These aren’t those.

I traveled to Houston this week on business and the wild flowers called to me. They wanted to speak to y’all. They wanted to share their view of the world with each of you. I hadn’t packed my camera, nor did I schedule a spare moment to pull over to the side of the road. Boy, doesn’t that say something.

I didn’t schedule a single moment to spare.

As a result, I have blurry pictures taken through a dirty car window speeding by on a windy day. So…low resolution splotches and splashes of color. So instead, I will merely share their names with you, and within such names a link to images from others. Other people who thought to pack cameras. Other people who allowed buffer in their day. Who took the time to take pause. I hope I’ve learned my lesson. I fear I will be relearning it time and time again, the hard way, in the weeks and years to come. I won’t say that I didn’t try though. I have and I will continue to try.

Bluebonnets, that for nearly a decade I would accidentally call blue bells, carpet the roadsides. Other roadsides prefer a warmer shade of blossom in the form of Indian Paintbrush. Not to be confused with Downy Paintbrush. Then there are the Winecups and the Moss Verbena adding some purple to the scene. We can’t neglect the yellow of the Engelmann’s Daisy, the Texas Star, or the countless other yellows soon to pop. Or the white of the blackfoot daisy or the wrinkly poppy that are coming soon. The summers here may turn brown and dry and drab, but the springs contend with the best of the springs out there.

I did have my camera this morning though and there are things up and about on home turf. Stretching their arms to the sky in a morning yawn. Wriggling their toes deeper into the soil with the help of the sprinkler. Working on their tan in the sunbeams or flexing their muscles in the wind, the growth has started to outpace the pill bug population…or so I hope.

Elian the Avocado is working on his next few inches.
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An accidentally acquired navel orange is giving it a go in hopes of a bee or two.
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These leeks have an rather cumbersome bedfellow…
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The Peas That Nearly Weren’t are in need of a stick to climb.
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And it’s past time to mow thanks to the timing of the rain lately and the alignment of naps and daylight.
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Thankfully, the baby monitor that I left to fend for itself in the flood waters from the sky has miraculously recovered so I am once again free to roam about once or twice a day on weekends. Or as I say, “I’m going to go play outside now.”

Equinox and then some.

There’s also a super moon and a solar eclipse today. Busy day in the universe!
It’s been a rough day in the household today with life’s little hiccups all piling on heavy this week and culminating this morning. Nothing catastrophic. Nothing tragic. Just the wearing building and building too long.
It’s cloudy here with a light mist, so likely no eclipse or super moon for me. If you spot either, please do share.

I planted some of the tomato transplants last night with a baby in my lap. She was mesmerized. We helped DH reattach the fence to a reset fence post between plantings. I’ve sown carrots and beets that haven’t come up, and my peas are fighting the good fight against the snails though I’m not sure they’ll come out victorious. Chadwick’s lettuce is proving to be as reliable and sturdy as his cherry tomatoes, as they are the only seeds to sprout so far. And the teeny strawberry sprouts have the most charming little real leaves now.

Now if only the internet could transport scent, we’d be set.
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Thanks to Tina, I believe that I’ve learned this lady’s name: Martha Gonzalez.

A new mystery.

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I like to know what’s growing around me. I tend to only pull things out after I know what they are. At my last house I learned about henbit and horse herb. Here I’m learning about wild onions, prairie crocus, and…whatever this is.

Any ideas?

Plum blossoms

A few years back now, I gave DH a four-way grafted plum tree as a celebratory gift. June, is her name. Two years ago, she gave us a single branch of the most delectably delicious fruit we’d ever dreamed of. Previously, I was not a fan of plums. As with most things, if we grow it ourselves, we gain a new appreciation for all that it is.

Last year, for reasons undecided, we were not gifted with any fruit. She didn’t bloom much, but the blossoms she did offer were enjoyed by the bees. There wasn’t a late freeze…or was there? I can’t recall. Needless to say, we had no plums.

The branch that gave us the fruit two years ago bloomed one little blossom on Monday. Tuesday, there were a few more…
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And this afternoon, well, let’s just say June has been busier than the bees have so far this year.
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But wait. What’s this? A second variety is joining the flower fest for the first time.DSC_0057

And the other two branches have buds waiting their own floral debut.

This winter was not any colder than past winters, or wetter, but it definitely had more cold days (or chill hours, as they call them in Tree Speak.) I can’t help but think that the other varieties require slightly more chill hours than the first, thus the petals pushing their way forth. I can barely let myself hope (and yet can hardly wait) for those same fruits again this year. And perhaps for three more varieties to try (and fall in love with) to boot!

It’s time to start hardening off the tomatoes, and nearly time to plant them out. I haven’t made their bed yet though…want to see how one hauls a half yard of compost when you sold the pick-up to purchase a family car? But of course you do!
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It doesn’t cost anymore than buying it in one bulldozer drop into the back of the truck. It does, however, require a good bit of shoveling, lifting, and heaving. I was just talking about how I didn’t have time to both garden and go to the gym…

As luck would have it…

Saturday I could hardly believe my luck. Again? Weather and kiddo and energy and cough? Glorious. I’m not sure I’ve ever more enjoyed pulling thistle (and henbit and dandelion.)
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Besides, it gave me the good fortune to witness the opening of these…wild crocuses? I do have some Prairie Crocus here and there, but the centers of these little wildlings look different (more like a cone), as do the leaves. Any ideas?
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I also managed to sneak in some seed sowing (even if I had to keep my phone on me for a little work wrangling.)
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In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve never been one to invest in actual labels. I’m not sure why. Instead, I tend toward taking pictures of what went where and the metadata of the photo captures the day and time for me automatically. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to labels soon enough. (I did receive some lovely ones as a gift this year, so it really is only about actually using them at this point…brains are silly things.)

And just as I was about to sow something on the heads of where I’d planted the potatoes because they were obviously not doing anything themselves…
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I took a closer look.
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Now if only the peas I planted in their midst would sprout…

The “getting to know you” period.

Tomorrow will mark nine months in our new home. I thought it may be time to introduce myself to the soil. Yes, really, it has taken this long. But by “I thought it may be time” what I really meant was that work, the weather, the kiddo, my Daycare Immune System Marathon, and my energy levels all conspired to give me a gift – opportunity.

So Friday afternoon, amidst sunshine and high 50s, I took the shovel, the dog, and the wheelbarrow into the front yard. The Great Grass Removal was underway. The soil here seems lovely. Dark, rich, and crumbly. When I first got to know the soil at our last house, in 100 square feet of triple dug (go big or go home?) earth, I found precisely two earth worms amidst soil that refused to release the roots within it. Here I find fat happy worms two to the shovelful and the soil goes with the flow, shaking off into the air with the bang of each grass clump against the shovel. Forget a front heat bed repeat, I could plant tomatoes right alongside the curb! (And just might, seeing as I have thirty of them…)

The first wheelbarrow was nearly full, my ankle was reminding me that this was my first real shovel work since its last injury, and then the dog perked up his head and started sauntering down the walk. I looked up and saw he was shyly wagging his way to meet the neighbor two houses down, so I followed. Our dog minds well on good days, minds with mediocrity on some days, and gets a mind of his own on occasion. He’s eighty-five pounds of strong sweetheart but has his triggers after he was attached two years ago, so we never lack for caution. An hour later, he and I both felt as though we had made a new friend and the sun was slipping. It was going to drop into the 20s again soon, so I cleaned up, packed up, and we went went back inside to check on my little tomatoes, now in their 4″ pots of garden soil, seed starter, and coir.
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