I’m Mad As Hell, And I’m Not Gonna Take It Anymore!

We are so tired of theft we could just scream!  It is not because of virus issues; it is something that has been building up over multitudes of years.

I am not talking about money – I am talking about our critters.

Two more of our hens were killed in the last two nights.  It took me until today to figure out how the monster(s) is getting in.  The white hen disappeared, leaving just feathers – the first clue of the perpetrator.  This morning it was our red Hennie, and I found her gutted under some sheet metal in the back corner of the chicken barn.

We have gone through great lengths to make sure our chickens are safe from the monsters in the night.  It had been working reasonably well for the last year or so.  Apparently, they have created a new gap in a far corner that I would not have found had it not been for the corpse.

We try very hard to follow the live-and-let-live motto.  However, when we are down (sorry – were down) to only four birds, it’s just wrong for the beasties to attack them.  We have prairie dogs, rabbits, mice, and various other critters very near our barn on which they could have feasted.  That would not have bothered me at all.

So, today, to try to bring our thief to justice, we are sharing photos in hopes that someone will spot this thug (and its gang) and put an end to our injustice!  Here is the criminal:

Don’t be fooled by that innocent, cute look on its face – it is a natural-born killer!  You might even find it hanging around with this murdering mob:

coyotes

(Ragged bunch of gangsters if ever I saw one.)

If you happen into their local watering hole, you may find them with the lesser thieves who only nab eggs and babies:

Notice that one even wears a mask to try to hide its identity – but I know who it is.

Please, keep an eye out for these dangerous killers and help to bring them to justice.  In the meantime, we will be having a memorial this Friday to morn the loss of our dear Hennies (beers and Yahtzee will be provided – HOWEVER no more than one at a time in the porch please.).

Stay Safe!

(Yes, I did get stilly in here, and we did lose two chickens, but it is live and let live for us, so we will forge onward with humor wherever I can find or provide it.  My wish is that I put a little smile on your face for just a moment today.)

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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DO YOU LOVE YOUR BUGS?

No, this has nothing to do with the virus.  Today, I am back to talking about chemical-free gardening stuff.  We are officially into the spring season, which for us means prepping, planting, and planning.

Our home has started this season as it should:

  • Flies and spiders sneaking into the house.
  • Little bunnies hopping all over to test our predator defenses.
  • Rhubarb, tulips, iris, and several other things, popping out of the ground.
  • Like every year – we have the Odd Thomas poking up out of the ground. Later it will be determined friend or foe and dealt with accordingly.

baby bunny

These are the standard spring bits of proof.  Then we have the oddballs:

  • I spotted my old nemesis – A WASP (Yellow Jacket) – grr!
  • A skunk has already invaded our chicken barn for the barn cat food, pee-u.
  • What would spring be without Miller moths (stay out of my hair!). It just seems a bit too early for them, but they are here.

skunk

We cut the cord a couple of years ago, so I rely heavily on the internet for my valuable data.  My email box receives tons of information – daily – that I have specifically requested (vs. T.V. which bombards with junk I did not ever want to see).  One such request is from my Joe Gardener.com, which originated on our local PBS channel while we still had satellite T.V.  His name is Joe Lamp’l, and he is just full of excellent gardening stuff.  The best part of his shows is the guests.  If he doesn’t know a lot about a specific subject, he is not afraid to go to a guest source for the nuts-and-bolts of the issue.  This email was about the Monarch Butterfly (one of my favorite good bugs – also endangered species.).

Several years ago, we were lucky to be witness to a Monarch migration.  They came in the hundreds and landed on our trees, bushes, fences, house – you name it, they were on it.  IT WAS OUTSTANDING!  They did not stay long, but we felt gifted that they chose our little piece of heaven to stop for a rest.

That one-time massive visit threw me into a frenzy to find out more about them and ways to help them survive.  I was not the only one that was enthralled by them.  Dr. Agrawal is a professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Department of Entomology at Cornell University, was one of his guests, and spent time learning all he can about the Monarch.

This recent post by Joe shares a ton of great information, and EVERY gardener should learn.  It doesn’t matter if you grow for beauty, for food, or both; you need to learn to save our nature’s helpers.

147-Monarchs and Milkweed: A Precarious Struggle Between Life and Death

MARCH 12, 2020 | GROWPODCAST

(Please feel free to join me in the Monarch Watch group to help monitor the migration and population.)

The big thing that caught my eye was “monarchs and milkweed,” of which I had forgotten how much the two are connected.

milkweed and monarch

A couple of years ago, a milkweed plant sprouted in our front yard – all on its own.  I took that as a sign and saved the pods.  Remembering back to my childhood, we used to love popping the pods and watching the feathery seeds fly everywhere (F.Y.I. Dad hated it when we did that because they are a weed, and as such, he did not want them in his food fields.  Nothing worse than having to walk a field and handpick weeds – wait – picking rock was worse.).

The milkweed is crucial to Monarch survival.  Knowing this, I cherished the newbies on our property and encouraged them to continue.  We do have hay and corn farmers around us, not for human food but animal food.  We also have bees and a Beekeeper, that has our blessing to use our place as needed to allocate his 600+ colonies of honeybees every year.  The bees love the milkweed just as much as the Monarch, but for a different reason.  The article goes on to explain this in more detail was some fantastic pictures.  I hope that all of you read his article – gardener or not.

HAPPY SPRING – HAPPY GARDENING!

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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MASHED POTATOES DO NOT STICK.

A dear friend reminded me of how much fun doing housework can be.  The following story is true from my past days growing up on the farm.

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Our father was way too trusting.  He believed that when he told his young daughters to do something simple like clean up the kitchen after dinner would be done without any issues.  Wrong!

Dad loved to cook but hated to clean.  This was fantastic for mom as she was just the opposite.  With parents that handled these specific chores in such a manner, what were two mischievous daughters to do?

  • Put leftover foods away.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Clean up the area.

Simple right?  Nope.  My sister and I are, even to this day, well known for never doing the simple ways.  We usually do things in a round-about way or come up with a better way a couple of years after-the-fact.  Cleaning up was perhaps where this whole issue started.

We had a very fun childhood, and our parents encouraged us every step of the way.  This was maybe not such a good idea.  Dad made dinner, which consisted of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  Our father came from a big family, so he consistently made too much for us to eat in one sitting.  When he very innocently to clean up the kitchen, I don’t think he was even close to being prepared for our idea of “clean up.”

It all started out the right way, put the extra food into containers (Mom was very proud of her Tupperware) then put it into the fridge.  Fill up the sinks with dishwater on one side and clean rinse water on the other.  Put the dirty dishes (after emptying them) into the dishwater.  One daughter washes and rinses, the other dries and puts the dishes away.  Once again, very simple, right?

The whole concept came to a screeching halt when my younger sister decided that mashed potatoes were a lot like clay or playdough (we had lots of arts and crafts stuff – mom’s idea to turn us into creative wizzes).  Yep – it molded into a ball beautifully when cupped in 7-year old hands.

ball mashed potatoes

It was only a matter of time before we were tossing it back and forth like you would with a ball in a game of catch.  Our game of catch turned into dodge ball.  I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somehow one of our throws ended up on the ceiling. – WOW – MASHED POTATOES STICK TO THE CEILING!

We got so squirrely excited and made the mistake of giggling.  Dad finally noticed our noises and called out from the living room (his after-dinner routine: Nightly news from his comfy recliner.),

“What are you two doing?”

To which we so innocently replied: “Nothing.”  We calmed down, and he did not bother to come to check on us.  Awesome!

LET THE STICKING BEGIN.

  1. Scoop up a nice hand full of mashed potatoes.
  2. Roll them around in your hands until they form a smooth tight consistency.
  3. Locate an easy-to-fling spot on the floor with a clear aim to the ceiling.
  4. Squat down a bit with your hand holding the potato ball hanging between your knees.
  5. Tighten your shoulder and flex your arm muscles to get an intense action.
  6. Then let-er-go!

OUTSTANDING!  The balls of mashed potatoes stuck on the ceiling.  The downside – not for very long.  We found that when we flung them up there, they would stick, but due to the butter used in making them, they slowly eeked loose from the ceiling and fell to the floor.  Then the next game became trying to catch them when they fall.

After about an hour of this (personally, I just think the news was over and he finally really heard us), dad decided to get up and see just what we were up to.

We were having so much fun that we never noticed just how many mashed potato balls were on the ceiling or floor, nor did we have any dishes done.  On our behalf, the food was all put away (except the game ball goo), and the kitchen was clean – for the most part.

Dad stepped through the arch and into the kitchen just in time to see us both throwing up our next ball.  He screeched out a: “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?”, making both of us jump to attention and immediately stop laughing.

He proceeded to reprimand us and give us follow-up instructions to get things back in order.  We heard none of it.  We both caught the fact that there was a stuck ball on the ceiling just above his head, slowly preparing to fall.  All we could do was stare at his face.  I am sure he thought we were finally being good little girls and listening close to follow his every command.  Nope, we were just waiting – quietly.

Then it happened.

The mashed potato ball above his head finally lost its grip and flopped right on top of his head.

ball to the head

It should be noted that our father was a stellar father.  He never raised a hand to his children (that was mom’s job, and she was delighted to be the Executioner) and that in most circumstances, he acted more like a kid than we did.  This, at first, was not one of those times.  He never saw it coming even though he did see dozens of residual oil spots on the ceiling.  It never dawned on him to look up before standing in a place.

We poor well-behaved children could not hold back any longer.  The laughter exploded from us to the point of rolling around on the floor and holding tight to our little tummies that ached with laughter muscle overload.

ball laughter

Initially, dad was furious (you could see it in his eyes) but, either it was the fact that it caught him by surprise, or seeing us rolling on the floor in explosions of laughter, he also could not hold back his funny bone anymore.  He burst out in laughter along with us.

Once we all calmed down a bit, he made sure we finished cleaning the rest of the kitchen up.  The unfortunate mashed potatoes that had brought so much joy were dispensed to the critter bucket (all foods that we did not reuse were given to the critters unless it was compostable.  The compostable foods went into the garden.) never to be flung again.  So sad.

I don’t know how he did it, but after we went to bed, he managed to get all the greasy ball marks off the ceiling before mom got home.  If he had not told her about our escapades, she would have never known.  Personally, I think he was so proud of our ingenuity, that he was just bursting to tell someone.  Mom just happened to be the first person he met.

Now that I have shared one of our most favored family memories feel free to try it with our own children.  The world is full of scary stuff – why not throw in a few mashed potatoes.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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Cutting the Cord is Fun and Funny.

Those of you that do not know, “Cutting the Cord” is the term for getting rid of expensive cable T.V.  We did this a little over two years ago now and love every minute of it.

We spend our days mainly doing farm work, gardening, and crafting (for my sister is it baking more than crafting – that is where her O.C.D. stems), so when it comes to watching T.V., we don’t need a ton of junk we don’t watch.  The cost for all that junk just kept going up and up every year, and we said enough!

I decided to bring up this little post today because I happen to be watching one of my favorite movies:

OUTBREAK:     Outbreak

The next one I am watching is:

BIRD BOX:      Bird Box

Instead of cable (and it’s huge bill), we have freebies – Pluto and Tubi – and we decided to buy into Netflix (only $12.99 per month, we can live with that).  We bought into Amazon Prime ages ago for good shipping and deals (we do love to shop online), and as of last year, we have some great things to watch on there too.  We missed our British channels/shows, so we do spend $5.99 per month extra through Prime to watch what they call “Britbox.” This has all kinds of different T.V. series and movies you could normally (sometimes) catch on PBS or specials.  This last month we added Boomerang (also through Prime) for an extra $7.47 per month.  Now we are actually paying to watch what we want to watch without all the extra B.S. that we never watch.

The interesting thing I am trying to get to here is that the freebie channels load what they choose.  I am sure there is some method to their madness, but I have no clue what that may be.  I did find it funny that, with all the hype about the Coronavirus going around, Pluto chooses to feature the movie Outbreak.

I know that the Coronavirus is serious, but when is any type of flu not serious?  Every year we seem to go through some kind of major something – cold – flu – airborne something.  Maybe, it is because I am older and have been through a lot in my life, but I don’t panic on any of this anymore.  Every year we take the same precautions:

  • Get shots if available (my sister does, I do not because I had always gotten sicker when I did)
  • Wash hands constantly. This is just a standard procedure for us anymore.
  • We can’t afford to travel abroad, so then we just watch out for friends/family that do.
  • Knowledge is power – this is my biggie! The more we know about anything, the better prepared we are to handle it.

We don’t consider ourselves preppers, but we like to be prepared.  I don’t believe that you should ignore the required shots that our ancestors lived and died to develop for our protection and the protection of our young (hello California – mumps??  That had died out when I was a kid in the 1960s.).

Meales 1    Measles 2 (Measles)

Bird flu, swine flu, Asian Flu – hell, why not just call it “flu” because they are all the same basic stuff.  Yes, we need to know and understand where they originate so we can work to fight them, but they will always be a part of human life.  The grand delusions created in things like Star-Trek are wonderful, but so not in our cards (at least not for centuries yet.).

star trek shots

There will always be something, always be those to help fight it, sometimes a cure will be found, sometimes not.  I choose not to hide under a rock, and I choose to live my life as fully as possible.  I will continue to:

  • Garden
  • Craft
  • Knit and Crochet
  • Read
  • Write
  • Play
  • Sing
  • Paint and Draw
  • Above all, Live and Laugh.

I know that some people will watch Outbreak or Birdbox and freak out.  That is sad because they are just movies.  I think we would be closer to The Day After Tomorrow if anything were to change.  Once again, that is just my opinion.

So, in the meantime, I will continue to do the things that I enjoy.  I will continue to help those that I can.  I will continue to laugh, as often and as much, as possible.  Maybe it is just because I Partied like it’s 1999 – in 1999.  (Wow, what that a great New Year’s Eve party!)

party 1999 1   party 1999 2

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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I COME FROM A FAMILY OF BULLHEADS.

No, I am not talking about the fish (although they are one of my favs when they are in-season).  I am talking about being stubborn.  Stubborn to the point of sinking your heels into the dirt, and not giving up till hell freezes over.

bullhead fish

We finally had a couple of days of true February weather – but not enough.  This has brought out my bullhead side.  I am determined to have good gardens this year (not great, just good, and I will be happy) no matter what life throws at us.

I have given myself three main goals for this year:

  1. Continue to take my online learning classes and write more (and better, I hope).
  2. Get the gardens all back in order again.
  3. BE HAPPY.

I have a passion for a lot of things, crafting, writing, gardening, to name a few, but do not feel as if I am a professional at any one thing.  I hope that by the end of this year, I will feel like a pro at least one of my passions.

OCD crafting

The gardens have been a mess since the year of the fire (2014).  When the fire happened, I also had a severe infection in my left-hand index finger (from a cut on the job), which became Mersa.  In the course of taking care of the finger, my Surgeon discovered I have severe osteoarthritis (why is it never just “1” thing with me?).  The gardens got neglected because of all that mess, and my depression (yep that has been severe since the fire also) just took over and made me feel defeated before I even began on all our gardens.  Well, baby, my bullhead is back and in full force!

The last of my three is be happy, which has seemed to elude me.  I have moments of happiness, it’s just not been an on-going feeling of joy until now.  Not sure what has changed (except my new moon according to my Astrological sign), but I am feeling more empowered.  This is a great thing for me because it has been sorely missed over that last five years.

So, gardens beware!  I am on my bullheadedness (is this a word?) and plan on using it – grr!

HAPPY GARDENING!

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FYI:  One of the Bloggers I follow is called Better Hens & Gardens, and they have been kind enough to post an easy-to-understand article about the difference between seed types (Heirloom vs. GMO vs. GE, etc.), and I found it a great read to share – she here it is if you would like clear-cut information:

GARDEN SEEDS – GE, GMO, HEIRLOOM – WHAT’S IT MEAN?

I hope that if you are planning a garden this year for feeding your family, you will take a moment and read their helpful information.

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COLORADO WINDS SONG – humor.

PLEASE READ TO THE TUNE OF CAMP TOWN RACERS – DO DAH.

Colorado has some winds, do dah, do dah.

Never can tell just what’s comin in, oh da do da, do day.

Gonna blow all night.

Gonna blow all day.

One of these days it’ll take us away, oh da do da day.

Half the barn roof blew away, do dah, do da.

Flying birds can’t seem to stay, oh da do da, day.

Roofing gone at night.

Shingles gone at day.

Farm truck up and floats away, oh da do da day.

Coldest ones blow in a freeze, do dah, do dah.

Hottest won’t at a hundred degrees, oh da do da, day.

Ice is on my face.

Sweat is in my eyes.

Our chickens live in Kansas now. Oh, da do da day.

cow in twister windy lady

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Cattle Guards and the Current Administration

you HAVE to take a moment and read this one, especially if you now or ever have raised cattle – LMAO!!!

Life on the Massanutten

With all of the secret assassinations, meetings that may or may not have been held, and misinformation disseminated, this could have happened a month or two ago or maybe a little longer or possibly sooner. But first, a little explanation may be in order.

If you have never traveled to the west, or southwest, you may have never seen a cattle guard, much less know what one is. Cattle guards are generally horizontal steel rails spaced a few inches apart, that are placed at fence openings, in dug-out places in the road beds adjacent to highways (sometimes across highways in free range areas), ranch roads/driveways, etc. to prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason the cattle will not step on the “guards”, possibly because they fear getting their hooves (feet) caught between the rails. – End of short explanation. –

Donald Trump had received and was making…

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Where Have All My Birds Gone?

We received a really great bird feeder from my sister and her husband just before she passed away in 2018.  The ends sat empty until last Christmas.  I began placing hardened, spoiled, or just unwanted bread pieces in those ends.  My feathered friends went crazy over the bread bits.  It seems they love that even more than birdseed (which is in the center of the feeder).

our-bird-feeder-w-bread.jpg

I find great enjoyment in watching them messing around with the feeders.  Fighting over who gets what first.  Scrambling to catch the snippets that fall to the ground.  I have even noticed them watching me, watching them.  One little beauty even tried to come to me through the kitchen window one day (darted at me as if to come and visit several times before realizing there was glass between us.

I never cared for birds in cages (even at the zoo), they just do not seem happy in there to me.  But I do love watching them in the wild.  On an average day here on the plains of Colorado, I can view a variety of birds doing all kinds of things:

  • Hawks catching snakes and prairie dogs
  • Owls catching rabbits, and
  • All my little buddies in the front yard looking for food, water, or just playing around.

The only time I remember not seeing any birds is when it is a bad storm.  It makes sense as they would be seeking shelter just as we do.  However, today is a day with NO BIRDS and it is freaking me out.

ABSOLUTELY NO BIRDS – NO SONGS – NO SOUNDS – NOTHING?

This has never happened before.  Usually, they are in our front yard, back yard, near the barns looking for left-over scraps from the chickens, or down in the hollow making tons of noise.  Every day I spot at least one hawk circling around or at least testing their wings in the blowing winds.  Today is very quiet and calm outside and personally, I find it very unsettling.

My birds let me know how things are doing on an “earthly” level.  They and animals can sense changes in our environment, unlike we oblivious humans.  I would love to have their sense of changes in the earth, sky, seas, or any earthly shifts.  Since we humans do not have this amazing sense, I watch the critters constantly to try to judge what’s going on around me.  A day with no birds is scary, to say the least.  Today (date of posting this 1/9/20) is actually day-2 of no birds and it is starting to really creep me out!

I checked the weather channel and know that we have a storm coming in, but it is not even supposed to start until about 11:00 p.m. tonight – so where are they and why?

I guess I am just going to have to wing it (pun intended – sorry) and try to watch for other local signs of what’s up.  Please let me know (if you have a moment) where you live and how your birds are doing.  This really has me spooked.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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ALL RIGHT, What Are You Trying To Tell Me?

Apparently, I am going to have to have a talk with my house critters AGAIN!  I don’t know if it is because I am a farm girl, because I love critters, or because I instinctively watch nature, but something is trying to tell me something.

This time every year we get critters in the house:

  • Ladybugs
  • Spiders
  • Mice
  • An occasional snake (yep – actually the cat brought it in, but it was just a baby snake – eek!)

We know the routine of the mice (have not found their entry point yet – grr!), and traps work perfectly according to the barn cats (they get the snapped goodies).

cat w mouse

Ladybugs only come in every few years, and they usually bunch in the corner of the ceiling.  The weird part is they disappear after about a month, and not a single body is found anywhere in the house??  By the time they disappear, it is very cold and/or snowy outside, so I am sure they do not go back out – so where is their “panic” room? The issue this year is my spiders.

Now I really thought my spiders and I had a pretty good understanding:

“Stay on the ceiling, up out of reach, and you live.  Get down to my feet, and you die.”

Simple, easy to understand, a beneficial agreement that has been adhered to for almost a decade now.  At least that was until about October of this year.  I have been killing (just by stepping on) at least five spiders per week since about the first of October.  WHAT THE HECK??  They are in our home year-round but understand that their place is on the ceiling and up in the skylight.  Why are they all down at my feet?  Do they all have a death wish now?

Most of the above pics are small spiders.  The Garden (Orb – the one with the yellow stripe legs) spider is bigger and usually hangs out in the barn or greenhouse, basically an outside critter just like the Crab spider (the one with the pointy back that looks like a shell).  The other three, along with the Daddy Long Legs are found in our home.

I started this post in early October.  It is now the 20th of November, and I have still been finding at least 3-5 per week down at my level for a death sentence.  This one I almost stepped on BARE FOOTED this morning heading to the bathroom:

wind spider 11-20-19 (the front mandibles are barely visible but look for the darker brown tips to see how long they are)

I can’t stand these guys!  They are not native to Colorado and do not like the cold (it will die in the cold or, as I found, in too much water).  They are called Wind Scorpion Spiders, and we have been told that they most likely came in on military gear coming back from a very dry desert climate.  THEY DO NOT BITE HUMANS, which was the first thing we had looked into.  Never-the-less I just can’t stand looking at them.  This one is normal size – about the size of a half-dollar (that’s with leg and mandible reach).  I even prefer the garden spider to this thing, maybe because it does not look like a spider to me. (Got to tell you I am creeping myself out right now – yuck!!)

I have seen a Wolf spider too up-close and personal for my liking, so I know about them.  Black Widows were in the pine bushes in my home in Denver, so I know what they look like and where to watch for them.  I was bitten by a Brown Recluse, so I am extremely wary of them.  But none of those freak me out like the Wind Scorpion – not sure exactly why?

The simple fact is that too many spiders have shown up not just in the house, but specifically downstairs (my turf) and at my stomping level.  This is not the norm and not in our agreement!  I am pretty sure they are all trying to tell me something about the environment, but my spider-eeze is not working very well this year.

So, for now, I will continue my daily discussions with the general household insect staff about the house rules and how to avoid death.  I hope that they will all just settle down in the fact that I do not have their natural instincts regarding the ecosystem, I cannot speak their language, and I will have to deal with whatever good Ole Mom Nature decides to throw at us.  Wish me luck!

nice mom nature         grumpy me

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IF IT ISN’T ONE THING, IT’S ANOTHER?

Just an FYI – this one is going to be silly. One of the reasons for the question mark after the title. Not sure which direction I took on this post. Hang on to your butts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
betty davis(I don’t have many idols, but she is one of mine.)

It started with the storms the other night and just kept me up thinking. I couldn’t turn off my head because there is so much that still needs to be done. Here is how it goes:
The fishpond pump blew (ok, take a few seconds and try to say that 5-times fast without falling into the word “plumb”). It was a couple of months ago, and it’s ok because we all know that nothing lasts forever. However, I was trying to save a few pennies and thought the one-size-smaller pump would work just fine for our fishes. Oh, stupid me! Yes, it works, but we now have to clean our all the filters at least once a week – grr. The old pump was strong enough that I just needed to shake off the outer filter bag to get all the dead leaves and slime off. Then just wrap it back up and drop it back in the water. Wait another month or two, and do it again. Save a penny, screw yourself out of time. In this case a penny saved is not a penny earned. It is hours lost (idiot move #1)
The greenhouse still looks like crap.

9-8 gr overgrn
It’s been over a year since the tornado ripped it up and we still have not decided on a roof cover. NO-it was not insured because no company would carry it just for the cover. They all said: “our winds and hail are too often out here to balance out the risk.” WHAT A CROCK!?! Isn’t that the whole point of insurance? Now I am also trying to find room in our budget stash (isn’t that a special word – stash – like there is such a thing?) the amount of a monthly insurance premium away for the next ugly storm. The cover decision has its ups-and-downs too:

  •  Go with our old-standby 6-mil or try to find something heavier?
    • If it is heavier, how will the plants react to it – less sunlight?
    •  Do the double, bubble 6-mil again or only a single layer.
    • Will that hold up as well as the bubble and what about tears?
    • The bubble worked on bouncing off most hailstones, would a single do that?
  •  Then I found some new stuff called “Solex” which is a flexible form of the harder end plastics we have on north and south sides. The current stuff does not bend, and cutting it is ugly. This new stuff comes on rolls. We would have to use scaffolding and ladders to lay the tracks for it over the top of each rib (oh, and my fear of heights works great at level).
    • It is heavier than the 6-mil, but how would it react to hailstones?
    • Worse, how will it react to the winds?
    • Will the thin tracks be strong enough to hold them in place?
    • There is no way to screw down the tracks along the top, so how can we be sure there will not be loose gaps that our winds will grab and rip the plastic off?
    • Yes, it would be nice to have to replace a section instead of the whole thing, but are the tracks sturdy enough for possible multiple switching’s.
  • This year without the constant monitoring and cooling, the weeds have gotten out of control. Oh, and let’s not forget the grasshoppers-from-hell that go along with more weeds (#1 on my top-ten hit list). I planted potatoes in there somewhere this last spring. Pretty sure they have been wiped out by the weed monsters. Either that or some have grown legs and eyes and are going to attack me in my sleep for neglecting them – eeek! (Ooo, great new “B” movie story: Attack of the Killer Potatoes – the “eyes” have it.)

Then we move on to the evil chickens. I thought (there I go thinking again – idiot!) since the two new back yard plots were empty, start some fall crops in there. Maybe we could get a bit of luck and at least have root veggies. I used my seed back from the spring and dumped the rest of the parsnips, carrots, beets, cabbage, lettuce, and broccoli seeds into the plots. Then, just for grins-and-giggles, I threw in some Roma tomato seeds on the west end and heirloom cucs on the east. My goal there was to put of wire trellis if they started to sprout.


I put everything in, weeded and watered as needed and hoped for the best. I forgot about the evil chickens. They have the WHOLE yard/farm to dig around in and where did they choose to go? Yep, my newly seeded plots. Granted, I was stupid and didn’t put a fence up around the plots first (another thing on my to-do-first list), but I foolishly believed that since we have piles of decomposing wood chips (filled with significant bugs now I assure you) that would be dinner of choice for the evil birds. We are only down to four now (thank you predators), so I encourage them to eat as naturally as possible. I never meant for them to pick my pretty plots (fewer bugs mind you) over the delectables in the compost piles – JERKS!


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