Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's a Gardener to Do?

I love gardening. It is my passion.I could live forever in the yard and garden.The problem I am dealing with now is ticks. I don't mean an occasional dog type tick. I really don't know what type they are, but I am 99% sure they are ticks.I reached in my flower bed this morning to pull a few sprigs of grass, and when I pulled my arm back out, it was covered with something,about the size of fine black pepper.I run my hand over them, but they were stuck tight, and that quick.I wish now that I had snapped a picture of my hand before I washed them off, but in my panic,I rushed into the house and stuck my hand into Pop's cup of bleach. He keeps a cup on the bathroom vanity for soaking his teeth. I rubbed it across my arm, then dipped my hand into the bleach a second time to repeat the process.I could already see, floating in the bleach, lots of whatever it was on my arm.I took my five year old grandson's advice and got a magnifying glass, but they were so small, I could not tell what they were, although I could see multiple legs.I don't think it was spiders, since spiders don't cling that tight. That is why my guess would be ticks. What am I to do. I must work in the beds, and I am petrified of getting Lyme Disease from so many tick bites already.I purchased a bag of Diatomaceous Earth in hopes of getting rid of many types of insect pests, but don't know a lot about it either.I did fix myself up a shaker type can and dusted the beds after this happened, but the pests, whatever they are, have become so bad, I dread going out into the yard.I don't know enough about the D.Earth nor the bugs to know what to do.I am willing to try anything at this point, short of moving into town in an apartment, where there is no grass, no flowers,no garden,nor anything else I love.(the one option I will not consider)Does anyone have any other suggestions?

The first picture is the actual bugs in the cup of bleach. The second is black pepper, but the pepper is much larger than the bugs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Seeing is Believing!

If you know Pop, you know that he hates snakes. I, personally, would have let it live, but Pop is petrified of any kind of snake. Black snakes or cow snakes eat rodents, which is a good thing, but since we don't have that many mice in and around our hen house(could be the snake eats more of them than we know),we felt he was eating more eggs than mice. I guess we will find out in the next few months. We may be run over with mice. I think this might be the snake that has been around our house for many years. We have had a few neighbors to tell us that they saw a large snake many times in our yard or driveway when they would stop in and we were not at home. If it is the same one,I hate to think it has been here that long, and now he is gone,not to mention such a horrible death. Pop put 17 rounds in the snake.When he says die, he means die.It was 60 inches long,and all muscle.The strength of that snake was unreal.
In a way, I am sorry we had to destroy the black snake, since they are considered a desirable snake for farm life,but after reading that black snakes can potentially cross with copperheads and become poisonous themselves, I think it's best we don't take the chance, although it does sadden me to see him killed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

In the Mood...

There's nothing like a stroll through Walmart to get you in the mood for the upcoming Holiday. Our local store is remodeling, and you need to take a stroll in it several times before you go to do your actual shopping. If not, you will end up a very upset shopper. Nothing is where it use to be. Everything has been totally rearranged.Some items have been discontinued to make way for a lot of new items.It is unreal, the changes they have made.Many of the shelves are low enough you can see clear across the store.The isles are much wider, or so it seems to me. It is mind boggling.I spent an hour, just looking things over Sunday, before I even began shopping. I still did not see it all.I did see, however, they have more Fourth of July decorations than I have ever seen in any one store.That is what I mean by getting you in the mood. All of the vibrant colored items.I never dreamed you could get so many different items in red, white, and blue. I mean down to the wash cloths. Even they are packaged in the colors to match the holiday.I have said it before, and I will say it again, Those marketing folks know their business.They know just exactly how to pull in the money. The pet supplies are equally mind boggling. They know folks are crazy about their pets nowadays, so they have at least 6 rows of shelves, both sides, filled with pet supplies.

I got so excited about he 4th after visiting Walmart today, I came home and began thinking of things I could put out for the Holiday. I don't usually decorate that much for the 4th, but I was In The Mood after this mornings trip.This is an old aluminum bowl I have used for flowers and bird seed for years. I decided to dress it up for the holiday.The top picture is a bird feeder I got from my sister, Mary, years ago. I dressed it up last year. the picture below it is a pot of red, white, and blue flowers. I wish it had been filled out more,but I should have got the idea much sooner for the flowers to look really nice.Beside the hanging flower is an old chicken feeder lid I converted into a bird feeder. I give it a face lift of red, white, and blue paint also.I had a few more things to put out, but hopefully next year, I'll be better prepared to pull out my decorations for the 4th of July.When I was working, that was a big part of my pleasure. Decorating the cafeteria and my bulletin boards with all sorts of Holiday ideas.I just hadn't got in the mood for decorating my home that way, but maybe I will give it a try.My crafts are nowhere as neat as some folk's, but I do love making them anyway.

Guess What?

(Not a very good picture, but hopefully you can see it is 1/2 of an eggshell.)

Today is the 28th of June,2010, and we have baby Martins hatching. Oh,happy day. We have long awaited this day. Now comes the hard part. Wishing and hoping they survive to adulthood and return next year. I have learned that the activities of the Purple Martin are very unpredictable.You can hear and read so many tales of the experiences of others with their Martins, and still find that you cannot predict what any of them will do in your particular case. You simply have to observe your birds and learn as you go.That is what we are doing and it is a never ending lesson.You learn something new each day as to how they act. From watching them daily, we have decided that the female sits on the eggs during the incubation period, and the males gather food for her during that time. They come in and feed the mate several times during the day. We have noticed them early, about midday, and then later in the day, on a fairly regular basis. That is why we came to the conclusion,he is feeding her while she sets. Now that they are hatching, we figure both parents will be active, collecting food for the young ones.We'll learn more about that in the next few days. I am anxious to learn how they learn to fly, without ever hitting the ground. That is going to be a dangerous time for the babies. Leaving the nest for the first time. Many folks say they leave the nest flying,but we'll need to see that first hand to believe it.Most every being needs to practice anything,before they master it.But, Oh well, I guess we'll see what happens!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pop's Encouraging Words

Vicki, this is my comment for your post on encouraging words. I felt I wanted to say more than they would allow on that small space.

It's all about Pop.Pop is an amazing man, He did not have a lot of education, and he uses a lot of crude language,and I don't really know where the blame lies for him growing up with that kind of vocabulary.But no one can deny the fact that he is the most sensitive and caring person when it comes to his friends and family. He never meets a stranger. He can meet anyone for the first time and carry on a conversation with them till the cows come home.Yesterday was Stephensburg Day,and we spent most of the day, there helping with the grandchildren, while their parents worked with the festivities. They are both involved with the local Fire Department, and that event raises a lot of money for the department.However, the point I started to make is:Pop loves people. And it would be an understatement to say that People Love Pop. It took me a lot of years to understand how he was in that area. I began the first several years of our marriage, very jealous of the time and energy he put forth with each and every one of his individual friends.I heard him telling some folks yesterday, as I had heard him tell many others in his conversations,his philosophy on people.I don't remember who told him this, but he has carried it with him throughout his life and made it his mantra.He says,
"Each time, you meet anyone,make it about them."That is such a simple line, but he has practiced it and carried it out to the fullest, each time he speaks to anyone.Therefore anyone he has ever spoken to, feels like they are the most important person in the world. He is loved by so many people, my life with him can be compared to that of a celebrity.The spouse needs to realize early on, that their partner belongs to the world, or their marriage will not survive.There is no room for jealousy in a marriage, when one person has that magnetic personality and loves his friends and family as he does. He is a very caring person and you never have any doubt when taking to him,that you will love him and be drawn to him again, anytime, anywhere, anyplace you see him again, from that point on.When you are in his presence, he makes you feel special. That is a wonderful gift. And he is a great man in the eyes of the world just because he makes everyone he meets, feel special.Ask anyone who knows him, and they will tell you the same. Hershell Nugent is truly, a one of a kind, man.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Good Old Days!

We use to hear older folks telling of how things were when they were young, and it seemed so different from our time of growing up, but now,I guess our time of growing up,seems just as different to the youth of today. Growing up on a farm, with lots of room to roam outdoors, is almost rare any more.So many kids never get the opportunity to run free on acres and acres of land, free to play, and explore new things, as my siblings and I did growing up.Being bored was never a problem for us. Then too, with so many siblings, we always had each other to play with, or close neighbor kids who would visit often. The word bored never entered our minds.We always had lots of friends to drop by for one reason or another.Dad knew a lot of people through his work , and Mom and us kids had lots of friends from church and school, so we had lots of friends over often.But even when no one else was visiting, we could always find ways to entertain ourselves. Working on the farm took up lots of our time, but I still remember lots of play time, too.We all had our chores to do. With a farm and farm animals, there is always something that needs attending to.We'd milk the cows early mornings and late in the afternoon every day. We always had at least one cow to milk at all times.The chickens ran loose, so they pretty much took care of themselves. We always had pigs to water and feed.When the feed was low, we had a field of clover where we would spend lots of time sitting out in the pasture picking bushel baskets of clover for the pigs. Who would have thought picking clover on those hot days could be that much fun. The cattle had lots of pasture, so they only needed feeding during the winter season.We always raised our own hay and corn, so Dad always had feed for the animals through the winter months.During the fall, we always had lots of pumpkins we'd raise in the corn. We'd gather a huge hay wagon load of pumpkins, and each day, we'd go out and cut up several pumpkins to feed to the livestock. I don't know if they liked them that much, but they ate them. I guess it was better than no food at all.We ate a lot of pumpkin ourselves. Mom would can many jars of it and we'd eat pumpkin quite often, but at least she would cook it and add cinnamon and sugar to it. We all loves it. Mom would buy a half gallon of Bob White syrup weekly, so we had lots of those jars for canning. They used the # 63 jar lids.I've never used a lot of that size myself canning, but we used them a lot back then.A few of the 9 kids can today. It gets in your blood.I have canned every year since I left home at the age of 18.That is a craft that is trying to make a comeback with some of the younger folks today, but most folks don't have access to a garden plot of their own anymore, as we do. They buy most of their produce from the various markets, or maybe from the Amish.I remember every nook and cranny of the old houses we lived in, being filled with cans of various foods. Most of our lives we had access to fruit trees for canning.Then we always had to pick wild berries.That's why I grow the tame berries today. I hated those thorns. A lot of folks say they do not taste as good, but I am willing to sacrifice a little flavor for the thornless berries.I only use the juice of my berries, anyway, for jellies and cobblers.We would can lots of green beans, tomatoes, and oh, yes, squash. I think we ate more squash and pumpkin than any other family in America,but we were never hungry. Mom grew up in South Louisiana, so she had to learn to cook all over again in Kentucky.We ate a lot of things other folks never heard of, but Mom would always find ways to make anything taste good.My mother was a tough lady. I could probably write a book just about her.She deserves a lot of credit for the raising of us 9 kids.Dad was always there in the background, making a living, and keeping the roof over head, even though it leaked quite a bit at times.We were never without a home.Dad saw to that. Mom did most of the raising of the kids.She tried her best to raise us in church,too. We were in church about as much as we were in school.Bible School every summer,GA's or RA's after school some weekdays,Sunday School on Sunday mornings, Training Union on Sunday nights,prayer meetings every Wednesday.Sometimes I think that's why many of us don't attend church today. We got burnt out on church, if there is such a thing. I hate it for Mom, because she worries so about the fact more of us don't attend church today.I guess we all think we have good reasons for not attending, although there is really no good reason for not attending church on a regular basis.She is 84 now and Dad has been gone for now on to 10 years, but Mom still attends church, pretty much every time the doors are open.She never drove a car, but she always managed to get us and herself a ride to church somehow, as she does for herself even today.While it's so hot outdoors, I thought I'd share just a few more bits of my past.It was hard back then to realize how grateful we would be,later, for the kind of raising we had. And at the time, we thought we had it so bad.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh, What a Life!

Years ago, I subscribed to a magazine that had a regular entry on an Amish family and their daily life. I found that very interesting, since the Amish are a people that prefer to stay off to themselves.We are fairly close friends with several of the local Amish families in our community today. We have used the services of one particular family, since they moved into this area many years ago. I am pretty sure it was in the late seventies or the early eighty's.I was fascinated by them at that time and still am to this day. I think the reason is simply because they live their lives so similar to the way my family was raised and I can identify with them more so because of that.My family has always been teased about being part Amish because we are so similar in our ways of doing things. My Mom tells of an Amish man who did marry into our family many, many years ago, but I am sure it has nothing to do with our genes or our lifestyle, but it does make things more interesting when brought up in a conversation.When us kids were growing up on the farm, we never give it a thought that we were any different from any other kids we associated with.Most of them lived very similar lives to ours.I think now, that a lot had to do with being so poor, but when you are young, you have no concept of money and it's effect on your lifestyle.Dad was self employed, with his own Bulldozing business.It was a small operation, but he stayed busy at it. We always had a house and plenty of acreage.We had cows,pigs,chickens, and a pony or two at all times. We raised a big garden every year and Mom canned everything she could.Dad raised corn and hay on the land for the livestock. That kept us busy during the picking season, since we did it by hand,as we did our milking. We always had several milk cows.Most of us kids knew how to milk cows. I'm not sure about the three youngest. Dad and Mom, and the five younger children, moved to an island in south Georgia, before they were old enough to learn. Dad was out and gone most days before we got out of bed, bulldozing for someone.He would come home many times, with a fine dust,covering everything but his eyes.I guess those were hot dry days like we are having now.He stayed busy with the bulldozer, but collecting the pay for his work, was sometimes a task.When Dad retired and moved away, in the early seventies, he left with many people still owing him for the work he had done. Dad was soft hearted, so he never pressured them to pay.Many times, he would take land or houses as payment. I never knew that until I was much older. Dad always owned a house or two, or another lot of ground somewhere, at all times.I guess that was better than no pay at all, but it doesn't buy groceries. Mom struggled for all of the years they were married to store everything she could from the gardens and the livestock we raised.We always had animals for meat, eggs from the chickens,milk from the cows. Mom used the milk every way possible. She made cottage cheese, butter, buttermilk.She even tackled homemade cheese. She tried to cook every garden vegetable possible to where we would eat it. We experimented a lot with all sorts of dishes, till we found a way we would eat different things. We were never that picky about our food. We were always so hungry from farm life and all the chores we had to do.Many times Mom would have something planned for supper, only to have some of us 9 kids to sneak in and eat it up before mealtime.It seems we were always hungry. We did not have free rein to the food like kids of today.I was one who did a lot of the experimenting with cooking. We were always craving something sweet.Very little sweets were brought into the house. The weekly groceries were minimal, and every item on the list was preplanned for a particular day and use. We dared not use anything for other than was it was intended.On occasion Mom would give us permission to cook up something sweet. She would always warn us though. We could cook up anything we wanted to,to satisfy our sweet tooth, but we'd better eat it. Nothing was to go to waste, so I would experiment until it was edible.We didn't have a lot of choices of things to use. We most usually had syrup, oatmeal, peanut butter, molasses,sometimes cereal, and of course flour, sugar, eggs, and meal.You would be surprised at some of the concoctions we'd end up with, but we'd eat it and be satisfied for awhile. I think that is where I got my love for experimenting with various foods and recipes. That is why I loved working for the school for years before the government got so involved and made every school begin using centralized recipes and foods. All the fun left out of it for me at that time. No more whipping anything up from scratch anymore.
Well, I've enjoyed reliving a little of my life here today, and will, no doubt relive bits and pieces along the way, but I'll stop for now, and get to my daily chore. Hope you've enjoyed reading bits of my early life and memories. Later!
(The top picture is Mom and Dad on their wedding day. January 27, 1946.In the bottom picture,I am the second from the right,front row.This picture was taken 10 plus years ago. I think it was at the party for Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Too Hot Outdoors for Me!

I try to get in a few minutes of yard or garden work each day before it gets too hot, but by the time we have finished our breakfast and our morning ritual of sitting together on the porch for coffee,conversation, Pop's after breakfast smoke, watching the Purple Martins, and the garden growing, it's already getting pretty warm.I hate to sit there so long, but if I don't spend a few minutes with Pop, at that time, I don't get to sit and visit with him all day. We are busy people. Today, I went to Mom's, just in case Stacey couldn't get off from work, in time for Mom's doctor's appointment.Mom is taking therapy for her shoulder.Something strange is happening with it, besides arthritis and a near frozen shoulder joint. We took pictures of it today to show the doctor. He was out, so the therapy folks didn't have her do her exercises today until they could show the pictures to her neurologist.
All was not lost though. Stacey got off in time to take Mom, so I visited with my sister,Rita and her two daughters,Tina and Cindy, and Rita's grandson,Braydon,Cindy's child, while they were there mowing Mom's yard.Rita and her daughters all work, and we don't get to visit as much as we'd like to. Everyone has such hectic schedules.She mows for Mom once a week,so that's a good time to visit.
I have started working on one of my little quilts again, especially, when it's too hot to work outdoors, some days, I sit and visit with friends or watch TV with Pop, and sew.I can really get in the sewing mood, if I know I can't go outside, for whatever reason,heat,rain,darkness,etc.You might remember,this is the quilt I started way back when I first began working on my craft room, painting the shelving blue,etc.I had it hung on the divider wall, until I could get back to it.

I took a couple of valances down this morning. It was bugging me, the fact that the background in the valance fabric was much whiter than the background in the curtains themselves.I just got lucky in finding material so close in that particular pattern.The curtain material was bought new when the house was first built, but the valances survived the house fire.I took the valances down and drenched them in coffee. That made them just the right shade. Coffee may wash out,though. I think I should have used tea. I wasn't real sure which to use.It looks good at the moment. But we'll see what happens after a good washing in a few weeks.If it doesn't hold the coffee, I will try tea, then iron it in. Maybe that will help set it for sure.

I returned home to find my goats out. First time in a long while. Pop thinks maybe since it is so dry,the ground rod is not making good contact. He had me to pour a bucket of water around the metal ground rod.We'll see if that helps. I laid a few more obstructions under some sections of the electric fence. That discourages them somewhat.These are just a few of my doings today,on my little piece of the world.Until my next post, Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Need (Want) a Good Camera!

The camera I have now is wonderful, but it has been dropped and I think that has affected it somewhat. It has a small crack in the housing, but evidently it has done something to the inner works,too. It acts up at times.Sooooooo!I am opting for an upgraded camera next time. I love taking pictures for my blog, and I need and want a zoom lens.I guess I'll call on my son-in-law for advice. He has a fancy camera, and he can figure out anything when it comes to electronics.I'd like something,not too expensive, but of good quality,but I doubt you can get those two features in one product.We'll see what he comes up with.
Had I had a good camera, this would have been an excellent shot. There were 5 little yellow and black gold finches in my newly painted feeder. There are 4 in the bowl and one is perched up high on the chain.Hardly even visible. They were all sitting around the edge of the bowl, but had moved by the time I could fetch my camera, and even then I zoomed in, looking through the kitchen window, which could use some cleaning. But now you see why I want and need a new camera.I'd love for my blogger friends to see the beautiful things I get to see in my own surroundings.Most folks have to go somewhere else to enjoy a lot of what we see here on our own little 5 acre lot.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The kitten that went to town......

Pop and I were out doing a few minor chores which took us to town, and of course, the traffic was bad.We were right in front of the busy mall when Pop stopped suddenly in the middle of the road and put the truck in reverse. I screamed,"What are you doing. You're gonna get us killed."Luckily the red light had caught the traffic behind us, and we were in no immediate danger, but nevertheless, I persuaded him to pull over to a safer spot, which he did, then proceeded to get out and walk back to where he had seen a tiny kitten, in the road.He said he couldn't bear the thought of that cute little kitten getting smushed with all that traffic. That was very unusual for Pop. He hasn't wanted me to get a cat for some time. I have wanted to get a new kitten for the grand kids for some time now. It looks like we have one now.We stopped by the bank, for one of our chores, and were able to get a small box to put the kitten in. It kept crawling in tight places under the seats of the truck and we were afraid it would get stuck or do something worse in our new truck. A box seemed like the answer until we could get it home.We stopped by Long John Silvers for our lunch, and saved a bite or two for the new kitten, although it was too frightened to eat or drink. We brought it home and kept it in the garage for now.The grandchildren will be so happy. They love cats. Especially baby kittens. They have 3 cats of their own.I have had several cats in my lifetime that I dearly loved, but they don't last long in this rural area, and we are not much on house cats.The few house cats I have had in the past would eventually get out and meet their demise on the road. I could not bear that again. It is too painful.Hopefully we won't get that attached to a barn cat, but you know how that will go.Cats love being touched by gentle hands and we'll end up spoiling it, just like every other living thing on this little farm.
Well, the weekend has come and gone, and the grand kids and our dog,Sarah, have made friends with Lucky,our new kitten. He will be staying in the house and garage until he gets use to his new surroundings, then, hopefully, he will become a yard and barn cat.We'll see how that goes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Little More Blue

It was too hot yesterday to do much outdoors. I could hardly muster up enough energy to get started,then Mom called. She was telling me all about her projects she had going, and got me motivated to go out and do SOMETHING,JUST ANYTHING.She's 84, you know.I guess you could say she laid a guilt trip on me, and it worked.This was around 8 a.m. and it was already muggy and hot outside.Nevertheless, I found a can of blue paint, left over from my 2 shed roof touch ups, and headed to the shop to work on a birdhouse I had salvaged from the neighbor's discarded lumber pile.The storm, a few weeks back, took the roof off Steve's barn, and the Amish were just now getting to the job of fixing it for him.He gave us all the discarded lumber for kindling this winter.We waste very little.There on top of the pile was 'The Birdhouse". I think Pop had already hinted to Steve that the birdhouse would not make it to the kindling pile.I would have it restored the next time he saw it. He was so right. It was such a nice bird house.Six compartments. It just needed a little TLC.I proceeded to work on it, when I passed an old wooded ladder in my yard,that my baby sister,Stacey, had given me. Someone she knew was discarding it, and it was in tact. Just old and weak. She immediately thought of me.Everyone knows how I love to use old things in my yard as yard ornaments. Usually to hold flowers. The ladder would be perfect for the Hummingbird vine, or maybe some morning glories,or more birdhouse gourds.Maybe even a Clematis, a Wisteria, or a Trumpet Vine.The possibilities are endless.Anyway, I stopped long enough to paint the ladder, then on to my Birdhouse. I think I got sidetracked and did 15 other jobs before I got to the shop. That's normal for me.I ended up painting one post on the tractor shed, another project I had planned to get to some day. I set out a Burning bush and a few touch-me-nots, by the tractor shed door, to keep the grass from growing up there so bad.We never trim as close to the out building, as I would like, but I'm trying to do better(we have so many things to trim around).Hopefully,I will get a picture, later in the summer, of the ladder all covered with something.And the tractor barn. I'll work on it a little along the way, if the summer heat doesn't get the best of me first.And 'Oh, yes, the birdhouse'.Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Little Housekeeping (In the Yard)

This is one of my beds taken BEFORE I did a little housekeeping in my yard.

This is the same bed AFTER I did a little housekeeping in my yard.

I have so many bed everywhere. Usually they are there for a reason(at least I thought it was a good reason, at the time,many years ago),but now I am rethinking my landscaping. In a rural area such as ours, it is very hard to have a neatly manicured yard like the city folks do. So much area to keep up, but I hope to narrow my work down my rearranging things a bit this summer.I am seriously thinking of using the #3 rock, or something similar,in some places, since the mulch melts down after awhile, and needs renewing yearly.The types of mulch and edging available for beds nowadays,is endless.Surely, there is a product out there that will be just right for solving my bedding problems.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Update on My Wishy Washy Post

The best I can tell, there are 3 pairs of Martins nesting in my gourds. They seem to have a routine. I'm not sure, but it appears the mother sets on the nest full time, unless there is an intruder close by. In that case, I believe the entire flock comes out to run the intruder off. They ran off a couple of large yellow breasted birds that were trying to build in the multiplex Martin Box.The Martins have never attempted to use that box, but I guess the other birds were too close for comfort.The yellow breasted birds are no longer trying to build there.Each morning, Pop and I go out to the back porch, where we sit and drink our morning coffee and read the daily paper. From that spot, we can oversee the garden as well, as to how it is progressing.Sarah sits with us,usually in our lap, but she is mad at us both this morning.We had to give her a bath last night with the garden hose, after she had rolled in something stinky, while with Pop at the neighbors barn raising.

About an hour after day breaks, the male Martins appear to come in from the tree tops nearby,and proceed to gather food for their mates. At least that is what we have surmised from watching them. They will circle the sky for several minutes, then fly to their prospective gourd for a second or two, then they are off again, only to return a few minutes later,going through the same procedure. Surely, they are feeding their mate.After several minutes of this, the 3 males(we assume) will fly away, and be gone for a few hours, only to return and go through the same process once more. This goes on 2 to 3 times a day.Then at night the males disappear for the night. It's fascinating to watch them. I only hope they have good luck in hatching out several babies, who, hopefully, will return to our home each year. Some folks have told us there is no guarantee of that.They may vanish and not return at any time. I hope that is not true, but it is all new to me, so we'll see what happens with my Martins from this point.Wish me luck!

Don't go through life being bitter.

Did you ever wonder why some people are so bitter. I guess if we took the time to sit and talk to these people, we just might see why they would have reason to be the way they are, but does it really do you any good to harbor all those thoughts and feelings that made you this way? I think, in the long run, it only hurts the person harboring the feelings. Bitterness can eat away at you in many ways.So much so, that you get to the point where you are physically ill.The person who made you feel this way is usually going on about their business as usual, without a care in the world, if they are still living.If they are not, then who are you hurting by being bitter. Those people you come in contact with every minute of every day, when it was never their fault.I suppose it is hard to let something go, that has hurt you so bad, in the past, but continuing to dwell on negative things is not healthy.I think one way of getting past these kinds of feelings is to get involved with life and find something that you dearly love to do, and do it.When your mind is actively involved in something that makes you happy, there is no room left for sadness or bitterness or any other negative feelings.(Thanks for listening to my opinion on bitterness)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Flower Beds Do Double Duty

The chickens aren't the only things that pull double duty around our place. I love to get more than one use out of some of my beds. I transplanted about 25 strawberry plants this spring in a spot where I felt I would be more apt to take care of them. Usually they are in some out of the way spot, which is unhandy to attend to.This way I have to pass them umpteen times a day, and hopefully, I will keep check on them better. I came from a long line of farm families, and believe me, they are more trouble then tobacco,which we've raised most of our lives.I feel the strawberries are well worth the $7 a gallon that the Amish folks charge for theirs, already picked.
It's hard to see in this picture, but I have planted a few other things in the strawberry row. I put in a few broccoli, a few squash, and an occasional sunflower. I figure if I need to keep the strawberry row nourished all year, I might as well put in some edibles for the summer, and a few flowers for good measure. I use this bed, since it is on the back side of the house, for growing a few extra veggies.I use to have my own little play garden out front by the pergola, but since I am getting older and can't take care of it like I'd like to,and it did get neglected quite a bit, I felt it was an eye sore right in the front yard, so I let it all grow back up in yard. Now I just incorporate a few items amongst my flower beds. Pop still raises our regular garden, but that's mostly his project. I like to experiment with different things.Things that he doesn't care about.I'm like Gavin of 'The Greening of Gavin'. I need my hands in the dirt on a regular basis.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Multi-tasking Chickens

Everything, nowadays, has to be thought out to the fullest, whether it be cutting down on back breaking work or spending unnecessary money.I try to be as frugal as possible, since the life expectancy, nowadays, is increasing, and the money does not go as far as it once did.(Who would have thought a medium size box of washing powder would be around $10 or so. Who knew milk would be as much as $4 a gallon at times, or gas $3 a gallon or worse at times.The price of staples is outrageous.)So here at Good Enough Acres (my pet name for our little 5 acre lot)we do what we can, both being retired, to save ourselves as much work and expense as possible.We both feel that chickens are not worth the feed we must buy to keep them producing eggs, so I try to get double duty from them, as well. I know that sounds cruel, but I feel they get lots of pleasure and a few little treats now and then from the work they do for me. Being couped in the small area which they are confined to, must be boring, so I feel the things I have them doing for me,breaks the monotony for them.
I purchased a compost tumbler 10 years ago, pictured in one of my gardening magazines. I know it was 10 years, because my Dad helped me assemble it, right before he became ill with the cancer that took his life 9 years ago,September 5.I have never really used the tumbler to make a complete cycle for a batch of compost. It requires more work than I cared to put into it.That's when I decided to let my chickens help me make my compost dirt.We have always had a good relationship with the tree trimming crew that keep the electric lines free and clear of tree limbs, so that is where most of my mulch has come from for many years. Now we have a tree trimming business in the family. Pop has helped his cousin on that job on occasion, when his regular help is unavailable, so we get all the free mulch we need.Cousin Larry has kept me in mulch for a couple of years now. I use Pop's BIG tractor, which has a bucket on the front, to transfer some of the mulch to the chicken pen.The mulch has been sitting for awhile, so there are lots of nice juicy morsels like earthworms and bugs in it.A feast for the chickens. All they must do is scratch it around to get to them.They enjoy doing that.
After they have scratched it around for a couple of weeks, I take my leaf rake to the chicken pen and scratch up lots of compost. I use my fancy sifter, which Pop and I make,to sift the finer particles from the coarser ones.The finer compost goes to side dressing or transplanting my plants and flowers.The coarser matter goes back into the compost pile or is used as an additional layer of mulch around other plants.I have so many beds to mulch, it would break a bank, if one had to buy enough to cover them all.
I do purchase the red mulch to top dress some of the beds, but even that gets expensive.Over all, I agree with Gavin, in one of his latest post,,the therapy is like no other.