Spring exploded all over the Kirk Ranch this week.
Apologies to our Pagosa friends for spreading on the "No way, you still have snow on the ground" routine. It's inevitable.
I'd like to think we are out of the woods with freezing weather, but the old timers say if it thunders in February you can count on frost on that same day in April. It did. So this gardener is betting on April 9th.
This is the fabled Texas Bluebonnet. It and several friends are growing in our front yard. The Lone Star State will be silly, gorgeous with them for the next month or two. Local lore holds that because of former first Lady and wildflower advocate, Lady Bird Johnson, the pockets of state highway workers were filled with wildflower seed. It is a fact, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, a 1987 federal law mandated one quarter of one percent of all highway landscaping funds be devoted to planting natives. This was largely due to her efforts. She was an early and avid environmentalist and a proud Texan.
I've been dying to show off this fabulous greenhouse. I'm dying even more to tell you that its mine.
Well....It's not. This is the home of Hardwick Nursery & Produce in Rising Star, Texas. It is the mothership for three separate retail nursery operations. They must have, on site, fifteen or so 100x30 foot green houses packed to the gills with daisies, petunias, bouganvillea (which in Texas is a hanging, potted annual - smart) peonies, begonias. lobelia, hotpeppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, okra starts and countless other plants.
It is possible to feel a little inadequate wandering through the Hardwick greenhouses, but I had to remind myself, they probably started with one, little recycled materials greenhouse too.
Grandaddy Kirk was able to celebrate his 85th birthday on the Kirk Ranch, last week.He was escorted all the way from Lexington, North Carolina by our good friend and gynecologist Dr. Quiche. (The gynecologist jokes, believe me, are never not funny).
A fried chicken, creamed-potato dinner was held in his honor and also in attendence was Ms. Garrett, who is our favorite 91 year-old neighbor/friend. After comparing some notes with Grandaddy on the Depression and dirt roads, she told some amazing stories about growing up in DeLeon, Texas (10 miles south).
Her family lived in a two-room house and farmed peanuts with teams of horses. As a child, she was the smallest and was often tapped to ride atop a cultivator of some kind and drive one of the teams! Due to my complete lack of mastery in the "southern woman" arts, I was preoccupied with frying chicken and I can't remember how many kids were in her family - but I think there were a bunch.
She told Ranch Boss that baths were taken on Saturday nights. That's where the expression "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" comes from. Baths were taken largest person to smallest, so the baby got washed in some pretty dirty water. Ranch Boss asked "Ms. Garrett, did you have running water?"
"Oh Lord no!" she answered and giggled. She has a great giggle.
In our spare time, we also planted 27 new trees. The driveway now has a unique landscape design I like to call "compromise."
You see, the principals at the Kirk Ranch agreed that the driveway should be lined with trees. One principal favored a tidy, flowering manicured tree called a Bradford Pear. It is pictured at the right.
Another principal, who happens to also be pictured at the right, believes that Bradford Pears are not a "manly tree" and prefers something a little more "masculine" and "western." As such, the bottom half of the driveway features fourteen manly, western, Mexican Plums. The top half features eleven tidy, pretty Bradford Pears.
We often talk about the amazing availability of resources here in Texas. All of these trees came from the Snider Nursery which is less than a half mile from the Kirk Ranch. The owner, Mike Snider, has a zillion trees for sale there, so if you are in the market for a bunch of really nice, high quality trees - masculine or feminine - Mike's the guy. He also set Ranch Boss up with a gorgeous Weeping Willow that will make some fabulous shade for our front yard in the long, hot Texas summers.
So yep, spring is pretty sweet 'round these parts. I know it is still snowing in Colorado, so y'all come visit now! April 3, 2010