Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Things Get Seedy

Hi! Things are going well here in Texas! We're getting unpacked, slowly but surely. The living room, kitchen & hallway were all looking good. Until I started working on the guest room/sewing room yesterday. Had to take out about a million boxes, just so I could find the floor in there. I'm now working on getting that room in order, and once it is, I'll take more pictures of the house, without boxes this time. Yay!

I've been busy feeding our outdoor kitties - they live under the house and take care of various rodentia that might be roaming the prairies around here. (I actually saw the mom herd a field mouse over so the kittens could kill it - serious Wild Kingdom over here, and I had to look away. She's just teaching them to survive, but I still don't want to see it.) Anyway, we do give them some food to help out, but not enough that they stop hunting. Well, that's the plan. I tend to spoil cats, in case you didn't notice. Ahem.

Anyway, they're skittish, but getting more used to us. I tried to get some pictures:

Here they are eating. Mom is the tortoise shell calico on the right (the dark-type calico with yellow & gray mixed into blackish fur). The babies are solid colors: black, yellow, and gray.

Wait, someone's missing. Oh, here he is:

Hee hee!! SOOOO cute. Kitten close-up!

I haven't named them yet. Aren't you proud? I'm trying really hard to keep some distance, in case something happens to them. They're wild, after all. But not having mice & snakes under the house is worth a little cat food every day. :)

We've been busy in other ways too, namely in planting stuff. We do live on a farm, after all!

So the other day I tilled up some ground in front of the porch for a flower garden. We'll see how it does. Nothing's come up yet, but it's early.

We also built some boxes for raised bed gardens in the backyard. We're going to have 2 4x4 square foot gardens. It's an interesting method that my sister told me about. This is my first try at it. Basically, instead of planting in rows you plant in squares. It's supposed to be a much more efficient use of space. We'll see! Anyway, we built the boxes and filled them with a combo of topsoil, peat moss, and compost. Then I marked them off in a 1 ft x 1 ft grid, then planted the seeds. (By the way, the Square Foot Gardening website is: www.squarefootgardening.org)

And by the way, yes, I do see the irony of living on a farm and yet having raised bed gardens instead of regular in-ground gardens. However, with the new job I start on Monday, I won't have as much time for weeding. The soil here is also very sandy. Major crops in this part of Texas? Hay, rice, and cotton. Not cucumbers. So. Raised beds it is.

Oh, I can hear you now! "But what are you planting, Kelli?"

Okra (a dwarf variety, so hopefully they won't get so tall)
Corn (my first attempt at corn - this should be fun!)
Tomatoes (2 varieties - cherry ones and little yellow grape tomatoes)
Cucumbers (found the same type of seeds I used last year, so we'll see if they go insane like last year's did)
Squash (nothing better than battered & fried squash - yum!)
Bell Peppers (planted red ones, as well as a variety mix of white (!), purple (!), and dark brown (!) ones - why not?)

That's all in the garden for this spring. The great thing is, we can use this garden as an experiment. If something doesn't work, we can try again in the fall, when Texans have their 2nd gardens of the year (this never ceases to amaze me).

So! Very exciting. I love having a garden. There's something very meditative about it. It forces you to be patient - after all, there's no rushing a seed. It's so basic: a seed, soil, water, and sun. But yet it's a miracle. Each little seed, when it sprouts, is life, green and fresh, coming out of something cold and dormant. I find it absolutely amazing. Which is why I probably prefer to grow from seeds than planting seedlings someone else has grown.

This garden will also be even more meditative for me, since my job is in Houston - a high-rise building, right in downtown. High tech and loud, traffic and busyness. Then a drive from city to country, and I put on my gardening boots and get my watering can and go tend the veggies. (The watering hose won't reach far enough, and I'm ok with it). It's such a wonderfully charming, simple thing to do. But there's nothing more wonderful in summer than a fresh salad you pick off of your own land, wash it and eat it. I just love it.

Noel has already asked how long before we have cucumbers. :) I kinda thought after last summer he'd never want to see a cucumber again!


Cima said...

Garden sounds fabulous! Can't say Im a big okra enthusiast, but LOVE eerything else you're planted! You shouldn't be so surprised, though, at two planting seasons there.... I know most real gardeners (that does NOT include me) plant twice a year here! Pretty similar climates...

Shannon, Chris, & Kane said...

Love the grey guy! Man that place looks so neat. Enjoy it and the little friends.