Saturday, September 22, 2012

Surprise, Surprise!

Purple sage is a staple landscaping plant in the dry Texas climate. Its beautiful purple flowers bloom against green foliage that varies from a light gray-green, to a deep, dark green. I joined in this Texas tradition by planting my own purple sage about 3 years ago. It had grown into a nice, welcoming bush at the junction of our circle drive.

Early this spring I started to notice that one of the sections of my purple sage had curling leaves that were beginning to wither. I decided that I must have neglected to water it enough. They are very drought tolerant, but I guess any plant has its limit! I began to give it a little water every day, but the curling leaves continued to creep along until the whole plant was covered in curled up, crispy leaves.

I still held out a little hope that my purple sage would come back from the roots, so I postponed cutting it down. After a while it became clear that my bush was no more. I was perplexed by these events, but had no clue as to their origin. I cleared away the branches and decided to not plant another purple sage in that location.

Recently while I was working in the house, my husband called me to come outside for a surprise. Our oldest daughter had come by to visit. As she walked through the yard she noticed a small plant that looked familiar. She bent down and saw that it was a purple sage! Not the same purple sage, but a new one that must have been spread by seeds (do they spread by seeds?). It was a couple of feet away from the location of the former bush.

I was so surprised and excited! Thank you, Lord, for these little surprises to brighten my days!

New plant is in the lower left, stump from old plant is in the upper right.

Nice little surprise!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


On Thursday, Sept. 13th, a nice shower started around 11am. Rain continued throughout the day. I was trying to finish up at school so I could leave to go home when my daughter (also a teacher) called and told me hurry up so I could get home before the roads started flooding! I threw my things together and headed for the door. It was raining pretty hard by that time so I made a dash for the car.

My daughter called again and told me that the usual way home was blocked off and she was turning around to go in a different direction. She soon called back to say that the alternate route was also blocked! We had to drive 10 miles north, cut across 5 miles and then loop back to our house. During the drive I was listening to the radio to hear which roads were flooding out. There was no news of flooding whatsoever! What usually takes 25 minutes turned into an hour of driving through pounding rain and water on across the road. When I got home my husband told me the rain gauge had long ago topped out at 6 inches!

I went the alternate way to work the next day and roads were cleared by the time I headed home. I stopped by a country feed store near our home to pick up goat feed. The owner told me that she had a 36 inch rain gauge and that we had gotten 9 inches of rain the day before!! She also told me that she had called in for news of the flooding and the surprised screener asked, "What flooding? Where are you?"

It turns out that a very small cell had slowly moved across a tiny area, dropping extensive rain. The surrounding area only recieved 1/2 to 1 inch!! Until reports started pouring in, no one else knew about the flooding out in our neck of the woods!

Saturday we drove around to look at the damage. Several fences were down and new creeks were carved into the countryside. We drove to the local boat lauch that had been dried up for a couple of years due to the drought. A wall of water had come through, twisting some of the ladders leading down to the boat docks and actually carrying several boat docks downstream!

This area is considered the flash flash flood capital of the United States for a reason!

Marina floating down Sandy Creek area of Lake Travis

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Winding Down

As summer wanes, the constant heat and dryness have taken a toll on much of my garden. To make matters worse, I switched to an evening watering schedule now that the school year has resumed. By the time the sun is low enough to make watering tolerable, the plants look wilted and thirsty.

I have been taking out plants, or parts of plants, and adding them to the compost pile as they start to wither. I find that I am sad to take the plants out! I have a relationship with them! I feel they have been faithful to produce and I should keep taking care of them until they die naturally! The rational part of me knows this is absurd and I am slowly removing the ones that are spent.

I just can't seem to pull up the watermelon vine. We have had several small but wonderful watermelon moments. I tend to baby it along with extra water and plant food. To just jerk it from the ground doesn't feel right! So I keep telling myself that some winters arrive late in Texas and there may yet be something to harvest.

The few plants I have cleared out have been lovingly chopped up and laid to rest in the compost pile. There they will while away the winter, being slowly consumed by bacteria and bugs. I will be able to greet them again next spring as a few molecules will live on in next year's garden!

Wilted tomato vines still have tomatoes!