A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Dining Out: A Garden Adventure 

Sometimes I feel that I have not done much in the garden, but when I look back on the week, I find that I did accomplish a bit. I have been walking through my gardens each day to see what might need some help, which is a nice way to nip things in the bud before they become major problems. The cool morning air today was such a relief from the humidity that we have been experiencing. My wife bristled at the chill, running back inside for a sweater. It was not that bad, but I love the chill.

Most of my efforts have been directed towards cleaning up the appearance of the beds. The azaleas have stopped their blooms, so it is a perfect time to trim them back. I do not want these bushes to be overgrown. My Aztec Sweet Herb has run amok, spilling over the edging, as have various groundcovers that are substituting for mulch in certain beds. I pruned them back to the edging for a manicured look, which helps with the fact that my small meadow in the backyard can seem unkempt. Deadheading the roses has helped keep these flowers in bloom. My toddler daughter has been picking flowers from plants within her reach. She has become fascinated with the eggplants though. She has come to realize that these fruits have thorns at their base to prevent being pulled off, so she drags me to these plants every day for assistance. Eggplants do not have a bitter taste when freshly picked. She has been after the peppers too. This caused
me to make a dish with these two ingredients for dinner last night.

Like many people, my family has not dined out too often recently. We were having a good family day yesterday, and we thought that it would be nice to spend the day enjoying each other’s company by going out. We considered where we may go to eat. We thought of buying a shwarma from Phoenicia for a picnic in the park. We were not in town for the opening of the Discovery Green park in downtown, and there are scheduled events each weekend, so we thought that might be a nice option. In the end, we decided that I could make some sausages, with some bread and fruit.

Plans go awry. My son had more homework than expected, and my daughter wanted her nap. We found ourselves on the front lawn. I am glad that so many flowers were on display in my beds. The jasmine scented the air, as did my antique roses. We waved to neighbors, and played with a frisbee and ball. Finally we could dine out, and not worry about the mess that a one year old girl will make with her food. My wife laughed as I scurried off to pick nasturtium, onion and shallot greens, or some other herb for my bread. She complained that I was not growing mint for her mojitos. I mentioned that she was sitting on it. The mint had escaped the bed into the lawn where she was. Oh, is that why I smelled mint, she asked. Complain first, eh? You should learn to recognize your favorite herb was my reply.

There are times when you do not need to do much in the garden, except to enjoy it. The news today reported that the rising cost of rice is causing problems for restaurants and consumers. Food costs have increased, but enjoying life does not need to be determined by the purchase. Just by the fun that you have.

Your Houston home inspector,

Frank Schulte-Ladbeck


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