Published in the Rains County Leader on February 16, 2021:
Many opportunities to be grateful have presented themselves this week – a home that keeps us comfortable even in the worst weather, a full refrigerator and pantry so we don’t have to make a run to the store, and Internet service so we can keep in touch when church is cancelled, to name a few. One thing I’m particularly thankful for is warm water. With the temperature in the teens and twenties, cold water makes all the hand washing we do these days uncomfortable if not downright painful. Every time I turn on the water, I debate whether to be ecologically responsible by using the cold water or to be comfortable and wait for the warm water. I also think of a story I heard many years ago when I was selling insurance.
I entered the insurance business as an office manager, but I soon became a licensed solicitor and then a full-fledged agent. Maintaining an insurance license requires a certain amount of continuing education, and our company often supplied that in the form of seminars. The key note speaker at one of those meetings told a story from his childhood. I don’t remember the finer details of the story, but it made a lasting impression on me.
Published in the Rains County Leader on April 12, 2016:
The gophers will not be happy!
The big garden news this years is that there’s not much garden, at least so far. The gophers will be disappointed to know that I missed the fall garlic planting altogether. About eight or ten volunteer plants sprouted in the garden area, and about that many came up around the back porch where Kitty knocked them off the drying rack last summer. Aside from that, my little underground friends will have to go elsewhere to find seasoning for their Italian meals, and the squirrels will have to do without early tomatoes for their salads. (more…)
Kitty weighs 6 pounds now.
For those who have asked recently, Kitty is doing fine. She is still in residence at the Brendle home and is still an outside cat except on days when it is extremely hot or rainy. On those days she is invited into the laundry room where she enjoys lazing on the cool tile floor, playing with the work boots and shoes lined up in front of the washer and dryer, and occasionally turning over the trash can. (more…)
Thankfully, our fallen limbs weren’t nearly this big…
Friday night’s storm left its mark on the Brendle homestead. When we looked out the windows Saturday morning, we saw several fallen limbs and more standing water than most Texas homeowners see unless a water line has sprung a leak. After breakfast, David went to check out the damage. A few minutes later he stuck his head in the front door. (more…)
In the past few years, my garden has been a source of both life lessons and writing material. This year, however, the cold, wet weather that has called for school closings has also kept me out of my classroom. The call of the outdoors is strong, though, and last week, in spite of the still-squishy ground, I spent a little time outside where I managed to learn something about expectations and flexibility. (more…)
Last week, I wrote about some garden lessons, but I thought I’d show you a few more pictures of my progress.
After my tomato plants were ravaged by the local fauna, David and I put up some netting. It won’t stand up to a Texas tornado if one comes through, and we’ll have to put something over the top to keep the squirrels out when the tomatoes start to appear. For now, though, it will keep the rabbits out, and it will give the cucumbers something to climb on other than the zucchini plants. (more…)
Unless you’re new to my blog, you know that David and I retired to a small country home in East Texas a couple of years ago. He grooms our 2+ acres with his riding mower, and I’m trying my hand at growing vegetables. Back in the spring I wrote this list of reasons to justify my new hobby. (more…)
Squirrel (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))
No, I’m not even smarter than the local squirrels.
Last year I wrote (and whined) a lot about the squirrels who were stealing my tomatoes. I had two little plants and was so proud when the little green fruit started to show up. But one by one, before any of them could get larger than a golf ball, they disappeared. After searching the internet and picking the brain of every experienced gardener I knew, I narrowed down the usual suspects to squirrels. I went to the local hardware/lumber/garden/everything store where the resident expert sold me some pellets that were supposed to repel all comers, but the tomatoes continued to disappear. (more…)
I still have pests in my garden. In my last “Garlic Wars” post, I wrote about an unknown enemy who was making underground raids in my garden. I’ve had several people ask how it’s going, so here’s the latest. (more…)
“You lost another garlic plant last night,” said David yesterday after his morning inspection of the kingdom.
Simple words, but with earth-shaking consequences for the garlic monster that’s taken a third plant. That’s 15% of my crop, and even God only asks for 10%.
“Okay, no more Mrs. Nice Guy,” I said. “We’re going to Hooten’s after lunch so I can talk to the garden guy.” (more…)