Ho Ho Ho!
Light the tree! Que the Christmas music! Throw a log on the fire! It’s that merry time of year!
I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving full of friends, family, and good food. We had the fryer going most of the day and cooked way too much food. There were leftovers for days, even though we had a house full of family and ate all day. There’s so much to be thankful for during this season as we turn from a spirit of thanks to a spirit of giving. Now that I’m a parent, I think I enjoy Christmas more than I did when I was kid. The excitement and joy I see in my kids leading up to the special day is priceless. Celebrating the coming of Santa and presents and most importantly, the birthday of Jesus, with my kids is my favorite time of the year.
It feels good to be wrapping up this crazy year of 2020.
It was full of ups and downs. We had high hopes for the year coming out of the gate and then got smacked by a pandemic. There was a lot of negative that came from it but, on a positive note, I think it made us more appreciative of others whether it be family, friends or even complete strangers. There’s something about being pulled apart that makes us want to be back together again. Not only can we not greet a stranger in public with a handshake, we can’t even share a quick smile and “how are you” because we’re supposed to wear masks. It’s a strange time for sure. I look forward to the close of this year and am optimistic for 2021. It can only go up from here, right?!
What have we been up to
December is always a short month for us. We didn’t do a whole lot, but had two projects. First, we started at the Duss’ in Caddo Mills with a typical front flowerbed renovation adding a flagstone sitting area. This required installing drainage because the bed held water. Then graded the area and fixed the drip line. We installed a weed barrier, plants the homeowner chose, and a nice thick layer of mulch. Near the front door we installed a small 10×10 flagstone and decomposed granite sitting area.
Our next project was at the McCorkle’s in Nevada. They recently had a pool and shop built. Both builds destroyed the irrigation system and fixing it was a top priority. They also had a big pile of dirt behind the pool that needed to be spread out. The property sloped from the back to the front and storm water was going in the pool and also collecting between the pool, house, driveway, and shop. With nowhere for the water to drain, we had no other choice but to install a sump pump. We would also use the pile of dirt to spread out and regrade the back yard to push the water around the house and shop.
A sump pump is basically a barrel with a pump in the bottom. The pump has a float valve on it and when it fills up it turns on and pumps the water through a pipe to a suitable location, like a ditch, for discharge. Unlike typical drain pipes that rely on gravity, a sump pump can pump uphill against gravity solving drainage issues that typical gravity fed drain systems can’t solve. We got the irrigation working, sump pump installed, and the back yard regraded which made the homeowners very happy.
Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale has become a serious nuisance in the last couple of years. This insect pest feeds on the bark of crepe myrtles robbing the plant of nutrients resulting in reduced vigor and flowering. Also, their excrement leaves a black sooty mess on the truck of the, what normally would be, beautiful crepe myrtle. Some research has been finished recently and some treatments are now being accepted. I treat the pests during the growing season by washing them off with a wet rag or brush and dishwashing soap. During the dormant season, now, a horticultural oil can be sprayed on the overwintering egg sacks suffocating the eggs inside. In the spring, a soil drench with a systemic pesticide will be the final knockout punch for these nasty pests. Check out these articles from some of my peers on Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale, our horticulture spotlight for November 2020.
- Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Gu, Merchant, Robbins, Hopkins
- Texas A&M Forest Service
- Texas A&M Agrilife Extension CMBS Vafaie, Merchant, Gu
I hope you enjoyed those articles. Very informative!
Thanks for reading! Have a Merry Christmas 🎄 and Happy New Year! 🎉