Views of the neighborhood – First Signs of Spring

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I started out this week setting up a tour of the first signs of spring. The temps were in the high 60s, and I thought we would have another outdoor gathering. Well, Mother Nature fooled me. So this week, we will have to stay on the bus since the temperature is 25 degrees F (-3.8 C)

This calls for some real stick to the ribs kind of serving. For an appetizer, well have bacon-wrapped pepper poppers, potstickers with hot dipping sauce, and Miso soup. The main course is a choice of two. The first is old fashioned pot roast, oven browned potatoes, and candied carrots in brown gravy. The second is board carved seasoned turkey breast, mashed Yukon gold garlic potatoes, garden peas, savory gravy, and cranberry relish. Β We have hot apple pie with whipped cream or hot chocolate souffle with brandy sauce for dessert. Β Our wine selection is a 2018 Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast UV Vineyard for the red and a 2019 Invivo Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough X, Sarah Jessica Parker. Of course, all our top-shelf liquors are available.

Today’s entertainment is Meat Loaf.

So get on the bus, and off we go.

This will explain how come the original plan had to be altered. I think we were in the Spring of Deception and now in Third Winter.

Views of the neighborhood

We started out taking a look at some baby Bluebonnets.

Then to blooming Jasmine.

Cute little vincas

Views of the Neighborhood

Then came the rain and freezing temperatures.

Views of the Neighborhood

Mr. Fox is not pleased.

Views of the Neighborhood

The olive tree and mountain laurel in the backyard

Close-up of the mountain laurel.

Ice-covered tree.

Back to the ice-covered jasmine.

Some junipers in trouble

Broken juniper.

The junipers seem to have had the most challenging time with ice. Here’s another.

Since today is Valentine’s Day, how about heart covered boxer shorts.

The first sign of spring is what we call myrtle murder, where the crape myrtles are severely trimmed. Here are three victims.

Well, that does the tour of ice land. Our temperatures are to stay in the high 20’s. Monday morning is forecasted to be 7 F (-13.8 C) degrees. We are not in Canada or Michigan, folks. We can’t handle this stuff. Enough of my complaints. Stay and have more food and listen to Meat Loaf.

 

93 comments

  1. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Thank you for the tour, John. We seem to follow Texas’s lead, as we’re forecasted to have highs of 7 degrees through the week. Even the sun has taken cover. It’s time to cuddle with the pups and your Valentine. Stay warm during this polar blast! 🐧

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Gwen. Staying warm is a challenge for sure. Hopefully, you can do the same. Happy Valentine’s Day. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great tour and delicious food as always, John. Sorry you guys are getting such nasty weather. Hope you can snuggle in with the pups.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are good snugglers, Lori. Happy Valentine’s Day.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. As always, I enjoyed the tour. But – just as I got sad about the junipers – out popped the heart underwear!! That guy HAS to be invited on the next tour!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha. I’m not sure, but I think Tiny lives there. 😁

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ouch! One way or another, he gets the better of me!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It does seem that way, GP. Someday it will be your turn. 😁

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the tour, John. It looks like the perfect weather to stay inside with loved ones. Those boxers! What in the world! LOL! Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t get the boxer thingy either. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jill. ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the lesson in Texas seasons. It looks as though the neighborhood doesn’t have overhead power lines for the ice-covered trees to bring down?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nope. All ours are underground. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re fortunate. Ours are all on poles where the ice laden trees can fall on them. A few years ago, during an ice storm on our street, a tree fell on a power line; the line snapped, and set a neighbor’s garage on fire. The building and two vehicles were a total loss. After that, the county did some serious tree butchery.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My goodness. Yes we are lucky

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Ice storms are a conundrum … danger & damaging vs their beauty. Well done – but are those your boxers? Before you answer … more Pinot, please.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are not mine. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice pictures. Does the myrtle cutting help them grow?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is a big debate about whether or not it helps. Some think it does. Others think it is not necessary. I don’t think there is a consensus on it.

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      1. I know there are methods where you trim back a plant and it grows back stronger. It’s like giving them a haircut, but it depends on the plant and how much you chop.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. These are pretty severe. I’ll keep watch and see how they do in the summer.

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      3. I just read this article that gave me the terms the pros use for these procedures. “Bollarding” is what’s done to the crape myrtles. Apparently it works very well IF it’s done properly. You have to know where to make the cuts — too high or too low, and the tree doesn’t thrive. But if it’s done right, it doesn’t hurt.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thank you, Linda. Your comments are always informative. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You have power over there?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. No we lost it last night and then this morning at 9:30. They are doing rolling outages.

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  8. Since it is the Spring of Deception it would only be right to dedicate a special place on the menu for roast Punxsutawney Pete. And yes two of three ain’t bad. Keep warm down there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Roast groundhog tastes like chicken I’m told. (Punxsutawney Pete πŸ˜‚)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Complaining right along with you, John. Texas is not made for this. Friday I noticed one of my azaleas was about to bloom. Spring just teased us.

    Stay safe and warm!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah the Texas seasons chart says it all

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh. my. goodness! It’s heartbreaking to see what ice storms do to trees and shrubs. Arctic winter is alive and well in the Mile High. This morning’s atmosphere is in the negative range with windchill plummeting to minus 18. πŸ₯Ά Sales of sweaters have no doubt been hot, hot, hot this week Stay inside, stay warm and have a Happy πŸ’ Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Monika. Happy Valentine’s Day to you. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Lovely photos John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Andrew. Break a leg tonight. I hope you put up a re-run for those of us who can’t make it tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha
        Thank you so much. Hopefully, you will come on and plug your books one day.
        Appreciate it

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would love to do that. Just tell me when and I’ll be there. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Great I will reach out to you.
        Thank you

        Like

      4. here’s my e-mail johnhowell(dot)wave(at)gmail(dot)com Excuse the () but I don’t want a bunch of bots sending me e-mails.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. LOL
        You won’t get any of that.
        Don’t worry.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for sharing, John. Alaska came to visit Texas and now they’ve decided to stick around. Stay warm!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You always have the perfect feast for the occasion. My goodness, you guys have been hit hard by Mother Nature!
    We are having some cold but nothing like western Canada. I mean it’s cold but not glacial (to me, anyway – I’m about to go out for my second walk… it’s 14F and is lightly snowing and the sun is shining. I mean come on! How can I resist πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You cannot resist. Sounds like a super day.We have sleet and threat of snow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So sorry. I’ll take my sunshine and snow!

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      2. I woud hope so. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It was fantastic. I swear…they said it is 19 out… Honestly, it felt more like 32. I was sweating!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes indeed. Great for the lungs.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Crazy weather, that’s for sure. Our buildings here don’t seem to be built for these kinds of temps.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    Another wonderful tour! I appreciated the heated blankets. I hope your real spring arrives soon for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope so too, Denise.

      Like

  16. Brr, this looks almost as bad as what we’ve got, John. It was -1 this morning and supposed to climb to a balmy 7 degrees this afternoon. If misery loves company, misery is a happy camper for the next several days — stay inside and stay warm!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Debbie. Will do for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I wish you wouldn’t have had to change you plans for today’s post, John. Here it’s -6 now, and, with the wind from the North increasing, constantly getting colder till a low of -6 [windchill -12] tomorrow morning.
    Stay warm,
    Pit

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Brrrr. Cold in anyone’s place.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Bluebonnets – it really was spring for a time! It won’t be that cold here but it will be freezing weather. I have brought in some plants and will cover the rest on the patio tonight. The bus was perfectly warm with good food and drink. Poppers were excellent. Not sure about those Valentine boxes. I can’t ever remember a Valentine’s Day that was really cold. But it is Texas and the cold won’t last. Thanks for getting me out! Stay warm.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for joing me today, Jo 😁 You are right it won’t last but is is a pain while it is here.

      Like

  19. This is nuts. Here it’s been warmer on some days than in Texas.

    My thoughts are with you guys.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Mark 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  20. petespringerauthor · ·

    Crazy weather! My brothers and I talked by Zoom yesterday. We are scattered across the country in four different time zones (one for each brother). Each one of us (California, Colorado, Minnesota, and New Jersey) are in the midst of rainy, snowy, and cold weather. Our son coaches college football in Montana at the NAIA level. They delayed their season twice and were supposed to start practicing last week, but they couldn’t because they had five consecutive days of temperatures below zero.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We really have never had weather like this before. Thanks, Pete. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  21. So I’m doing my best not to demand a refund, John. I signed up for the tour expecting warm Texas weather–an escape from the freezing crap in the northeast–and instead I get ice on the junipers. Seriously??? Methinks it’s time to have a chat with the tourist bureau in Texas. In the meantime, I’ll kick back, mollified by the seasoned turkey breast, hot chocolate souffle with brandy sauce, and entertainment by Meatloaf. Good thing you know how to roll out the red carpet for your guests. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I figure I can’t rely on the weather so I have to lay out a good spread. The bus has a wood burning fireplace so it is toasty for sure. here let me help you to another hot toddy. Thanks for coming along, Mae. Happy Valentine’s day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You are the host with the most! πŸ™‚

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  22. Next trip to the country roads?

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I wish I had a wood burning fireplace. It looks like we’ll avoid power loss now, but on the north side of Houston they’re not going to be so lucky. Too many trees, and too many above-ground power lines. Your mountain laurel will make it through just fine. They can take days of ice cover without harm. Those Ashe juniper are going to require a little attention, though — sorry about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those junipers are someone else’s. (Thank heavens) Good to know about the mountain laurel though. That poor thing spent years under the cover of a live oak and it is beginning to flourish. The electric company is now doing rolling power outages. We had one at 2:30 this morning.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m sure you had a Happy Valentine’s Day, John, but I’m reading this a day later and it seems your weather in Texas got worse. On TV there was a winter storm warning. I hope you and yours are okay. It’s starting to get a little warmer here. Sometime in March, it will really get warm. We then get the monsoon. We don’t have what I used to consider the four seasons either. Take care. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Woke up to four inches of snow on top of ice. Right now it is 9 degrees F. Winter storm indeed. Thank you, Suzanne.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi John, your sign about the Texas seasons gave me a jolly good laugh, especially Hell’s front porch. Our summers are usually like that to, but this year its been cooler and very wet. The leaves on the trees are already turning and I’ve never seen that before this early.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hell’s front porch gave me a belly laugh, Robbie. The sad thing is this is a fairly accurate description of our seasons. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  26. You’ve had worse weather than we have in KY. We’re supposed to get several inches of snow today – schools and businesses are closed, but a flurry yet. I’ll take extra helpings of that hot chocolate souffle!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here you go. I put it in a bowl so you don’t have to worry about drips. We got 4 inches last night and now have no power.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hope you have a gas fireplace. Stay warm!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. No we are all electric.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Brrrr! Stay warm over there!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We have 9 degrees and no electricity now. Brrr is right

      Like

      1. Oh no! I hope the power is restored real soon!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes it came back after three hours. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Happy St. Valentine, dear John! Ice covered trees look impressive & tragic at the same time. Poor junipers! πŸ’–πŸ’ŸπŸ’Œ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know right. Well hopefully they will recover this summer. I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😍❀❀❀

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Crazy weather, but if you wait long enough it always changes. We have a similar situation in Idaho right now, but we expect some of this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We don’t do well in this stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Great tour, John, but crazy weather! That shot of the mountain laurel is awesome and those boxers, hilarious! I can always count on the mouth-watering food and good drinks! Stay warm!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, crazy weather is right. Thank you, Lauren.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Bacon wrapped pepper poppers…fun to say and I’m sure very tasty. I’m guessing Hell’s front porch, is when the sun melts your shoes to the porch floor? A bit of damage from the ice storm, I see. Thanks for the tour, John. Stay warm. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hell’s front porch is not as hot as Hell but you can feel it from there. Makes your face melt

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      1. No doubt. I’ll stick with snow. πŸ™‚

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      2. Now we have both.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Texas is all over the news up here on the ice storm. Your frozen junipers speak volumes. I’m so sorry that a New England winter has landed on your doorstep. The fabulous meal on the bus makes it easier to handle the ice storm.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Jennie

      Liked by 1 person

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