From Sick to "Zoom"

Sick for a whole frakkin' week. Drove me nuts. Allergy-aggravation from forced air heating (and air blown through dirty filters that hadn't been checked before turning on the heat for the first time this season). The usual routine - sore throat, sinus congestion, sneezing, then coughing. The good news is that it DIDN'T develop into bronchitis, DIDN'T trigger asthma, and was over in SEVEN DAYS. A new recovery record! (and the crowd cheers!)

Last Saturday was the first day I felt up to doing chores around the property. The bones of the new 12'x20' tarp shed were up and ready, so decided to finish the job. Spouse helped me move the 4'x8' plywood sheets from the porch to layer on top of the pallet-based floor ("oooh, mice are gonna love this!" he crowed), and then throw the main tarp over the top of the shed (too heavy/cumbersome to do on my own). As I joked to friends, it seemed the writer of the instruction manual for the shed got distracted on the last few pages, as there were quite a few important steps skipped on how to secure the tarp to the frame, but managed to get everything squared away. The shed was finally completed.

That's a six-foot ladder in the back.
Angels sang hosannas, light poured from the sky... I can move all the tools, lumber, garden supplies, fencing, carts & dollies, you-name-it-we-haz-it from the porch and around the property into ONE ORGANIZED LOCATION. All our white-trashy goodness, all tucked away... listen... the angels are singing again!  ♪AAAAAAAAHHHHH!♫ And even more important: it's all tucked away from the ever-rampaging destructo-geese!

Sunday was my first day back at work in the garden center. Sundays are fairly laid back during winter - water if need be, but never any plant deliveries, rarely any customers, and just be sure to cover the plants & turn on the heater in the greenhouse before you leave if there's gonna be a freeze overnight. Six easy work hours, then home. That day, however, I also had to return ten fruit trees, as we've dug about every "easy" hole there is to find near the house, and there just ain't enough holes for all the trees I'd like to plant*. Came home at the end of the day with... two more trees. To be fair, these trees are newly available almond tree varieties specially bred for our area of Texas, so of course I must have them! I'll just have to send back... some other trees. (sigh)

The geese deciding whether or not my
boot is evil. Consensus: yes, evil.
With the remaining credit from the returned trees, brought home the fixings for growing potatoes in buckets**, and making a lighter soil mix*** to fill the new raised, terraced 4'x4' veggie beds. Also brought home bags of pine-bark nuggets to fill the muddy swamp holes the recent rainstorms have created, 50 lb bags of goose/duck chow and chicken scratch grains, plus two bales of hay for the duck and goose egg-laying areas. Loading up the car, then putting it all away, I probably worked harder AFTER work than during my time at the nursery.

*We'll do more test-digs further down the property, but if we do find decent soil down there, it'll mean clearing out brush and trees, as well as trenching and laying water pipes. Maybe next year.

 **Growing medium for bucket potatoes: straw and compost. See this Google Search for plenty of info on how to grow potatoes in a five-gallon bucket. I'll post more as the project begins.

***Modifying a recipe suggested in Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. [I refuse to link directly to his web site because it's completely Flash-based. I'm a geek, I can be unreasonable about bad implementations of tech, lack of accessibility, and those sorts of things.] Oh, the soil mix? A combination of compost, peat moss, vermiculite, and some topsoil. I'm making the soil mixture a bit "heavier" than the original recipe so it won't dry out as quickly in the Texas heat, but still light enough that the veggie roots can grow quickly and deeply. Will also post about that project as it comes along.


  1. I'm jealous! There is no way we can even think about stabbing a spade right now. If it's not heaving - it's squishing. But we did manage to get a few trees pruned today. I've decided to go ahead and try putting in a raised bed for strawberries this year. Dwayne's setting up hot wire around the garden that the corn will be growing in. One way or another - that squirrel is gonna lose this year. LOL

  2. @WeldrBrat, LOL! Those squirrels sure keep us humble, don't they? :-D

  3. We put up two of those sheds, end-to-end, for a carport. The wind ripped the tarps off in two years, so the hubby sheeted it with metal sheets. Works like a charm now. Hope you don't have that problem. There's no wind in TX, is there? ;)

  4. Every time I think about going to work something goes off the rails and keeps me home so I totally understand that part about working harder after you leave your job!

  5. @Nancy - I can't imagine this shed's tarp lasting much longer than the two years you experienced, but am hoping our garage will be built by then. Then I'll re-purpose the shed as a greenhouse!

  6. I like growing potatoes in containers. I used a lite soil mixture (compost, peat, vermiculite) that did much better than using a lite soil mixture and straw. The ones with straw had a lot of bug issues. Yuck.

  7. @redswirl - thanks for the heads-up on the issue of straw in potato buckets... will do some more research!


Of Mice and Various Snakes and new Duck Feed Station

As mentioned in the previous post, our region is experiencing a near-Biblical plague of mice. "It's due to all the moisture we had...