Spring-Cleaning in the Garden

Yesterday it was, because of the great weather, time to trim trees and cut “weeds” with … the chainsaw. A chainsaw for cutting weeds and trimming trees?! Well, with the trees it was some fairly thickish [some of them more than my upper arm] branches, and with “weeds” I’m talking of Retamas, aka “Jerusalem Thorn” [Parkinsonia aculeata], a native and therefore drought-resistant, and, as usual in southern Texas, where “everything either sticks or stings or stinks” 😉 very thorny plant, which can grow up to 30 ft., and quite nice yellow blossoms. But we don’t like it as it spreads so quickly/easily, by means of rhizomes, too, so that it is nearly impossible to get rid of. We’d only want to have it on the more distant parts of our property. Most of those small trees had grown that far by now that it took the chainsaw to cut them down, and not just the tree pruner. And after I had cut the trees, Mary treated the stumps with some fluid we have, which is supposed to kill the roots, too, so that they won’t sprout again nor reproduce subterraneously as Retamas usually do.

Today I continued the spring-cleaning in the garden, spraying the weeds in the lawn with weed-killer. Well, it’s kind of boasting to call it “lawn” – simply “grass” would be more appropriate, I think. The weeds had been growing quite a bit lately, and I wanted them killed before I start mowing. Yep: mowing will be necessary soon. I don’t really like mowing the weeds as they tend to block the underside of the lawn mower: the weeds are too succulent, tend to stick and are not blown out of the deck. Now I’ll (have to) wait for a couple of days till the weeds are wilting and then I can proceed to mow.

Some time ago I had already cleaned the Purple Martin houses

Purple Martin Houses

Purple Martin Houses

as now is the time that these colourful little birdies are coming back from their winter quarters in Mexico to breed here. They always want clean nesting-places without the pervious year’s straw in them. Quite spoiled, these little fellows! The “scouts” usually come in January, and it was about 4 weeks ago that I noticed the first ones. Here two are sitting, together with some doves, I think, on our electrical wires:


Purple Martins and Doves

We’ll have to see what will be going on after I cleaned the houses. Maybe we’ll have more than last year as I’ve seen 8 “apartments” occupied so far, if I wasn’t mistaken. But I haven’t seen any look out of the nests for the last two weeks. I hope they’ll come back or that others will still show up. And I also hope that no sparrows will use the nests, as then no Purple Martins will come: they don’t like each other.

We have two different types of houses for the Purple Martins, one the one hand an “apartment complex”,


Purple Martin “Condos”

and on the other hand “detached houses”.


Detached Houses

These latter are copies of the hollowed-out pumpkins the native Americans used – and still use. Here


A Happy Camper

quite a happy dweller is looking out of his house.

And now, to bring this posting to a close, some more pictures from the garden, taken about 3 weeks ago:

Birds on the electrical wire:


On the Wire

Old shed and wilderness:


The Camaro Shed

The former corral:


The Old Corral

Admittedly I still have a lot of work to do to tidy up that area. I’m still thinking how I will be able to manage to put this old fence upright again. If it’s going to happen somehow, it’ll certainly a hell of work, as these old railway ties are so d*** heavy. I don’t think I’ll be able to manage without help. But it would be nice to keep the old character of this part of the property.

Once again the former corral:

cattle chute

The Former Cattle Chute

That’s what used to be the cattle chute. In the background, if you look closely, you can see Bixby relaxing on the fence in the sunshine. I think this picture works well in Sepia.

Um diesen Beitrag in Deutsch zu lesen, hier klicken.

15 responses to “Spring-Cleaning in the Garden

  1. P.S. If you check your martin condos weekly and see sparrows in them, just clean them out. I used to check mine in Kingsville, Houston, and College Station each Saturday. Eventually, if you keep them clean of sparrows and sparrow nests, you’ll get the purple martins moving in. You have to be diligent, though, in keeping those pesky sparrows out.

  2. Uh-oh. Your purple martins look like song sparrows. Not surprising, though, as the sparrows love purple martin houses. Check Wikipedia’s purple martin pictures.

    • Hi Russel,
      Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog here and for leaving a comment. I knew that sparrows like purple martin houses and we’ve had a lot of them nesting there, But now I think we do have a few purple martins, too.
      Thanks for the advice re keeping the houses clean (of sparrows and their nests). Do you think I can do that – remove sparrows’ nests – while purple martins are in the “apartment” next door? We might have such a combination just now.
      And I’ll try and get a better look at the inhabitants and compare them to pictures on the internet to be sure what we have.
      Best regards and have agreat weekend,

  3. The cattle chute is great Pit. something about them always catches my eye. There is one old one next to my place in New Mexico, hasn’t been used in years…except to bring on dreams in my mind

    • Glad that picture evoked memories! This here hasn’t been used in many many years either. My wife’s dream, and I am still trying to devise ways to do it, is to restore those old fences [which her father put up] here on our property.
      Best regards from southern Texas,

  4. Love it. We spring cleaned the house saturday … hard work watching the humans 🙂

  5. Vielen Dank für die Einblicke, lieber Pit!
    Herzliche Grüße
    noch sehr Zzzzzzz 🙂
    deswegen nur ganz kurzzzzz

    • Hallo Dina,
      gern geschehen, was die Einblicke angeht. Hier [Unsere Welt von Oben] gibt’s übrigens noch mehr. Obwohl, statt “einblicke” müsste ich da wohl eher “Ausblicke” sagen.
      Liebe Grüße aus dem südlichen Texas,
      P.S.: Hoffentlich hattest Du einen schönen Spaziergang und danach einen ruhigen Sonntag.

  6. …das ist sicher eine ganze Menge Arbeit – aber tolle Impressionen ..und der Vogel fühlt sich ja sichtlich wohl in seinem “Häuschen” 🙂

    Übrigens – wenn ich mit dem Firefox auf die WordPressblogs gehe, habe ich keine Probleme. Mit dem IE 9 kann ich jetzt auch nicht mehr richtig liken .. WordPress verlangt auch im Adminbereich ein Upgrade auf den 10er .. schon doof, denn ansonsten ist der 9er doch noch ok.

    Ich wünsch dir einen schönen Sonntag,
    liebe Grüße,

    • Hallo Ocean,
      der Garten kann schon eine Menge Arbeit machen. D.h., eigentlich müsste ich sagen, “könnte”, denn wir tun nicht besonders viel darin. Liegt auch daran, dass es in der Sommerhitze und -schwüle sehr unangenehm ist. Da tun wir dann nur das Nötigste. Es ist dann halt eben ein wenig unordentlich, aber das können wir ab.
      zum Thema WordPress und Browser: ich verwende normalerweise Firefox [wegen eines Zusatzprogramms zum Speichern besuchter Webseiten]. Und in Firefox ist es ganz unterschiedlich mit den “likes”. Manchmal erscheint diese Leiste in der Kopfzeile, manchmal nicht. Den Button unter den Blogeinträgen kann ich in Firefox fast nie gebrauchen. Manchmal klappt es übrigens im zweiten Versuch. Allerdings: nachdem ich einen Kommentar abgegeben habe, ist die Leiste in der Kopfzeile fast immer da, und ich kann da auch “like” anklicken.
      Im MS IE klappt es fast immer mit den “likes”, sei es unter dem Eintrag, sei es in der Kopfzeile. Ich verwende übrigens noch die Version 8, und das ohne dass WordPress “meckert”. Aber gerne verwende ich den Explorer nicht, denn der ist zu “fett” und macht meinen Laptop deutlich langsamer.
      Google Chrome habe ich auch, und den nähme ich gerne, weil er noch schneller als Firefox ist, aber auch da klappt das “like” bei Weitem nicht immer. Und außerdem kann ich mit Chrome nicht kommentieren. Der scheint Code(zeilen) einzufügen, die WordPress nicht mag. Jedenfalls interpretiere ich die Fehlermeldung, die ich jedes Mal kriege, so.
      Die Ursachen für alle diese Probleme können vielfältig sein. Ein (großer) Teil liegt sicherlich an meinen persönlichen Einstellungen, die ich für die Browser vorgenommen habe, aber weiß ich denn, welche Einstellungen in meinem Browser was bei WordPress bewirken?! Manches scheint mir aber auch an Updates von Windows sowie anderen Updates, z.B. Java, hzu liegen. Kurz nach solchen Updates scheinen die Probleme mit WordPress zuzunehmen, bis die Macher da es wieder angepasst haben. Und dann sind da natürlich noch die persönlichen Einstellungen, die in jedem Blog anders sind, sowie die Widgets etc., die die jeweiligen Blogs haben. Auch das scheint mir die Darstellung sehr zu beeinflussen. Wie dem auch sei: wir müssen es wohl so nehmen, wie es kommt.
      Liebe Grüße aus dem südlichen Texas,

  7. Those hollowed out pumpkin copy houses are great. Never seen them here but would be wonderful for our swallows.

    • I don’t know if swllows would ant them. Here, they always build their own nests. But some other follower replied in my German-language blog that they offer “half-bowls” to their swallows.
      Best regards from southern Texas,

  8. I enjoyed the tour of your garden! thanks!

I'd really love to hear from y'alls!

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