Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .
Isn’t it ironic that on the day I post a poem heralding the return of Spring to my part of Texas, that same night we get temperatures below freezing that lasted for three days. It was mostly overnight temperatures that were freezing as during the daytime, the thermometer went up to around 40 degrees which by itself is way too cool for us warm blooded Texans. Just like our women, we like the weather to also be hot although to be fair, you will hear us grumble about continuous 100 degree days in the Summer. Given the choice, most of us will take the heat anytime.
For someone who moved down from New York State 42 years ago, these cold days are nothing compared with some of the horrendous winters that I endured in my 10 years in that State, resulting in my fleeing as fast as I could and as far south as I could in double quick time. When I very occasionally go back for a visit, I make sure it is in the Summertime.
That being said, the frost damage to the new vegetation was not as bad as I thought it might be but will still require some clean up work on my part, darn it. Dare I hope that this is the last of the freezing weather for us. I really want it to be as I can’t remember having frosts this late in the season. Normally, ours is over by the end of January. The forecast is for it to be back up in the 70’s by Thursday with overnights in the 50’s. Makes me wonder if the weather patterns are really changing or is it just some freak act of Nature. I’m waiting to see if the Brown Snake made it through OK as I have kinda got used to having him make me jump out of my skin when I come across him unexpectedly. Good job he is harmless. I wonder what it is about snakes that makes man fear them so much. BTW, I say he but it could be a female. I wonder how you tell the difference?
Talking of ponds, the frost has done a job on the some of the pond vegetation which means that I will need to get into the ponds in order to clean it up. I will put that off as long as I can as the water is freezing cold. Not literally of course but figuratively speaking.
We have just had two days of rain
nothing unusual in that just the same
then all of a sudden it started to snow
that is unusual you have to know
we don’t get enough rain in fact hardly at all
and snow is unheard of as it’s just not that cool
but we certainly got snow following the rain
enough to cover the trees and the grassy terrain
the temperature dropped and caught me off guard
as I quickly covered the pipes in my yard
to stop them from freezing and making a mess
requiring more time to repair them no less
I didn’t have time to bring in the plants
and they look very droopy as they slant
downwards bending hard with the frost
I hope that they are not all lost
and maybe recover with returning Spring
and once more share the beauty that they bring
I have to say that I dislike the snow
and the frost that accompanies this sort of show
If I never see a snowflake again
I would be a very happy old man.
Mother Nature has done it to us again by giving us our second freeze in the past 3 weeks.
I think she is trying to make up for not having any freezes last winter.
Luckily, I am one step ahead as I have already chopped down all of the remnants of her previous freeze at least in the garden.
I still have to get in the ponds and cut down all of the frozen plants that she has left in her wake.
In between the freezes, she has starting to let the new growth from those same plants begin to show.
How much of this new growth will survive this second round of frosts remains to be seen.
It is as though she has competing interests within herself.
The destructive side whereby things are frozen.
The new growth cycle where plants start a new round of growth.
I wonder if one consults with the other or if they are in competition.
The good versus the bad.
Definitely, not the ugly.
The first frost has come and gone
and the temperatures are still cool on the skin
it leaves behind dead foliage both in and out of the ponds
where their was a mass of greenery taller than a man
is now a beaten down unrecognizable mess.
Everything will need to be cut back
and discarded on the pile set up for all dead stuff
where it will slowly rot away
turning into a rich humus to be added to the plants
to help the new growth that will occur in the Spring.
Such is the beauty of Nature where everything has its use
new growth reborn through the rotting remains of the old
to fill and replace the empty spaces created by Mother Nature
while she goes through her endless cycles
as she has done throughout time immemorial.
Well, Old Man Winter has finally arrived in my part of Central Texas. The weather forecasters told us to expect freezing temperatures as low as 24 degrees and by golly, that is exactly what we got. It is all due to an arctic cold front blowing down from the Northern States which is how we get most of our freezing weather. What we needed when this continent was “born” was a tall mountain range that traversed from East to West and centered somewhere on the borders of Oklahoma to stop this stuff blowing in on us. Unfortunately there is nothing but flat land and nothing to prevent the fronts from blowing through. This is generally how we get most of the cold weather that makes up our so called Winter. We are due for two days of this and then it will warm up again and by Wednesday, it should be in the mid sixties which is pretty good for December.
I took a walk out in the gardens to check on things and as expected, the freeze has really done a number on the garden and pond plants, knocking nearly all of them down. It is going to take quite a bit of cleanup work to chop it all down and stack it on the compost heap. I got away with it last year as we didn’t get a single freeze and the stuff just kept on growing. By the time spring rolled in, the garden and pond plants were already several feet tall and they didn’t stop growing for the rest of the summer.
When the front blew in, it was accompanied by a strong wind which blew for several hours and managed to knock off many of the leaves which had already turned brown and were slow in falling. This was a good thing as with the leaves down and having to get in the ponds to cut down the plants, will give me the opportunity to clean out the leaves already gathered in the bottom. The Koi as cold blooded creatures, generally stop eating when the water gets down below 50 degrees and settle together in one big group at the lowest point of the pond, moving very occasionally but generally not swimming about. The ponds themselves have a lot of moving water as the pumps keep the water circulated and tend not to ice over.
Even though my garden was a green paradise prior to the frost, I see it as a natural order of things kind of an “Out with the old and in with the new” syndrome. One thing Mother Nature will always guarantee is that the majority if not all of the plants will re-grow come the warmer weather in the Spring which for us here in Texas will start at the end of February. I can’t wait for that to happen. Two days of winter is enough for me. I lived in New York State for 10 years and that was more winters than I ever wanted.
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