Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This is Texas Summer

I had this coversation with some of my facebook friends back in July...

ME:  Wow...it's 2:41 and ONLY 91 degrees out...no, seriously, this may be the coolest day we've had all summer!

CALIFORNIAN FRIEND:   Getting homesick for living in the shadow of the Mojave?

TEXIFORNIAN FRIEND:  Seriously!!! I know! Aren't we getting close to 30 days in a row of over 100 degrees this summer?!? I am ready for fall! :)

MY MOM (A New England Texifornian):  30 days! Try 60!!! And more of the same next week!

TEXAS FRIEND:  ‎98 here...I almost had to run back in for a jacket earlier :)

Well, it's been another month of triple digits since then (which I was glad to be out of Texas for half of).   The heat inspired one Texas blogger to make a Texas version of "The Beat Goes On" (The HEAT goes on).  But seems we're finally getting a little relief now (at least here in Waco).  It's been comparatively "nice" the last couple days...and more rain is expected later this week.   


Monday, August 29, 2011

Rockin to the Rain Today!

We had rain today! Here in Texas!  Yeah!
(Even if the shower didn't last as long as this song...
still...we had water...falling from the sky.  It counts!)

To all the folks on the East Coast
...praying for you, and thanks for sending a sprinkle our way.
Hope you all are weathering the storm safely.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Texas Gardening Tip - Zones 7 and 8a

Bush Beans

Though it's a horrid time to be gardening right now, if you want to have bush beans this fall now is the time to plant them! In zone 7 and 8a you want to finish planting these by September 1st. In zones 8b and 9 you can plant through early September.   Not sure what you're zone is?  You can find it here. 

I find my info about when to plant in the book Month to Month Gardening in Texas, which I highly recommend, especially if you are new to Texas!  You can also find out when to plant vegetables and herbs HERE

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sky Watch Friday - Mountain Moon

I noticed a lot of pictures of the huge moon last week at Sky Watch!  It was  amazing, wasn't it!  Here's mine, taken August 12th on a turn-out on Rim of the World Highway (San Bernardino Mountains).  There were at least 5 other people who stopped to snap pictures while I was taking these, and at least one had a very nice camera...so somewhere out there there are better versions of this.  :-)  

It was really beautiful.  The pictures came out pretty good, but still didn't come close to capturing what it looked like in person. 

2 Question Thursday/Aloha Friday

Every now and then I participate in Aloha Friday, where I ask a simple question for you to answer (nothing that requires a lengthy response) and Two Question Thursday (same idea...only TWO questions).

We recently got back from a Vacation with my family in California.  With three boys under 10, a 4 hour flight, and long trips in a rental car, I was very thankful to have a few things with us.  The most useful (other than diapers...diapers are definately useful) were these:

Our iPhone: Direction on google maps, Yelp for finding good restaurants and hotels, and lots of games to keep the kids occupied.  Oh, and if you are visiting San Diego might I recommend the free San Diego Hotels map and the Balboa Park ap you you plan to visit there.

Crayola Color Wonder Disney Cars Coloring Book and MarkersColor Wonder Books:  I bought one book for each of my three boys and they were worth every penny.  They kept them busy for hours on the plane and at my Dad's nursing home, and I didn't have to worry about them coloring the seats.

So anyways, here's my questions today...

  • Where have you travelled this summer?
  • What are the things you found most useful while traveling?

If you have a blog and would like to post your own questions you can leave your link on the appropriate day at the linkys at 2 Questions Thursday and An Island Life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This is California

I think I have a better understanding of California since I've left then I ever did when I lived there.  This is California...

1.  A view of mountains through the palm trees.

2.  Shredded beef tacos and churros.

3.  An item with avocado in every restaurant menu.

4.  Graffitti.

5.  Toilet seat covers (seriously...hard to find a bathroom without them in CA.  Not so in TX.). *

6.  Passing through desert, mountains, and oceans in one three hour drive.

7.  Driving "up the hill" and climbing 5,000 feet in elevation (hmm...maybe that's just San Berdo).

8.  Fast paced conversation.

9.  Stucco and red tile roofs.

10.  The stunning beauty of smog induced sunsets.

*I had to add a little extra word about the toilet seat covers.  I remember a time in CA when toilet seat covers were rare...then in the 80s AIDS hit the news and they started showing up everywhere.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Mountain Views

The pictures below show a few of my favorite things about summer in the San Bernardino Mountains where I grew up.  We were blessed to have been able to take a trip back there this August. 

Stopping to look at the view on Rim of the World Highway.

The view from Dad's porch.

 My Old Back Yard
Close up of the red wildflowers growing there.

The Strawberry Peak Fire Tower
Twin Peaks, CA

The view from the Strawberry Peak Fire Tower.

The view coming down the "shortcut" trail
in back of the tower.  Strawberry peak is a gorgeous place to hike.

Wildflowers coming back down the Rim.
(These are beautiful...but the best are when the Yarrow is
blooming...the smell is amazing!)

When I told people here in Texas I was from California, I'd often get asked, "Aren't you happy to be out of there?"...as if it were a place I should have liked to flee from.  I don't think they realized what I'd left. 
Back then I was so homesick for these mountains.   I've grown comfortable with Texas now and don't often long for California like I used to...but being in Twin Peaks this past week felt like home in a way that I don't know if Texas ever will.

Unknown Mami

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sky Watch - Twin Peaks, CA

We just got back from a trip to California with the kids.  While we were there we visited my home town town in Twin Peaks, California....and I took my kids hiking in the Strawberry Peak National Forest.  In 2007 a fire had climbed the mountainside up towards the peak, and I wasn't sure when we went out how much of the forest it would have claimed.   Our last trip was soon after the fire but it had been winter so we didn't hike very far in.  This time I took a trail all the way back to see if the big tree we used to hike out to see was still there.  On the way I was surprised by another result of the fire.  Where there had been no view to speak of, only forest, there was now this...

You could see all the way down the mountain, if not for the clouds! While the fire had taken many trees it had left a beautiful view in their place.

And, the fire had spared our favorite old tree. I was so happy to find this giant still there, and be able to show it to my kids. They were amazed at how big it was.

I learned after creating this post that  Klaus Peter, the person who had been the owner/maintainer of Skywatch, has passed away.  They asked that to honor his memory we dedicate our posts in his honor.  I think it might be fitting to leave the post as is, and only ad this...

When the fire ravaged our mountain it left scars -- houses gone, thousands of tall pine trees burnt to the ground.  It left ugliness where beauty had been.   But in the brief years following, the ashes gave way to new beauty and new growth.

Our trip out to California was not just to see treasured places and escape the Texas heat:  Our main reason for going was to visit my Dad, who's body and mind are giving way to Parkinsons.  Walking in that forest and seeing the beauty there...not in spite of, but in many ways because of, the fire which had taken so much...seemed a hopeful symbol of what our family was going through.  I hope that God brings the same hope to Klaus' family and loved ones.

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy oer your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing

God gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

(From the song Beauty for Ashes, by Crystal Lewis - paraphrased)

Traveling Questions

Every now and then I participate in Aloha Friday, where I ask a simple question for you to answer (nothing that requires a lengthy response) and Two Question Thursday (same idea...only TWO questions).

I am just back from a Vacation with my family in California.  In spite of loosing my wallet and nearly missing my flight because of it, nearly loosing a suitcase (it took a different rout home than we did), leaving my camera at a relative's, and getting a slightly sprained ankle, it was a good trip.  Actually, a very good trip!  I'll be posting some pictures here once I get the pics on my phone downloaded, and more once I get my camera back.

So anyways, here's my questions today...

  • Have you ever lost anything on a trip?
  • Have you ever gotten injured while on a trip?

If you have a blog and would like to post your own questions you can leave your link on the appropriate day at the linkys at 2 Questions Thursday and An Island Life.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Texas Gardening Tips for August

Flowers and Bulbs
August is the last chance to plant the dormant bulbs of late summer and fall blooming lycoris  and fall crocus (Colchicum), which begin blooming in September.  August is also a good time to buy and plant Salvias.

Roses and Shrubs
You should prune your roses this month to get them ready for the fall blooming season. The exception is ramblers, climbers, and some varieties of old garden roses, which bloom on growth made the year before prolifically in spring and early summer. These should only be pruned now if absolutely necessary now (it's better to prune these type of roses earlier in the summer). Now is a really bad time to plant roses and shrubs, as the August heat is almost certain to kill new transplants.

This month is your last chance to plant palm trees, which will need time to get established before the cold. The heat makes this a bad time to plant other types of trees.

Vegetables and Herbs
In Zone 8b and 9 you can still transplant tomatoes and peppers. Even though the weather is hot, there are many vegetables you can plant this month. Find out which ones are good to plant where you are HERE.

I'm just an amature garderner...not an expert. Most of the information above came from the book Month to Month Gardening in Texas, which I highly recommend, especially if you are new to Texas.