Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Can't Believe It!

I was shocked to see the first rose bloom of the season!  After all, it's still February!  Last year's first rose bloom was the rose 'Home Run', on the 21st day of March.  Almost one month's difference!

This year, it's Carefree Beauty.

Carefree Beauty

Sure, this rose has always been an early bloomer.  It usually blooms before most of the other roses.  It bloomed in March of last year.  But ...  February?!!

And there are lots of little buds just waiting to open!

Well, there you have it.  The first rose bloom of the season.  In February!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Zig Ziglar of Plants

Zig Ziglar.  In case the name doesn't ring a bell, he was one of the very first motivational speakers.  I saw Zig Ziglar in person in the late 80's.  It made an indelible impression.

My white irises are the Zig Ziglar of my garden.  They seem to have taken some of his motivating messages to heart:

  • 1)  Bloom where you're planted.
Zig Ziglar tells of a woman that came to him and said she hated her job.  He advised her to make a list of all she liked about her job, and for several weeks, to read that list daily.  It changed her attitude, and she began to appreciate her work.

Winter is not the easiest of times for a gardener to get through.  But my white irises are one of the first to bloom, heralding in spring from the dead of winter.  They immediately change my attitude to a positive one.  And every day as the blooms increase, so, too, does my joy, and my desire to work.

  • 2)  Be proud of yourself and what you do.
Zig Ziglar never said "I'm just a salesman."  Instead, he would explain that each sale would generate jobs for people to produce the product, accountants to count the money, and bankers in which to deposit the funds.  The bankers would then lend out a portion of that money, and people would acquire homes, automobiles, and other products, all of which require jobs for people in construction, automobile manufacturing, and other lines of production.  New furniture would be needed for the home, gas for the car, etc., requiring more people to fill jobs at furniture companies, gas stations, oil companies, and many more.  The people in these jobs would get paid, generating jobs for even more accountants, and even more bankers.  And it goes on and on.  All because he made a sale.  

My white irises are proud, too.  Tall and stately, these have weathered the storms that have come their way, and still hold their heads high.  Even when their stems are broken, they bloom anyway.  That's determination!  When they start blooming, it seems to encourage my other plants to start blooming, too.  My garden begins to come to life, and it all starts with my white irises.

  • 3)  Share the joy.
Another lesson from Zig Ziglar was to give others an honest compliment.  After we listened to him speak, we went to a little cafe for dessert and coffee.  We took Zig Ziglar's lesson to heart and not only tipped the waiter, but wrote little heartfelt compliments to him on our napkins.  It made us feel happy, and I hope it made him happy, too.

Want a complimentary plant?  The spiky foliage of irises make a great compliment to other plants.  Whether they're in bloom or not, I think irises are a wonderful companion plant to have in the garden all year long.

My white irises.  They're blooming now.  I can almost hear them giving my garden a motivational speech!   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pretty in Pink

I have not ever been taken with flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica).  Although my garden's main color scheme is yellow, red, and orange, for some reason I didn't care for the the red flowers on the quince plant.  So, I never wanted a flowering quince.  Until last year.

That's when I saw this quince flowering in the garden center.  And it was pink!  It looked like spring to me.  And even though it has thorns worst than any rose, I wanted it.  (The thorns really did put me off for a few minutes.  I've got plenty of thorns in my garden!)

Quince is only pretty in the spring.  (Of course, that's my opinion, not the quince's.)  Otherwise, it's just another deciduous shrub.  So, I've placed it in front of the pavonia where it will be the star of the spring garden, but a nice (and mostly forgotten) backdrop to pavonia's summer blooms.

There are several different species of Chaenomeles.  There's Chaenomeles speciosa, Chaenomeles japonica, and Chaenomeles cathayensis.  You can get a quince that stays a small shrub or grows as tall as a tree.  There are even cultivars that grow as low as 12".

This quince was labeled "Red Flowering Quince, Chaenomeles japonica".  Chaenomeles japonica grows in zones 5 through 9, reaches about 4 ft tall, with a spread of 6 to 8 ft.  Drought tolerant.

Look closely and you can see its thorn - far right, halfway up

Since mine was labeled "Red Flowering Quince", but blooms pink instead, was it mislabeled?  Time will tell.  But I think the label was right.  I've read that some quince will bloom white, pink and red all on one plant, or bloom a different color in different years.

If it starts blooming red, I'll still love it.  But I still think it's prettiest in pink.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm Seeing Spots!

I spotted a seven-spotted ladybug yesterday while out in the garden.  Actually, I saw two!

The seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) was introduced to the United States from Europe as a biological control for aphids.  Each of these ladybugs can eat up to 5,000 aphids in their lifetime!  As a rose grower, I am happy to see these ladybugs in my garden.

Seven-spotted ladybugs

These ladybugs are mating.  Well, maybe I should say ladybug and manbug!  ;)  In a couple of months, the female will lay between 200 to 1,000 eggs.  I hope her babies will call my garden home.

If you want to know more about ladybugs, check out this website:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Fourth Dimension

It is often said that the fourth dimension is time.

This fourth dimension becomes very important in garden design.  Can you imagine if the garden was not affected by time?  Plants might as well be plastic!  Although it would be easier to design a garden, it wouldn't be near as much fun.  Or challenging!  Part of the excitement, joy, and even despair of creating a garden is due to time.


It can be hard to imagine a 2 ft. plant growing to 20 ft. tall.  Or a 4 in. plant eventually spreading to 4 ft.  That's why the most common mistake is placing plantings too close together.  A newly planted garden can look very sparse until the plants grow to a reasonable size.  It can be frustrating to wait years for your dream to be realized, only to realize that it doesn't look like what you dreamed after all.  

After - with a little bit of time.
Of course, in a garden, "After" is always changing.

Time is part of the miracle of a garden.  It's a lot cheaper to buy a small plant, take a cutting, or start a seed, than purchase a large specimen.  And it's a lot easier to dig a smaller hole!  In time, the plant will grow to its mature size.  But, you have to be prepared to wait.  And there's always time's influence, which may or may not be predictable.

For example, on the west side of my garden, I planted three small trees.  At first, this area of the garden was in full sun.  But as the trees grew, the shade underneath them grew, too, until now that entire area is almost in full shade.  It's a lot cooler on that side of the house - the main reason I planted the trees - but my plantings under those trees have continually had to change.  And as I fill up that shady area, I am keeping an eye on another area, where a tree is dying.  There is no way to say how much time it has left. But eventually, all those shade loving plants thriving under the spread of that large tree, will be in full sun.


Those types of changes may take years.  But every year, time changes the garden as it moves through the seasons.  Just as it can be hard to imagine what the garden will look like in 5 or 10 years' time, even harder may be to imagine what it will look like from winter to spring, summer to fall.  Just planting for fall and winter interest, spring bulbs, and summer blooms are not enough.  I imagine you want your garden's design to look good going through the seasonal transitions, too.  No wonder we are always making changes to our gardens!

It has taken time for the hedges to grow and the ground cover to fill in.

Want to know a little design trick?  Use a little photo technique that I have used in trying to decide which type of window treatment I want in my home.  Take a photo.  Place it inside clear plastic, and use a marker to make changes.  This will help you imagine your garden in a few year's time.  Mature trees can be drawn on top of newly planted ones.  Shrubs can magically become full size.  Even spring bulbs can be drawn in on a winter photo.  

I've only used this technique inside, but it might be fun to try it and see what my mature garden will eventually look like.  Or, I can just take a chance and wait.  After all, time will tell!

I'm joining Donna at Garden Walk Garden Talk for Word 4 Wednesday meme on Time.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 2012 Garden Book Reviews

It's Garden Book Review time!  Wahoo!  Please join us on the 20th of each month with your garden book review.

And - I have set up a new page with the garden book review links.  This should help anyone trying to find a book that's already been reviewed.  I hope to keep it updated monthly for easy reference.


Here's my review:

"Monet's Garden: Through the Seasons at Giverny
by Vivian Russell  

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.  Generally, I read three or four books at a time.  If I find a book I read straight through, that's a great book!  This book I couldn't put down.

It starts out with a history of how Monet came to Giverny, and why he chose the plantings he did.  This book presents Monet as a real person - someone that argued with his wife, shared confidences with his friends, raised children, and most of all - gardened.

What I loved about this book was the feeling that I knew and could relate to Monet.  He would fret over late spring freezes, worry over new plants, purchase bulbs, dig in the dirt, plan new areas, read garden magazines, and visit other gardens.  He was also generous in sharing seeds and cuttings.  He was a gardener, and the feelings he had for his garden are the same that each of us have for our gardens.

After Monet's death, Giverny went into a state of decline, until charitable contributions were obtained to restore the garden.  The garden opened to the public in 1980.  The author then takes us through each season, and outlines the work that is done for the garden to be presentable to visitors.  Since Giverny is now not a private garden, but a public one, perfection is expected every time the doors are opened to visitors.  I was surprised and impressed with the amount of work that is done behind the scenes in order to present a garden full of beauty through the seasons.

This book would be a good book for anyone that wants to know more about Monet, loves photos of Giverny, or is interested in the workings of this garden or any public garden.  


Now it's your turn!  If you want to grab the button, here it is:

Roses and Other Gardening Joys

1) Any book about gardening, gardens, or has a garden influence in it is fine, except:
2) No links/reviews about growing substances that are illegal in the United States.  (I know I don't have to worry about my blogging buddies, but I thought I needed to clarify in case someone new tries slipping one in!)

I promise to read your post, and hope you will read as many of the other participants' posts as your time allows.

Here's the linky!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Bloom of Significance

The very first crocus has finally bloomed in my garden today.  Joy swept over me.

Last spring I had forgotten I planted crocuses in the garden, and the first one to bloom was a complete surprise.  This fall, I planted over 100 crocus bulbs in the garden.  And I've been waiting and anticipating their arrival ever since.  Every day since their foliage started emerging from the bare earth, I have been checking.  Even in the rain, I would run outside to see when the first crocus would bloom.  Today I continued that ritual.  And as I walked around, looking closely for a crocus bloom (yes, in the rain), there it was.

The tiny little blooms of the crocus seem insignificant.  Henry Mitchell, in his book "One Man's Garden", says that no one should design a garden around crocuses.  That struck me as funny, because - who would?  They are too small.  Their blooms last for only a short time.  In fact, for years, I couldn't understand why anyone would even plant them.

And then I planted one.  And I understood.  These ephemeral blooms are loved by gardeners because they are one of the first blooms of spring.  For many, they signify the coming of spring.  They are common, growing in many zones, and coming in many colors.  And yet, each one is different.  Each one is special.  The gardener has to bend down to look at them closely.  A pause in life.  A celebration of spring.  Hope.  Joy.  All that in each tiny bloom.


George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" had no idea the significance of his life until his angel showed him how the world would be different without it.  So many of us wonder if our lives have significance.  We may not know how, but I think each one does.

Stacy at Microcosm has asked us to come up with a different way of looking at crocuses.  On her blog, she writes "Small lives, small worlds, can still have great meaning."  So true.

There is a cemetery I visit.  I've noticed that there is a grave there that is well tended, with fresh flowers put there often.  It is the grave of a little baby that lived for one day.  I have no doubt that this precious child, that only lived one day, has had great significance.

Finally, the first crocus bloom of the year.

The crocus.  You can't design a garden around them.  You won't see them unless you look carefully.  They don't last for very long.  And yet, their blooms are possibly one of the most anticipated spring bulb, one of the most loved, and one that brings pure delight.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Made It!

I made it!  Well, it wasn't because of anything I did, really, it was the weather.  But I'm going to celebrate anyway!

Irises are beginning to bloom

This month last year, I had no blooms to show for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day except a pitiful little frozen camellia bud.  I decided I wanted to work on having blooms in my garden all year round.  And so, I purchased more camellias and added some plants I felt might bloom in the winter months.

Gaillardia (blanketflower)

And I have blooms!

Just a few muscari (grape hyacinth)

Of course, it's not my doing, really.  We have had a couple of freezing nights, but no extended freezing weather this year.  If we had, this would be an entirely different story.


Still, it's fun to say I've had blooms every month this year.  We'll have to wait and see if I'll be as lucky in February of next year!

Some kind of violet - I've had these for years!

And that's not all my blooms, either!  Wahoo!  Bring on March!  I'm ready!


On another note, I have to brag just a bit on my sweet husband and his Valentine's day present to me.  It was a picnic he had put together himself.  What a lovely, romantic Valentine's day present!  I know some women would prefer going to a five-star restaurant, but not this gal! 

Thanks, honey, I loved it, and I love you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Favorite Pet

A pet is something "kept for companionship and pleasure and treated with care and affection."  We have a few pets - some cats, and a dog.  But my favorite pet is my garden.  "What?", you may ask.  Yes, you read that right.  My favorite pet is my garden!  After all, I talk to my plants (companionship), I take pleasure from my garden, and treat it with care and affection.

Let's just make some comparisons:
  • A dog must be walked at least twice a day, possibly more.  And a cat's litter box must be changed several times a week, ideally daily.  But with the garden, clean up is only once or twice a year, with occasional bursts of weeding.  Garden wins.

"Intruder" doesn't look very happy that the garden won that one!

  • How about feeding?  Everyone knows a dog must be fed at least daily, and most people feed their dog more than once a day.  Ditto for the cat.  Feeding the garden is a little different than just putting out a bowl of food, but feeding is only recommended once or twice a year.  If you forget to feed little Rover or little Tiger, you're in serious trouble, but a garden won't complain even if you skip a year or two!  And no one will turn you in to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Gardens.  Thank goodness!  Can you imagine how many of us would be turned in?

Even "Patches" loves to stop and smell the roses!

  • Ever feel like going on vacation?  If you have a dog for a pet, and don't want to take it along, pet-sitting or boarding are expensive options.  Ditto the cat.  I know because we have two that need shots twice a day and have to be boarded with the vet.  But the garden is easy.  Just water it well, then leave.  Unless you're going to be gone for a very long time, the garden will take care of itself.  How convenient is that!  Not to mention inexpensive.

"Callie" doesn't understand why the birds aren't bathing!

  • What about limits?  We all know there is a limit to the number of dogs you can have.  One or two is usually the limit, although I do know people that have four or five.  With cats, the limit may be more than with dogs, but there should still be some limit!  With the garden, there comes a time when every gardener realizes they have reached their limit, but it's after hundreds and hundreds of plants.  Even after running out of adequate room, baby plants can be put in pots on a patio.  So, I say if you like a lot of pets, the garden wins again.
Hmmm, let's see so far:  Dog - 0, Cat - 0, Garden - 4.  Shall we continue?

"Bear" is a bit upset that the garden seems to be winning this competition!

  • Companionship is a big reason for many people to get a pet.  And a dog can be a constant companion, even sleeping with you should you wish.  Ditto for the cat, except the words should be changed from "should you wish" to "should the cat wish".  (You know what I mean if you own a cat.)  The garden?  OK, you got me.  I have heard of people hugging trees, but usually gardens won't sleep with you or keep you warm.  Although, you can bring in some flowers from your garden and enjoy its scent while you sleep.  A lot less crowded that way.  Personally, I think it's a tie, but I'll be generous and give this one to the dog and cat.
Dog - 1, Cat - 1, Garden - 4    The garden's still ahead.

We touched on feeding pets above, but I want to point out that the garden can actually feed you!  Surely the garden gets another point for that!

Roses don't jump on the sofa or claw up rugs.

But what about the most important part of a pet - love?

Oh, yes, people love their dogs and cats.  There is no denying that.  And they receive love back in return.  But I love my garden, and I think most gardeners would say they actually have the feeling of love for their garden, too.  And my garden gives me love back - in all the little joys of blooms, bees, butterflies, and fresh vegetables.

So, honestly I think the garden is a winner here!

Thinking about getting a pet?  Why not get a garden instead?  Try it, you may like it!

*All the photos are old, and there are none of my dog because he knows to stay behind me when I'm out with the camera.  Maybe I should give dogs another point, but the garden would still win!  

What's your favorite pet?

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Southern Tradition of Murder

It's happening all over town.  Murder.  It happens every year.  A murder spree.  Out in broad daylight.  Usually I just see the aftermath, but yesterday I saw it happen right before my very eyes.  I should have said something.  But I didn't.  I could have rushed to the defense of the victim.  But I didn't.  There was an entire gang of murderers, and they didn't care who saw them.  I just averted my eyes, and a feeling of sadness and helplessness swept over me.

Who are these gang members?
     Landscape companies.

Who are the victims?
     Crape myrtles.

A victim of "crape murder"

Topping off the top of the branches of the crape myrtle tree is known as "crape murder", and it's a sad sight to see.  Please don't murder your crape myrtles!  Let them grow naturally.

What do you do should you have had this happen to your crape myrtles in the past?  Well, pick out a leader from the new growth coming from each cut branch (it's not hard - just pick one).  Prune off the rest, but keep the new leader, and hopefully, eventually, very little will show of the previous murder attempt of your crape myrtle.

Crape murder.  We need to put a stop to this ugly tradition.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Plants Do The Strangest Things!

How do you spell relief?  Well, in my case, I spell it f-a-s-c-i-a-t-i-o-n.

What's that, you say?

Fasciation on rose bush

I had something wrong with one of my rose bushes.  Something very, very wrong.  Something odd.  Something that got me worried.  I was almost in tears, wondering if this was something that might also affect my other roses.  So, I asked the experts on Gardenweb.

And the answer I got back from michaelg was:

"A ribbon-shaped stem (probably formed of multiple stems fusing together) is called fasciation. Branches off a fasciated stem will form abnormal patterns. It is just a birth defect that originated in the growth bud for that stem."

Fasciation!  I had heard of fasciation in plants, but never seen it in my garden.  I was so relieved that it was not something much worse (or something I had caused!).

Thought you might want to see something pretty after that horrifying picture!
This is from last summer.

I did some reading on fasciation in plants, and this is what I found:

It can be caused by damage from weather, insects, or pests.  Most of the time it is temporary, but some new varieties of plants have been introduced from fasciated plants.  Although it has been known to affect numerous types of plants, it is a fairly rare occurrence.

Whew!  That's a relief!  I'd hate to see that on my roses again!

But at least from now on I'll know what it is!

Fascinating fasciation - has this ever happened in your garden?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Found My Thrill!

I have been wanting a blueberry plant for some time.  But, where to put it?  I have been trying very hard to not pick up any unplanned plant purchases unless I can name where I will put it.  Of course, this system has failed me a couple of times when I forgot that I had already put an earlier unplanned purchase in the intended spot.  But, every system has its flaws.


There they were - for sale!  Blueberry plants.  Well, I quickly picked up two 'Climax' blueberry plants and put them in my cart.  Oh, yeah, I almost forgot - I have a system.

Thinking, thinking.....

And then the most wonderful thing happened.  Some woman stopped me and exclaimed "Oh!  Blueberry plants!  Where did you get them?"  I pointed the way toward the blueberry plants, and off she went to get her own.

Doesn't it make you feel good to have another gardener get excited over your unplanned plants purchases?  I beamed up at my husband who was just about to ask me where I intended to put the blueberry bushes.

Thinking, thinking....

Well, of course!  I can put them in the new catenary bed, over by the side where nothing is planted yet.


And that's exactly where I put them.  And the fig tree that I picked up last summer (yes, another unplanned purchase).  Except this time I had no idea where to put it before I made the purchase, so I finally stuck it in a spot that would have been way too crowded.

Essentially, I solved two problems by buying these unplanned purchases!  Now I will have an area that I can call my "fruit basket".

Ha!  Sometimes things just work out perfectly!  How thrilling!

Monday, February 6, 2012

I Say Hello; Yew Say Goodbye

When I saw two English Yews (Taxus baccata) in the garden center, I snapped them up.  And because they had a Spreading Yew (Taxus x media 'Densiformis'), I bought it, too.   Yes, I was skeptical.  I didn't recall seeing any other yews around here.  But I loved that classic look, and its soft, fine, feathery foliage.  Being an evergreen appealed to me.  Plus - there they were - just waiting to be purchased.  I gave them a big hug hello.

I should have saved my money.

The two English Yews didn't last long.  Even though they are supposed to be hardy in zones 5b to 8b, they both died in our Texas summer heat.  I wish more plants had labels with their heat zone indication.  Zone 8 Pacific Northwest is a lot different than Zone 8, Texas.

Densiformis, on the other hand, lasted a little while longer - almost three years.  Which is funny, because it is only supposed to be hardy in zones 4 to 7, and I'm in zone 8.  I really thought it was going to make it.  I really thought I could have a taxus in Texas.

But last year's high heat and drought finally killed it, too.  I just dug it up while doing the spring cleaning.  And stuck another plant in its place.  A plant that is common around here.

Occasionally, I like to try an unusual plant in my garden.  But far too often, I find out why that plant is not common here - they don't grow well here!  Sometimes, and maybe especially in gardens, common is good.  And maybe yews will grow in East Texas.  But not in my garden.  Or, at least, not for this gardener.

So, now if I see any more yews for sale, I will say hello.  Briefly.  Then I will say goodbye, and not take any more home with me.  Lesson learned.  Goodbye to yew.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Unexpected Harvest

I admit it.  I grow vegetables just for something fresh to eat.  I really don't love them.  Roses, other the other hand, I love.  I look at them when they're dormant, I know when their leaves are just beginning to sprout out.  I know when their first blooms begin to form, and which rose has the first open bloom of the year.  I look at each one almost every day of the year.

Vegetables, on the other hand, just don't excite me.  My vegetable bed gets ignored.  A lot.

In fact, I've been ignoring the raised vegetable beds all winter.  The reason is simple.  It's a total eyesore.  Overgrown grass growing around the beds that I need to shovel out.  Dead tomato, eggplant, and bean plants that need to be pulled up.  Weeds galore.  General muck and yuck.

But spring is coming, and the spring vegetable garden will soon need planting.  So, instead of going out there to work, I decided to go out there and get discouraged, thinking of all the work that lay head of me.  

However, instead of discouragement, I got encouragement instead!  There was lettuce still growing!  Two kinds - so I pulled them up and had them for dinner.

And that wasn't all!   The broccoli is forming florets!

Now, I've tried growing broccoli in spring, and the weather here gets too hot, too fast.  So, I decided to try growing it in the fall.

No luck then, either - until now.  I don't know if I planted it too late, or if it waited for warm days to start forming heads.  But it doesn't matter to me.  George Bush may hate broccoli, but I love it!  And now I'll be able to eat some I've grown myself!

I can understand people loving their vegetable gardens.  There really isn't anything better tasting than fresh vegetables.  But, I still love roses best.

I'm joining The Gardening Blog for Garden Bloggers Harvest Day because I had vegetables to harvest and didn't even know it! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Looking For Signs

Just as the priest said in the movie 'Fools Rush In', "There are signs everywhere."

And in my garden, even though it looks like winter is still here, there are signs everywhere that say spring is near.  Want to see some of them?

The irises are beginning to bloom.  These are early irises, and there are three or four blooming in the garden right now, with a lot more to come - soon, I think.

The water pump has been turned on.  The fish have to endure silence all winter, but in the spring, they hear the happy sound of splashing, laughing water.

Professor Charles Sargent decided to show off his first bloom of the year.

And while I was weeding, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that truly made my heart sing.  The first grape hyacinth bulbs (muscari) are blooming!  Spring must be right around the corner!

At least my gardener's heart hopes so!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Walk to the Big Pond

How about a walk to the big pond?  Want to see what's there?  Let's join Carolyn at This Grandmother's Garden and her Walk in the Gardens challenge.

Looky, looky!  There's water in the pond!

This area is totally neglected by me, but in the future I plan to place some plants here and there, and make it a real destination place.  At least, that's the dream.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Wahoo!  It's almost full!

Do you remember last June when this pond dried up?  Thanks to the rains we've received over the past few months, it's almost full again.  Hooray!

This pond completely dried up last summer.

My favorite memory of this pond is playing country-style ice hockey on it in December 1983.  What is country-style ice hockey?  The puck is a rock and the hockey stick is a real wood stick picked up off the ground.  Have you ever played it before?

It's muddy, and there are no fish, but it looks great to me!

According to Wikipedia, in December 1983, at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (the National Weather Service gets its readings from there), it was 32 degree F (freezing) or below for over 12 days straight.  In fact, snow that fell in mid-December in north Texas didn't melt until January, 1984.

I remember that cold spell.  I also remember that our water lines burst.

Today, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.  Well, no disrespect to the famous groundhog, but I hope the nice, warm weather we've been getting this year will continue.  And that the rains do, too.  We could use a little more.

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