Beautiful days are returning to the neighborhood with more tolerable temperatures.

I’m sure most of us Texans have been happy to live in Texas (until now) specifically because we don’t get the crazy cold temperatures. You can call us wusses on that if you want, I guess. I suppose it’s not much different than the folks who live way up north because they can’t stand muggy, sticky heat at the southern Gulf Coast.

You choose your own disasters you can stand, I suppose.

It looks like things have wound down a bit regarding the crisis. I didn’t get much off the news (being Saturday and all), but it seems at least Entergy has the power situation taken care of. I’m sure the others do, too, or at least mostly do. Still, the clean water and water pressure situation continues to be problematic, especially in Austin from what I understand.

So today was sunny, and I was down to just leggings, a t-shirt and hoodie and barely shivering at the warmest part of the day. What a relief it was, and the dogs loved being able to run around outside longer than any time the past week as I chatted with some neighbors a few minutes and started cleaning up my yard. I had a ton of things I jerry-rigged together to give a bit of extra insulation to the pipes. Mostly it was comprised of garden trellises and plastic lids between to block the wind with a plastic bin over the faucet to create a heated air pocket (with a space heater on bricks being shielded from the wind in case it was needed again. The other by the well had a folding table on it’s side and extended to a 90 degree angle with a tub over the exposed faucet. Mostly windbreaks, but they did the trick. Had a few neighbors that couldn’t create windbreaks or had sheltered elsewhere and their pipes froze a second time (though not as long or severe).

I think what I was most miffed about is all the melted ice, which naturally meant a soggy ground for the foreseeable future. What was strange was the persistence of it because everything had been saturated with snow and ice. It was almost funny, but kind of gross to dig into my topsoil mound a little to at least try to get some out and see how workable it was. What had basically eroded to fill the base area of the mound was almost the consistency of chocolate mousse, and felt weird to scoop up. The soil mound itself was more the consistency of Taco Bell leavings, and when I noticed how wet and goopy the wheelbarrow full of soil was, I scooped it out into one of the beds quick and decided I was done for the day. Just no point in trying, and it was too sticky of dirt to try and spread out and mingle with the soil already in the bed.

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Not quite right, but close. It looked a lot less soggy on the surface, didn’t get icky and sticky like this til a few inches down when the water was disturbed and flowed into the spaces.

Probably gonna be at least two more days before I can really start to use that soil again. That might not be so bad, because my galvanized raised beds will show up eventually and they’re not ready to be placed yet.

That’s my hope for tomorrow. I hope the ground’s dry enough that I won’t sink in it (or make the mud situation worse) to tear apart the old garden bed I planted a few years ago that managed to thrive some of the time, but accumulated junk wood as well. I’m going to put those galvanized beds in that same area, and make a trellis arch so I can have long grape vines finally. I figured a while back I can’t plant fruit bushes in the garden beds I have now, because I can’t crop-rotate a bush as far as I know. I’d probably kill the poor things every year if I tried, and they take up too much room, room needed for veggies.

Speaking of veggies, I have oodles of seed trays getting things started. My bok choy was the first seeds planted, and there are little sprouts shooting up in the tray. I’m waiting quite a bit to actually plant them, and will thin them out as I go. I have to make sure the beds are ready to go first, but also that they get tall and strong enough that the squirrels won’t just yank them out and eat them. I learned that terrible fact last year with the amaranth–they ripped up all the peat squares I had out there, but the ones with seedlings several inches tall they left alone.

So that’s the plan for tomorrow, to begin gardening again if the weather and soil are good enough for it. Otherwise, I’ll do some minor clean-up and clean the hell out of the house, which I should’ve been doing today, but got caught up in some interesting inspirational stories and half the day passed by. Well, tomorrow the TV and internet will be off most of the day and I’ll be throwing my favorite CDs in the player. That’ll be fun. Haven’t had a music day in a while around here.

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