What’s better than wild skies and Barry White?

Doing my normal early morning routine of weeding (non-stop physical activity, like it or not, it has to be done), and I happened to glance to the west.  This is what I saw:

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The camera just doesn’t do them justice.  The clouds looked like upside-down rolling mountains.  Now this is a first for me.  I have seen some outstanding clouds out here in Colorado.  I’m pretty sure that being up in altitude as some part in it, but these were so different.

We have some major storms coming in again this afternoon, so I am keeping an eye on them.  Just thankful that I looked up at the moment I did.  Now it is just getting all dark, windy and the clouds are back to their normal swirling confusion of:

  • Let’s go this way.
  • No, we want to go that way. 
  • We just want to be ahead of everyone else. 
  • Maybe we will just stop and hold every cloud up!

Then, just as I thought I was really getting into them (Completely spaced out the weeding now.), I heard Barry White on my radio (yes, I garden with music – the plants told me they love it!).  I began singing along with You’re The First, The Last, My Everything.

Then the peacock decided to come up and join me (pretty sure it was NOT my singing).

peacock 2014

You can tell by his feathers that the wind was not being kind.  He was trying to face me.  He thinks he is so pretty – snob!

The wind then took my bucket full of weed bits and tossed it across the yard.  I took that as a hint to sit, observe my space (so much yet to do, and I’m pretty sure it will still be there tomorrow), continue my duet with Barry and call it quits on weeding today.

Hope my happy gardening spreads to you all.  What’s the point of having one if you can’t enjoy it?!

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I would love to get some input here please!

Has anyone else noticed any weather, seasonal, insect, reptile, bird, or critter changes?  I’m not really talking about the change in an insect or animal itself, but more in their natural movements.

We have noticed lots of little changes over the last few years.  Small things like when the Robins show up in spring (This last year they never left, and we had a very unusual winter here.).  We already have seen a full size flying grasshopper, and a large number of butterflies – – they are not supposed to be here for a while yet?  Usually the tiny baby browns show up first.  Then the multi-colored one-inch-ers (yes that is a word in my dictionary – ha ha).  But not this year, the big ones are just here – AND FLYING?!

flying hopper 1    flying hopper 2

The weather has been strange enough, but the oddities in the critters is just wacko (yep, another Rachels’ dictionary addition).

  • Mega blizzards in April that did not go away in 3-days or less.
  • An opossum right up in our yard just after one of those blizzards.
  • Grasshoppers at least a month too soon.
  • Robins that never left.
  • Barn Swallows before all the leaves on the trees are out.
  • No foxes or coyote’s – not a sound.

These are just a few of the strange things we have noticed.

I know that some can be blamed on the ocean current patterns, but that seems to mainly affect the weather.  I also know about tectonic plate shifts.  That may be why there have been (or seems to be) more volcanoes erupting.  But how do you explain all the critters?


Their natural instincts are way better than mine.  I just get the feeling that they are trying to tell me, or us, something and we are not listening.

see and understand sign

So, my hope here is that some of you will have a response for me.  Are you having the same issues?  Have you even noticed anything different?

Ok, before you all freak out and want to have me committed, NO – I AM NOT A DOOMSDAY PREPPER!  I do believe in being prepared (it’s the 4-H-er in me), but no end of the world stuff yet (Oh and we love watching The Walking Dead – the human condition side of it is awesome!).  I/we do things like canning, buying in bulk on major stuff like coffee, sugar, flour, toilet paper etc.  We have our own chickens for meat and eggs.  A cow is in our field right now and half of it will be in our freezer by winter.

We are striving to get off the grid, just because we like to be independent.  Everything takes time and money to obtain, so we just move along one step at a time.  But the critters are freaking me out!  Normal patterns do not seem “normal” anymore.

Please let me know that I’m not crazy (ok, just tell me gently if I am – LOL)!  Do you see what I see?

owl peek


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I’M SO EXCITED! Can’t believe that it worked?

Our Bee Guy brings up the bees every spring via semi-truck.  When he gathers them all back to our place in the fall to go home to Arizona, he always leaves a case (yep – and it’s huge) full of fresh honey for us.  Well, this year we received a pleasant surprise.  He gave us a 25-pound bag of fresh oranges from his orchard – WOW!  These are some huge oranges:

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I have no clue why the bag says California (maybe he sells to them?).  I do know that they are fresh sweet and juicy – oh and ½ this bag is now gone (and it’s only been two days – hee hee). 

We sat and discussed different ways to preserve these beauties for future use.  The first idea was dehydrating.  Then came freezing, juicing and freezing the juice, and some other ideas.  Then we hit upon orange marmalade.  We make all kinds of jams and jellies, but never tried marmalade.

I grated the orange peels and froze for future cookie use.  Then we juiced and stewed up a recipe (we love our Ball Preserving Cook Book – woo hoo!!).

It worked:

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Made up a dozen of the cute little ½ pints for future Christmas gifts.  Then had enough for a couple of full pint jars and 1-half of a pint jar.  The ½ pint we now have in the fridge so I can have it on toast with peanut butter later today (yum!!).  I have to taste-test everything we do, wouldn’t want anyone to get sick right?  LMAO!!  Yes, that is my excuse for all of my food testing.  We have to make sure it is good enough to share (ok can’t stop giggling at myself now – sick woman that I am!! Ha ha ho ho ho)

orange marmalade made 5-23-16

These are the two big cuties – yum!  So glad it worked!  Happy, happy, joy, joy (doing my happy dance – hee hee)!

happy ck dance


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I have not been able to keep up with my stories to you; spring has sprung at last! With that being said, here is part of my “to-do” list and my reason for worry about the green thingys:

1.FIND THE FRONT YARD (looks kinda like Where’s Waldo – hee hee, there is a cat in there somewhere?!)! This one is first as foremost as it is where we get to sit back and enjoy a day’s job well done. The non-stop rains we have had, along with our outstandingly perfect temps have made everything green and alive GO NUTS!

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(yes, the wind finally took out the play set-however- it will be recycled into a tree fort)
2.Get the corn in. Ok, I know all you farmers/gardeners out there are growling at me – yes it is about a month late! Again, our great spring weather this year has not been cooperative. If I had planted it when I wanted, it would have frozen out (several deep freezes since mid-April).

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(yes, there are plots here, just can’t see them.  I will post when done to show the difference.)

3. Build the new PVC Climber structure.  A couple of months ago I found a great structure.  When I asked around for plans, no one knew.  So I dug deeper and actually found the creator.  He said he did not have any plans (he just winged it – eek, lol – I do that all the time!), but he did have the sizes of PVC that he used.  That was at least a start.  Well, I have spent the last couple months creating plans.  Now I just need to get to Home Depot and get the parts.  It needs to go up asap as we want a ton of things on it this year.  Everything from cucs to melons.  We also hope to get it growing thick enough that we can set up some mid and late season cooler weather crops inside of it – wish us luck on this one!

4. Mowing, trimming, and more mowing.  We have gone from 40 degrees and straight rain (not normal for Colorado), to 75+ and full sun (this is normal) overnight.  This is going to be a non-stop thing for right now anyway.  I just mowed the main areas last weekend, and they need it again already (again not normal)!  Thank goodness my sister was smart, and we finally broke down and got a riding lawn tractor with a wagon.  It has been my “body saver” – literally!  With osteoarthritis sneak attacking my joints, just getting up and down in entertaining.  The right shoulder was so disintegrated that it needed a full reverse replacement.  The joint is metal and plastic, and if I pull or push too hard, it pops out of socket – NOW THERES A FUN TRIP!?!  Then I am laid up until it decides to go back in.  I did find that if I put ice on it, lay flat on a floor or bed, and relax (now there’s the trick when you are in excruciating pain); it will usually slide back in.  Then the jerky thing acts like nothing happened at all – instant no pain.  Go figure?
5. strong>Clean up and prep the rest of the garden plots (outside) and get those seeds going. We are working on the weedless gardening method this year, so it takes longer to get prepped.  The hope is that once we have it going, there will be much less weeding in future years – we hope!?!

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6. Trim up trees and get the suckers root starting in hopes to transplant into new areas – increase our tree and bush populations.  We have spice bushes popping up all over the place (normal), want to put in a bunch for wind blocking in appropriate areas.

So, this is just a fraction of my actual to-do list.  Growing up on an 80-acre farm in Wisconsin, I knew it is a non-stop job.  But this year there seems to be a ton of extras to be done.  First is most definitely the front yard – have to have that relaxing resting spot before all else!

(Oh – FYI – my list is up to #50 and still growing – ouch – all spring, summer and fall projects – JOY!)

relax frog w drink


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Is Your Sky Like This?

When I was younger, growing up in Wisconsin was a fun time. One of our favorite things to do was to go out to the pig house and watch the night sky.

The pig house was simply a small structure where the pigs went for shade. There were holes for windows and a door, but no glass or wood blocking them. When we were tall enough (For me that was a big deal. My father loved to quote the Jetsons dog “rook at da rimp” when picking on me – shortest of all, and still am.), we couldn’t wait to climb up on top of the shack, lay back, and watch the sunset, until the stars come out. It was perfect!

We could see the Northern Lights when they were out. Excellent place to view several fireworks shows at one time. Great for sneaking a peek at wildlife wandering through our fields (we had a river and a pond, so everyone came for drinks).

Well, I just received an email from one of my fav sites: Earthsky.com. This time in their list of articles is one titled: How to see the legendary green flash. Green flash? I have heard of the Green Hornet, and Green Lantern but just who is the Green Flash? Oh, silly me, it’s not a person but an occurrence.

green flash in the sky

Apparently some places are going to be lucky enough tonight (5/16/16) to see this wondrous thing. I know for a fact that we won’t, as there is nothing but clouds, rain and cool temps for the next 2 to 3 days (boo hoo!).  Oh, and then there is the mountains.  So, to those of you that are lucky – I hope you will share any photos or videos of this that you might get?!

I love watching the stars at night, clouds passing on a warm summer day, and most anything that has to do with looking up. (Yes, I still find shapes in the stars too! Teaching my grandson how to enjoy them this way.) Think this is an excellent way to view life – looking up.

cloud pics - frong

Do you see the frog?

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My mother had a quick, fantastic wit!  Fortunately, her three daughters carry on the tradition.  I (to this day) am always saying, “When I get around to it.”As soon as I can get around to it.”  Well, my mother (bless her soul) took this very literally one year for Christmas.  She liked to go “junking” for Christmas gifts…2nd hand stores, flea markets, and whatever little side street hidden treasure spot she could find.  She found these during one of her excursions:


Not the rod ends but the old wooden circle thingies to hang your curtain on.  (This pic is from Ebay because mine were lost in the fire.)  These old round beauties are exactly what I saw when I opened the box.

She placed them in a nice old wooden bowl that she also found on one of her junking trips.  Inside the bowl, on top of the wooden circles was a card (like a business card) that simply stated:

Now you cannot say when you get a “roundtoit,” here is a whole bowl full of them.  Hope you get your projects done at last.  Love Mom

My Christmas gift was the highlight of the season that year.

I just wanted to share this little tidbit with you so that you will never let that phrase escape your head again (sharing is caring!).  I still say it.  I have heard tons of younger people say it.  I am sure that most of you have said, or will say it.  However, you now cannot avoid the physical implications of putting something off for the sake of not having a roundtoit anymore.

Aahhh, one of the life’s great lessons shared with the world – enjoy!

Minion mom quote

(From my Pinterest board: Just for fun and smiles)

Pretty sure I need a new HUGE bowl full of them now! 

When I get around to it. LOL

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I have been having this on-going dream/fantasy of the “great escape!”  I love our farm, but sometimes it would be great if we could just do a mini-vacation.  I’m thinking of some type of 3-day to 1-week away session.  The biggest concern with these thoughts is my grandson.  He is only 7 and has some issues and a very traumatic life so far.  We try to keep the consistency going, so trips of any kind can throw him off whack.

Well, in going through my dream, I have come up with a thought that will not leave my head – – – an RV or conversion van!  Ta-da!

Ok, now let’s hear it!  There must be someone out there that has done this and has opinions?  I need to hear them all – pro and con, please.  This thought will not leave my head.  I learned long ago that when you have something that keeps tickling at the back of your brain, it’s a hint that you should follow through with that idea.

I’m thinking something like this:

dream van

But since we will be renting it, pretty sure I would get stuck with more like this:

trashed van

Not bad, just not right.  My grandson is a computer-aholic, ADHD wizard.  We must be able to provide that mental stimulation while on the road.  Thought about rigging a cattle prod under his seat and when he gets too wild, give him a little jolt.  Then I realized that someone might consider that child abuse, so that and the pet carrier are out.  (yes, I am just kidding – more laughter this year remember?)

beeker eeek

So I am now open for suggestions, please!  We are looking at everything from Mesa Verde to upper Michigan for our trips.  Could be a 3 to 4-day extended weekend, or possibly 7-10-day week long trip.  Please share with me what you find as “great family fun” in your neck-of-the-woods.  I’m need help here people (sometimes it’s really tough being an old fart – hee hee)!  The only stipulation I have is that it must be drivable (sorry, no flying for this gardener – love my feet on the ground too much).






Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 4:16 p.m.:

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Saturday, April 30th, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. (Note no sun up yet!  Should have been here 2 hours ago.):

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Sunday – May Day – May 1st, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.:



The last remnants of snow are in the form of that snowball next to the honeysuckle.

Was heavy, was warm, was wet, was wild, was windy, and the last but best “w” – was over in about 48 hours.  Now we just have a loverly, mushy, weedy mess – ode to spring joy!  LOL

A Happy Garden is a Healthy Garden (and mine are hilarious right now)!


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