Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sleepless in Indiana

Good evening friends,

I did absolutely NOTHING at home today. I slept in...well kind of. I think I may have to go to the dreaded Dr. one of these days. I HATE going to the doctor. First you have to sit in a waiting room and fill out forms, then you wait some, then they call you to the back, make you stand on a scary looking scale, and take you to some claustrophobic little room where you wait some more on a silly paper covered table thingy. Then come the tests, the needles and if its not to bad, money eating prescriptions and a doctors note forbidding you from going to work for a week. If it's bad, like it usually is, I end up with a pain scale of 10, screaming until the dalodid can take affect where they whisk you off to surgery or a tiny little room for two weeks to either die or live, only to start receiving hospital bills for $50,000 a few days later. Yeah...things like that makes you NEVER want to set foot in a doctors office again.

But here's the deal. I CAN'T SLEEP. Oh, I am so tired every night that I go directly to bed after I get home for work. I can fall asleep instantly. I can fall asleep anywhere. On a rock, even. It's staying asleep that's the problem. You see for a few years now I've had this strange tingling numbness in my left and on. But the past few months its now in both hands and getting worse! When ever I go to sleep, the hands start tingling (like your foot does If you've sat cross legged too long on the floor) anyway, it gets so bad, it wakes me up all the time. I wake up, have to move my arms around and go back to sleep...over and over and over all night long. The last couple of nights, the hands have actually been so asleep they hurt and I couldn't move them for a few moments. It's been WEEKS since I've gotten any solid sleep. I'm feeling so strung out...

Mike says I need to go to the doctor. I'm not really sure they could do anything about this though, and usually I like to see if things will get better on their own. But I have a feeling this is not going away anytime soon.

I sure miss sleep....

I didn't intend to post this but I guess I needed to vent. Tomorrow I have a day off from work so I will have plenty of garden-y stuff to post then I'm sure.

Good night, sweet dreams.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our Daily Bread

Good Morning Friends,

Another gorgeous cool morning here in Corn and Soybean land. The perfect kind of morning for long walks in the woods if one was inclined to. No walking for me today though, as I am very tired! Yesterday at work was crazy. I even had to work some over time and my boss HATES giving out over time. I expect another busy day today and so I am resting up and working on some sewing instead of working in the garden. It's only Tuesday and I have a long week ahead--too soon to be so worn out.

Yesterday before work I found a bread machine at the thrift shop. $5. It seems to work when I plug it in and play with the buttons. I printed a manual from the Internet. They did not have that particular model on-line as the company who made it, Regal Ware, no longer makes or repairs bread machines. But that's OK, so long as I have the general idea how to use it I can experiment. This will be my first time making bread in a machine-- I've always hand made bread. However, I rarely do make bread because of my busy life so I always end up buying the grocery store bread. With a machine, I can set a timer before I go to bed at night and have fresh bread for my homemade strawberry jam in the morning when I wake up. How sweet is that?

Have a good day!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Perfect Morning

Good Morning Friends!

It's simply too beautiful out to put into words correctly. Its sunny and cool--the perfect weather for working in the garden. Too bad I have nothing much to do this morning. :) I planted some Spinach seed in an empty spot between the bush cucumbers and the tomatoes, just a couple short rows. It's "Giant Noble" which bolted way too quickly in the spring as soon as it started to get any decent size on. maybe it will do better as a fall crop then a spring crop. In any case, the seeds were 10 cents a packet so I won't be crying much if they don't do well and the rabbits don't mind one bit if the spinach has bolted or not. I prefer Bloomington Longstanding, which lasts forever in the garden, spring or fall but i ran out of seed this spring and couldn't find any locally and bought these cheep seeds instead.

Though its really nice outside, I don't want to laze around. I think I'll get some sewing done instead.

Have a good day!


Sunday, August 24, 2008


Good Morning Friends!

Its a beautiful morning outside today. In fact, its the perfect kind of morning for lounging around outside watching chickens, kittens, rabbits and birds with your caffinated beverage of choice. It's sunny and 70 with a breeze. But I told myself I would finish the left half of the vegetable garden today and get the buckwheat planted. I could tell when I was digging this morning and turning the soil over, where I had amended last year as apposed to the new area this year. HUGE difference. Still clay but dark brown, moister, filled with organic matter to make it lighter in texture and easier to turn. I'm still stunned at how well the corn did in the not amended side with little rain or water and no fertilizer either this year. I will have to remember the variety-- kandy Korn i think. It isn't too picky! I don't know, it could be the soil too, after all, my broccoli gets huge without fertilizers in the unamended clay too and I KNOW those are heavy feeders.
Anyway, I got that part finished and got out my big bag of buckwheat seed (there are a few peas and mung and alfalfa seeds mixed in there thinks to our old dog getting into the seeds and spilling them onto the floor) The directions on the bag said to broadcast the seeds and lightly rake in, but not how much per foot to broadcast so I took handfuls and threw them all around. I probably planted way too many but its short term anyway as if we get an early frost they will be goners and I intend to cut them down before they go to seed as green mulch before frost anyway.

A few things to note, The strawberries grew bonkers this year but the fruits are sour---I think they did not get enough sunlight so I will move them next spring. I think I'd prefer them in a strait row anyway so I can control the runners more carefully. I need to move a few flowering plants to the shadier garden on the north side of the house-- the bleeding heart that is in with the strawberries now, *don't ask*, and the hardy geraniums that are in the south flower bed. they do OK where they are but the get sun burnt and ugly in the heat.

Yesterday I collected a whole bunch of daylily seeds from the stella d' oro's I planted along the street last year. I think I'll offer up those for barter or pay this winter with some other things. Daylilies are surprisingly easy to grow from seed. My not yet year old plants I started in the winter last year are doing great. They are knee high and loving their new garden spot.

Today's Harvest was:
  • 1 really big red tomato (I think it was called Supersteak)
  • 39 cherry tomatoes

Enjoy your day!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Looking for ways...

Hello again friends (for the second time today!)

I am squeaky clean free of the garden dust that had covered me from toe to head now and it feels just too good. As I was showering I was trying to think of other ways I could maybe make some $$ or even barter for new things I don't have or need for things that I do.

It occurred to me that maybe some folks would like to buy or barter for my seeds and plants through the mail? I would much rather do things in person one on one (without all the postage!) but I guess I shouldn't rule it out either.

So I was wondering if anyone would be willing if I collected them to trade or buy if I offered some seeds? I don't have much right now but I could go gather some. Right now in the garden i have Yellow Scabiosa (see scanned image at top), various sunflowers--light yellow multi branching (my favorites!)and yellow with red multi branching. I also have grandpa otts morning glories going to seed and I can collect "white wonder" tomato seeds also (I was going to do that anyway for my own self but will ferment more if there is interest.) I am sure I can collect more kinds then just those.

So let me know if you like this idea and I will run out to collect seeds.

Well, That reall is all for today!

Take care,


Kittens and Plants

Good Afternoon Friends,

Today's Harvest:
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 past tomatoes (not counting the ones the chickens helped themselves to)
  • 22 pumpkins
I am late for my normal morning post today because I have been busy working furiously outside! I am having a small plant sale which isn't going good and a kitten give-a-way. I advertised, put a notice on Craigslist, and put signs up but nobody comes down this dead end road ever who doesn't live here. All morning I only had one customer, who bought a peppermint plant but she really didn't come for the plants, she came to pick out a kitten. She chose out the black and white tuxedo kitten and promptly named him Oscar. I knew that kitten would be easy to home, he has such a nice personality and is as cute as a button. There are 3 kittens left now, all little girls, all tabbies.

In the garden, I cut down all the corn stalks and piled them up near the compost. Then I harvested all the pumpkins and the 3 mystery squash mutts too. I added the vines to the pile just to get them out of my way. I'll likely not fit them into the compost, they have too much powdery mildew on them. Then I began to dig up the garden area, it was dry and dusty and a little difficult to turn the earth and dig out the corn roots but I want to get it done this weekend so that I can plant a cover crop and try to start improving the soil on that side. It looks bare and empty now, with only the sunflowers still on the end. meanwhile, the chickens were dust bathing and having a blast today. That's the first time I've actually seen them dust bathe. They were both competing for the same spot even though they have the entire garden full of dust!

I think I'll move my sale table under cover of my porch now as I have indoor chores to do now--like cleaning my sewing room that I finally have back from the kittens! Boy were they getting into everything and making a mess. If anyone stops by, I'll leave an honesty jar outside for them if they don't want to knock on the door.

Have a great rest of the day!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Chassed In By Rain

Good morning friends!

We are getting a nice hard rain this morning. I kept hearing the thunder in the distance and was enjoying the warm humid morning until the rain chased the hens and I under cover. But that's OK, we need the rain and it will hopefully be enough to make working in the dirt easier this weekend. Clay...hard as a rock clay.....

I got up nice and early this morning ready to get out and get hopping on the garden today. There really isn't a whole lot to do but a bit of puttering around like trimming the mint before it goes to seed, doing a bit of light weeding so I can re-mulch one bed this weekend and chopping up some things for the compost pile--mainly some corn stalks which would take forever and a day to decompose if you don't chop em up into small pieces. You would think that a grass on steroids would seriously heat up the compost like a bag of grass clippings does. It doesn't so I need to throw in some chicken turds this weekend to get it cooking. Part of me cringed at wasting such pretty corn stalks, after all the local shops sell bundles of them for fall decorations near Halloween. But it's not near Halloween yet and I don't want to store them as my space is very limited and even if I were to use them as decoration like last year, i don't expect them to last thanks to the deer who destroyed my fall display last year.

I keep starring at the small pumpkins scattered all throughout the corn patch hoping that with every blink of the eye that they get orangier. I really want to get those ugly vines out of there before all those squash bugs hatch. Some already are hatching. Did you know those suckers bite? I found that out this morning. And speaking of getting ripe, I realized today as I checked out my watermelon that I have no idea how to tell if one is ripe yet!

My finicky and somewhat spoiled rotten hens turned their noses up at cantaloupe slices this morning. But the rabbits didn't. They chowed right down. The buck is a pig. He'll eat anything without hesitation and if I don't measure his feed out everyday he would be too fat. He goes through a lot of feed. I've noticed that rexs are like that. The doe is much more hesitant about eating new things, even though I've fed her new things since she was a baby! She doesn't eat a lot and one dish of food lasts her days if I were to give her the same amount the other eats in a couple of hours time. My co-workers were going to throw out this perfectly good fruit from the office fridge last night....I thought of a much better use for it! I took it home and they shook their heads at me, the office weirdo. At least the hens don't turn up their beaks to elderberries. I have a couple of year old plants that bore some fruit, not enough for me to do anything with so I gave them to the chickens who sure love them. Word of warning though, don't stand too close--those suckers squirt!

This weekend I think i will do a plant sale, and offer up my kittens for free as well. They will be 7 weeks old and they are going through so much litter and chow. I need to find them homes this weekend! I found a home for one this week Monday, with some co-workers of my husband in the city. The big fuzzy fluffy laid back kitten. I also need to find homes for all the peppermint seedlings, rugosa rose seedlings, and red lily bulbs that are threatening to take over everything so that I won't have to trench them in for the winter. This particular dark red Asiatic lily increases itself like mad and it really needs to be divided and re-homed and since the almanac is predicting a cold hard winter, I doubt things in pots have a chance at survival if I don't bury them deep in the ground.

Other things I will need to do before winter arrives will be to fix up a place in the shed for the rabbits and chickens. last year I had one rabbit and she stayed inside the house until spring. That isn't going to work now that we have Brandi, who likes to kill rabbits--plus, they are very messy! And there is no way the chickens could stay inside either. I'll have to clean and organize the shed to fit them in, and add lights and maybe heat lamps for the really cold days. I could put the lights on a timer in case it snows so bad I can't get out to the shed in a timely manner but if its very cold we usually have very little snow so that shouldn't be so much of a problem. Snow likes to drift 4 feet high or more sometimes in front of the shed door! I also need to get some kind of protective tree wrap for my young trees or chicken wire to put around them, whatever is cheaper. The chicken wire helps my hawthorn and other small seedlings keep from getting chowed down, so it should work for tree trunks and blueberry bushes. I need to get a supply of hay or straw for animal bedding during the winter and for mulching more tender things like the cranberry, and some burlap for my not-as-hardy-as-it-was-advertised rose bush which luckily came back from the ground after last winter. Thats enough typing for now.

Hope all is well,


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poison Day

Dear Friends,

This morning I am glad I had been out bright and early, for If I hadn't been, who knows what atrocities may have happened?

I stood outside to guard my garden and livestock with spade and shovel in hand, dirty kneed from garden work, standing defensively with a look of determination and a bit of terror on my face. I planted my feet firmly in the way. "No herbicide here needed!" I exclaimed to the balding, pale, thin man in the golf-cart like vehicle with the big tank full of poison that had been going up and down the streets spraying the asphalt cracks. "Look, no need, there's no weeds in the cracks here!" He backed down...moved on and continued spraying recklessly in front of my neighbors, whether there were weeds in the cracks or not. He was very wise not to mess with the fed up crazy woman with the strange hat and garden tools. I didn't back down until I could hear his noisy little contraption going down another block to spread his poisons around.

Meanwhile, the hens found my distraction a good time to raid tomatoes while I wasn't paying attention to them. I can't fault them a few tomatoes though, they are pretty good. I shooed them from the vegetable garden and got to work on the pumpkin vines, cutting back vines which were useless with no pumpkins on them. I began cutting them up into bite sized pieces for the compost. Last year I didn't cut them up, I threw them in whole, which was a mistake as they were fibrous, stringy and took forever to break down, even with copious amounts of rabbit poop mixed in. As I was cutting, i noticed on every leaf, an army of red insect eggs. Pretty fascinating if I didn't know they were trouble. I had never seen so many squash bug eggs in my LIFE. Some batches had just hatched, confused and bewildered baby bugs still grouped together didn't know what to do as their world collapsed around them. "Here Chick chick chicks!" Henrieta feather bottom comes running, I hold out the baby bugs on a leaf platter. She tilts her funny red head one way then the other. Pecks at one of the eggs, tries it again and loses interest. Waddling back over to where her companion is working on a ruined tomato. I returned the leaf to the compost pile. I guess it will be the spiders getting fat on them instead. That's OK too, so long as somebody eats them.

Speaking of getting fat, I harvested my last cabbage today. Its a savoy cabbage with very crinkly leaves. Its amazing how big the plant got. It took up a LOT of space. Most of the outside leaves were ruined by caterpillars and grasshoppers, and next year I am going to have to do something about it. Certainly I can find an organic solution to my pest problem? I mean, other then toads...two of which I found living in the leaves of this cabbage likely getting fat off the caterpillars. I appreciate their efforts, but most of the cabbage ended up in the compost so I'm going to have to do something more.

Well, thats it for now!

Have a great day.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Invasion of the Blackbirds

Good Morning Friends,

I hope the new day is bringing you joy. When I woke up this morning and the first thing I noticed out the window was that the female blackbirds were everywhere outside. They coated my lawn, my trees, my corn plants, the power line and anything else they could perch on. I think my home must be marked on bird maps as a resting place because I get all kinds of flocks stop by from geese, to finches, and I've even had herons and ducks show up.

The blackbirds are getting ready to fly south. The females always go together, flocking for the journey. Then the males. It's the males who come back first in the spring. Seeing them puts me in the joyous mood of fall, where nature and harvests are celebrated but it also reminds me that summer is coming to a close and soon after that, barren garden and icy weather for months.

I went outside to enjoy the cool morning while it lasted, to finish 'weeding' my garden and then I weeded the real weeds in my elderly neighbors yard. I use those weeds to give my rabbits and chickens something fun to do. I layer the weeds thick in the bottom of their cages. Much better then sending it to the landfill as I am not about to stick crab grass into my compost. I have enough problems with it thank you very much. The critters will eat it, seeds and all and turn it into some great manure for the compost.

The pumpkin vines are looking terrible now all except for the new growth. Seemingly over night the invasion of the powder arrived. Powdery mildew is pretty much a given in this climate but this has been a pretty dry year and so i haven't had a problem with it on anything else. The pumpkins are just about done anyway, as is the corn. I will be cutting back vines this weekend to encourage the pumpkins to start ripening. If I get the corn out soon enough I can plant a quick cover crop of buckwheat. That spot really needs something. Its clay. I'm surprised my corn and pumpkins did so well there without any amending. I love fresh from the garden corn, but I'm debating on whether or not to grow any next year. In the same space I could probably grow a lot more food and I have neighboring farms who grow plenty of corn. I'm also debating on changing my big flower bed that is along the side of my patio over to veggies, exclusively and moving flowers over to the front as the people here give me a hard time about growing vegetables in the front. *sigh* I might do it anyway but not because of them, It would give me more space for things like greens and herbs. and I would have to buy less seeds for flowers.

I went to see if I had any blueberries left, so that I could throw some on my oatmeal. I didn't find any but I noticed that I have cranberries. 6 of them. At least I have an even number! I only planted one sprawling little plant and didn't expect anything to come of it this year but it did bloom and now I have berries. I'm hoping it spreads and fills in around my blueberry bushes which also didn't grow much this year thanks to deer and rabbits eating them down during the winter. I'll have to protect them this year.

I told myself that in order to focus on the future, I had to stop living like I'm going to be here forever, which means buying no more fruit trees! But then yesterday, the very day after I told myself that, the Stark Brother's catalogue arrived in the mail box with pictures of luscious peaches, apples, plums and cherries, with a promise of 20% off on the trees if I were to order before October no less. Its cruel. Just plain cruel.

I also got an invitation to the Midwest Hound Dog Hoot-N-Nanny and fall faire parade in the mail.. Its a get together and donation drive for those who adopted and who volunteer with Robdar's Houndsong Hound Dog Rescue, whom we'd adopted our dog, Brandi from. We would of loved to go, and I know Brandi would of also. She would be able to play with other dogs like her. Because she is big and strong and barks a lot, a lot of dogs are intimidated by her around here, all except for one Australian Shepherd dog, who adores her down the street, she really doesn't get to socialize much with other dogs. But she has a hoot with other hounds! Unfortunately, the day of the gathering, I have to work--and since I don't have to work most weekends, it would be unfair to my co-workers to ask for it off instead of taking my turn. Maybe next year we can participate. :)

Well I think that is more then enough typing for now. I have other chores to do.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The State Of The Garden Address

Dear Friends,

I've had a great little harvest from my vegetable garden today! The Great White tomatoes are producing the best this year and I'm finally starting to get a few cucumbers from my late planting. Unfortunately, it looks as if one of my cherry type tomatoes has some kind of blight, as all the leaves are turning yellow and sickly. I may have to pull that one up early and send it to the landfill instead of the compost pile. I've never had blight before in all they years I've grown tomatoes. One thing I loved seeing on my tomato plants this morning was a shriveled blackened tomato horn worm with the remains of predatory wasp eggs on it's back. Nature can be gruesome, but I love it. That being said, I'm going to enjoy today's harvest!

Today's Harvest:

  • 3 dozen cherry tomatoes
  • 3 drying tomatoes
  • 6 Great White tomatoes
  • 7 Gypsy peppers
  • 13 ears of corn
  • 3 pickling cucumbers

But not all is peaches and cream in the garden this year. It seems that some folks have nothing better to do with their time then to harass the non-conformers. Who would of thought that a trailer park housing committee would be so uptight? Apparently they don't know the difference between California Poppies, Larkspur, and Yellow Scabiosa from weeds.

I know who it is who keeps complaining too-- If it isn't one thing it's another. He rides a lawn mower up every street in here, even if he isn't mowing. he's a cranky looking guy that never smiles. he looks rather unhappy with his job or life in general. He works for the trailer park and he HATES anything that isn't lawn. But I didn't want to sit in a sea of useless lawn and when we moved in here, we chose our lot more on the size for gardening then anything. The office told us strait up that they welcome gardening and in fact have a garden contest every year. It turns out, their idea of gardening is to have 1) a few scraggly annuals from walmart in hanging baskets or a couple of pots, or 2) sprigs of fake flowers stuck in pots. I am seriously not kidding about this. The don't appreciate carefully tended garden beds, mulched and weed free filled with unusual flowers and plants I have either collected from cuttings or mail order, and from seeds I've planted.

Last spring, before the ground even had a chance to thaw we got a notice that they didn't like our empty garden beds and to correct the problem by so and so date. I ignored that one. It was BS. How could I 'correct' the problem before it was warm enough to plant anything? And then they complained about our patio being messy. I had left my shovel out that morning leaning against my step railing.....and about the skirting on our trailer even though its fine and completely intact unlike several folks in the neighborhood. One gets the feeling they are being targeted after a while.... And the one thing I would of thought they would complain on they haven't; the chickens and rabbits which I keep meticulously clean so that none complains about barnyard smells.

So I was told to rip out my 'weeds' by the 20th. I got the notice Saturday. This morning I got up bright and early to pull my lovely flowers that have given me so much joy, fed butterflies, bees and the yellow birds. Right now I just can't afford the fine. If i didn't take care of the problem, Mr. lawn mower would be over here mowing it all down then fining us with a hefty price to cover his hard work. I can't afford to protest that one right now.

Such is life here...see why I would love to get out of here?

Someday I can have free rein over my own garden, I can have as much corn, sprawling pumpkins, and yes, even yellow scabiosa and larkspur as i want to my heart's content. i just have to grit my teeth a while and try to have patience.

Have a good day,


Monday, August 18, 2008


Welcome Friends,

This is a new blog for me. Some may know me from my other blog, GirlGoneGardening. I feel GirlGoneGardening has become stale and aimless. I will be closing it. So I'm trying on a new face. A new face to match my new resolve to follow my dreams and to make new things happen. I will treat this blog not only as a journal of the journey---however long the journey takes to reach the destination---but as a letter to friends, on-line and in person. I have been neglectful of a blog that had potential. I have been neglectful of the kind people who generously took the time to add comments. And for that, I am sorry. I have not been a very generous on-line host.

Some of the things I hope to accomplish (though they may be out of reach at this time) are:
  • Buying land and either building a house, moving a trailer to it, or repair an existing house.
  • Learn to live more off the land---perhaps even getting to a point where I only have to work part time or not at all.
  • Learn to live more out of the garden, and this includes raising my own meat foods.
  • Learn new skills from carpentry to hunting.

It may be a while before I have this land, it may be forever even. I don't know but I aim to try my hardest to get there. And should the opportunity arise I will be ready to grab it by the horns.

I hope you will like my new blog. I plan to post on it regularly and if you will be so kind as to give a shout, I promise to shout right on back.