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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Austin Texas, One Year Later

It's been a year since we moved here, which is very hard for me to believe. So many things have changed that sometimes I lose my breath. Some things have turned out better than expected, others not so much, and I am an awfully long way from my friends and family, but all in all I am very glad to be living in Austin, Texas.

One of the things that has been an absolute hoot is starting fresh in a new yard. This house was a virtual blank canvas and I have enjoyed turning into something that shouts "Sheryl lives here!" Some of my neighbors may disagree - after all, I had the best lawn on the street prior to my flirtation with Roundup. However, I remain very satisfied with how it is shaping up.

The Texas sedge I planted is flowering and setting seed. Hopefully that means that this fall it will fill in quite a bit when the rains return. My shrubs are blooming and setting berries. The wildflowers are growing and starting to bloom. The red Yuccas I transplanted from the back are throwing out flower spears and will be awesome in a few days.
The vegetable garden is the best I have ever planted. The raised beds Ed made out of scrounged fence boards are just the right size and the hoops enable me to put on row cover whenever needed. It was an idea I was developing for the Alaska project and I'm glad to be able to put it to use here in Austin. I've been concentrating on the garden's foundation plants and haven't been able to put in my usual riot of flowers, but my Mutabilis roses are doing what they can to make up for it. They don't need a lot of water and are very easy keepers. I have five of them planted around and all of them are cheerfully blooming.

The bird baths, mulch, and large trees in front also attract quite a few birds. I've never lived in a place with so much bird song - and that includes growing up on Yank Gulch. The cardinals, doves, wrens, chickadees, starlings, grackles, and a bunch of other tweety birds I haven't identified are constantly singing. I think my favorite has to be the Mockingbirds though. I have never seen more enthusiastic singers. They have really long phrases and are incredibly loud for their size. They also have funny personalities and are fun to watch. They seem to have it in for the squirrels. It's not unusual to see them chasing a rodent down the street or along a fence line. I've even seen two of them faced off in a duel - the bird won of course.

There are other awesome birds like hawks and egrets that hang about. We get migrations of Purple Martins and Monarch butterflies this time of year. We also have these huge turtles - about dinner plate size or larger, that you can see in ponds and sloughs around town. Soon the cicadas and fireflies will be active with their own shows. There is a lot to be thankful for and to appreciate.

So I'm glad that fate (and Kent - even though he ran off and returned to Oregon) brought us here. I think leaving the Northwest has been good for me all and all. Everyone needs a little adventure and risk once in a while to put things in perspective and starting out fresh has been both fun and terrifying. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out on the deck to enjoy the evening. Ed has my chair waiting.


  1. You picked a pretty tough year to start gardening in Texas--from one of our hottest, driest summers to a cool wet winter which included a once in a generation year cold spell. If you are surviving and thriving, then you'll be able to handle just about anything that Texas weather can throw at you. It's not always this extreme.

  2. Thank you! That's what I think too. The great thing about being in both extremes is that I won't be caught off guard - well, that's the theory anyway. :)

  3. Welcome to Austin, and to garden blogging. I love to hear about a fellow adventurer! I just found your blog via your follow on Twitter. Thanks for that, and now I'm off to read your other posts.