[gardeners] News from Bastrop Co.

Allen and Judy Merten (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 15 Nov 1999 16:33:44 -0600

Hi Gardeners,
    The freeze (26*) we had the first week of November put the QT on the
fall tomatos and the peppers. The drought hadn't left anything else
    I had 50 tomato plants that I had nursed, barely keeping them alive.
The steady 95*+ temperatures had kept all except 2 Sweet 100's from
setting fruit. The Sweet 100's had about a dozen green tomatos on each
bush before the freeze.
    The Jalapeno Grande's and the Jalapeno M kept producing through out
the drought. The peppers kept getting hotter. The Jalapeno M is supposed
to be mild. The stress apparently changed that, 'cause they were plenty
hot. The Habaneros and Serranos had given up the ghost back in August.
    The Bertha Bells and the Cubanelles kept producing through the heat
also. The Cubanelles finally gave up in late September. The Bertha Bells
produced right up till the freeze.
    Luckily the Carrizo Aquifer that we get our water from is a good
one. No water rationing at all. Many small communities in the area have
been on water restrictions/rationing since mid summer.
    The City of San Antonio and Arcoa are attempting to do a water steal
from our Aquifer that could cause serious depletion and pollution on top
of it. Arcoa is going to strip mine a site it owns for lignite coal.
When the mine hits water, San Antonio is going to buy the water, pipe it
about 200 miles, treat it and add it to their water supply. There are a
couple of problems with this scheme. One of them is that the lignite (
lowest of the 3 grades of coal) is such a poor quality that Arcoa has
passed up mining this site before.
    It is being argued that the amount of water being removed from the
aquifer in this manner will both pollute and deplete the large number of
private wells in the area. There is no alternate drinking water source
for many of these very rural areas.
    However, as usually is the case, if you have money and political
clout, the facts can be spun your way.
    As some of you will notice, I started this message a few days ago.
My access to the computer has been restricted to my teenage son's use of
it. We also visited my mother at the rehabilitation center, found out
that two of my sisters had checked her out on a day pass, and finally
found them on the farm. We had a nice visit. Mama's mobility is much
improved, but the Parkinson's is taking a toll on her mental and
emotional capabilities. Her broken arm has been slow to heal. She is
getting physical therapy daily to fight muscle atrophy. Mama is not
always willing to work as hard as necessary, so it is an uphill
    Mean while the ol' back has had it's good days and it's bad ones. I
had been a painter for most of my working life. We have a small deck in
the front of the house. It is the start of a much more ambitious plan.
We had one of our son's spray it with a water sealer. I thought it was
too light of a coat. He of course thought it was more than adequate. We
had to redo it. The deck is 10'x12'. It took me almost a week to putty,
sand and  put deck screws in it to replace the nails from the nail gun
he used. It took me almost another week to put two coats of primer and a
coat of skid resistant deck paint on the floor and exterior finish paint
on the rails. I used to putty and caulk two houses a day by myself. I
would starve to death trying to make a living at this rate!(;-} It does
look nice, the color pattern matches the pattern of the house.
    A word of advice to any one who is contemplating having carpenter
work done. Don't let them use a nail gun, unless they can demonstrate
their proficiency with it. Let them show you that they can nail with out
knocking large splinters off the edges of the lumber. Also, so far, I
haven't seen any galvanized nail gun nails. The heads of them rust and
will stain the siding, lumber, etc.
    Yall haven't heard from me for awhile. I think yall have heard from
me enough today.
Happy Trails,
Bastrop Co., SE Central Tx.
Zone 8