Thursday, February 11, 2010

Starting to whine.....

It is raining at my house. It has been raining since midnight, and will continue to rain all day, all night tonight, and most of tomorrow. Ordinarily, I would not mind the rain, but it is also February, and that means it is also COLD! I hate cold! My feet hurt, they are so cold.....

It seems it is either Feast or Famine for us. This past summer, we were without rain for about 5 months, maybe longer. Crops died in the fields, the cattle were being fed hay brought in from North Texas. We had green grass in our yard, but we have St. Augustine, and it can go awhile without rain. We were running sprinklers every day for awhile, every other day at least, but only in the vegetable garden or the flowerbeds; never the grass. It was a terrible drought.


It finally started to rain around the first of September. I know we were happy! We had nice rain, an abundance of rain. Plenty of rain, lots and lots of rain! The ground is soaked, the farmers are ready to plant, but the fields are so wet they can't get in them! We are not complaining, because I would almost bet that that is what caused the drought.... is raining again. This is our little river, the Lavaca. Normally, it is a small river, peaceful, nice to tube, or canoe on. Good fishing in this river, good place for a picnic.

It is about 4 times it's normal size now, out of it's banks and about to cut off traffic. We have seen it where the road was completely covered over, and the water was running pretty fast. I swear, catfish were swimming across the road!

As soon as it warms up a little, the banks of this swollen river will be covered up with people with fishing poles.

These last two pictures were taken from the bridge.

I just want my feet to warm up.

Not complaining, tho.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gardening in the Dead of Winter.....

This time of year, propagating violets is a good thing to do to keep yourself in practice, and to make a bunch of new and good plants for your window sill.

Propagating violets is so easy and so rewarding! Anyone can do it, with minimal equipment and almost no effort. Violets are usually easy to find now, as they are a romantic little flower and Valentines day is right around the corner. Also, many box stores stock them as people like to grow them inside the house. I have very few plants in my house, because I worry about the silly cat eating them, but I do keep violets. The cat will just have to learn not to eat the violets.

Supplies needed include a healthy violet plant.
1 Styrofoam cup, and 1 plastic disposable cup (as shown)
a wooden skewer, or a sharpened pencil
about 1/3 cup perlite
about 1/3 cup vermiculite.
Rooting hormone powder
Distilled water, if you have 'city' water.

With the wooden skewer, poke 4 holes in the side of the Styrofoam cup, close to the bottom. Site them opposite each other. Then poke a row of holes about 1 1/2" up from the bottom, about 1/2" apart.

The bottom holes are to allow the rooting medium in the cup to pull water into the cup. The top row of holes is for drainage. If the water gets that high, it should be able to drain out.

Pour the vermiculite into the Styrofoam cup. Pour the perlite on top of the vermiculite. Do not mix them together. Place the Styrofoam cup inside the plastic cup (as shown), and add water up to (but not above) the top row of holes. Cut a leaf from the mother plant, including as much stem as possible. Dip the stem in rooting hormone, tap off the excess, and stick into the perlite in the cup.
Set the cup on a sunny window sill, but not where it will get direct sun on it. Bright light is needed here, not hot light. I use a window on the SE side of my house. Just remember to keep the plant watered.

After 6-8 weeks, you will see little leaves like this coming up through the perlite. I usually let them grow out a bit before I transplant them into their very own violet pot.
It is amazing how many different violets there are. Smooth leaves, curly leaves, flowers of all colors. Try this, it is fun.