Thursday, September 25, 2014


1 week old Americauna chicks, teeny and soft. My eldest is already in love...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall projects..

What a gorgeous day to play in the yard. I plan to smother then remove some St Augustine and replace it with granite paths and water-friendly beds. Step one was to lay down weed block fabric to start the process- I wager it will be easier to dig the grass out once it's brown and baked. The walkway can wait until cooler weather, but I plan to dig up new beds around the AC unit so I can plant Turk's cap and flame acanthus this fall (and they can get established before next summer..)..

Of course it looks pretty unnatural right now, with the limestone pavers I plan to use on the grass side dotted along the fabric to hold it down, and the grass pushing against the fabric staples like sofa cushions..

 I also planted some fall veggies this afternoon. I put the chickens to work earlier this summer by putting compost and scraps on a bed that had had tired compacted soil. They happily pecked and fertilized.. when I dug it up today I was happy to see the soil was crumbly, rich and full of earthworms. Of course I had to wrap the area in chicken wire- hopefully it'll keep the girls out!

Broccoli, Romaine lettuce and brussels sprouts (I cheated and found some 9-packs of seedlings at Home Depot while buying pavers!).

Other happy plants in the yard:

The ice plant up front was bursting with blooms this morning

The Black dalea transplant is blooming already

Wild Italian arugula gone wild- no watering, vigorous regular trimming and it just gets bigger..

Another volunteer pumpkin- I'll see if it produces anything..

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Free days to frolic in the garden?!

Not this weekend (I first had to act like a grown up at a conference, then spend quality time with the husband and kids at Legoland-Dallas and the hotel pool. Legoland Dallas is not really a Legoland by the way- more like a mall attraction. The kids had fun though).

This week I have a few days off, and I'm happily thinking about garden projects.. I'll have to play clean-up at first (mowing, raking up all the mulch my chickens kick from the beds onto the crushed granite driveway). But, after that's done, I'll get to start laying out plans for new beds. I'm experimenting with smothering the St Augustine, layering organic material in the hopes that in the spring I can dig up the bed and plant less water hungry plants like I did in the front. The chickens have scratched up the edges of the newpaper/shredded hardwood mulch I placed on one spot, so I think I will try cardboard on the next area (after spraying a vinegar/epson salt/dish soap solution on the few shoots of grass trying to break through on the original area).  I'm too.. cheap/lazy/antisocial to hire a crew to dig out the grass so I'll try it this way this fall..

The front (which I dug out this spring) is looking infinitely happier after the rain:

It feels like the lantanas and salvias have finally stretched their spring-planted roots and decided to stick around for a while! The zinnias have regrouped, too, putting on a new set of blooms for the fall..

Of course, with the rain the nutsedge grass has popped up again- time to weed! I wonder if it has any benefits?

Nut sedge is annoying, but that may be a bluebonnet seedling in the bottom! I threw out many packets, after freezing some and putting them in near boiling water, just freezing and thawing the others. The back back is littered in sudden seedlings (probably of the indian blanket and black-eyed susans that grew this spring, but maybe also the winecup, evening primrose and horsemint seeds I threw out a few weeks ago, just before the rains). 

We visited cousins in Burleson this weekend- San Diego transplants that have settled in uneasily in the odd estate-like suburbs of Ft Worth. Apparently their HOA sends them letters every month commenting on their deficiencies ("No chickens, no weeds!".. This family would rather enjoy life than mow their lawn and they get in trouble for it..). They started a garden last year, but have let the bermuda weeds kind of take over this summer. I'm jealous of the fact that they have still managed to get an amazing crop of veggies! We drove home with an enormous watermelon, a bag of tomatoes and three spaghetti squash. The difference in latitude (and depth of soil!) must be just enough to keep them productive.

Spaghetti squash.. dinner for later this week.

Seriously- a volunteer watermelon vine that has grown 20 feet long!

Just a little weedy :) My cousin warned me to watch out for snakes.. We had a caprese salad from the tomatoes tonight..

Happy fall everyone!