WHAT’S HAPPENED TO EVERYONE?

First: Anyone that tries to tell me that the moon has no connection to our mental and emotional state should be shut down instantly! I firmly believe that it does effect us! Don’t you?
My recent Farmers Almanac update had an article titled: February’s Full Snow Moon. This happened on Monday of this week (2/22/16). It is supposed to be, traditionally, the coldest day of the year. Well, normally here in Colorado I would say “yes, that’s us” – but not this year. It was cooler than it has been, but not our norm by a long shot! We are even supposed to get up to the 70’s again this Saturday – way too freaky!
My bigger concern today is not about the temperature outside, but the mental and emotional attitudes inside. All the blogs I opened up this morning were either sad, angry or depressing. So I think it is the moon’s fault!
Well, here is what I have seen since the “snow moon” started its cycle:

  • Guinea races around the house (Top “spring fever” activity – too funny to watch! One day I have to get a pic of their spinning.)

running guineas

  • Chickens rolling in the dirt like they usually do in spring (One of our other fun “spring fever” activities, cuz they are also fun to watch doing it. We know it is to get rid of bugs, but they look like they are luvin every minute of it!)

dusting chickens in dirt

  • Male cats strutting after the trampy female cats (then again, this goes on almost year around – lol)

cats in love

  • Wild birds flying around all Twitter painted (love that phrase from Bambi)

twiter painted

  • And don’t get me started on our wild rabbits (doing what rabbits do so well!) – the biggest difference this week is their noses must be ultra-sensitive. Every time I saw one get poked in the nose, it did a type of twisty jump then ran away and back all squirrely.

bouncin bunnies

Not sure why all the humans are getting so testy unless their inner caveman is being suppressed too much?

cavemen

Maybe too many just don’t realize they are doing it? Sorry guys but my goal this year is to “don’t worry, be HAPPY” so that is my plan! Gonna try to lighten the load on some of you with this bit of blogging, hope it works!?

goofy smile face
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LOOKIE WHAT I FOUND IN THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY!

We never clean up our leaves at the end of fall. They keep all of our flower beds, trees, and bushes nice and cozy until spring and add some great nutrients. Well, since it has been so abnormally warm out, we decided to start spring cleaning early.

The patio is always the first because it is where we do our resting and relaxing time. It took us 6 years to lay all the free brick (all we had to do was fetch it, clean it and place it)! We also didn’t follow normal patio ideas. We decided to go with the flow of the landscape instead of level it all off flat.

It turned out marvelous, however this year’s storms left us with an abundance of leaves and they were mashed down really well over everything.  Well, when spring cleaning hits, it’s time to find all the planting beds again. The whole front yard was still full of left-overs. The dill stalks, small bushes, and end-of-season flower left-overs all collect up the blown, mushy leaves. This made it hard to tell a plot from a brick.

The majority of the patio was easily picked up and swept. The area around the pond is a very different story. I got down on hand and knees (not easy to do after having both knees replaced – ouch) and worked my way slowly across the area. There are several smaller plots, as well as a couple of large ones.

So, it’s about 60 degrees, the sun is on me, I decided that sitting on the brick was easier than kneeling, and I was singing a song ( “If I had a million dollars” by the Barenaked Ladies – for those of you wondering) and working away. My method requires a small hand/whisk broom, gloves, a good pliers and my handy-dandy weed between the bricks tool (it’s like a razor or knife, but “L” shaped with a handle for easy manipulation). I was using my hand and broom to push back debris, then pile the excess to be shipped off to burn. Carefully checking each plot to make sure I left a heavy mulch layer, just because our nights still drop below freezing. Singing and working and lifted back a big pile of leaves and this is what I found:

DSC_0002 (1)

The tall spout is up about 2 inches! I was shocked! This normally does not happen until about the end of March (in a good year) or sometime in April – but here it is the middle of February!

I cleared out a bit in another nearby plot and discovered tulip sprouts – up about 1inch. What is going on?

The Boxelder bugs (or beetles) have been all over the south end of the house for the last 2 weeks. Not just one or two, but dozens:

Boxelderbugs

From what I have seen and know of these bugs, the only thing they seem to invade are our Elms. They are supposed to prefer Maple and Ash, neither of which is on our property – AND – they are not supposed to be out yet! When they are out, they prefer the sunny south side of our home. Occasionally I will find one or two inside the house, but that is very rare. Maybe because we encourage our spiders – LOL!

funny spider

We have a new skylight in our kitchen and all forms of critters love it – especially the spiders “It’s dinner time, chomp, chomp, chomp!” And we do not have to cook for them – woo hoo!

I know it’s been a wicked and wild winter again, but this is getting down right freakie-deekie! Always makes me a bit worried about what summer will bring – snow? LOL

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MY 2ND – WHATS UP WITH THIS?

The sun rises. The curtains are drawn. The damage – Act I Scene I:

windy night 2-19-16-1

The wind shows its ugly face again!

creapy face

This time, it was wicked enough to take out my grandson’s playset and part of our fence in the front yard.

windy night 2-19-16-2 (2)

The fence I can put up by myself fairly easily, but this playset is another story. The sucker’s heavy!

So the first part of this “fun” weekend will be spent on cleaning and fix up. The Wind and its might are not uncommon here in northeastern Colorado, but ones this strong do not normally happen until the heat of summer – very odd indeed!

So, trying to keep in the lighthearted humor mindset, here is my children’s rhyme to the wind (sing to Rain, Rain go away):

Wind, wind blow away,

Come back on a 90’s day! (Oh it won’t do that cuz it would be helpful then – ha ha)

Wind, wind blow away,

Cuz I want my fence to stay! (ya, sure – pretty sure it’s using our fence for target practice!)

Wind, wind blow away,

Let my grandson go to play! (When it’s warm outside, he should be on his playset!)

Wonder if it is listening to me? Maybe you all can help and chant this when it comes to your area. Who knows, maybe we can all chant and send up enough hot air to counter its mean effect! It’s a though?!?

stick kids playing

 
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FEBRUARY 17, 2016 – WHAT IS THIS?

Ok, now I am officially shocked, and a bit worried! Only a short 10 days ago:

  • 3-6foot snow drifts (the middle horizontal bar in our greenhouse is up about 10 feet; just to explain how high a lot of the drifts were.)

blizzard 2-3-16-2 (2)

  • Minus single digit weather at night (we have a heater in our fish pond so it doesn’t freeze – 2 huge fish in there!)

frozen pond 2-3-16

 

  • Wind gusts more than 50mph (I can always tell how bad the wind is by how much of the road you can see – AFTER – the plow as gone by!)

snowplow 2016

Then this week:

  • Only specks of any snow remain

barely snow left 2-17-16

  • 65°F today and expecting 70+°F tomorrow – February 18, 2016

green grass 2-17-16

  • Grass and flowers are starting to show up

paperwhites 2-17-16

 

 

 

 

 

And my Christmas Cactus is flowering?

20160217_072923 (2)

WWWWHHHHAAAATTTT????

This has got to be the freakiest winter I have ever seen – here or in Wisconsin! Colorado can have 60’s in January, and it’s not unusual. But to get this warm in February – now that’s down right abby-normal (I love Young Frankenstein!)! Not sure if I should let my spring fever run amok or batten down the hatches and prep for the apocalypse – oooohhhhh (that’s a ghostly ooh by the way – LOL – too spooky!)

oh no ghost

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IS IT OUR JOB? THEN WHY DO I FELL LIKE A JESTER?

I believe it is our job as humans to take care of the other creatures we share the planet with – yes, even spiders (yucky!).

brown spider pic

We try to keep at least one or 2 spiders in our home (as long as they stay up on the ceiling out of reach) to help control flies and other bothersome pests. We have Bull Snakes which help to keep the rodent population down (as long as I don’t confront one while weeding, I’m cool with it). We have free-range fowl that help to keep the grasshopper population at bay (just gotta watch the turkeys – they will steal your hot peppers, and the ducks will take up residence between the tomato plants and pluck the fruit at the peak of ripeness – jerks!).

We have learned a ton of natural gardening methods to deter all different kinds of critters. We would prefer to deter, then eliminate. However, once in a while, you get something that you just do not want anywhere on your property! For us, that is the Yellow Jacket Wasp!

yellow jacket wasp pic

I know it is our job as humans to tend to the creatures of the planet, but I have a real hard time when it comes to the Yellow Jacket. It is a mean monster that will sting for no reason, and do it over and over and over again. The poor Honey bee loses its guts if it stings you! I am pretty sure I wouldn’t want to sting anything if it meant having my insides pulled out – yucky and OUCH!

Please don’t confuse them with our wonderful Honey Bees:

honey bee pic

I am posting pics of both at a fairly close distance so you can learn the differences. We also love our Mason Bees

mason bee pic

I call them my Fuzzy Bees. They are about the same size as a black fly (another nasty pest), but they are all fuzzy looking here. I have heard that some are black; I have never seen a black one, just our creamy tan little cuties (yes, I love it when they rest on me – too fun!)

Then we also have what is called a Mud Wasp (also called Mud Dauber or Dirt Digger):

mud wasp

(Don’t let this pic fool you – they are only about ½ inch long when full grown, would rather walk and flick their wings they fly around after you.) Do NOT confuse them with the mean wasp family as they are not a baddy but a goodie. They usually travel alone and eat the baddies in your gardens. They like to hang around buildings collecting mud for their nests. Ours made a home between the bricks on the patio off the east porch steps. We also have a small crack in the steps when the house shifted, and she will fly from patio to porch and back. Never hurt any of us, have seen her attack a daddy long legs spider, and a pill bug. So she can stay!

In all fairness, I went to Wikipedia, which then led me to UC Davis Edu. This finally gave me the answer to my question – What are they good for? According to this article – little to nothing, which is what I thought. They are very predatory and will keep other pests away, however; I have seen them take out a Honey Bee hive (ticked me off!). So unless one of my readers can give me a good reason to keep them around, I will continue to eliminate them every chance I get!

I was weeding around a wagon of ours, it had some pretty tall grasses and some picker weeds – time for it all to go. I felt a burning sensation on the back of my hand (yep – no gloves, stupid me!) and when I pulled my hand up and flipped it over – 3 of the nasty monsters were going to town on my hand – grrr! I brushed them off and stomped on them, then went to the pump, got some cold water and made a mud pack. Slapped it on my hand which, by now, was about doubled in size and tight as a drum! Please note that I am not allergic to these buggers, or bees for that matter, but their sting is that bad!

So my takeaway today is “kill the hornet, kill the hornet, kill the hornet” (you have to sing that to the Bugs Bunny Opera episode – Elmer is a Viking, Bugs is Brunhilda – hee hee)Whats opera doc

(FYI – One of my all-time favorite Cartoons!)

 

 
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IT’S FREAKING COLD OUT HERE LADY – WHERE’S THE HEATING PAD?

It has been a weird winter for us this year (includes latter part of 2015) – even our poor little birds are confused. The Robins usually disappear around November or December – the idiots are still here? What’s up with that?

fluffy robin

Last Friday I had 4 Chickadees eye-balling me from the tree out the window – kinda creepy! I filled their bird feeder out front before the storm (yes, there still is seed in it) so my only guess is they are thinking “It’s freaking cold out here lady – where’s our bird house with a heating pad?” Or – maybe they are mad cuz I didn’t wrap the gazebo this year?

chickadees

We have heavy, greenhouse type, plastic on the top ½ and back ½ and I usually wrap a 6-mil plastic around the bottom, just to keep the summer stuff we have in there dry. Well, I didn’t get to it last fall, so the bottom is full of snow now. The sparrows have found that I missed screening in one small upper corner and will sneak in there. However, nobirdy (OK, bad pun) went in there during this storm?

One poor dove just hung on for dear life to the pine tree out front – made it! Unfortunately, the poor puppy is too fat to fit through that little hole in the gazebo. So it is resolved to perch snuggled into the pine branches. It’s safe; the branches are covered in snow, so I guess it has a nice blanket under it. Ok, yes I worry too much about all the critters on our little farm, why not?

american dove

She/he/it is still around – all by itself? Very odd since normally they are at least in pairs.

I thought I would be helping the birds out by placing some birdseed by the pond.   We have a heater in it (keeps the water running) which helps them to get a drink when needed. Oh, Stupid Me! The fuzzy, 4-legged, burglars – IN BROAD DAYLIGHT NO LESS – hopped right up and helped themselves to it all (see Arlene – no buddies of mine! LOL)

peek bunny

They also managed to strip most of our fruit tree bark – even though they are fed quite well, I must say!   One of my best 4-H projects, when I was a kid, was raising rabbits. They went from two to over one hundred within about a year – EEEKKK!!! I also remember that following spring we had a “freezer stocking fest” at our farm, along with our cousins (had too many pigs and chickens). I won’t go into details for those of you that love the critters, or are vegan – but Hasenpfeffer is delish!

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AND WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER?

Just after my last post, I received this little ditty from my Aunt Marlene. She is still in Wisconsin along with some other relatives. They are now getting what we just got from Old Man Winter. Reading this was fun, and all too real a reminder of whence I come. Just a little F.Y.I. – it’s ok to burst out laughing at this – actually; that would be a pretty normal response (which is what I am still doing as I post this).

 

You Grew Up In Rural Wisconsin If:

  • You know how to polka, but never tried it sober.

polka disco

  • You know what knee-high by the Fourth of July means.
  • You know it is traditional for the bride and groom to go bar hopping between the church & reception.
  • You know the difference between “Green” and “Red” farm machinery, and would fight with your friends on the playground over which was better!
  • You buy Christmas presents at Fleet & Farm. *You spent more on beer and liquor than you did on food at your wedding.
  • You hear someone use the word “oof-dah” and you don’t break into uncontrollable laughter.
  • You or someone you know was a “Dairy Princess” at the county fair.
  • You know that “combine” is a noun.
  • You let your older siblings talk you into putting your tongue on a steel post in the middle of winter.

A Christmas Story-tongue on pole

 

  • You think Lutheran and Catholic are THE major religions.
  • You know that “creek” rhymes with “pick”.
  • Football schedules, hunting season and harvest are all taken into consideration before wedding dates are set.
  • A Friday night date is getting a six-pack and taking your girlfriend shining for deer and then out for Friday night fish. *Saturday you go to your local bowling alley.
  • There was, one if not several, in your class who had to help milk cows in the morning.
  • You have driven your car on the lake.

ice fishing w car

  • You can make sense of “upnort,” “bat-tree” and “warrssh.”
  • Every wedding dance you have ever been to has the hokey pokey and the chicken dance.
  • Your definition of a small town is one that only has one bar.
  • The local gas station sells live bait.
  • At least twice a year some part of your home doubles as a meat processing plant.
  • You think that the start of deer season is a national holiday!

hidden deer hunting

All of this was part of my upbringing (scary thought isn’t it!), and I am very proud to say I SURVIVED! WOO HOO!!

I do have to give credit where credit is due – my mother, Wilma. She taught all of us (especially my dad) how to laugh at ourselves. I think that is how I have made it through the toughest times in my life – finding the funny.

Yes, there are times that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t muster that giggle. But through most of it, I found the silver lining.

So I say – bring it on life, I can make it a belly buster!

 

DO YOU WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAN – QUICK?

If you live in the northeastern plains of Colorado, you better do it quick! This is the time of year I really get a kick out of Colorado weather. We have feet of snow (not as bad as the east coast – show offs!), but ours is in drifts. Seems the wind just doesn’t want to quit out here, unless it is 100+degrees. So we received a wicked, wet, and wild snow storm, perfect for building a snowman. Unfortunately, the wind was so wild; you couldn’t stand to be out in it – boo hoo!

buffalo in snow

You know it’s a blizzard when:

  • It sticks to your greenhouse

 

greenhouse during 2-2-16 storm

  • When you can’t find your sister by the gray, shed

front of cat shed during 2-2-16 storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUT – HAVE NO FEAR – IT’S COLORADO!

In about a week, we will have just remnants of this – so sad! (ok – NOT!) The best part is that this one was heavy and wet. This means it will soak in – wooo hoooo! Nice start to a spring planting season.

Yes, I am rather freaky in the fact that I love snow but hate the cold. Snow means fun, moisture, a snuggly feeling. Cold means my arthritis is gonna be screaming at me, my nose sticks together outside, and the water pumps (we have our own well) will freeze up. (Was stupid the first bad winter here and tried to force one open – LOL – had to replace that the following spring – idiot me!).

I think this is a big reason why I fell in love with Colorado. I must have my change of seasons, but the Colorado plains seem to know when I have had enough snow. Oh, did I mention that before this latest blizzard, I found green grass popping up beside the greenhouse. I took the time to yell at it for being too early, guess the snow showed it who’s boss right now!

 
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