Grateful

As you may or may not know,  wildfires have been raging in the state of Texas.  One of the largest was in Bastrop County (near Austin) in which over  fifteen hundred homes have been destroyed and over 34,068 acres.   Coupled with the drought and scorching temperatures we have had (low humidity) we are evidently a fire waiting to happen.  The Texas Forest service states they have had 141 new fires in the past 7 days with 34,933 acres involved.  New fires in the past seven days.  Unbelievable.

One of these fires started not too far from our land in East Texas, Cass County.    It has been called the Bear Creek fire.   About sixty-six homes were lost to this fire and  40,548 acres of timber.  Our land and cabin were too close for comfort to this fire and it is only 80% contained.

This past weekend we removed some of our most precious items and memories, just in case the worst should happen.  My grandmother’s quilts, a painting of my grandfather’s feed store, a piece of paper written by my niece in a childish scrawl.  It reads “Mamaw.  If you see a lizard,  please get it for me.  Whitney.”  Priceless.

We truly do not appreciate what we have until it is in danger of being taken from us.

I am grateful to the many firefighters, forest rangers, and neighbors who have battled the fires.  They have trenched, control burned, and sprayed water to save people’s homes and land.  Some have traveled great distances to help.  I have a new appreciation for our Texas Forest Service.  http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/main/default.aspx

Still standing.  So grateful.

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To Market, To Market

There is a little neighborhood farmers market which is open the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.   On the 2nd  Saturday, there are produce vendors along with craft, bakery, and miscellaneous vendors which include vintage bicycles, jewelry, etc.   The 4th Saturday is just farmers, growers and artisan foods.  Their produce is local and organic.

So I took my friend Karen to check it out because I have been telling her how wonderful it is.  If you are in the Dallas area, here is their website  http://www.whiterocklocalmarket.com/   They are located near White Rock Lake at the Greenspot.  This is Karen checking out a jewelry booth, www.nekedesigns.com .  She bought a really pretty ring.

This weekend was the produce plus craft vendors, so there was lots to see… jewelry, homemade soaps, honey, cheese, coffee, breads,  not to mention lots of produce.

Here’s my loot..

sweet, organic blueberries picked the day before.  I decided to freeze them.

gorgeous tomatoes.  I bought four and gave two to my mom.

purple hull peas

Awesome cheese made in Granbury Texas.  I have been eating on this all week.

Beautiful handmade soaps.  I always buy these soaps.  I wish I had smellavision so you could fully appreciate how good they smell.  We had these in the back of the car and they perfumed the car all day.

The top soap was rosemary and fig.

My favorite coffee, Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.  Roasted the day before, yum.  here is their website http://www.oakcliffcoffee.com/index_files/Page535.htm

After the farmer’s market, we headed to Oak Cliff to check out a plant nursery I had read about called  Repotted.  Isn’t that the best name?

It turned out to be an amazing find.  Such a cute shop in what was once a gas station.  Not to mention they were having a 25% off sale.  heh heh.

Here is my loot from Repotted.

An orange Esperanza.  I had only seen the yellow ones.

Lemon Verbena!!!!!!!!  I have been looking for Lemon Verbena all Spring and Summer at every nursery (about six-seven different ones) and was unable to find it until now.  I was soooo excited!

Crotons.  thinking ahead to Fall.  These were a great price.  I should have gotten 2 more.

 I also bought some seed packets, which I will show you later.   They also carry  Seeds of Change packets.   I already had seeds similar to what they had, so I didn’t purchase any.  But, I am glad to know they have  them.

Repotted also has an amazing assortment of organic treatments, soils, amendments, etc.  I will definitely be going back!

Is this not the cutest potting shed!  I so wish I had room for one. sigh.

Such a fun day!  Thanks, Karen.  I’m ready to go again!

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Tiny Harvests

Our month of June was the 3rd hottest EVER recorded.   I’ll just let that sizzle in for a moment.   Everyday was over 90 degrees. ssssssssss.  July is not looking any cooler.  Electric bill was over 300. Nice.

It is such a surprise to me that anything, at all,  would be growing  in the garden.  But I did harvest my garlic and trimmed it up nice and pretty.  The tops  went into the compost. 

 Largest garlic bulb ever produced at fromgardentotable.  Very exciting.

I am also still harvesting my Porter cherry tomatoes a few at a time.  I love these tomatoes.

and jalapenos, cause I’ve gotta keep the salsa flowing.

My cucumbers have lots of blooms and the bees are pollinating them but no fruit.  I have the same situation with my zucchini  plant.  Dang it.

cucumbers

zucchini

Baby bell peppers.

lots of basil…  I have three different areas like this of basil.  Gotta get going on my pesto making.

thai basil…  I planted it because it is pretty and purple.  Why else would you?

purple hull peas

My purple hull peas are growing well, but haven’t seen any blooms yet.  I don’t know if it is going to be too hot for them to set or not.  I was a little late getting them out this year.

Believe it or not, it  is time to start planting for a fall garden.   I know I will be planting lots of Swiss Chard and Kale.   Lettuces for sure.  Beyond that I’m not sure what else I would like to plant.  I haven’t had very good luck with Fall gardens, but I think I have always waited too late.  I will try to be a better gardener.  I will try to be a better gardener.  Uh Huh.

 The reality is I will probably be using up the seeds I have that will work in a Fall garden.  When I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.

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Sparklers

I have a few  new plants this year which remind me of sparklers on the 4th of July. 

My Dad was so protective of my sister and I that we were NEVER allowed to hold a firecracker  or be around anyone else holding a firecracker.  Now that I am older, I totally appreciate his concern. (One year our neighbors set our roof on fire)   But oh, how we wanted to “pop” firecrackers. 

However, we did on occasion get to hold a sparkler.  With Dad right there by our side.   Evidently, they are still a favorite.

This one is a Cleome called Sparkler.

This plant is called Kobold Gayflea but to me, it  looks like a sparkler or firecracker.

And this one is a gomphrena called Fireworks.

  These plants also live up to their lookalikes, because they really take the Heat!   Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!  I’m going to be enjoying my “Sparklers”.

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Poisoned

I.am.so.miserable.  I got into a fight it seems with some poison ivy and the ivy WON.  big time.  I have missed three days of work and am STILL ITCHING.  What a dufus.

Pics of the demise of my skin.  Hope I don’t gross you out.

Pic of poison ivy in case, like me, you don’t know what it looks like. This is a very good medical website with some good information  here .  I wouldn’t wish this stuff on my worst enemy.  Ok, maybe the Taliban, because it is really awful.

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Beat the Heat

God, it’s hot.  The forecast for the rest of the week is 99, 99, 99, …  It’s only mid June.  Not a good sign.  Maybe we are so hot because our  team beat the Miami Heat to win the NBA championship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yay Mavs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The tops to my potatoes had died,  so I harvested them.  Some are small but I think I will roast those with my baby onions, and maybe some rosemary   IF   I can stand to turn the oven on.

My jalapeno peppers are really producing.   I made a  fresh salsa for the Mavs game.  Just jalapeno, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, freshly ground pepper and a squirt of lime juice.  If my avocados had been ripe, I would have put them in there, too.  If there is one thing I could have growing in my garden, it would be an avocado tree.  In the meantime, there is Costco.

Now, if I could just find a way to beat THIS heat!

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Let Us.

I have been very excited to find out how easy lettuce is to grow.   My biggest problem with lettuce is forgetting to resow every few weeks to have an ongoing supply! 

I like growing mine in pots.  It is easier to harvest and I do have occasional bunnies in the garden, so it keeps it out of their way.  Here is my recent harvest.

Little gem. This is a small butterhead, great for pots!

Red deer tongue.  I just snip off the leaves as I need them.

Arugula.  It is so peppery and delicious.

A friend of mine, Sandy, gave me these awesome storage bags for vegetables.

My harvest.

Now, let us have some salad!!!

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