Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BAD gardener, BAD, BAD gardener!

Boy - o - boy, am I ever in trouble.

Surely these are not my brand NEW Felcon pruners?

Surely I didn't leave them outside overnight when we were surprised by a little mist coming out of the sky. Surely I learned something from my misuse of the previous pruners.
Or, maybe, NOT!

Bad gardener, bad, bad gardener.

So, this morning my first chore of the day is a date with the pruners and a brillo pad. Luckily, it worked and I begged their forgiveness as I scoured away and buffed and dried them.
So, yesterday we had mist and fog all day, not much moisture, but in our drought-stricken part of the country, we are happy for anything wet.

Drought conditions worsened significantly in the past week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map. Seventy-one percent of the state is now in some stage of drought, up from 58.3 percent last week.

A week ago the two worst drought designations — extreme and exceptional — covered 9.1 percent of the state. This week the two categories cover 15.1 percent of the state, with a circle near San Antonio and Austin widening in all directions.

Drought conditions in Texas are so bad cattle are keeling over in parched pastures and dying. Wildlife certainly have nothing to eat.

Makes me so glad I am feeding and watering our deer.

Today's cold front is supposed to bring us freezing rain tonight, and we have ice warnings for the morning. We'll deal, just as long as we do get some rain.

Our temps are dropping today from the 64 degrees we have right now to 39 by noon. So I put on my garden clogs and trekked out to cover some tender things in the garden.
Little hair-like sprouts from MSS' of Zanthan Gardens' Larkspur. I suspect they'd be ok, but I don't want to take a chance.
Here are my little seedlings getting a breath of warm, moist air in the greenhouse.
Here the lettuce seedlings and the amazing strawberries are glad to be prepared for the ice. I put down some plastic first - after elevating it with some chicken wire braces - and then put down a sheet.
These are happy radishes.
And these are the two still-living tomato plants that I tried to rip out last week. Gotta save them now!

I'm sure my Northern friends are laughing at all this fuss over a little cold rain, but wait, I'll have you laughing even more tomorrow. Austin drivers are completely incapable of driving in mere rain, much less a little ice or snow. It's actually comic the way the whole cit shuts down as if it's Armageddon. (Having lived in Minnesota for 4 years, I know from cold and bad driving conditions, so I have permission to shake my head at my neighbors!)

Stay warm and dry and safe.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh you naughty girl. Leaving those lovely felco's outside. It is a good thing they are so forgiving given a little steel wool and oil.

I don't blame you for covering your precious plants. If it would do any good here I would do it also.

We are getting ice on top of 5" of snow. UGH...

Diana said...

Lisa - I know, I'm bad, huh?! So sorry you are getting ice on top of snow, and life goes on. It's been a hard winter for the Midwest this year. We really have had it good here, except for the drought.

Gail said...


You are forgiven...after all you've gotten used to no rain for so long! The drought sounds bad...it is my hope that our rain is helping make up for the droughts the past few years! Btw, I am sitting by the patio window, rain is pouring and there...what do I see...both of my perennial spades, the rake, and a hand trowel all getting a winter's bath!


Diana said...

Gail - Oh - you made me laugh. So, are you going to run out in the rain to rescue your tools, or wait until it stops? I think it's good to leave them out some - make them hearty. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!) Enjoy your rain -- I hope we get something measurable, as well.

jodi said...

Oh, we've aLLLLL done this, believe me. I've even lost mine...I figure a century or two from now, someone will dig them up and wonder what they were.

grimalkin said...

I got new Felco pruners this year too to replace some that look very much like your new ones above. Actually, I didn't replace them. I kept my old ones for cutting through roots when I'm trying to dig out a section in the yard. Grinding through roots caked with our clay ruins a good blade. I'm terrible about leaving my tools out--especially given that I don't have a shed at the moment.

The larkspur will survive just about anything a central Texas winter can through at it. Like bluebonnets, they are used to overwintering here. I've never covered mine even when temperatures fall to the mid-20s.

Diana said...

Grimalkin - that's a good idea - I do have some nasty old pruners (cheapies) that I can't seem to toss, I'll try to remember to use them when I'm digging in the dirt or trying to cut weed block cloth. I thought the Larkspur would be fine because it was supposed to go in the ground in November, which would give it cold exposure, but they just came up two days ago and I was afraid the ice might be too much. Glad to know they are hearty and I won't cover them again!

Diana said...

Jodi -- I threw two of them away this fall - in a big bucket of leaves and pruning stuff that went into the trash. sigh. I don't deserve new ones!

east-side-patch said...

Leaving Felco pruners outside, in the middle of winter, in the damp! The garden police will be calling on you, to take you away soon I am sure! :)

Seriously though, I am thinking of leaving my new pruners out in my yard to rust...I hate them. They have this annoying little locking mechanism that unwilling engages every time I squeeze the handles. So every time I have to flick the lock off in order for them to open again...Ahhhhhhggghhh! I have ended up duct taping the latch which means my pruners are now permanently in the open position, making them unpocketable for fear of lancing something they shouldn't.

How do you find the Felcos?

Diana said...

ESP - oooh - I've had pruners like that -- WHAT a pain. And I suppose they could inflict pain, as well, if you tried to pocket them. The garden police -- I'm shaking in my boots! I got these Felco's at the Natural Gardener and the previously, totally rusted out-so-badly-I-didn't-try-to-revive-them pair at Smith and Hawken. Have them open the case and let you "try them on" because they come in lots of different styles and sizes. I bought lefties because I am retraining myself to prune left-handed due to right elbow tendonitis. Go for it! Good luck.

Pam/Digging said...

I'm glad the Felcos forgave you, Diana. I did the cover-up routine this morning, and my kids are praying for an ice day to get out of school. Seems pretty unlikely they'll get out for more than a couple of hours though.

getgrounded said...

When I put in a new fence this year, Diana, one of the big jobs was putting in a new bed where overgrown shrubs and vines had been in a previously unusable part of the yard. As we started digging out old things, not only did I find old stepping stones under the dirt, but two, now over 20 years buried, hand tools - pruners and a trowel. See, you are just following your grandmother's directions! I'm just glad to see I'm not the only one.

Frances said...

Hi Diana, you are not at all bad, look at how you are protecting growing things against the cold. The felcos here have been abused too, but they always clean right up and that is a good opportunity to sharpen the blade anyway. I like to sharpen with a flat file everytime there is a big pruning job to be done. The rust doesn't really hurt anything and any moisture, even when they are under the deck will causes it to show up again. Stay safe and warm and I hope you get some much needed rain from this mighty system.

Diana said...

Pam -- no ice-day today. How did your plants fare in the weather? With so many newly planted and transplanted things, I'm sure you had to cover more than you normally would.

GetGrounded - How funny! I wonder if I've ever "planted" tools in a garden before? Probably have! So preparing your bed was like an archaeological dig! Funny story. How did you fare in the freeze/ice last night?

Frances - So glad to know I am not the only Felco-abusing culprit! We didn't get much rain at all, but wet is wet, so I'll take it. How are you holding up this morning? My DH is in DC where he says it's pretty bad. I'm wondering if my in-laws in IN have power -- they are way out in farm country.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I have been guilty of this too;) Mine haven't rusted though. Perhaps yours were out longer than mine...I always feel guilty, because I probably take less care of my things than most people. Even really nice things...I often just toss the shovel, clippers, gloves onto the garage floor after using them, and don't even clean them off...just to do the same again the next day. You are definitely not alone, and most likely not as 'bad' as I am;)

Diana said...

Jan -- Oh - we're a lot alike! I never clean mine...Every once in a while I will sharpen the blade, but it's rare. At least I'm in good company! And...plants can't complain!

Pam/Digging said...

No, I don't cover newly planted plants. Only those that are generally cold tender---a few agaves and succulents. I think everything came through just fine.