Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Gazing Into 2019

Starting Fresh,

Jenny and I, and our daughters Holly and Amber, and their husbands, Tommy and Philip spent new year's eve and new year's day at our "new place" in Yoakum, which is on 0.6 acre, effectively 0.8 acre, since the city will never use the easement along the back, of lovely alluvial soil in the Texas coastal plains, climate zone 9a. That means it only gets a few mild and brief freezes in a winter; just one so far this winter. Most tropical plants can survive if planted along the southeast of a house. The natural rainfall is good and pretty steady through the year, only a little less in the hottest months, July and August.
Yoakum was the tomato capital of Texas in the 1920s because temperatures at night in July and August get cool enough to allow for flowering and fruit production.
So far, along the southeast of the house, I have planted 3 cold-tolerant avocado trees and one Mexican mango I grew from a seed for the past few years, bringing it into the Austin house in winter. They seem happy enough.
Along the northeast of the house I have planted a couple of cold-hardy Satsuma oranges and some Mexican limes.
Along the southwest to west (back) of the house, where we cut down 3 sick old trees and converted them to free firewood for Yoakum, is the larger fruit tree planting. Just along the street are Shinko Asian pear, Perdue European pear, Hood European pear and Kieffer European pear.
Closest (12 -15 feet) to the southwest corner of the house are two fig trees, which should grow quickly to provide summer shade.
Also along the west side of the house and filling in a triangle out to the line of pears by the street, are a Junegold peach, a Sam Houston peach, a Santa Rosa plum and a Methley plum. Out towards the back, and starting 20 feet from any tree, is where the first vegetable garden bed will be.
After doing some chainsaw work and stacking firewood, Tommy and I cut a 20 ft. X 33 ft. piece of thick black plastic sheet to define the bed. Jenny and Holly helped hold it down in the wind as we secured it with ground staples and small logs to keep it from blowing up. It will smother the grass and weeds for a couple of months, then we will do more bed preparation and planting around March 1.
I anticipate being able to experiment with more cold-tolerant Mexican avocados in pots, and a cheap white fabric greenhouse, over the next few years. In March I should be able to get more Mexican avocado varieties, and some seeds to plant from trees that are known to be good, and are surrounded by other known good, established trees, which might have fertilized them.
A lot of what will take shape in the next few years is not yet known, existing as potential, awaiting discovery and the breath of life.
This is a comfortable place. We spent a lot of time communing in the kitchen and dining area. We are getting more beds set up in creative ways for big sleepovers. We got a bunch of shelves set up in various spots that just seem to naturally swallow them and put stuff on them.
The magic is working. 
The town of Yoakum is a pretty stable, slowly growing rural town of 6000, with a lot of people who are growing old with their with school classmates. It was settled by mostly Czech families and some Germans before the Civil War. It is on the Guadalupe River, about 60 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
Crime seems very low. Locks are taken as optional. The very large plant nursery always has everything sitting out over a couple of acres, never locked up, and there is not always somebody on site. You can call if you need something. The neighborhoods are not segregated, by cheap or expensive, black, white or Mexican. It's all mixed together. Lots of orange trees in yards... 
Scotty beamed us down. It's a good landing. People are nice and so are we.

I'm sorry to have little about the big picture for 2019, but I really think we all need to be working on our smaller pictures as we go into the time of declining cheap resources. Vast layered societies need vast cheap resources to feed the complexity and inefficiency of those "dissipative structures".
We are setting up our billion-dollar-underground-survival-bunker in Yoakum, for a lot less than that. 
Do what you can to feed into a lower-energy future you would like to be part of.

Photosynthetic Planner


  1. How awesome! I want cold resistant avacado trees. I had two trees I grew from pits in two very late pots. They were huge! One was six years old and one was five. Then last winter they both died bc I'm just one Lady who could not manage to move them indoors by myself. I wrapped them in blankets for their RIP. Inside is always better. I didn't attempt to replace them this year bc I was heartbroken over their demise. I have plans this spring to plant a peach tree and a fig! I'm really looking forward to acquiring these trees. I read up on lettuce growing. I am going to try again. Last year all of my lettuce bolted. So bitter. I didn't eat any of it and I had planted so much. Oh, I have managed to keep four asparagus plants alive for two years in pots and I'm going to follow your lead with the ground cover to kill the weeds and put these in a plot in the spring. Happy New Year 2019 Dr. Day!

  2. Try planting spinach now. It does pretty well and you can actually get some by April and May. I have kind of a hard time getting satisfaction with lettuces, too. Most fig trees do well here. Junegold and Sam Houston peaches are good bets. Different, both good.