Wednesday, April 21, 2010

colloquialisms - wow, did I spell that right?

I come from east Texas. It is a little north, with mostly good sized pine trees, along with dozens of other amazing and beautiful species of trees. The reason I left was because I found that most of the people are quite conservative, close-minded, with no toleration of other opinions, and an almost deliberate hostility when it comes to more liberal lifestyles, differing political views, you get the idea. I also left because there were very few cultural events, and almost no cultural diversity. No don't get me wrong. I love my native home and the people. There are many wonderful things I can say about them. It's just that these problems are deal breakers for me. I believe that a person can get caught up in a web of certain kinds of people and it becomes difficult to break free and make new friends that are more like what you strive to be. So sometimes I believe it may be the right thing to do, to pack up and relocate. I'm a huge fan of "if you don't like it, leave... " so now I find myself fairly nailed down to 4 acres and a mobile home 24 miles from the center of the metropolitan oasis of Austin. Austin is nothing if not diverse. Also extremely progressive. Of course, it's a university town, so the restaurants and businesses all give a fresh and young experience. It's wonderful. I can't say enough nice about Austin.

My farm sits on a circle. I know it's not really a farm. I just call it that. The word "farm" is a very familiar word with tons of fond connotations from my past with my family, from east Texas. My beloved grandfather Papa had 200 acres south of town and every day at 6 pm it was time to go feed the cows, at the "farm." Growing up I was a "city" kid growing up in Tyler, Texas. So I developed a fantasy idea of a farm lifestyle, a fantasy about the animals, the barn, the gardens. After a full decade of trying to settle the legal ownership of my farm, not to mention the years prior spent scrambling to pay for it, I am on a clear path directed to full ownership of all of the original farm, except for the back road, which Roy sold. It's really sad that he did that, but now I don't have to worry about paying taxes on a good portion of land that is not contiguous to the homestead. So I find myself with the better part of 4 sandy acres covered with scrub oaks, junipers, yaupons, black jacks, and some bamboo starts that I introduced to create some privacy. I do have neighbors and there is absolutely no commonality with either side of people. I want to be happy here, and it's far from perfect. Under the foot or so of sand is sandy loam and right beneath that is hard red clay. I have counted at least 5 different species of ants. I am a natural girl and I apparently have a sort of Buddhist outlook on life in general. So I feel guilt and ambiguity over killing insects. I usually never hesitate to kill ants. The only thing we've found that will stop the leaf-cutter ants is serious toxic chemical ant killer in the can. I don't like buying the stuff, much less using it on the earth, but the cutters are quickly destroying the trees at my farm. They are even stripping the yaupons and I have no idea if they've killed the trees or if the yaupons can regenerate their leaves.

Here lies the irony. The obstacles I face. I would do anything if I could transform the yard here into an east Texas yard, but it looks like an impossible feat. You just can't beat Mother Nature. To successfully landscape around here, you have to work with what you've got. Altering things too much will spell certain disaster. Right now, we are in the most perfect periods of weather and climate for central Texas. But very soon, the Texas summer sun will begin its relentless assault on everyone and everything. Last summer the heat was brutal. You have to provide shade protection for most plants, especially anything in pots, because the sun and the heat will burn them, actually fry them, and it doesn't take but a couple of days to do it.

Clearly we need a new greenhouse. It will be a fun project, from design to actually putting it together. I wanted to build a front porch, but there are no funds for that this year. With the taxes building up and probate dragging out, I need to remember that sooner or later the tax bill will appear in my name with a hefty amount due. So for now, we are doing landscape around the front door instead of the porch. So far, it looks very desert like, primarily due to the sand. No pine trees in site. I want to plant a couple of trees every month, so pine trees will definitely get planted out here. Until the ants seem to disappear, if that's possible, I will have to wait to try any more roses, azaleas, and more expensive plants.

I remember how my mother used to talk. I remember the plants that my grandmother loved to grow. Since I remember all this, and I'm pretty smart, I hope I can bring a little bit of east Texas back down here to Elgin, and a little touch of back home, back into my heart.

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