Sigh of relief.

Hurricane Marco was a bust. It didn’t do anything here. And Laura, which is currently still ongoing, make landfall at a category 4, and 12+ hours later is still a category 1. But it did not even give Austin any rain.

We are lucky, the storm did not make landfall in Texas, it landed in Louisiana, so we did not get that much damage. But make no mistake, Louisiana has taken a hard hit. Laura is a powerful storm, but at this point it is still a bit early to know the entire extent of the damage.

The storm is heading its way up to Arkansas, then over to the Memphis area, across Kentucky, then out to the coast, and up the coast line. How this storm is managing this I do not know.

As for Austin, we are back to hot. The weather forecast includes high 90’s to low 100’s again. How long this heat wave will last is definitely up for debate. Next week is the start of September and the highs are still in the 90’s. At this point I’m not sure what normal temperatures would be. But we are just plain hot.

Shade cloth

In honor of all this heat, I decided to attempt using a shade cloth over part of the garden. Since the garden is so close to the back fence, the shade cloth is attached to the fence using bungee cords. The shade cloth has grommets around the edges, so I have grommets impaled onto the 6 foot tall bamboo sticks to help keep it over the garden. Not the most elegant solution, but one that works for the time being. Since I’m not sure how long I will keep the shade cloth up, and I need an easy way to take it down if needed, this works. I consider this part of the learning process of a garden.

Hopefully this works and my fall seeds will sprout and be happy.

We got rain!

Saturday morning we were lucky enough to actually get that much wanted cool front. With it we actually got rain. We got 1-1/2 inches of rain here at the house. Much needed rain. The other nice part of the rain, was we did cool off some. Not for long, but a couple days of just below 100 was much welcomed relief.

I’m sure the yard will be so much happier that we got some rain. We also have an unusual weather condition coming up. There are two storms headed our way, Laura and Marco. Marco, I think, is expected to make landfall today somewhere near New Orleans. Laura is expected to make landfall in a couple of days. What will happen with either remains to be seen, but rain is in the forecast, probably Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll keep you posted.

the dry spot

As I mentioned before, I had these two raised beds put into my yard for growing my veggies. Even though I haven’t had as much success this year as I had hoped, I’m keeping positive as I get to know my yard better.

But the reason for this image is to point out the consequences of my choice. This is not about good or bad choices, this is just about the learning process. When we purchased this house it had a front and back lawn with installed sprinkler heads. That’s the good news. The land was already graded to allow for water drainage. My beds don’t seem to impact the water drainage. BUT, the beds do impact the sprinkler heads. The sprinkler heads do not pop up high enough to water beyond the beds. The heads do pop up, but the water can’t quite clear the beds. Consequently I have the dry spot in front of the beds where the grass is dying.

And if you’re wondering why there is green grass on this side of the beds, its from the drip watering system inside the bed. It sprinkles just outside the bed too.

Now I don’t have a problem with this, I can water the area easily. That’s why I have a hose with a sprinkler head. Its actually on top of the piece of wood to keep it level. It kept falling over whenever I turned the water on, so I put it on a piece of wood to keep it more stable. It does work on my yard.

Eventually, maybe next year I will see about what to do about the sprinkler heads. I’m sure there must be a way to get them to pop up higher, even if I have to get new sprinkler heads that do that.

But the whole point here is, if you make a change, it may impact something else. Just be aware of that, even if you didn’t foresee it. Most things are fixable. My problem here, the dying grass area, is not the end of the world. Its fixable, and even a small fix as far as I’m concerned. But I personally will accept I have to fix this in order to keep my garden. Having my garden matters more to me that this drying grass spot.

But that’s just me.

Summer?

Somehow they seem to think we are in summer. Well, the calendar says we are, but the weather is still wonky. We’ve had some days with storms, yet warm weather.

This past week, we had high 80’s and some 90’s yet have gotten over an inch of rain. We’ve also had some issues this week with a dust storm from the Sahara that made its way to Texas. Its left us with a haze in the sky. Its hazy enough to even notice it looking down the street. Its possible to notice the dusty haze on even such a short distance. Yet we had some rain, probably 1/4 inch, today, and about a inch earlier in the week.

As for the garden, its very different from my last yard. My two beds are growing some things well. The raised beds with squash, cucumbers, and melons are growing well. Yet the peppers in the same beds are not. I’m trying to chalk it up to old seed. I’m not sure that’s true, but at least it sounds good. I say I’m not sure its true as some new seed didn’t sprout even.

But I am having some success. I’ve begun harvesting some zucchini and cucumbers. I have learning some interesting things. Next to the deck is a small protected area. This area does get some shade. What’s interesting is that a pot with zucchini in this area is doing poorly, whereas the same seed in the raised bed is already producing. I’ve moved that potted zucchini out by the raised bed. We’ll see if that helps. I do know that the peas are growing well in this protected area. So it may be this is a good spot for lettuce and some plants that need less heat.

I have had some additional problems to deal with. I recently came down with shingles. In my case it has shown up on my face, scalp, and neck. This means it’s rather hard for me to go out into the sun. Luckily I was put on medication to help, and within two weeks now have scabs, so I’m no longer contagious. But I will say scabs on the scalp are not comfortable. Having shingles on the scalp have made washing my hair, brushing my hair, and wearing my glasses extremely uncomfortable. The pain and fatigue of shingles is a very real problem. So having shingles has made it harder to work in my garden.

But I am still plugging along. I’m even starting to think about next years needs. I’m thinking that my front yard may needs some irises, maybe a peony, maybe something else. I’d like to get some color out in the front, but of course I do have problems with deer out front so that has to be taken into consideration. We’ll see.

Storms!

Texas weather has been strange to say the least. Its been warm, then hot. We’ve had temps in the 90’s, then all of the sudden it can change. The Austin area had some strange weather the other week, even an EF0 tornado touchdown in the outer areas of Austin. If you look up the Fujita scale, you actually have to hit winds of 65-85 mph to be classified as a tornado, and that puts you at EF0. At 86 mph you begin to hit EF1. Check out weather.com or another weather site for their information about tornadoes.

But last night we actually got rain. We got over 4 inches of rain. Its just after noon now, and the lightning is getting closer. The skies are dark and I’m betting we will get more rain. I’m not sure what time the rain stopped this morning, but it looks like the ground has had enough time to absorb the water, and the puddles are subsiding.

Last nights rain gauge as seen this morning.

Hopefully after the rain ends, and in a few days I will be able to put up some pictures of how the garden is doing.

With the heat I was able to put in some seeds that have been sprouting. Even though I have raised beds, the weather and temperatures here are different from our last home. We may be close by, not more than a few miles distance, there is a difference in the weather. And of course I don’t have a drip water system in yet. I’m working on that.

I’ll keep you posted. And yes, before anybody asks, the rain gauge is held on the metal post using wire and zip ties. Not the best, but eventually I’ll figure out where I want it then install it better. But not there yet.