Katniss with snowflakes

Too cold for a sub tropical cat!

Most of you know that we have an inside cat and an outside cat. Katniss (the outside cat) is utterly feral and I can’t touch her (so is the inside cat…). We live in the sub tropics and she normally uses my deck as shade but the weather is crazy right now. Here she is with some snowflakes in her dense black fur. She complained bitterly to me but doesn’t believe that I am only the Goddess of tinned food, not the weather.   Fortunately, I have been feeding her like a Christmas Goose and she has a nice layer of blubber.  Houston has just closed for two days because of a ridiculous cold front. It went down to single digits (F) in some places.

Here are icicles still frozen on my bush.

Icicles!

I drove to the airport today and it was scary to see how much ice there had been. Not only do we not have the capacity to deal with this kind of weather but none of us know how to drive in it. I learned to drive in Texas so my only skills are driving fast (breaking fast when I spot state troopers), avoiding flash floods and parking under the only tree in the summer.

Poor cold aloe

Even my poor little Aloe Vera is completely frozen. About 10 years ago I planted an inch of aloe and it grew and grew like Topsy. I hope she survives this freak ice storm.  Teddy flew to Oklahoma (I always burst into song when I say that) and it will be even colder there, brrrrr!  I am desperate to share my adventure in Mexico with y’all amigos but am too tired to do it justice. Next week…

Until then, keep warm my friends.

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Snow in the subtropics!

My street

I was just about to take some photographs of our late autumn foliage when this happened.  The last time we had snow was in 2009 so it is a big event.  Everyone gets a bit silly when we get snow and the mechanics at the auto shop had been throwing snowballs.  My next door neighbor’s daughter, who has grown up with us, is now very tall and at university.  She created this miniature snowman.

Snowman!

Last week I told my girlfriends that it was going to snow this week.  I doubt they believed me.  My sixth sense has been hyper recently and I had a premonition of my death.  Nothing awful – just that it would be my lungs.  I had the last rites when I was a baby (lungs full of fluid), so I am good to go! 😇  Yesterday I drove downtown in the most awful weather, icy rain, crazy drivers and a warning light on my car.  I was working outside and remarked to my colleague that snow was coming.  He didn’t believe me either.  As I drove back home in the same conditions, I noticed that odd look that the sky has when snow is in the clouds.  Just a faint hint of pink with a heaviness to the clouds.  All those years living in the north of Scotland has honed my Farmer’s Almanac skills.

My Japanese Yew and Mountain Laurel

Some of my plants are suited for a wide range of weather including these two buddies but some tropical plants look overwhelmed.  Katniss blames me for all weather events and has been hissing at me this week.   Just call me Freya…  Today, at her first sight of snow, she had no words but later wailed at me for the cold.  There is a lovely deck to shelter under and she has a thick, glossy coat.

Fall in the sub tropics

The tree outside my house

The tree outside my house

Houston is in the sub-tropics, I live a little further north just on the edge of an ecological division between coastal and piney forest. Whatever the case, fall comes late to these parts. Sometimes we don’t get one at all if a hurricane runs through. It was similar in the north of Scotland. One day it was summer and then the tail end of a tropical hurricane would blow all the leaves off the trees and BAM – it was winter.

Most of my local photographs are taken next to our containment pond. For those unfamiliar with the term, the pond is there to soak up our many floods. It also dries up to barely nothing in a drought. Usually noisy Teddy is with me but I was quietly stalking and suddenly saw this precious pair.

baby-nutria

Baby nutria with mama after a swim

Nutria is an invasive water living mammal not unlike a beaver or coypu. They were introduced to the south for the fur trade so, as usual, we humans are to blame. The baby was gently bleating to Mama about the strange lady with the camera. I haven’t seen them for a while because the Rangers remove them. For the short time that they are here, I will enjoy their little furry faces.

mama-nutria

Mama nutria swimming

As I was walking about I could hear the drying leaves rustling and the ever present noise of the frogs that live at the pond. Then I spotted this poor cold turtle – he stayed right on his little island because it was too cold in the water. It’s all relative, temperature wise, as the temperature was mid 60s and sunny. ☀

cold-turtle

cold-agave

A ‘Chili’ Agave!

Magenta and Yellow color palette

yellow and magenta

This is a continuation of my last post about Mercer Arboretum in Houston. Each season they choose a color palette and Spring 2016 is yellow and magenta, as you can see above. It never ceases to amaze me that they can imagine this color combination in so many varieties of plant. Truly a work of art in a garden.

pink magnolia

I was particularly struck by the beauty of this deep pink magnolia blossom. Disappointingly, it didn’t have as strong a scent as the natural cream ones but aesthetically pleasing, nonetheless.

magenta and yellow 2

A beautiful border with shades of yellow, magenta and purple. If you knew the colors in advance you could wear the perfect outfit but perhaps a neutral tone would work best with these vivid colors.

Burning Bush

burning bush

When on our Thanksgiving walk yesterday I spotted this ‘burning bush’. I remember biblical references to it and assumed they were allegorical. I found this Wikipedia reference that was illuminating – get it??? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_bush

In real life the bush was within the bullrushes alongside the containment pond but it’s autumnal coloring stood out amongst the pale stalks. I almost expected to find a basket with Moses in it…:)

What struck me most was how amazing nature is. Enjoy this post Thanksgiving photograph.