplet sprinkle becomes a down pour. Yesterday we even got it with lightning and thunder.

Today we still have some clouds, but at least they are still light in color. Once that changes, if they become dark, I’ll move us all inside and wait for the rain. Not sure if it will rain, but if the clouds are dark there’s a pretty good chance it will happen.

We’ll see how today’s weather progresses. The next few days are still supposed to hover around 100. So much for it cooling down. It has to cool down sometime, I’m just not sure when that will happen.

Its hot -still

Is this crazy Austin weather, or should we consider this the new norm? That is anybody’s guess. But we are still in a heat wave. Today, Sat. Aug 17, 2019 is set to be the 26th day this season with 100+ degree weather. Kind of warm, what can I say.

One nice thing about the design of this new house is that we have a patio that is only open to sun on one side. In our case that means that it is in shade all the time. I don’t know how that will be in the winter time, but right now that means you can sit outside and still be in shade all day. It also means we can give the dogs a place to stay outside in the shade all day long. Yes, we keep a large gravity feed water bottle outside for the dogs so they always have fresh water.

The other nice thing about this patio area is it has steps down to the grass. Not many steps, just a couple. But the landing area and steps area means we actually have a small area that gets shade in the afternoon. The only other areas that get any shade are close to the wood fencing on the sides. I’ve used this area next to the landing to place my felt planting pots. If you saw the previous post you would have seen the area I’m talking about.

This area gets just enough shade that the plants in the pots are actually coming up. My peas, beets, and lettuce have all sprouted. I have to keep them well watered, but so far they are still alive and growing. In this weather I consider that an accomplishment.

Hopefully the weather service will be correct and we will get some relief from this heat later this month. But who knows if that will happen, and how much heat relief we will get.

Its Texas, just wait and see.

And the new garden

The new garden is nothing like the old garden. The old garden was a very large back fenced yard with rock walled raised beds. The new yard, not even close. This is a small, fenced, regular sized lot. Its like a U around the house, with wood privacy fence on the sides, and metal fencing in the back.

The nice thing is the back butts up to a green belt area. My understanding is this area will not be built on, in part because its not all that wide nor deep. You can easily hear the neighbors on the other side of the greenbelt.

But what this design also means is the sides of the house, with the wood privacy fence do not get a lot of sunlight. There’s enough sun to grow grass, and as the area opens to the back yard there is a lot more sun. So in the back area, even along the side fence line there is enough sun to plant and probably grow quite a big. The back area with the metal fence has what wild animals we get back there. So far we have seen deer and some rabbits. Both potential veggie harvesters.

But that’s okay. I like being able to look at the deer and animals we get. We have does and fawns, though I have seen a buck elsewhere in the community.

But the yard is easily large enough for some plants and the dogs. Actually in many ways its a great size for the dogs. Its large enough for them to run in, but not so large its tough to catch them, provided the gates are closed.

A couple of weeks ago a friend came over and helped get plants into the ground. So the fruit trees and roses we brought with us now have permanent homes instead of just living in pots. Now not everything ended up in the ground. We still have quite a few large pots with plants in them.

Potted plants
Permanent in the ground plants

Even though we don’t have as much yard are as before its still possible to garden. Since I do have less room, and I expect we will have more work to do in the garden before long, I have decided to make use of fabric pots.

Fabric pots

Now if you are wondering what fabric pots are, they are just that. Instead of pots being made out of some sort of hard material – plastic, metal, ceramic, etc., these are like thick felt material. When not in use they fold flat, or at least pretty flat. They come in a variety of sizes. And, as you can see, they have handles on them so you can pick them up and move them around.

These are not very large pots, just five gallon. If you look online you can see their size, not large. These five were filled from left over potting mix from the in ground plantings. That’s also why they are not filled to the brim with dirt.

Where these are easy to use, and a good temporary solution they do have drawbacks. They are cloth (of some sort) so they can dry out easily. Also if you don’t have enough soil in them, they don’t stand up well. They will break down, and can tear (watch out for dog claws!). If you are growing something like carrots, beets, or potatoes (anything that grows below ground) you need to check how tall these stand so you get something deep enough. I wouldn’t want to grow potatoes in this small of a fabric pot, but a larger size might work.

So I’m trying them out to see how they do. I’ll keep you posted.

What a change!

We’ve been in our new place a couple of months now. Well, we’ve been in the house even though we took a two week vacation in between.

Now for how the new garden grows.

The new house had sod and a sprinkler system put in by the builder. Since the sprinkler system is on an automatic timer, we didn’t have to worry or think about watering. Or so we thought. We decided to put in a few plants in the back yard so we had to check out the watering system lines. In the process of doing that, we turned the watering system to manual and watered for 2 minutes a section. It was a learning experience.

Guess what! We have a water break we didn’t know about. If we hadn’t tested the system we wouldn’t know about this break. And its quite a break. But in the process we did manage to flag each sprinkler head. I took pictures of the where the flags are so I have a record of it should I need it later.

But at least we were able to put some of my old potted plants in the ground. We managed to get my meyer lemon tree, four roses, one peach, and a berry plant in. We also planted a plum, but I don’t remember what kind of plum it is. We do still have a couple of pots to get in. And since they’re in the ground they get watered by the sprinklers.

I was able to pick up a charcoal smoker grill. We put it up on the patio, which may not have been the best place. I use a chimney starter and I’ve found that it makes the patio very smoky. I’m thinking I may need to expand the patio and make an area I can put the grill. I’m using the grill nonetheless.

Some of the other plants we have are still in pots. Since they are herbs, tomatoes, sorrel, and a few other plants, I haven’t put them in the ground. I may want to build some sort of raised bed for vegetables. If I can get that done soon I can get a late season of veggies. We’ll see if I can get that done.

More weather

They’ve been saying we are due for days of rain. In our case, up where we live, we’ve had nothing but little bitty sprinkles.

At least until today.

Today we went from this small little bit of sprinkles, about 1/4″ in of rain for most of today. But than the storm came in. By storm we are now up to 3.6 inches. The line has been almost vertical. We are now down to a light sprinkle, but with probably more rain due. And probably due again tonight.

We are under definite flood warnings. I’m pretty sure we actually have some flooding in the area, even if we don’t know where. But I know at one point the storm was so bad my fur babies (dogs) were jumping into my lap, even though I had my laptop on my lap. But even now, I can hear the thunder rattling windows in the house. Just to be on the safe side I’ve even lit a candle, scented (good reason to light a candle) just in case we had the lights go out. This is a bad storm.

To put today’s rain in perspective, our rain weather station says we’ve gotten 3.9 inches of rain this week, so far. And up until last night we had 0.11 inches of rain. We’ve gotten the rest of it today.

But we’ve been lucky, no loss of power, not even any flicker of the lights. But the storm is not over. Looking at the radar we actually have a large swath of more storm on its way. It may make for a tough night of sleeping.

But the garden should be happy. Trees should be happy. And yes, even my squash plant (it has flowers) should be happy.

It might be a storm, but its rain.

We got rain

We got a day of rain, and we got 1.85 inches of rain. The plants are happy, everything is green, the grass is looking great – rain came in handy. The plants are so happy and growing, and loving their rain.

Now the bad news. We have more rain on its way next week. At this point the rain water storage tanks are full. So full that when I went to transfer water into them the water ended up flow out the top. And yet we have more rain on the way.

Right now the forecast says next Tuesday rain begins. Then it lasts for the 4-5 days following that. Of course, the chance is 50% for the entire time so who knows what we will get for rain.

We will wait and see what the weather brings.

Another week, another storm

Who knows what is going on with Texas weather. We have yet another storm due, tonight and probably tomorrow. The good news is by Thursday, today is Tuesday, the storm should be gone. But they’ve already issued flash flood warnings for the area. It does look like a strong storm line, and most of it will be north of us. It looks like Dallas and the Fort Worth area will get hit harder.

Our weather forecast says some of the thunder storms could be severe. But we’ll see what happens and who get that weather. We might, but then who knows.

On a different note, never be afraid of trying to grow from seed. I had put some seeds from an orange into a pot. Now you need to understand that this was not a grocery store orange. It was from a “home grown”, someone’s back yard orange tree. I put them in a pot on the patio probably last month. Well, I now have about 6 new small plants coming up. It looks like a lot of those little orange seeds have sprouted. It will be years before they produce, but nonetheless they have sprouted and I have seedlings. I will do my best to keep them alive and growing. I’ll keep you posted on how they are doing.