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  • Archive for January, 2017

    turnips

    It’s been 9 days.

    I want to write so much here but I’ll be honest, it seems silly to write here at the moment. My words are inadequate but I’ll break it down into a few single words.

    Outraged. Scared. Worried. Upset. Angry. Disappointed. Anxious. Horrified.

    Is this where the rest of us become preppers? Because, I’m thinking it may be.

    The optimism after the Women’s March last weekend* has been tempered heavily. I think that optimism and feeling of action was still going fairly strong until Friday and the knife was driven further in and twisted.

    And it’s still there, the optimism of action, somewhat. People are calling and hounding their reps. I made a few calls post election but I’m not a phone person and things are happening so fast that everyone keeps harranging people to call for this and that issue almost daily. The Women’s March has postcards to print for people to send out. I thought I could print those and just sent a round out each week but damn, all of these Executive Orders are flying so fast and developments with appointments are also going so fast that I know calling is the best approach. So, it’s postcards, writing a giant essay of everything I’m pissed about, or calling. I guess I will try to do all of them at some level. There’s also stuff going on at the state level, too, so don’t forget your state and local officials.

    *I did make a Pussy Hat and dyed my hair pink in solidarity. After the B.S. with the NPS and then the EPA (FYI, my job in Florida was funded off an EPA grant) and other environmental agencies I began seeing a Science March being planned. If there is one in Houston I think I will do my best to attend that one. I spent a lot of this week downloading geospatial data for work that I may or may not need in the future. I’ll be doing the same this week because who knows when it will just disappear.

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    It didn’t take long for the pink bananas to resprout! They were starting to come back up early last week, a little over a week after the freeze.

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    I have two Mexican orchid tree seedlings (Bauhinia mexicana) that I grew from seeds I nabbed at the zoo awhile back. I recently moved them up a pot size so they could put on some better roots. I’m hoping in a year or two they will be big enough to plant along our fence.

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    In the yard the oxalis is trying to paint the yard pink, which I love! There were more blooms a few weeks ago but Chris mowed the yard to clean it up a bit from months of not being mowed. They will come back!

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    All of the rain has brought up various fungi, too.

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    Down on the dock there’s leftover debris from the high water on Wednesday. It wasn’t too bad and went down fairly quickly but the pond did come up a bit.

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    I will never tire of the sight of resurretion fern after a rain event.

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    I was surprised to see the strawberries starting to put on blooms. I suppose we may have fruit in a month or two?

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    Red giant mustard

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    Lettuce—can’t remember which kind this is!

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    Kale going strong!

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    I was very excited to see the lemon verbena recovering from the freeze. I wasn’t sure how it would do!

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    While a lot of the dill was set back or killed, a few plants have come through and are starting to do very well. I sowed more seeds to try to recover from what we lost. I need new dill seed in the pantry and to dry the plant for pickling later this summer.

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    The Gladiolus dalenii has begun to come back!

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    Sophora tomentosa seed pods. If the plant doesn’t come back I have seeds at least!

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    The S. tomentosa plant itself.

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    Another happy surprise! The variegated brug is already sending out new shoots!

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    Columbines and rain lilies.

    I managed to get two flower beds mulched last weekend and plan to get the other three flower beds cleaned up this week so I can get mulch for them in the next week. There are flower seeds to sow and my excitement for a new season of growth is rising!

    Are you doing any gardening?

    october 28, 2008: 5/14
    October 28, 2008. I went to canvas for President Obama shortly after taking this photo. I did two canvassing events for him while I lived in Florida and I’m so very glad I did it.

    Some of you, dear readers, are like me today—raw and sober with the reality that what we imagined Inauguration Day being during those morning and afternoon hours of November 8th, that reality will not come to fruition. Instead we’ve watched the last two months as a cascade of warnings from experts, historians and journalists, become realities. Every time I’ve stopped and thought some people were over reacting or I’ve tried to see any kind of nuance I’ve been shaken back into reality with a new story, another behavior, and become very worried about what the next several years holds. I won’t write more but here are some people I follow on Twitter and podcasts to keep you tuned in if you are having a hard time stomaching network stations and sometimes even NPR. I don’t even watch network news unless someone else has it on but NPR sometimes disappoints me and I have to switch to Democracy Now for a few minutes. I think it was quite clear after his press conference last week that the press has a different beast to cover and has got to hold him accountable for the things he says—and more importantly, isn’t saying.

    And if you are either not worried or more apathetic and believe that things will be ok, well, I hope you are right. I hope we’re freaking out for no reason, because I’d like to see that we’re still a country in four years and I’d like to hope that we are still upholding the rights and freedoms granted under our constitution.

    News Stories/Blog Reading

    I’m bad about remembering to bookmark every good article I come across but this is just a few I’ve recently read that stuck with me.

    Scientists Are Frantically Copying US Climate Data via the Washington Post

    Six Astonishing Things Betsy Devos Said and Refused To Say During Her Confirmation Hearing

    David Fahrenthold Tells The Behind The Scenes Story Of His Year Covering Trump—-read this one in its entirety.

    A Social Justice Reading List via Book Riot

    Podcasts
    Pod Save America: This is an group of former Obama staffers who used to podcast under Keeping It 1600 (I never listened) but switched over to this podcast in the new year. Definitely listen to all of their episodes but especially the one with President Obama.

    Slate’s Trumpcast: I may have mentioned this one back in December and I’ll mention it again; it is easily digestible. Listen to the one about Narcissistic Personality Disorder in particular.

    The 451 Podcast: Yes, that’s a play on Farenheit 451.

    Start Making Sense from The Nation: I listen to this one sporadically but a recent episode reminded me to listen more often.

    Pantsuit Politics: I also think I’ve mentioned this one but it is two women, a Democrat and a Republican, sitting down to talk politics. Very friendly and they try to be as nuanced and hopeful as they can be—which can be infuriating when the week’s news is anything but—and the podcast will be a nice balance if you indulge in too much news or just want to stay in tune with what’s going on but can’t handle a ton of news.

    Call Your Girlfriend a show between two friends, lots of feminist and POC discussions.

    Finally, I mentioned it back in 2015, but the episode of the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron that President Obama was a guest on is worth a re-listen.

    Twitter
    For the Twitter folks, even if you aren’t on Twitter most of these people either write for a publication or have their own blog/website so you can also follow them there.

    The Doom and Gloom Twitter people:
    Sarah Kendzior: I have to mute her because she’s usually right in what she says. She says it, he does it. An expert on authoritarian regimes.
    Summer Brennan: She’s not muted but she always knows a lot of interesting things. Also, started the 451 Podcast.

    Journalists/Writers:
    Kai Ryssdal
    Julia Ioffe
    David Fahrenthold
    Judd Legum
    Jacob Weisberg
    Josh Harkinson
    Nikole Hannah-Jones
    Shaun King
    Matthew Yglesias
    Dan Rather
    Tim Dickinson
    Roxane Gay
    Leonard Pitts, Jr.
    James Fallows
    Ana Navarro—a Republican commentator but vocal against you-know-who.
    David Frum—former GWB speech writer, also vocal against you-know-who.
    John Weaver—former Kasich strategist, and also vocal against you-know-who.

    Politicians:

    Democrats
    Kamala Harris
    Bernie Sanders—yes, he’s an Independent but he is a liberal so he goes here.
    Elizabeth Warren

    Republicans
    Evan McMullin late entry into the campaign for president. I may disagree with him on policies but this man is a patriot.
    Mindy Finn VP running mate to Evan McMullin

    Other People In The Know:
    Celeste Pewter
    Emily Ellsworth
    Sara Langhinrichs
    David Steen, PhD—professor and ecologist, promoting snake advocacy and overall science education through Twitter.
    Katie Boué outdoor advocate
    Rachel Held Evans
    Sarah Bessey
    Jacquelyn Gill Ecologist and science advocate

    That’s all I’ve got.

    May the Force be with you.

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    January 2017

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    The good thing about having blogged and taken photos all of these years is that it is an excellent way to be able to revisit the garden to see the changes, good and bad. Over the weekend I managed to weed and mulch the two beds on the side of the house and I thought it would be fun to do a little photo history tour of the side yard garden beds. Here we go!

    A week ago—right after the freeze

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    November 2016

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    August 2016

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    August 2015

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    March 2015
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    April 2014
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    September 2013
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    July 2013

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    February 2013

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    October 2012

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    September 2012 — we moved in last few days of June 2012.

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    <a href=http://www.sproutdispatch.com>SproutDispatch</a>

    <a href=http://www.sproutdispatch.com>SproutDispatch</a>

    May 2012 — when we went to view the house for the first time

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    Pretty crazy, right? I need to take more photos—and I may have and just didn’t process them all out of RAW into .jpg for viewing.

    I’ll probably do another round up of the front flower beds and the vegetable garden as well, so look for that in the coming weeks.

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    Saturday morning we got out for a bit to do a little hiking at WG Jones State Forest. We’ve been there many times but this time we opted to park in the eastern parking lot on the south side of FM 1488 instead of the usual parking lot on the western boundary. This entrance was hopping with trucks towing horse trailers entering through a locked gate to park about a half mile down the dirt road at the horse parking lot. There were a lot of riders out that morning!

    We crossed over Rice Branch, seen in the photo above, and I think both Chris and I wished we had boots on to go exploring down the creek. He wanted to scout for mussels and I wanted to scope out scenic photo opportunities. Forest would have loved splashing in puddles!

    Down the trail we walked through several red-cockaded woodpecker clusters—thinned out woodland areas that support the habitat needed for the woodpecker to forage and nest. There were a few nest cavities and sap wells on the trees and on our way out we even spotted a woodpecker, though we were unable to get a good photo or video to share with y’all.

    The trail system at the state forest is set up on a logging road grid with some smaller single-track trails that weave through the woods in various locations. Those single-tracks aren’t usually on the maps so you just have to stumble upon them. Forest enjoyed seeing all of the horses coming by! It was a great morning to get out and stretch our legs without having to drive too far for a hike. I will be looking forward to spring when plants are blooming again!

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    Oh man. We left town Friday evening prepared for the weekend deep freeze with what we thought was going to be mid to high 20s and instead woke up Saturday morning in Dallas with Chris checking the temperature for our town to find out the low was 20*. There’s a good chance it was a little lower than that, too, but either way, the damage was done. Saturday night was more of the same, a double whammy. Chris has prepared by putting up all of the orchids, bromeliads, and other tropicals, and covered the sensitive cactus but we left everything else—including the vegetable garden—up to its own devices because our previous experiences with the mid 20s and high 20s had left everything else in decent, if not a little nipped back, shape.

    Needless to say, that 5-8* difference was enough to ruin several things in the vegetable garden and severely nip back several plants in the flower bed. It remains to be seen what will and won’t recover. My hopes of the African blue basil, which had several branches surviving the freeze in December, pulling through until spring are completely toast. Other plants, we won’t know for a few weeks or until spring. The citrus appear to be affected somewhat but they should pull through just fine. I’m most heartbroken about all of the tropical milkweed plants that had germinated from seed in the garden as well as had already started resprouting from being cut back. I was hoping for a thicket for the monarchs this year. I only took six cuttings, well, six are what rooted, so I am hoping the pull through and the rest of the sprouts can recover enough for the caterpillars this summer.

    I have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks. This weekend I need to start tomato seeds and a few other things including resowing some greens in the vegetable beds. I want to get the flower beds completely weeded in mulched before the end of January so they are ready to go into spring and there are seeds to sow in there, too.

    Lots of garden chores among many other things I need and want to do!

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    A few days ago I received the fall issue of Footprint, the magazine of the Florida Trail Association. It was a big issue, at least to me, one where the call to protect to the trail and be a trail advocate was once again in the spotlight. The trail recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a celebration at the first blaze in Ocala National Forest and the placement of a plaque to commemorate the historic blaze that began the Florida National Scenic Trail. In addition last year, a new monument at the northern terminus at Fort Pickens was erected. Two very exciting events!

    This post is being published today on the 6th anniversary of the start of our thru-hike on the FT. I get a little somber about our AT and FT thru-hikes now that we’re firmly in a different life mode and look back with fondness of those months we spent hiking from Georgia to Maine and from Big Cypress National Preserve to Gulf Islands National Seashore. When we went for our little six mile hike a week and a half ago in Sam Houston NF I got the itch to get back into backpacking. The itch has been coming for awhile but with my recent purchase of a new pack and our intention to get out and try to backpack with Forest once or twice this spring, I’m really looking forward to it. With all of that, as I flipped through the magazine, and as I see updates from people in the hiking and outdoor community in Florida, I get a little wistful, wishing I could pitch in more to promote and help the trail. Alas, that’s hard to do when you are living in Texas! So, I have been doing my best to be a trail advocate from afar and cheer along the progress being made by others.

    There’s definitely been an uptick in recent years in interest of the trail, especially from hikers who have been to other long distance trails but have found the FT to be something worth sharing to the hiking community. A little part of me also wants to keep it a secret, the little gem that only a few people know about—but I know better than that. If the trail is to ever be fully protected and off road connectors, it will take more people sharing about FT, pitching in with monetary donations, or volunteering time where they can.

    I’m not sure where I want to go with all of this, just to say that the trail and its community is always on my mind in some manner and I’m always hoping for its continued success! Maybe this year I will do more to share news and tidbits I find out about the trail so that it can be passed on to others—I think that’s a good intention and goal to set.

    With that, here are a few items of note:

    • ‘Jupiter’ started the Eastern Continental Trail in Canada back in July and is currently somewhere around the Kissimmee Prairie area in Florida (I had to come back and edit—he’s already done! He finished 1/7/17 and as I type this I’m not seeing an update on his official time and if he is now the FKT holder.). Once he arrived at Fort Pickens in Florida he began a quest for an unsupported FKT (fastest known time) of the Florida Trail. Since he already had thousands of miles under his belt, he had trail legs AND the fact he was in his home state—well, I bet he can capture the FKT. You can follow him on his blog and via his Instagram feed. —-Ohh, ok, here we go, an update from Florida Hikes: He set the record!
    • While it seems like more trail keeps getting moved to the road due to land owner and easement issues, particularly in the panhandle sections of the FT, there was new trail added in Nokuse Plantation in the panhandle, eliminating a roadwalk in the area near Bruce. I remember that roadwalk! I liked the section that we did get to walk in Nokuse so that’s exciting more trail was added to the property!
    • A 26-mile hike 50 years ago led to 1,400-mile Florida Trail via the Ocala Star Banner

    Edible Garden Tour

    Flower Garden Tour

    A conversation with my brother kind of lit a fire under me to make more videos of the garden this year. Actually, I’ve been really lax in making videos of any kind over the last year, even with Forest, and I kind of regret it. I think I did so much that first year of Forest’s life that I really wanted to pull back a little there for awhile. I do miss being able to watch videos so I’m planning to be more proactive this year. Expect more!

    The last week has been quite the lazy one around here. Chris and I were off work and the first half of the holiday week was warm and pleasant and we spent a lot of time outside playing. However, by Wednesday Forest’s cough that had started developing last Monday grew worse and we had a camping trip planned for New Years weekend and I didn’t want to go without getting him checked out. So, off to the pediatrician we went. She prescribed some cough medicine—so nice that we’re finally getting into the ages where more medicine can be prescribed for him!—and thought it was RSV or some similar virus and said there wasn’t much we could do but alleviate some of the symptoms with the cough medicine, Zyrtec, and an inhaler. But Thursday came and his appetite started plummeting and a cold front blew through. By Friday morning we knew it wasn’t going to be good to trek to the Hill Country for a camping trip with iffy weather and a sick kid, so we stayed home.

    It’s been a mostly grey weekend with some rain sessions which meant we’ve been inside bouncing between upstairs and downstairs toys and watching a lot of television. I’ve tried to do some of the items I wanted to get done this week but they’ve mostly been the inside goals. My gardening goals have mostly been on hold. But now I’m starting to sneeze and I felt little wonky this morning so I’m just crossing my fingers that I’m not getting sick just in time to return to work! In all, it is probably good that we’ve just been homebodies this week.

    I’ve done a little looking forward to 2017, planning and goal-wise. I settled on my word last week, Peace. In 2015 I chose mindful which was a good start and I learned quite a bit about the word but I think peace could be a good one to grab hold of this year. Another thing I’m using for 2017 is Elise’s Daily Goal Tracker. I’ve loved this goal tracker since she introduced it a few years ago but never bought it. When she sent her November newsletter announcing it was going to be free for December readers I was excited! I modified mine to print small enough to fit into my Moleskine Bullet Journal and washi taped it inside. I actually made four different ones to keep track of various things.

    One thing I worked on over the break was putting my podcasts on YouTube as another outlet for listening. My goal is to also start incoporating gardening videos over there once or twice a week. If you are a regular YouTube user please subscribe! My brother is also planning to do more on YouTube this year so you can check out his site as well. We recently chatted about gardening on the podcast to wrap up our gardening year.

    I got out for a few minutes yesterday evening to pick collards for dinner and took some photos of the vegetable garden. Here’s what is going on out there!

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    Recent rain brought up the Clathrus fungi!

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    Forest got two sets of gardening tools for Christmas so one is now out in the vegetable garden in his very own digging plot!

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    The okra were in this section over the summer and down below I kept seeing a weed pop up that I would try and pull. Well, the okra have been gone for a month now and I haven’t done much maintenence. Turns out the weed is a lawn orchid, a plant that is not native and usually spread by mulch.

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    We have a serious abundance of greens!

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    Collards | Chinese Cabbage

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    We planted onions on Christmas day as well as the snow peas.

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    Happy 2017, friends!

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