Houston's been getting water lately.  What a relief after the drought.  I really want to install guttering and a set of rain barrels.  For now, however, we are collecting water in  those big laundry detergent buckets like you get at Sam's Club and Costco and other places and old large storage containers whose lids have disappeared.  We just place them under the points where water would be fed into guttering, but comes down in sheets now.  The rain barrels I want are here:  However, the cost is prohibitive.  What I have found is a local recycling place offering 55 gallon drums for about $25, and there is a video on YouTube explaining how to convert such drums into rain barrels with a few parts from Lowe's or Home Depot.  OK, so these are ugly neon blue plastic.  There's a solution to that as well.  Cover the barrel with netting (and even the down spout, and grow something that will climb the netting.  Perhaps a nice maypop (passionfruit) vine?  Added benefit?  Edible fruits which are both native to my area and very expensive in stores!  Perhaps combined with runner beans as shown here.  

When I had my dead pines cut down, I didn't have the logs hauled off.  Nor the chipped wood.  The chipped wood I'm now using as mulch in my garden.  It protects the roots of  plants through cold or drought, and when thick enough (3-5") holds down the weeds.  I'm using a good bit of it to lay out where I plan to have vegetables, herbs and edible flowers in the spring and summer.  I just dump it over the grass, and after a good rain, move it around a bit and pull the grass out almost effortlessly.  Since I'm talking about Bermuda grass, that "effortlessly" part is important to me!  Eventually, it also breaks down into food for the soil and plants.  Another bit of it, along with the leaves I keep raking up, I'm dumping on some low spots to build them up and level the front yard across a culvert (although I confess I'm now also thinking about putting in a water feature there, so maybe I won't level ALL of it out!)  The trees that survived are those around which I had dumped kitchen & yard waste for decades.  

The logs I was thinking about making into lumber, but that's more expensive than buying lumber.  Some we are going to slice down the middle to use in bujilding raised beds.  Others we are going to slice into 3-4" rounds and use as stepping stones.  Still others we plan to cut into rounds and place on legs for use as garden stools and a table (after varnishing them.  My bees seem to still be around, so I may end up having some honey one of these days.  Not that I'm eager to be the one to collect it!

To close,  we got three oranges off our Republic of Texas orange tree.  I had no idea the flesh would be red inside!  the stm area was pithy -- not sure we picked them at the right time.  But the rest of the fruits were juicy and sweet,  So pretty too!    Our spinach is doing well, radishes should be grown soon, Ditto for beets and carrots.  The bunching onions are surprisingly small for the length of time since planted.  Need to get out the packets and see how long they need  to maturity.   Peppers still producing, and we have a few little green tomatoes.  Lettuce, purslane and pansies make some tasty salads, along with the little carrots I'm pulling to thin the rows.  Kale is magnificently abundant.  It's true, everything tastes better if you grew it yourself :)