Everybody, go out and look at your crepe myrtles. Right now! You’re looking for fuzzy/felt-y white patches on the bark. If you find one look closer. If it is a cluster of insects, squish a patch of them, if it ‘bleeds pink’ you probably have Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale (CMBS). This is a problem.
Yesterday a customer brought in a picture of a crepe myrtle infested with white fuzzy bugs. I had mealy bugs on my mind when I looked at the picture and even though I’ve never seen mealy bugs on a crepe myrtle I thought that may be the case. However, after thinking about it, I’m worried the customer may have had CMBS.
Having CMBS in our area is not a good thing. Since the scale insects responsible for CMBS are not native to our area, they have few natural predators at this time, allowing them to spread and do damage at a faster rate than might otherwise be the case. I sold my customer a product that contains an insecticide and a fungicide spray which is my ‘go to’ for crepe myrtle problems because insect problems are generally followed by powdery mildew problems. However, I wish I had sold him the same active ingredient product in a drench form rather than a spray. A systemic insecticide drench is showing to be the most effective treatment at this time. Multiple treatments are recommended.
With all the changes we’ve made at the store this last year, it’s feels like a good time to pause and celebrate the fact that we’re still here. Mark and I are proud when we think that Gaddy’s has been around for 45 years and we want to thank the all the people and organizations who have helped us remain an active part of the changing Pflugerville community.
Help us celebrate on Saturday, April 28th by dropping by the store for some birthday cake and meet a few of our friends. Here are a few of the other fun things going on at the party:
A farm-theme petting zoo will be at the store from 10am to 2pm.
Jessica from the Reynolds Roost will be at the store with some of her adorable chicks. Jessica is my ‘go-to’ person when people ask me if I know where they can get some hatching-eggs or healthy chicks.
A couple of volunteers and a fantastic horse from the HELP center will be set up outside. HELP is a non-profit therapeutic riding center for people with disabilities. The HELP center has done business with Gaddy’s for almost as long as we have been around and we can’t say enough good things about this organization.
United K9 dog training will be at the store. We had a dog food customer who started coming into the shop with her beautifully behaved dog a few months ago. It turned out she was in town to learn to be a dog trainer. And while she has moved back home to start her business, one of the trainers she worked with, Danny De La Pena, will be at Gaddy’s with their dog. We’re even talking about getting Danny to come teach a class at the store.
Thomas Moore Feed will be at the store to promote their wild bird feed line that is formulated specially for Texas.
Representatives from Champion Pet will be available to promote Orijen and Acana pet food, the newest dog food picked up by Gaddy’s.
The U-Haul trailers at the entrance to Gaddy’s are hard to miss. We brought in U-Haul at the first of the year not only to provide an additional service to our existing customers but also to introduce our store to new families as they move into the Pflugerville area. Learning a new system has been a bit challenging, but after a couple of months, we are starting to get the hang of it. Here’s a bit of what we have learned that might help you next time you are renting a U-Haul.
Rentals are classified into two groups: in-town and one-way. If you are renting ‘in-town’ you are picking up and dropping off at the same location. If you are renting ‘one-way’ you are picking up at one location and dropping off an another location. They way U-Haul charges for the rental differs depending on whether you are an in-town or one-way rental. U-Haul also charges differently for vehicles that record mileage (trucks and vans) than it does for trailers.
For example, if you rent a moving van from Gaddy’s and return it to Gaddy’s you will pay a flat, in-town, rate for the day, plus a rate for each mile you put on the vehicle. Gas-consuming vehicles also have a nominal environmental fee. If you want insurance, which is recommended but optional, there will be an additional charge. And tax, of course, is charged on all U-Haul rentals. If you rent a moving van from Gaddy’s and return it to a different location, you will pay a similar flat rate plus mileage.
Trailers are a little different. If you rent an in-town trailer, then it is simply a flat fee per day, plus insurance (if wanted) and tax. If you rent a one-way trailer, U-Haul calculates an estimated distance between the pick up and drop off point and charges a fee based on that distance and allows for a certain amount of days for the rental. If the trailer is returned in less time than allowed, the fee remains the same because it was calculated on the distance traveled.
Here are some other things good to know about the U-Haul rental process:
-Bring your driver’s license and a credit card. If the person driving the vehicle is not the person renting the vehicle, bring the driver’s driving license too.
-You can make save a bunch of time by making your reservation online and entering as much information as you can about the rental yourself. This doesn’t save all of the paperwork at the rental facility but it does help.
-If you think you might save some money by not buying the U-Haul insurance, call your insurance company and make sure your policy covers the U-Haul while you have it. Many insurance policies do not.
-If you are renting a trailer, bring in the license plate number of the vehicle you’re towing the trailer with, also the hitch and ball rating as well as the make, model and year of the vehicle.
-Think about the store hours of the U-Haul drop off location when planning your rental. Not all U-Haul locations have 24-hour drop off. We don’t, though there are several other U-Haul dealers in town who will be happy to help you if you need to drop off after hours.
-You may drop off a U-Haul at a location other than that shown on your contract, however there may be an additional fee for dropping it off at the wrong location. You may want to call ahead just to make sure you won’t be assessed an additional fee.
As a person who spends most of their day on their feet, I appreciate a good pair of shoes–and socks. It’s even better when the socks are fun. So when I saw these adorable socks by BlueQ, not only did I have to own a pair myself, I had to start carrying their products in the store.
Not that you really need an excuse to buy these fun socks and bags, but you can feel good about purchasing a BlueQ product for many reasons. BlueQ uses recycled materials to make their bags, plus a portion of every purchase goes to environmental conservation charities. Now that’s a great company.
One of my favorite chores at the store this time of year is to water the Christmas trees. At least twice a day we walk through the tree area and spray the foliage of the Fraser Firs to keep them nice and fresh and hydrated. We also keep them under the shade cloth to protect them from the sun.
Once you get a cut Christmas tree home, here are a few tips on how to keep it fresh throughout the holiday season.
When we sell a tree we will cut the base of the tree off, perpendicular to the trunk, before it is taken home. Keep this cut as it is. Don’t ‘chisel down’ the tree to make it fit your stand. Don’t drill a hole into the base of the tree. And don’t take off bark to make it fit the stand. The tree will drink in water best from the outermost layers of wood so they are important to leave as is.
Keep your tree in a type of tree-stand that holds water. Lots of water. Stands should be large enough to hold about 1 quart of water for each inch of tree trunk diameter.
Check the water at least once a day. Make sure the water level is high enough that the bottom of the tree is covered.
Keep your tree far from sources of heat like heat system vents, fireplaces, or a sunny window. Use low-heat lighting like mini lights or LED lights.
Our trees look especially good this year. We have Fraser Firs in a 6-7ft size ($49.99) and a 7-8ft size ($74.99). Please let us know if you have any questions. 512-251-4428
Mark hasn’t yet tired of asking customers if they want to add some chicken poop to their feed order. Mark’s not going crazy, he’s just having fun with our new line of lip balm called “chicken poop.” And no need to worry, there’s no actual chicken poop in this lip balm. Jamie, who makes the stuff, says one time she complained to her grandfather that she had chapped lips. Her grandfather told her to put some chicken poop on them. That way she’d stop liking her lips.
Jamie’s company also makes a darn good solid hand salve and an all natural deodorant which they call a “defunkifier.” Isn’t the packaging wonderful?
Please save the date. Santa & Mrs. Claus are headed to Gaddy’s on Saturday, November 25th from 1-3pm. I know this is a busy weekend, but we hope you’ll stop by with your pets (or children) and take a quick picture with Santa. There’s no charge for taking pictures. Bring your own camera and we’ll provide the rest. And if you want us to help take some pics we’ll be glad to assist. (BTW . . . Santa Ron is well worth the trip. See photo below.)
Sometimes Pflugerville can feel like a small town again. Last night Mark, Becky and I participated in the Food Drive/Halloween on Main St sponsored by the Greater Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce. Despite questionable weather there was a good turn-out and we had great fun seeing all the kids (furry kids too) dressed up in their costumes. Thank you to everybody who participated and donated food items to our community.
I’m hopeful the crisp cool mornings we’ve been waking up to lately mean Fall really is here and we can pack up our shorts for the season. My tomatoes are setting fruit and the cool-season greens Wade and I planted are experiencing a growth spurt. While I’m not going to be able to fill the vegetable display like I was in the Spring, I’m starting to bring in a nice bit of produce after a long hot dry spell.
The great pumpkin experiment was a dud. It turns out you can’t successfully grow pumpkins in the middle of summer in Texas. Wade and Kaleb and I fussed over rows and rows of pumpkin plants, watered, weeded, and fought bugs for a couple of hard months, all for some pretty puny results. We’re enjoying the Fall atmosphere our meager group of pumpkins are providing us though, and consider the experience a lesson learned.
Along with the cooler weather, I’m looking forward to some Halloween fun. Mark and I and our daughter, Becky signed up to participate in the Food Drive on Main St. We’ve got our dog-themed booth decoration all ready to go and are just waiting for Tuesday evening to give out some candy. Right now I’ve got the big cardboard dog decoration perched on top of the display of the new line of dog food we brought in called Zignature. It is a fabulous limited-ingredient dog food boasting no grain, no potatoes and no corn. Next week we should also be getting Taste of the Wild’s new limited-ingredient food.
If you are lucky enough to have pecan trees in your landscaping, this is the time of year to start looking for pecans on the ground. A mature pecan tree can produce 40 to 50 pounds of pecans on a good year. The pecan trees in our yard were planted by my in-laws over 30 years ago. With a little maintenance, a little fertilizer and a bit of water over the summer, they do well by us. Over the weekend Mark and I gathered as many pecans as we could find. And since I still had most of last year’s pecans yet to shell, we decided to make use of the beautiful day yesterday to haul all our pecans over to Nutcracker Station in Bertram to have them cracked. If you make an appointment they can crack while you wait. It was well worth the trip. Now I have plenty of pecans to cook with all year long.
Here is a pecan picker-upper that I highly recommend–it will save your back. All you do is firmly roll it over the ground, pushing the pecans through the wires. When the hopper is almost full, you gently separate the wires and the pecans will drop out. Frank demonstrated this for me.
And here’s a link to the Nutcracker Station in Bertram. Mark and I had a great time walking through the downtown section of Bertram while our pecans were being cracked. It was like stepping back in time and it was only a 45 minute drive from Pflugerville.