Thursday, April 29, 2010

More From The Natural Gardner

Join me in the walk around The Natural Gardener Organic Gardening Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

I could never find the name of this flower.

Looks the same as the one above except in gold.

Lavender blooms.

Correct me if wrong, but think these are hollyhocks. I'm not exactly up on flower names but will soon get there. Remember, people, I'm new to gardening, but I happened to really, really like these two up against a rickety fence.

Blooming Spanish Dagger and aren't those blue pots wonderful?

Another pot arrangement. Pigs must be in this year for every where I looked a pig was used as decoration. :D

These flower decorations are neat and certainly add to a garden's charm.

These sunflowers, though, are my favorite. I may have to go back to pick some up.

Thought these hanging garden candles are cute. Now if I just had a few trees on which to hang, I'd be in business.

More cute pots.

Garden containers of all shapes and sizes. Right now I'm wishing I had an extra $2,000 lying around. I did not dare look at the prices. But aren't these great?!

This spineless cactus is huge.

This lovely garden pocket sits where it is the last thing you see before entering the parking lot.
Hope enjoyed the walk.
Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Natural Gardener

I stopped by The Natural Gardener the other day to pick up a few items and it is truly a wonderful garden center. The center has really been expanded since my last visit. Little oasises are every where.

I particularly liked this garden arrangement because it is something that would work in my yard. There is not a tree in sight. I'm not sure I would do the center with loosely stacked rock because that is a good place for rattlesnakes to den/nest up. I might have to come up with a variation of the idea or mortar the rock structure.

We built our house on top of a hill. The only trees in our yard are ones which we planted as it is not easy for a tree to work its roots through rock. We planted a pecan tree ten years ago and it is shorter today than when we bought it. Each year I've trimmed a little more off the top because it died. It has probably produced about 30 pecans, total, the entire 10 years. But I keep hoping that one year it will take off.

Here is another garden area that is very attractive to me because, again, I can see it working with what I have to work with. :D

I love this picnic area under the cedar trees.

Isn't the old, rope swing charming?

And, isn't this cute?

I have a place for a gate like this. We have plenty of cedar around to build it. It looks easy but decided to take a photo for reference when I start the gate project.

There are brightly painted sheds tucked here and there throughout the garden center.

Gardening in the Central Texas area is very challenging. Not only is rock under about 8-12 inches of soil but the soil also requires a lot of amending. I gave up on gardening several years ago because of the dogs and, frankly, it is really hard work in this area. But, with the recent interest in growing veggies, I'm beginning to think of doing something with the yard. Now if I could only get Maggie to dig where I want her to dig instead of where she wants to do so, it would make a flower garden project much, much easier. :D I have visions of Maggie tearing up the flowers and digging her mortar-size holes in the paths; however, I'll deal with that later if it happens.

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Square Foot Gardening

I visited The Natural Gardener in Austin, Texas to pick up a few items as well as get some ideas. I've read and seen photos of square foot gardening which is a wonderful idea for people short on gardening space, for new gardeners, or for anyone who wants to section off a small area for any reason. I read where one lady did a 4 x 4 square foot garden filled with lettuce for her chickens to munch on during the winter months.

This appears to be a small, 4'x4' chicken coop that was converted into a garden.

As you look closely, you will see pattern of green strips set at 1 foot intervals with different plants in the center of the square. Anything will do for making the pattern - string, twine, wire, ribbon. Pretty neat, isn't it?

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Garden Fence

At long last the garden is fenced! Since we kept running into rock when we tried to set some t-posts, we had someone come out to drill the holes at which time I decided that I might as well make the garden like one and a half times bigger than originally planned. We had 4 fence posts left over from a previous project. We also had some used landscape timbers stacked in a pile just in case we needed them again. And, we did - 20 years later for the garden fence. :D

If you look close, you'll see the thistles that were the subject of yesterday's Straight Out of the Camera Sunday photos. I ran over them with the riding mower shortly after those pictures were taken.

The 4' and the 6' gates are hung. We wired one side of a 10 1/2' fence panel instead of stapling it to a fence post so we can swing it out in case we need to get a dump truck loaded with compost, a chicken coop, etc., into the garden.

Hubby with helper, Luc, preparing to plant some corn. Hubby has 6 rows for corn and I get the rest of the garden for something else. (The rainwater collection tanks are in the background.)

I'm resting today. Lugging/dragging around 20' fence panels, wiring up to a post, then stapling to the post is hard work. I'm on top of this hammering business -- I drill the holes slightly smaller first then hammer in the staples. After the planting, next up is some kind of drip watering system.

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Straight Out Of The Camera Sunday

It is Murrieta's 365 Straight Out of the Camera Sunday time again. Two rules: 1) photo must have been taken by you, and 2) no tweaking. Cropping is allowed.


Thistle bud (?), otherwise prior to all the pink stuff

For more SOOC Sunday photos, go here.

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Day To Remember

Whew! Last week I got a computer virus that switched me to a software company that sells spyware. If you choose to not use their program, it leaves a virus on your computer. Every time I tried to go to my spyware company, PC Tools and/or Spyware Doctor, a message would appear that the server could not be found or the web page could not display. Microsoft has a telephone message that there has been an increase in fraudulent spyware programs that take over your computer and then leaves a virus like described above. Also, no downloads from any type of spyware could be obtained. Finally I was able to get into Spyware Doctor thorough the safe/networking mode. However, that did not take care of the problem.

After many hours of my trying this and that I was able to get into Microsoft and a chat. It took fours hours today to get rid of the virus files. I was on the computer for about 3 hours when the tech guy decided he should call me because I had to restart the computer and I would lose him.
Still I had to go into the safe/networking mode to get to an online scanner which ultimately found the virus and deleted it, I think. I can get into the Spyware Doctor site as well as the Ad Aware site and the online scanner site,; all of which was not available to me until the last online scanner.

Thought I'd pass along the above information should you find yourselves in a similiar situation.

One last word of distress: A pox on those programmers and software companies that use malicious means to mess up your computer.

Until next time, God bless you, my readers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Straight Out Of The Camera Sunday

The SOOC Sunday meme starts at Murietta 365. There are only two rules: 1) photo must have been taken by you, and 2) no tweaking. Cropping is allowed.

Tiny white flowers on thyme.

Don't forget to go here for more photos.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Farming, Errrr Gardening

Last year when I started gardening, I used transplants from a nursery; however, this year I'm doing seeds. It is pretty exciting to see the seeds come up. These were planted about 10 days ago and all have come up except the row of green peppers. Apparently green pepper seeds take 14 to 21 days to germinated.

Snow peas on on the left, green beans are across the back, blackeyed peas are on the right, and squash is the second row from the left. The blank row is green peppers, I hope.

The tomatoes are transplants but African marigold seeds were planted near the tomatoes 7 days ago. When I look close, I see little stems trying to straighten up.

Cucumbers are coming up on all three of the recycled molasses tubs.

These are t-posts. We couldn't get even one post in after several days of pounding because we kept running into rock/calachie. We used the wrecking bar to break up rock but even that did not workout. After a couple of days we decided we were too old to kill ourselves getting the posts into the ground.

Soooo.........we had a man come out with an auger to drill post holes. The posts are kattywhampus right now but will be straight when the holes are filled with ready-mix cement, water poured into the hole, the cement hardens, and viole', the posts will be ready for attaching wire panels. Still quite a bit of work to do, but much less than if we pounded in 13-14 t-posts!

Since we did not have to do the fence posts ourselves, the garden went from 20' x 40' to about 70' by 40'. I figured if we were paying to get the posts done, we might as well get a really big garden. There is plenty of room to expand next year without worrying about moving fence.

In addition, I'm thinking about getting some chickens. I've been looking into what is called a mobile chicken tractor, i.e., the coop and run can be moved around. It is re-enforced with what is called a wire hardcloth to protect the chickens from predators. I plan to free range the chickens and hope like crazy the chickens do not fly inside the yard fence with the dogs. I don't think the chickens will fare well if one meets up with Luc or Maggie. I'll probably keep the chickens in the run until the dogs have done their walk and then free range them. We'll work out the best way to keep the chickens safe and still allow the dogs the freedom to which they've become accustomed.

Fresh eggs, fresh eggs; anyone want some fresh eggs? lol Life is good!

Until next time, God bless.

Skywatch Friday

Skies over Central Texas have looked like this for 5 days and have produce all of 1/2 inch of rain. I enjoy the overcast and mist though because I know that soon there will be nothing but sun, sun, and more sun. We were in a drought for close to 18-19 months until September of 2009 so you can understand why I am enjoying these misty days; however, there is work to be done in the big garden which is on the wait list until the weather clears.

For more skies from around the world, go here.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day and So Forth

Today is April 15, tax day. Tea Party protests are going on all over the country which is a good thing. However, I am presenting a more uplifting gathering which happened this past weekend: Founder's Day. Pioneers came to this area around 1853, early 1854. Here is part 1 of a 6-part series on one of Dripping Springs' founding citizens, The Dr. Pound Farmstead.

Founder's Day starts off with a parade on Friday nights, which I must admit I've never attended. Booths of every conceivable stripe line the streets on and off Mercer Street, Drippin's main drag. There is a carnival, a 5 K run benefiting the schools, cook off contests, washer pitching competition, bands, a Saturday night dance, talent show, and a chicken clucking contest (not sure what that is) -- just a small, country town, old-fashioned festival.

Twelve area churches came together for a combined Sunday worship service. It was held in the old Post Office parking lot. The fact that it was overcast, misty and cool did not damped the service. In fact, the cool weather was more preferable to my way of thinking than a hot sun beating down.

These sheared alpacas were on display. Don't you just love the sweet smiles?

As you can see, booths lined the street. What you cannot see is that the street curves to the left and booths were all the way to Highway 290 and about 2 blocks of booths were behind me. I picked up a jar of some homemade apple butter.

Love cactus.

The Big Drip ice cream stand was there and she sells hot dogs too. Actually, I own the little building behind this stand. It was built in 1940.

I love this old feed store. Don't know how old the building is but my family started coming to Dripping Springs from Houston in 1967 and this feed store looked old then.

Lone Star Gifts is housed in the oldest standing building in Drippin'. I think it was built sometime during the 1890's or early 1900's.

Here is another old building that I think is really neat. Most of the old buildings have rock walls about 12" thick which keeps the inside very cool during the hot summers. By the same token, the walls are equally cool during the winter and you almost freeze your rear end off until some heat is generated. Our winters are short though and cool during the summer is much more important than a little discomfort in cold weather.

I love the fact our little town still has its country feel even though it has become a hot spot to live for the Austin or San Antonio commuters. I have the old "close the gate after I arrive" attitude. :D

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I've Been Tagged

Judy at Through Squirrel Eyes tagged me. You are to post the 10th photo in your first Picasa album with a note explaining the photo.

This Nikon Coolpix photo was taken in June, 2005 when Luc was about 6 or 7 weeks old. I did a blog entry entitled "Man's Best Friend" relating my adventures and misadventures with Luc. At this young age he showed a propensity to steal things and prance around in front of me showing off. He still does at 5 years of age. He is a Marley clone.

In addition to posting your 10th photo, you are to tag 5 people. The list is below, but if you do not want to play, that is just fine. No pressure. :D To see more tagged blogs, go here.

The Tagged List:

The Butterfly Gardner

Daisy Soap Girl
Made in Heaven
Organized Chaos
Caramel Macchiato
Blahwg! Life On, And Off, The Farm

Well, I can't count because 7 are tagged rather than 5.

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Help! We are under attack!

Two years ago we had a cardinal from hell attack our windows. He started an hour after daylight and would attack all windows around the house until late afternoon. This went on for months. Last year either he did not return or decided the windows were no threat. This morning a scissortail decided he/she did not like my windows. We have a reflective film over the windows to repel or minimize the sun which gives a mirror reflection. I may have to purchase a cheap mirror or two to hang in the trees which I hope will attract the birds away from the windows. lol

For more Straight Out of the Camera Sunday photos, click here.

Until next time, God bless.