Friday, November 30, 2007

In the beginning...

There was tall, tall grass.

It took 2 large men with commercial weed eaters to cut our jungle down. A regular lawn mower could not go very long without choking. I kinda liked the tall, wispy grasses with its beautiful wild flowers. It was so green and lush. Our neighbors have told us that our back yard was where all the deer gathered at night to they sleep and poop, they poop a lot, in our front yard.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Breaking Ground!

We have begun to break ground and mark off the places we would like our gardens and flower beds to be. A trail, gazebo, playscape and herb, butterfly , veggie and flower picking gardens will be placed. It will take a while but through out the winter will be prepare the ground. In the spring we will install the playscape and bring in the plants. :-)

(Click on the slide show to see larger pictures and read the plans)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Winter Moon

I was driving home from Waco and in a very sad mood (I had just dropped off my babies at Mom's - she just had to have them this week) and along the way I kept my eyes on the moon. It was so bright and it changed shape as the clouds rolled by I took a picture of it the moment I walked in.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cactus Seeds

Sean wants to plant some cacti in our yard. I think he got this idea after doing some research on xeriscaping for our new yard and while hanging out at the downtown Whole Foods Rooftop playscape that is surrounded by cacti and trees like ours। So, we took some fruit the last time we were there eating and playing and I cut it open to extract the seeds...lets see how this goes, shall we? lol!

Christmas Cactus ... who knew?

I have a christmas cactus that my MIL gave me YEARS ago. We both have the same plant on our patios and I recently gave my mom a clipping of mine.  I saw it on her patio last weekend--so sweet. I just walked outside to see that mine has many buds and I can't wait to see them bloom. It has also outgrown it's pot. So I did some research and well, I had no idea it had to sit in total darkness for so long! Eeek. Mine has endured years of sitting on a table on our patio, soaking up the Texas sun--year round.

As you know, we are newbie gardeners and as we stubble across, fall into or get hit in our sunblock coated faces with answers on how to care for our many plants, we will pass the info on।  :-)

Care of Christmas Cactus Important After Holidays

B. Rosie Lerner, Purdue Consumer Horticulture Specialist

While the poinsettia remains the most popular of the holiday plants, a healthy Christmas cactus in full bloom is a great gift idea for that special gardener. But along with that bounty of blooms, send these tips for keeping the plant looking its best.

Most blooming plants will keep their blossoms longer in cooler temperatures. Keep the plant in a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air.

Watering seems to be the source of most problems with the Christmas cactus. The plant is a tropical type cactus and is not quite as drought tolerant as the name implies. However, it is a succulent plant and can store a reasonable quantity of water in the leaves. Water thoroughly when the top half of the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch. Discard the excess water, then do not water again until the top half becomes dry. The length of time between waterings will vary with the air temperature, amount of light, rate of growth and relative humidity.

After the blossoms fade, the plant isn't much to look at. But a little extra care will help bring it back to full bloom next year.

While the Christmas cactus can adapt to low light, more abundant blooms are produced on plants that have been exposed to high light intensity. Keep your plants in a sunny location indoors. Plants can be moved outdoors in summer, but keep them in a shady or semi-shady location. Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves. When it's time to bring the plants back inside in the fall, slowly adjust the plants to life indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend indoors each day.

Well-drained soil is a must for Christmas cactus. Use a commercially packaged potting mix for succulent plants or mix your own by combining two parts plain potting soil with one part clean sand or vermiculite.

Pruning your Christmas cactus after blooming will encourage the plant to branch out. Remove a few sections of each stem by pinching them off with your fingers or cutting with a sharp knife. These sections can be rooted in moist vermiculite to propagate new plants. Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. Christmas cactus will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Plants will be ready for the holidays if the cool treatments are started by early November.

First Frost

It was actually cold last night.  It is 8:19 AM and it's 38 degrees outside.  The frost is sparkling across the lawns of our neighborhood.  It's a good thing Pacey wasn't stubborn last night and actually came inside.   I don't think he would have wanted to turn into a Kitty-cicle.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our Pal the Snake.

No, I don't like snakes. I do appreciate their place in our world, food chain and environment but I am very afraid of them. For personal reasons, of course. It was a snake in a garden that began a series of events in my young life (I was 9) that ended with the death of a very special person in my life. My grandmother. She was clearing weeds from one of her flower beds and came across a huge, brown snake---it sat there staring at her, it didn't move but it's presence was more than enough. (we never knew what kind it was) Later that day, she had a heart attack and by the end of the week, she was gone. I was in the room when this happened.

So, needless to say, I hold this against all snakes.

Or so I thought I did.

Recently, I have run into our new pet, a snake, over and over again. He's small. A 'Checkered Garter Snake'. I even almost picked him up in pile of leaves while cleaning around one our trees. I have watched him slither around my courtyard, bask in the sun, wrap himself around the base of a bush and just this last week, watched him make a meal out of frog.

I want to be ok with him being around. He's cute and all but still a snake...a harmless snake, but a snake, nevertheless.

So, in effort to overcome my ill will towards these creatures, I have decided to let him live in our yard. Our original plan was to find him a new home (as in moving him into the wooded area around/away from the trails around our home) but I have since changed my mind and want him around, roaming around freely in our yard and gardens.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The weeds that torment us!

Chickweed...or not. Heck we don't even know what this vile weed is but its really losing the battle at this point. It didn't respond to the weed and feed. It just turned black and turned into these hard miniature tree stumps that can break skin and hurt like the dickens if stepped on. So, everyday, as the kids run around and Sam chases Pacey, I pull these darn things; with pliers. What? You think that's drastic or lazy? Fine, then come on over and give them a too will be asking for gloves, pliers and 3 Advil within the hour.
Now, can anyone tell me what this weed is? ANYONE?!?

(below is a slideshow of one of the many afternoons we spent pulling these things from the earth)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Baby A. takes first steps in Courtyard!

Our baby took his first, unassisted steps in our front lawn courtyard! I knew this very much loved courtyard would be a place we could really enjoy.