10. July 2012 · Comments Off on Deep Summer in the Heart of Texas · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, Local, World · Tags: , ,

Well, because of the drought and all, and in spite of the occasional productive storms blowing through, it’s not entirely bone-dry and ready to blow away on the next stiff breeze. As a matter of fact, the garden is looking quite beautifully lush, almost tropical. Of course, this may be due to about half an hour of hand-watering the pots and the hanging baskets every morning. But still – the back yard is no longer something I am embarrassed to have people see. Nothing like the desolation left in the wake of a hard and prolonged frost a year and a half ago, and the depredations of a pair of stray mutts that my daughter took pity upon, and we housed until we … umm, passed them off on a couple of likely suckers … no, make that fond and indulgent dog-lovers. As for rain – we went halfsies on a rain-gauge, and there’s been rain in it, every couple of days; how coincidental is that?

Anyway, the back yard was left pretty much as a wreck after these twin disasters, but now it is brought back, and if I can figure out a way to cram in even more raised beds to grow vegetables in, I will – for next year, at the very least. And there seem to be more and more people doing that backyard homestead thing; keeping chickens for eggs, bees for honey and all. If I had half an acre to spare, I’d consider one of those mini-cows … one of the regulars at Chicagoboyz suggested that breed, a couple of months ago, and don’t think I didn’t consider it, for when I have my eventual country retreat. My grandmother kept chickens during the Depression, and we had a hive of bees for a couple of years.

We went up to Canyon Lake for the 4th of July – rather than spend a day baking under the hot sun at the rocky edge of the lake, as we did last year. Since we took the dog, we had to go to the campground, rather than the public beach, so this year we omitted the dog and floated a bend of the river instead. Candidly, it wasn’t all that much fun, since the current wasn’t all that, and the river ran so shallow that we wound up portaging the tubes over the last third. Struggling out of the tube, schlepping through the rocky shallows, wondering what the heck is that nasty thing you are stepping on all unseen, knowing that the odds of turning an ankle on a slime-covered rock are pretty good, seeing that most everyone else is pretty well toasted – from alcohol and the sun – before they have gotten out of sight of the launch-point … not again, I don’t think. Unless we do the Comal, take some friends, a picnic lunch and remember to slather our shins with waterproof SPF-30 … I did remember to bring a hat, though. But the views of the banks, of cypress trees and of vacation houses that cost more than my entire family (including the brother-in-law who works for JPL) will make in five years or more were very nice. They went by, very slowly … and the tubers with loud, waterproof radios were … not pleasant. Mom and Dad always preferred a ‘stay-cation’ – they were doing it before it was cool, and now I see the wisdom of that.