Saturday, December 17, 2016


Gird your loins, kids; it's going to get cold.

That's right - we're in for a hard freeze tonight and tomorrow night with temperatures MAYBE reaching 40 on both Sunday and Monday if we're lucky.

I've gone out and covered the spigots, I've watered the plants well, I've even set up boxes with "keep hot/cool" bags inside for the cats (if they'll even use them), I've even brought in the hoses (which I never do), all that's left is stringing out some Christmas lights with some bed sheets for the plants and I think we're good to go.


My garden is technically comprised of items that are hardy, but the cauliflower is on the fringe so I figured I should cover everything - especially with the rest of the week having been warm

Christmas lights strung up with care and cauliflowers/broccolis covered with bed sheets and weighed down with rocks.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A (mostly) Blank Slate

After a few years, my Iris bed...drifted.  The irises didn't necessarily drift, but the Mexican Petunia sure did.

Here's a picture after I planted it in 2012:

And here's a photo after the first year:

And from December of 2014 (the last time I took a photo):

The petunias only got more out of control - like to the point where they were completely shading out the irises, so I decided they had to go.  The problem with the petunias, however, is that they can be a bit problematic to pull out because the stems break easily.  This means that the best way to get rid of them is to dig them up.  Considering that it had also been 4 years since I planted the bed, I figured it would be a good time to separate the irises anyway (those that had survived in any case).  All that to say that bed now looks like this:

Surprisingly (to me) it had more irises that were still good versus those that were bad which I'll replant in the area:

Since I think I need something a little taller in the back, I'll plant some milkweed (or really just dump some milkweed seeds in the back and hope they do well).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Timmy and Coco Adventures: Argus Cidery Edition

In another edition of the Timmy and Coco Adventures, Roberta, Michael, Shawn (my husband), and I met up with Joel and Dion whom Shawn and I know through Shawn's XTERRA races at Last Stand Brewing for Chicken Shit BINGO.  To let Shawn catch up with Joel and Dion, Roberta, Michael and I went to Argus Cidery, which is just down the street.  I'm much more a fan of Cider than Beer so I thought it was a rousing success.

Cider being made

You can see Roberta's photos on her Instagram account here.  Photos are from October 16 (though I think Roberta didn't start posting photos until about a week later).  My favorite is the one Roberta took of me driving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Vines growing on a storage silo in Lexington, Texas

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Timmy and Coco Adventures: Lexington Edition

Roberta and I try to get together about once a month to go on an adventure - they really are of the "grab your coat, we're going on an adventure" style.  So far we've gone to the Lonestar Round Up, lunch and walk around old-town Bastrop, photo trip at the New Sweden Church, McKinney Falls State Park, went on a geo-cacheing adventure but got sidetracked at the cemetery, and went together when Roberta got her most recent tattoo.

Roberta's husband, Michael, started calling our trips "The Timmy and Coco Adventures" because I name all the opossums I see "Timmy" and Roberta calls all the cockroaches "Coco."

Based on a recommendation from Michael, we went to Lexington to get Snow's BBQ.

Roberta talking to Tootsie
Snow's BBQ pitmaster, Tootsie, is, I believe, the only female pitmaster in Texas, and boy does she make some freaking delicious barbeque.  Snow's is only open on Saturdays, opens at 8 in the morning and stays open until they run out of meat (around noon). I remember hearing about Snow's years ago, probably7 or 8 years ago when they were named best BBQ in Texas (beating out Kreuz's, Black's, Smitty's, Mueller's, and City Market), when some friends decided to get up at 6 in the morning to go wait in line at Snow's in Lexington.  I couldn't understand why anyone would want to go wait in line for hours for food (and I still don't get it - the lines at Franklin's confuse me).  We only waited for about an hour before we were at the front of the line and able to order our meat, and let me tell you - it was freaking delicious.  I fell in love with the chicken, and I liked the brisket better than Smitty's (the only other BBQ joint on the list that I've had the brisket at; at Luling's City Market, I had the sausage).  A list of the 50 best BBQ joints in Texas can be found here

After eating food, we went and looked at the store across the street - it's run by a gentleman named Buddy who also makes rings out of coins. All the girls at Snow's wear his rings.
Buddy explaining the story of the carousel horse to Michael and Roberta (Roberta's standing behind Michael).  The picture at the top is also from Buddy's.

After Buddy's we took a quick stroll around the town - stroll implies that we meandered, and we did, but Lexington isn't big so it was still a quick walk.  At the end of the street there's a livestock auction house.  The guys there were so helpful - I mean we're obviously City folk and we're walking around with SLR cameras at an Auction house, we didn't know if they were going to chase us off with pitchforks or if they'd allow us in as long as we agreed to not take photos or who knows what.  In the end, the onsite veterinarian had seen us taking photos of some of the cows up for auction outside, and Roberta asked if we could go in the Auction house.  He said he didn't see why not and we just needed to stop at the front desk to explain that we wanted to watch the auction, but didn't want to participate.

Auction.  The auctioneer sits in the area between the two lighted signs and talks very fast just like you would expect.
The auction is a well-oiled machine.  The auctioneer was talking constantly and so fast that I couldn't understand a word he said. The guy on the left would open the door, a cow would run in, would basically run the half circle to the other door where the guy on the right would close the gate and open the door which led the cow back out to one of the holding pens.  After we got in and watched for a little while, we noticed there was a cattle dog in attendance and moved over to sit next to him, because of course we would do that.


Blue's owner was happy to explain the auctioning process to us (he had brought his steers in to be auctioned).  The cattle are sold individually by the pound - not by the lot as we had assumed based on how quickly the process was going.  The number in red on the right hand side in the auction photo is the weight of the steer in the auction pen.  $0.85/pound is pretty standard, $1/pound is good but a few years ago the prices were much higher.  Most of the cattle being sold at this auction were to be raised for meat, with a few very young bulls being sold to be breeders in a few years.  Earlier in the day there was a goat auction, and if we had waited around another hour or so, there was to be a cow (as in female cattle) auction.

Watching the Auction

You can see Roberta's photos from the day here:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Gray Hairstreak

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) on Gregg's Mistflower (Conoclinium greggii)

It's butterfly migration season.  Haven't seen many Monarchs (a handful), but sure a lot of Queens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cabbage Worms


What they turn into.

As far as I can tell, they're a cabbage worm.  I've just been checking the leaves, scraping of the eggs and picking off the worms, though I'm sure I could use Bt.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Starting My Own Seeds

For Christmas, my sister got me a seed delivery service. Basically they send me 5 seed packs every month.  And I have access to a website which provides tips and tricks and what have you.  Supposedly the seeds are sent at the time when you're supposed to plant them, but I question it since they sent some summer direct-sow seeds in the winter and some winter seeds this month, but whatever - they'll keep in the fridge until the right season.

First, I had to go buy myself some little seed starter setups - I could have probably used 4" pots, but I could get more variety by using the little Jiffy Pellets.  Be sure to somehow label your seeds you start so you don't go all forgetting what you planted.
See packets from Grow Journey, Jiffy Pellets, a Sharpie for writing, and Masking Tape for Labelling.

After getting my little seeds planted, I finally went and got myself the stuff to start my plant grow light.  I bought the stuff and came home to plug it all in before realizing that the lamp I bought was meant to be hardwired, not a plug in version.  So after doing some research (and some fast and furious texting to a coworker whose dad is an electrician), I managed to figure out what to do to convert it into a plug-in light.  As I was banging away in the bedroom (trying to break out a round piece for the plug I used - an old computer monitor cord), Shawn came in and was like "oh dear lord you're going to electrocute yourself." So he took over and finished the wiring.

Then came the fun part of trying to figure out the best way to hang the light from my shelf; the answer: Paper Clips - I had the wires, I just needed a way to raise and lower the light.  I actually figured out that using books under the plants was better because it allowed for each plant grouping to be moved closer or further from the light.
Tomato seedlings starting to grow.

After the ceremonial plugging in of the light, Shawn looked at me and (quite dejectedly) said, "well, great, we've just joined the legions of pot growers out there and are now paying money to grow plants when there's this thing called a sun."

After a few weeks, the seedlings were big enough, and it was warm enough that I moved them outside. So, in the end, I only used the light for a few weeks. But of course, I had to move them in during inclement weather.

Tomato seedlings, Spruce Campbell (my spruce tree seedling), and my home made ginger & cranberry infused vodka in lemonade.

After a few more weeks out in the sunshine, I transplanted the seedlings into 4" pots, and then a week or so later (3/26), planted them in the garden.  Naturally, growing 24 plants is WAY more than I have space for in my garden (especially when I also went to the Sunshine Community Garden Sale with Roberta and got 3 tomatoes and 2 peppers), so I took a lot of the seedlings to work - I got rid of 4 of them before even getting to my floor; and while I thought that I would end up with some extras at the end of the day, they all found good homes.

Now to just get some eggplants, peppers and tomatoes this year...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

2016 Try New Things

So it's 2016, and I'm trying to do new things.  This means that my gardening has been falling to the wayside.  BUT, it also means that I went to the Lonestar Roundup (i.e. the classic car show) with Roberta and her husband, Michael.

The show is for classic American cars made prior to 1963.  This means that there aren't any of the standard American Muscle cars that most people associate with classic car shows (no Chargers/Challengers/GTOs/Mustangs/Corvettes).  That being said, I think the only requirement was that the chassis be from prior to 1963 because most of the cars were modified, chopped, or otherwise customized.  Even the ones which looked accurate on the outside had the engines altered - for example, the day after the show I drove down the highway behind a Ford Model T and a Ford Model A which were easily going highway speeds.

Roberta reliving the memories from driving her boyfriend's 1948 Ford pickup back when she was a teenager.

An old Chevy outside the show (probably 1930's)

RatRod hood ornament.  This was on the MadMax car (see photo below)

Roberta and Michael's favorite Hot Rod at the show.

Chevy gages.  I think it was from a Chevy Apache (which I've decided is my favorite old pick up)

Mad Max RatRod. You can tell because of the skeleton arm from Mad Max: Fury Road.

Pepsi cooler in an old pick up with the wooden bed.

Roberta found this truck driving around town on Saturday morning (and texted me a photo at 830). We were so excited to have found it at the show!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ginger Harvest!

As per usual, I harvested my ginger in late March and ended up with more than I normally use (yeah, I usually use about the equivalent of 1 finger's length in an entire year).  I gave away a lot of it, and planted a portion for next year.  I plan to try Alton Brown's homemade Ginger Ale, and, if I have enough, AB's candied ginger.

I've found that ginger is one of the easy plants to grow in Austin (in a pot, of course) - it rivals garlic for ease of growing and actually takes just as long (longer actually since ginger takes almost a full year, while garlic takes about 6-7 months).  I usually just have to remember to water it - and it's usually on my list of plants to recommend for people who don't garden, especially people who have bright filtered light, but no direct sunlight. 

I've blogged about ginger before, here and here, but have been growing it each year since 2011.  I started with a piece about the length and size of my index finger split into 3 pieces; and I haven't purchased ginger since - everything I grow comes from ginger grown from that original piece.  Now then, of course, if you use a lot of ginger, you'll probably want to grow more than just the one large pot that I usually do.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Winter Harvest Veg

My "Graffiti" Cauliflower.  It's 'falling apart' - this is mostly because I never pick them when I'm supposed to because I hold out hope that they'll get bigger.

"Graffiti" Cauliflower with "Pacman" and "Marathon" Broccoli.  All chopped and ready to be added to the Mac n Cheeses

Added to the pot of water in the last 3 minutes of boiling the macaroni.  Drain, add your cheese and voila! Dinner!