Where, Oh, Where did the Summer Go?

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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Goodness, here it is November already. Where did this summer go? With the many unexpected things that happened not as much gardening was accomplished as I would have liked. My garden is all put to bed but more about that later. The weather here has been a 10 for fall beauty and longevity. The fall colors are still hanging on as long as it can. We have had a couple light frosts but not that season-ending killer frost yet. Old Jack Frost has been teasing us this year.

My daughter and I rented a car and took a trip to Texas to visit my grandson for his birthday.

We, my daughter and I, rented a Ford Fusion with Eco Boost to drive the 948 miles to Bandera, Texas. Cowboy capitol of the world. Seriously, it’s supposed to be the cowboy capital of the world. I was not impressed. I didn’t see one cowboy riding a horse all the time I was there. That’s not to say that at certain festival times the town cowboy’s up. We had a great time and got to spend two days with Bradley. One of the things we, Bradley and I, liked to do when he lived with me was to watch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on TV. So thanks to Hulu Plus, a ChromeBook, and hotel WiFi, we got to catch up on the new adventures.

We decided to go to a movie in San Antonio.  My daughter is an avid movie goer and has an AMC movie card, which gets discounts and acquires usage points. The only AMC theater we found in San Antonio was in the downtown area. Once again my daughter was driving. This time streets were narrow, traffic was fast, and commercial trucks were big. All made for a white knuckle experience for her. Parking on the street was a lost cause so in the parking garage we went. The cost was $7 for the first hour and a dollar for each 30 minutes after that. The movie was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”  It was a cute, humorous comedy of a family overcoming a bad day. I think all of us heaved a sigh of relief when we got back to the motel. The motel advertised an outdoor pool for patrons to use. That would have been nice but it rained most of the two days we were there, which greatly disappointed Bradley.

One more time of kayaking before the summer ended brought up against some challenging obstacles.

My friend. who lets me use his extra kayak, is indeed an adventurer. He found a challenging creek that flowed into one of the local water shed lakes near my house. As you can see it was a contortionist’s dream. People might think that this photograph is a spectacular maneuver, but actually I was hugging the branch just trying not to tip over. I did finally make it under the branch without ending up in the water but it was tricky to say the least.

Oh so long ago, in August, a nasty front step resurfacing project was started for a friend of mine.

Inch by inch, day by day, through sickness and in health, the project dragged on. This is in the early stage of the daunting task of resurfacing the steps. A small glimpse of the ugly green carpeting can be seen on the right of the picture. It covered the entire set of stairs before starting. 

Finally the steps are completed. The resurfacing is done and the painting completed.

Yea, the steps project is completed for this year. After painting the steps, we decided that the colors were a bit brighter than we had expected so next spring we will probably be painting the steps a shade darker. I’m sure that after a winter the steps won’t look so pristine as in this picture. It’s been a longer project then I’d like but the experience with resurfacing was priceless. I’ve never done anything like this  before. The one step repair turned into a entire step refacing. I’m still unsure about how it will stand up to the cold icy winter. Hopefully the paint has sealed up the cement all enough to keep water from creeping into the crevasses and expanding, which would cause it to crack and come off.

The Urban Ranch garden has been dismantled and is ready for frozen snow weather.

I’ve stated many times that this year’s garden has been a little disappointing. Rain, wind, hail and frost have all been factors in keeping the harvest down this year. My biggest failure was not in having a plan C. I did have a plan A and B in place, but this year really needed a plan C. I’ll not make that mistake again. I learned a few things along the way that will better prepare me for the mean years ahead when animals and weather are locked in battle with gardening. I’ve already started thinking about next year and the overexuberant plans I have for the gardens.

October 24th found me headed south starting at 5 a.m. to the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka. Kansas. The exhilarating thoughts of being there made the three-hour trip fly by, and soon I was in the parking lot of the Expocentre where it was being held. Friday was spent volunteering help to prepare for the event. Saturday and Sunday, every stage was filled with speakers of well renown from all parts of the country. My choices were all about gardening and preserving. There were many speakers who talked about animal raising and harvesting. but since my interests only lie in growing, I didn’t attend any of those presentations. Now I have all these pent-up new gardening ideas and can’t try them out until next spring. I’ll just have to stick with planning and, in about three months, seed starting.

Here’s a quote from Rudyard Kipling as parting thought. “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”

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