Spring Garden Abundance
20 March 2023 | 7:38 pm

We returned from our west Texas adventures for Spring Break to much greener pastures here. Yes, there were some plants blooming in the Davis Mountains but as we lowered in elevation and drove east, the greening climbed significantly. I was glad to return to see I hadn’t missed some blooms, particularly the penstemons, which I knew were coming. The Penstemon laxiflorus is just beginning and I am delighted to get to enjoy them once again. I transplanted these pineland milkweed, Asclepias obovata, seeds before we left and worried they wouldn’t take well without some constant watching but they have thrived. I’ll leave them in the pot for a month or so and may transplant them later this spring. I have felt little urge to do much edible gardening the last several years, mostly because I lost the urge to do all of the processing that comes along with harvesting what we grow. This year I managed to grow decent crops of radishes and it brought back some of the more hardcore edible gardening days from a decade ago. Of course, winter didn’t want to let go too easily, so I had to cover the tomatoes, of which many are 3-4′ tall already, last night for our mid-30s temps early this morning. I could have probably skipped it but I did see some frost on rooftops this morning so I’m glad I took some precautions. Forest’s Cherokee purple tomato we bought as a start from our local nursery. Fleabanes are taking off and they are so delightful! As is the white fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus. Blooming tree season goes by way too fast. Well, I thought these were going to be the foxglove penstemons but they are turning out to be the sharpsepal penstemons, Penstemon tenuis. Which is totally fine, I just forgot I even planted those! Coming into the second year of this native bed is going to be interesting—mostly to see where I made mistakes of adding plants in I shouldn’t have! Not this one…but… probably this one, which is a monarda. Yes, yes, what was I thinking? I’m already thinning it a bit, but I’ll give it a whirl and see how it performs. I suspect it will be one of constant vigilance to keep contained. Oh yeah, back to my expert edible gardener phase—kale and lettuce harvest are really rolling in and as much as a pain as putting a crop cover up was this year I am being rewarded! No more battling bugs for me! Tomatillo flower Texas ragwort is beginning to bloom and the pollinators are already very happy about it! Oh, and one last edible garden photo, the mustard greens! Aphids or caterpillars usually destroy it fast and I never get a chance to eat any! Look a the coloring on the leaves! Happy First Day of Spring!

Big Sky Country
18 March 2023 | 12:39 am

A week in the Davis Mountains, spring this time instead of our usual Thanksgiving. Which meant warmer, but much windier weather, and the beginning of spring blooms for plants we haven’t gotten to see bloom before. All the warm weather and early blooms will be dusted with snow this weekend as a cold front came through last night, our last night. The city of Fort Davis was preparing for the storm by salting the roads and brought out a big truck with some weird thing on the front, and after our southern sensibilities faded we realized was a snow plow! Hah! You certainly don’t see those around our part of Texas. So much to share! We’ve stopped over in San Antonio for the night to break up the drive, but I’m ready to be home, though I think a part of me now lives in the Davis Mountains.

Life Lately | February 2023
10 March 2023 | 2:46 pm

Thinking: A few life updates can go here I presume…. So I finally had my hip MRI a few weeks ago, really probably a month ago by now, and no surgery needed. I do have an impingement but not to the extent he originally thought I might. But as I was talking to him he started thinking more on it and had me get an x-ray of my lower back. There was some narrowing between L1 and L2 and he thought my nerves are being affected which would be causing some of that pain, so I’m now starting physical therapy. I had my intake appointment this week with the PT and my glute strength is crap and apparently my lower back is doing all of the work for my hips when I walk, and my upper back isn’t helping because it is too tight. So, lots of things to work on! I have a nerve glide I am doing with my leg and one or two exercises but I’ve been planning some glute strengthening workouts in my head so I’ll be focusing on that the next few months. Other random things: I’ve been reading a lot about tropical milkweed and monarchs and delving into some more of that science, mostly through a couple of groups online. We had already started weeding out tropical milkweed from our garden due to its higher OE load but after hearing more and more about how tropical milkweed had been affecting the migratory process of many monarchs in the south and in Florida, I knew it was time to eliminate it completely. It’s a fairly controversial topic and I may write about it more soon, but I do recommend the work of Dr. Andy Davis and his Monarch Science website if you want to read more! Forest is rapidly becoming a tween. That probably deserves its own post, too, but wow! I happened to stumble across a video of him from four years ago and it is amazing that little baby voice is gone! TBH, I think about plants most of the time. Gardening: The garden is really just going gangbusters right now.. All the green treefrog friends are back out! The amnsonia is about to bloom! I’m probably going to miss it since we’ll be on Spring Break. Penstemon laxiflorus is about to bloom but they should bloom long enough I’ll see them when I return. Somehow I managed to grow an amazing patch of calendula this year and I’m so thrilled! Parsley hawthorns are popping off right now and are just so stunning! I have got to figure out some plants to fill in this area. This side garden used to be my favorite but a lot of different changes in the last few years have really altered how this area looks. Reading: This month I read 8 books! Four were audiobooks, one of those was really a book I started last summer and finally finished after borrowing a couple of times, and three were Kindle books, and one was a paper book. I don’t know why I feel the need to differentiate how I read books but apparently I do! I just love audio so much because I can listen while I do chores or work out and get little bits of a story in when otherwise I might not have the chance to sit down and read. I need to do a book update but I may end up merging February and March together. Making: I started catching up on my nature journal earlier this week but I’m still behind and won’t be catching up for a couple of weeks. I’m still in a limbo with making things at the moment. Watching & Listening: I’m still on my no streaming kick! Grey’s Anatomy is back so I could catch up on that and I may at some point soon, but I just don’t have the time at the moment to sit and watch tv. I’m also trying to get Forest out of the habit of so much tv so I feel like it is generally a good trend. Call the Midwife comes back on soon and I will watch it because it is such a good show. Listening wise—audiobooks, a few podcasts. I’ve been trying to listen to a few whole albums on Spotify recently. I don’t know if I have ever listened to R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People as one whole album because it wasn’t one I had as a teen in my small cd collection, but wow what a stellar album that holds up 30 years later. I had/have New Adventures in Hi-Fi and also re-listened to it and remembered how good it was. Podcasts I’ve been enjoying: +The Huberman Lab with Dr. Sara Gottfried – about menopause primarily but female hormones in general. It’s long, all of this podcasts are long, but worth the listen. +The Florida Madcaps – Some hiking friends of mine have started a podcast about general Florida outdoors topics and I have really enjoyed all of their episodes so far! Podcasts have been sporadic lately, really, the last several years. I recently perused some that I used to listen to almost a decade ago and felt like maybe I should dive through the archives once again. I used to listen to so many food, homesteading, “crunchy” shows and many of those fell by the wayside or went far right-wing in the last few years (look up the crunchy to alt-right pipeline!) so I stopped listening to so many of those. But looking at the archives brought back some good memories from before we had Forest and were doing a lot of our gardening at the community garden. Looking Forward: Spring Break—heading out to the Davis Mountains!

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