rain!

Sep. 4th, 2009 07:54 pm
It rained earlier this evening for almost an hour. We had about .8 of an inch here. The official reporting stations (we have 2) may have different amounts but any rain is welcome as we are in the 24th month of a severe drought and are now at stage 2 water restrictions. We can water with a sprinkler once a week during certain hours and no daytime watering. I have decided we are getting a gutter on the lower roof as soon as the weather gets cooler and I find a good installer. Then I'll ask John to make a rain barrel collection system. I also want to do some plantings of native plants that will be able to withstand the kind of weather we have had for the past two years. Hopefully there was some rain in the Hill country so the lakes and rivers get some replenishment. Two of the nearby lakes are at less than 50% of capacity and so many businesses that rely on full lakes are not doing well. All of the public access points are closed to boats as the access points are all way out of the water. Canoes and kayaks can still go in because they can be carried in. People with wells are hurting. A local pool had to close part of its facility because of its wells ran dry. Another pool, which relies on a spring, is also hurting because the spring has a very low flow.

quilting

Aug. 20th, 2009 09:27 pm
I am making a four-square quilt and find I am getting the four squares together okay but once I have joined several to make a row by using sashing in between blocks I find that the rows don't line up well. So from one row to the next the blocks are slightly off. I am trying hard to keep my seams uniform but they must be off a little. Or I wasn't quite as precise in cutting the sashing strips as I thought I was. I am being good about pressing at each stage - block to block and pair to pair and then the rows but still there is that skew that develops as I go along. I think the next quilt will be a quilt-as-you-go one that comes in a kit. If I can learn that technique, I may make several that way. Then I think I'll use up more scraps and short strips to make random diagonals that then get cut into whatever size square I decide to work with. The ones I have seen done that way don't have any sashing. The squares are sewen together to the size desired and either finished by using the pillowcase method or by binding after the quilting is done.
Still hot (another >100) and still dry (no rain that counts in over a month). Finished another small quilt (36 by 40 or so). Have some panels to work on, then want to try a bigger four square and strip pattern. Have lots of pieces of fabric and strips so may do a random pattern. The last four have been made by taking 4 squares (6.5 in) made into a bigger square, then cut into 4 triangles. The triangles were sorted into 2 identical stacks and then 4 triangles were sown together to make an 8 inch square. I still need to work on getting all my joining seams the same size as when I am done my squares aren't all the same size. Then when i put the sashing in the squares don't line up the way they should.

still hot

Jul. 16th, 2009 10:30 pm
We are heading toward breaking the record for days over 100 degrees that was set in 2000. It will be 104 or so tomorrow which is close to where the temperature has been for the last several days. Almost all the plants in the garden have died. The basil is hanging on and I think the sage and thyme are still there. The rosemary and lavender are doing fine but I think an oregano I transplanted from someone else's garden is not going to make it. I think the mint died also but that was an experiment anyway. I may have planted it too late to have a chance. If I can find some when the weather gets cooler (September?)I'll try again. I have a bed that I don't care if mint takes over. I have another I want to enlarge once the weather cools and plant with native drought tolerant perennials and maybe some irises that are not growing where they are. I think they need more sun and right now they are in an area that is always shaded. I can then plant some shade loving plants that are also adapted to the conditions here in Austin. I would like to try yuccas and some grassy plants or ground cover other than ivy.

trip north

May. 31st, 2009 07:58 pm
Jude's birthday was today so we drove to Bedford yesterday afternoon and back today, making good time both ways, including a stop at Black-eyed Pea on way up and at Alpine Shooting on way back. Weather here is hot already, over 20 above average days in last month and it isn't June yet. Rainfall is still low and drought persists. Weeds grow anyway though plants that are desired don't. Basil seems to be doing well and I think oregano transplant is settling. I am not sure about dwarf sage and thyme plants. Lavender and rosemary wintered well and are bushy and strong. Next step is to dig up some more of the yard where an invasive plant that kills the grass is growing and plant somethings that like sun and dry situations, maybe yucca or esparanza. Have to do some reading so plants are either native or adapted. Crape myrtle is being discouraged as it is not native and there are lots of them around. The two peach trees bore fruit this year,though not a bumper crop because of freeze late in season. Perhaps a total of 15 peaches. The birds tended to peck at them but most were edible with trimming. Need to learn how to prune the trees so they don't get too tall.

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texasgrandma

September 2009

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