Life Lately | August 2018
About the passage of time…my niece Zoe turned 10 a few weeks ago and my nephew Grayson turned 7 on Saturday. We went up to Fort Worth for their birthday party this weekend and I can’t believe they are that old already! I can always mark Grayson’s birthday and age with my work anniversary (the office version–the field version is about 10 months longer that) since I started here a few days before he was born. It feels like yesterday that we were wrapping up our period of vagabonding, settling into our tiny rental, exploring local flavor, and Grayson was born!. But nope, 7 years ago y’all! And I’m about to have a FOUR YEAR OLD! WHAT?
The weekend trip to Fort Worth was great! The last time we were up there we narrowly escaped town as the roads were icing. Honestly, I figured we’d have gone back up there since but we just haven’t. My parents visited in mid-spring and then everyone came down over Memorial Day weekend (something I didn’t get around to writing about here—yet), and then we went to Florida and they had vacations…so it’s been busy. The kid’s birthday party was Friday evening so Chris and I took a half day off and drove up there for a long-ish weekend. On Saturday we spent most of the day at the Dove Waterpark in Grapevine after we had a quick breakfast with Chris’ mom and brother. The pool was awesome! It had plenty of things to do for little ones on up to adults, including a diving board and two water slides. Forest enjoyed the small slides at the Disney resort we stayed at so he was hoping to go on these but he was about 5″ too short for one of them and 5 years too young for the other.
But I was enticed by the diving board as was my brother. Zoe and Grayson also enjoyed the diving board. I’m going to guess the last time I was on a diving board was in college, so at least 16 years ago, if not 20 years ago. I took it easy at first, just doing a standing dive off until I got the nerves up to do running and jumping dives. I will say that it was a work out, jumping, swimming, getting out and repeating it multiple times. Now, to find me a pool here with a diving board!
The gardens are good, though the flower garden is in a late summer slump and a bit of a mess. My focus has been on the edible garden with some poking around in the flower garden here and there. Lots of pollinators right now though no monarchs have arrived in my area. Chris saw one at a field site on the east side of Houston and we saw one or two in the Austin area in July as well as some caterpillars on the milkweed at the children’s play area at the Houston Zoo at the end of July. According to Journey North the vast majority of sightings are still in the midwest and northeast so the main migration this direction hasn’t occurred yet. I’m guessing last year was an anomaly for me, having the monarchs in early August. It will be interesting to see when they return here.
Gulf fritillary caterpillars are the predominate caterpillar right now though I still have 11 pipevine swallowtails in the cage. Oh yeah, update on that: I found more eggs on the toxic pipevine so I put them in the cage with a cutting of the vine and kept an eye out for when they hatched. As soon as they hatched I moved them to A. fimbriata and they’ve been happy ever since. Though yesterday I went out to get more good pipevine for them because they are in the “GIMME ALL THE PIPEVINE” phase at the moment and found three different clutches of newly hatched caterpillars. I did not bring them into the cage because I figured there was a good chance they would be mowed over by the nearly-ready-to-pupate caterpillars in their urge to devour pipevine. Note to self: Get allllll the pipevine I can get my hands on next year. I already started more A. watsonii seeds and now that the fimbriata has set seed I’m trying to get more of that started. It is a great shady groundcover and it could easily be used in a couple of other areas in the garden. I still want to find the native southeastern species to get growing in the garden, too.
Let’s go through what I said I needed to do back and June and follow up and I’ll write another list below that.
Here’s my random list of things to do out there:
Trim back blackberries: Yep, done! Take out tomatoes in about two to three weeks and put fall tomatoes in: Done! The fall tomatoes are growing well! Finish weeding (for this round): done-ish! Weeding is never done, y’all know that. Mulch paths: Done! I spent two-ish weeks working on it but it got done! So much better! Move remaining compost from left bin to the edible garden, put good mulch down in some perimeter beds: Done! Spray fish emulsion: I was consistent with this for awhile but need to be back on top of my game. Put down more fertilizer because what I put down a few days/week prior to the flood probably washed away: done! Turn compost bin and start left bin with new stuff: Need to turn the right bin one more time but it is mostly useable for fall already. Stake sunchokes better: Done but then we got a storm and they flopped over again so they got a whack back about half-way.
Late Summer Garden Chores
- Weed the flower garden paths. I’m still really wanting to sod this thing in. The only part that would be spotty would be the shady area under the fig. *sigh* We really need more decomposed granite on this path this year. Or sod. Something needs to be done.
- Weed the flower beds. They aren’t horrible but need a review.
- Stake the chia (salvia) plants. They look great until a strong wind comes and they get all bend up and knocked over.
- Up pot some lobelia seedlings on the potting bench as well as other seedlings I just started.
- Fix the mess where the agastache and golden lotus banana is. I think a combination of some hard rain and the deer have knocked over the golden lotus bananas. The agastache just needs a hair cut and a sprinkling of seeds/deadheading.
- Maybe get around to finishing weeding the man-cave/garage bed. I started it but then never finished it because, well, we don’t walk over there much.
- Go through the seeds for fall. I did a bit of this the other day but I know it needs to be gone through again and an update of my seed list needs to happen.
- Rake up the last bits of mulch that are embedded into the ground and put it on some edible beds. Get more mulch for fall.
- Prep several edible beds with compost for fall seeding.
- Maybe write some summer garden blog posts! I have more photos to process and other photos I never shared.
I know I’m missing things but that’s the gist of it at the moment.
+I just came across this band called The Dead Tongues (thank you Spotify!) and I’m really enjoying their song Won’t Be Long as well as all of their songs on Spotify. I’ll probably look into buying at least their latest album at some point. If you like indie/bluegrass/folk they would be someone to look into!
+Synergee Minibands: I’ve been loving these minibands for working out! They add some great resistance, particularly for leg work that I wasn’t able to get previously unless I had gym equipment. I did not pay the price listed in the link on Amazon currently, they were $11.95 when I bought them. So, don’t spend that ridiculous amount on them!
I’m due for another Book Report soon but I recently finished Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright and I was appalled at some of the similarities of things Mussolini said/did and what 45 says/wants to do. She breaks down many different fascists and dictators over the last 80 years, talking about similarities and differences and how they can apply to current political climates. Very much worth a read. I’ve finished a couple of fiction books, too. And I just started The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead as an audiobook and so far it is going well.
I got the studio cleaned up! I reorganized it, too, and Forest and have been going once or twice a week for an hour or so. Sometimes he draws or paints other times he plays. We have a marble game that he likes to play with and I dug out some stuffed animals, too. Zoe and Grayson used to love going to the studio when they came to visit and Forest’s visits to the studio are the same vibe right now, that sense of newness and exciting adventure in ‘the studio!’
I managed to paint a 4×4 acrylic painting during a couple of our trips over there. I’m now wanting to work on a weaving. I also want to paint more, so that’s on the agenda. I’m really letting it be open ended when I go over, to create whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes I just want to sit and enjoy the ambiance! I’m so glad I got it cleaned up so that we can spend time over there more when it is dark outside in a few months.
What’s up with you?
Sounds like you’ve been busy this summer!