I jokingly said that I was going to head outside with my camera and see if that would bring on the rain. No sooner did I step outside than a passing shower began to fall. Emphasis on the passing, mind you ... by the time I took this picture and stepped inside, the rain had stopped. :::Cue sound effect of heavy sighing::: I'm doing my best to stay optimistic and believe in the prognostications of the dirty rotten scoundrels who call themselves meteorologists. It requires a huge suspension of disbelief, however, given how many times they've let me down. It does seem that they might actually be right this time. I hear that Austinites got measurable rain overnight, and I'm delighted for them because they need it even more than we do. Here on my corner of Katy, the forecasts call for tomorrow to be cold and rainy. It's chilly and damp today, and the wind is gusting, which is why I'm sitting at my computer rather than toiling in the garden as I have been. It's a good day to ramble on in a blog post about this and that (what Annie in Austin calls thought pops).
I've been watching a pair of house finches lunch at the dome feeder. Wild Birds Unlimited calls them Dinner Bell Feeders ... and that reminds me, for readers in the Houston area, the WBU store on Kirkwood and Memorial is for sale. The longtime owners are retiring and hope to find someone equally passionate about birds to take over. Spread the word! In other bird news, I've had a pair of chickadees at the streetside feeders recently ... although other folks in the area have had them on a regular basis, last week was the first time I'd seen these delightful little birds.
For the last few years, I've done a lot of talking about renovating the courtyard just outside our front doors: putting in paving, making a bench out of the low brick wall that lines one side of the house, changing up the plantings, adding a water feature and a firepit/chiminea. I've finally taken some steps towards actually doing that. I've ordered flagstone for paving and I have a contractor who should be able to do it ... he's been incommunicado for a few days, though, so I may have to find another one. In a perfect world, I'd have a bountiful budget with which to accomplish the transformation from drab to dynamic. Since imperfection rules here at Wit's End, however, I will be unable to rip out the pea gravel sidewalk and entryway path and replace those with flagstone. I'll have to settle for flagstone paving in the bare dirt area you see in the first frame of the collage below. Most of the time the Executive Producer, our darling daughter and I are the only ones who see the courtyard, which is why it's been such a low priority for so long. It's gone through several incarnations and was heavily planted along all sides at one time. Man, looking at the pictures and imagining how other gardeners will view this, I'm really eager to get busy with the renovation. Don't judge me too harshly, I'm begging you! (Pre-Hurricane Ike, I did at least have wall art on most of the walls.)
I'm wondering about replacing the moss rock that borders the small bed with flagstone and then extending that along the wall, then adding another level to make a shelf for a chiminea/firepit (not the one that's there now). In frame 5, you can see the low wall that I had built along the side of the house, thinking I'd be able to add soil almost to the top and plant into that. The bed that ran along that part of the house was problematic because of plants spilling into the path. No one informed me otherwise until AFTER the wall was built that my intended planting scheme would be an invitation for various kinds of disaster (water getting into the house, termites, minor things like that). I've tried planting things that will grow and drape over the wall; I've tried setting pots down inside the enclosure on risers; and I've tried setting pots and planters all along the ledge of the wall. Part of the problem is that watering the area creates a perfect environment for mosquitoes, not exactly the most welcoming of ways to greet one's guests. So I'm pondering the idea of making the low wall into a bench instead. There's an electrical outlet on the house wall, so I could put a water feature there too. Your ideas and input are most welcome, by the way.
And now for some good news ... actually, some GREAT news ... IT'S RAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My pond guy called a few minutes ago to reschedule his planned visit for a spring cleaning and tutorial on pond maintenance; he says he and his crew are soaked to the bone and headed for hot showers and clean, dry clothes!
In honor of this momentous occasion, I offer my first ever video: