Trying to spring.

Twisted and curled, poised to launch. Crafted and careful, compressed.

Toppled and rolled and crunched

underfoot.

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7-11 tomatoes.

They used to be saved Sonic cups. Then we stopped going to Sonic.

They used to not pot up larger than my hoard of 4″ pots. Then we didn’t harvest much.

Last year, I ventured into the nearby 7-11 to buy 24 Big Gulp cups. $2/sleeve and I was set. Then my one baby wrecking crew prevented saving them to this year.

Today:

“Hi, I’d like to buy a sleeve of big gulp cups, please.

– Um. Let me get the woman who can help you…

(It’s the same woman!)

“Oh, hi! We did this last spring, too. I’d like to buy a sleeve of big gulp cups, please. Actually… two sleeves this year.”

First Woman – Can I ask what you do with these?

” I pot up my tomatoes.”

Second Woman – They’re on the house this year. Be sure you bring any extra tomatoes this way. There’s a donation jar for the food bank down the counter if you’re so inclined.

“Will do!”

They were overdue and hungry, hence the yellow here and there. Maybe ten more days, maybe three weeks. Then they’ll be potted up to their necks for the third and final time, getting their roots a good 12-18″ deep to weather our hot, dry summers for a second harvest come fall.

August, nearly gone.

Things I find hard to believe these days:
– August is nearly over
– How mild this summer has been
– How envious (and grateful) I am of (for) other people’s gardens and the fact that they share
– What starting from scratch looks like with this much space

I’m sorry, summer is almost over? When did that happen? And what kind of “summer” has this been for Texas, you ask? A ridiculously mild one. Here’s a graphic from last year around mid-July.
100degrees
Keep in mind, that was mid-August, and by the end of the summer in 2011, we had had a stretch of 100 or more degrees that lasted 27 days, with a total of 90 days over 100 degrees that year.
By the same time in July this year? Zero 100 degree days. It was glorious.

Other people’s gardens (and farms) have been keeping us in delicious squash, peppers, tomatoes, melon, peaches, greens, beets, and various other goodies…like blackberries.
DSC_0065

And so the planning begins in earnest. Trying to recall through the fog left behind by our adorable sleep thief which fall veggies to sow when and wondering if I can push things around to fit into the timeline of still needing to actually build the beds. I pull out my fall garden seeds to see what I want to sow this year. Of course the answer is “all of them.” We’ll see how that goes. Also, I don’t think I can justify buying any fall garden seeds this year…
DSC_0234

But I can read through one of my favorite gardening books while I plan how to maximize space, balanced with aesthetics, keeping in mind that a 5′ wide bed was wider than I could reach to the center of at the last house.
DSC_0236

And try and make it to the library for a book on monarch gardening (unless one of you clever folks knows of a useful website on the topic?) After listening to a piece on the radio about their continued decline due to Round Up (and other chemical) usage on GMO crops in the Midwest taking out their larval food, I’m reminded that not only do I want food for the bees, but for the butterflies as well. I’ve seen a tiger swallow tail or two, and we have about 25 resident dragon flies practicing maneuvers each evening in the backyard, but no Monarchs. We’re in their migratory flight path, and every species I know of likes road trip food. Just because they can’t knock on my door and ask for food doesn’t mean I shouldn’t feed them.

Hopefully there will be some “breaking ground” posts in the next month or so. In the meantime, thanks for keeping up on your own blogs to keep me excited for y’all and inspired for the work to come.

DH has been busy(/ier)

A bit ago, a house in our neighborhood got a new deck. Their old deck wasn’t so old, and yet was left completely disassembled on the curb for pick-up. Well, DH didn’t mind lending a hand to the collection crew that week and picked it up.

What does one do with old decking? Apparently, so many things.

Work station
You set up a work station in the beautiful weather.

Wire
You might even unmake my unsightly “compost bin” (also known as “that ring of fencing in the middle of the backyard held in place by two stumps.”) No worries. I can reuse the fencing as trellis later in the season.

Compost bin
And make a more incognito one…

Composting
And even turn the compost, fill the bin, water it, and top it with leaves!

I often say aloud in the real world how very lucky and spoiled I am, and I do mean it. In so many ways, I am spoiled rotten and ever so grateful for DH.

And then, he keeps going…
New garden bed

And going!
Second new garden bed

A new compost bin and two new garden beds…I am even more excited for spring than I was before. Especially since his construction came out a lot sturdier (and more square) than my lasagna bed I built. Now if only I could decide where to put the new beds, or if I’d remembered to bring home some cardboard…

Tools Needed:
Box of screws
Free decking
Saw
Drill
Measuring tape