Friday, June 20, 2014

Projects in Progress

There was a week or more between painting most of the bathroom ceiling and edging it. Edging, you see, required climbing ladders. It should have meant opening all the cupboard doors to make sure that no cats got shut into the room with me, because climbing down to let out a yowling furry ping pong ball is perilous.  A white ceiling makes the  tan less obnoxious. And I mind the texturizing a little less. This will do until I can paint the walls.

The patio-to be beside the driveway has had all weeds pulled, and I've carefully raked sand so the patio will be higher near the house and lower  near the driveway. The instructions for paver patios say to buy leveling sand, but the ground here is sand, so I've forgone that step. I rake, allow rain to level that, and rake again before placing pavers. They are heavy-ish but possible to move one at a time.

Small stones from this area get moved to the dry creek in progress by the back patio. The rocks removed from the vegetable garden would line the sides so much better without landscape fabric. The dry creek runs diagonally, so landscape fabric must be laid in overlapping strips. At this point it looks as if I will run out of rocks long before I run out of trench, but the trench is keeping the back patio from being a  pond.

The garden has produced two tomatoes and one green pepper from purchased plants. The plants grown from seed are doing well. We managed to find homes for many of the extra tomato plants grown from seed. There are beans on the bean plants, figs on the fig tree, and lemons on the improved Meyer lemon. The carrots grow well for awhile and roll over and die. One squash plant died, and another appears to be ailing. All the radishes are fiery, despite oodles of water. There are okra plants. The supposed zucchini plants produce flowers but nothing else happens. This makes it sound as if progress has occurred. but it sure doesn't feel that way.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Outdoors at Tanglewood

 East Texas is sunny, bright, and soggy. I'm a bit daunted by  nearly 2 acres. I tried several online landscaping programs and determined that I should continue to do as I've always done: find out what the indigenous plants are, beg some, and buy some.

There was a brick flowerbox near the front door when we bought the house. My mother hated it. Research said we could deconstruct it ourselves, so that's what we did. Slowly, with hammer, cold chisel, and safety goggles. As it turns out, a medium screwdriver is more effective than the smallest cold chisel. The bricks were elderly,waterlogged, and more fragile than the mortar, but we'll be reusing them for part of the patio. They're already here, you see.

For starters, we'll fill in the former flower box with  recycled bricks.

The first lawn mowing of the season took place after I spent 2 weeks raking pine needles and branches from the 2 acres. I'm sure that some folks could have done it in a single day, but raking a little at a time kept my head from falling off when I sneeze. And it allowed me to build up my tolerance for pine mold and pollen. The local garbage pickup services advised us to bag needles and branches for removal, but I'd rather have them as mulch at the base of the trees. After all, Cox Arboretum buys Texas pine needles for its mulch.

My mother wants a large vegetable garden. The area she chose to have tilled must have been some sort of garden in a previous life, because the soil is so much darker and richer than anywhere else in the yard. The man doing the tilling announced that all he was doing was making mud, and that he'd have to come back to finish it. If that area ever dries out, I have a feeling that we'll be planting things as soon as we rake out the dead grass. 


Since the last post nearly 4 months ago I have battled with greenbrier 3 times. If you subtract the time I spent swollen, feverish and itching, my last post was only 2 months ago.In the past two months, we acquired a few things for the yard: a dwarf lemon tree, a fig tree, a crape myrtle, a few veggies. We've got radishes and lettuce sown in the window boxes, and shrublets dug from around trees replanted in cans. There are enough boxwood seedlings to start a  hedge.