Rain & Green Thumbs

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I’ve been neglecting my blog because I am caught up in the web of One Act Play at the high school.  I’m the director, and that position takes the time of a football coach, but the extra money for all the hours is not there, of course.  I accepted long ago that the great state of Texas values football more than just about anything!  I like it too, so I do what I do because I love theatre.

Today, on the mountain, it is raining, a heavy but slow, soaking rain.  After last year’s drought in Texas, we are more appreciative of any rain.  I suspect that this rain will make the Texas Bluebonnets, the state flower, come on strong, and we will have some great bluebonnet photos to show you in about a month.  Today, water is running away from the house and into the tanks.  We are praising God!

I was hoping that one could inherit a green thumb, but I don’t think I got my mother’s.  She could make anything grow, and it would be the biggest, most beautiful plant you’ve ever seen.  Did I mention her ivy plants?  She got two little ivy plants from someone.  In a blink, they were climbing up peat posts inserted into the flower-pots, and soon they were about 5 feet tall.  We named them “Beowulf” and “Grendel”, names from the famous Anglo-Saxon poem.

My little tomato plants look rather pathetic.  Someone commented on my blog that I should move them to a south window asap!  I’m directionally challenged!  When I was a kid, Daddy would make us all ride horses when he wanted to round-up the cattle or sheep or goats.  He would tell each person which direction to go and where to bring the animals back to.  He would often say something like, “Patsy, ride to the south fence and push everything toward the north corner.”  He soon learned I had NO idea which fence was the south fence or where the north corner was.  I would usually run into my brother or one of the hands because I was lost.  I was useless.  I always wondered why he kept me riding, but perhaps, he was a teacher at heart, and he didn’t want to give up trying to teach me.

I digress.  I put the tomato plants in the kitchen window, thinking they were in a south window.  Nope, that’s a west window!  My son came over and said,  “Mom!  get your plants to a south window!”  Bingo!  It dawned on me.  Now, they are in a south window, but they are still spindly.  They have turned a darker green, and the stems have turned a reddish color.  I don’t have a grow-light, and we’ve had very little sunshine this week, and I’m not home during the day to move them around.  Perhaps I should invest in a grow light.

Those plants above are the seedlings from the seeds I planted 3 weeks ago tomorrow, Sunday.  They are finally making the “real” tomato leaves.  What do you tomato experts think?

Below are my new seedlings my son and I planted a week ago tomorrow.  He gave me some of his seeds from his “League of Nations” garden.  They just sprouted this week.  It should be fun to see how these “different” tomato plants fare here at the Mountain Pasture.  You can check out tomato seeds with “stories” behind them and tomato seeds that do well in foreign countries at the tomato man’s website:  http://tomatofest.com/

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Sunday Dinner—in the Past

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Sunday dinner was usually the same menu at our house because it “worked” for Mama.  She put the beef roast, beef raised by my father, in the oven around 9:00.  We went to Sunday School at 10:00 and got home from church around 12 noon; therefore, the roast was perfectly done about the time we got home.  The funny stories about the roast involve the Sundays on which Mother would suddenly get a funny look on her face during the sermon.  Then, she would jump up and leave or whisper in Daddy’s ear, and he would jump up and leave.  Usually it was because she forgot to turn the roast down or she left the potatoes boiling.  We always had the burned roast (we all loved it that way and do to this day), mashed potatoes which were sometimes very gluey because they had set in the boiling water the two hours that we were at church, green beans ( fresh in the spring time and straight from a jar that my mother had canned the rest of the year), homemade rolls, either a chocolate cream pie or a cocoanut cream pie or both, and strong, sweet, sweet tea, which the grandkids later labeled “MeMaw’s Sweet Tea”.  Talk about good memories.  We all sat down at the same table at the same time and enjoyed our meal and had family discussions, often about something the preacher had said.  Then, the kids washed the dishes (we had no dishwasher),  and Mother and Daddy read the newspapers from cover to cover.

It was long after I was an adult that I realized that not all people prefer burned beef.  We had it that way so often that we thought that was normal, and well-done or even burned became our preference.   I was also grown before I realized that not everyone got up and went to Sunday School and Church every Sunday.

Psalm 118:24   “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Art by Students

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If you haven’t visited the http://www.rscoyotepride.wordpress.com student blog that my junior English students are creating, you really should visit the site and view the latest entry that includes photos of some of their art work which is hanging in the cafetorium.  Our tiny school of  around 110 students does amazing work, AND the school board paid of the school debt at Thursday night’s board meeting.  The new cafetorium is now paid off and belongs to us.  That’s a big “hurrah” to the board members, the superintendent, and the teachers and staff who have all made cuts and taken on multiple jobs and responsibilities in order to become debt free.  Watch out, Dave Ramsey!  We’ve got this!

Summer in the Winter

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Yum, yum!  Can’t wait for supper tonight!  How nice it is to have electricity and a freezer and be able to preserve those yellow, summer squash from the garden.  I just got some out to thaw for supper tonight.  The package states the amount, but actually I have used out of this package before, so if that doesn’t look like 2 1/2 cups, it’s probably not!  These will simmer for a while with salt, pepper and butter and will taste nearly as delicious as when they were first picked from Grant’s garden last July.

It’s time to get your seedlings started and begin tilling your garden space if you live in Central Texas.  My father-in-law, who lives down in the Texas Valley, reports that he already has some nice-sized tomato plants that he is anxious to set out.  He, too, must worry about a freeze, but I’m guessing our freeze here in the Central part of the state will come much later than his freeze.  I was out and about this morning in the country, and I can hardly believe how green the landscape is.  The winter grasses and weeds seemed to have turned green overnight, but we are expecting temperature in the low to mid twenties tonight, so don’t put those plants out yet!

Moon Over Mountain Pasture

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Okay, I’m always writing about how lucky I am to see such beautiful sunrises here at the Mountain Pasture in Central Texas, but this morning I saw a totally different incredible sight.  As I looked out the bedroom window just before I left for work, I noticed that there was no impending sunrise, but there was fog hanging low.  I thought, “Darn, there won’t be any cool sunrises to see this morning.”   I got in the car and started down the mountain, and just as I passed the first little tank of water, I realized what I had just seen, so I hit the brake and began backing the car.  Sure enough, there was this beautiful reflection of the nearly-full moon in the small earthen tank of water.  I put my car window down and grabbed my tiny, little camera and snapped three shots before heading on in to school.  Usually the moon blurs with my little camera, but I thought these photos turned our fairly well.  Of course, you can also see how Central Texas looks in the dead of winter……..brown and gray!  The winter grasses have turned green since the recent rains, and a few weeds are peeking out green, so before we know it, the heart of Texas will put on her Easter bonnet of every color in the rainbow, but for now, here’s the amazing moon of this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                             

Steel Magnolias

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My husband and I took my high school cast for Steel Magnolias to San Antonio, Texas, to see a college production of  the show.  It was a good trip, but my girls are well on their way to a fine production of their own!  Can’t wait to perform it for the public in March, probably March 18th, a Sunday afternoon.  We are still looking for a few items such as a wig for Clairee and a small area rug, but we are making progress.

Tree Planting Time!

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If you’re in Central Texas, it’s time to plant new trees!  My hubby traveled over to Womack’s nursery near Comanche, Texas, today and brought back some oak trees, pecan trees, and apple trees.  Thanks to Mama and Father Hall for a nice gift certificate!   Below you see the oak trees going into the ground up on top of the mountain.  The apple and pecan trees will go in the ground at the bottom of the hill, or at least, I’m assuming they will, but I don’t really know because I’ve been off all day thrift store shopping for the school play.

These are bare root trees, so they are easy to handle and transport.  Last year, Hubby planted 14 bare root fruit and pecan trees, and they all survived even during the severe Texas drought, so we are sold!

Have You Planted Your Seeds?!

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First of all, my last blog post was intended for the student blog that my junior English class is writing at school.  Cheyenne and Brooklyn wrote the piece, and somehow, their dingbat teacher posted it on her personal blog, instead of their blog!  Oh well, it’s so good that I decided to leave it!

If you live in Central Texas, it’s time to get your seeds planted so that you will have plants to transfer to your garden after the last frost.  You still have time to grow plants from seeds.  I took the lazy man’s way out for a few plants and bought one of those nifty little containers at Wal-Mart that come with “dirt” that expands/grows when you add the water!  What will they think of next?  Absolutely anyone can handle planting seeds with these containers.

I started with two kinds of tomato seeds, Cherry and Beefsteak, but I plan to try some different varieties when my son brings some of his seeds to share with me.  He has ordered a variety of different seeds that are grown in different countries around the world.  He’ll call his garden “The League of Nations”.  Our garden doesn’t have a name yet, other than, “Grant’s Garden”.  That’s because he actually does all of the work.

I must admit though that I felt like a first grader watching the container every day to see if my seeds had sprouted.  It took 4 days!  Sooo exciting.

  This is the fancy/smancy container!  Plastic, no less.  

That second photo is when I just had to take the lid off to “see” for myself what was going on in there!   I planted 3 seeds to each little “pod” of soil.

  Sure enough, they were sprouting!                   

…and on the 5th day, they looked like this:

  Yea, Buddy, is this cool or what?  See those water droplets on the end of that sprout?!  Way cool!

  Our future tomato garden!!

Oh yeah, there were no sunrise photos this morning because the sky was full of beautiful clouds which looked as if they were going to dump a truck load of rain on us, but they fizzled out as the day progressed.  Hoping for some rain tonight!

Coyotes for Christ

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COYOTES FOR CHRIST
Coyotes for Christ is a youth group started in the spring of 2011 by Michael and Amanda Brand. Michael is a coach here at Richland Springs, and Amanda is the 6th and 7th grade Reading and English teacher. They started Coyotes for Christ because none of the local churches had any youth groups, and they felt that the youth in our community needed to be more involved with the word of Christ. Coyotes for Christ is held on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm in the Band Hall at Richland Springs School. Everyone in grades 6th-12th are welcome to join in on the games, food, fun, and worship. Coyotes for Christ is a great way to learn the word of God with your friends. Local churches support Coyotes for Christ by providing food and necessities needed for the service. Michael and Amanda have made such an outstanding difference in our school and community and we are blessed to have them here.
Be sure to check out Coyotes for Christ Facebook page by adding Michael N Amanda Brand! Coach and Mrs. Brand would like to remind everyone that Coyotes for Christ will not meet this Sunday February 5, 2012, or during Spring Break.
Thanks!
Cheyenne and Brooklyn