Got My Funk on AGAIN?

I am ready to plant NOW!  There are so many things that must be done before we get to the planting stage that somedays it is just overwhelming.  The tornado late last summer started the refurbishing.  Then the bomb cyclone last week and now our continued winds-from-hell add to the projects:

  • Pinback the hair (even with the best of pony-tail holders, it won’t last more than five minutes before something breaks loose and inevitably ends up whipping in my eyes.).

wild hair

  • Dress in layers (cold now, hot in an hour, then cold again later).
  • Put bricks in the bottom of the trash can so it won’t fall over and dump everything to blow around just to be picked up again.
  • Keep several bags in the bottom of the trash can because trying to open one in this wind just won’t work (I think one should be at my friend’s place in Kansas by now).
  • DON’T BURN WEEDS YET – but pile them up and make sure to throw bricks and huge, heavy logs on top of them to keep them together (ya, like that works? In this wind I will be continually picking up tumbleweeds – grr!)

tumbleweeds

  • WATCH THE WEATHER CHANNELS LIKE A HAWK – not for the storms, but for the winds. We were supposed to be mild today (Wednesday 3/20) at which point I could have burned some of the mess down.  But nooo – now we are not going to mellow down to the burning stage for at least the next 10 days.   May have to have the fire department on standby for the next burning as the pile is getting huge!

Then there are all the “other” projects we want/need to get done:

  1. New dog pen. This has to be first because we cannot go another year with them in the front yard.  They are destroying everything, and the damn Boxer (his name is Pig, and it fits) won’t stay in.  The next phase on the new space for them will be an electric fence.  Yes, I am serious!  He has killed 3 cats and five chickens, and that was all just for fun – JERK!  Bad enough we have foxes and coyotes here, now we have to watch our own monster.  Too bad he is so fun to watch normally – quite the character.

BB pig dog (yes, this was him but two years ago – notice that his foot is holding down a stuffed pig doll)

  1. We have new fruit trees that are supposed to come in next week. We have plotted out where/how we want them, but can’t do anything until they are here.  So that will be a drop-everything project when they come.
  2. Our seedling veggies are getting way too big already and must be moved somewhere soon. We want to put them in the greenhouse area again – but it’s not ready either.  We are looking at some new covering, and if we select it, we need to get to all the rungs for hanging.  If the plants get too big too soon, won’t be able to get the scaffolding around/over them.  (I could pretend I am Tarzan and swing around the rungs – but I wouldn’t want to embarrass others my age by doing it – ya, sure!?!)

Best Tarzan (my fav Tarzan!)

There are many MANY  more things that are swirling around in my head that need to be started.  Guess I will just have to chalk it all up to spring fever, although I don’t think that ever-mounting chores are what they had in mind when they created that phrase.

One last tidbit to share:  If you read last weeks post you know I love gardening until it’s dark then watching the stars – but – there a real thing that I also love which is gardening by the moon.  Well, my buds at Farmer’s Almanac have sent a new article via email that gets into better detail:

WHY DO WE GARDEN BY THE MOON  by Jaime McLeod

garden by moon phases

If you want some fun and interesting reading, check it out.  They share the best time to do certain gardening steps by following moon phases.  Enjoy!

garden by moon 1

 

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

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Advertisements

One More Sign Or Just Legend?

I just love stories like this one:

Rare oarfish, regarded as omens of natural disasters, found alive in Japan                          By Alex Stambaugh and Junko Ogura, CNN

Makes me wonder what the true reason is?

Owning or working anything that requires you to mess with nature, should make you think about these things.  The very least you should take notice of them.  I do believe that all things happen for a reason.  Our home was destroyed by a tornado late last summer.  Not the house so much, but the gardens and greenhouse.  I’m still not knowing what the reason was behind it, but I could drive myself nuts playing with theories:

  • First was punishment: We got disgusted, frustrated, and angry at all the people mooching off of us, so we threw them all out.  On is in jail – again –  but that is now for his own mother to worry about.
  • Second was preparation: Prepping us for something worse to be happening soon.
  • Third was par-for-the-course: Just when I think things are going better for us, something else pops up and shits on our parade.

That’s just three, but my list keeps building.  Then I read stories like the one above.  These are based on real news – things that are happening now.  Then they throw some flare like “legend has it” in there for reader interest.  Well, it works on me every time, especially when it has to do with nature.

One of my biggest why is this happening theory is based on the thought that someone, somewhere is trying to tell us something.  It could be something that we are not doing right?  Maybe it is something we are doing all wrong?  Maybe we should be doing more?  Maybe we should be doing it all differently?  These thoughts are also endless for me.

Now that we (humans that is) have evolved into such creatures of technology, we are better able to track and record things.  Simple things that we tracked just for the sake of tracking decades ago have now developed a purpose, and sometimes a greater meaning.  (WOW – do I sound deep here or what?).

Personally, I love the weather.  Humans have been trying to track and control it for centuries, and we still get it wrong.  I love to follow the old wife’s tales of the past:

  • If your barn animals have a thick coat come fall, you are going to have a harsh winter (not necessarily a full of snow winter, could just be extremely cold.).
  • Achy joints – the weather is going to change. (This one I do believe because mine will kill me when the weather does a severe change.).
  • It’s going to rain because the cows are all lying down. (NOT – those huge 4-legged monsters get just as tired as we do, but it is funny to see a whole feed of them on a hot sunny day lying down on the job.)
  • Head to the southwest corner of the lowest part of your home (like a basement) when a tornado hits. They say this isn’t true, but  – to this day – that is EXACTLY where I went and will continue to go when they strike.
  • If the Wooly Bear caterpillar has a thick coat, it will be a heavy snow winter. Have no clue on this one and here in Colorado I have not even seen many of the Wooly Bears. We did see one really early last spring – totally out of season. Then had that tornado in July – hmmm.  Maybe it was trying to tell us something?

My point is that I do believe in signs.  I think there are things all around us in nature that if we just stop and pay it a little bit of attention, we may just learn something.

I watch the skies for signs of rain or a bad storm.  I watch the soil to see if we are getting enough moisture for the gardens to make it, or will I have to put in a lot of extra time watering to help them out.  I watch the geese fly overhead and if they are traveling north or south (north for summer, south for winter as the saying goes).  Then again here in Colorado, this one can be a bit off.  We have geese here year around, but we only have snow geese in winter.  On a warm day, you can see them traveling north one moment then south a bit later?

I do keep a really close eye on the budding of the trees.  We have such odd weather here.  If it is too nice out too early and the trees start to bud, they could be in for trouble before they are ready.  We have lost blossoms many years because it would be 65+degrees in March then dump snow and below zero temps in April.  One year on two weekends (back-to-back no less) in April Friday reached up to the nineties, but by Monday we were below thirty and snowing like the east coast is now (ooo – new phrase: Snowing like the east coast in 2019!?!).

According to the article above and the tales connected to it, there may be a natural disaster headed for Japan within the next year.  The scientists even agreed that these rare creatures may have popped up because of some underwater change.  However, they also agree that this does not mean they are headed for another 2011 tsunami.  Will be interesting to check back on this post a year from now and see if anything happened?

Do you believe in the signs around you?  Do you even watch for them?

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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

THINK ABOUT IT – 3-Rs OR JUST “T”?

The last several decades have been all about the 3-Rs:

  • REUSE
  • RECYCLE (or repurpose)
  • REPAIR

I’m going to blame mom and her being a child of the depression again.  SHE NEVER THREW ANYTHING AWAY (yes, I am yelling it – on purpose – at her because I know she is listening up in heaven.)!  This is a great habit to get into, to a point.  There does come a time when you just have to say “throw it out!”

Garden hoses are a tough one for me.  If it just has a split or two or an end is shot, I will repurpose it.  The first three years on our farm were major drought years (worst in 100 years according to locals).  We soaked in and tried every bit of advice from where ever it came from:

  • Overhead spraying (big waste of water, especially 90+degree days.)
  • Ditch watering. Not bad except for it being a great way to feed a ton of unwanted weeds.
  • Spot watering. Best, but doing it by hand was awful.  I had to split our gardens into three separate areas because it took me all morning just to do one of the three.

Then one day (like it always is – better late than never) it dawned on me:  Cut up the old hoses and attach connectors to the ends.  This created a bunch of mini-hoses that I could run from area-to-area or plot-to-plot without losing any water in between.  I can connect the main hose to the outside faucet.  Run that to the first plot and attach a Y-flow connector.  Then I can either turn on that plot for watering, or shut that one off and turn on the flow to the next plot/tree/row.

hose y-2way splitterI can also take smaller bits of older hose and just connect them to flow from growing space to growing space by putting male and female connection ends on them.

Then, a couple of years ago, I found one of the best inventions for gardeners in a long time – The Quick Connector:
hose quick connect setWe have a number of rows instead of regular box plots with growing stuff.  We also figured out that putting the drip line below the ground by the roots was more efficient than just placing it on top of the soil.  After a while, the drip lines can leak or split bigger holes.  Having it below ground stops it from spraying in a place we don’t want to be watered, keeps the moisture by the roots where it is needed, and if it is a big leak, it will cause pooling.  When I find pooling I mark it until I am done watering that row.  Then I grab one of these:

hose -repair connector  (This one, by the way, is awesome!  The ends (green parts) keep it all together much easier, tighter, and quick to switch out as needed.)

The just “T” in my title stands for “trash” it.  It takes a lot for me to decide to toss something in the trash (my sister can verify this – eek).  Tin cans, coffee containers (tin and plastic), odd size glass jars (meaning we never use good Ball type jars except for canning), and any size plastic jars are all hung on to by me (Drives the sister nuts – hee hee).  Here are just a few of my uses for these things:

  • Larger ones like coffee containers are used for my yarn stuff. I can fit one large or a couple of small into a coffee can.  Then simply cut a hole in the top and viola’ – perfect way to manage yarn especially if you’re doing more than one color in your works.

 

  • Medium and smaller plastic is great for loose screws, nails, or bits and pieces in the shop that we don’t want to get rid of yet. If it is good shape, it will get reused on some project at a later date.
  • Tin cans all sizes and shapes are great for crafting, painting (craft, room or building), holding pens and pencils and stuff.

tin can use-grandson craft  (Grandson made this one for me)

  • Smaller pieces of broken glass, old rusty nails or metal, any other small sharp material found around the farm (especially in the driveway – after roofing is the worst!) can be put in the tin coffee cans. When it is full, we simply duct-tape the snot out of it and throw it in the trash.  Most of it (in a couple of million years) will decompose down and not lead to more flat tires around the house.

There are tons of uses for these types of containers.  Just throwing them in the trash seems like a huge waste to me.  It does drive my sister nuts, so I promised to try to cut back on the number I save (maybe?).  A good friend of ours also used the tin coffee cans to help with his seedlings.  He puts the small, delicate plant in the spot he wants it.  Then cuts off one end of the can completely (already should be off if you used the coffee.), and only cuts off about 3/4 of the other end.  He peels back the partially cut end and places the open end over the young plant.  Our winds will dry the heck out of anything young very quickly.  This not only protects it from the ugly winds but keeps it a bit warmer in case of a fluke freeze.  It also keeps the water in the spot he wants it (the can is sunk part way into the ground to keep it from flying off), and it even helps to keep unwanted critters from attacking or eating all of the young plants.  Only had a couple of cans to try his plan with, but it worked.  Then the tornado took off with my cans.  Time to start saving new ones – woohoo!

tornado lifing stuff

I wanted to share this bit of info for those of you that are garden-a-holics like us and have started planning out this season.  We are starting seeds this weekend and hope for a mild, boring growing season this year.

crazy gardener - snl   (Ya gotta love SNL and everything Christopher Walken does – both are classics!)

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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I NEED YOUR GARDENING INPUT PLEASE!

I was perusing my Old Farmers Almanac and came across a Gardening Adage:

If you grow it for the fruit or the root, you need full sun.

If you grow it for the leaves, partial shade is all you need.

I have never heard this adage before but find that it is very true.  The blurb even highlighted the specifics of the statement (which I have bolded and underlined).  It gave me an idea for updating my blog.  I think I will create a page that is nothing but these adages and wife’s tales from the past.  Some of them will be bizarre, and some will be true, but most of all they will be fun to find and read.

happy cabbage

Cares melt when
you kneel in the garden.

I find that one to be very true for me.  Especially when it is time to do weeds, I can really get into ripping those suckers out, and I surprisingly find that my cares have drifted away – after about two hours of doing it.

zen frog

Can’t see the forest
for the trees.

This is a huge truth for me in the garden and regular life.  I can’t count the number of times I was working on a problem or project wishing for an easier way.  Then, usually years later, it just pops into my head.  It was right in front of me the whole time, and I just did not see it.

cant see forest

A dedicated
gardener dwells within.

Ok, I admit I have no clue on this one?  Is it supposed to mean that gardeners are introverted, or is it just stating the fact that someone who really works hard on their garden is living in the house?

dedicated gardener

In spring at the end of the day,

You should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood, Canadian Writer (1939)

This was actually a quote and not an adage, but I have heard it tons of times growing up on the farm (never knew who started it before).  Most adages are simply passed down through families with no real concern for it being a quote or not.

chicken digging in dirt

This one made me giggle:

Gardening is just
another day at the plant.

Then last, but not least (I hope) is one of my most favorites:

Dirt poor, filthy
rich.

I think it should be the other way around.  If you have dirt, you should be rich because you can feed those you love.  Then again, I get really filthy when I garden (or any work out on the farm), and yet I am nowhere near rich.

I would love to hear from you all!  Please share any family goodies that you carry with you in your gardening endeavors.  I would love to add them to my new page — the funnier or sillier, the better.

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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

GARDENING HELP SHOULD BE FREE

I read a lot.  Most of what I read is a huge variety of “how-to” stuff.  I really enjoy learning new things, improving on the skills I already have, and helping others who hope to enjoy these things I love.  I just think that of all the great things I know how to do, gardening help should be free.

I’m not talking about spending hours or days teaching someone how to garden.  That could (and should) take a lifetime.  I am also not talking about the things you create from your gardening expertise.  You grow gourds then turn them into gourd art – you should sell your wares.  What I am talking about, is sharing what you know with others, then we can all benefit from growing our own stuff.

Not everyone has a green thumb, nor does everyone want to be one, but for those that do the information should be free.  I love sharing my gardening info with others.  I especially love sharing my mistakes.  The mistakes (for me) are my best way of learning.  I find it funny that the mistakes stick in my head forever, do it right and I will have to go back and remember what I did. (Heaven forbid I have too much junk floating around in my head all the time that distracts my remembering!)

I am connected to a ton of blogs, forums, and Q & A sites that all find sharing is caring when it comes to gardening.  It corks me off to see someone want to charge for a bit of helpful advice.  If you are building a book, that’s fine and more power to you; but if you are asked a simple question on how to solve a specific problem, just help a buddy Green-thumber out!

Gardening is not easy, but it is rewarding.  Not just in the awesome food you can produce all by yourself, but for the great feelings you get along the way:

  • Playing in the mud when you are older than ten – and getting away with it!
  • The first seed that sprouts.
  • The first flower on your plants.
  • The first fruit (veg or whatever you are growing) that shows up.
  • Running out in a storm to cover and protect your babies (you put a ton of work into them).

The first time you grow enough food to have extra to share with others, well that’s a feeling that you will never forget! 

So live, laugh, learn, and love your growing efforts; be it flowers, fruits, veggies, trees, bushes, or whatever trips your trigger.  Just don’t forget to share!

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

Followmy blog with Bloglovin

WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

Just when I thought there were very few things left in the food processing world that would surprise me, this happened:

LEFT RED RIGHT YELLOW SAUCES(yes, these are two completely different types of tomato sauces, sort of.)

Now don’t be fooled. The one on the right is NOT our normal pasta sauce. The one on the left is.
We began using several varieties of heirloom tomatoes years ago. The mixture of flavors was such an outstanding taste we just kept doing it. Well, now we have some friends and family members that cannot do the normal red sauce anymore. The higher acidity of the red tomatoes does not sit well with their digestion. This year we decided to try something to help them enjoy pizza and pasta again.
PRESENTING: ALL YELLOW TOMATO, FROM SCRATCH, HOMEMADE PASTA SAUCE (which just so happens to also be perfect for pizzas or a dipping sauce for bread, cheese, and veggie sticks.).
Our older sister’s husband happens to be one of the people that cannot do the reds. We gave them a ton of our yellows when they came to visit a few weeks ago. She decided to try to make her own sauce for them to use. She called me and said that it turned red – what? This threw me for a loop, as I had always just assumed that using all yellow tomatoes only would produce a yellow sauce.
I forgot to ask if she used any red tomato paste in her sauce. Well, my Co-Farming sister and I decided to give it a shot. We gathered a ton of our yellow tomatoes (note: this is a mix of several heirloom varieties, and we do NOT use chemicals on any of our foods), and started up a batch. Now, this is where it freaks me out:
LD 7
You can see that we have separated the beauties into three groups:
• All red heirlooms
• All yellow heirlooms
• The back bag is a mix of tomatoes with two varieties of Roma’s for tomato paste
We took yellow only and put them through the food strainer to pull out the skins and seeds. When that was done we put it all in the same canning pot we used for the reds:
yell tom b 4 cooking
Then add the same spices as the red mix, we started to heat it all up. You can see it IS yellow when we started.
Here’s where it gets weird – step 2, starting to boil:
yell tom start to boil
Was it turning orange while boiling?
Step 3 – done cooking and ready to jar it up:

yell tom ready to can up
WHAT THE HECK? WHERE DID OUR BEAUTIFUL YELLOW GO?

I have never claimed to understand Mother Nature in the least. However, this was just crazy. We did not use any reds anywhere in the process, yet the sauce turned out deep orange. Here are the two jars now side-by-side:
LEFT RED RIGHT YELLOW SAUCES
Left is our classic Red Sauce, the right is our new Yellow (or Orange) Sauce.
We decided to force ourselves to do a taste test – just to make sure it was all ok to eat and share. Well, the darnedest thing was discovered, the classic mix of all the heirlooms was a bit sweeter than the yellow only.
That part I can kind of understand. I love eating all tomatoes fresh off the vine. I have found that I appreciate the taste and texture of the darker tomatoes much better than the lighter ones (God forbid I have to give any of them up – eeek!). The Black Krim or Cherokee Purple are two of my most favorites.
The yellows have a much milder taste and seem to have more meat in them like a Roma. They are great on sandwiches since they hold together so well. But when it came down to just eating them, the dark ones are my winners.
I guess this was sort of a surprise to me because I based my original thinking on the smaller “snacking” tomato varieties. I have always loved the small yellow tomato much better than the red cherries. I do enjoy the smaller red variety labeled the “grape” tomato. But my very favorite small snacking tomato is the orange – which, unfortunately, is hard to find.
So my bit to share today is don’t freak out when your yellow tomatoes cook up orange, they are still perfectly yummy.

variety of tomatoes

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Please also check me out on: https://wordpress.com/post/lifelessonslived.com for things I have learned in life.

SEASON TWO – WOO HOO!!

It’s time for the next game-plan here on our little slice of heaven – food season!

The grandson started school this week. Therefore I now have more time to spend on/in the gardens (can you hear me jumping for joy?!).

First thing I am working on is revamping the greenhouse.  It’s been going well for the last five years, but it’s time for some improvements, at least I hope they will be in the long run.

  1. Tomato Racks: We have tried a number of ways to work with our tomatoes to get the best results:
    1. Wire tomato cages – not good in the greenhouse. The weather in there makes the cages fall apart after only a couple of years.
    2. We took an idea from our local Corp. Hydroponic Tomato Plant. They “hang” their tomatoes on long lines.  Once I understood the necessity of trimming off lower branches and useless branches, hanging seemed like a great idea.  Nope, the ropes disintegrated, and wires cut the stalks.
    3. Let them lay where they will. VERY WRONG IDEA!  Yes, we had tons of tomatoes, but we could not find most of them until too late.  Either they would rot or get stepped on.  Unless we could see them, we would lose them (and we lost too many for our liking!).
    4. Now we think we have a solution – a wooden rack:

 

So far, so good!  The only issue we have is that I thought of it too late.  The tomatoes in the background (pic on the left shows best – the walkway disappeared – hee hee), are how long and bushy we are already.

We had to go on one row/side of the plot and flip all the branches over to the other side.  Then we installed the rack.  Once in place, we very delicately found each vine and hung it on the rack.  There is a metal field fence (has 4”x4” squares to it) piece attached to the wooden rack for us to build the vines on.

They went into a bit of shock right after propping up; however, it has been about two weeks now, and they are starting to bounce back.  During the whole time, we had plenty of tomatoes.  We had enough that we can begin our barter time:

  • Eggs for tomatoes.
  • Squash for tomatoes
  • Fruit for tomatoes
  • Even got a new thermostat on the truck for a loaf of bread and a bunch of tomatoes (tiny eaters and large sandwich type).

We hope to have the three racks installed in that row by the end of the month (mid-September at the latest).  The front faces west which is our most intense heat.  This leaves the east side in full to partial shade by mid-afternoon.  Carrots, lettuce, spinach are going in there.  We are also building frames to go over the racks for extra cover on really cold nights.  One other year we had tomatoes through Christmas. Hope we can do that again this year.  Fresh tomatoes make such a great gift!

Happy gardening!!

(If you enjoyed this bit of humor, please feel free to visit my latest blog: Life Lessons Lived  to get more laughter in your life!)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

PLOWSHARE THURSDAY AUGUST 17, 2017:

I was away for a bit, but am now back.  Since I was also away from my gardens and garden work, I had a TON of catching up to do.  Funny how falling out of sync for just one week can throw your gardens into an ugly frenzy!

My share today, because of the garden frenzy, is this great little invention:

y-faucet connectorHere we call it a Y-connector.  Most people will attach it to their outside faucet to obtain the ability to water two spots at once.  We go the next step.  We have drip lines EVERYWHERE in our gardens.  They are most helpful in the greenhouse as there is no rain to supply backup water in there.

Even with our whole end swamp cooler going, the plots in there can still dry out pretty fast.  Especially on those 90+ degree days with full sun.  When we initially started up the greenhouse, everything was watered by human power.  Dragging a hose with a nozzle on the end of it up and down, over and under all the plots and plants – not a good thing Martha!

Then (as it always seems to happen) we got smart!  Drip lines were installed.  We tried several different types with several different connections and extensions.  Over the years, and a ton of trial and fail, we came up with running two long lines about six to eight inches away from the edges of the plots the full length of the plots.  Since the plots are about forty feet long and the lines are about fifty feet long, we looped the ends to come back into the center of the plots.  We used to connect to each line one-at-a-time – DUH!  Thus the inclusion of Y-connectors.

We now have both drip lines connected to the same single y-connector.  The end of that has a quick-connect attachment which we can then simply snap on and off each plot for easy, even watering.  We have our own well, but I set a timer for everything I do.  The normal time of each plot is thirty minutes.  This manages to place the water right where the plant root systems are set.  We also (just this year – another “get smart” idea that came to us) set the lines about two to three inches below the surface.  This has managed to deep water beautifully!

We used this maneuver on one of our outside tomato lines for the first time this year – outstanding results!  Before this, we would just place them on the top of the soil near the plant stalk.  It never appeared to be providing the amount of water that we wanted.  By setting them up “BELOW” the surface, the results have been amazing.

It should be noted that we do not use any type of poking device to make a hole for the initial sets transplants.  Hands work just fine, and my finger nails get a strong dose of great minerals that make them stronger (don’t know how that works, just that it does?).

Please feel free to comment any questions you have in our method(s), and I will be happy to share our secrets with you.

Happy Gardening!

 

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!

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!)