Inside Projects Mostly in Texas in August

My uncle once wrote me this sentiment in a letter: “Enough bitching about our weather. Let’s bitch about your weather.”


Why. Do. We. Live. Here.

Ah the Texas heat. I bore myself with sweating all the time. Even the thinnest necklace feels gross on a sweaty neck. I have some shorts that I can’t wear because the fabric shows sweat too much. Also have some shirts and skirts I can’t wear for the same reason. You know what doesn’t show sweat? Black clothing. You know what’s a misery on a 105 degree day like today? Black clothing. But you know what drives me crazy? Staying inside all day.


So what do you get up to in such insane heat? Inside projects mostly and then hanging around outside after 6pm.

This weekend I took down all 12 of our roman shades in the dining room and washed them in the bathtub. Actually first I read up on how to wash Roman shades and literally all of the online advice said to painstakingly remove the fabric and wash them on the gentle cycle then painstakingly put them back together… that’s a big negatory, ghost-rider.

So instead they got swished around in a bathtub with laundry detergent, scrubbed with a stiff brush, and then draped over patio chairs to dry in the sun. Worked like a goddamn charm, internet- so you let me down and I’m glad I ignored your overly complicated advice on how to go about that.

I kept having to drain the water after each two shades because it was so dirty.


I also washed the curtains on the windows in the kitchen. This was significantly less dramatic but does hammer home that I should be doing this all more often.

Then I needed another inside project so I looked up what to do with a bunch of chile pequins we had out back. These are a native small pepper that are insanely hot. They’re sometimes called bird peppers because that’s how the seeds are spread, but everyone I know calls them chile pequins.

I… thought we had a lot more than we actually did.

They’re about the size of black peppercorns.

So I harvested all of the peppers on our plant because it was only covered in red ones and I want it to flush back out with some green ones before October. The green ones are better eating anyway as they’re hotter.

Okay… so not enough of a harvest to make even a small batch of the world’s hottest salsa… what else could I do with them? (Chile pequins range from 30,000 to 60,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale. For reference jalapeños top out at around 8,000.)

So I went back to the internet and found a pepper vinegar made with chile pequins. I could imagine shaking that spicy vinegar over roasted veggies, so that’s what I decided to make.

Ingredients: chile pequins, white vinegar, a little salt. Cool, no trip to the store needed.

So basically step one is you wash and dry the peppers while you heat the vinegar to just steaming.

This smelled way less than I was expecting if I’m honest.

Then step two is that you place the peppers in a bottle, pour over the vinegar and then pop it in the fridge because you’re done!

This all resulted in, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the world’s most underwhelming looking thing ever.

So yeah… strike it off of the ideas for potential homemade Christmas gifts.

What’s that you say? Is that butternut squash in the background of the above shot? Yes. And on the other counter too.

It’s everywhere.

I have 14 more growing on the vines outside too. Send help.

We did grill some the other day with a mix of honey, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic salt (a suggestion on how to cook them from my friend Theresa) and it was good. So looks like we’re going to be having a LOT of that.

In other garden news my husband and I really need to write a note to read in 6 months that says: “BUY DROUGHT AND HEAT TOLERANT PLANTS” so that in the spring we don’t grab more roses or japanese maples. We need more lavender and grasses and to add some mexican fire bushes and mexican oregano into the mix.

Why you say? Not because I mind watering stuff but because we literally don’t have enough time in the day to do it all correctly and so watering always feels like you’re triaging in an emergency room. (She says both over and under- dramatically.) Most things out there wilt dramatically at midday, and god help us if we miss a watering. We almost killed our favorite japanese maple like that.

Also more tropicals, because even though it isn’t my normal aesthetic, the tropicals are not batting an eye at this heat.

It really, really smells good too. I feel like that comes through in the picture. I grew this plumeria from a cutting and I’m inordinately pleased with it.

I’d show you a picture of the bougainvillea too but I forgot to take a pic yesterday and now it’s too hot to step outside. Take my word it adds a nice shot of color.

We’re trying out some new beers too. (gotta survive the heat somehow.)

Is not a favorite, but that label though…

Beer that matches the chickens just feels RIGHT.

This jerk has drawn blood on two of the three children. And started crowing. He jumps up to grab cherry tomatoes off the vine though… so now has that single redeeming feature as that is hilarious looking.

We’re kinda stuck with him till the end of September as the feed store won’t take him until then.

The neighbors have been bought off with gifts of butternut squash (Bwahaha!) and the promise that the crowing will be short lived, and the children have been warned to not try to pick him up anymore.

Luckily the rooster injuries to date are all from pecking with his dagger beak when he’s picked up- at least he isn’t trying to rake us with his stupid talons ala mexican embroidery:

“Take THAT you beautiful bastard!”

It’s… not great, the whole rooster thing. But could be worse and will get better and why WOULD’T we end up with a rooster on our first chicken keeping adventure- it’s 2020 after all. Way this year is going I’m just glad they aren’t all roosters.

It’s all just getting exhausting, you know?

Yeah, it’s been like that.

BUT! There is this guy as some tangible proof, amongst the many other good things out there even in a hot pandemic summer with Trump, that the world is a fundamentally good place. It is. It sucks too sometimes, but we should at least try to pay more attention to the good stuff. And there is lots of good stuff.

Those eyes, amiright?

Fall will be here soon.

Hang in there.

5 thoughts on “Inside Projects Mostly in Texas in August

  1. Oh dear, I would die in that heat, Lauren. Today reached 84 here and we thought we’d gone to hell. This is our hottest day so far. You are smart to stay inside. We’ve been raising hens since 2011 and 2020 is the first year our 9 chicks included TWO ROOS. They stayed with us from March until last week when we let them go in a nearby forest — to take their chances against raccoons, cougars, and black bears. We just could not handle the crowing at 4am and every time we were enjoying 6-foot cocktails w friends on the deck. Too much! The “forest freedom zone” is a location where quite a few friends re-home unwelcome raccoons, mountain beavers, and old chickens, so we think they might all be having a party up there. At least we like to think that…

    1. Oh a forest party- I can picture it now… lol. Reminds me of the time I “let go” some left over live crawfish from my brother’s birthday part… to come out the next day and see the creek lined with stray cats! I’m all about a fighting chance though!

  2. Love your tuxedo gato, Lauren, is his name Arizona, or at least something with an ‘A’ beginning? He looks so much like my Didier. And er . . . what happens at the feed store in September to roosters??

    1. His name is Alabama (not after the state but a line in a song… I feel a need to continuously explain that!) and he does look like yours so much- they remind me of each other.

      The feed store will take the rooster… at the end of September, so we’re stuck with him for a while yet unfortunately!

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