Life after the storm

A week ago Friday none of us knew exactly what Harvey would do to Texas.

We knew what the news reporters were saying but half the time they are wrong. In your gut, you want to believe what they are saying but the week before we were supposed to get rain and never did.

Harvey left an imprint on Texas that will never be forgotten.
Harvey changed peoples lives forever.

Many lost their lives, their homes, their pets and all their belongings.

Horses and cattle drown as the flood waters rose and they could not be moved out quickly enough.

Peoples whose houses have never flooded were now flooded for the first time.

Driving down Wellborn street in Brookside Village in Texas everyone’s belongings are out on the street. Clear Creek backed up into many homes in this neighborhood. If I was guessing at a number I would say 300 homes are destroyed but it could be more.

Piles of sheetrock cut 4 ft up as per the instructions of insurance. Appliance after appliance sitting on the curb. Cars, trucks, and SUVs with so much moisture on the windows on the inside you know they were under water.

This was only one neighborhood of many but it was my sister & her families neighborhood.
The sheetrock has been torn down to the rafters. This home has very few floors left in it. Half of all their belongings, memories, and keepsakes are sitting on the curb.

These kinds of things take months to repair and get back like it was prior to this flood.

It will never be the same because now you feel vulnerable to mother nature.
Emotionally it takes a toll on you, your life and most of all your spirit.

Long days of working, little sleep and exhaustion start to set in and everyone just can not think anymore.

What room do you start putting back together first?

It is so overwhelming to see and I saw it yesterday with my own eyes for the first time since the storm.

There were so many areas of Texas affected by Harvey, so many neighborhoods destroyed, lives taken and peoples spirit broken.

The road to recovery will be long but in the end, everyone will be stronger.

Everyone will get their spirits back again, be able to take a deep breath and get back to their normal lives it will just take time.

Hydroponic Gardening

I have planted the first seeds in the rockwool that are for the inside plants.

This time of year it is so hot for lettuce, spinach, cabbage and swiss chard but if you grow them indoors hydroponically it is a win win situation. Those are the seeds I just planted.

I have ordered many supplies for the big greenhouse outside we are waiting for the plastic to arrive. The kind I ordered is 10 mil. woven clear plastic it has a longer life span than the regular clear in fact I think it is 7 years compared to 4.

We are also doing shade cloth since Texas is so hot it will allow for better ventilation. The shade cloth will go first then the woven plastic and we can raise the plastic up and open the screen doors to ventilate the greenhouse.

We will be doing several types of hydroponics the dutch buckets and the Kratky method are two and we may even do a third.

I have to get a load of sand delivered and then the pond liner that is 22 mil. will go over that because this hydroponic set up is a sterile environment there will be no dirt inside of this greenhouse. Only water, buckets, container, plants grown from seeds, and nutrients.

I will post pictures as things start happening hopefully in the next few weeks.

Ducks, ducks, and more ducks

If you remember there were two black bellied whistling ducks that frequented our bird feeders they were coming every day a few times a day for the last few months.

We decided to build them a nesting box. Their boxes have to be pretty big because they are bigger than the average bird.

I guess they told all their friends where there was a free meal because we have had as many as eleven ducks at a time. They show up around 7 – 7:30 a.m. stay about 1 1/2 hours then they leave.

In the evening, they come back again mainly to rest in the shade but they do some eating too.

I had to grab a picture of them on the arbor above the walk through. As you can see one is in the feeder eating. Most of the time there will be two in each feeder and they take turns with the ones who are waiting.

At this point, we are looking at adding more feeders because when they are eating the little birds do not get to eat.

 

Lotsofducks

More babies in the birdhouse

I knew there was another batch of babies in the birdhouse because I could hear them crying all the time. Look at those wide opened mouths.

These poor parent birds are constantly feeding at least 2 baby birds. It is a cycle that starts at daylight until dusk. They fly back and forth all day long I have no idea when they have time to eat.

I do not know if this is same parents as before or if another set that moved in after they were gone. All sparrows look the same so it would be hard to tell.

Babybirds2

 

The little things in life

Hummingbirds are such beautiful tiny birds.

I see them by the feeders we have out but sometimes in the flowers in the yard.

When they zip by you when you’re outside it’s a  quick buzz that happens so fast you can miss it.

Here is the recipe I use for hummingbird nectar.

1 – cup of sugar

4 – cups of water

Bring to a boil take off the fire let cool and then add to feeders. Change out the nectar every couple of weeks especially when it is hot.

There have been years I can not put out enough nectar but this year there seems to be more wasted than what is eaten. I contribute part of that to the hummingbird friendly plants that bloom we have in our yard.

Hummingbirds make you realize it is the little things in life that truly matter.

SonyaLiraPhotographyTinybirds

Snake update

After finding the water snakes in the pond eating the fish I had purchased for the pond I knew we had to do something.

We cut down some bushes ( purple showers) that were near the pond all the way to the ground.

I read to plant the different mints in the area because snakes do not like it so that is what will be planted there from now on.

We closed in underneath the back porch to keep anything from getting underneath it.

We put lime all around the pond and when it rains we reapply it.

I had used the melafix fish medication in the pond when I saw them in there because it had tea tree oil in it and they hate it. It worked because both times they tried to get out as fast as they could.

I have since bought some “Tea Tree Oil Extract” which is much cheaper than the fish medication and mixed it up in a spray bottle with water. I spray around the pond, deck and back porch with this mixture and even though it smells strong it’s really not a bad smell.

The fish seem so happy they are no longer being stalked and I happy my pet fish are not on the buffet for the snakes.

The one snake I did see showed up after I was watering a large fern in a pot I think it was in the fern and when I started watering it ran out. I have no idea what kind it was.

I had read in several places that the tea tree oil was a snake deterrent after my recent run-ins with snakes I can say it is working. I highly recommend it to anyone having snake issues.

There are many uses for the tea tree oil extract. It is used as an antibacterial, antifungal, and for stinky shoes. The uses for it go on and on.

 

Snakes

I am not a fan of snakes no matter what kind they are.

Last weekend while looking out the den window I noticed a black snake entering the pond by the waterfall it was about 3 foot long. He was barely in there 5 seconds before he had nabbed one of the smaller koi.

I ran out the backdoor grabbed the water hose to spray him hoping he would drop the fish that did not happen. I knocked on the window to get my husband’s attention and he came out there I pointed out the snake and told him since it was killing the fish I wanted it dead.

When you have a koi pond with a bog, waterfall, landscape rocks and plants there are a lot of places for snakes to hide while you’re trying to kill them. Finally, after a 20-minute struggle the snake was dead and then he spits out the fish still in tack but it was too late for the fish.

It was a yellow-bellied water snake their favorite meal is fish I guess he thought our pond was a buffet.

The next morning I counted fish knowing we had 11 total 4 koi that were a few months old and 7 goldfish one as big survivor from the last year disaster.

I was missing 2 of the new Koi and 3 goldfish this had been going on since I last counted the fish.

Today I am picking up some lime to put around the perimeter of the pond. It is supposed to burn the snake’s belly lets hope it works.

( Edited I had put sulfur instead of lime lol).