Sunday, January 30, 2011

notes from the country yard

I guess it's been awhile since I shared some of the country life around here. We had some amazing sunsets in January, at least when it wasn't overcast which was most of the month.

I started pruning the roses back yesterday. The conventional wisdom for pruning roses is to do it on Valentine's Day. If I wait that long, it will be too late as they will already be putting buds on. Flower buds. And whereas that might not stop some people, I can't bring my self to cut off branches full of flower buds. You might remember I didn't cut them back at all last year after the terrible freezing winter we had, they were the only green thing left in the yard. These are heritage roses, very sturdy, very thorny. Picking up the cut branches, I'm not holding onto them so much as they are holding on to me.

Did I say it was an off year for pecans this year? Was that me talking? I have already picked up 68 pounds of pecans (and these are the ones I kept, am shelling and do not include the months of picking up the immature nuts that fell and went on the burn pile) and I have a 12” x 12” x 12” box that is full to overflowing that I haven't weighed and the ground still looks like this...

This has actually been a good year for pecans. Well, maybe not for the cultivars, the big ones (I'm getting about 25% good ones off my trees) but the natives paid high prices this year (avg. $1.40 a pound) and the buyers bought tons of them. Apparently they have become all the rage in Japan.

I only have one native pecan and it's at the back end of the property on the property line. This is the first year it has had any nuts on it since my neighbor poisoned it two years ago albeit inadvertently. Like most country folk, he sees no harm in using heinous herbicides on the back of his property next to mine where he has his storage buildings. He sprayed right before a rain and then that area had standing water and the tree just soaked up the poison. Nearly killed it.

Speaking of dying trees, we think the small maple is dying. You might remember that we built the new shop long and narrow to spare the two maple trees. The top third of the small maple died during the drought the summer of '09 and the other day it finally broke off and fell during one of our strong winds. The section that fell was hollow inside which we think does not bode well for the whole tree. It was slow to come out last spring and the big maple already has swelling buds on it. Nothing so far on the small maple. Well, if it does go, it will allow us to build out from the side of the shop which would be nice. That is if we ever get the first part of it finished. We're in another holding pattern on that.

I have spied two daffodil buds shooting up! I think they must be planted in the sunniest part of the yard this time of year. The other daffs back behind the new shop are just starting to poke up and no sign at all of the ones in the front yard. It's been a warm several days, temps in the 60s and the next several should get in the low 70s. Hmmmmm. I may have to go looking for spring.

Winter will be back next week though and I just saw several Vs of geese, at least a couple of hundred, flying low and still heading south.


  1. warm skies and warm words. balms. steven

  2. We both got outside this morning to be inspired for our blogs.Yeah!

  3. We are still looking at our snowman - which is pretty great. I can wait a little while longer for spring, although the flowers and trees in our neighborhood are spectacular.

    Why don't we ever get great sunsets like yours. [I think a better question would be "Skippy why do you suck so much taking pictures of your sunsets." hee]

    Cannot wait to see the roses.

  4. Although I have no roses, I have been pruning... Yaupon! I've also been pulling up unwanted plants by the roots when I can. Of course the roots run everywhere under the ground. Short of getting a bulldozer after it this is my best shot at reducing their take-over for a year or so.
    I also have Daffodils showing themselves, but no buds yet.

  5. Those are marvellous sunsets. I'll need to start looking out the window more often.

  6. I love Texas... {sigh}
    Your sunsets are gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

    OMGosh..I want a Pecan Pie! Right now!
    We still have snow too although it is snowy & slushy today. Big storm is heading our way. My girls are expecting 10" by Wednesday (They live an hour North of us).
    As much as I love Winter, I am looking forward to the flowers, my Magnolia tree & Cherry trees to Bloom, and having the windows open to allow fresh air in my stale house.

  7. Last year was the first time ever that I had bought rose bushes. Two are on my balcony (they are climbers) but the one in the garden I didn't ever to seem to get off to any kind of start. Should I prune the climbers? One flowered alot last summer - the other not at all.

  8. Encouraging signs of spring! Interesting that you prune your roses around Valentine's Day. That might be a tad early for us further north.

  9. Beautiful pics and nice tour of your property! Sure wish that I had some of those pecans.

  10. Your season starts very early. Daffodils up and swelling, that's extraordinary.

    I prune roses in late autumn and then again in March just before the first green shoots start.

    Snowdrops are out and the winter aconites are showing colour. It's been very cold here, minus 6 centigrade at night, so other green shoots are keeping their heads well down.

    But soon, soon . . . .

  11. Friko - I'm totally surprised by the two little daffodils. It's way early for them and in fact they might not survive as we are supposed to get lows in the high 20s next week. Shoot, I don't think the early pear trees are blooming yet. I'll have to look for them when I'm in the city next week.

    My climbing roses, the two, one red and one pink, that are all up in the crepe myrtle have been blooming all week.

    the weather here is just crazy. tomorrow, that would be Monday, we are supposed to have a high of 73˚ and Tuesday a low of 26˚.

    Makes us all confused.

  12. We're in a deep freeze, here. The thought of pruning roses and noticing shoots are still so far into the future. Your skies are beautiful.. such soothing colours.

  13. The sunsets are fabulous, it's my favourite time of day. I think I might like sunrises too but I never get up early enough :)

  14. %$#@ neighbors. Where I used to live, there were vines growing on the back fence and I loved them. Then my %$#@ neighbor cut them--only on HIS side of the fence, of course--and so they all died. I could have cried, or killed the neighbor.

  15. At least you have the starts of Spring life going on ... I have moss.

  16. This only reason I can tolerate this post is that we've had SUN for two days :) Just kidding - I like seeing the early signs of life on your blog - gives me hope for spring.

  17. I'ma lovin' those pictures. I have pecan trees but I fear I will be long gone before they get mature enough to have pecans.
    We'll all be writing about spring soon. :)

  18. Maybe all of nature is confused this winter, especially in Texas.

    All those pecans make me hungry. I remember when we had two avocado trees in Pasadena, and we harvested bagfuls, such precious commodities.

  19. I wonder why it seems like trees should never die?

    You have the BEST sunsets in the world, or you take the best sunset pics, not sure which.

    Somewhere recently I read that wild roses are "nature's barbed wire," that people used wild roses as fences to keep out undesirables. I kind of love that.

  20. Pecans are one of the few Southern trees that I never see here in town in the Willamette Valley.

    I should think that when you prune your roses would depend upon where you live rather than the date, but then maybe 2/14 is for where YOU live.


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