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January 2020, Week 4

I'd like to say that it feels like January is flying by, but lately with all the rain, mud, mess, fog, drizzle, gray skies and (sometimes) periodic bouts of sunshine, it feels to me like it is slowly creeping by. At least most of us (I hope) missed out on the ice that hit western, northwestern and maybe bits of northern/northeastern OK this past week.

I really don't have a chore list for this week. My mind tried to come up with one. It did. I just couldn't wrap my mind around anyone being outdoors in the cold, rain, fog, mud and puddles trying to get any work done. However, if by some miracle it is dry enough to walk on the ground where you live, now could be a good time to be doing some pruning, some grass removal if needed, bed improvement, planting of bare root fruit trees, grapes and brambles, etc. Or, you could be wintersowing anywhere in the state of Oklahoma right now, or even starting a few things indoors. I haven't done any of the above, but this week I'll be sowing wildflower seeds that need cold stratification and putting them into the extra fridge in the garage.

If your local stores now have seed-starting supplies in stock, it is a good time to go ahead and stock up on those items. Or on seeds, if there are seed racks and if there is anyone here who doesn't already have at least 4 times (or 8 times or 12 times) as many seeds as they have space to plant.

Yesterday at Costco I saw boxed, bare-root rose bushes, but I tried to pretend they weren't there and I walked right past them so I wouldn't be tempted to buy any. I love roses, but haven't planted any new ones since Rose Rosette Disease became so widespread in Oklahoma and Texas. I don't see the point in planting them any more, although 1 visit to a nursery with David Austin's English roses in the spring could conceivably change my mind about that.

Before the cold weather and rain returned last week, we suffered through multiple days that stayed foggy most of the day. It was warm enough, though, that many forbs are sprouting. I'm hoping this means it will be a great wildflower year. I did notice that some new bluebonnet plants popped up in the front meadow last week--not many because the nights still are pretty cold--but each time I see one it makes my heart sing. Fruit trees continue to bud and that's not a good thing. I awakened to a nice cold morning here (25 degrees) and hope we have a few more of these to slow down all the plants that are getting off to a bit too much of an early start thanks to the warm days. There's still tons of dandelions blooming and some of them have gone to seed already---just like this same time last year. The cedar trees are in at least their second month of bloom here and our allergies are outrageously bad and we're just hoping that the allergy season that started early will end early. Down here the cedar season easily lasts well into March though, so I don't know that I really have much hope of it ending early.

Every week I contemplate the overly wet soil and wonder when and if we'll be able to start removing the Bermuda grass sod to begin our backyard/side yard makeover. With standing water everywhere and cold weather, it will be a while before we can start and that is so frustrating. If you are brave enough to walk through our muddy areas, the ground squishes as you walk. I hate squishy clay soil and try to walk through it as little as possible because walking on that clay when it is so wet just compacts it all the more. I hate mud. I hate having to get out the Swiffer multiple times daily to mop up muddy dog and cat paw prints. At least we humans can take off our muddy shoes/boots and leave them in the mud room, exchanging them for clean shoes to wear indoors. Yesterday Tim was daydreaming---said he wished we had a doggy mudroom off the north exterior door that leads out to the dog yard and, of course, his dream mudroom would have a doggy wash, like a car wash, that the dogs could walk through and have the mud automatically sprayed off their bodies/feet. Then, his dream doggy wash would dry their feet off before they step into the house. I suggested he should feel free to build us something like that any time he wants. Oh, he doesn't want to build such a room, but I'd be happy to have one with a step-in doggie shower and a spray hose so we could hose off their feet. Yep, it isn't going to happen, but it sure would be nice. Instead we all slog our way through the mud and the muck and dream of drier weather.

What's everyone doing this week? I know we all should be doing something more than answering gardening questions on FB, but that is, at least, one thing we can do while the weather is too pitiful to let us do anything else.

Tim and I might set up the light shelf today just to get it done before Super Bowl Sunday because next weekend we'll have the girls and likely will be busy doing stuff with them. This year I think we'll put the light shelf in the mudroom so I won't have to worry about Jesse and the 4 kittens destroying the flats of seeds/seedlings when the time comes to plant those flats. The older cats and dogs know to leave the plant shelf along and pretty much don't bother it, but these new, younger pets aren't really at the listening stage yet. Well, Jesse is, and he responds to training well if you use training treats, but he still is like a bull in a china shop so I'd just as soon have the light shelf in a place he cannot reach. The kittens spend too much time in the girls' room for me to have the light shelf in there, and since the kittens are jumping and climbing so well now, you cannot put anything high enough to put it beyond their reach. It has been so long since we have had kittens around here, I'd forgotten how every single thing in your house becomes their toy and I'd forgotten how destructive they can be. Pumpkin was our last baby cat and that was in 2014, but he was a July baby who showed up here in early August so he wasn't around any seed flats until he was substantially older. As I recall, he wouldn't stay indoors long enough to bother flats anyway. He was all-boy and wanted to be outdoors getting into all kinds of trouble out there, not hanging around indoors and sleeping on top of flats of young seedlings.

We went shopping yesterday, mostly for groceries and supplies and for some home décor items for the fireplace mantel, which has looked sort of bare ever since I took down the Christmas decorations. Hobby Lobby has some really cute stuff in their Spring Shop line, including all kinds of bee-related items! I didn't even look at gardening stuff yesterday because I cannot get in a gardening mood when it is so cold and wet. But, as Tim keeps saying, at least we don't have ice and snow nor do we have big winter wildfires. He's right. I need to stop whining and appreciate that instead of the cold wet weather, we could have something worse.

Have a great week everyone.


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