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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