PLOWSHARE THURSDAY – PREVENTION GEAR!

Hi, guys!  Sorry, I have not been keeping up with things, but if you read my last post, you know why.  This Plow Share is to tell you more about my new favorite best friend in the garden – the head cover.

bug net cover (This one is from Amazon – under $5)

I originally found these things years ago and purchased them through a sporting goods website.  Oh, silly me!  I guess at the time the only reason for one was when you went fishing.  It kept all the water bugs off your face while you fished.

Well, times have changes sister, and we need these everywhere!

At first, it was just the tiny gnats that were bothering me while watering.  Then came the black flies and their nasty bites as the weather warmed.  Of course, we cannot forget the mosquito and all its plagues.

If you read my last post, then you know (and saw) the reasons why this is now my new best garden friend!  I have gotten bit or stung on several parts of my body (mainly arms and legs but there has been the occasional buttox when I bend over) with very little reaction.  I was even bitten by a Brown Recluse which has left a nasty scar, but my great immune system held it at bay.  I have never had a severe allergic reaction to anything until now.  The funny part is that it was the cure and not the cause that had the bad reaction.

brown recluse    (FYI you are supposed to spot the “fiddle” on its back?!)

I consider myself very lucky in the fact that it never affected my lungs.  My breathing throughout all of this remained normal, as did my blood pressure – go figure?!  My doctors and I boiled it down to the fact that the sting was on my face (never happened with a wasp before – or a bee).  Apparently, the thin skin (who would have thought I have “thin” anything – ha ha), gave the poison a perfect reaction area.

So, my share this week is to also warn – GET YOUR GEAR ON!  I do not use bug spray on my head area (a weird thing I have about chemicals and my face), but this head screen gear is a Godsend to gardeners!  It may have been created just for fish folks – but herbivore’s like it too!

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WHEN TROUBLE COMES IN THREES WHAT CAN YOU DO?

I started this post but got too wordy. So, instead, I am going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a young, old woman who loved to garden. She loved the seeds, the starts, the transplanting and even the weeding.

This young, old woman was so into her gardens that she did not mind if a bee landed on her to say hi or rest. It did not make her flinch to come across a spider the size of a silver dollar while working away. Even the surprise toad or snake did not deter her from her daily visits to the natural beauty.
lady and a bee
Then one week she had the terrible three’s visit her.
First: She ran into the turkey door latch and severely bruised her upper arm (which just happened to be right by her first major surgery: Reverse rotator cuff replacement).

Second: She tripped over the mat by the front yard garden gate and fell on her left side ribs. This caused her to take her breath away, and she was very sore, but still able to go on.

Then, late Friday afternoon that week the terrible third struck. While humming one of her favorite songs and weeding the front yard patio, she heard a buzzing sound by her right ear. The dreaded black biting flies had been around all afternoon, but she would put on a bit more bug repellant, and they would leave her alone. She believed it was just another fly, so she raised her hand to shew it away. Little did she realize at that moment she was irritating a wasp!

The monster stung her right by her right ear – on the face. She again did not flinch as she assumed it was the black fly. The evening went on as a normal Friday game night, but she realized that the right side of her face was very hot and kind of itchy.
On Saturday morning, she realized that her right eye seemed a bit blocked. Taking her normal morning trip to the bathroom, she glanced into the mirror and was shocked! The whole right side of her face was swollen. She now realized that it was not a black fly that stunk her – it was her old nemesis the wasp!

Then by Sunday morning, the swelling was growing across her face. Having been stung many times before (mind you there was NEVER a serious allergic reaction – EVER!) she simply took some aspirin, grabbed an ice pack and proceeded to place it on and off her face all the rest of that day.

Monday morning came, and the swelling was still getting worse, so she decided she had better visit her local hospital ER. Upon arriving and being all checked in, the doctor prescribed prednisone – 20 mg which is a type of steroid. She immediately went to her friendly pharmacy and filled the prescription. As soon as she got back into her car, she took the first pill.

Later Monday afternoon her head felt as if it was on fire. She was heating up but chilled, and everything (including her hair) had a burning itch which she was told not to scratch. That night she felt flu-like symptoms: Fever, chills, and a possible need to throw up.

Tuesday morning, she was the size of a party balloon! The swelling was not going down but seemed to be getting worse. Her eyes were so swollen she could not even see her beloved computer to write her thoughts. She took the 2nd pill.

balloon head

Wednesday was, even more, worse than Tuesday, but she took the 3rd of the four pills. Completely miserable, she could not sleep that night. Luckily the ER Doctor did tell her to schedule a follow-up appointment with her regular Doctor within 4-days. She had done so and was to see her doctor on the next morning.

Thursday morning came, and she did NOT take the last pill (by now it had dawned on her that the steroid and she were not in agreement!) and headed off to her doctor.
Once the Doctor took one look at her she knew – this was some type of allergic attack. Her Doctor proceeded to call over to her Pharmacist an order of Claritin and Zantac (prescription level) and over-the-counter Benadryl.

The young, old woman got safely back home and immediately started the routine of meds. By that same evening the burning, itching all over her head had ceased! Saturday morning she would see out of the left eye, but it was still fairly swollen. It took a full 10-days for all the bad steroid reaction to mellow out.

The moral of this young, old woman’s story:

Use the damn head nets you bought three years ago stupid!
(See Plow Share Thursday for more info.)

alergy pic 1 6-10    alergy pic 2 6-15

alergy-pic-3-6-17.jpg    alergy pic 4 6-26 all better

All better!

Friday Funny: Ballet – OR – Did you catch that mouse?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with very curly dark hair that loved to run and jump and play.  She had a horse to ride, dogs to run with, and a sister to get into trouble with.  Alas, this beautiful little girl was a klutz!

Her mother was full off cute old-fashioned sayings to explain her clumsiness in a way that would not make her feel sad or embarrassed:

  • “Keep doing that with your eyes and they will stay that way.” (After she would walk into the door because she had her eyes crossed.)
  • “Did you catch that mouse?“ (After she would trip and fall.)
  • “Here, you want to fight so bad, just take this butter knife and do it!” (After she and her sister got caught fighting – again!) (FYI: All they ever did was stare blankly from their mom to the knife, then to each other.  Sometimes it would end up in a mock sword fight.)

Well, that pretty young girl grew up to be a crusty, broken, old lady that still never watched where she was going.  This dizzy broad could not even pick up her feet high enough to get over a simple gate mat. 

gateway mat  (Take a good look at the cinder block in the top center)

Trip – slow motion fall – full body slam into the brick patio, iron arch entry frame, and of course planting her left side ribs squarely on top of a busted cinder block.  Her aim is impeccable!

5-6-17 bruised ribs (2)  Bruised Ribs (never had this before)

6-6 bruised knee Bloody and bruised knee – right by the replacement (because apparently a full replacement was not painful enough!).

 6-6 finger smash n tear (2)Ripped bloody finger from who knows what (thinking I may have tried to catch myself and missed?).

So, today’s lesson kids: 

Is it considered “ballet” if you spin as you fall, or can you use the excuse of “I am trying to catch a mouse” when none is present? 

Of course, you first have to stop laughing at yourself to declare either.  (FYI – not laughing now, hurts too much – boo hoo!)

PLOWSHARE THURSDAY – My new best garden friend!

We are a natural farm. I am pretty sure that the pests – weeds and bugs – in the area know this. The reason I know this is because we have so many on our property. The bugs are controlled via natural methods:

• Salt, soap, & vinegar solution.
• Companion Planting.
• Creative natural habitats to encourage good bugs (bad bug eaters).
The more difficult to tackle is the weeds. Heavy mulch works to a point; then other methods must be enlisted. This week’s plowshare…The Hand Hula Hoe!

hand hula hoe(Handle length is about 18 inches total)
What a God send this little hummer is!
We have had the original version for over a decade:

hula hoe original

This one is perfect if you like to stand/walk and weed around your plants. The blade scoots just beneath the top layer and slices through the weed – woo hoo!
Me, I prefer to get closer to my subjects. I get down on the ground, so I am at about eye level to my plants. The thing is for years I have used the old “hand hoe” and would not feel like I was getting very good control of things. The old ones that we have are like this:

regular hoe
with variations like these:


None of these is a bad method, just not the one that I/we prefer.

I have a dear friend that swears by her garden shears (scissors) and will sit beside her beds and nip off the weeds with them just below soil level. Nice, but tedious. This beauty does the same bit only much faster!

I still use a jar of vinegar for my bindweed as it comes back way to fast. This is one that I love to get right into the root. However, sometimes they move faster than I can keep up and will wrap around my amazing veggies – grrr! This is the perfect time for the vinegar!
It is easy to do:

  1. Find a loose branch of your runner vine or unwind some of it from your beloved plant.
  2. Open your jar of vinegar (we put ours in a mason jar because it is easier to use and seal).
  3. Place the separate vine into the vinegar for just a second or two.
  4. Pull it up allowing the excess to drip back into the jar.
  5. I like to put down several layers of newspaper or a thick cardboard before laying that dipped vine back on the ground (just like to make sure I am not leaking to anything good). Place the vine back down and let Mother Nature do her work.

The vine absorbs the liquid to the root and viola’ – dead vine! Two things to be aware of with this method:

  • Make sure you do not set the vinegar part near a good plant. It may seep into the soil and kill it as well.
  • Make sure you are going to have at least one good dry day to allow the moisture to go into the root. DO NOT WATER THAT AREA THAT DAY! You are trying to make sure the plant absorbs only the moisture you provided.

Hope this helps in your gardening adventures! The hand Hula Hoe can be purchased almost everywhere now. It is carried in most home and garden centers. Happy Gardening!
6-6-17 mock orange ours (2).jpg                               (Our beautiful Mock Orange Bush just two days ago!)

PLOWSHARE THURSDAY- Good Bug, Bad Bug – Who’s what?

I must give a major shout-out to MNN.com again!  They seem to be providing the best info at a perfect time!  My helpful hint from them this week is much more than a hint:

Good bug, bad bug: How can you tell the difference?

Not only did they provide outstanding specific information on the good vs. bad critters; but they also shared closeup pictures as a visual aid.  KUDOS guys!!

They only list six descriptions, but these are some of the biggies (at least they are for the U.S.).  We have issues with Squash Beetles every year.  Every year we have tried something new to, at least, limit their numbers.  It has been (in our experience) impossible to completely eradicate them, and I am not really sure we should.  We use completely chemical free methods in our garden workings. Some years this is a very hard thing to do.

The huge farm fields around us are mainly hay and pasture (we are half lucky here).  The pasture is great! No one sprays their pasture unless the Canadian Thistle comes back and then you only need to kill the individual plant before the flowers die off (like a dandelion).

Here in northeastern Colorado, they grow to about three feet tall, and they’re a major pain – in more ways than one! You can see from the pics they have needles and will spread like dandelions after blooming.  Our non-chemical method is time-consuming but very effective.  We wait till they flower, then cut off the blooms and spray a mix of vinegar, salt, and dish soap on them (our “go-to” natural spray for bad weeds).

The reason I stated that I am not sure we should eliminate a bug completely is also for natural reasons.  They are here for a purpose.  I do not know what every single one of them does, but I do know that most are food for something else.  I do believe in limiting their numbers by whatever natural means you have at your disposal.

I am still trying to find the purpose for the Yellow-Jacket’s.  Unless they are some specific food for something else, I have no need of them AT ALL!  Personal experience has taught me:

  • They will attack for no reason.
  • They can sting again and again (do not die as a bee does).
  • They might do a little pollination, but nothing to the help from our Bees.
  • They make their nests in the worst possible places.
  • Lastly, they are ALWAYS in my way when I am gardening.

It never fails!  These beasties are worse than our Red Ants!  The sting/bite is about equal, but the Yellow-Jacket can travel from my front yard to my herb garden in a heartbeat (And I know they are watching me planning their next attack!).

Oh well, just had to throw my own two cents in on this one!

 Bee=good.                                           Wasp=bad.