Murphy Monday

Murphy’s Law ruled today … Sometimes you just have one of those days … and today, Murphy showed up. Every fool thing, one after another, went haywire. (Although you rarely see hay with “wire” anymore.)

At 3:30 I stepped in steaming pile of dog poop and said “That’s It!” (really I said something much more foul, but for my  saintly mother’s sake we’ll just go with aforementioned quote.)

Let’s recap… on second thought … let’s not.

Translation= 400 words into my diatribe, I hit the delete button.

I’m going to take my horsepill of sinus-infection killing antibiotic, then off to bed to hit the restart button.

875 Mg of Gastrointestinal un-awsomeness.

I will say … the day ended up OK … with my lovely husband giving me flowers – thanks babes!

My sweet husband continues to put up with me. God bless him for it too. I'd be lost without my man.

Random Awesomeness in Photos

I had plans for a different post tonight … a recipe post. Unfortunately I’m still working on it. I even got up at 5 a.m. today to get all my stuff done and, well it’s after 10 p.m. Just out of gas.

Recently I installed PhotoShop, so I’m learning to use it. One of the exercises is to go through all your photos and organize, categorize and tag everything. So here are a few of the ones I looked through yesterday. Some you’ve seen, some maybe not.

Haboob in January 2012
There is something so witty and whimsical about this photo that makes me chuckle every time I see it.
This sums up my cat's attitude.
The joy on Jdub's face is priceless.
Screwy Squirrel on top of Fort Williams. Fat little effer has been stealing the bird feed.
Jdubs + Taos + blue door + Instagram=photo awesomeness.
Instagram awesomeness
This is what The Arcadian Experience is all about: my dad and my son feeding cattle with the dogs. Jdubs is in his undies.
Passion Vine blossom -- Awesomeness
The loveable Ruby. Also known as the "obnoxious shepherd"
Frost in the morning
Lucky: that's what this photo is. It was simply being in the right place at the right time with a handy iPhone.
Homemade pizza -- this is what I made for dinner tonight! It was Awesome!
Another shot that says it all about The Arcadian Experience ... my son playing guitar with his daddy. (A photo of my husband is as rare as catching a snipe.) (The clothes line and witch's cauldron make it especially nice, don't you think?)
Jdubs and me.

Falling in Love with the Fall Garden Center

I had to be in Wichita Falls today for an appointment. So before coming home, I made a stop at Smith Gardentown. What a treat! I love to visit garden centers, farms and nurseries at all times of the year. This time I was just looking and trying to get ideas for Christmas for the various horticulturalists and ornithologists in my life.

I drove up and instantly loved the place because there were ducks on the pond, Canada geese grazing and little garden statues of pigs.

Canada geese!
A little concrete piggy for the Kentucky Pig!

I love to visit farms and nurseries in the fall because it shows me what plants look like in the fall – whether the foliage is colorful, evergreen or if a deciduous plant has pretty bark.

Little Henry will be a definite addition to my garden. Beautiful spring blooms, beautiful fall foliage!
Opuntia Prickly Pear-- Thornless!

In the hustle bustle of the spring some plants get overlooked, like this really cool cacti! A prickly pear without the prickles.

Then there are the perennial favorites … a Shumard Oak. I have one just like this in my front yard and this photo reminds me why … It’s beautiful and well adapted for our area.

Shumard oak tree -- excellent tree for North Texas.

A place with a friendly cat that comes meowing for affection is always a good sign. Two cats who are friendly and want attention and are neutered means that the people here care for lots of living things – not just plants.

This cat chased me down so that I could pet it.
Kitty #2 sleuthed across the patio to get a scratch.
Swiss Chard-- excellent for the fall kitchen garden. I think this is the "neon lights" seed mix.
Mixed pansies ... happy pansy faces.
Some of the greatest rose gifts are the blooms in the fall.

The garden center is always a good place to get gift ideas for the gardener. Look at these beautiful garden globes. We can just file that under the “pretty-stuff-momma-can-never-have-because-she-has-a-boy-and-a-dog-that-is-OCD-with-spheres.”

I can never have pretties like this ...
Cloche terrarium ... nice coffee table gift for the gardener.
A flag for everyone (at least in my divided house).
Bird feeders and houses for all the little finches in your life.
Happy pansy face, y'all!

Aquarium Gone. Now What?

Aquarium, part deaux.

The aquarium in its glory days:

And the photo doesn't do it justice.

Over the weekend my husband started the process of taking down our 120 gallon saltwater aquarium. Three days later, and a whole lot of elbow grease, the tank and contents have been broken down and moved into the garage. The garage smells like Galveston, Texas. Amazing how smelly saltwater can get when it’s not moving.

It’s also quiet in the house – really quiet. There is no more pitter-pat of running water. No more whirl and hum of filters and pumps. No more fizzy bubble sounds.

Saltwater is seriously corrosive. It peeled the paint off the baseboard and discolored the the wall. We’ll be going to get a gallon of primer and matching paint so we can touch up [repaint] the wall. No wonder classic car enthusiasts don’t want cars from the coast or northern states where they use salt on the roads.

But now we have this huge, blank space in our main living room – a little more than 8 ft. of wall space. Everything is off balance. Before we had this nice balance – the fireplace on one end and aquarium on the opposite end.

Before/After

The initial set up
After the aquarium ... (the photo isn't great, but you can see the space).

I have a some ideas …

  1. Bookcases, you can never have enough
IKEA totally Rocks!

2. Kid space, with toys and games and stuff (all organized)

Yeah, right. Our crap never gets put back up and our kid is spoiled.

 

3. Art! (I’m not an art-y person but can appreciate a nice original, professional or amateur.)

Starry Night, Y'all.

 

4. A collage photo gallery — I take lots of photos of flowers. Maybe a good place for a collection of framed originals.

Zinnia blossom a few days before the "killer" frost.
Passion vine. Hearty vine that even the grasshoppers don't bother.
A Taos Mountain flower with a moth. Maybe a entomogy major can identify it.

 

5.  A wine rack (with wine, of course)

Williams Sonoma Rocks!

 

 

Nanny …  all I want for Christmas is a gift card to IKEA!

When Frost Happens

One and a half days ago the weather really changed when a powerful cold front move through. The temps dropped considerably in an 18 hour span. It went from being summer to fall in a few hours. There was nothing gradual about it. But then again this year has been anything but typical … 10 degrees in February then 100 degrees in April. Really!? Seriously!?

Yesterday… (OK, 1.5 days ago)

Today …

The first hard, killing frost happened close to dawn today – it was 25 degrees at 8:15 this morning. The frost twinkled brightly all over creation this morning.

At the stop sign near my kid’s school …

Sun on the left, frost on the right. Awesome display of the warmth of the sun.

I attempted to cover my garden and a nice stand of Siam basil in my front flower bed. I had beautiful zinnias in orange and pink. Zinnias are a favorite of mine because they bloom constantly and do well in the hateful August sun plus they are drought tolerant. And we had a hell of a hot, dry summer this year.

When Frost Happens, Things Die.

Yesterday …

Today ….


The frost happened, and made this a very sad flower (and a dead flower.)

Frost killed this future eggplant.

Dead basil.

Although, the frost can bring about beauty of its own.

(How great is it to have a handy iPhone when you are driving down the alley and see something pretty?)

Welcome to the weekend, y’all!

Killing Frost and Terrorist Black Flies

The first day of November was glorious—a bright blue sky, upper 70s, no wind, overnight low in the upper 50s. Totally kick-ass weather for growing a fall crop of tomatoes, eggplants and chili peppers.

This is North Texas …It can be 90 degrees one day and 30 the next; we can have 100-degree temperature swings within the same year.


(February 2011. It was 10 degrees. 113 degrees August 5, 2011 after 10 p.m. )

I knew something was up because the last two days have been filled with black flies acting crazy, terrorizing me – at home, the office, the coffee shop, everywhere.

Black flies are one of the most annoying critters on Plant Earth. I grew up on a ranch with lots of animals pooping nearby, let’s just say you can never have enough fly swats, fly paper or bug zappers. But when the flies swarm and act crazier than usual, you know the weather is about to change. After a sudden killing frost you can walk around and see thousands of fly exoskeletons on the ground.

As a gardener, I know the end is near for my tender annual vegetables—it’s November. I’m in USDA zone 7B with an average first frost date of November 14. But, I’m clinging to the hope that I can nurse my plants along, especially since they just started producing fruit after surviving a wretchedly hot, bone-dry summer. (No exaggeration, it’s on record as the driest, hottest summer since 1950).

So I pulled up my trusty weather app on my iPhone and sure enough … big cold front moving in—decidedly not good for the garden.

I put in an emergency call to handyman husband to get supplies at the hardware store and I made a mad 5 p.m. dash to the feed store to get plastic sheeting. An hour and a half later we have the garden covered. (I am not going back out there to take a picture, Ok I took a picture this morning.)

The temps went from 70 degrees to 45 in about two hours with winds gusting up to 40 mph. I made one last harvest, just in case.

Jalapenos are beautiful, fruity and spicy-delicious right out of the garden.

Serrano peppers just off the vine.

Thanks for the help, sweet husband. Eggplant parmesan is in your future.