Not sure what the hell THAT was, but on to 2021!

So, we’ve made it to 2021, and that was no small thing as it turns out.

The rose we planted in the yard in honor of my cousin who passed in 2020 (not from COVID)

If you’re still hanging in there and reading these annual updates, thanks! I’m really glad we’re all still here.

The folks in my immediate circle have (thus far) been spared the worst of the pandemic – so far, our health is good and we’ve managed to avoid the virus. However, like many, we do know folks who have lost family members to the scourge. Here’s hoping much better things are ahead in 2021, as vaccinations take hold and COVID-19 is beaten down.

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Our travel hobby was suspended (obviously) in 2020, with one flight (to the Kansas City area) to show for the year. And that was… okay. We did manage a few roadtrips where we were able to see friends/family and distance outdoors, and even spent some time at the second-best icehouse in Texas (in San Antonio, a city we hadn’t visited in YEARS and kind of like after getting reacquainted, especially Southtown). I hope we’ll make it to a few international destinations in 2021 (at least Greece!), but more domestic roadtrips and cabin (or maybe trailer) camping are on the agenda as well.

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With so many social options unavailable thanks to the pandemic, the social front yard became a real thing in our neighborhood. We already had a pretty great group of neighbors on the street, but when there aren’t many places to go and there’s only so much to stream (with March Madness and many sports shut down or delayed), you find entertainment around you. We now have quite a few homes on the street with inviting front yards that feature decorative lighting of some sort. We approve.

The social front yard, Meadowcroft 2020

 

Meadowcroft Drive Autonomous Zone, 2020

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2020 was a banner year for tomatoes, at least in our backyard gardens

All that extra time at home translated into a banner year in the backyard raised-bed tomato patch. Such a good year, in fact, that I think it’s finally time to write that post on growing tomatoes in Houston. Because of our short season (thanks to the heat), it’s never easy to raise tomatoes in Houston, and our climate and season limit the sorts of varieties that will produce a lot of tomatoes (so you have to balance quality and quantity). After a solid ten years of experimenting with raised beds, timing, varieties, soil mixes, and such, I finally have some thoughts on how to go about raising tomatoes in Houston that I intend finally to commit to a post at some point. There really aren’t that many good resources on the topic out there!

The raised-bed tomato gardens were out of control

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In between raising tomatoes, socializing on the front yard, and firing things on the grill and smoker, the brother-in-law led a massive reno of our house in which walls and headers and old paneling and failing duct work and all sorts of things came down, and a nicely reopened, refashioned living space emerged. I got to help a bunch and may have even learned a little. The transformation was pretty incredible, and we love it (and there is the satisfaction that we helped make it). Lemonade from lemons or some such – take that stupid pandemic! (this would not have been possible if the West Alabama Icehouse hadn’t been forced shut for so long by the state, because it was a BIG, complicated project that we really didn’t trust with anyone but the BIL and ourselves)

In the middle of the demolition. It got worse before it got better. A LOT worse.

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I hit the big 50 last year (what?!). I envisioned spending the big event on a Greek island. Instead, it was pretty low key. In any event, I got to make larger 401k contributions. So there’s that!

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These nitwits seemed to enjoy us being home a lot more.

Fox and Jefe enjoy the social BACK yard

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Happy 2021 y’all!

 

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