DON’T LOOK AT IT – DON’T LOOK AT IT – DON’T LOOK AT IT!

What is the first thing you do when you get into your vehicle to go somewhere. My habit is to turn on the radio.  Two reasons for this: 1) It sets my pace for the day – good music = great day. 2) To check who is singing and the name of the song, in case I want to buy it. See, I have this fun new car with fun new features. One of them is this great “info” dash reader. Here is a pic from this morning:

12-8-16-dash-info-14-degrees

So, here’s how the fun techno works.  The bottom is the name of the song – OK.  The middle is the singer or group – OK.  Above that is the radio station (KOSI plays 24/7 Christmas music starting about Thanksgiving) – OK.  Now the top line is where I need to “not” look.

My clock (says 8:15) is off.  I hate daylight savings time changes, and I always have to drag out my instruction manual to figure out how to make the stupid 1-hour changes twice a year…so I just don’t!  The time this morning was actually 7:15 a.m.

The top middle is how many miles I can drive before I run out of gas – I really like this one!  The cute little gas tank (every newer car has this one) tells me which side of the car my cap is on.  This is a good thing because our vehicles are different, and yes, sometimes I forget what I am driving.

The helpful yellow “I” tells me to check my “engine info.”  All I have to do is click a switch, and it tells me things like “low on washer fluid” which just so happens to be what it is trying to tell me now, but I am ignoring it.

Then we come to the culprit of my “don’t look” title – TEMPERATURE!  Yep, it says negative 12 degrees.  OOOUUUCCCHHH!!!  Now I love snow, so fun to play in and we can always use the moisture.  However, cold and I are no longer friends.  I expect that beastie to show up around February, but not in December.  Not here in the northeastern Colorado plains in December.  Our norm is around 35-65 depending on Mother Nature. Today I think Jack Frost has hog-tied Mom Nature just to remind me I have several fake joints (JERK!).

So, as of this morning, I am trying to train this “old dog” to do a new trick – Don’t Look, don’t look, don’t look at the dash in the morning.  Maybe I will make that in the winter?

I enjoy cooler weather much more than hotter weather; however, I draw the line at minus numbers. A crisp fall air, a couple of feet of snow – no big deal. But the negatives are just as bad as the over 80’s in the summer to me. Can only put so much extra on, or take so much off to help my body adjust. When it gets to these types of temps, I’m screwed all day.

I even thought I just stick a small piece of electrical or duct tape over that tiny area just to fool myself into believing it is not what it is. Maybe that will work?

laugh-so-hard-sign

(then they froze – LMAO!)

WHERE WAS I AGAIN?

Ok woman – get your hands back in that dirt!  Ahhh, warm, living, comforting soil!  Breathe deep, life goes on (hopefully), pull up your big girl panties and move along.  Seventy plus degrees – November 2016 – Colorado – WHHAAATTT??

If things were not going freaky enough, we are going to have 70 ° today and the next couple of days?  Now Colorado weather is strange, major part of why I love it here.  But seventy in November is just abby-normal!

I do not have, nor do I want spring fever right now.  I have been sucking in the Hallmark channel trying to bring back my happy-happy, joy-joy of the holidays…p.s. it’s not working – grrr!

I have been working on all kinds of crafts for family and friends for Christmas.  We purchased a ½ a grass-fed beef to present a great meal for the family Christmas Party.  I have been pricing turkeys and checking out recipes for all kinds of side dishes.  I WANT MY FALL WEATHER!

A lot of leaves have fallen, but a bunch are still hanging on.  My honeysuckle, and winecup still have flowers on them?  The California Poppies were over eight inches tall (until my grandson thought they were weeds and helped me by pulling them out – eeek, boo hoo, hahaha).

The Robins, Blackbirds, and ladybugs are all still here?  My Blue Jay’s and Chickadee’s have not shown up yet?  There has not been a single fluke drop of snow yet (by now we should have had at least one fluke flurry)?

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We put the heater in our pond for the fish, but now it’s just a waste of electricity.  The trees can’t make up their mind either:

So now I must trudge on!  Keep creating.   Keep cookie planning and prepping going.  Keep the mood heading toward holiday happiness. 

Maybe I will take this picture, blow it up and hang it on my bedroom ceiling.  This way I can wake up each day thinking it will be the holidays soon:

fall

Or maybe this one would be better:

frozen pond 2-3-16

Then I can remember what winter feels like. (Ok, I am sick – Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer – my likes in that order!)

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IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN A RAINY DAY?

There is just something about a rainy day that I just love.  I can’t quite pin it down to one single thing.  Maybe it is because I hold so many great reasons:

  • Rainwater is best for all the plants.  Veg, flower, bush and tree all look and act so much better with rain water.  Even more so than our well-water.
  • A steady rain (like what is going on now) makes me feel major creative!  Writing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, even cooking (SHOCKER – for me anyway, I normally do not do the cooking here, and it is not one of my passions – love the eating part, but my Sis does the awesome cooking in our household).
  • Something calming for me in the sound of the rain falling, especially on a tin roof (our outbuildings all have tin roofs).
  • The sound of the wind whipping up, rain pouring down, throw in some lightning and thunder and I can fall right to sleep (hee hee- I know, it keeps most people up but not me – so weird).
  • Then there is the childhood part of it.  When I was young, we couldn’t wait for the rain to come.  It meant fresh fruits and veggies to pick and eat, mud puddles to stomp around in, and the added benefit of hot cocoa when we finally came into the house soaking wet and cold.  It meant something warm and comforting for me.  Snow does the same thing.

I am much older now; I also have osteoarthritis (in all my joints) which can mean some painful moments on these types of days.  I believe my contentment overrides the pain.  Maybe it is also seeing something accomplished.  I used to work in offices and factories.  At the end of the day, I always felt like I didn’t accomplish anything.  There was still a pile of work left to be done on the next day, and it all looked the same.  Now I can work on a project and actually see that it is complete.  The next day will bring a new project.  Sure, I have some projects that take more time than others, but the overall feeling is of accomplishment.

So, this morning is time to finish a sewing project for a friend’s horses:

8-25 sew proj

Then vacuum seal some meat:

8-25 vac sealer

Maybe work some more on knitting projects:

8-25 knit work

Then later I have to fry up some chicken and cook some rice to put on zucchini boats to be grilled this weekend (notice, the least fav thing to do is last – hee hee).

Then I usually end my days by sitting in my recliner and working on the yarn projects again.  I never have just one going at a time.  Right now I am working on 5.  A couple of these are birthday gifts; a couple are going to be sold in my Etsy shop, and the other is one that I am actually doing just for me – woo hoo!

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and sunny (boo hoo), so I guess it’s time to do the “real work” – PROCESSING HARVEST  yum!

 

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I JUST HAVE TO BRAG UP SMART FARM/GARDEN PEOPLE!

The fact that these smart people also happen to be some of our dearest friends is purely coincidental.  We love to think- outside-the-box; you know, look at a stick and see a staircase type of thinkers.  Maybe this is why we have the best close friends in the world, we all think like this.

First example, our own greenhouse.  When we (my sister and I) initially thought about our new farm life, one of the things we knew we had to have was a greenhouse.  If you have the money and the space I highly recommend getting one.  It does not have to be as big as ours, but you need a place to grow your own foods. DSCF5121

I picked this picture to show you that we did build it ourselves (you can also check out my posts from 2012 for a lot more details).  This also gives you an idea of just how big it is.  The out-of-the-box thinking here (Kudos for our friend for thinking of this) is why it is 3 feet in the ground.  You actually have to step down 2 steps to get into it.  The friend also discovered a stellar insulated siding to pour the cement into that gives it a triple insulated side wall on all 4 sides.  The reason for this (for those asking) is to keep it warmer in winter and cooler in summer – on its own – with little to know help needed sometimes in the year.

Well the friend that helped us with this is ALWAYS thinking outside the box.  He came up with a couple of amazing simple things to help on their beautiful gardens.

HAIL – a harsh topic for anyone that loves plants.  You can spend days, months, and years working on your plants, trees, bushes, lawn, gardens and in an instant – HAIL – will destroy all or most all of it – grrr!  Fortunately, (knock on wood) we have not been in the path this year (yet), unfortunately our friends have been for the last several years (major bummer!).  So, Mister Think-Outside-the-Box came up with this nifty idea:

knj garden1

He is (they are) just so ingenious!!  (deserve many, MANY more exclamation points here but my writing checker won’t let me do it – boo hoo!)  Take a good look at this pic.  Not the raised beds, not the walk ways but the top and the slanted boards.  They placed wire hog/field panels (like this):

field pannel

The hole size in the squares is about 4”x4”, some have narrower holes toward the bottom to keep baby pigs in)

All over the tops of their garden spaces.  Then covered that with a finer mesh wire like this:

rabbit wire

Some people call it rabbit wire because the square holes are smaller than the holes in chicken wire and rabbit feet won’t fall through.  These are only about the size of a dime.)

NOW HOW BRILLIANT ARE THEY!!!

Then (like the top wasn’t enough smarts), check out the boards that are slanted in the raised bed.  They also have the hog panels attached to them – FOR THE VINING PLANTS NO LESS!  HOW DO THEY KEEP DOING IT?

They just keep coming up with these outstanding ideas.  How many years have my sister and I cried over lost crops to hail damage, but we never once thought of something so simple (almost seems like it should be common sense – LMAO), but so right?  We have hog panels all over our place, mostly for fencing.  There are some that have been damaged to the point of not hanging on a fence anymore, so they are just lying around – OH DUH!?!  (OK, can’t stop giggling at myself now.)

We have seen the panels used for gardening at this angle:

field panel in use

But never once thought far enough outside-the-box to come up with the perfect ideas that they did (yes, a bit of jealousy here – but just a bit because they are dear friends!).

I know that some of you (my Blogging Buddies) have seen some pretty nasty hail this year (maybe in past years also), so I wanted to share their smarts with those of you that have the same issues with your gardens.  I also wanted to brag up how beautiful their work is:

knj garden 2

Makes you want to just grab a lemonade, pull up a chair and watch the bees and butterflies do their thing.  AND THEY DID IT ALL THEMSELVES! WOW!!  This is not the work of a landscape specialist, it’s just them and their marvelous brains (more exclamation points – can’t help it – I’m just so excited for them)!  They work hard but they also work smart.  They deserve this Kudos!

I love my friends

ALRIGHT, JUST WHERE DID THESE COME FROM?

We get a ton of unusual things that happen here on our little farm.  The floods brought up odd looking snakes, beavers, opossum and who know what else has flowed down our way that is hiding yet in the field (we only have about 20 acres).
Every year has brought new surprises.  This year has brought a load of rain.  With the temps we have had, everything should be all dried out by now (that is the ones that are not man irrigated), they are not.  Here is one example of our odd summer season:

8 1 guess we are wet

From far away they just look like little white bumps in our field behind the chickens.  Look again:

8-1 mucho mushrooms

THESE MONSTERS ARE HUGE! (My foot is a women’s size 9)

8-1 size of our shrooms

There are only 4 or 5 of them out there, but the size is what shook my world.  HUGE is putting it mildly.  The sad part is that they are not edible – boo hoo!!  Especially since we love shrooms and put them in everything!  Fresh in a salad, fried loaded on a good steak, mixed with eggs for an outstanding omelet (ok, making myself really hungry now – hee hee), or one of several other goodies.  They just compliment so nicely.

We are lucky, though.  We have an outstanding mushroom farm not too far from us.  They grow several types, and THEY ARE EXCELLENT!  When we go there, we purchase bags and bags of them.  Most of them come home and get dehydrated, but several cups of them get fried up – yummm!

Ok, now I’ve done it!  Gonna have to take a trip there this weekend and get some more.  Since we have a side of beef coming in about a month for the freezer, better have some shrooms ready for it!

sidabeef

(Sorry Vegetarians, but I do love my meat with my veggies!)

…AND GOD SAID, “LET THERE BE LIGHT…oh I was just kidding!”

There are very few things in life that scare me. Severe, sneaky storms are one. I am thinking that when God said “Let there be light,” he was looking at one nasty monster! This is how it goes…
It’s a nice warm summer day. A gentle cooling breeze is blowing. The sky is a beautiful color blue with a dotting of clouds. The birds are flying and singing all over the place. A butterfly gently floats from flower to flower competing with the bees. Then it begins.
The clouds start to thicken. The breeze picks up to a bluster. The blue sky is now only viewed slightly on the far east side of the sky. The clouds start to turn from fluffy white to Halloween shades of gray. The insects disappear (how do they know?).
The wind has now grown into a mighty whip, snapping off small branches and peeling back any loose matter on or around buildings. They sky now almost black with the fierce clouds swirling in all directions. The birds are fighting hard to find shelter from what, they know, is coming.
Then, suddenly everything stops…you look, you listen, you do NOT breathe. In the distance, you can see it coming. There is now a sheet flowing from the black clouds to the ground and its heading right for you. You run to shut down any non-essential power spots. Chase all the critters you can round up into the barns. Cover as many plants as you can with what used old sheets you have in case this monster is carrying hail with it.
Deathly quiet! Ping, ping, ping…a few raindrops on the metal roof. Pinga da pinga da ping ping ping – bigger rain drops and more of them. Now the gathering beast is close enough you can hear it roar. It sounds like a cross between a train racing down the tracks and a scraper on a winter windshield, and you can see it coming right for you.
The challenge begins. Did I get it all turned off? Is everything as protected and covered as possible? Did I forget anything? Do I still have time to tie down one more thing? The answer to all of these is usually no because it’s too late to do anything if you want to.
Now all you can do is sit and watch and pray.
The monster is here!

monster storm

So far, no hail – you finally breathe a bit.  The winds pick up, and the empty bucket you left by the pump starts rolling across the driveway – dang, ya knew you forgot something!

Since it is just a heavy windy rain, you start watching the clouds.  Which way are they moving? Is there an end in sight yet?  Are they bunching up anywhere?  Are there any white streaks (sure sign of some dangerous heavy hail)?   Then everything stops!

No wind.  No rain.  No birds. No sounds at all.  Once again you are looking up (praying a bit harder now), “Please no twister, please no twister!”  You begin repeating this over and over again as you watch the clouds steadily sucking together into one spot in the sky.  Are they swirling in a circle?  You watch.  You wait.  You listen.  Then…suddenly…just as fast as it started up…a glistening ray of light breaks through the black mess.  Let there be light!

let there be light sky pic

My sisters and I survived a very close encounter with a tornado when we were all very young.  Took out the machine shop, the back end of the garden, our tree house, and a few other areas, but missed our home.  We were only about 20 feet from the back door (where stupid me was watching it take out the tree house till my older sister dragged me to the basement spouting some not-so-nice words-lol) to the tree house.  I have been fascinated by them ever since.  I can relate to the movie Twister.

The funniest part – I love a good storm!  A steady rain puts me to sleep in a heartbeat.  The clouds are a never-ending display of life and movement.  And, if lucky enough, a booming thunder makes me jump a foot to prove I am still alive (lol – sick I know).  The only part the really creeps me (other than the twister) is the lightening.

gentle rain

I love watching, what we call, heat lightening.  It’s the kind that just flashes up in the clouds – beautiful!  The other kind I only like to watch from a distance.  I have seen it strike straight down and split a tree, knock out a transformer box (no, not the Alien Robot Transformer, the kind that supplies electric to a specific area.), and kill a cow.  I hate driving in them too.  Huge fear of it hitting my metal car and I get fried.  (Big push for wearing rubber sneakers right now! Hee hee)  I know this fear is silly, but a couple more people in Colorado recently died (idiots on a golf course – AGAIN – you would think they would learn… Lightening storm-head for shelter! Duh).

lightening

Oh, and we get double and triple rainbows out here – woo hoo (didn’t in WI).

double rainbow

 

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Make Erie Ooo Sound Here!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016, approximately 5:00 p.m.

Phase One: The wind (from hell)-

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(duh me – next time I really should do a video of this to show the wind – LOL).

The trees were all being sucked toward the northwest (this storm).  Whipping around really good!

Phase 2: Moving Fast –

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Clouds were swirling in all directions, but luckily not in any circles! Phew!! (wipe brow here)

Phase 3: Moving Closer (too close for comfort)-

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The tree line in the background is the back edge of our property.  The heavy/dark gray streaks are the tons of rain heading our way.

Phase 4: Ah – what – huh?

6-23-16 WILD STORM 2

The rain was now falling, but from the other direction (I didn’t notice the clouds behind me to the south)?  Apparently, that was the first wave that came through when I ran out to shut everything down and close up.  So while taking these pics, my back was getting drenched – oh joy (yes sarcasm)!?!

The storm I was chasing was now almost black up in the clouds.  I got right up to our tree line and then – – – disappeared???

It was almost like someone had a huge bucket they had dumped up in the sky and it just ran out – that quick.

I shouldn’t be so surprised by Colorado storms anymore.  Several years back we were sitting out on our front patio watching the storms and cars go by.  Then we noticed that it was raining fairly hard across the street, but not a drop on our side – how wild – and fun!

When I was about eight years old on our farm in Wisconsin, I watched a tornado dance across our back yard.  Saw it take out the tree house before my older sister grabbed my arm screaming at me that I was an idiot – so true (hee hee and very proud of it!).  Just love watching the skies!

 

 

 

 

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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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HAVE YOU NOTICED THE CHANGES?

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?

volcano

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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THE WONDERFUL WACKY WORLD OF COLORADO WEATHER:

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.:

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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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