Sow: move along mosquitos

Mosquitos love me to the point of leaving huge welts that last a long, long time. Big red marks that fade very, very slowly. They look ugly for a long time too.

It’s been a problem for me my whole life whenever I lived in a buggy place. When I was a little girl living in Indiana, our day camp had a sleep over for the and the next morning they had to call my mom to have her pick me up. Not only was I covered with bites, I also had a fever. The mosquitos had made me sick! And yes, like every other kid in the camp, I was doused with OFF before retiring to my sleeping bag. Didn’t work. Unfortunate, because I loved camping.

For whatever reason the mosquitos have always loved me. Maybe my blood is just tastier? Sweeter? Redder? Or maybe my skin is thinner and easier to bite?

Now that I live in the West Nile Virus capital of Texas (not really but you’d never know it from listening to the news about the West Nile epidemic we’re experiencing), I’ve taken matters into my own hands. The city threatens to aerial spray unless everyone does their part. So I do mine.

Remember, the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm is all organic so I can’t Napalm the backyard with any old chemicals. And the 3G Network spends a fair amount of time back there too. But I need it to work so I can enjoy digging in the dirt and sitting on the patio on a warm breezeless evening.

Here’s my answer:

cedarcide

 

Using a hand-held fertilizer spreader, I covered the entire backyard with CedarCide this morning before work as George chased Godiva around the yard, stopping only to shred a toy. It was the perfect day to do it since it was a bit breezy and that helps with the spreading (and keeps the little bastards from biting me since they can’t fly if there’s wind).

Last year I had terrific luck with CedarCide after learning about it at North Haven Gardens. It lasts quite a while, smells pretty nice, and it doesn’t bother the Gs (or their humans) one bit. After this application, I’ll probably need to apply again in a month or so depending upon how much rain and wind we get.

Standing water is a no-no if you are trying to prevent the mozzies so the birdbaths get dumped and refilled daily. All four rain barrels also get dosed with Mosquito Dunks once a month. Don’t they look like little donuts?

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Yes, they are chemicals, but apparently the more natural ways of treating the water do not work nearly as well.

As for the Gs, they get monthly heartworm prevention medicine. Guinness was heartworm positive when we found him and had to go through treatment twice to get rid of the disgusting, murderous heartworms. It was bad enough that it was super expensive, but it was horrible for him to fight through. No walks for months. Poor Godiva didn’t enjoy having her big pal so sick for so long.

Just thinking about mosquitos makes me feel itchy and I’m inside! They are definitely one part of outdoor life in North Texas that I could do without.

Do you have mosquitos or other nasty bugs where you live? What do you do about them?

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Sow: purple bean dreams

It’s only Thursday. I’ve wanted it to be Friday for three days now. Is that bad?

First of all, I’m not discontented, just really tired. Our lovely stormy weather, lots of physical labor, moving at work, moving stuff at home, dinner guests on Tuesday night, and a variety of other things have made me feel drained. Wiped. Exhausted. More so than I’ve been in a long time. Weird thing is many of my local friends are feeling the same way. Maybe it’s allergies too?

So last night, I went to bed at 9:15. I was done. And I knew bed was the only place I should be. I was asleep pretty much instantly and probably could have slept until 9:15 am or longer this morning. (Hence no post: too tired to form sentences.)

However, my eye’s on a prize that’s keeping me energized: the three day Memorial Day weekend, a three day work week next week, and a four day traveling weekend after that.

I’m giddy about the Memorial Day weekend for more than sleeping. While we have a number of house DIY projects that need to be worked on, three days off from work should give me plenty of time to play in the dirt and enjoy the bounty of the Urban Farm.

Tuesday evening, I saw these babies starting to form:

Purple beans!

Purple beans!

Aren’t they pretty? I love growing stuff I’ve never seen before. They look positively Dr. Seussian. Their flowers are also purple. And yes, the baby beans are very easy to find amongst the green leaves. Like the packet says, they seemed to be easy to grow.

Don’t worry, they turn green when you cook them—but wouldn’t purple beans be a cool thing to eat? Or a mixture of green ones with the purple? Maybe throw in some yellow tomatoes for fun. Or red peppers. You could have a purple veggie plate with eggplant, purple peppers, purple kale, purple cauliflower, purple potatoes, purple carrots, purple beans, and purple tomatoes, garnished with some purple basil. Who wants to come over for that dinner?

So much good stuff is happening — tons to harvest, tons to check. Heck, maybe I’ll even do a little bit tonight. After I ripped out the cilantro that was on its last legs, I picked up some beautiful basil that due to the crazy weather has not yet been planted. The basil I planted with the tomatoes has been dwarfed by the tomato-zillas and now with the bird net up, it’s also harder to get to for a handful. If this new basil grows like the stuff I planted last summer, it’s going to be amazing.

It’s been a scary weather week, but the plants appear to like the extremes. Everything that’s supposed to be green is vibrant. The young veggies seem to double in size every day. And the sun plus the humidity seems to make everything thrive (except for people, who complain about getting soaked when they go outside). It’s a hopeful time and it gives me a boost just thinking about what’s going on.

I leave you another beautiful thought:

Saw this beautiful image on Pinterest.  It is a typeface called Fruitcake designed by Jacqueline Wong

Saw this beautiful image on Pinterest.
It is a typeface called Fruitcake designed by Jacqueline Wong

So: a break + photos

So, you haven’t heard from me for a few days. Unfortunately life has a funny way of filling up all of my writing spaces when I skip a day. Or maybe subconsciously I wanted a May 2-4 weekend (aka Victoria Day weekend) last weekend instead of Memorial Day this coming weekend. Not sure, but all I know is sentences did not get strung together and very few photos got taken. But maybe this post will make up for it!

Friday night we went to the BARC (Build A Rescue Clinic) Gala for Mazie’s Mission, the awesome rescue organization that saved George. Since it was a 1970s party, Bruce and I put on our vintage best:

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100% authentic 1970s polyester, baby!

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many guys with real hairdos like Bruce’s chose to accessorize with big hair

The outfits were even more amazing than last year. Lots of tie-dye and polyester but also:

great shoes

great shoes (don’t worry, fishy isn’t real)

fun spinning disco ball centerpieces

fun spinning disco ball centerpieces

Mazie’s Mission needs $3 million to build their clinic. As I mentioned in last post, Mazie’s Mission was founded by veterinarian Dr. Erin Shults to bring a self-sustaining, focused approach to animal welfare with the purpose of eliminating unnecessary euthanasia. They provide medical care, expert forensic evidence and adoption assistance to shelters, rescue groups, first responders and other non-profit animal welfare groups. The ultimate goal of Mazie’s Mission will be to establish a world class hospital and lifetime sanctuary for the care of those animals that cannot find a home.

My photos aren’t great (lighting wasn’t ideal to shoot these photos), but they’ll give you an idea. And if you’re interested in learning more or making a donation, visit their website. Or ask me. I might be able to answer your question too.

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aerial view of the clinic grounds

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another view of the clinic buildings

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architect’s rendering of the buildings

It’s a great cause and one I’m definitely proud to support since George was a beneficiary of Mazie’s Mission and Dr. Schults’ skill as a veterinary surgeon. She is an amazing person and it would be fantastic to help her bring her vision into reality.

Speaking of George, he was a bit of a mess yesterday:

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poor Georgie hurt his toe! he’s wearing a human’s sock (mine) to keep from licking it.

Notice his “bandaged” right foot. We woke up to George licking his foot. Sometime between his final let out of the night and his first let out of the am, George was most likely bit by a bug. He licked his swollen toe until it was nice and red. Since it was Sunday, our vet clinic wasn’t open but luckily we have a good friend (hi Christine!) who is a vet tech. She helped us to figure out what we should do to make him more comfortable and also if we needed to go to the emergency clinic (no, thank goodness). Because we had a bunch of medications on hand (a benefit of having Guinness), we were able to get him somewhat fixed up and feeling better fast.

First, I soaked his foot in Epsom salts for 15 minutes. Then I applied some Tritop antibiotic cream, fed him a delicious Benedryl and Rimadyl (anti-inflamatory) wedge of Laughing Cow Lite cheese (the best pill hider for the Gs), and “bandaged” his foot with a sock (mine) and some paper painters’ tape (to keep sock on and prevent sock from getting wet from licks). There was no morning walk for poor George and he woefully waited at the big bay window for Godiva and Guinness to return. Even though he had no mobility issues, we thought it would be better for him to rest and relax (and he’s good at snoozing).

His foot got soaked 3 times yesterday (plus ointment application and a clean sock) and once so far today. His toe seems much less swollen and it is definitely not as red. I saw a bump that looks like an ant bite (itchy!) so maybe that was what happened. If it’s not better by tomorrow morning, our vet tech friend wants me to take him to the vet. They are planning the Mortroski Wing at the vet clinic, so why not, right? Seriously, he’ll be going if it’s not better tonight.

Other weekend highlights included braving the crowds at Costco on a Saturday (not recommended unless you pack your patience), cleaning the very dusty and dirty Mortroski Midcentury, continuing to put away the stuff relocated because of the flooring and trim installation, the usual assortment of household chores, and finally some cabinet installation that hit a speed bump (it has since been figured out so we can hopefully work on it more tonight):

getting the new dark wood cabinets in place -- they will have drawers so being light colored on the inside will help us see what's in there

getting the new cabinets in place

No time for harvesting except for the peas (tons of snow peas and a cupful of sweet English peas for Bruce) for Saturday night supper, a bit of spinach for Sunday morning’s omelette, some lettuce for Sunday lunch’s salmon burgers (nice to have a produce stand in the backyard), so I squeezed some in before work today. Other than a plethora of weeds, today’s haul was tons of rainbow chard, red romaine, lots of mixed lettuce of all types, baby carrots (the real ones not the shaved down large ones), radishes, and chioggia and Detroit red beets.

Check out my biggest chioggia beet to date:

beetzilla!

beetzilla!

Yes, I’ll be roasting beets when I get home tonight.

The tomato forrest was bird netted this morning. I was especially worried about the succulent little sweet 100s — they look like they’re potential bird candy. Found a bit of blossom rot on the Burpee Big Boys, but after some research they could be too wet or not have enough calcium to support themselves. I will pick up some calcium for them later this week and watch their water supply.

Other than that, it’s back to work. We moved floors on Friday so it’s been a bit chaotic in the office for the past few days and rather noisy today with drills, saws, etc. Kind of reminds me of home!

Sow: water

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One rain barrel is empty and the way things are going the next one will be empty soon. Good thing we have three viable rain barrels. It helps when we are only allowed to water two days per week (ok, you can water by hand more often).

Hopefully the rain storms will come to Dallas again before the weather heats up. It’s been a wet night here in Greensboro, NC where I am visiting our other office for a meeting tomorrow. I bet it will be beautifully green tomorrow morning. But no rain tomorrow night when I’m traveling back — the little commuter jets are too small for a good storm to be anything but scary. Hello barf bag!

Everything on the urban farm is doing amazingly well. I am looking forward to picking snow peas this weekend. And beets. And radishes. And of course plenty of lettuce, chard, and spinach. It should be a great photo!

Nerd that I am I read the latest issues of Urban Farm and Texas Gardener magazines on the plane this afternoon. Just haven’t had the time to catch up on my reading lately for some reason…

PS: If you haven’t watched this video, you really should. I promise it will be worth your time, whether you are a new graduate or graduation was ages ago:

Sow: Welcome to Mayvember

I’m amazed that I can actually type after this evening’s smooth edge and trim removal. Bang bang bang with the hammer on the crowbar. For a couple of hours. My wrists are still vibrating. The good news is that there is officially no more trim or smooth edge to be removed. Tomorrow morning when it’s light, I’ll re-vacuum the floor with the shop vac and then the regular vacuum in that back bedroom to get up any remaining 47-year old dust and grime.

Tomorrow night will be about moving furniture out of the lounge and our mattress on the floor will relocate to the living room. We just need to make sure everything is ready for the bamboo dudes. Saturday everyone—Bruce, the Gs, me—will be outside. Except for the bamboo dudes.

I’ll be weeding the award-winning front yard because I’m a little embarrassed by the quantity and quality of extra plants in the beds. Maybe there will also be time to lie in the sun and take a nap or read a couple of magazines. It would be nice to relax a little bit and enjoy the patio.

That is, IF IT GETS WARM EVER AGAIN. Our crazy North Texas weather has sent the temperatures plummeting. Right now it’s 43°F (that’s 6°C), there’s a 40% chance of rain, big gusts of wind, and the temperature will drop to 40*F.

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Welcome to Mayvember                    (Image courtesy of WeatherBug)

The local news has dubbed this storm Mayvember (get it: May + November) because it is just like our late fall weather tonight. I’m a little worried about the Urban Farm, mostly because I saw three good sized baby tomatoes that weren’t there yesterday along with the bounty of blossoms. The plants are almost as tall as the tomatoes cages. They are beautiful and look like the harvest could be awesome.

We’ve also got snow peas now. It’s like everything is suddenly happening. And that’s why I’m stressed.

So Bruce and I covered everything with frost cloth. Those frost cloths are certainly getting a lot of use, unfortunately. We’ll just have to hope for the best (and no freeze) and for warmer days ahead.

PS: Guinness seems a lot better. The swelling on his mouth is down and he actually let me have a peek at the tooth. The antibiotics are working. I may need some of his giant anti-inflamatories tomorrow!

Sow: nice surprise

Last night’s demo/floor prep was mostly as expected, dusty, dirty, noisy, and without event, except when all my clothes fell on the floor during the closet “organizer” demo that took place in my closet. Then it became filled with swearing and scrambling to put together a fix — yeah, Bruce! No big whoop, just have some dusty stuff to wear (I’m sure 47 years of dust and grime will brush off and not stick) and clothes lying on the lounge sectional, in a guest room closet and in piles throughout the house. That’s ok, Guinness likes soft things to sleep on, everyone is ok, everything’s fine. I’ll probably put it all back tonight or at least put the stuff that can hang high enough to stay out of the floor dudes’ way on Saturday.

While I was making dinner last night and Bruce was getting the tools and stuff ready for last night’s demo fun, the door bell rang twice. Since no one usually just drops by, even the neighbors text us first, we figured someone was selling something, which meant they were ignoring our No Soliciting sign. The Gs went insane and threw themselves against the front window when the person didn’t leave so Bruce had to investigate.

It turns out it was actually a woman from the neighborhood association (kind of like a homeowner’s association, but without the annoying rules and restrictions and set up mostly for social reasons to foster community in the neighborhood). She came by to tell us that….drum roll please….we won the Yard of the Month for May! What an amazingly nice surprise, especially since the inside of the house looks so terrible at the moment!

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The Mortroski Midcentury has the Yard of the Month for May and the sign to prove it — thank you NPNA and Calloway’s!

She’ll be back to take photos for our neighborhood e-newsletter today (light was not good for photos at 6:45 pm last night — too bright), but Bruce took a few this morning.

Here’s what it used to look like before we moved in (image is approximately 2.5 years ago, massively Photoshopped photo courtesy of the listing agent):

front of 10950 rosser road

Before (photo credit: seller’s real estate agent)

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After (photo credit: Bruce)

You can see we replaced the mailbox, front door (added side lights and windows, painted it red), added a new porch light, new windows, new water-restriction friendly landscaping, removed a bunch of grass, pulled out the crumbling brick “planters” and the hollies. A lot has happened since we moved in!

Unfortunately for our neighbors, all of the exterior changes were done over a period of about 6 months, maybe longer even longer (I’ll wait for Bruce to correct me and then update this post), so the front of the house really looked bad for a lot of that time. When it looked really bad, we joked that we would definitely win for the Worst Yard of the Month — I even thought about making a parody sign to acknowledge our eyesore sweet eyesore.

But now the house has become a landmark of sorts for the neighborhood. We’re “that house with the red pot in front” or “the house with the red door and the red chairs on the porch.” It’s great for delivery people and people visiting for the first time. Can’t miss us now!

In case you’re curious, here are a few photos of the plants:

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The landscaping is all native Texas perennials so stuff happens all year ’round. If you look carefully you’ll see a doggie in the window next to the flag (it’s George).

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Other side, more Texas perennials and that’s a striped agave in the red pot. A nod to the Great White North with the Muskoka chairs (aka Adirondack chairs) on the porch.

Bruce and I pulled down the crumbling brick “planters” (really not wide enough nor deep enough for mature holly bushes with trunks 10 inches in diameter so they were busting out through the sides) one hot spring day (my main job was hauling the brick to the backyard using my garden cart where eventually we loaded into a dumpster some months later—Guinness and Godiva liked the odds of furry creatures living in the brick ruins and were sad that the bricks went away). But first we had to cut down the hollies (not as easy or as fun as you might think) the summer before getting the windows installed. They grew back despite being cut to the ground. So we had to chop them up again before the planter demo. And heavy equipment eventually had to be used to pull them out (though not by us).

Once we realized that we were completely over our heads with figuring out the landscaping plan ourselves, we attended a session at North Haven Gardens on landscaping and meeting Berrit from Roundtree Landscaping last summer. We had planned to get a plan, then install everything by ourselves. Berrit listened to our desires to have a lower impact, native landscape while minimizing the amount of grass we had to water during the hot Texas summers and drew up a plan that’s a lot like what ended up being planted. She also gently suggested that we should leave the sprinkler moving and planting to the professionals (she was right). She was fantastic to work with and we’re so glad that we worked with her.

You can’t see it but in the enlarged planting beds, the Roundtree crew changed the sprinklers to drip irrigation and the sprinklers for the front grass to NP rotors, a type of sprinkler that gets more water into the ground verses spraying in the air. They planted small plants since they will just get bigger and spread as the years progress. Everything was planted in late August 2012, except for a bunch of daffodils which were planted in February 2013.

The trees are a lot happier too. They’re getting watered deeper and better so we hope they’ll stay out of our plumbing (a big problem down here) from now on.

It’s so nice to be recognized for the changes in the yard, but truthfully, we didn’t do it to get recognized, but to make our house look more inviting and more our style. Like everything we’ve done to the Mortroski Midcentury (with the exception of the big plumbing mess), we did it because we wanted to. We’re trying to bring back some style to the place. So far so good.

PS: Guinness and I are going to the vet at 4 pm as planned. He’s still not ok and I’ve been giving him rimadyl (anti-inflammatory that he has been prescribed for his back and neck issues caused by wrestling with George and chasing Godiva) for the pain. He’s eating and drinking, wagging his tail, etc., but tried to bite Bruce when Bruce was poking around in his mouth. There’s something that hurts and it needs to get looked at. Update tomorrow.

sow: composted

My birthday composter

My birthday composter

Going away on an extended business trip for a week meant that my birthday composter got an extra large helping of partially decomposing stuff this morning and multiple spin cycles.

(So happy Earth Week composter! Hope you enjoyed all of your treats! Kick back, relax, make some nice compost, and I’ll keep feeding and spinning you.)

Have you ever touched fuzzy zucchini? If you haven’t, it’s slimy and furry at the same time. Like it’s covered with soggy white hair. Now you can safely skip seeing it yourself and say “ew” with me. You’re welcome.

Same goes with celery that’s gone bad. It turns into a pile of limp, watery yet fibrous brownish slime. Again, thank me for sharing that visual. Hopefully you’ll never have to see it in real life. It’s not pretty.

But all those fuzzy and slimy veggies made the composter really happy. It’s been cooking away and breaking down everything I’ve been feeding it for the past month. No bad smells. No animals breaking in for “treats”. No unwelcome bugs (I’m hoping that earthworms find their way inside naturally).

The produce peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, parsley, egg cartons, toilet paper cores, napkins, dryer lint, dog hair, rotting produce, apple cores, banana peels, egg shells, grass clippings, leaves, pine straw, garden waste, tomato vines, newspaper, and paper towel rolls are turning into the stuff gardeners love. This batch is almost finalized (there is a limit to how much you can put in) and then it will sit for about a month until everything is broken down. I’ll start its twin and by the time that one is ready to go, the first one will be finished the process.

Yes, it is a little bit of work. Some re-training on what not to throw away. A trip out to the composter every other day or so. Washing out the little collection bucket when it gets gross. Spinning the composter. I think of all of those things as fun—and an investment in future crops.

It’s pretty exciting to think that what is basically garbage is turning into fertilizer and a growing medium for the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm. It’s all going down in a very under-utilized part of the side yard by the plum and peach trees. And soon I’ll be able to load up the wheelbarrow and take freshly made compost over to the raised beds.

Composting is kind of like growing stuff. It’s dependent on a variety of factors (materials, weather, water, heat). Even if you think you’ve timed it perfectly, it may take fewer (or more) days than you think. It can be a bit dirty. But in my opinion, it will be well worth the effort—and the wait.

Sow: sod it

my opponent for today

my opponent for today

Today was a holiday, but there was no rest. You see, today’s planting was to sow grass. I planted sod for about five hours to give the Gs a cool place to sleep during the summer months and to prevent muddy paws.

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doing battle with the pallet

It’s a lot like doing flooring. You start with a single line, preferably against a straight edge. And then you keep going for 4 hours. It’s important to stagger the seams. And it’s important to make sure the sod is tightly butted up against each other. And that you water it A LOT.

just in case you were doubting that it was a big pile of sod...measured against my car

just in case you were doubting that it was a big pile of sod…measured against my car

But the pile shrank.

much smaller

much smaller

And finally it was done! Looks a lot better than dirt. Fingers crossed that it rains all weekend as predicted (even though it will effect the Easter parades and outdoor brunches—sorry!).

new sod installed

new sod installed

Of course, the Gs were pretty excited about having more grass. They love hanging out under the live oak tree, but I don’t really love that they’re rolling in the dirt. Now we can all be happy (and less muddy).

George liked it (a lot)

George liked it (a lot)

 

splendor in the grass G style

splendor in the grass G style—they’re thrilled to have grass to lie on under the live oak

Lots of watering happened when it was all down. And there will be more watering in my near future. Unless the predicted rain comes. Fingers crossed!

If I can actually cross my fingers. Gotta say that I’m exhausted and plenty of muscles hurt. I took a shower and lifting my arms high enough to wash my dirt-covered hair was a struggle. I’m proud of myself for actually being able to type. And form sentences. It’s going to be an 8:30 bedtime night if I can make it until then.

Most of all, it was awesome to be outside most of the day. Even if I do have a boo boo:

ouch! war wound from today

ouch! war wound from today—palm blister

Today’s DIY adventure definitely made me appreciate the effort it takes to have nice grass. And how much labor is required to plant it.

 

 

Sow: black death

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Poor orange bell pepper! It may need to be replaced or just a trim. Will reassess Friday. (Peas are doing fine at the back of the bed)

Dead plants make me sad. Last night, a black and crispy mixture greeted me as I covered up the peppers, tomatoes and basil by headlamp in anticipation of yet another cold night.

Since last night, I’ve been the kind of gloomy grumpy that lingers through the next day, despite my best efforts to perk myself up. And I’ve tried. I watched a badly produced video on composting and read a homesteading magazine featuring pictures of baby goats and showing me how to make the garden signs I’ve been planning in my head. To no avail. I’m still grouchy.

However, I’m hopeful that today’s beautiful weather with sun and a high of 68°F will perk the garden up. When I recheck everything tonight while watering, I’ll be greeted with growth and greenery and some of the black death and crispiness will be gone. At least the peas won’t let me down. Neither will the kale and chard. And the Red Velvet lettuce is doing just fine.

On a side note, this morning when I walked into the office, the beautiful hydrangea I received for my birthday was drooping, blue-purple flowers looking wilted and shriveled up. DAMN! Another plant murdered! Can’t I catch a break with even the indoor plants this week?!?

After kicking myself for not checking it before I left last night and spewing a string of colorful and descriptive words, I gave it a good drink and hoped that it would go back to its beautiful self before my coworker (the giver) came by to check it out. More sadness. More gloom. More grouchiness. Ugh.

Luckily my coworker is out today. And luckily, no plant-a-cide happened. The water worked its magic and it’s just as blue and beautiful as it ever was. Whew. That perked me up a tiny bit. Especially since I know zero about hydrangeas except that they can shift color depending upon the soil.

And lest you think I’m stretching the truth about the croaking happening around me and wondering if I’m being an overly dramatic Garden Diva (by the way, I do have a t-shirt that says “Garden Diva” — thanks, Simone!), I’ve snapped photo evidence, taken this morning before work as I assessed the damage in daylight:

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A crispy, wilted green bell pepper. It was sheltered, but I guess it wasn’t warm and sheltered enough. It will need to be replaced.

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This was one of the bushiest of the tomatoes. It will need to be replaced since the frost and cold have fried its top and probably stunted its growth for good.

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Another tomato plant, fried at its top. This is one I will assess on Friday, especially since it’s part of the red water tray experiment. It was also one of the taller plants.

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A common crispy leafed tomato (probably one to replace). This one makes me sad because so much of it got damaged.

See what I mean? Hopefully this is the end of the frosty and cold nights and we can get back to good tomato growing weather. Don’t let anyone tell you that growing tomatoes in North Texas is easy. I struggled last spring, last fall, and this spring has also been a battle. And if by chance you figure out what I did to entice Old Man Winter to come back for a visit, could you let me know? He is not welcome back in Dallas until at least November.

Sow: spring back?

It’s 58°F at 5:30 pm.

In North Texas, this time of day, not midday, is usually the hottest part of the day. I’m just glad to have the temperatures climb back up to a place closer to where it should be. I’ve been a bit of a nervous wreck worrying about the plants.

The entire Urban Farm stayed covered all of yesterday underneath the frost cloth. Hopefully it was all warm and secure enough.

I’m hoping to see happy tomatoes, basil and peppers when I return home tonight. Bruce uncovered them at midday today since it was still only 35°F when I left for the office. Still, that’s three degrees warmer than when I woke up this morning. Brrr. It’s been toques, snowboarding jackets, and gloves weather since Sunday and it’s felt even colder because it was so warm a bit earlier this month.

I’m also hoping for warmer temperatures that stay around. On Friday, I’m going to be putting down sod in parts of the backyard where we need it. It’s mostly to keep the Gs out of the mud truthfully. Yes, we’re buying grass for the Gs. Well, and me. Despite any required labor on my part, it will be a big timesaver if for nothing else than cutting down on the dog towel laundry. Godiva and George are my worst culprits, although I have caught Guinness trying to sneak back on to the couch muddy.

Tomorrow I’d better do a little reading to remind myself how to plant grass. Don’t worry, I’ve done it before. The first time, however, was a really long time ago. When I was a little girl living in Savannah, our whole family spent a weekend installing plugs of grass in the yard of our new house. In no time at all they spread and we had a nice lawn.

With this North Texas lawn planting, water will be the key. (It seems to be a common theme down here, doesn’t it?) But if we water well, the grass will be established prior to our surface of the sun summer temperatures and will survive.

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April showers?

My fingers are crossed for plenty of April showers, not for the May flowers, but for the plump tomatoes, sweet peas, snappy beans, crunchy peppers, bountiful salads,  juicy peaches and plums, and well-established grass!