Monday, July 30, 2007


While moving some plants on the edge of the driveway yesterday, I discovered Mr. Camo-Toad, hiding against the rocks and under the wet foliage. He was HUGE and I just kept walking outside to peer at him, in awe of his size and color. He perfectly matched the mossy green and cream that the rock edging has taken on with all the rain, and he was about the size of a saucer! He's moved on today, but we ooohed and ahhhed over him for quite some time -- even my 4-year old daughter was checking him out.

Feathered Friends

We've been blessed this year -- three families of birds have chosen our porches to build their nests. The first, Carolina Wrens, had 3 babies in a pot on our back table. I moved it safely away from dogs and up against the window and it was like National Geographic on our back patio. I actually got watch them leave the nest - hopping tentatively and teetering around for about an hour before they finally flew off. After watching all of the nest building and fledgling activity for weeks, I truly understood the term, "empty nest!" Then the cliff swallows came to our front porch (where they pooped an unbelievable amount! We watched those 3 babies leave, and they actually all came back and forth and used the nest with their parents for several weeks. Now, we have our second set of swallow fledglings in the nest - 4, I think. They are close to taking the big plunge. In spite of our porch becoming a bathroom, we have all enjoyed watching nature up close and personal. Part of the joy of gardening is building habitat for the creatures with which we share this planet.

The Farmers' Almanac

Remember the Farmers' Almanac? Of course, you might read it relilgiously even today, but for most people, it's a forgotten vestige of the past. I used to read it at my grandparents' farm in Kentucky as a child. They were farmers -- mostly tobacco and corn -- with a few pigs and chickens thrown in for luck (or dinner!) as it were. I didn't much like the chickens, but I loved feeding the pigs. I have great memories of the farm, now long gone.

Well, here's what the current Farmers' Almanac has to say about our bizarre weather these days: Notice the repetition of the words scattered thunderstorms and "squally." That pretty much covers it for us here in Central Texas lately!

July 2007
1st-3rd. Squally weather from Southern Rockies, with severe thunderstorms, capable of producing large hail, tornadoes, especially Texas, Oklahoma area. 4th-7th. Mostly fair, dry for Independence Day holiday. 8th-11th. Fair initially, then showery, breezy weather. 12th-15th. Fair, turning hot, with many 90s and even some 100s, then scattered thunderstorms. 16th-19th. Squally Texas, Oklahoma. 20th-23rd. Fair and hot weather, then unsettled conditions by 23rd. 24th-27th. Scattered shower activity spreads south and east to Texas, Louisiana coasts, then fair skies. 28th-31st. More scattered shower and thunderstorm activity, particularly for New Mexico and parts of western Texas.

Lacebark Elm in Trouble