HOME RANGE: Notes on Literature, Nature, Working Dogs, History, Other Obsessions and Sundry Annoyances by Henry Chappell

A Mixed Report

April 20, 2017

Tags: garden, 2017, first report

Looking good. Blackeyed peas and beans are another matter. Some critter or other has pretty well destroyed seven beds of young vines. Has to be a climber because I use chicken wire all the way around the inside of my wrought iron fence. The clipped stems look like roof rat damage, and there was a three-foot rat snake in the garden the other day and I doubt it was there for the scenery. I hate roof rats. They're all over the suburbs. Cate, my cur-dog, is a fine rat catcher but she'd tear my garden to shreds hunting and chasing. I'll try traps. Wish I could recruit some more snakes. The neighborhood hawks and owls really ought to get busy. Onions and peppers looking fine.

Hail Damage

April 12, 2016

Tags: Hailstorm, garden

Two hailstorms and a late frost have been rough on the Chappell garden this spring.

The second hailstorm of the season hit last night. Golf ball-sized hail did a number on the family garden, never mind the roof, garage door, and my daughter and son-in-law's Honda.

The plants in the photo are my second planting. A late frost and the first hailstorm destroyed all twenty-six plants. Those in the foreground are Early Girls, an indeterminate variety that produces well here in North Texas, where the big beefsteak varieties won't set fruit. Even though several of the plants were effectively topped by the hail, I should be able to coax out suckers to replace the damaged main stems. In the other bed, I have an determinate variety - Bush Early Girls. Those tend to come in all at once and are tremendously productive. The plants then go into decline. Although they're just as tasty as the indeterminate version, we can most of them because you just can't keep up otherwise. Such damage as these plants suffered will probably translate into lost tomatoes.

Little black-eyed pea plants and pepper plants came through fine. Cantaloupes, cucumbers, and beans aren't up yet. I may have to cut back the damaged onion leaves.

We'll see. Boy do I feel for real farmers.

Selected Work

"I regard Silent We Stood as being among the finest Civil War novels I have ever read"
  • David Madden, Civil War Book Review
  • "Blood Kin is historical fiction at its best."
  • Bruce Winders, Historian and Curator, The Alamo
  • "The finest book on buffalo hunting and the resulting conflict with the Comanches that I have ever read."
  • Doris R. Meredith, Roundup
  • Non-fiction Books
    "Sharp and colorful also describe the economical prose of sports and wildlife writer Henry Chappell"
  • Elaine Wolff, San Antonio Current
  • Magazine Work
    Articles and Reviews
    Articles and Book Excerpts
    Feature Articles
    Columns and Feature Articles