There is nothing more satisfying than growing and preparing your own food. I am an Oregonian transplanted to Austin, Texas. I can garden year round here; of course, this also means I am pulling weeds every day. I practice organic gardening principles and enjoy the challenge of outsmarting garden pests. Occasionally I lose these battles, but I don't mind sharing a good meal.
It is freakin' hot here. And it's not just me. Austin is having a record-breaking heat wave right now with temperatures over 100 degrees every day. It cools down to a brisk 77 degrees at night. The locals bemoan that it's too early to be this hot, it's not supposed to be like this for another month. Great. That means I have three more months of this to look forward to.
Sunrise is at 6:30 am and I try to be outside as soon as I can see. There are just two to three hours available for yard work before the heat overwhelms me and sends me scurrying inside. I can't drink enough water to replace everything that pours off of me and into the ground. It's best to call it a day and come play on the computer or catch up on housework. (Or watch Ed catch up on housework while I sit on the couch and read a book - I can't lie.)
Even with a reduced schedule, I've been able to make some progress. The side walkway is dug out and the steps are placed. I've mounded up the soil in preparation for my citrus trees. I plan on placing the Meyer Lemon (which has a huge green lemon on it thank you very much) and my Satsuma mandarin orange right next to the house. I'll have to keep them pruned so they don't grab me as I pass. These citrus trees have nasty thorns on them - I had no idea - so you have to be careful.
Once the trees are planted, they will make a nice screen to hide the air conditioner condenser. As you can see from the photo I got a little carried away with the Roundup and over-sprayed into the neighbor's yard. The St Augustine grass throws out rhizomes so I have no doubt it will recover quickly. Luckily our next door neighbors are really nice and are enthusiastic about my project. They, of course, will get my SECOND lemon. Neighborliness only goes so far.
The raised beds made from the fence boards are working out too.
I fill them with the soil and dead sod from my ditch works projects. My other neighbor has contributed several bags of dead leaves and yard waste to mix in. I was hoping to mix in chipped brush but it all seems to end up in pathways instead.
The chipping is going slowly. We can't fire up the machine until 10 am (noise ordinances) and by then it is too hot to work. Ed's been trying to get a least one bag full before he shuts down. I quickly spread it around and then run back into the house to sit under the ceiling fan.
We're adapting though. Having the temperature drop to 95 is invigorating and we are outside with the rest of the neighbors taking a walk in the park. I'm getting really good at Texas barbecue and we eat more salad than we ever have. I channel grandma Clemmy and stir up a mess of greens with bacon as an additional treat. It's too hot to make cornbread but I am thinking of getting a cast iron skillet to throw on the BBQ grill. It'll be just like camping...except I just saw a cockroach as big as the cat. Dang.