Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

It seems if we are truly intent on living a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing the negative impact of toxic chemicals in our lives, then having a garden makes sense.

In early spring, I didn't realize we would be moving so I planted a few tomatoes and peppers at our other house. However, we did have to move. I tried to transplant my plants from the old house to the new, but poor soil at the new location, drought and extremely hot weather spelled doom for those plants.

I've decided to plant a fall garden. I've been told by practically everyone that they do much better than the spring gardens in this climate. I have been getting itchy to get started, but am trying to keep myself under control until the 100-degree days stop, but I can still get the bed prepared.

The previous owners of this house had an 8 x 20 ft plot laid out. We were told they used it, but after looking at the soil, I can't see how they managed to harvest much.

I had my husband add an additional 4 inches of board to the sides of the beds. I think raised beds have the best likelihood of survival. I am planning to dump in several inches of compost and at least 2 inches of mulch.

I'll keep you updated on my progress and success (or lack of it, as the case may be.) Do you plant a garden?

What Are You Eating?

I found this video on Facebook/Youtube and thought I would share.

If you think you're eating "just food" when you buy produce, think again.,

Early Registration Extended for Water Symposium

Peg Marquardt of the Master Gardeners told me the $40 registration would be extended to 6 September due to the Labor Day weekend, but don't delay. This should be a great day of interesting workshops for those interested in making our water resources go farther in gardening and landscaping. After this summer, we all should be wanting to know more about that.

You can get a registration form from the County AgriLife Office or email me at and I will be glad to send one to you by email.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Water Symposium Registration Deadline Approaching

The Master Gardener North Texas Water Symposium will be October 1. For those wanting to sign up for the least cost ($40), September 1 is the deadline. You'll still be able to register up until September 16, but it will cost you more ($55.) Lunch is included in the registration cost.

With the horrific drought we are having this year, any information we can get to conserve water in our gardening and landscaping will be worthwhile. There will be 7 hours of information--Master Gardeners can count 5 toward their training requirements; the conference has been approved for 3 hours of advanced training for Master Naturalists.

If you need a conference brochure or to register, you can contact the County extension office or you can email me at and I will be happy to forward the information to you.

The conference is also looking for sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring, contact Peg Marquardt at

I hope to see all of you at this important event.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zero Waste Kitchen

I do try to keep the amount of trash leaving our house to a minimum and what does leave, I try to be sure it recycled or composted. I read an article today, "How to Create a Zero Waste Kitchen," in Natural Home & Garden. Of course, the article never achieves zero waste, either, but the point is to reduce our impact. How many of these things do you do? Is there another idea you could incorporate into your lifestyle?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Art at the Kemp

I try to walk through the art exhibits at the Kemp periodically. Currently, they have some artwork by fellow Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalist, Laura Gillis. Laura went through our inaugural class several years ago and has gone on some breeding bird surveys and mussel watches with me over the years.

Laura sculpts metal. She had some art work on display at Earth Day at River Bend and now has several insect pieces at the Kemp. For photos of some of her work, check out a recent Times Record News article.

Laura recycles junk found along the road or given to her by others into artwork. These particular pieces celebrate some of the underappreciated members of the animal kingdom. Check it out--it's close and it's free.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reminder: A Walk on the Wild Side Opens Friday

The sneak preview for the Museum of North Texas History exhibit, A Walk on the Wild Side, is Friday night. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday. On Saturday there will be a lot of "extras" with vendors and food. Some members of the Texas Master Naturalists will be helping interpret the exhibits for visitors. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. The museum is open 10 - 4.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Edible Wild Plants

When I was a young 'un, I remember Euell Gibbons, who was widely considered a whack job by most. However, I also remember a lot of my relatives hunting and gathering wild mushrooms and plants to supplement the all-too-meager food budget. So it's not like no one ate wild plants. They did. They just seemed to think that harvesting wild foods was done because you were poor, not because you wanted to do it. To me, it seemed a psychological barrier to acceptance, not because they didn't accept wild plants as nutritious and tasty. No one wanted to admit eating wild plants because no one wanted to admit they couldn't afford to buy food.

My friend, Paul Dowlearn of Wichita Valley Nursery, gave me a book to read: Edible Wild Plants, by John Kallas, PhD. This is intended to be one of a series of books on edible wild plants. Lots of great pictures. Detailed information on who to recognize, harvest and prepare about a dozen wild plants (this book focused on greens.) Lots of recipes. One I found fascinating was making meringue from mallow seeds or mallowmallows.

Anyway, certainly worth a look. With the price of produce, harvesting free produce could help the wallet and the diet--where known, Dr. Kallas gave nutritional information for these plants. Many kicked (metaphorical) butt over the nutritional powerhouses of spinach and broccoli.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wild Bird Rescue Garage Sale

Wild Bird Rescue will be holding a garage sale fundraiser, Saturday, September 12 at the National Association of Letter Carriers building at 5310 Southwest Parkway (next to Wichita Valley Nursery.) This is a fundraiser for the organization. Already this year, the organization has taken in over 900 wild birds--the heat and drought have not been kind to our area's wildlife.

If you have items to sell (no clothing please), please price them before dropping them off. For information on days/times to drop off donations, call Wild Bird Rescue at 940-691-0828.

The sale will be from 8 AM - 2 PM on the 12th. In addition to the sale, there will be live music and food. Please donate your unwanted items and come out on the 12th to find low cost items you need. Help yourself and Wild Bird Rescue.

If you cannot attend the event, the organization is in need of cash donations to purchase needed food and supplies. You can mail donations to 4611 Lake Shore Dr, Wichita Falls, TX 76310 or donate at the website.

Dog Days of Summer Concert

The Dog Days of Summer Concert to benefit the Wichita County Humane Society will be held at the Women's Forum, 2120 Speedway, 7 PM, Tuesday, August 9. The concert features Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin. Individual tickets are $20.

For more information, follow the link above for the Humane Society--the flyer is posted on their home page.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park Meeting

The Friends of Lake Arrowhead State Park meet Thursday evening at 7PM at the Dining Hall at Lake Arrowhead State Park.

Sad Day

Yesterday, Mark Howell, Inland Fisheries Supervisor for Texas Parks and Wildlife passed away from complications from surgery. Mark was the advisor for the local Texas Master Naturalist chapter--I have worked with him for several years. Mark was a very nice person and devoted to his wife and two boys, who I know are devastated. I have had several people ask already, so here is the information on the funeral. Funeral services are Thursday, 11:00 AM at Floral Heights United Methodist. Visitation is Wednesday evening from 5 - 8 PM at Hampton Vaughn Funeral Home.