Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Something fun....

Yesterday I couldn't resist snapping some pictures of these pink or maroon bluebonnets at Mason Country Collectibles in Mason, Texas. It was my birthday and, the main thing I wanted was RAIN. Well, last night about 3 a.m., we got some! Not a lot, but enough to wet the ground. Thank you, Lord!

Tree & shrub blossoms

Lack of rain has put most of our native plants way behind schedule, most especially the wildflowers in The Meadow. But look, a lot of our trees and a shrub are making up with their own flowers, a godsend for our pollinators.

Texas mountain laurel (Sephora secundiflora)
Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata)
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Texas buckeye (Aesulus glabra)      NOTE: This is the first time this tree has bloomed since it was planted in October 2013 (gifted to us by Ron and Linda Chang).

Mexican buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Notes to myself

Our summer 2022 "garden" in pots in the back yard.... 'Mucho Nacho' jalapeno pepper and 'Juliet Hybrid' tomato. A friend gave us her 'La Bomba' pepper plant last year, and we really liked the plant. But we couldn't find one locally.

The Unveiling....

We did a thing in late February. For a while, James had suggested that we paint the Pink House. I held off. After all, this has been the Pink House since its construction in 1956 by the Bendele family. But finally I agreed. As you can see in the photo below, many of the split-face concrete bricks had become ugly. Nothing could get rid of the stains. We tried! Plus repairs a few years ago left behind discolored bricks. After a lot of thought and research, the only solution seemed to be fresh paint (and the right kind) applied by professionals. So we got on board with Meister Painting & Remodeling. Here's how everything unfolded:

Wednesday, February 16, 2022 
The worked started with a day of power washing. Then the house needed to dry for a few days.



Monday,  February 21, 2022 

Taping and covering windows came next. For a while, we felt like we were stuck inside, like during Winter Storm Uri last year. From there, the crew applied primer and even started painting. For a short time, we lived in a "blue house."

Prima Donna didn't know WHAT to think of everything!

The whole process exhausted Prima.

February 22, 2022

Eight guys were on the job by 8:30 a.m. They worked all day and finished up the painting! A carpenter will come soon to make some wood repairs and install back doors (plus a new cat door).

In case you'd like to know our house colors, they're from Sherwin-Williams: Eclipse / 6166 (dark green), At Ease Soldier / 9127 (lighter green), Spiced Cider / 7702 and Shoji White / 7042. To help us figure out colors, we had an online color consultation with Cheryl Todd, a virtual color consultant with Sherwin-Williams. Otherwise, we could NEVER have decided on the right color combinations. There are WAY too many colors! Thank you, Cheryl!

The Meister crew: Edward Villareva, Auston Kelly, Brian Thompson, Chris Forbes, Noé Trese, Kyle Van Pyke, Rosbin Enriquez and Jonathan Meister. Thank you, guys! Also thank you to carpenter Jerry Yoder and his assistant, who made wood repairs and installed doors (including a new cat door for Prima Donna).
So here's the former Pink House, now the Garden House! Once our gardens get going (please rain, Lord!), the house will really blend in. We also had some iron furniture (which we purchased from the Rebecca Howerton estate) sandblasted and repainted to match by American Eagle Sandblasting & Powder Coating in Spring Branch. Garett did a great job! P.S. It's really hard to take nice photos of our house because of its orientation. 

Furniture before
Furniture after

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Welcome, 2022 Class

This morning, I gave my "Spiders of Central Texas" presentation to the 2022 Class of our Highland Lakes chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. It's so nice to be presenting in person again! Then, later at noon, everyone came to our gardens to eat lunch. Afterward, we did a short tour around the yard. Since we've had very little rain (except for one inch a few days ago), our plants aren't doing a whole lot yet. I wish everything had looked happier for our visitors. But that's nature!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Step back in time

I'm updating my spider presentation this morning and thought I'd add this photo that James took of me back in 2014 or '15. My tarantula friend and I are out at our rural land northwest of Blanco. One of my favorite pictures....

Friday, March 18, 2022

First hummer March 17

I took this (not-so-great) photo today from our dining room window. But I HEARD a hummingbird buzz by yesterday when I was standing inside our back door to the garage. Now all we need is RAIN! So far, this spring is DRY.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

What Should I Plant?

I'm working on a new presentation! If you can, please join me Sunday, March 20, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Gem of the Hills Community Center in Blanco. My presentation starts at 6. The event, which is free, is being hosted by the Blanco County Master Gardeners.

UPDATE: My presentation yesterday evening (March 20) went well at our Gem of the Hills Community Center. I have a lot of fun sharing about nature with anyone who will listen.