Tag Archives: Central Texas

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!

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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.

                                                                                                                                                                                             

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!

Country Living and Sandhill Cranes

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Country Living and Sandhill Cranes

We have had some beautiful days here in Central Texas this week, many of them unseasonably warm.   Most of them I had to spend inside a classroom attempting to teach young people the ins and outs of the English language and preparing them for state testing which is coming up in about a month.  Thursday evening, my husband and I made it outside to sit at our outdoor table just in time to witness the most incredible sight.  Three flocks of Sandhill Cranes flew right over us!   These are BIG birds!  Their wingspan is between 5 and 7 feet, and they weigh between 4 and 4.5 pounds.  They soar through the sky, much like hawks and eagles.  They flap, flap, flap and then soar, beautiful sight and makes one want to join them and try out flying.  It’s no wonder someone wanted to invent a “flying machine”!  These birds migrate south during the winter months, and Texas is south for them, so we have them here around us every winter.  They like to land in fields and scavenge for insects and grains.  Of course, farmers don’t like the birds if they have already planted something, but most of the fields are “resting” at the moment.

Sandhill Cranes are the oldest known bird species still surviving.  They are large with long necks and a gray body.  The sound they make is what immediately catches a person’s attention.  As soon as we had sat down, we heard this racket.  It was a loud, rattling sound coming from the sky–difficult to describe.  Heavy on the rattling, the sound went kar-r-r-o-o-o or something like that.  We heard them first.  Then, we looked up and there they were.  Then, another flock and then another!   Living in the country is the best!

Country Living, Fog and Gardening!

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                                                                                                  Tuesday morning as I headed to school from our house in the country, I saw the most beautiful fog I think I’ve ever seen.  I had my little camera with me, but the photos I got really don’t do it justice.  As my husband said,  “The hills looked like islands, floating on a sea of fog.” Driving ten miles in to the school where I teach isn’t any fun in fog, but it really wasn’t too bad.  How and why did I get to be so lucky to see such beautiful sights every day?!

If you live in the country, your mind should be turning toward gardening and planting because spring will soon be upon us.  My cousin has already tilled the soil in preparation for his spring vegetable garden.  We will garden in a small way, but we are still eating yellow and zucchini squash out of our freezer that I put up last summer, as well as okra.  All vegetables taste so much better fresh from the garden!

Daughter Stephanie gave me an herb garden for Christmas, but I haven’t gotten it planted yet.  This will be my very first herb garden, so I’ll keep you informed as to all I learn about herb gardening.

Then, we also have to get some flower and shrub gardens going.  This past week we got some flower beds trimmed out with large pieces of stone.  Some of the stones weighed about 100 pounds each.  Good thing we had some strong men to lift those rocks!  Now, to get dirt in the beds and plants in the dirt.  So, so ready for spring!

We will also head over to Womack’s nursery, near Comanche, Texas, and purchase some more fruit trees with Grant’s Christmas gift certificate.  We are thinking of trying some apple trees.  Has anyone ever grown apples here in Central Texas?  Last winter we planted pecan, plum, pear, peach, and apricot trees, as well as antique blackberry vines and spineless blackberry vines.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the fruit we’ll have one day!  Maybe the  grand-kids will be old enough to pick by the time the trees make fruit!