Monday, December 24, 2007


Pecan Pickers and Christmas!

We headed to my hometown this week and while visiting my Grandmother's house, I decided that we need a pecan tree. Why? Well, when I finally arrived to the house, my parents, who had our children with them, were already there and hanging out on the front lawn. I didn't realize what they were doing until I too got out of my car and my heart jumped with joy and head spun with memories all at the same time.

I lived for 4 years with my Abuelitos and I remember the day this pecan tree was planted by my Tio Carmelo on the front lawn. (He lived next door) I also remember my Tia Liz running over it with the mower and how funny we thought it was when she realized what she had done!

That tree, meant a lot to me.

I remember walking circles around this very young tree while waiting for my Uncle and Aunt to arrive with their new baby, Alejandrina. Running round it while chasing fireflies, catching them and putting them into my mayo jar as we watched the little leaguers play ball across the street--waiting until Tio Carmelo said 'Vamos' and we all walked to the concession stands to buy nachos, hot dogs or steak fingers. Staring past it from our patio as I watched my very distraught mother drove away to my aunt's house on the night it burned, taking the lives of my cousins. And crying next to it on the day Tio Carmelo did not return home...cancer had won. And of course, walking around the yard on many summer and fall days, picking up the pecans for my grandfather. He would in exchange, walk us to the gas station down the street to buy candy--I always chose a Ring Pop or one of those Dinosaur Eggs in the big black box with neon writing.

And now, I just want to up-root it and bring it home...but I can't.

So, it was the pecans from this tree that my children were picking up. Isabella had a plastic bag full and my son was taking some from a pile made by my mother and an Uncle, tossing them back into the grass and laughing out loud.

I joined in the fun of course, picking pecans and taking pictures. I was thankful for the 'flashbacks' on this Christmas Eve Day.

(You can see the tree behind my uncle in second picture.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cactus Blooms

This plant has survived 4 moves, 3 freezes, a patio, deer, cat, puppy, a trip from Houston in a ziplock bag, only to be forgotten in the car for like a week and an owner who did not know how to properly care for it. And yet, today, it BLOOMED. It looks so proud (to actually be alive) and pretty! I am sure I will better care for this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Playset & More

This is for the grandparents:

This is the swing set! We think we have decided on this one! We will add pea gravel to the 'safe play area' that is going to be pretty big. (38' X23') The playset includes a 2-level clubhouse with a roof, lower play deck and picnic table w/bench (instead of the sand box), tunnel entrance w/rock wall climbing ladder, 2 swings, one trapeze bar (we will add a baby swing for now though), a regular ladder to the second story clubhouse, a porch, sun deck. (Can't wait to add some flower boxes to the porch & deck for Bella!)

We will also be adding a trampoline (the one pictured), a large picnic/craft table (that we will customize by painting and decorating ourselves) and sandbox/wading pool combo (also pictured) to their play-area.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December 'TO DO List' in Zone 8

  • Order seeds
  • Sow seeds for hardy spring-blooming plants
  • Plant winter- and spring-blooming bulbs
  • Plant fruit trees
  • Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
  • Water living Christmas trees
  • Plant bare-root roses
  • Prune hardy dormant deciduous trees, shrubs, and vine
  • Prune winter-blooming shrubs and vines after bloom
  • Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and vines
  • Apply dormant spray to trees
  • Sow seeds for cool-season or winter vegetables
  • Plant or transplant cool-season or winter vegetables
  • Protect tender plants from frost

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Design & Location

These are my top two choices.  Once I make up my mind (and Sean agrees) about where in the yard to place these raised beds then I will pick the design that best suites the space.   I am super excited and can't wait to begin shopping!

Garden Layout Options:  

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So many HERBS! Which ones shall we pick?

The ones that have made the cut:

Rosemary, Sage, Mints, Oregano, Marjoram, Basil, Thyme, Tarragon, Savory, Cilantro, Chives, Dill, Parsley, Coriander, French lavender, Bay Laurel, Lemon verbena, apasote and llerba buena (don't know the english name for last 2).  

And some trailing/creeping thyme.  

And if we plant in an area with some shade: spearmint, peppermint and Cuban oregano.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Master is stumped

We CAN NOT find out anything about our weeds.  So, after much researching, my speciality, I found the email address to the Travis County Master Gardener and we have been exchanging emails.  Well, about one week has gone by without any new info and I thought perhaps they had given up or just forgot about us...not so.  (Read Blog Entry about our pesky weed)

Today I received an email from them:  they are stumped!!?  I knew Sean and I couldn't have lost our touch...I mean we do research for a living and don't give up easily---we were (are) determined to find out what this weed is but even "The Masters" are having trouble.  

I have faith in them---Aggies they may be but then again so are most of my BFFs or they married one.  So, I feel the need to say: "Gig 'Em, Aggies!' (Aye, is it obvious this Longhorn went to one too many games in Aggie Land?)

Tammy's Email: (it includes some resourceful links as well)


We’re still on the hunt for the particular name of this plant.  It

appears to be a member of the Aster family of which many fit the

pictures you have sent us.  We will send this on to ”experts” that may

be able to tell us it’s true ID.  Once known we can offer suggestions

for eliminating it from your lawn area however this may not be easy

especially if you want to protect children and pets. 

We will be in touch…


Tommie C.

Travis County Master Gardener

PS – The “Wildflower Center” has a plants database with similar images

you may wish to check:; then search

on common name “daisy”.

Travis County Master Gardener Volunteer

Texas Cooperative Extension

1600 Smith Rd.

Austin, Texas 78721

(512) 854-9600

A Texas Winter

Yes, this indeed is a Texas Winter.  It's been drizzling for about three days now.  We did have 2 'cold' days then one extremely muggy and warm day followed by two more muggy, chilly, and rainy days.  How warm?  Well, we had our AC on last night and then had to turn the Heater back at 6 A.M and Sunday night we had the fireplace going.  Tomorrow people will go swimming in Barton Springs Pool (a personal fav) or the entire city will be in panic because the roads froze over.  

Me being negative:  Blah...rainy, muggy, weather makes the grounds soggy so we are stuck we go to the Library and Texas Jumping Beans

On the +side:  it is softening our soil =  it will be easier to move and break up।  :-) See, there is always something to smile about!  

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rain and Allergies

What? You don't have allergies? Good for you and STAY AWAY FROM AUSTIN. Boy, between the non stop rain and allergy attacks, I am not sure we will stay sane!!! Both kids have icky runny noses and mommy is just dizzy and tired. Poor Bella, she just stared out the window as the rain started up for the umpteenth time and sneezed.

No yard work for us these days but we have taken the time to work on our scrapbooks and other kiddies crafts but still, we miss being outside, running around, being oh so loud while we chase Sam who is usually chasing Pacey.

Oh sun, won't you come back?!?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ita's Roses

My Mother's roses.  I think they deserve honorable mention.  :-)