Come along with me as I transform my country house into a home my family and I will enjoy for the rest of my life....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


  • Select a variety of peach tree that is proven to grow in your area.
  • Choose a peach tree sapling with a straight trunk and strong, pliable branches.
  • Select a site that is flat with good circulation and drainage.
  • Water your peach tree deeply and add a new fertilizer spike about every 3 weeks.
  • Prune regularly, especially when the tree is young, to ensure a productive tree.
  • Cut back nursery tree to 24 - 36 inches and remove lateral branches flush with the trunk.
  • Place alunimum foil on the bottom 18 inches of the trunk.
  • After growth begins in the Spring, select the strongest 3-5 shoots rising from the top 6 inches on the main trunk.
  • During the next dormant season, remove everything down to the strongest 3 or 4 limbs.
  • With good care, the growth that is produced in the second growing season should produce a first crop the following year.

1 quart milk plus 1 cup
1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 small can evaporated milk
1 pint whipping cream
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
3 cups (or less) mashed peaches (fresh), mixed with 3/4 cups sugar and juice of 1 lemon.

Combine first 6 ingredients and freeze to a mush in an electric or hand-turned freezer. Add peaches mixture and freeze hard. Remove dasher and pack with ice and salt until ready to serve. Keeps well in deep freeze without getting icy.

Recipe from

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Bellflowers, delicate, pastel colored, bell-shaped blossoms can basically look after themselves. They spread healthily and will grow as thick as you wish.  I have them in a 2' X 6' area and since this is their 2nd year, they should really be eye catching. 

Russian Sage has gray, fuzzy and scented foliage; however, it is also lacy and attractive. The flowers start out a soft pale blue and just keep getting more vibrant as they mature and open fully. And the only maintenance is a pruning in the spring. 

The Butterfly Bush is a vigorous growing shrub that boasts purple-red flowers from mid-summer and is a butterfly magnet. This bush flowers summer and fall and is easy to grow. In fact, it's more than attractive; it's a magnet for all the butterflies that pass through your garden seeking nectar.
This deciduous bush blooms mid-summer to early fall. Butterflies and bees will flock to the honey-scented blossoms, whose dilute nectar is sweetest in midday sun. Plant it near a path or patio and the shrub will provide a delightful fragrance for you, too. It's generally pest-free. This plant blooms on new growth and should be pruned back to the ground in spring. 

Red Hot Pokers blooms around Mid Summer and grow anywhere from 3 to 4 feet tall.  They add bright shades of orange and red blooms to the garden.

The Rock Rose (Cistus) is a decorative plant that grows in full sun. It is tolerant of dry, stony soils that lack organic matter. Rock Roses thrive with little water. The Cistus is one of those plants you can use in a drought tolerant garden that can make a landscape look lush and colorful.  From a distance it really looks like a rose bush. These ornamental, full-sun flowers are very inexpensive.  Don't be afraid to buy even the worst looking plants off the bargain table.  With a little TLC, it will look great in no time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Deciding what kind of herb garden you want is the first can grow medicinal herbs, tea herbs, cooking herbs, or a variety of herbs.  Because I like to preserve much of my produce, I'm going to plant culinary herbs.  There's not a dish to be created that won't benefit from fresh herbs.  Check out this garden club for what herbs compliment what dish. 

As for taking care of your herbs, water if you get less than an inch of rain per week. But once herbs get established, they prefer dryer to wetter. Keep tops pinched back in early summer to promote branching out.

Herbs don't need you can call yours organic.

Here is the canning book I use.....

This site tells you how to take care of the more common herbs.  Those of us who live in Texas are the lucky ones when it comes to herb gardening because these plants like hot and dry....and we have LOTS of that!

And finally, I will have to have one of these even though I have 135 acres to plant herbs!  It is incredible and a must-have for those with limited space!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Last year I looked everywhere for elephant luck.  So....I recently purchased several bulbs.  Because elephant ears will not survive the winter, I am putting the majority in a large terracotta planter that I will move inside. 

Because elephant ears are sub-tropical to tropical plants, they need to have shade and they like lots of water.  Many people complain about having shady garden spaces because they are so limited as to what thrives in shade.  While elephant ears don't have blooms, they are beautiful, proud plants that if grown in abundance make for a showcase garden.

Elephant ears like slightly acidic soil; therefore, you might need to adjust your soil.  This is easy....simply add an inch or two of sphagnum peat to the topsoil in and around plants during planting.  Or, you can water your plants several times with a solution of 2 tablespoons vinegar to a gallon of water. This is a great way to adjust pH in container plants.

Some of my favorite flowers that like slightly acidic soil are azaleas, crepe myrtles, and calla lillies.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I have looked and looked for a pergola that will go outside my master bedroom door.  I finally found it!  However, I'm not sure where I find 10' rough timbers.  Most of the pergolas are an intricate criss-cross of thin lumber.  This does NOT fit into the construction of my home....I need something massive that I can make look like it's been there forever.  Here it is!  This is amazing!  Lowe's carries inexpensive columns.....I will stain them and wipe them off to give an antique look.  Notice that the crossbeams have a high gloss look...not really ancient looking, but necessary so that the pergola retains this elegant look.  Otherwise, the timbers will become dull...I don't think I want that. 
I have the patio stones to match the cut stones on the side of my that is what I will put under this pergola....Oh! and what about a water feature?  I have that too....still in the box 3 years after I bought it....and I think it will take the same stain the columns have....

I don't think I'm going to mention the fireplace in the background.  We'll just have to step back into the bedroom to enjoy a roaring fire!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We had a horrible time with grasshoppers last Spring and Summer.  We planted nine fruit trees.....peach, apple, and pear.  Heaven knows it any of them survived....seriously, grasshoppers stripped the leaves and actually stripped a majority of the bark!  I also have 2 grape vines that might not have survived the 9 degree weather we had back porch looks like the Addams Family lives here!  Yikes!

Tomorrow I plan on planting my Elephant Ear bulbs.  I looked everywhere last year and never found any potted ones.  This year I WILL have gigantic Elephant Ears.....I can't wait!!!

I will have lots of pictures tomorrow.....

Until then...

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I understand why families decide to hydromulch rather than hand-sow grass seed.  But.....because we are people who want to do everything ourselves because labor is so expensive, we decided to go the hand-sow route.  $80.00 for seed versus $2000 at least for hydromulch. 

After doing some research, I decided to go with Sahara Bermuda.  It is supposed to be drought resistant and hearty.  This is important in the rugged West Texas heat.  Worse case scenario....we've lost $80 on grass seed and a couple of weeks with a muddy loblolly.....and we have to call in the experts. 

This is before the black dirt is trucked from a fertile swag in the pasture....

This is after.....
And here is a garden update......everything is growing....we should have our first produce by the end of next week.  Notice the corn stalks in the back left corner....That is CORN on the top. 
I smushed two more gigantic green horned tomato worms.  I picked them...bare handed....from the tomato vine and stepped on them.  It was empowering... ;-)  These grape tomatoes will be the first to ripen.  They are beautiful.
See the damage the tomato worms have done to this plant?  They are really becoming a problem.  What to do......I guess this will be my next research project.