Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Now... where'd we leave off?

Okay, so essentially 4 years after leaving you guys, I decided I should take up blogging about the garden again.  We'll see how long it lasts.  It may be only 2 weeks.  The suspense is terrible, I hope it lasts.

So I left off in March 2017. This basically coincided with me really getting into kitten fostering and volunteering at the animal shelter. So let's get you caught up - there was racist rally in Virginia in which the president refused to condemn the white supremacists and insisted that there were "very nice people on both sides."  Actually, the president never did condemn white supremacy the entire time he was in office.  Not surprising since they did (and still do) make up a significant portion of his base.  The US left the Iran Nuclear deal and the Paris Accords, killed NAFTA, and started courting Russia and North Korea as allies while telling Europe they could suck it.  the #metoo movement happened and generally abated with not a whole lot having changed (other than Harvey Weinstein going to jail and a lot of men being upset thinking that women were out to get them).  There was also something about a Hurricane that the president tried to alter it's path with a sharpie and questions about the president's mental aptitude (I mean, the man DID look directly at solar eclipse).  

And then the 2020 pandemic happened. 

That's right. A pandemic. A mother-effing flu-like pandemic that resulted in working from home, wearing masks everywhere, and avoiding elderly family member like you had, well, the plague.  Mixed in with all that, race relations came to a head because for some dumb reason cops refuse to stop killing Black people for doing normal things like "sleeping in their own home," or "going for a run," or for minor law breaking like "used a $20 counterfeit bill" or "had expired license plates."  

Other shitty things that happened in 2020: Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, as did Elijah Cummings, and John Lewis.  But here we are, on "the other side" with vaccines being stabbed in arms and things returning to "normal." Why, we've already had 2 school shootings and schools aren't even really in session. So yeah, the world is healing.

While everyone was like "oh man, at least 2021 can't be any worse," 2021 was like "here, hold my beer" and kicked off with an armed insurrection at the national capitol on January 6, followed by a polar vortex in February which caused the Texas power grid to shit itself like a newborn babe. And I mean one of those shits that shoots up out the back of the diaper and somehow covers EVERYTHING.  

And so, I feel like this is a good point to pick back up with the gardening. Because there's nothing that likes shit more than a gardener (hey oh!)

The polar vortex messed shit up, yo. It knocked enough plants back on their ass and required such a massive amount of clean up (which I'm still doing), that it really resulted in me getting everything almost back to "clean slate status."

First the ice covered everything and weighed it down

Then the snow came and covered everything.  

And then the power outages started.  Ted Cruz ran across the border into Mexico in order give his family a better life with electricity, heat, and running water (seriously, for reals, though sadly he came back). Meanwhile, the Texas grid was like minutes away from crashing to the point that it would have taken MONTHS to fix it.  The outages were meant to be "rolling" but the amount of power that needed to be off the system was so much that they had to kill every "non-essential" circuit - this is why downtowns were all lit up like Christmas while neighborhoods were blacked out - because downtown areas tend to have hospitals and police stations.  So some people went without power for almost a week.  The temperatures didn't get above like 20 degrees for that entire time.  Houses down here are not insulated like they are up north.  Houses down here don't have shut offs to their exterior facing hose bibs to keep the pipes from bursting.  Even if people wanted to leave, they couldn't because the roads were impossible to drive on since we don't have any means of removing snow/ice from the roadways.

At least the snow made for some nice, and not normal for Austin, photos

As the snow was starting to melt, and things were looking up, the water ran out.  One of the Austin water treatment plants went offline for a while because of falling trees and then no one could figure out how to get the power back on because the Water Treatment Plant hasn't been modernized since like 1950.  Because everyone was dripping or running their faucets to keep pipes from freezing, the water reserves got used up REAL QUICK LIKE.  This meant that we were frantically saving snow in buckets and coolers and even tupperware containers just so we had some type of water. Toilets were only getting flushed after pooping, everyone was drinking their beer stash instead of having to boil water, etc etc.  Thankfully, those that had been without electricity for a week, generally didn't lose their water service.

Water outage map for Austin

Thank God for rain barrels which are full of water...though they were frozen solid...dangnabbit.

So. Like I said, the polar vortex was epic and the plants did not like it. At all. Plants which hadn't died back in years were knocked to the ground (e.g. almond verbena, Philippine violet, Turk's cap), plants that had already budded are still recovering (arizona ash), plants which should have made it through with no problems are having problems recovering (yaupon holly), and some of our more tender plants are being watched on baited breath for recovery or have already been ripped out because of the time it would take to recover (lorapetalum, pitsporum, crepe myrtle).  

I'm going to try to do a post per area as it got cleaned up because in addition to cutting back things that haven't been touched in YEARS, I also added compost and mulch so everything is looking tip top - if a little bare while I wait for things to fill back in.


Anonymous said...

You pretty much hit every nail on the head. Ted Cruz's behavior pressed all of my buttons (and he also left his poor dog in the cold house). I contacted his office to voice my indignation after his little escape to Mexico, but never got a reply. Even though I no longer live in Austin, but still live in Texas, I see Central Austin appears to have gotten better treatment when it came to the water outage. It always seemed Central Austin was treated differently than other areas when I lived there, but I admit I could be wrong.

As to plants, good luck with your clean up. Plants are still emerging from dormancy in my area now. Almost all of my potted plants turned to mush so I have several vacant containers for any new plants who want to move in. Guess it's a new start.

It's all been such a roller coaster--presidency, pandemic, and freeze. Good luck with the blogging!

katina said...

Oh man - I write emails to Cornyn and Cruz with some regularity - I have never once gotten a response from Cruz but always get one from Cornyn.