Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring is Sprunging

I see the drift of falling white and smile.

On only March 21--the first day of spring--it was snow. Today it is crabapple petals.
When I step outside, there is a constant buzz. The bees are so happy and busy. Out my back door is a sea of several hundred purple iris. I'm not that fond of the plant, but right now they sure are pretty.

December through March had a preponderance of cloudy days and rain. Now suddenly the temperatures are normal and we actually could use a little rain. Gardeners have finally gotten their seeds and potato eyes and green onions in. It is time for the squash and beans. A couple of weeks and the okra and tomatoes go in.

Texas is a big state, but our tomatoes are mostly small. We can't grow Beefsteak or Big Boy or whatever tomato that will cover a slice of bread with a single slice. We get too hot too soon. Porters, grape tomatoes, Romas, Celebrities, Carnivals, these do well. Anything smallish to middle-sized will continue to produce some in 100-degree weather.

I had to laugh the other day leaving my son's home. My daughter-in-law had bought green onions for a dish she was preparing and had several left over. She simply plugged them into the dirt of one of her patio planters. They have gotten hearty and healthy on their way to becoming fullsize white onions.

I like to eat, and I love fresh produce. But my real love is the flowers. Bluebonnets are spectacular is south Texas this year, I hear. I love Indian Blankets, Texas primroses, wild larkspur,fairy cups, yarrow, painted daisies, paintbrush in red, yellow and white. The wildflowers are a wonderful dividend in Texas, sometimes stretching in a colorful blanket as far as the eye can see. Once you get out of the Metroplex, of course. But we have our fields--no, not meadows--in the complex of many cities and highways and buildings as well. The redbud was spectacular but went really quickly, less than two weeks.

Texas doesn't do fruit trees so well. We have a lot of peaches in certain locations, but the clay soil right here carries cotton root rot, which kills many of the trees. It is a fungus found in clay and the reason cotton no longer is grown in central Texas. Small apple trees do pretty well, but cherries don't grow at all. We have some areas to grow strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Others, not so much. Apricots don't thrive. On the other hand, pecans do well. We get a fair amount of pistacios from New Mexico. We like our pecans because they are sweeter than walnuts. and they are what we are used to. Parker County peaches will come in July, and we will flock to buy them, peeling and sugaring and freezing some for later. We don't usually have vidalias, but we have 1040s, which are sweet onions. We have all kinds of peppers--banana, Bell and chiles of all kinds. Green beans. Pintos. Blackeyed peas. Sugar snaps but no English peas.

I try to buy organic when I can and always cook from scratch, avoiding the high sodium and preservatives. It balances out some of my bad habits, I think. I used to buy a popular cooking magazine until I realized every recipe pushes some prepared product high in sodium and products. Tsk, Tsk.

I will fix a fresh garden salad for lunch when I get back from the store. I need to drive the block there and get some more cigarettes. With the windows up to block the pollen from all these blooming plants.

Yeah. I have a lot of bad habits to balance.