One of the things I’m most thankful for is the friendliness of the people. There are a lot of people moving to central Texas these days, but natives are easy to spot — not just for their southern drawl but for their politeness in general. While Wisconsinites aren’t generally a rude people by any means, Texans take manners to a higher level. “Yes ma’ams” and “no ma’ams” flow freely from people of all ages to people of all ages. Even daughter, who’s only 16, has gotten used to being called ma’am. Because that’s how it is here. I also love the weather in Texas. Yes, it gets unbearably hot in July, August and September. But last year, in November and December, I also was outside staining our fence because the weather was warm enough. Not to mention that on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the holiday lights were turned on in our city’s town square, husband and I were able to eat outside without having to wear coats. I have no problem trading three months of hot weather in summer for the five or six months of cold weather we were used to in Wisconsin. And the clouds. Oh, how I love the clouds here in Texas. The cumulus and cumulonimbus in particular hang so low in the sky that, at times, I think I can reach up and touch them. I could look at them for hours; they put me in such a good mood. And the stratocumulus clouds have led to many beautiful sunsets. I have been fortunate to capture many photos of them and hope to take many more. Gardening, which was a breeze for me in Wisconsin, has proven to be rather challenging here in central Texas. While I love being able to start gardening in March (two full months before I’ve been used to), it’s been difficult learning how to deal with the bugs and the birds. And my gardening space is much, much smaller here, the price of living in a subdivision where I can almost touch the neighbor’s house. On the bright side, I’ve been able to plant things here — in zone 8b — that I never would have been able to in Wisconsin — zone 5. And I’ve had great success with some flowers, which have brightened up some stressful days.
Speaking of our subdivision, I’ve been blessed with being able to buy a brand new house, our first new house. The pluses are that everything is brand new and needs little fixing. The minuses are that everything is brand new and needs little fixing. I guess what I’m trying to say is that for me, new — lovely as it is — isn’t all I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I feel blessed that we were able to afford a new house. But I still miss the character of previous older houses we’ve owned. The good thing is that I’m still putting my own touches on our house, and in the past month or so have added a few pieces that have added a little of that character. One piece in particular, a cabinet/hutch made out of reclaimed wood and stained a beautiful distressed-looking green, is now anchoring a barren wall and is a favorite spot in the house.
What the next year holds for me, I hope, is more of the same. More making friends, more figuring out gardening problems. More making our house feel more like a home. Oh, and more beautiful Texas skies. A lot more.
We made the trip from MN to Texas about three and a half years ago. There’s a lot I miss about MN, mostly the friends and family, but not the stinging cold. I’m the same way. I’ll trade a few months of hot (you can still go out after the sun sets) for months and months of endless cold (and you can’t go out any part of the day). In MN we were a zone 3b, so we could grow what felt like nothing. We took about two years to renovate the house we have in S Austin, so this “winter” I plan on installing some raised beds. Any tips?
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I bought my kits at Home Depot. They come in numerous sizes, were relatively inexpensive (I think) and super easy to assemble. You can start small and add on later, which I really like. If you or someone you know likes to build things though, you could easily buy wood and build them. I did buy some good gardening dirt and recommend you don’t just get dirt in bags from a garden center. That would be a lot of bags anyway!
For what to plant, I recommend you try what you like, but be prepared for some failures. I love the book “Month-by-Month Gardening in Texas” by Dale Groom and Dan Gill. It breaks everything down for you and lets you know what works when. It’s a good investment.
Good to hear from another northern transplant! Your house reno sounds fun; hope you find gardening just as fun!
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I love gardening. We owned a home in MN and had a decent garden. We have a book called texas garden almanac which does month by month stuff but we definitely plan to add to our collection. Texas gardening is definitely different than anything up north.
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It sure is! I”ll check out the book you mentioned, too. Can never have enough gardening (or otherwise) books!