Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Democrats Christmas Party

This evening's Llano County Democrats Christmas Party gave all of a much-needed rest from political talk and action. Ha! Politics is just about all we talked about, and had a great time hanging out, eating great food from China Wok in Llano.

By the time we got home, we had great news. Democrat Doug Jones defeated the GOP's Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate Race. Let's hope this sane trend continues!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Bulb Huntress

That's right, sports fans, I'm legit. I made my first solo bulb rescue today. I had been eyeing these Crinums at an old abandoned building and finally got up the nerve to ask if I could dig them. The gentleman said to be his guest and dig away, he's tired of mowing around them.

When I started digging I realized what a beast this was going to be. I had to dig out all around them, then start cutting roots from underneath. Finally I was able to rock it loose, but there was no way I was going to be able to lift it. Fortunately I could break up the bulbs in the hole. Turned out to be quite the find and I've already shared some with a neighbor.

I didn't really have a place to put them, so I settled on the west wall of my house. Our soil is decomposed granite, which means when it's dry it hardens and is like digging concrete. On the other hand, when it's wet it's not hard to dig at all. I watered the area, then dug about 10". It was bone-dry and hard so I filled the trench with water and will let it percolate down so I can dig deeper.

From what I recall, the final picture shows what they may look like. I never got a close look at them before and can't recall for sure what color they are. I guess we'll find out this summer. 

Quite enough for one day, I think. Can't say I don't have adventures.

Well, they're finally in. Don had to help me punch through the soil to a depth of 18" with a heavy digging bar (pike) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digging_bar. The trench and planting took 2 days and I've learned a very valuable lesson; If you have a choice, don't dig monster bulbs that need to go in the ground pretty soon unless you have a place to put them.
The total number of bulbs was 15 large and 20 medium and small.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Wednesday Jam

Recently a new music shop has opened in Llano, TX, filling a niche in the Texas Hill Country. Gary Lee Cox is the owner and it's a happenin' little place, that's for sure. On Wednesday nights we've been going and it's a great casual jam. 

So this is what we've been doing with our Wednesday evenings. Video below the photo.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Tax Protest

Well, this is a first. Neither Don nor I have ever been in a protest march, except when I was in the 2017 Women's March, the day after the inauguration of he-who-shall-not-be-named-here.

The Llano County Democrats, whom we joined after the election, staged a protest at our representative Mike Conaway's office in Llano, TX. The protest is against the 2017 Tax Reform Bill, which has been written in secret and pushed through obscenely quickly.

GOP politicians whose pens are burning to sign haven't even read it. As of this writing, it has been amended yet again (with scribbled changes in the margins) and runs 429 pages. That's down 51 pages from last night. They're going to try to vote in the middle of the night tonight.

Even in bright-red Llano, we got lots of smiles and thumbs-ups.

Remember, y'all, protest is patriotic.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sorting Bulbs

Keenan Fletcher rescued rather a lot of heirloom bulbs from Miss Mary's gardens, the story is here. Today she and Jazzy and I separated and sorted them. There were easily 1000 bulbs here, mostly Oxblood Lilies, and many were easily 100+ years old.

We got some good chicken love while we worked. I'll be helping to plant some of them this week.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


No, didn't misspell it. I'm gardening and arting. Today was my day to work the Llano Art Guild and Gallery. It involves manning the fairly low-traffic Gallery, which means we have some time to devote to a project if we feel so moved.

I've been diving back into gardening just a bit and I keep forgetting the names of the stuff I planted. I made some garden marker rocks today, including some duplicates for my friend who advised and gave me some bulbs, plants and seeds.

It was a good day.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankgiving Day at Fuel

Once again Turnabout provided the music for the Thanksgiving Day event at Fuel. While the regular employees spend the day with their families, Fuel opens for a free full day of fun, food, music and community. Throughout the day, old and new friends come through to enjoy the incredible Thanksgiving dinner prepared by volunteers from the community.

This year, I invited members of the Highland Lakes Ukulele Club to join us for a 20-minute set. We had a blast doing some of our favorite numbers for our friends.

Thank you once again to James Smullins for the idea of providing a great holiday experience on Christmas and Thanksgiving for the Llano Community. His family and many other volunteers helped make it a very special day.

Turnabout and Friends
Don Crowder, Bobby Stuever, Lisa Miller, Pat Gibbons

Highland Lakes Ukulele Club
Don Crowder, Kuniyo Gardien, Lisa Miller,
Mira Hunter, Mario Martinez 

Turnabout and Friends
Don Crowder, Bobby Stuever, Larry Huston,
Lisa Miller, Pat Gibbons 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Planted Up!

I met with Keenan Fletcher, the Heirloom Bulb Girl, and got some much-needed advice about how to plant the garden I prepared. She asked me if I wanted formal or wild. I answered, "Sort of formal". She asked if I wanted to spend a lot of time on it or let it be self-sufficient. I said self-sufficient, of course. She said I could have formal and spend plenty of time on it or wild and self-sufficient; "Pick one". So I said wild(ish) would suit me just fine.

I put a walkway of old 2x4s in the middle to walk on, I hate to walk on soil I've worked hard to loosen. In the back, to the left of the tree, I put 3 4 O'Clocks, 3 Elephant Garlic, there's a semi-circle of Paperwhites a couple of feet from the tree, a rough semi-circle of iris, and Pink Rain Lilies. Then the walkway, Front row from the left- a Blue Salvia, a patch of Oxbloods, the Mystery Bulbs, Lambs' Ears in 4 places, another patch of Oxbloods, Saffron Crocus and Oxalis spread around the front semi-circle. A couple of specimen plants and another Blue Salvia on the right side. As soon as I can find one I'm going to put a Copper Canyon Daisy or two close by to discourage the deer.

When I was done I raked the bed very lightly, mixed a bunch of wildflower seeds with some fine oak leaf mold and slightly moistened it, then broadcast it all over the bed. I gently hand-stirred the top 1/8 inch by hand and watered it all in very gently, not washing the seeds, just wetting them. I may lightly mist the surface for a few days to prevent the seeds from drying out. After that I'll water once in awhile if it doesn't rain. 

I found some foliage in the lawn that looked like bulbs and dug them up out of curiosity. 3 very unimpressive clumps of short, thin leaves turned out to be huge clumps of Oxblood Lilies. Another clump of wispy leaves turned out to be a nice cluster of what I think may be Rain Lilies.

Now for that 'patience' part. My hands feel like they're made of Velcro.

Update; if I see one teeny, tiny bit of Bermuda grass in there, I will be in there with Napalm and a bad attitude.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Flowerbed

When we moved onto this property I hauled the many bags of oak leaves and grass clippings I had collected from neighbors. I never found the time or energy to attend to the large pile so it just sat there for 5 years. I don't need to tell a gardener that this is gold. I started digging into it to fertilize my new bulb bed. I decided to salvage it, you can see the pure oak leaf mold I salvaged in the containers behind this bed.

When I got to soil level, it was not like the native soil at all, it was soft and rich a shovel-depth down. Nature had already loosened and made me a flowerbed. My job was to turn it and dig out the fist-size granite chunks and make a border to keep out the Bermuda grass. I can hear it plotting to jump in right now.

Don had some old reclaimed wood he is sorting out and we're burning the rotten stuff. I salvaged some for the border and topped it with some reclaimed limestone we got from a renovated motel. You may think all this was free, but I have taken some ibuprofen every night before bed for a few days.

Now, what should I do with a nice new bed that is butter-soft almost a foot deep? Be still my heart!
Wood Borders

Stone on top

Finished and watered in

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 3rd Thursday at Fuel

On the 3rd Thursday of most months we play as Turnabout at Fuel Coffeehouse in Llano. The 'core' band is Don, Pat Gibbons, Matt Hilton, me and lately Bobby Stuever on percussion. This time we had lots of guests and it was amazing!

Our good friend Lewis Crowell played harmonica, and our new musical friend Stormy Boespflug sang. Recently I reconnected with my friend and first voice coach Kay Stence and we invited her to the gig.

It was a full stage and we had a blast. So many musical styles and voices made it a very special occasion. Thanks to John Hallowell from Highland Lakes Weekly for the photo.

Don, Stormy, Kay, Lisa, Pat, Matt
Bobby and Lewis (back)