Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Love and Hate in this Yard of Mine

--- 1 ---
Lately I have felt resolved to work with nature in my yard instead of against it. I am trying to get rid of plants that require too much water and attention. They always look terrible because I have the tendency to kill plants, so only the tenacious ones survive. The ones we have in the front yard that have done well are xeriscaped Texas natives. I prayed the rosary outside today after I finally (!) located one of my lost rosaries. I adore the ecosystem of my yard. I live on a half acre in the country in South Texas. As I prayed in the cool air (finally, again!) I could hear the clicking of grasshopper wings, see tons of furry caterpillars inching around, watched a lizard walk the tight-rope that is the top of my wire fence. There were birds chirping. Notes of a wind-chime clamoring in another part of the yard. Even the glorious lushness of the unwanted weeds were beautiful to me today. Fall is the best!
--- 2 ---
I have an idea about how I want my yard to look. When I lived in Castroville, Texas many people had yards in a particular European style that seemed characteristic to that city more than any other. The city was colonized by Alsatian immigrants and still actively maintains that Alsatian charm. Many people live in the old historic homes of the settlers and the whole set-up is just charming! Picture flower vines, butterflies, brambles, sprawling nature. Tendrils. Spineless cactus. Mexican sage. Coral vine. Herb gardens. Lantana. Mountain laurel. Confederate jasmine. Pecan trees. Oak. Here is a picture I took a couple of years really doesn't do justice to what I'm talking about because it was taken in February. I still live about 15 miles from C-ville, so I drive around for inspiration whenever I am in the area!
--- 3 ---
A few weeks ago I checked out a book from the library:
This book is so fascinating! I've never been all that interested in entomology but it's so neat to learn about all of the local insects that I've always found so common that they were boring. Having lived within a limited geographical area all my life, it's refreshing to have an interest in what I have instead of indulging my wanderlust that cannot be satisfied. The best part of the book is that it tells you what different bugs eat, how they are beneficial to our native environment. It has kept me from killing certain insects, that's for sure. The author even has an affinity for insects that people would normally consider troublesome because they eat the even-peskier pests. That really speaks to the spirit in me that wants to appreciate the interconnectedness of all of God's creatures. Did you know wasps eat the web worms that love to make a mess of pecan trees? Did you know mud daubers love black widow spiders? Scorpions eat cockroaches? If you can't keep them out of your kitchen, at least there's that!
--- 4 ---
My hubby and I have been watching this show on Netflix called Call of the Wildman. I was hesitant to watch it because at first glance it looks like more junk Southern reality TV, but I have found it *highly* entertaining. Ernie Brown, Jr. rescues animals that are infringing on human habitation and relocates them to other locations. He catches them with his bare hands. Raccoons. Skunks. Possums. Snakes. His specialty is catching giant snapping turtles. Right out of the water. As if that weren't enough, everyone on the show seems so genuine, kind, and not in it for the money.
--- 5 ---
Unfortunately we have had critter trouble at our house lately, and we were not able to use kind Turtle Man's methods. We had chickens taken from our coop one night and eventually the predator came back for more. I truly wish we could have trapped and relocated this coyote but ultimately we resorted to frontier justice. I feel regrets about the whole entire matter. I also miss my favorite hen, Ginger and her companion Red Sonya. The yard has felt somewhat lonely without the bold and friendly hens around. We haven't had eggs in a couple of weeks, either. The other ladies seemed deeply disturbed by their nighttime visitor but are doing well now.
--- 6 ---
We have pecans this year! I am excited about the prospect of homemade pecan pie created with my very own pecans. The down side is that we have native pecan trees in our yard which produce very small pecans that are a little tough to crack. The upside is that they taste slightly different from their commercialized cousins and possess a slightly maple-like flavor. Delicious! The crucial thing I learned about pecan pie last year was this: check your brown sugar! I cannot emphasize that enough. I follow a recipe that uses real sugar rather than corn syrup. I found out last year that the life of your pie depends on you using LIGHT brown sugar rather than dark. This is directly opposite of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe whose chewiness relies on your using DARK brown sugar. After a cookie debacle I demonized light brown sugar in my head. It was prejudice. And it was wrong.
--- 7 ---
I have recently cultivated an intense hatred of bermuda grass. I know I am not alone. The stuff barely grows in my yard but won't stay out of my flower beds. And no, I do NOT give my flowerbeds any special treatment. No extra water. No fertilizer. Nothing. Its only motive is to antagonize me. I have also decided recently that I'm going to stop weeding it from my flower beds. I will just fill these beds with tenacious Texas plants that can withstand a good weed-eating. Something with a woody trunk. That'll show 'em. Such is life in my little cloister. For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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