Friday, July 24, 2020

a little rain, heat, humidity, aluminum vs copper, and other minor matters

Well, apparently all I had to do to get it to rain was complain about not getting any rain though it wasn't all that much, only 3/4”. Still, better than none, though there's a tropical storm in the Gulf headed our way. It's been trending more south the last few days, was projected to head right for us or rather Matagorda earlier in the week, yesterday it had shifted to Port Lavaca, and today it's aiming at Corpus Christi. As such it has been mostly cloudy to overcast all week and more rain is predicted for later today and tomorrow. But do you think this little bit of rain and the cloudiness has made it a little more bearable outside? Ha! If you think that, you know nothing about humidity. Thirty or forty minutes outside wielding the long handled nippers and sweat is dripping off me. Wednesday I hacked some virginia creeper off a small section of fence along the front of the shop property standing in the ditch, Thursday some ironweed further down, and today a rose bush that had long branches laying on the ground and some small trash trees along the property line side of the barn that were already too big to be successfully dug up.

It's been so hot and dry that all the pecan trees are damping off lots of small branches. 

They haven't started to fall yet but they will. This is a neighbor's tree but my three look just the same. And I'm not seeing many pecans up in the branches so I expect there won't be much of a harvest this fall, at least not from my trees.

Progress on the house has come to a standstill while we get estimates from electricians to hook up the house and the septic system. I have three estimates ranging from $1690 - $2090 depending on copper or aluminum wire. Right now we're waiting for one of them to confirm copper in their price and be more specific than 'August' for when they can do the work. It never occurred to me that there was more than one kind of wire so I spent some time yesterday researching the difference between aluminum and copper. Copper is more expensive by about twice and heavier but it has better conductivity and a smaller expansion rate when heated. Aluminum is cheaper, lighter, more flexible, has less conductivity and expands more when heated which can lead to weakening of the wire and breakage. Every article I read said that there is a danger of fire if the aluminum is not installed correctly. However, most home builders switched to aluminum in the 50s and 60s since the price difference is considerable if you are wiring a whole house. The manufactured home is wired with copper so we've decided to go with that. And Pam just called, they only use copper and can start next Thursday or as soon as they get the wire in.

I also spent part of this week investigating flood insurance as our FEMA supplied policy expires in October. And as long as I was at it I got a quote for our car insurance to see if we could bring that back down from when our current insurer raised our rate after the grandboy wrecked the truck. He hydroplaned one night right into a brand new Lexus. Of course. Had to be a brand new Lexus.

It's getting a little breezy out there (though I have just been informed that our county is no longer included in the tropical storm watch) and my birds haven't shown up for a couple of days so wondering if they sense the storm coming. I don't put the bird feeder out in the summer when food is plentiful even if they have to work for it because it wouldn't do for them to get dependent on humans but soon after it was emptied for the last time this year a young male cardinal would come and sit in the tree outside my window, peer in, and chirp at me so I've been putting a handful of seed out on the elephant plant stand every morning and evening. Usually he's waiting for me and will swoop down before I even get back inside totally unconcerned about me or Minnie or even the cat who likes to lay on the little patio right outside the door. Pretty soon he showed up with his lady friend and later with a fledgling. After a while the blue jays came to get the peanuts and then the chickadees and titmice got in on it. I went out to take this picture

and before I got back inside, I could hear him chirping and then there he was!

What else have I done this week...touched up the paint in the big bathroom that discolored from a leak in the attic that was easily remedied, painted the white glue to blend in on the naked lady though I haven't set her out yet as I can't decide where to put her. Not next to the tree again because...squirrels. Bought 10 peaches on Tuesday that were firm, needed a bit more ripening before I used them for a pie so I put them in my netted basket on the kitchen counter, they looked good on Wednesday but didn't have time, and Thursday morning they were so gone by they were soft, oozy, and moldy! All of them! Don't think I'll be buying anymore of those peaches. Not something I did but the crop duster was out yesterday, zooming low and banking over our house, spraying defoliant I guess on the already dying cotton field. Seems a little early for cotton harvest to me but maybe not. All the farmers who had still been waiting for their turn with the harvesters late August when the Harvey flood hit lost their entire crop, including the one at the end of my street.

And now for the end of post flower pics.

more coral ginger

mexican bird of paradise



  1. your flower photos are just sumptuous. i look at them and imagine the watercolors you might create from them. also, even with an already made house, there's an awful lot still to do, isn't there?

  2. I like your flower pictures. That Mexican bird of paradise plant looks very bright.

  3. copper is the coolest stuff! Shame you won[t be able to see the work-
    Good job doing the research, of course, I am left wondering if aluminum is good for anything other than flight.
    Your little red bird looks like Christmas to me- all I want for
    Christmas is a red bird, a new president and , of course, to still be alive.
    The pecan tree is mighty!!

  4. I know Mexican Bird of Paradise as Pride of Barbados. A lovely plant by any name.

  5. I was wondering if the Cardinal was feeding kiddos. They are such diligent parents. But most birds are, I suppose.
    Sounds as if Pam's place is coming along.

  6. It's good to know they'll be using copper. The initial cost is higher, but the advantages are real. I hope you've had some rain by this time. We've had some short downpours today, but as you say, it's moving south. Maybe the good news is that the southwestern/westcentral parts of the state that need rain so badly will get at least some. The wind's picking up here, and they've just hoisted coastal flood watches. When I went down to the marina this morning, the tide was normal, but by 5 p.m. it had come up about two feet, and I couldn't get on the boat I needed to board. So, I came home and made a cup of coffee!

    1. we got 2 ½" yesterday. nothing so far today except distant rumbling.

  7. Your flowers are amazing, so vivid. And good for you for doing the due diligence on wiring for the house. I never realized how much there is to do even after the house is in place.

  8. Aluminium wires are no longer allowed here, we had to get someone to check ours as the house was built before 1955, was a big hassle at the time.

    I just love your flowers, cheers me up. My plumeria are finally flowering abundantly but are completely without any fragrance this year. Any idea why?

    I hope you just get a good dose of rain and now storm.

  9. Love seeing the flowers there. Hard to imagine working in all that heat and humidity. I hope things cool off and you get plenty of rain too.

  10. Love your flowers as usual. Ours have gotten some kind of blight (the grass too). Fortunately Pinky & Rita are doing fine. I had a whole list of stuff to do this weekend, but my doctor had me try a new antihistamine (I keep losing my voice) & it has totally messed with my head. I’ve been staring into space all day.

  11. I was thinking the SAME THING! Hahahaha!

  12. Copper wire definitely sounds like the better option. That Mexican bird of paradise is beautiful!


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