Central Texas Sunset

We have our share of drawbacks in this area, though right now, the grasshoppers and the drought are the worst.  We’ll always have spiders and snakes but hopefully we will not always have grasshoppers that equal the plagues of ancient days, and hopefully some day the drought will end.

But, there are so many wonderful things about living in this area, one of them being our sunsets.  In the evenings when I’m out making sure all the faucets are off, putting the chickens up for the night, closing up the sewing room, the sunsets this time of year always catch my attention.

Last night as I was checking the cows’ water (see their tank there on the right bottom?), I noticed the gorgeous blues and pinks off in one direction.

In the other direction, I saw this.  You can see the fruit trees and the condo coup out in the distance.

Just like life . . the sky changes so quickly.  I hope that no matter what troubles and problems I face each day, that I can always see the beauty that’s all around me.

There’s probably no place that’s perfect as far as living conditions.  Some places are more suited for some folks than others.  I can live with the spiders and snakes, where I have a hard time living with ice and snow.  We are very blessed that we are living somewhere that suits us so well. Except for . . those “you know whats”!  :)

That Wayward Red Head!

Over the weekend Vince and I were talking about Roscoe and Hattie and thinking maybe there had been a little lover’s quarrel.  She had not escaped from the run for 3 or 4 days.  I know some of you think I’m nuts but it’s so funny to watch them.  In the mornings as soon as Roscoe sees me coming, he flies down out of his tree.  He runs to the corner right by where the hens come out of the coop and he waits.  I open the door to the run and he stands there watching all 13 hens file out of the coop.  There are 7 red ones that look to me almost exactly alike.  Roscoe knows which one is Hattie.  He waits, on his big rock (trying to look taller and more masculine), until she comes parading by and then he follows her all over . . him on the outside of the fence and Hattie on the inside of the fence.  Like most women, she quickly loses interest and goes off to chase bugs.  Wouldn’t my days be wonderful if I lived to catch grasshoppers?  I’d surely be fat and happy!  Oh . . wait . . I am fat and happy!  :)

So, Miss Hattie had been minding her manners and staying inside the run . . til Sunday.  I was out replanting my seeds and look who came strutting into the garden to see what I was doing.

We discussed the sorry state of affairs . . the grasshoppers eating my sprouts.  She gobbled down a few of the scoundrels.  Then Roscoe came in to visit but he had other things on his mind . . if you get my drift!  She was not interested but then they both realized I was planting crunchy little morsels in my rows and they began following along behind me eating my beet seeds.  Maybe I should give up on a garden!

I had to chase them out of the garden and close the gate just to get finished planting.

They had a few good hours together before I put her back in the run and so far, she has not escaped again but I know it’s just a matter of time.  She’s definitely a free spirit.

They are Not Going to Win

The grasshoppers are about to get the best of me! Labor Day weekend and a bit before and a bit after, we planted our Fall garden.  No matter how many years I plant a garden, I’m always as excited as ever to see those seeds sprout.  This past week a friend was over on Tuesday and we were talking about all the plants and which ones were what and how nice they all looked.

Every morning and every evening I water the new seedlings.  Thursday evening I went out to water and lo and behold . . there were no sprouts.  Nothing green!  Only fat, happy grasshoppers!  I’m telling you . . it was all I could do not to cry. I couldn’t find a green stem . . no residue of anything alive.  I truly couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t even mention it to Vince because I so badly wanted it not to be true. Friday morning, I got up and went out there half expecting to find that I’d had a nightmare and all the little green sprouts were really all still there . . but they were not . . nothing was there but a whole lot of grasshoppers.

There seems to be absolutely nothing we can do to control them.  I’ve tried every remedy I could find, spraying them with cooking oil/soap/water mixture.  Spraying them with ammonia/water mixture.  I’ve tried the tobacco tea spray.  There are just so many of them.  When we walk into the house, we have to stop and brush grasshoppers off our clothes if we’ve been out in the yard. Eight chickens running around, catching grasshoppers and the only thing I can tell you for sure is . . there’s chicken poop on my porch!  I don’t see any less grasshoppers than before the chickens were running loose.  I’m totally at my wit’s end with these grasshoppers.

While out replanting on Sunday, I saw two snakes in the garden and 10 million grasshoppers and was constantly keeping watch on these things that look like green honey bees that have already stung me twice.  It was only when I read the back of the cabbage packet and it said “Plant after the daytime temps drop below 75º” that I could no longer hold back the tears and sat down in my chair and had myself a good cry.  I don’t think there’s a time ever when our daytime temps stay below 75º.  I’m beginning to believe that if we’re going to live in central Texas, I should give up gardening and learn to like TV.  That seems much safer for me.  I don’t think I can survive without a garden to tend and fresh veggies to harvest.

Our solution . . plastic sheeting.  Surely these grasshoppers are going to leave soon.  For now, I hope my little seedlings will be safe.

I had extra beet, spinach and lettuce seeds.  I was able to buy carrot, mustard and chard seeds locally.  That’s all planted.  I ordered kale seeds and hope they will arrive soon.

I’ve tried my best to be as organic as possible with the garden and fruit trees but we’re at the point where if we can’t control the grasshoppers, we’ll have nothing — no fruit trees, no vegetable garden, no blueberries, no grapes.  We’re going to lose everything to them.  A friend recommended Bayer Fruit, Citrus and Vegetable insect control.  It’s a once a year systemic type treatment and I had hoped not to have to use chemicals but . . I’m throwing in the towel.  As soon as the new seedlings are sprouted, we’ll pull back the plastic, use the chemicals, put the plastic back for a couple of days til the chemicals do their thing, and then we’ll hope for the best.

As I was coming into the sewing room to write this post, I looked out the window . . the window with the holes in the screens where the grasshoppers have eaten, and I saw this sitting on top of a pipe.

That’s a pretty thick pipe and a huge grasshopper.  He’s probably stuffed from eating my seedlings!  To say I am totally SICK of grasshoppers would be an extreme understatement.  To say I’m pretty tired of all the critters around here — snakes, scorpions, spiders, moths . . Bloom where you’re planted, Judy!  That’s what I keep telling myself.