GardenGrrl's WunderBlog

Celina Balloon Festival

By: GardenGrrl, 11:09 AM GMT on June 28, 2009

When it comes to festivals, sometimes small is better. In the little town of Celina just north of McKinney, Texas, they know how to put on a pretty good festival. With colorful hot air balloons, live music and all the yummy festival food stands, and did I mention fireworks!?, a good time is guaranteed.

Sure it was sizzeling hot outside today. My Betty Boop porch thermometer and the weather station both read 106f at 4pm. There was hardly any breeze, but just a short drive up north and there would be big balloons and fireworks. I can give up airconditioned couch surfing for that.

The festival of course had a very small town flavor with most of the booths run by local business and groups like the Knights Of Columbus selling cold drinks.

My favorite was the Celina Water Utilities booth. These guys really have it going on. Most Utility booths just have pamphlets and a few posters. Celina had full size fire hydrants with cut aways so you could see how they worked. They also had one of the newest models that features quick disconnects for the fire department.

Did you know on newer fire hydrants, the inside valve stem can "break-away" if the hydrant is knocked over by a car. This prevents it from becoming a gushing geyser like "Old Faithful". Pressure holds the valve seat in place under the hydrant like a check valve so no water escapes.

The night ended with a firework display to music. We bought a large bag of German Roasted Candied Almonds and ate those on the way home.

Updated: 11:19 AM GMT on June 28, 2009


Waterproof Cam pics from Faire

By: GardenGrrl, 7:52 AM GMT on June 20, 2009

The waterproof pocket camera has been my all time favorite Christmas gift in quite awhile. I love to play outside in the rain. Saying, "I would like to get some candid shots of the world outside when it's raining" sounds much more acceptable and adult like than, "Woo-hooo! I"m going to go splash in some puddles!!"

Here are some pictures from the Renaissance Faire we went too. First it was beastly hot out. Then it rained. It was really fun.

Updated: 10:22 AM GMT on June 21, 2009


Chainsaws and Good Samaritans The June 10th Storm in Lewisville

By: GardenGrrl, 7:32 AM GMT on June 11, 2009

Today was the biggest storm to ever hit our little trailer community that I can remember. Sure we have had rain, wind and a few downed limbs, but never this much damage.
Ironically, my lawn furniture did not move, but my skirting came loose and my poor statue of the Madonna was picked up and caught from further flight by the crepe myrtle tree.

It was an exciting storm! Roxie, the spouse and I stood on the hill and watched it come in. As the tell tale first drops of rain, drop in temperature and shift of wind came I knew it was going to be good. The warning sirens started wailing. I ran into the house, "armoured up" in heavy long sleeved denim and safety glasses, grabbed the water-proof camera and headed for the hill. I just knew a tornado was coming and wanted a picture.

Well, quicker than I can say "Opps!", a gust of wind knocked me backwards, the rain came sideways and all kinds of small debris was pelting me from what seemed like every direction. Over head the power pole lines made the eeriest ghostly noise, like keening spirits from storms dead past.

There is such a thing as too windy to take photos. Temporarily sensible again, I crawfished my way back to the house pausing only to think "Am I going to make it", because the giant elm tree in the yard looked like an evil puppet being controlled by a sentient wind. It bucked back and forth huge limbs clawing toward the ground like it was going to dig itself up and come running towards me.

Behind me, the powerlines possessed, are starting to howl. I have discovered that even covered in soaking wet heavy denim, I can run really fast.

Wrestle the back door shut, pause and note the contrast of quiet domestic tranquility from the pure bedlam outside. The cockatoo turns to see what came through the door, nothing special, goes back to preening his feathers. The dog, always happy, comes wagging her little nubby tail and licks at the water dripping off me. Spouse has the weather channel on the TV and is talking on the phone to a neighbor, whose house doesn't have power and is crouching in her closet with a flash light and a panicky fox terrier named Molly that she says is trying to climb on top of her head.

I note that the house is not moving, get brave again and go to the front porch to take pictures. A few minutes later I go back outside because it's "not as bad", the powerlines have stopped howling. So I press against the back side of the neighbors house to dodge debris and listen to the siren symphony throughout Lewisville as everyone seems to have called 911.

Soon the rain and wind let up. I went inside to put dry clothes on and heard the sound of chain saws. Already, people were cleaning up. We went out to roam the neighborhood and see how others fared. We weren't so bad with just some loose skirting and Maddona in the crepe myrtle.

Up on the hill and down a ways a group of young men with chain saws were clearing trees and branches out of the road. It wasn't their job, but they saw it needed to be done and helped out. People were out walking, surveying their yards, talking to each other. Strangers suddenly friendly to strangers. People randomly cleaning up branchs and clearing the streets.

We had walked all over and it was getting dark. A rainbow appeared opposite the setting sun. With the bad comes a chance to do good. Spouse was pulling branches out of the street or off peoples driveways as we walked. My shoes were soaked, but I felt good.

And when we got home, someone had picked up the Madonna and put her back on her feet.

Updated: 12:09 PM GMT on June 11, 2009


Big Storm

By: GardenGrrl, 8:23 AM GMT on June 07, 2009

Wow, that was some storm that just blew threw. Trees down, power out across street. For the first time in ten some years the skirting has been blown out from under my house.
The wind meter doesn't work. The highest it read was 14mph.

There are emergency vehicles all over the place. The rain has stopped and people are coming out of their houses and into the street. Going to put some dry shoes on and go look. 19:30 06/10/09

It is that time of year again in North Texas. The bagworms have shown up in force. You will know bagworms by the tiny little coccoons that appear in your tree that just keep multiplying and growing larger.

They seem to favor evergreens around here although they will also attack decidous leafy trees.

Poisons do not work well with bagworms. They seem to just duck and cover and very few actually get killed by spraying. Picking and squishing one by one is a tedious and effective way to get rid of bagworms.

Checking the internet I found that many Agriculture Extension sites have been recomending a non-toxic to humans, honey bees, birds, treatment.

Using a bacteria called Bacillinus Thurigensis-Kurstaki Strain (BTK) mixed with water as an overspray is supposed to be quite effective.

I searched many, many stores and finally found it at Lowes in their organic fertlyizer/pesticide section. It comes in a tiny green plastic bottle labelled simply; Caterpillar Killer and it is marketed by Safer brand.

Had to purchase a one gallon pump sprayer to use it. So far it seems to be working on these nasty little tree defoliators. I am also glad that it is non-toxic to humans and critters because the wind came up and I ended up wearing a lot of the spray.

One note of caution; it kills ALL Caterpillars. Please only use it on affected trees and not all over your yard and garden because it kills butterfly caterpillars as well as bagworms.

Peace from the blog porch and destruction to all bagworms
(lol) This is a late entry so I won't be responding to posts until back from work Thursday.
Have a good week all!

Updated: 12:42 AM GMT on June 11, 2009


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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