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Archive for February, 2014

Just a Normal Thursday

Not that I’m complaining, but my normal everyday after-work routine can be a little hectic.

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On my way home from work I stopped real quick at The Natural Gardener (luckily on my way home) and grabbed some Juliet’s, since I didn’t grow these from seed, some basil and a few silver pony foot. By stopping today I don’t have to fight the weekend crowds.

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After arriving home, I filled up the feed buckets and fed Marshal and the Lambs (still no names). I threw the ball around with Marshal for about 10 minutes as well.

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While out there, I filled up my bowl with greens, radishes, and carrots for tonight’s salad.

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I reset the traps with peanut butter and dog food.

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I then migrated to the chicken area to spray some antibiotic on our chicken with an eye infection. I set a few traps in the chicken area as well.

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And gathered eggs

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I then pulled out a lamb roast for dinner.

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All the while, pet Frankie and say hello to Rose and Carl. Carl makes it easy since he follows me around everywhere.

Now off to cook dinner.

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Chicken Hazard — Rats

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One thing we learned, that when you have chickens (or other poultry) you have extra food around. As efficient as they are, they don’t always clean up after themselves.

We have been battling rats for the past year. If they were only in the chicken yard, I would be upset, but the fact that they are getting in my vegetable garden, I am livid. We built a giant cage a few years ago that is deer, rabbit and bird proof. It turns out, that it is not rat proof.

A full size rat can squeeze down to 1/2″. That is not a very big opening, and pretty hard to prevent them from getting everywhere.

It turns out that the rat problem in the Austin area has been worse due to the drought. The drought kills animals, both rats and their predators. Rats, however, recover much faster. The speed in which they reproduce can quickly cause an infestation, with no natural predators around.

A few months ago we rescued 2 cats. One is a great ratter, and one not so much. Carl (above) is quite a hunter. His only flaw is that he has a tendency to bring live rats in the house. The first few times I jumped up on a chair, but it’s amazing what you can get used to given enough exposure.

Carl has been helping, but it’s way too big a task for him singlehandedly.

We have been setting traps nightly. We go through phases where we catch a bunch and then things will be quiet for a while. The trick is to find out the rats natural path and set the traps.

We have found these traps to be the most effective.

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I set traps in the vegetable garden as well as in the chicken yard. Since we don’t want to accidentally catch a chicken, we have used one of our extra coops (the mom and baby coop which is currently empty). Each night I sprinkle a little food in there and set a few traps. If you care to look closely you can see where we caught 2 rats last night.

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It’s a slow process, I’ve heard it can take years, but we just have to keep at it.

The one thing you don’t want to do is poison the rats. When the predator eats the poisoned rat, there is often enough poison to kill the natural predator as well.

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Bloom Day 2/14

The garden is only a few weeks from some impressive blooms, but for now this will have to do.

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My first bulb of the season – Hyacinth

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My first apple bloom — ever
Type – Anna

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Amethyst Calla Lily
Is it cheating if I just planted it this weekend? I couldn’t pass these up when I saw them at The Natural Gardener. They are very cold tender, but I’m ok with something this pretty being an annual.

Since I’m low on blooms this month, I’ll add my new yard art.

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Costco for under $40, hard to beat this price. I’ve been wanting one of these spinners for a while.

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Found this at “Antiques and Things” on 290W. If you’ve never stopped by it’s a great little place and he’s always got something new.

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I bought this bench there as well several months ago. We finally got around to painting it and puting it back together.

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Painted to match the shutters.

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Marshal Dillon Update

I haven’t posted pics of my puppy in over 6 months. He is still a puppy, even if he doesn’t look like one. This weekend he had a playdate with Bailey and Bandit of GardenAlly. The size difference was pretty incredible, so I was amazed at how well they got along.

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Tree Inventory

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Yesterday while trimming the pomegranate, apple, and pyracantha, I decided to take inventory of the trees on our property. I’ve never done this and really had no idea how many we had.

THROUGHOUT PROPERTY

Live Oaks – Can’t begin to count, 100+
Cedar – 30+

FRONT YARD

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Cedar Elm – I lived in the house a year before I noticed that this tree was different from the live oaks. The canopy is so high, that it was smaller leaves in fall that gave it away.

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Yaupon Holly Cluster
Evergreen Sumac Cluster

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Additional Evergreen Sumac – I love the canopy on this tree

Pyracantha
*Desert Willow
*Acacia
*Corkscrew Mesquite
*Flowering Senna
*Aromatic Sumac
*Yellow Bird of Paradise
*Kidneywood
*Almond Verbena – hoping this one survives it’s lawn mower trim
Mountain Laurel – 1 cluster, *2 regular trees, *1 silver peso

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Crepe Myrtle – 5 pink, 1 white (the white is in the back)

In the Orchard …

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*3 Apple Trees – Anna, Mollie’s Delicious, Granny Smith
*3 Peach Trees – Tex Prince, June Gold, Texas Star
*3 Fig – Everbearing, Blue, Unknown/transplant (2 of these are in the back yard)
*1 Pecan – Desirable

BACK YARD

Texas Persimmon – 7
*Olive – 3 – Mission, Arbequina, Arbosana
*Kumquat
*Key Lime
*Meyer Lemon
*Satsuma

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Pomegranate – 2
Have you ever tried trimming a tree with a cat in it? It makes branch selection a little more challenging

*Brazos Avocado
*Bay Laurel
*Anacacho Orchid
*Mexican Redbud
*Possumhaw Holly
*Eve’s Necklace
Sago Palm
Mulberry – bummed that this one is a male
Palo Verde / Retama – 2
Chinaberry – ~5

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*And can’t forget the bottle trees – 2

* Trees I planted

— As of 2/16 I have also added an Anna apple tree, a bottlebrush and am including my Pineapple Guava and a frost lemon.

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