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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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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THEY’RE BACK (No, it’s not poltergeist)!

I was checking out the storm Thursday morning, and that’s when I spotted it. Hanging low in our woods, almost aiming for the pond, then back up again. I’m sure it was trying to stay out of the wind gusts, but it moved like it was not affected by them at all.

Turkey Vultures!

vulture at library 4-1-16

Yep, we officially know it is spring when they show back up. They fly over heading north-northeast every spring. Then we get to see them going back in the fall. Have no clue where they are going to or from, but love to see them.

They are not as big as a Condor, but much larger than our area hawks. Guess I am just too much of a bird watching nut, so I naturally get excited when I see them. They are such smooth operators, even in our gust storms!

The first one I spotted was Thursday (3/31/16). It was all by itself which is very odd. Normally we see them like this:

vultures are back 3 31 16This group I spotted at our local small town library about an hour ago. They were dipping in between the trees there – odd? I have seen them in groups of about 5 to around 10, and I know they do not fly straight. They do this huge loop-de-loop in the air, gradually floating off in the direction they want to go. Ducks and geese fly over all year long. They are in a “V” formation, but they still move like an arrow in a straight direction. The loop-de-loop is usually how I spot the vultures. Dead give away (ha ha – yes, pun intended!)

The way they were bobbing in and out of the trees, they seemed to be playing at the library. Shame on them! They were just far enough away and moved fast enough that I could not get a clean shot of one with my cell phone – Boo Hoo! Oh well, at least, I have a couple of pics. Would love to have one close up in the wild. I think they are a bit camera shy! Too bad, I have a business proposition for them…I will set out some of my chicken feed as a treat if they pick off some of our huge ugly gophers? Think they will bite?

plains pocket gopher 2                         prarie dog

Pocket Gopher:                                                                                Prarie Dog

  1. Can’t tell here, but they have very long sharp teeth and claws.
  2. Are almost as big as a Prarie Dog.
  3. Take out the roots of EVERYTHING!
  4. Neither is cute or cuddly
  5. Both are dangerous (I actually saw some in a pet shop in WI – oooh nooo Mr. Bill! Now I hear they are having a prairie dog problem – duh!) and do not make good pets!
  6. Both will dig holes large enough for a goat, cow, or horse to break a leg in!
  7. Cattlemen and/or a good hunter can pick off a prairie dog on the plains – they are bold and brazen.
  8. Gophers are sneaky! If a cat or dog is patient, they may get one. Our guineas would rip it off if it ever had the guts to show its face to them – but nooo – they have too much fun tearing up all of our good fruit tree roots – jerks.

Well, I have news for them…soon it will be warm enough for our Bull snake momma to come out – wooo hooo – love her!!!

 

 

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JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE – BAM!

Flowers showing,

Grasses growing,

Tuesday warm and sunny!

20160322_160641

Then the beastie,

Blew in gusty,

Took sun out – not funny!

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Ten straight hours,

Blizzard snow showers,

No trace of life to be seen.

 

The next morning at eight,

Sun broke thru the gate,

Leaving all white and no green.

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But, Colorado this is,

Sun, rain, hail and blizz,

No worries ere last long here.

 

One day is seventies,

The next is thirties,

Just keep your snow shovel near!

The End.

Or The Beginning?

                                Sincerely,

                                The Bad Poets Society

– LOL-

 

 

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IT’S NOT SMART TO MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE-MAYBE?

This morning was a wakeup call for me and my attempts at taking pictures.  There had to be a couple of thousand Snow Geese flying north over out little farm and these are my shots:

3-3-16 snow geese 2

snow geese 1

3-3-16 snow geese 3

Pretty pitiful – but there are 2 major things wrong pertaining to these pictures:

1)      Winning a great Nikon D3200 Camera with extra DX lens does not make one an instant expert photographer

2)      All the Snow Geese flying north on March 3, 2016 is way abby-normal!

The first one I can fix by actually taking classes (I think they even have some online under Nikon?) to learn how to take better pics.  I could also splurge on a neat little video camera (Walmart has several to choose from, at pretty reasonable prices), then I could have also shared the cool sounds they were making with you.

The second one is the thought that worries me a bit.  This winter has been way to different, and I don’t think it’s just here in Colorado.  It’s normal to get 70 degrees one day and 30 the next from October through January, but to get 60+ and stay there IN FEBRUARY – and no Freeze at all –  now that’s just not normal.  We prep all year for the one to two week period of below freezing day and night, not this year.

Have I also told you that I am an amateur Nature Enthusiast?  I say amateur because I have never taken formal classes on the subject; however, I have lived on a working farm most of my life (My folks purchased the family farm when I was about 2, and my sister was born after we moved there so she has been at it since birth).

I am fascinated with all things nature and natural.  The critters that show up unexpectedly in our yard (can you say opossum!).  The deer that come out of the woods almost every sunset to frolic in the lower pasture (especially love watching in spring as they chase each other all around till dark).  The increasing numbers of good bugs that are showing up here every year (Praying Mantis, Ladybugs, Monarch Butterflies – and some are endangered species).  We do not use chemicals of any kind on our property, so maybe we have become the Favorite Bug Restaurant for the good guys (I can only hope!)?  Who knows why they come, I’m just glad the come.

The numbers of sightings have increase about 10-fold since we purchased our little property in 2000.  Then again we cannot take all the credit, the first 3 years we were here were the worst drought years Colorado had seen in 100+ years.  That may have been a contributing factor (oh sure, blame the drought).  However, all I know is that they are here now and in growing numbers.

So the geese flying north in masses makes me wonder what old (yes she is “old”) Mother Nature is up to now?

Mother Nature 1

Is she in a playful mood and deciding to bring a nice early spring?  Is she in a vengeful mood and going to trick us into thinking it is nice, then zap us with a wicked deep freeze in April (after everything is in bloom of course – happened before and not long ago.)?  I cannot blame her for wanting revenge, we the people have abused her for too long.  Some of us (wish there were more- boo hoo) have actually been trying to help her all our lives. 

I guess there’s no way to predict what she’s up too, so we will just keep doing what we do – garden naturally, and hope for the best! 

Maybe I will put a totem up for her in the gardens to try to appease her – how’s this?

totem 1

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ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES?

Time has finally caught up with us. Okay, maybe I should say the weather has finally caught up with us. Our first major frost is due tomorrow night, and I’m not ready – eeekkkk! The exterior garden is pretty much demolished – so no problem there. The decision now is do I want to keep the greenhouse tomatoes going through to next year or break out my Edward Scissorhands clippers and have at it?

My major concern is not devastating the bush, but how bad the bush will devastate me. The darn thing is from the nightshade family. Very poisonous prospect, and an oxymoron if you really think about it. How did anyone ever come to realize that a tomato was edible? I know that most of what we eat is from watching critters. If they eat it, must be ok – however- nothing will eat the tomato vine. The fruit (yep it’s a fruit) is, to me, outstanding! So many varieties of uses – ketchup, sauces, Pico, and best to me – raw!! We put them in tons of things from eggs to meats to noodles. When you combine several together you get an amazing flavor (that’s how we make our pasta sauce).

So what am I so worried about – the vines. Years past I was able to tear at them with minimal body covering (ok, clean it up, I’m talking shorts and a tank top then)…but not now. Now I need full body armor! Pants, socks, ankle high boots, long sleeve shirt or at least a long sleeve jacket, gloves and most important – a clean rag.

The rag came about when I found out that I could no longer deal with the treacherous monster without full body armor. I make the mistake of taking out the outside vines 2 years ago by simply hacking away at them. I knew what they were back then, but at that time they did not infest me. Well, on this fateful day it happened to be bright, sunny and on the warmer side. As I worked I began to perspire (women perspire – men sweat – what a crock but that’s for another day) and subconsciously wiping the wet from my face – using my hands which were not encased in gloves. I believed that gloves were for sissys that were afraid to get their hands dirty – also, not anymore!

The poison weeping from the vines as I hacked away at them was doing its dastardly revenge from the moment I touched them. It leaked all over my hands and arms, I lifted both to help remove the moister from my face and eyes and the damage was done! The killer tomatoes had gotten vengeance. They were stealthy – doing injury when I least expected it! This was a year, after all, just like the previous years so why should I do anything different? Ha, ha, ha, silly me! NOTHING ever stays the same!!

I did my dirty deed on the gardens. I took everything down for the winters’ rest, as it should be. I went to bed that evening feeling like a hero! I had accomplished every fall cleanup item on my “to-do list” in record time. I showered after a hard days’ work but it was already too late. The sneaky tomato was enforcing its revenge upon me without my knowing it.

I woke the next morning looking like a blow fish!

pic of blowfish

WWWHHHAAATTTT???? I was swollen from my eyes to my feet with the worst being on my face (of course!). I was awake, but my eyes were thin little slits to peek through. My sinuses were so plugged that I had to hang my mouth open to breathe a heavy breather on a nasty phone call. And the facial skin itself was so stretched from the attack that I could not see a single wrinkle (bonus!? Hee hee).   My fingers were so swollen I could not make a fist and a burning rash had broken out almost everywhere. The first think (yes think) I did was yell for help.

Well, help came but not before laughing hysterically for several minutes first! Very funny – not!!! My sister then reminded me about the nightshade family in the tomato. So that was the culprit. She continued to laugh while helping to rub aloe lotion on me, also reminding me of all the time I teased her about her “sensitive” skin (she breaks out in a rash at the drop of a hat). Now I was to learn exactly how she felt – in the most painful way!

The majority of the swelling went down after a couple of days, the rash took a bit longer. But I did learn a very valuable lesson. The tomato doesn’t care what your skin type is. It doesn’t care that you may have killed it in the past without feeing its agony. It only cares about the first moment you DO notice it. That moment when it can come out on your unsuspecting self and seek revenge!

So, now I know that I will attack the monster with full body armor, but I will display my kinder side. I will allow part of the plant to remain in the plot. I will cover it with extra protection and even add a small space heater so that the temperature will remain above freezing in its mini-tunnel. I will allow it to continue to provide us with fruit in a slower manner throughout the winter.

In turn, I believe, it will not decide to attack me. At least not until the next time I get stupid and try to clear it jungle style! It had better remember that revenge is sweet, especially served up in a pasta sauce!

Now, my older friends, you know where they got the idea for that wonderful “B” movie from back in the 70’s – Attack of the killer tomatoes. Enjoy!!  (oh, and of course don’t forget that great theme song )

THE DROUGHT YEARS

 There are never really warnings when something like water resources are going to change. Oh you may see little things if you have the insight of a Native American Indian – but the average person today would not notice (ok, maybe a climatologist).

The eighties in Denver were rough economically. The nineties were flourishing and exciting. Then, at the turn of the century, all that changed. Any modern-day prophet that may have been trying to predict the future in regard to economy based on the past was blown right out of the water! The weather forecasters had the same problem.

The drought that started in 2000 (the year we bought the farm of course- August of 2000) was to last for our first 3 years on the farm. The news people all stated that it was the worst Colorado had seen in over 100 years…oh lucky us!! The first few years of the new millennium, were to be a time of major re-thinking in the way we have done and will do everything farm related! We had drawn up garden plots, planting thoughts, critter pens and the like. Well now, due to a major water shortage, we were faced with re-planning (is that a word?).

Looking back I think this was all a blessing. We spent 3 years in major drought and learned a ton-of-stuff just through our trial and error efforts! We learned the different ways to water and what worked best for our Colorado weather and soil. We learned how to do things “naturally” – meaning without the aid of chemicals. When you have farmers all around you that have to use huge machinery loaded with chemical (some organic but most not) compounds to save their crops, it very hard to go green. They would spray and by that afternoon we would be overloaded with their pests.

When you want good food that you can share with family and friends, having monster pests is not easy. We tried fencing off for rabbit control – ya, that didn’t work! The little buggers know just how to dig underneath them. So we found that wormwood was something they didn’t like – we now have it planted in a number of places – good-bye rabbits (or at least most of them)!

We also found that our house cat – Tigger – loved to catch baby bunnies – YUCK!! But it helped to control them better than the coyote’s did out here. He actually brought one back up to the house one day – and the cute little bugger was still alive? Being animal lovers (but realists – if an animal is hurting, you put it down!), we put it in a box, gave it some food and water, and waited till the next morning.

Well, we woke the next morning to an empty box? Where was the baby bunny? Tigger slept with me locked in my room for the night, so we know he had nothing to do with it. The bunny looked like death warmed over when we put it in the box, so we were sure it would be dead by morning – but he pulled a magic act and disappeared! We searched everywhere and no rabbit. To this date, never found that baby bunny (think that is where gremlins or angels stepped in).

Our first drought year also forced us to make some hard choices. We purchased cashmere goats and angora rabbits so that we could sell the fibers, not the animals.

Well, cashmere goats only get combed every spring, 1-time a year. Angora rabbits are very VERY high maintenance! They were constantly getting their hair matted and tangled so they needed to be cleaned and brushed almost everyday. When you both work off the farm to keep the finances going, then are trying to save a garden so that you will have food to put by, spending tons of time on critters that are a hassle is not feasible. The rabbits were the first to go.

We knew our goats would bring an income, although very meager, within 5 months. Since that is how often they birth, and it only takes a couple months after that to sell off the extras (usually males) that we couldn’t use-no worries, they are keepers. They at least provided enough extra income back then to assist with their feed and mineral supports.

The gardens seemed to be a constant struggle also. We found that when you have a drought, every weed in the territory will appear. The cacti went into hiding, but the goat-head stickers were in abundance! The bindweed also found was a thing that can get out of control in a heartbeat. After a lot of trial-and-error, we found out that our ducks and geese loved goat-head flowers. If you can get them into the area when they are in flower stage, they will eat them thus creating no stickers – yea! The bindweed took a little more trials (with a lot of errors) and tons of talking with locals and referring to our books (yep, we have a huge pile of all kinds of gardening books).

Turned out our best defense came from a natural method – vinegar! Of all things – vinegar- who would have thought? I know it was good for a great number of things, but when used straight, and extremely carefully, it will kill off just about any plant –including bindweed. The tricky part is you have to use a closed container (just a small one so that if you accidentally knock it over, you wont spill on something you want to keep – yes, I did that and killed off one of my best pepper plants) and a sponge. Semi-soak the sponge and wipe it on the bindweed leaves. Works perfect!

We found that it did not work on the goat-head weed though. Apparently it only works on the bigger leaf plants. We also use it to kill of the grass/weeds that pop up between our bricks in the patio – just don’t get it close to trees, flowers or bushes you want to keep.

The drought years taught us how to grow in long rows for minimal flooding purposes and in plots to limit the area of weeding. The one thing we didn’t learn until much later is what to do with the walkways between the plots and rows. We tried tilling – nope. Tried lying down weed barrier cloths – nope. Tried letting things grow up and then mowing them before they could produce flowers or get to long – nope. Nothing we did seemed to work. We even tried the newspaper plans. Ended up with newspapers and straw mulch flying all over our property and across the road.

Oh, did I mention we have almost non-stop winds out here? That is unless its about 100 degrees out, then we have no wind. We also have high altitude issues. Not like living in Denver or the Rockies height, but just enough to make things challenging. I couldn’t contain my raspberries in Denver, but can’t get them to grow out here? Found out that our heat is so intense (from the high altitude) that they need partial shade to grow.

Hmm, was never that way when we were kids in Wisconsin. We had about a 30×30 foot plot of them as kids, and loved to attack them in season! Our gardens now look like something out of a magazine. To see them from a distance looks beautiful! Nice clean plots with, what looks like, a colorful cement walkway. Surprise – its not cement! Cement for all of our garden space would not be very cost efficient.

Another one of our trial and errors was actually a happy “light bulb” moment. I use a piece of old carpet or rug to sit on while I weed (saves my butt from stickers). So, about 5 years after the drought it finally dawned on me – old carpet! We started it couple of years ago. Lay down a heavier duty weed barrier (not the least expensive stuff – feel it before you buy-you can tell it’s a heavier duty cloth), place your carpet sections over top then use garden stakes to hold it all down (we use the “U” shaped ones – also works best for hold connecting pieces together).

When the carpet, or a piece of it gets too worn out from the elements, simply cut that section off and throw it away. Then replace it with a new setup – works fantastic! Now the only weeds we have to contend with are in the plots and periodically on the edges! Saves a ton of time and effort and, I am thrilled to say, has found a way to repurpose old carpets.

My previous job of 10 years was with the local government housing authority office. Through that I made a lot of landlord connections. They were always complaining about having to rip up tenant damaged carpets on carpets that were not that old (if there is a bad tear or burn in the center of one – the whole thing usually comes out), then having to pay extra to have the trash people (city things) haul it off.

Well, I made a deal with a couple of them – if they would cut the carpet into 3-foot widths (or less) then I would take it off their hands for free! They love the idea and to this day I still get pieces nicely rolled up and left at our gate. There is nothing in the carpet that is toxic (or they couldn’t put it near children in apartments – think about it!), why let it bio-degrade in a landfill for years when we can get a second life out of it! By the time we are done with it, there is not much left to dissolve. Most of it is pretty well shredded when the weather, heat and our bodies have left their marks.

That was another thing we learned from the drought years – how to recycle, reuse, and/or repurpose almost everything. We are very proud of that fact. Think our parents would be also-if they were still alive.

Our parents were raised during the depression years, so saving everything for a possible later use became second nature to them-especially our mother. She carried that with her all through her life and I am very glad of that! Some nights when my sister Darcy and I are having our “in our cups” moment (a phrase picked up from our mothers sister Marlene – thanx Marlene! – oh, and it means having a few drinks at the end of a hard work week), we come up with the best re-purposed ideas! The only sad part it that our ideas take so long to appear. We almost always say, “I wish I would have thought of that one X years ago when we were working on…!”

Never fails to amaze me how “out-of-the-box” our thoughts get once we have time to relax and let our minds wander. And I love the moments when my mind wanders and I go with it, however I don’t get anything done here during those moments! So I believe the moral behind this is that no matter how bad things seem to be, there is always a reason for everything – this is my life motto now, and I really do believe it! Not a bad thing seems to go by that I don’t (sooner or later) see that there was a reason for it. Usually a good life lesson!