Piecing Together Trails at Pedernales Falls State Park


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A late blooming Castilleja indivisa

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I think this is Sorghastrum nutans, yellow Indian grass.

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The end of September marked our first camping trip of the season. We drove out to Pedernales Falls State Park, somewhere we hadn’t been since the spring of 2016. Forest was only 1.5 at the time and definitely a little more difficult to deal with camping but this time around he was much easier and definitely more fun!

We didn’t end up doing as much as hiking as I envisioned we would this time around and instead we spent more time at the river and hanging out at the campsite, too. But when we did hike, I wanted to head to the south side of the park and piece together some trails that we hadn’t seen before.

We parked near the SW corner of the park near the trail/road intersection of the Madrone Trail and began walking east on it until it joined near the road again. Forest didn’t want to ride in the backpack at first so he lead the way down the trail. He was a little pokey at times but we managed to walk the 0.79 miles in a decent time frame. Being as it was named the Madrone Trail we were hoping to find some madrone trees! Chris said he had seen photos online of the trees in the park so he knew they were there somewhere but for the beginning portion of the hike were were mostly enjoying ashe-juniper scrub!

Finally we found several small sapling madrones before coming across our first decent sized madrone tree before we arrived at the road crossing and took a break. It had been a cool-ish morning but had warmed up by the afternoon, however we hadn’t really felt the warmth of the sun while in the junipers. Sitting out at the road crossing for a short break made it evident Forest would need a hat and I kicked myself for not putting sunscreen on him before we left. Hopefully he wouldn’t burn!

He was still game for hiking himself so we crossed the road and used the south equestrian loop as a connector trail to get to the Juniper Ridge Trail. We had some options on routes, depending on how Forest was doing with the hike. We lost our shade when we crossed the road and I was glad I had grabbed Forest’s hat for the hike because now it was quite open and while it wasn’t incredibly hot, the sun did warm the day and reflected back up to us off of the limestone road-trail. We stopped briefly at a windmill where the equestrian backcountry camping was located and continued on our way. The equestrian loop was supposed to parallel the second utility ROW corridor but we found a weird turn at the first corridor and were uncertain where the trail actually was. The second corridor was open and walkable so we opted to use it as a connector and we would be able to see where the equestrian trail crossed back over north bound. Worst case scenario, we could stay on the ROW until it intersected the Juniper Ridge trail.

The walk down the ROW was entertaining but it was not graded for hiking and was actually a little steep. Forest had fun climbing up the hills and it was a bit difficult to walk down the slopes because the limestone fill material was not totally stable in some areas. Nevertheless, we wound up finding the equestrian trail crossing and hopped back on it. Thankfully the shade returned not too much further down the trail and it wasn’t long before Forest asked to sit in the backpack. He almost immediately got very sleepy and laid his head on the pack to rest for awhile. At this point he had probably hiked a mile and a half or closer to two miles—not too shabby!

The Juniper Ridge Trail was peaceful, shaded primarily in junipers, of course. We came across a few other day hikers and mountain bikers along the way. Eventually the trail wound down to Butler Creek which turned out to be a beautiful creek filled with wonderful plants like maidenhair ferns. We kept an eye out for chatterbox orchids, too.

What goes down must go back up, and so we wound back up the trail towards the tops of the hills. We’d had in our mind to head into town to Dripping Springs to find some ice cream after our hike so that put the spring in our step for the final stretch back to the car.

Hopefully the next time we return to the park Forest’s trail legs will be developed a bit more and we can explore more of the trails on the back side of the park!

September and October 2017 Book Report


I’ve been reading quite a bit and I’m actually reading a paper book right now! Forest finally got a big boy bed so we’re trying to switch up bedtime routines which means hopefully more paper books are in my future. I do like the ease of hopping into the Kindle and browsing the library for books, though, so that won’t go away.

Lots to review, let’s get to it!

Completed

  • The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks: As I said back in August’s book report this was a sort of sequel to The Widow of the South. It’s post Civil War and freed slaves are attempting to adjust to live as free people, getting a foothold into society, and making a life of their own. It’s a wobbly time, right when the early forms of the KKK and such are beginning to form. The story is told from the viewpoint of Mariah Reddick, a former slave of Carrie McGavock, TWOTS, and is about her son who was going to attempt to run for public office in their small Tennessee town before he is brutally murdered by a mob while giving a speech. It’s a complicated storyline involving a former assassin, a black man born free in the north, who is hired by a white man in this town to murder another man. There’s a plot behind that reason and of course a larger story, but I was reading it on the heels of the Charlottesville and easily found far too many parallels to current situations. Worth a read and can easily stand alone from TWOTS.
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit: This actually belonged in August’s list but I forgot to add it! You can read the title essay here.

    Yes, guys like this pick on other men’s books too, and people of both genders pop up at events to hold forth on irrelevant things and conspiracy theories, but the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.

    Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.

    The term mansplaining evolved from the title essay. Definitely a book worth reading—it is a compendium of her other essays, too.

  • Euphoria by Lily King: What can I say, I was snagged to read this book because of its cover, a very colorful rendition of a rainbow eucalyptus!

    I loved this book, more than I imagined I would. It’s a little slow and confusing at first but after the first couple of chapters, it moves quickly. It’s loosely based on the life of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead and two of her husbands but the book does not follow her life after the story in the novel. It takes place in New Guinea, where anthropologists are studying the local tribes, some of which had only recently stopped with cannibalistic rituals. It takes place in the 1930s so there is still a feeling of remoteness and non-contact with some of these tribes. I highly recommend this book!

  • Ilsa by Madeleine L’Engle: My first L’Engle novel and I am intrigued to read more. This book was actually out of print for half a century before recently being republished. I think it was worth bringing back for the public to read. While the setting was never specifically stated there are plenty of references with habitat and a couple of other cities that made me think this is set somewhere near Jacksonville, Florida, or very near the Florida/Georgia border. It follows the life of Henry Porcher—the narrator—and Ilsa Brandes. The Porcher’s are a rich and connected family while Ilsa lives with her scientist father near the beach. It takes place in the early 1900s, before, during, and after WWI. It’s one of those quiet novels that you can really get into but the ending just ends and you are left wanting more. My only complaint would be that you never really get to know Henry’s inner workings—which may be the point. I also really enjoyed this one.
  • A New Garden Ethic by Benjamin Vogt: I’ve been a fan of Vogt’s Deep Middle blog for several years now and have enjoyed seeing his yard transformation from standard suburban nothing to wild prairie landscape. I’ve not always agreed with some of his hard stances when he’s written about native plants on other blogs, but I enjoy being challenged to think about plants and gardens differently. When I saw he was publishing a book I looked forward to reading it and was happy to see that the library had it digitally. This book pairs nicely with Bringing Nature Home by Dr. Tallamy and The Humane Gardener by Nancy Lawson. My only complaint about the book would be that it needed to be broken up into more chapters and it would have been good to see some sort of “plan” or guidance for gardeners. It’s more of a philosophical book, something to get you to think outside the box and reevaluate some of your gardening principles.
  • Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel aka Modern Mrs. Darcy: I was expecting something a little more when I started reading this book, however if you are new to personality typing this is a great book for beginners. If you are wondering what I’m talking about regarding personality, then you might want to read about the Myers Briggs personality test and you can take a test here. I am an INFJ, a type that is considered to only make up about 1% of the population. Yes, I’ve taken the test multiple times and through different platforms because when you see the rarity of the type, you want to make sure that’s correct. And here I am, INFJ. I’ve often wondered if I’ve mistyped and I’m supposed to be an INFP, also a not-so-common type, but Bogel’s chapter in the book explaining the different cognitive functions for the types really sealed the deal. Reading about the cognitive drivers in the past has been confusing and Bogel really made it clear and understandable. And then further reading into the Ni-Ti Loop—the introverted intuition and introverted thinking loop—that we can get into really hit home. Yep, that’s me! Could grief can I dig myself into a hole when I get into my head.

    The rest of the book talks about other personality typing strategies such as Enneagram and Love Languages. It’s really a book about learning about yourself and your friends and family—figuring out how they work so you can work together in your relationships. Since they were both published near each other, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies was not covered in this book but she does mention Rubin briefly. I would be interested to see an updated edition in a few years that adds this into it. Gretchen has been on a ton of podcasts and has her own podcast if you are interested in learning about her framework—obliger here! Take her quiz here

    Currently Reading

  • The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham: loving this one so far! Reminds me a little of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.
  • Plant Dreaming Deep by May Sarton
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton: So, so good! Also, makes me so damn angry at so many people and sometimes I read a few pages and have to put it down because it is so upsetting. The first 30 pages put the day after the election back into my head and all of those tears came back. I have words, some of them filled with f-bombs. Let’s just say I’ve finally made it to the anger section of the grief cycle. I don’t know if I will ever get to acceptance because EFFFFFFFFFFF it all. This is me throwing the book at the wall because I’m so pissed off now. Ooh, better stop writing and save the rest of my anger for the final review next month when I finish reading the book.

What are you reading?

Paectes abrostoloides moth caterpillar


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Yesterday after work Chris decided he was finally going to attack the two pine trees that fell into the pond during Hurricane Harvey. He’d been contemplating how he was going to deal with them since they fell—they aren’t in any good position for total removal. Finally he decided he would just cut them near the shore and let them rot for several years in the water and allow them to be turtle and fish habitat in the meantime. Maybe the beavers will decide they like pine wood and chew on them, too.

So, that’s what he opted to do before dinner and after work yesterday. Forest and I were out front where Forest was playing on the front porch and I was attempting to nurse a headache and pull weeds in the flower garden path. Chris wanted Forest to stay with me but Forest saw what Chris was going to go do so I decided we’d all just go down to the pond and watch while Chris worked on the pines.

We set up our chairs about thirty feet away under some sweetgum trees and hung out for a few minutes. Chris had some problems when his chainsaw got stuck after the first pine tree adjusted itself after the initial cuts so there were a few minutes of logistical complications. Eventually Chris got everything unstuck, after taking apart the chainsaw, and proceeded on his way. Somewhere in the middle of that Forest began having a freak out and asking me what was on his hand. It started off as a simple “What’s that, Mom?” before quickly morphing into tearful panic before I could even address what he was talking about.

A caterpillar had fallen on his hand. I quickly told him it was a caterpillar and then moved it over to my hand while I began explaining that it was just a caterpillar and it wouldn’t bother him. We haven’t come across too many poisonous caterpillars yet so I haven’t had to broach that topic and honestly, I didn’t think about the fact that this thing could have been something even I shouldn’t have been touching. Luckily the caterpillar didn’t do any stinging and I sat there until Chris’ chainsaw stopped and told him we had a new caterpillar to identify.

We’ve seen luna moths around here a few times and I knew they used sweetgum as their larval host plant but this looked to be an an early instar, I thought, so I wasn’t quite sure if that was what we were dealing with. Once Forest settled a bit I got up to move the caterpillar over to a low branch of the sweetgum and instantly saw another caterpillar on the leaf I was going to put the one I had on. Now I was in find-all-the-caterpillars mode!

We sat back down and I looked over to the ground and spotted a green blob moving quickly across an oak leaf on the ground. I lept up and grabbed it and held onto it until Chris was finished with the second tree and then went in and grabbed the camera. I didn’t get a chance to look up the caterpillar until later in the evening but it was most definitely not a luna moth caterpillar. After nixing the luna moth idea, I did the next best thing and searched “caterpillars who use sweetgum” and searched the image results. Voilà! I found it! It was a large paectes moth caterpillar! My other searches show that the eyed paectes moth caterpillar is similar but I’m leaning towards this particular find to be the large paectes.

Another great find in just a few days! I have an unidentified caterpillar that was using our false nettle a few weeks ago—super, duper fast and definitely not one of the three that are typically supposed to be using false nettle—red admiral, question mark, or eastern comma. No idea, I couldn’t even figure that one out!

Now I will be on the hunt for more caterpillars to identify around here!

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) caterpillar


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Yesterday I bailed from work before lunch because I wasn’t feeling well. At some point I knew I wasn’t going to be able to power through it and hope I’d feel better. I came home and spent a few hours watching tv, taking a nap, and slurping some soup. Around 3pm I walked outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air and to enjoy the sun; it was far too nice of a day to be cooped up inside as I had been. I grabbed my camera and decided to go for a walk around the garden for a few minutes. I was almost done and heading back to the monarch tent went I stopped to admire the Senna corymbosa. The flowers were slowly fading and seedpods had begun forming. And then my eye caught something I hadn’t seen out there before—a new caterpillar for the garden! I went inside and flipped through my caterpillar book. I hadn’t really studied the caterpillar but I had narrowed it down to a cloudless sulphur or an orange barred sulphur. Once I opened my photos up to look a little closer and compare to Google Images it was evident it was a cloudless sulphur! I had been noticing a lot more sulphurs around here but I never really identify which ones because they are such flightly butterflies and don’t sit still long enough for one to really inspect them. I’m glad to know that they have decided to start using my senna to start laying eggs! Since I wasn’t feeling well I didn’t really inspect the entire plant to see if there were more but I suspect there may be! Now I will be paying attention to see if I can find when it decides to pupate!

Lucky find!

Pumpkin Harvest


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These two pumpkins have been orange for several weeks now. I had done some reading about when to harvest pumpkins earlier this summer when I knew that the vines were setting fruit but I had to take a dive back into my reading to verify myself about the proper time to harvest. Being as this was my first experience successfully growing pumpkins, I wanted to be sure. So, I took Forest to the garden with me and we cut the pumpkins off the vines—me with my garden clippers, Forest with his Handy Manny saw.

Now that I’ve had some pumpkin success, not without a scare from Harvey’s flood waters, I’m tempted to try another variety or two next summer. I had to dig back into my archives to remember when I sowed the vines, but it looks like early June was when things happened this year. I think I’ll try that time period once again next year as *crossing fingers* the squash vine borers seemed to have been less problematic later in the summer than they are in the spring. Or maybe it was that the Seminole pumpkin vine was just good at standing up to the bugs!

On the agenda this weekend is to make a batch of pumpkin butter with these two pumpkins. All of my research says that home canning pumpkin butter is a no-go so I found that freezer recipe from Ball. I made pumpkin butter maybe two or three—was it four???—years ago. I can’t remember if Forest was around yet or not. I remember it molding pretty fast in the fridge, mostly because I had too much in a jar and couldn’t get through it fast enough. This time around I’ll do half-pint jars and only keep a small amount in the fridge at a time.

This weekend I plan on trying to catch up on some photos I’ve taken over the last few weeks and maybe getting some posts written up for later this week. I write in my head all of the time I just never have the energy or time (hello, bedtime stalling from a certain preschooler) in the evenings to get much done.

Happy Saturday!

The September Garden


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A view of the side yard garden from the front

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Stapelia gigantea

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Senna corymbosa

Did it seem like September sped by with nary a time to take a breathe? It did for me. Harvey seemed to push us straight into September and the week+ off of work made it feel even more odd to start September. Chris was out of town for Forest’s birthday and Forest turned three and honestly, I’m not quite sure where the weeks went between that and Chris’ birthday which was just this last weekend.

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Lycoris radiata

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Gaillardia aestivalis var. winkleri

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Brugmansia

The tug to do just a little bit less in the garden is great but the weeds are telling me not to get to cozy inside just yet. I’d like to get everything really cleaned up weed-wise and some more mulch put down in the edible and flower gardens in addition to more decomposed granite on the flower garden paths. I’m more than annoyed with whatever is digging up our flower garden mulch that I had put down back in August. Was that August? I can’t even remember now. Maybe it was September. That’s beside the point—something is rooting around and driving me insane!

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Blackberry lilies

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Musella lasiocarpa

For about two months or so I had noticed a hole being dug underneath our front porch adjacent to the stairs by our walkway approaching the house. I thought maybe it was the work of raccoons but my dad happened to see a opossum scurrying down the hole one night when he went to walk Daisy, my parent’s dog. Ok, probably a good clue as to what is digging around the garden, especially because it tends to only dig the bed directly in front of the house.

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Monarch caterpillar

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Pink banana

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Love bugs, Plecia nearctica

The rest of the flower garden is slowly senescing, well, the plants that will do that this time of year. Some are in full blooming glory like the brugmansias, daturas, flowering senna, and just now coming into bloom, the pineapple salvia. I think this year I will dry some of it to use in teas. It also might be an interesting addition to kombucha.

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Senna corymbosa in the side yard

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Brugmansia

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More of the side yard

I started a variety of seeds for the flower garden on the potting bench last week in hopes I could grow some out over winter and get them into the ground in the spring. I was hoping to get a head start on some of them because many of them I have trouble getting big enough to avoid the deer nibbling on them—the deer just nibble the entire plant down to nothing, so my plan is that maybe I can get some big enough that the deer won’t destroy in one bite. Yes, this is wishful thinking but I’m going to do it anyway.

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Seminole pumpkin ripening

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Future Seminole pumpkin!

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Cowpea jungle

In the edible garden I sowed a lot of seeds about a week and a half ago. Most have germinated but some have not—I suspect they are waiting for cooler soil temperatures. I’ll give them a few weeks and might have to resow. So far the ones doing well are the bok choy, Florida broadleaf mustard, and kale, but plenty of others are coming up too.

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Future cowpeas!

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Tiny Sumter cucumber

The okra are waning and I will take them down next week. I didn’t grow a bunch this year because I still had some frozen from last year and know that next season I will plant more than the few little rows I did. The cowspeas really decided to start flowering over the last two weeks and I thought I was about to have a good harvest but the peas stopped forming and shriveled up mid-way through. No pollination? Not sure what happened there. I am getting cucumbers in now, which is a perk for my salads. I can’t wait to get carrots harvested, too, but that’s a month or so away.

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Okra

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A small bean harvest

It’s monarch city around here with eggs, caterpillars, and adults galore! In addition, the gulf frits are here, too. BUT, I’m super stoked about this, I finally saw something using my false nettle! I suspect it is the red admirals but I couldn’t get any caterpillar interested in escaping its leaf tent. I even tried in the evening to see if any were out and about, but nope. I was pretty ecstatic to see leaves rolled up finally!

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A bok choy and squash blossom harvest.

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Leeks

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Bok choy seedling

Garden goals for October: Weed all the things, start planning what we want to plant in an area we’re going to move some irises out of, get some trees planted that we have sitting on the potting bench, and resow a few seeds out in the edible garden.

September Lepidopterans


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The lepidopteran show here at Tadpole Hollow is full swing. I thought I had a bunch of monarchs back in August but nope, the migration is really in full swing now. I have caterpillars and eggs out my ears and I’m doing my best to raise what I can though most are doing their own thing out there on the milkweed.

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Raising the monarchs are been educational and rewarding but also a little heartbreaking at times. Smaller caterpillars just up and disappear, probably chomped on by their larger counterparts because they don’t know any better, and I had my first case of OE that showed up in a chrysalis just as it was turning to start to eclose. I talked with my friend who has been raising them for awhile and she said to go ahead and remove it because it would never emerge and would just start smelling. I put it in the trash, which felt a little sacrilegious but I didn’t want to spread disease. I suppose I could have just buried it. And this evening I found a deflated caterpillar in the garden hanging from a leaf. Upon closer inspection it looks like it may have been parasitized. I plucked the leaf it was on off the milkweed plant and tossed it all over the fence. Not only that, but it looks like I might have my first failure-to-pupate in the tent tonight. The caterpillar is still alive, I think, but it doesn’t look good. For that, I am a little bummed. It looks like there could be various causes so it isn’t like I will have some kind of miracle answer.

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The best part of the monarchs recently has been being able to show my parents and niece and nephew the emerging butterflies and releasing them while they were here for a visit recently!

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In other caterpillar news, I was inspecting some of the milkweed on the potting bench over the weekend and found my first milkweed tussock moth caterpillar! I’m very excited about this! I moved it over to the main garden milkweed so it wouldn’t eat up all of my container milkweed and later I found a second one! Since they pupate underground I won’t be trying to keep them but finding this caterpillar heartened me that our garden is hosting an array of caterpillars. Now, if I could just entice those red admirals to feast on my false nettle! The question mark and commas also use this plant but I have never seen one in my yard—doesn’t mean they aren’t here, just that I’ve never seen one. I have seen red admirals.

Joining in the butterfly bonanza lately but without photos have been various sulphurs, gulf fritilaries, and painted ladies. The gulf frits are just now really coming in heavily and I have noticed them laying eggs on the passifloras, too. At lunch today I saw an adult flying and remembered to go and check one of the Passiflora lutea vines where I saw a female laying eggs over the weekend and sure enough, there was a caterpillar!

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And finally, this little butterfly, a Carolina satyr. But I’m not 100%, kind of how I was back in July 2016, but I’m using Forest’s new handy-dandy laminated fold out butterfly guide and I feel pretty confident this time around.

I will try to get some more garden updates soon! I seem to been in a cycle of write a bunch of posts-take several weeks off so maybe I can get into the first part of that cycle once again!

Life Lately | September 2017


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+In My Head

It rained earlier this week, the first time since Harvey. I think all of Houston twitched for a little bit. A few people I am friends with or follow online, one of them had their house flooded for over a week, weren’t so happy about the rain. I actually hadn’t driven beyond Tomball down to the south of us in these last several weeks so I hadn’t seen anything flood related other than what was around here and it was minimal compared to what happened in Harris county. I drove to Baytown last week to do some field work and saw several piles of trash that were clearly from being flooded out. My work was in an area along Galveston Bay in the marsh so one section required meandering around piles of debris that had washed up. It was pretty gross to see and to think of what was in the water (bacterial and pollution-wise), too. You could still see the sediment line from the storm surge/flooding, which was over my head. I’m really trying to wrap my head around the poor Caribbean and its damages right now and it pains me to think about what everyone is going through over there.

One a separate note, I know last week I mentioned some podcasts with Hillary but this episode of Call Your Girlfriend with Aminatou doing the interview takes the cake! Best one I’ve heard!

+Watching
I’ve been taking a deep dive into Charmed on Netflix. I watched the series when it originally aired back in the late 90s and early 2000s but I know I missed some of the later episodes. I am a fan of Shannon Doherty so I wasn’t thrilled when they killed her off originally but I got over it when they brought in Rose McGowan to play Paige. What I love about watching this show again is not only the blast back into the 90s but how there are no smart phones and the internet was still in its beginnings. Web 2.0 hadn’t happened yet. Heck, the first few seasons are pre 9/11 so it is even a little more surreal in that aspect. No one has their heads in their phones, the girls still read the newspaper with their breakfast, and overall it is still a very analog life. Sure, they have cell phones but people just call them on it and sometimes they, you know, actually can’t get a hold of who they are calling. And no one freaks out.

Outlander is back on and I am having a love/hate relationship with it. Mostly because we’re still on Frank—go away Frank!—but that will fade out as the season goes on. I’m ready for some sailing! Also: we need more Fergus.

Last weekend I watched Passengers with my parents. It was very compelling and actually I woke up a lot that night thinking about the movie. The premise is there are now multiple planets that are being colonized by humans but of course they take many, many years to travel to. A company has figured out how to transport people there by putting them to sleep for 120 years, and when they are a few months from the new planet they wake up and live on this cruise ship style space ship until they get to the new planet. Of course one of the passengers wakes up on accident 90 years early and cannot get back to hibernation mode. Lots of calamities ensue, of course. Good movie, I thought!

+Outside My Window

I felt like fall was coming on a little early back in August but then it seemed to get put on hold, and certain plants I thought were about to just burst into their autumn bloom, didn’t. But finally the leaves are changing more, the plants are blooming, and hopefully soon we will cool off. The cool down after Harvey went away and we’ve been back into the low 90s with high humidity for the last several weeks.

+Making

This used to be titled In The Art Studio but since I practically never get over there I am renaming it Making instead. Right now the urge to crochet is on full throttle so I’m brainstorming and flagging projects on Ravelry. I finished up a second cocoon cardi like this one I made last October. This was for my mom. Two more I need to make. The other project I just started is a scarf using a new stitch, slant stitch, which you can see above. I’m liking it so far!

Still have plans on rearranging my studio and finishing up a scrapbook but I’m not forseeing that really happening until the time change or when it is dark by 7. I’ll spend more time in there, hopefully, when I can’t be outside after dinner. We shall see.

+In The Garden

The flower garden needs to be weeded again and mulch put down on the last couple of beds. I put down mulch on 2.5-ish beds a few weekends ago and sometime I need to get the others. I also need to get mulch for the vegetable garden paths. The edible garden is doing well and we’re getting seeds sown for fall. Most of what I sowed has germinated though I think a few things might be waiting on a little bit cooler soil. We’ll see—if nothing comes up in a few space I’ll try again in October sometime. We are waiting for October already on a couple of items like lettuce, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. I’m really looking forward to salad season! The pumpkin vine that took a hit with the floods from Harvey has bounced back. Two fruit are turning a pale orange and it is setting more fruit, so that will make up for the four I lost to rot. I’m already dreaming of making some pumpkin butter!

I’m still raising monarchs! In this latest round I mostly gathered caterpillars I found in the garden, though I did find a couple of eggs. We’re camping soon so I didn’t want to get a bunch of eggs and have to deal with them not being in chrysalis when we were out of town and most of these will be in chrysalis and pupating. There are more eggs out there—I’ve seen monarchs laying them this week, and I accidentally pulled about six off on a few leaves I was getting to feed the caterpillars—so I know I’ll have more to raise when we get back from camping. I’m going to hatch out the eggs I accidentally pulled and put them on the milkweed while we are gone. Hopefully they will survive the birds and wasps and I can get them back when we return. I don’t have enough plants to support rotating in a bunch of plants for 10+ caterpillars but I have enough that I could raise one or two in the tent while I’m away. Right now I’m picking single leaves off the plants in the garden a couple of times a way to feed them. They are so voracious right now that they will eat them in a few hours.

Late edit: I just found a milkweed tussock moth caterpillar on the milkweed! Very cool!

+Reading

Ilsa by Madeleine L’Engle. I have never read her books before and with A Wrinkle in Time being turned into a movie I might have to dip into that soon. This was on my flagged books that I thought were interesting on Hoopla Digital and it sounded worth picking up. From what I understand it was out of print for like 60 years or so before they started printing it again. The digital copy I’m reading has some typos here and there so I’m not sure what that’s about. The book is part coming of age, part “just life”, and my best guess is it takes place somewhere near Jacksonville, Florida or maybe Saint Augustine. I’m basing this on habitat descriptions and the references of being too far south to be considered the south, talking about Miami and Fernandina—the latter I’m guessing is Fernandina Beach which is north of Jacksonville near the Georgia border.

I’m also reading Garden Design magazine. I subscribed back in the spring after oogling over it for a year. Chris likes to complain about it because it is an expensive magazine–and it is compared to mainstream magazines–but there are no ads and every issue is super thick and full of rich stories and information. I’ve noticed that some of the more quality magazines have started going to subscriber supported instead of relying on ads, which of course means you only get a few issues a year instead of monthly, but I’d rather have substance than lots of ads. I was disappointed when Organic Gardening switched to Organic Life and ditched gardening for a lifestyle magazine instead. Honestly, there are very few good gardening magazines out there right now.

The other magazine I’m reading is Heirloom Gardener. This was originally put out by Baker Creek Seed Company and from what I can tell it was sold to Ogden Publications sometime in 2016. This is the same company that puts out Mother Earth News. While the magazine still has a similar theme and feel, there’s definitely a slightly diminished quality since it has moved to a mainstream publisher—more ads for one. But the magazine always has some interesting content for unique edibles to grow!

+Loving

I am trying a reset with coffee these last two weeks and instead have been trying to drink hot tea instead of coffee. I am letting myself have some coffee on the weekend but limiting it to one or two cups and I did try a Pumpkin Spice K-cup at work yesterday because it was the first day of fall. I definitely notice a difference in how I’m feeling—I was drinking too much caffeine. I’ve been drinking the Chai Green Tea from Stash, which of course has some caffeine, but then I’ve been following it up with Chai Spice decaf also from Stash or the Spice Dragon Red Chai from Stash as well. In addition, I’ve been favoring Wild Berry Zinger from Celestial Seasonings in the afternoons. I’m thinking this might be a new trend for me, at least for a few months. I was feeling a little out of sorts with the coffee.

What’s up with you?

Friday Five | 10


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It’s been awhile since I’ve done any of these but here are some things I’ve loved this week!

  1. Pod Save America’s interview with Hillary Clinton. I’m on the list to borrow her book at the library and I can’t wait to read it but this was a very satisfying show to tide me over. I just wanted to reach through the computer and hug her and it dragged up a lot of feelings I had from the day after the election. She would have been an excellent president.
  2. The latest two episodes of the With Her podcast. Yep, more interviews with Hillary. So good!
  3. This adorable, make-you-cry video from Serena Williams on her pregnancy journey. *sniff sniff*
  4. Very thankful that my friend Chel made it through Irma while riding it out with her family on Marco Island. They didn’t leave the island due to some health issues that prevented long travel and being in a shelter wasn’t going to work for them either. While her parent’s condo had some window damage when they shattered during the eye wall passing over, her house was thankfully spared much damage and the storm surge didn’t affect her house either. Unfortunately it looks like Everglades City and Chokoloskee and the Lower Keys, not so much. My friend Eliana over in Miami had a lot of damage to the yard as well as some issues with water leaking through the walls. From thinking this storm was going to do to Florida what it did to the Caribbean islands, this could have been much worse. Can we have another long period without major storms?
  5. Fall seed sowing season! I’ve spent the week prepping beds, going through seeds, and getting them sown. Maybe I’ll get around to an update next week. Can’t wait for greens season again!

Have a great weekend!

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