SHHHHHHH, I Would Like To Talk About Hobbies and farming.

Yes, I wish to discuss this quietly.  There is a reason for this.  I am obsessed with my hobbies, and I believe that if I discuss this quietly, like a secret, that maybe my subconscious won’t kick in and go craft-crazy.

Sounds easy, but when your “to-do” list is as huge as mine, just a thought of having a moment to myself for hobby stuff is insane.  There is always something that MUST be done now, especially on a small farm like ours.

crazy face

Don’t get me wrong; I love the rural life.  I love the space, the gardens, the critters, and even the chores (a little less weeding would be nice).  But I also love my hobbies.  When it gets right down to it, I prefer my hobbies.  I can easily do them any time of the year, day or night.  I don’t have to wait for good weather, or a certain season to get things done.  The bummer is that they are still just “hobbies” and do not pay the bills (yet).

I have been taking some online classes (all freebies-yea!) to learn all I can about running a home crafts business.  I think I have boiled it down to one major problem – TIME.  I never have enough time to do what I want to vs. what I have to do:

  1. Every morning by 5 a.m. I have to start the watering cycle.
  2. When it gets to be 90+degrees here, this must be done every day. We have some drip lines set up (in the corn & tomatoes mainly) which I can just turn on and let run for the allotted time.
  3. The rest is all hand watered. We have new, spring-planted, fruit trees which must get major watering every day right now.  I know it’s working because the “shock” part is over and new leaves have appeared (woohoo).
  4. Then, while it is still cool out, I work on weeding. EVERYTHING needs weeding this year – all the time it seems.  Normally we are not this wet so once weeded; an area would stay clear for a month, maybe the rest of the summer.  Not this year.  It was so moist and so cool this last spring, I swore I was back in upper Wisconsin.  I even have a 10’x10’ canopy that I can move around to help shade me while I weed.  It works great except that as soon as I move on to the next area, the last cleaned area starts to weed-up again – grr!

not that kind of weed (NO – not THAT kind of weed.)

If I had less weeding in the front yard,  and just concentrate on one major area each morning for about 2 hours (By then, it’s getting to be noon, and the wind dies – makes it awful to be outside because of biting black flies – hate them worse than mosquitoes. ); that would leave me time in the afternoon for my hobbies.

The only thing harder to do is decide which hobby I want to work on first:

  • Card Making
  • Beading
  • Embroidery
  • Knitting
  • Crochet
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Calligraphy
  • The list just goes on.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and another area to weed.  Perhaps a moment or several for one of my crafts?

Happy gardening – or hobbying!

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WAY TO GO MINNESOTA!

All-in-all, it’s sad that we have had to come to this.  But I do give major kudos to the state for finally doing something to support our natural critters, even if it had to involve money.

The Smithsonianmag.com email that I recently received posted this new report:

Minnesota Will Pay Residents to Grow Bee-Friendly Lawns

It’s part of their “Smart News” series which I love reading.

We try to do as much as we can and promote others to do the same, in all ways natural.  We saw our first Bumble Bee of the season just a week ago.  It was having a hay-day on our Honeysuckle.  I could not get close enough (or get it to slow down enough) to see if it is a “Rusty” or some other species.  I just loved that it chose to visit us.  The stupid boxer, Pig (yes that is his name) dog, spotted it and thought it was worthy of chasing – idiot!  Caught him snapping at it, so I had to chase him off of it.  His is supposed to be a smart breed, yet I constantly catch him doing really stupid stuff?!

bumble bee

I had a wonderful, beautiful wandering thought.  What if everyone in the world grew flowers?  They could be as simple as a single Daisy in a pot, or a rail basket full of marigolds, or a ton all over your yards (kind of like our home – we try to put flowers in everything).  Imagine not only the beauty but the benefits.  Feeding good bugs and birds naturally (FYI: I love it when our Humming Birds come to visit our Honeysuckle).

We also love to use companion planting with as much as we can in our gardens.  When I initially started learning about it, I was amazed at how many ways you can protect and encourage your own little space of land, just by using “buddies” while you do it.  Isn’t it nice to know those good friends work best together in nature, not just in humans?

Happy Gardening!

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THIS IS A FIRST!

When we moved to the farm, we neglected to check out weather patterns.  In the long run, this was a good thing.  It was the first of three years of the worst drought Colorado had seen in 100+ years.  It was the perfect time for us to learn all about water usage (in the right spot at the right time) and conservation.

water conservation

This year we have the complete opposite.  We are mid-June and still very green.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the green (it’s not my Irish roots, but my garden roots), it’s just that this much of it here at this time of year is very odd.

Usually, we get less rain and higher temps about now.  The gardens pop up like gangbusters and bring all the weeds with them.  The biggest benefit of our dryer weather is that it is much easier to keep the weeds semi under control (all gardeners know you cannot completely control weeds – physically impossible).  With all the rains and cooler temps, the weeds are thick and thriving – grrr!

coyote HELP

It’s just been so strange:

  • Green everywhere, even where the farmers are not using their sprinkler systems.
  • Humidity – that is a major “ugly” word out here. It’s supposed to be dry and easier to breathe.
  • Thrown off mowing schedule – this just ticks me off! Normally only mow once a week or even every two weeks.  Now it’s every couple of days – I don’t have that kind of time?!
  • More moisture – not necessarily a bad thing, just not normal. With more moisture comes all the extras we don’t usually have: Mushrooms (not edible and on/in everything), thick prolific weeds, wet everything in the mornings, and humidity – ugh!

Mushrooms in grass

You would think that a kid from Wisconsin would appreciate and be used to “wet” – nope – been in Colorado long enough to know that dry in the morning is helpful for gardeners.  I like to get my mowing done in the early mornings.  It’s better for the grass and, for here, less wind.  It usually means fewer bugs.  Now the bugs and my allergies are running amok.

sneezing   (Thank you, Dave – so true!)

Guess I just need to stop bitching, appreciate the moisture (because it may not be here later), pull up my big-girl-panties, and get my chores done.

Happy Gardening Everyone!!

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PLANT, SKI, OR GOLF? THAT IS THE QUESTION.

Ah yes, spring in Colorado.  Almost June first and you can go golfing and skiing in the same day.  I have only been golfing once.  I did enjoy it, but just don’t have that kind of time.  I have been skiing also, but found it was a great way to break a limb- and I want to keep what I have – thank you.  So, it’s on with the planting.

Our poor plants can’t decide if they should bloom or hide.  We did get a chance to get our corn, root veggies and peas in, but still, have not been able to transplant our pepper and tomato starts.  This year that may be a good thing.  Normal high today is supposed to be 76°F, and today we are only getting to about 55°F.

We had been concentrating on clean up and repairs, but now we must get the rest of our seeds and transplants in or there will not be enough for harvesting this fall.

Stupid dogs have been our main project.  Every time they get out of the front yard, they kill something we want to keep – chickens, cats, birds.  Heaven forbid they actually go after the pests that attack our gardens – prairie dogs, monster gophers from hell, and rabbits (yes I love bunnies but not when they choose my garden over the fields around us.).

We constructed a new pen just for them and thought we had a tall enough fence around it.  Apparently, our Boxer is a fricken athlete.  If he gets a running start at it, he will make it over – shit head!  The other dog must have been a gopher in a previous life because she can build a tunnel under anything in under thirty minutes – dumb ass!  (FYI – new names for the two are Shit Head and Dumb Ass.)

My sister and grandson tried to surprise me by using 2” PVC tubes (stolen from the greenhouse rows) and some orange plastic horse fencing (bought that years ago as an instant trellis for vine veggies) and ran it around the top of the pen.  They had it curving it which was a great idea-sort of.

Between the wind and our athlete dog, it only took about two days to have it all torn down.  So sad they worked so hard on it for me.  I originally had a different idea that I now began to put in place.

My sister had gotten a bunch of free black weed barrier type material from work (they usually throw it out – NOT if you have recycling fanatics around like us!) which was a bonus for the new pen.  I cut 2”x4” boards up to create an inward incline around the top.  I also ran the black cloth around the fence on the areas that faced the barns and tacked it down with the new 2”x4” boards.  Then I ran wire fencing on the top of the boards all around the top.  When I was done my sister took one look at it and said: “It looks like a prison.”  We both bust out laughing because it has come to this with our dogs – jerks!

 (Prison, Prison, dog pen – jerks!)

It’s not done yet, but Shit Head is already tearing the vinyl off the gate – one of the few parts we left a view for them – grr.  Guess I will have to cover that one too.

Once I am SURE the monsters cannot get out and get into anything I will finally get back to my planting (no skiing or golf for this garden gal).

garden gals

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An Ode: Spring In Colorado – Damn!

Once again it is Spring.

Time to do the growing thing.

Last few months were prepping time.

Now is time to plant in line.

Got the plots all ready to go.

Put the seed in sow-sow-sow.

Grab the seedlings carefully.

Fingers getting all muddy.

Dig the holes, place them in.

Time for growing to begin.

So gently we handle the little starts.

Making sure all rows are marked.

Then Mother Nature gives a laugh.

She turns our sunshine into crap.

Warm spring days are quickly gone.

She helps the snow to linger on.

My starters droop, they start to cry.

Tell me Mother, how come? Why?

She smiles at God and starts to giggle.

“Isn’t it fun to make humans wriggle!”

THE END.

*************************************************************************************

Sometimes Mother Nature is a sick mother.

 (I just love the movie Moana – Tafiti is too perfect!)

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Another Fun Year on the Farm – woohoo?

I do believe in God and Angels.  I also believe that he has a very warped sense of humor, and he is in cahoots with Mother Nature.

I like to think that Angels watch over us.  I used to think they helped to protect and guide us, now I think they are more like messengers.  Yes, they are watching us, but they do it just to report back to their boss.  We all know that the best way to get “in good with the Boss” is to make them laugh.  Pretty sure that my Angel is the Bosses Right-Hand-Man providing all the juicy info on me.

gossip gals

All I wished for this year was a boring year – no drama at all.  Nope, apparently, the powers that be decided it gets too dull for them if I’m not going through some type of issues.

It started out with my 10-year old Grandson stealing from me, then lying about it (like Grandma’s are stupid – really?!).  That was then followed up by a Bomb Cyclone – WHAT?  I had never heard of such a thing before, especially not here in Colorado.  Tornado (oh, wait – that was last year) yes, but Cyclone?

Our tools started disappearing?  We keep them specifically in a small shed that we worked very hard last year to turn into our “tool” shop.  First, I thought we had someone sneaking onto our property when we were not home or in the middle of the night.  I also questioned my own mental faculties, thinking I had used and just misplaced them.  I finally found one of my hammers sitting out in the pasture behind the chicken coop.   It was not sitting by anything that needed to be hammered, which could only mean one thing.  I questioned my Grandson, “Did you take out my tools, without asking, and not put them back?”

“OH, NOOO, GRANDMA!” Shot out of his mouth before I could even finish asking – a dead giveaway.

“Then how do we explain this hammer being found in the middle of the field behind the chickens?  You know, right where you have been playing.”

I got that I’m innocent look at first.

It soon turned into the Oh shit, I’ve been caught look.

Which then became the Quick, make up a story to get out of this look.

Yes, I have seen and know them all on him, and he just doesn’t get it.  There are only three of us in the house (unless you count the cat and she refuses to do any kind of work) and if my sister and myself did not do it, there is only one person left.  So, I put a lock on the tool shed.

  • Followed by a lock on the bigger shed.
  • Followed by a lock on the roofless greenhouse because he was sneaking in through there to get into stuff.
  • Followed by locks on all three of the barn doors.

The only thing that is not locked (yet) is the chicken coop.  It’s all stupidly sad because I use some type of tool around here almost daily and I have to unlock everything, get what I need, then lock it all back up again – EVERY SINGLE TIME NOW! Grr!!

multiple locks

Once we mostly had control of our tools again, we took on moving the mutts.  The older/bigger female – Corona – digs holes everywhere.  We only have about 3 plots where flowers once grew that are not completely torn up.  But, worse than her digging is the escape artist – Pig Dog (full name: Weiner Pig because he is one – jerk!).  He has escaped from the fully fenced and latticed front yard more times than I can count.  That’s bad enough, but each time he gets out, something dies.  Usually one of our cats or chickens.  I have tried:

  • 3 different collars
  • 2 different chains
  • Shock Collars
  • The old farmer method of tying a dead animal that he killed to his neck (worked with other farm dogs, but not this monster).

Nothing worked.  Now they have a separated pen of wood, t-posts, lattice, and wire.  He got out again.  So I moved his heavy-duty chain into that special area originally hooked up to the porch rail.  Oops – too close to the gate he slipped out of his collar (again) and was over the gate the minute I turned my back.  Now I am down to the heavy-duty chain, hooked to a separate post, and a choke collar (but hooked through both loops, so he doesn’t choke).  I hate to do it, but nothing else is working.  All the newer dog collars have plastic latches, and he snaps them apart in an instant.

bad dog 1    WHO ME?    bad dog 2

It rained last night and somewhere in the night that big-giant-panzie managed to slip out of the choke collar, open the gate big enough for both dogs to get through, and ended up back in the front yard again.  Now I am down to using the choke collar the way it is meant to be used.  When it warms up this weekend, I will try to get a dark cover on the outside of the whole pen.  My thought is that maybe if he can’t see it, he won’t try to get out after it – wish me luck…PLEASE!!

stupid chicken   Ah, life on a farm is never a dull moment.

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DON’T YOU JUST LOVE “SIMPLE REMINDERS?”

The funny things that come to a person when you get a simple reminder.  A fellow blogger wrote about dandelions, and I suddenly found myself going back to my childhood on the farm.

We had:

  • 80-Acres of land to run on.
kids rolling on hill

(bigger hills please.)

  • A pond and a part of the Milwaukee River to play in.

farm pond

  • Horses, beef cattle, run-amok-rabbits (started as a 4-H project, ended with over 100 of them)

cows n horses together      bunnies

(The horses to cows ratio are pretty close, but the bunnies are way under numbered here.  We had over 100 at one time.  Then they became – freezer meat – I know, how could we?  That’s farm life folks.)

  • Pigs on occasion (those were mostly raised by nearby relatives along with chickens)

pasture farm pigs

(Notice: pasture not cement buildings.)

  • A massive garden.

large garden

(Take this pic and stretch it to about 100-feet long – that was the length of our garden.  Roughly 25 feet wide with a massive strawberry bed on the north end and a huge raspberry patch on the south end.  Appletree to the east, cherry tree to the west and every kind of veggie in the middle – yum!)

  • Fruit bushes and trees.

(We had a great cherry tree in the front yard and a huge raspberry patch.  I used to have a perfect pic of my mom in that raspberry patch.  She had a shoulderless top on and standing in the patch at full season looked naked – LOL!)

  • And a barn that held tons-of-fun things to do.

kids in hay barn

(I found this pic, but it is EXACTLY what we did as kids!  Climb up on beams and jump in – woohoo!)

With all that great stuff, what more could a child ask for?

Happy 1st of May everyone – here’s wishing it’s a fantastic gardening year!

happy gardening cartoon

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BOMB CYCLONE – PART 2 – WHY?

I can’t believe I just heard the guy on the news say that this next storm coming in could be another bomb cyclone – WHAT?

I am a farmer/gardener and as such am constantly watching the weather.  The spring even more so as this is the start of our fooding season (yes I said fooding).  If our spring setup starts off bad, it makes for a very hard growing season the rest of the year.  Today (Tuesday 4/9/19) it is supposed to hit 80°(F) then it drops down by thirty degrees by tomorrow morning.  The day just continues to get worse from there, and the winds are supposed to be wickedly dangerous again. (Hang on to your butts Nebraska!)

Then, in true Colorado style, everything will bounce back beautifully.  I still remember the storms in Wisconsin (where I grew up).  It would start to snow around October (usually about the time we wanted to go trick-or-treating on Halloween), and not give up until sometime in April.

I remember snow drifts so high we would walk up and touch the top of the barn (one-year sledding was a blast!).  I remember building snow tunnels and forts in those drifts.  The outer edge would get a great icy crust on it, but the inside was perfect for digging out.  Those tunnels would usually last most of the winter.

snow tunnels

According to friends and family that still live back there, the last few months were the strongest storms that they had seen in decades.  I even recall them telling me that the last several years were drought years – WISCONSIN – DROUGHT??

WI greenery(Rolling hills, green and lush all the norm.)

Wisconsin is supposed to be hot and humid.  My hair is naturally curly and growing up I looked like Bozo the Clown most of the time.  When we were very young, mom would cut our hair because it was too hard to manage (bowl cut of course – yuck!).

bozo the clown  bowl haircut(like this but curly)

This 80-90 degrees on one day then 24-48 hours later a blizzard never happened in Wisconsin.  Part of moving to and staying in Colorado is just because of the weather.  I will NEVER forget my very first visit driving from Wisconsin with friends and a sister to Denver, then to the western slope.  Things (business wise) went from bad to worse in Wisconsin, so I convince people to take a trip to Colorado.  I had dreamed of seeing the Rocky Mountains and Alaska when I was younger, so I thought – why not? When we got to Denver people were roller skating down the sidewalk in shorts?!  We just left three feet of snow and freaking sub-zero temps.  That is still so clear in my mind, and I am pretty sure the main reason I stayed.

roller skating

The changes in weather are great fun, but rotten for spring planting.

TO PLANT, OR NOT TO PLANT – THAT IS THE QUESTION?

Every year I try hard to get the potatoes and onions in somewhere by the end of March – didn’t happen.  Then I work just as hard to get the corn in by mid-April – not looking good.

We have tons of flowers coming up, buds are getting big on the trees, and we will have flowers on them soon too – eeek!  If we get the freeze they are expecting (The Weather Channel.com – I check it every day, couple times a day on my tech.), then all those flower buds could freeze – meaning no fruit – grr!

I have officially decided to wait on planting, starting or transplanting anything until at least next week Tuesday – April 16th – aptly my birthday.  Wish me luck!  I am even going to take some of my sister’s starters out to the ripped up greenhouse and see what I can do with them – mainly in the protection area.  Without a cover on it, it will be every plant for itself.  I will be using some of our 5-gallon buckets to protect them should we get a deep fluke freeze after next Tuesday.  It could still happen into the early part of May here, but I am optimistic (oh silly me).

Hope you all have an easier planting schedule and a bit more reliable weather pattern than we do.  Maybe when I am old, rich, and retired (instead of so darn beautiful – LOL), I will fully appreciate the fun changes here – who knows?

Old Rich 1

Old Rich 2

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Interesting Tidbit for Today – April 3rd:

I love getting weird things in my email box (yes, I call it a box).  Things like the Smithsonian, Good Ole Days, Farmers Almanac, and even my M-W’s Word of the Day all deliver interesting factoids right to me.  Today I received an interesting thing from Farmers regarding horses – one of my most favorite subjects.

The History of the Pony Express.  I never knew things like the fact that it only ran for 18 months?  I really thought it ran for years and years.  Such a major milestone in our nation’s history and it was only around for a very short time – wild!

So, my post today is very short and sweet – if you want something different to read, check out the article.  There are several facts in there that I never knew.

Enjoy!

pony express pic of horses

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Got My Funk on AGAIN?

I am ready to plant NOW!  There are so many things that must be done before we get to the planting stage that somedays it is just overwhelming.  The tornado late last summer started the refurbishing.  Then the bomb cyclone last week and now our continued winds-from-hell add to the projects:

  • Pinback the hair (even with the best of pony-tail holders, it won’t last more than five minutes before something breaks loose and inevitably ends up whipping in my eyes.).

wild hair

  • Dress in layers (cold now, hot in an hour, then cold again later).
  • Put bricks in the bottom of the trash can so it won’t fall over and dump everything to blow around just to be picked up again.
  • Keep several bags in the bottom of the trash can because trying to open one in this wind just won’t work (I think one should be at my friend’s place in Kansas by now).
  • DON’T BURN WEEDS YET – but pile them up and make sure to throw bricks and huge, heavy logs on top of them to keep them together (ya, like that works? In this wind I will be continually picking up tumbleweeds – grr!)

tumbleweeds

  • WATCH THE WEATHER CHANNELS LIKE A HAWK – not for the storms, but for the winds. We were supposed to be mild today (Wednesday 3/20) at which point I could have burned some of the mess down.  But nooo – now we are not going to mellow down to the burning stage for at least the next 10 days.   May have to have the fire department on standby for the next burning as the pile is getting huge!

Then there are all the “other” projects we want/need to get done:

  1. New dog pen. This has to be first because we cannot go another year with them in the front yard.  They are destroying everything, and the damn Boxer (his name is Pig, and it fits) won’t stay in.  The next phase on the new space for them will be an electric fence.  Yes, I am serious!  He has killed 3 cats and five chickens, and that was all just for fun – JERK!  Bad enough we have foxes and coyotes here, now we have to watch our own monster.  Too bad he is so fun to watch normally – quite the character.

BB pig dog (yes, this was him but two years ago – notice that his foot is holding down a stuffed pig doll)

  1. We have new fruit trees that are supposed to come in next week. We have plotted out where/how we want them, but can’t do anything until they are here.  So that will be a drop-everything project when they come.
  2. Our seedling veggies are getting way too big already and must be moved somewhere soon. We want to put them in the greenhouse area again – but it’s not ready either.  We are looking at some new covering, and if we select it, we need to get to all the rungs for hanging.  If the plants get too big too soon, won’t be able to get the scaffolding around/over them.  (I could pretend I am Tarzan and swing around the rungs – but I wouldn’t want to embarrass others my age by doing it – ya, sure!?!)

Best Tarzan (my fav Tarzan!)

There are many MANY  more things that are swirling around in my head that need to be started.  Guess I will just have to chalk it all up to spring fever, although I don’t think that ever-mounting chores are what they had in mind when they created that phrase.

One last tidbit to share:  If you read last weeks post you know I love gardening until it’s dark then watching the stars – but – there a real thing that I also love which is gardening by the moon.  Well, my buds at Farmer’s Almanac have sent a new article via email that gets into better detail:

WHY DO WE GARDEN BY THE MOON  by Jaime McLeod

garden by moon phases

If you want some fun and interesting reading, check it out.  They share the best time to do certain gardening steps by following moon phases.  Enjoy!

garden by moon 1

 

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