Monday, June 30, 2008

Lonely Little Petunia in the Onion Patch

Do you remember Captain Kangaroo?? I watched him for years, I enjoyed the show as much as the kids did. One of the songs was about the petunia in the onion patch. The reason I bring this up is that I have a similar situation. This is a huge pot on my back steps and last year I had tomato plants and herbs in it. Since I was making a real live veggie garden this year I decided to put flowers in the pot. Mother Nature had different ideas, so now I have tomato plants growing in my flowers. Mind you , every tomato seed I planted in the garden has come up so I will inundated with tomatoes in a month or so. I also have two rows of lettuce, good thing I like salads.
I tried to get a better picture of Charlie, actually got him to stay still for a couple of seconds. He really is a good dog and tries so hard to please. Of course, it is like having a small child in the house, into everything. The current job is convincing him that he has toys that are good and getting into other stuff is not good. He is my shadow and he is also learning that he has to share my attention with Elvira and the cats. One big chore will be keeping him out of the road, we don't get a lot of traffic but sure would hate for him to be hurt. He is so fast, take your eyes off him for a sec and he is off!! He loves chasing things, birds, butterflies, bugs all good in his book. He does come when called, but not as quickly as I would like. He has only been here a little over a week, so he really is doing well.
The goats have been doing their job. When I first put them in new area you could not see them. Now a little over a week later they have done a great job of whittling down the weeds. Bet you can tell where they go next! Some where out there is one of the mowers, it conked out on me while I was trying to battle my way through. I think I found the problem. When ever something won't work I wiggle and tap and bang on stuff, amazingly enough it quite often brings the beast back to life. In this case I found a cracked hose which might be the cause of my being stranded in the midst of 4 foot high thistles. I was not happy. Later I will take my trusty duck tape out and see if wrapping the line will bring my pink mower back to life. Well, she is not really pink more of a faded orange, keeps my husband off her. He can use the more manly John Deere and I can have my comfy one.
The mini rose finally bloomed, Jim got it for me for Mother's Day but by the time he was able to bring it home the blooms were gone. He knows what makes me happy, forget the pricey elaborate bouquets, I want the real thing. I can enjoy my roses for years. Well, a multitude of tasks await or I may just take a nap.
Best to you all, Barbara

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Morning Surprise

I thought the storm sounded pretty close last night or should I say early this morning. When I went to mow I found pieces of bark and tree and after checking around I found where it was from. This is one of our huge old trees, that limb is over 6 feet around where it joins the trunk of the tree.
The power of Mother Nature is awesome, the lightning spiraled around the limb throwing pieces over 40 feet away. I stood one of the pieces up against the garden fence, the fence is 5 feet so you can see what a large chunk was blown off. While I hate that the tree was damaged I am glad it was not the house.
Speaking of garden, check out my strawberries!! I filled an ice cream bucket 3/4 full before the flies drove me inside. When I go to the store later I am going to get some jars and try my hand at making strawberry jam. I found some recipes on line that seem really easy.
I am so glad this rose made it through the winter, Tahitian Sunset, conjures great images. It is like getting presents each day when I go out and my flowers are coming up and blooming.
Now I can also get excited about my garden, I am growing my own salad and won't have to worry about my food making me sick. I am already planning for next year the things I want to add to the variety. There are little zucchini on the plant already, and the lettuce, spinach and tomatoes are growing by leaps and bounds. Hopefully I will get the hang of canning so can make tomato sauce, salsa, etc. I have jalapenos and bell peppers growing as well as herbs so should be good to go. Who knew this could be such fun.
I meant to post this earlier, this is the wedding cake I made. She wanted very simple so I tried to follow her wishes. I tend to like to do tons of flowers and scroll work so had to restrain myself. I am hoping she liked what I came up with.
Well, off to mow some more. Best to you all, Barbara

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beautiful Tuesday

The sunrise was wonderful, loved the pinks in the clouds. Jim was able to be home for an extra day, which made my day. Of course the down side is that he will not be home next weekend. I so wish he could find a nice job closer to home, but don't get me wrong, I am very glad he is working. So many people are out of work, I could not knock his having a job.

Over the weekend he was drilling holes in the walls to be ready for the big job of doing blown in insulation. I have mentioned in the past that our front room is dark and sort of gloomy. In my daydreaming I have been trying to come up with a good wall treatment. Well, part of that has been solved. Under the wall paper was paneling, when Jim started to remove that to make drilling easier he found
a surprise. Some where along the line the people decided they did not want a window so they just blocked it up and covered it over!! We are going to restore it, now there will be more light
in the room. He also discovered that there is NO insulation in the walls, this would go a long way to explain the cold and drafts.
This same solution was used in an upstairs window?? You can see the window from the outside, even has mini blinds but drywalled over from inside. Sorry, I just do not get it. They did cover the window in the downstairs so can't be seen from outside, at least that was an improvement. See what people with new houses miss,lol.
We have a new member to our family, his name is Charlie and he is brown so of course going through my head is "Charlie Brown, he's a clown". He belonged to our neighbors who tied him up most of the time, when ever he got off chain he was over here. I would take him home, and he would be at my house before I got there. I kept trying to shoo him away and made sure not to feed him or encourage him. None of it worked, he loves me. The other day the owner came to pick him up, yet again, and I told him "you can just leave him here". They work and I am home all day so he thought about it and now Charlie is laying by my chair snoozing away. Very smart dog, he is learning manners quickly, I am always upset when people have ill mannered dogs. Just as bad as bratty kids (mine were of course angels, not), but they did know not to push Mom too far. Charlie is German Short hair Pointer and Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Very high energy at the moment but he should calm down some. Gets Elvira up and moving which is a good thing, he can be very annoying and she lets him know to leave her alone. He has been very good in the house, not bothered the cats and had no accidents. He slept by the bed for the last two nights and was a perfect gentleman.

I spent part of morning putting new stakes out for more fencing, the goats have done a great job clearing out their other areas. Now I will have three different pastures for them and three less places to mow, hooray. Using this wire is so easy, I love that I can do it myself, a little later I will go out and string the twine and tie it in to the existing fence. Neighbor is coming over later to help me with some hog panels that I want to use to block off their pen. Hog panels are large sections of welded wire and there is quite a bit of it around here so will put it to use. They are a little heavy and the people here previously put them up high to keep their pigs in.

Yesterday Jim helped me plant my butterfly garden, the plants were delivered last week and I needed to get them in the ground. While not large there were quite a few of them, so the extra pair of hands helped bunches. He also helped me plant a new rose, we had picked it up to replace one that did not make it through the winter. When Jim went to dig up the "dead" rose we found that it was trying to grow, so back in the ground it went and we found another home for new rose. If we won the lottery I know where a bunch of mine would go,lol, tons of plants ,my dream garden. I have thought what I would do if we were lucky enough to win one of those huge jackpots and trust me it would not all go for play. I am so glad my roses are blooming again, lots of buds. I want everything to grow now!! Not that I am impatient or anything. Need to get back to work on the goats new pasture. Wishing everyone a wonderful day, full of joy and laughter. We need to appreciate all the good things we have going for us, makes the bad seem a little better.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Personal Magnetic Field?

Violet Lady thinks maybe my woes with electronic and mechanical things might be tied into my magnetic field. Hey, beats any other explanations I might have. My Grandmother could only wear a watch as a pin, if she put them on her wrist they stopped. Now, if I could only fine tune this field so I could attract one of those huge lottery jackpots, how cool would that be!! I need to call Maytag back as the ice maker is not working, does not make me happy since the weather has warmed up. Of course we could be in the 1800's and have to haul ice chunks home and keep them in ice house with hay over then, guess I should quit moaning.

I am having fun with the flowers for the wedding cake. I am making another batch so will have plenty, much different from the ones I usually make. Once I got the hang of the calla lily it was a snap and the roses are really turning out pretty if I do say so myself. The bride is carrying a bouquet of old fashioned roses and they are variegated, so my challenge has been to try and match them or come close. She is a wonderful bride, not even close to a bridezilla thank goodness. She says what ever I come up with is fine with her. I think I could become addicted to these gum paste flowers, you can do so much with them. It is almost like using modeling clay. Will post pictures of the finished product.
Speaking of flowers, here are my clematis I want to add another color to the mix, maybe a pink or yellow. These guys just shoot up as soon as the weather is warm and I am always amazed at how many blooms they have. My neighbor in WI introduced me to them and now I am hooked. The peonies have also opened and are so beautiful. I could spend all day out there messing with my posies. The peonies have such a nice light fragrance, and are so awesome when they bloom the sheer size is amazing. I also have one the is from a plant that was 80 years old. A girl I worked with when we first moved to WI gave it to me, her Great Grandfather had planted the bush when he first built the house. I have carefully dug it up each time we moved, here seems to be where it likes it the best. Blooming really nicely this year.

Jim did not make it home this weekend, the guy who was supposed to work got "sick". Amazing how it just happens to be his birthday this weekend. Oh, well poo. So my plans for a nice father's day dinner for Jim are on hold. Add to that I kinda needed his muscle this weekend because a bunch of my plants were delivered and need homes. Wonder if he knew that?? hummm.

Well, back to flower making. Best to you all, stay safe and come back soon, Barbara

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tornados, Floods oh my

The sky tonight looks so much better then last night. All Wednesday we had severe storms warnings, tonado watches, flash flood watches, not fun. I spent some time down in the basement when the radio said to take shelter and named towns near us. I dicovered that Elvira won't go down the basement stairs, so will have to work on that. Not too easy to tuck an 80 pound dog under your arm. The sky was so black and the wind so high just did not know what to expect. I would see the lightning and hear the thunder all around us, from what the radio was saying the storms were moving fast and ended up just missingour area on both sides. We were so lucky and I feel so sorry for those that suffered, like the 4 Boy Scouts who lost their lives. There is no safe place California is having fires, snow in Washington state. Mother Nature keeping us on our toes.

She made up for it today, in 70's and pretty all day long. The peonies are blooming as well as the Clematis and so many more plants making appearances. I was able to mow a bit which was great, still not able catch up. My strategy with the goats seems to be working, I have cut way back on grain and hay in hopes they would eat more weeds. Today with the nice weather they were eating away, hooray!! I should be able to sleep well tonight and not worry I am going to blow away.

Best to you my friends,

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Sunny June Day

We have sun, gentle breezes and temps in the 70's all in all a great day. What has made it even better is that I might finally have my cell phone issues fixed. There has been an ongoing struggle to get a working cell phone, with many long hours on the phone to the point I stopped paying the bill. I mean why pay for something that does not work, no one seems to care if it works and customer service is pretty much nonexistent for it. My thinking was that since they would want something from me, just maybe I could get something from them, like a phone that I could actually make and receive calls from. Well, that did not happen and I will not bore you with all the subsequent details. This morning I decided to call the last rep who had emailed me and then never gotten back to me, of course the system wanted to put me on hold rather then let me put in an extension. Being a rather impatient type person, and completely fed up with Sprint/Nextel at this point I started punching numbers and then zero. Lo and behold I got a voice mail, left a message and a short time later a real, live person called me back. Some how I had reached a person who works for Sprint but really does not have any thing to do with wireless service. We had a nice talk, I explained my problem and frustration and she is now working on fixing it. Thank You Amy!! I am thinking an Angel twinked me over to her phone to help me out.

I am just getting so fed up with paying good money for things that do not work and companies who do not stand behind those items. In the last couple of years I have purchased both Kodak and Sony cameras ($300.00 + each) and had then die in little over a year. Kodak wants $150.00 to look at theirs and Sony $180.00, they don't care how much the fix is they just want my money. I asked Kodak if it turned out to be something simple if I would get a refund, NO. With the Sony it is the flash, could it really cost $180.00 to fix? Just stinky all around. Then my fridge dies, gets fixed and now the ice maker is not working so I will have to start all over again. I also have a weather radio sitting here that does not get the weather channel, well, you get the picture.

All I want is a perfect world, is that really so much to ask?? Ok, ok, I'm kidding, how about less wrong?

I am off to mow while the sun is shining, enjoy your day.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Storms, Storms and more Storms

This is pretty much the norm for the skies for the last couple of days. We have glimmers of blue and then the menacing skies come back. The wind has been 20-30 mph and as you lie in bed you try to figure out if it sounds different or not. Needless to say I have not had much in the way of sleep for the last couple of nights. So far the majority of the really bad stuff has skirted us, which I am grateful for. I think it was after 3:30 before I was able to sleep this morning. Mother Nature sure likes to keep us on our toes, appreciate the nice days.

While I was at the feed store on Wednesday I found out the name of the large plants I was talking about. They are a Bridal Wreath, well shoot I forget the rest of the name! You can see from the pictures how they like to bow over so being right up next the the house was stifling them. The ones Jim moved last year are blooming so by next spring all should be happy. Yesterday I moved this small bush and gave it a new home by some of the bridal wreath plants we moved. I am hoping that when all bloom next year the contrast will be pretty. The hummingbirds like the pink flowers. Once again this had been planted right next to the foundation, that is a big no no as it encourages water to stay next to house and does not allow the plant to stretch. I also found out the name of the plant for Renie it is a Spiarea and I believe her's is the Gold Mound.

The man in brown showed up yesterday with one of my plant orders, it's my butterfly collection. It consists of four butterfly bushes, four colors, fun!! I think I have figured out where to plant them, the labels say shade to partial sun so the side yard under the big maples should be perfect. Now I just need to dig up all the yarrow that is living where I want to put them. I do have a new home for the yarrow, along the drive on the slope that is so hard to mow. I have already moved a few bushes there and am going to also raid the rock pile and put them there also. I am hoping the it will be a welcoming sight as people come up the drive.

While wandering online I found the perfect site!!! It gave instruction for making sand cast birdbaths, with the large bird population I have been wanting to find an easy way to make my own. I look at the stores and the prices are so high and they all look the same, this way I can be creative, make them any size or shape I want and CHEAP. In the article they used several different types of paint, I just happen to have drawers of craft paint in all colors.... so I am good to go. I just need a bag of sand, a bag of concrete and some screening, I will post pictures of the results. Being me, I am already trying to figure out how to add fountains and tiers,lol. I am going to do some research and try to find solar pumps so they will be energy efficient. If they work I can sell them, and if they don't sell I am still ahead of the game. I can make them in my garden shed so will have space to work on them and for them to dry. Yippee. Where there is a will there is a way.

I will be glad when all the watches and warnings have passed, I hate being a baby about these storms. At least I have my little hidey hole, told my friend if anything happens to the house for them to look under the basement stairs. Yoo Hoo, here I am type of thing. I send my prayers and best to those who have been impacted by the storms, such a horrific thing.

Best to you and hurry back, Barbara

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June and it's cold

I thought it would be warmer by now, still dressing in sweats and hoodies. We had a nice weekend with fairly high temps, even had Jim bring down the window air conditioners. Guess I scared the warm away. We had rain and thunder storms last night so I had a full house in the form of dog and cats, they don't like that weather any better then I do. Last Thursday night we really had a downpour, more then 3 inches. This is a picture of the fields on both sides of the roads, the shame is that the corn is just coming up. You can barely see the rows of green, all the fields around have these "ponds" in them. Good for the ducks, bad for the farmers. Since it has been so cold they have been late getting the crops in and now this.

On Saturday I did the food for our friends open house, their son was baptised. The weather was wonderful, blue skies, warm and gentle breeze. I always stress over these things, worry that people won't like what I serve. We did well and friends and guests were happy, which of course made me happy. I did a cake, fruit and veggie trays, baked beans and smoked beef, chicken ,pork and potato salad. It really gives me a feeling of accomplishment when I pull one of these off. I think Walker enjoyed it also.
These are such super people and I was so glad Jim and I could do this for them. Jim is always a big part of what I do, he helps to calm me. He jumps in and does whatever I need done. This time he was super enough to slice all the meat for me and also take the meat off the chickens. I smoked them whole to keep them juicy. I am so blessed to have this man in my life.

We increased the area for the goats to include a stand of small trees. These trees are all volunteers and much too thick, the goats are thinning them out at a rapid pace as trees are one of their favorites. They are also eating more of the other weeds, which makes me happy, less to mow. This is their whole purpose in life, entertain me and eat weeds. No babies, no meat, no milk, just eat and enjoy. I have noticed one thing, I have to lead them out in the morning to get them started. I feel like the pied piper. Speaking of mowing, I have spent days and still have about a days worth to go. Now it is raining and cold, can't mow and will need to start all over,lol. Gives me that Gerbil on a wheel feeling.

The few warm days we have had brought more of our plants to life. Was very happy to see signs of life in the roses, I really thought that they had all died. This is also the time of year I play my guessing game, is it or isn't it?? Am I nurturing a weed or is it really a plant that I want to grow. My neighbor Connie in Wisconsin used to come over and help me, then there were some that stumped both of us. It is a joy for me to walk out and see something new each day. The peonies are covered with buds, the big bushes that Jim moved last year are covered with small white flowers. I am not sure what they are called, I'm thinking that when they were planted the people did not realize how large they were going to become. They were planted very close to the house, which is not a good thing for the house or the plant. They grow quite tall and then droop over and several times during the summer bloom. Now with more space they should really shine. My orders of plants should start arriving soon, then I will be really busy. I think I would be happy if I could spend all day outside messing in my plants. It crosses my mind from time to time that maybe I could grow herbs or something and make some money that way. Time will tell. The lilacs are in bloom and smell so good, this one is part of a hedge of really tall old plants, I want more! The darker colored one is nearer the house and needs trimming up desperatly. I like the two tones, it is dangerous for me to look through the websites, so many colors,lol. I am dangerous in plant places.

I have rambled long enough, thank you for stopping in and I look forward to your next visit.