Resilience is the big buzzword these days, and especially for those of us on the Texas Gulf Coast who endured Hurricane Harvey’s wrath last year. Under the category of “an ounce of prevention,” this issue looks at steps we can take now to be better prepared the next time the Houston area experiences a major weather event. One thing we absolutely, positively, cannot live without is electricity. We’ve got the inside scoop on generators and how to find the right one for your particular needs.
Spanish philosopher and essayist George Santayana wrote that, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I don’t think Galveston’s born-on-islanders will ever forget the Great Storm of 1900, with its massive 15-foot storm surge and winds up to 145 miles per hour. The Category 4 storm killed as many as 12,000 Galvestonians and remains the deadliest natural disaster in our nation’s history. Interestingly enough, we’ll see a survivor of that storm during this year’s Galveston Historic Homes Tour. The James and Maggie Lowber House took a beating but was repaired a year later, and we’ll get an eyeful of this Victorian during select weekends in May.
We’ve also taken an in-depth look at another Galveston house with a historic provenance. The original owner, J. Mayrant Smith, only lived there four years before retiring to his sugar cane plantation in Richmond. The next owner was Susan Hartley, widow of early Texas legislator Oliver Cromwell Hartley. We were able to touch base in 2014 when the house was being remodeled but now this Italianate stunner has been completely redone and looks amazing. No detail was left unfinished and a cupola that had been removed during the early 20th century has been lovingly restored.
Even if heavy rains don’t get us, we can always count on sticky humidity and stifling heat. One of the secrets to surviving Houston summers is insulation — the invisible but protective layer that shields our homes from extreme temperatures. Different types of insulation are available for all types of construction and it’s a key component for staying comfortable and keeping energy costs down.
In this issue we also take a look at ways to show the parental units that they’re tops on any list. From fabulous Mother’s Day brunch ideas to unique Father’s Day gifts that will truly be appreciated, consider our Recipe and Editor’s Picks sections your secret weapon for making their days special.
Our Gardening section takes a look at exotic succulents and how to make them thrive, even when grown indoors. These hardy plants are the perfect choice for lazy gardeners and are sure to add drama to any setting.
And last, but never least, don’t miss our Pet of the Month, Rambo. He’s the strong but silent type and he’s looking for a new bestie to keep him safe during Houston’s ubiquitous thunderstorms.
From our home to yours,