Friday, July 30, 2010


You get to watching the same animals and grow rather attached even though they are wild. That happened with Tri-pod, a three legged antelope. Whether he lost his leg to a bullet and then gangrene, or whether a fence ripped it, I don't know but he had two hind legs and one front leg. Every fall he'd show up behind our house and stay all winter. Come spring he'd disappear. That happened for about five years and even though he had know sentimental mussy feelings for us, we did for him and have always wondered what happened that he never returned.

With the does and fawns it is harder to tell which ones are which, except in size.
The bucks it is a no-brainer when they get their horns - they shed them each year. Some have a narrow spread, others wide, and a few are just down right strange. This is a medium sized buck. Note the white hair sticking straight up on his butt. What you can't hear is the sudden forceful expulsion of air that he is emitting telling me he's alarmed and STAY AWAY. Of course all he'll do is run away, up to 65mph run away. I've clocked them when I was traveling down a country road and they were on the other side of the fence running.

This is that same family but on a different day. I've been taking my camera every day to the corrals trying to get close up shots. RIGHT, ha! These are with a telephoto lens. The only time I could have gotten a close up was when I didn't have my camera. I know they knew that! If I just slow down, they take off. It's how we use to hunt them. Someone would keep driving and the designated hunter would hop out of the truck without it stopping. Yes! we slowed down but way before the antelope and not so much when the hunter stepped out, so it didn't appear we were changing out pace.

When my dad managed a good sized ranch, we would hunt the ones that had been feeding off the grain and alfalfa feeds. Feedlot fed, we use to call them and they were good. If they have been eating sagebrush, the dog won't even eat the meat. What an animal has been eating makes a huge difference. Take lamb for instance. Can't stand to eat one if it has been grazing in our pastures but put it on a little grain and alfalfa and yum, yum.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Good Bit Accomplished

Thank you, thank you for your prayers!!! The kids arrived home safe and boy did I miss them. They must of missed me too by the way their faces lit up and the tons of hugs I got.

While they were gone, I was working on their room. It is quite small and a set of bunk beds and a twin bed without a frame fit in an L-shape in the room which means the L is wall to wall beds. So I wanted to do a design that was cheerful but not busy. What I came up with was a lovely yellow color with a sage band that was left over paint from the bathroom and bright white flowers on top.

I've got the white part of the flowers painted and the yellow in the centers which isn't shown since I haven't taken a photo yet.

Now I need to figure out how to accent the flowers with a few black lines. No, I've never had art class so this is a real stretch for me. Still with some bright very simple quilts, I've yet to make, I think the room will be a bright welcome for the kids as they are here seven days a week most weeks. Also in the day and a half while they were gone, I made a trip to the next town over to shop, tore down and stacked fence, and rototilled the new section of garden. Whoo, hoo, I've been trying to get the manure on it and get it rototilled for a month now. Even though I can't plant much of anything else with the time left with the season, I can plant buckwheat. That should give the spot a good start on next year. The greenhouse section here is not new but the last two years the crop was poor so I did a major overhaul on the dirt. Haven't put up plastic on it in years as I'm hoping for a new frame. A better frame. With the weather turning colder, I'd better get something done though because summers aren't as warm as they once were. Before that it was much like it is now.

The section by the fence and along to the right is new.This is a picture of the garden. I wanted to plant in rectangular beds but alas, did not have time to figure them out. Also, I planted everything with wide paths which I never do but I knew I wouldn't have time to care for the garden like I ususally do. Note the tiny tomato plant, Glacier, in the foreground and the much larger Roma and Long Keepers in the background behind the beans. My husband hasn't quit commenting on how he misses the zuchini and squash plants. OOPs! I should have made room for them instead of big wide paths. Last year the paths weren't nearly wide enough with extra large plants but this year with all the extra manure the plants are much smaller. The garden should really produce next year with time for the micro-organisms to multiply and the worms to do their thing with so much food for them.
Red Currants

Some of the currants are ready to pick but I'm headed out with the kids to Colorado tomorrow so they will just have to hold on till I get back. I cut this poor bush back in half this spring because it had very few berries last year and usually it's loaded like it is now. So loaded it can't hold itself up off the ground. My neighbor wants the berries. I've used them for years despite the fact we really aren't that fond of them. What I'd rather have in this spot is a cherry tree so that is what I'm going to do next year if possible. I do plan on asking for a few black currant berries from the neighbor to start a black currant plant. They are higher in nutrients and I like them better. Just haven't had the heart to cut this one out since it is so prolific. Not really sure I do yet. Plants have such a hard time surviving in this country that anything that grows well, (I'm not referring to thistle) one hardly has the heart to kill. But even thistle doesn't grow beyond a few feet past people's yards.

Tommorrow, I will just have some antelope pictures for you as I travel along listening to ,

"Are we there yet?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The cabbage are doing well but a cold spring doesn't bother them much.
The grasshoppers have had a few bites but since our big rain storm where the lightning was less than a second apart from each strike, I haven't seen them since.

The tomato plants are finally taking off with the 80 degree weather and it will be interesting to see how they do with such a cold beginning in June. Got to love those Washington Cherry tomatoes as they have been putting on red ones to eat since the end of June. Around here we're typically lucky to get ripe tomatoes in September if it doesn't frost too hard. That's why I started to try my own varieties. Greenhouses supply only those touted to grow in a large geographic area.
I always love the Roma and the Washington Cherry but Long Keepers, Glacier, and Siberia are all new varieties I'm trying. The Long Keepers because the tomatoes are to store well into the winter. The Glacier and Siberia because they are cold tolerant. I see they put on early, ripen very early, and just keep producing.
The Siberian tomatoes and Glacier are very small plants but again we have been eating tomatoes off them since the end of June, unheard of around here. They could be great season extenders. Usually the Early Girls and Celebrities sold around here don't ripen until late August and that's a iffy.
The fruit may be fairly small but I'm thinking the plants with their miniture size would be great in the house this winter. I think I'll try transplanting some.
The peas are blossoming
and a few pods are appearing. The beans are just starting to blossom and I've a new kind I'm trying out. But what oh what am I going to do without squash. There are many things I never got around to planting partly because I just finished getting all the manure on to the garden and partly time. So this year I won't be canning nearly as much but next year I will hopefully be bringing in a large harvest. Meanwhile there is always much to do and I'd better take advantage of the time.

Got to go and help hubby measure the house for new siding and measure the wall in the girl's room to put a strip along the top. Yes, I'm finally getting it painted. The girls are at their dad's. I'll be praying continually until they return.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Reverse Cheetah on My Lawn

? type of thistle

Had a conversation at a church party the other night about my vinegar herbicide project. They weren't impressed and touted chemical wonders for tackling thistle. They tried to tell me the chemical in the product was fairly safe. Safe enough for a eighteen month old, a three year old, and a five year old, I question that as they absorb toxins at a much much higher rate than adults.

I say they feel safe because ignorance is bliss. Try spending years with a whiff of perfume sending knife like pains up your nose and the smell causing such a reaction of weakness that it puts you down in bed for a week. Try raising three kids, home-schooling and being nearly house bound from chemical sensitivities for fifteen years. As for medicine, I was allergic to the base of the medication and had to take a medication to take the medication. After a short time of that I gave up since I wasn't much better and the environmental medicine specialist/research scientist, I went to said avoidance and bolstering your immune system were the key to improvement. The medications main job was to help you function, not cure. He sent me home with books on the base chemicals in the products we commonly use. It was rather scary material to read and changed by spending habits.

If you think the FDA will protect you then think again because it is all about money now. Drugs aren't approved because they won't make enough money or approved when they shouldn't be because they are steered by the almighty dollar. Want to know how I know. Let me give you one of a gazillion examples. A new ant-biotic drug was released a few years ago for use in livestock. The American Veterinary council said, don't do it. If anyone would benefit from it, it would be them so it means something for them to speak out. Apparently the drug is very close to one used by doctors as a last resort to save human lives. Here we come, What's next? Drug resistance because the population has been ingesting animals treated with the drug.

Let me tell you about another chemical often touted as wonderful by dentists -fluoride. It has a long documented history (back to 1854) of damaging the thyroid. But for those with already impaired thyroids, it carries a extra whammy. Many of today's pesticides have fluoride and it is commonly used on many of the vegetables you eat from the store such as broccoli and to make matters worse, processing them concentrates the fluoride.

Know anyone with a thyroid problem - lots huh? Possibly even yourself.

My research reveals that 50% of babies are fed formula during their first month in the USA, keep in mind they have a greater absorbance rate than adults, and if fluoridated water is used, they are ingesting a 60% over dose rate on any given day. Then couple the cereal made for them and since it is made in a slurry first with lots of water, then you compound the formula if the cereal was made with fluorinated water. Juice made from concentrate may have had fluorinated water used also. There's another two doses on top of the formula. Get the point? Yup, we are killing our thyroids. It's a wonder anybodies thyroid works. I see it as another motivation for growing your own food and nursing your children when they are babies.
Canadian Thistle
But I'm getting side-tracked a bit from the issue. I want to use vinegar as a pesticide because it is safe to use on your skin, inside your body, and is safe for the environment. If that includes being safe for all bugs - I'm not sure, and I rather hope not. I love bees as you know and watch them frequently as they flit about my few flowers, but there are insects I want to greater lower their population like flea beetles. Yes, I've used the natural insecticides you buy at the greenhouse that the label says will kill flea beetles. They lie.
Better yet, if I knew a way to naturally prevent them, I'd be even more happy. I've done some research but alas, nothing yet.

When the ag department says in their research so far using vinegar has shown a low impack on the environment, it doesn't mean for some plants as they are dead but that's okay too. That's the point, I want to kill some of the plants without it remaining in the soil long and causing a problem. Vinegar is bio-degradable.

So if my lawn looks like a reversed spotted Cheetah, I don't mind. The grass will grow back and I'm starving the roots of the thistle by killing the above ground plant which nourishes them. Studies have found that the 5% percent vinegar you buy at the store is as effective as Roundup, maybe even better they say. Some plants like the Canadian thistle are especially vulnerable to vinegar but they don't mention star thistle, Russian thistle etc. so if you've got it, please give it a try and report back so the rest of us can benefit from your findings. I have none other species of thistle in my yard to experiment on. Oh, I'm not complaining mind you but if we move someday, I may be dealing with a wider range of species and I'd like to have the knowledge already in place.

Keep in mind that the Ph of your soil will be changed for 24 hours only after spraying and the ground is sterilized for a short period of time so don't spray and then plan on planting right afterwords. Besides the thistle may come up again and you will need to starve the roots once more. Perseverance is the key to elimination. My research said you could use a syringe and squirt some down into the plant but I want it gone, all gone. So I'm dousing the leaves by spraying them liberally and not taking any chances for it only takes a inch or so piece to start the plant up again.

I guess vinegar has sparked quite an interest with the ag department as they have test trials going on in corn fields They are using a different percentage than 5% of vinegar but have found a rate that kills 90 to 100 percent of the weeds in commercial corn fields without damaging the corn. They did caution commercial organic growers to be careful what kind of vinegar is used as some could cause you to loose your organic license. Not sure what that is all about. If you are an organic gardener and sell produce you'll have to check that out.

www.unitedstatesag/vinegar.html is a good site to check out some of the studies being done.

I also looked into why thistle is thriving in your yard. No, it's not because the neighbor introduced it, for if the conditions of your soil were not favorable to it, it wouldn't grow. One is lack of calcium. That is probably why my garden does not have thistle when it is growing all around it. I've been throwing all my egg shells into it this winter. Calcium prevents blossom rot on tomatoes. As you might remember, I put milk at the base of a few plants as an experiment. This is suppose to cause a micro-organism explosion of population growth. Milk would also be great in preventing thistle. Now I'm wishing I had more so I could spray my whole yard.

I looked up a some experiments on using milk as a fertilizer and one farmer in conjunction with his ag agent is using 20 gallons per acre with liquid molasses and fish emulsion with very impressive results on poor pasture land. The ground he sprays with milk does not freeze nearly as quickly in the winter. That would be great for us in the spring as our ground is very slow to warm and quick to freeze in the winter.

Now I hardly have fields to treat so I checked and it is 1 part milk to 4 parts water. Whey is great too so after making cheese, goat or dairy cow lovers, use it on the garden. Got to try it on my flower bed that I'm fighting thistle in. So much better to prevent it than fight it.

I'll keep you posted on my experiments but for now I've not enough much milk as we are still feeding kid goats. Have any of you tried milk yet? Some on the Internet said they saw no results, while others said it made a huge difference. I'd suspect it was due to the nutrients lacking or present in abundance in the soil already.

One last thought, remember, the milk fed pumpkin in the children's book Farmer Boy, by Laura Engalls Wilder? I love that book it always gets me into a self-sufficient mood. Can't wait until the munchkins are old enough to enjoy it so I can read it to them. Just curious, I looked up to see if anyone was still growing big pumpkins feeding them milk and the answer was YES!


I sprayed the thistle covering the leaves completely and go back the next day and checked to make sure they are dead. I'm still finding more thistle and treating it. Today, I won't as vinegar is washed away with water and it's effectiveness with it. We had a big rain last night. Hurray! it will give the alfalfa that was cut a good start on growth again. The country was drying up and we've no irrigation. Some of you said you were going out to try spraying weeds with thistle, how did it go?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brenda's Photo Challenge

I thought I could do it but alas everywhere I looked nothing but a few tomatoes were red. Not even the few flowers that are in peoples yards around the neighborhood.
Creativity is at a ebbing low with too much to do so here goes it. Red bugs on pretty flowers. Wish the photos were larger because you'll have to look real close but I promise they ARE red.
We call our littlest grand daughter Bugs after the cute little ladybug.
Now this is a bit bigger being it is a blackberry, just not yet ripe.
Okay, I might of stretched the theme a bit but I had good intentions, things just didn't pan out. I can't wait to see what others came up with.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spinning and Thistle

The stress of attempting to take care of the yard, garden, livestock, house, finances, and three small children gets pretty overwhelming at times. Okay, all the time. I'm always plugging way behind and when I begin to feel like I need to see a psychiatrist for being crazy enough to attempt all this, then out comes Lulu. You know as in I'm going loo loo - crazy. She's cheaper than a psychiatrist and she doesn't give homework assignments - more to do with my already stretched time. Plus she never questions my decisions and is always supportive. Got to love her.

I've had two psychiatrist over the years. My first one was a Traditional Ashford. It got me through the many challenging years of raising three children. We home-schooled them and the Ashford sat next to the kitchen table for me to spin away on while they did their assignments. It relieved my anxiety at not being able to get things done around the house as I rationalize I was accomplishing something. It also was far better than sitting there twiddling my thumbs waiting to grade a paper or assist with an assignment. When I wasn't doing that, I was knitting up the yarn I'd spun. I loved it!

Which reminds me again that I need to start another knitting project as it is so much more mobile than spinning even though my new wheel is a traveling model. How I enjoy tucking the new wheel in the closet; out of sight, out of mind as the grandchildren can't resist giving the wheel a whirl as fast as it will go with my wool tangling in the process. Skipped that with our own kids as my last wheel was purchased when they were much older. Didn't forsee how handy Lulu would be when I was saving for her. I just thought how nice it would be to take her along on trips. Not that we go very often as milking dairy goats puts brakes on that idea. But since trips stress me, I thought how nice it would be to take her along.

She has indeed been wonderful as right now, I'm spinning some llama from Shuttles Spindles and Skeins, a store in Boulder, Colorado. You spinners and weavers may recognize the name. I of course had to buy buttons when I was there as they have my favorite kinds, metal ones that are sculpted. This time I bought ones with lilys and I made a bee line for the isle the moment I walked into the store. Then while our oldest daughter headed off to gaze at the yarns, I searched through the fibers to spin. I picked up a roving of light grey of a smoky greyish black. The llama was so soft and just called to me. I needed some comfort and this was just the stuff. I had intended on making a hat for winter out of them but when I sat down to spin, the fibers just naturally strung out in a thin line. What could I do but change my mind? The fiber told me to. Oh I could ply several single strands together but there isn't enough fiber to do that and I didn't want to spend lots of money on the luxery purchase, so I'm planning on plying the grey and the black together. I think I'll make socks. Well, that's the plan for now but the fiber hasn't given its final word. You non spinners might think for sure I'm crazy now but some of you know just what I'm talking about. Even you quilters know what I'm talking about as you gaze at a piece of fabric and images of what you could do with it enter your mind.
Always the curious, I'm trying a new experiment. You know me always the adventurous as long as it doesn't involve an adrenaline rush. I'm in too short a supply of that and take adrenal medication as it is so I'm not proned to use it up any faster than I have to.

But anyway, this is my latest experiment - thistle. The grass is full of it and the kids don't like the prickly little beggars. Well, not the two oldest ones that is as the youngest doesn't seem to notice them in her bare feet - strange-. Oh I've chemicaled them over the years and they just keep coming back despite the toxins. I've even quit watering a couple areas in the yard hoping to kill them off with lack of water. Alas, no luck. So this year with kids to worry about and their ability to suck up chemicals at a much higher rate than adults, I'm trying vinegar. Yup, the stuff you buy at the store by the gallon. You see I know it kills things because I got the bright idea of mixing water, vinegar, a touch of dish soap, and oil; and using it as a bug spray. Killed the plants and didn't touch the bugs. OOOPS!

Flea beetles will make one desperate. If you have a solution for them PLEASE pass it on as I saw a few on my broccoli this morning. They can eat them to the ground in no time.

So I figured if it would kill broccoli, why not thistle? I put vinegar, just vinegar, in a small spray bottle like the kind you wet your clothes down for ironing and doused the leaves thoroughly. Keep in mind the thistle is not full sized but mowed over by the lawn mower and you will have a brown spot because the grass dies also but hey, I'm planning on spraying the grass around the garden with it when I'm done with the thistle as I want it killed in that spot so it doesn't venture into the garden.

The results so far are thrilling, two days thrilled that is. I know it hasn't been long enough to give it the test of time but I have hopes that if I starve the roots by not giving them a top to nourish them, then the roots will also die. The grass around the thistle is fine so far and the plants are dead. May take me a while to find all of the thistle hiding in the grass but with the cheap cost of vinegar, I can use a few gallons and not be out much money. Also no toxic chemicals to harm the munchkins, causing cancer later in life.

Yup, I think it is a win, win situation. The real kicker will be if the plants don't come up next year and I'm on my way to eradicating them from the yard. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Playing Hooky?

You either thought I was playing hooky or busy since I didn't blog yesterday. Wonder which one would get the greatest number of votes.Some might say because today I took the little girls bike riding, I was playing hooky today. Then again I had to adjust training wheels on two bikes, hold the youngest grand daughter in one arm while I grabbed back of shirts to halt run aways, push to get bikes started rolling, and for one stretch - I held the youngest and with the other hand I pulled the smallest bike along, and since both hands were occupied I kept the front bike going up the hill with upthrusting shoves on the back tire with alternating feet. Yeah, maybe not hooky.
Then while the girls took a nap, I finished unloading a twenty foot trailer load of manure. You can see part of it in this photo. We increased the garden last year, this year, and are in preparation to increase it for next year again. Not many crops are in the ground right now and yes, the garden has wa...y too much manure on it for this year. It doesn't look real shiny with the wrong combination of soil and the cool weather. BUT, next year I'm hoping for a super one as the manure will have a year to break down. With raising three little girls - since let's face it, we have them most of seven days a week, we aren't going to get much else done this year. Not with an eighteen month old for sure.
When they woke up it was lunch time and you know what comes next. Then it was time for a dunk in the children's size pool and I snuck off a few feet away to take photos of bugs on flowers. Maybe, you could call THAT hooky. And the ice cream cones served after the girl's swim could be categorized as hooky but does it count I had made the ice cream a few days before? So in my book, babysitting three little ones is never a hooky day but then to some of you it might just be much easier than your day to day schedule.
This year is all about changes. Remember Zoey? She's going back to her original home.
We decided to keep the two girls of Chicory's. Wish I could get them to quit giving me butt side views only and show just how pretty these little one are but alas, I'll have to just keep trying. We figured since Zoey is a an American Nubian and these two little girls are also, why not keep the girls. We think they will out class Zoey especially if they inherit their mom's udder.
Michelle bought a new buck and so all three of our girls will have someone to go visit that isn't also called Dad. He is a pure-bred Nubian like Chicory and boy, does his mom have a gorgeous udder -saw pictures. I've heard that pure-bred Nubians are more in demand. What would I know, we've had Saanens for twenty-five years ?
What I don't understand is what difference a pure-bred doe makes. Pretty is as pretty does as far as I'm concerned. I want the conformation, high milk production, and a sweet, quiet disposition. I've seen too many papered horses, goats, and everything else that weren't too impressive. Also too many people that thought they had something because their animal was registered and they actually had junk.
The problem is since things were challenging we had been leaving the doelings on mama to nurse. That's not going to work as we will be housing them with her this winter. So off they came and things haven't been going real smooth. We let the grand kids in with them too much and they got to chasing them a bit at the end. The doelings weren't too bad when they were in with Chicory and would come to me but now in their own pen - they are a challenge to catch. I'm just going to have to down size the pen for awhile.
Problem number two is that they don't like the lumbar bucket and that's what they had yesterday. Not that I wasn't holding them up to the lumbar bucket too but a baby bottle gives me more control on how much they eat, so I started them on that this morning. It's been taking me an hour fussing with them and trying to get them tamed and fed. The one doe I had to squeeze some milk from the bottle into her throat, let her swallow and repeated the move over and over again. The other doe after a bottle caught on and drank the second one herself. YEAH!!!
Cracker jack, well, I found him pen hopping. He'd snuck in with Zoey and drank off of her. She was empty this morning. I shrunk the hole size in that little section in the fence and so we shouldn't be having that happen again. I'm guessing since he didn't nurse off of Chicory that she's glad to be free of him.
Tomorrow will be interesting as I have the kids from a quarter to seven to ten thirty at night. They may have to sit in the truck for this part of chores.
As you can see, the kids love their new pen because of the shed. The paint is peeling off and I'm going to start working on it. I could use a little advice though. It may not look like it but I usually paint the old, old sheds every year. I skipped last year and look how bad this one is. The wood is very old and the paint just doesn't stick. Yes, I've tried primer two different times and now I just paint with barn paint each year as it takes almost five gallons to get the three sheds covered.

But as you can see, I don't paint until the little goats are older and not proned to mountain climbing antics. I'm not that dumb.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Here Kitty Kitty, NOT!

The computer expert is at it again. She managed to shut down our speakers and engage eight programs at the same time all withing a extremely brief period of time. Of course if I tried her method the keyboard would be headed for the trash. (Yes, she was standing on the keys and stopping up and down while maneuvering the mouse. One can't get mad when she's just so proud of everything she gets in to. "I did it." is her favorite reply with a grin that would melt the hardest heart. Yup, she's at the age when exploration takes up every moment of the day except those when she's snuggling with Grandma or playing rough house with Grandpa.

And sometimes I think we aren't too smart as she gets in to things we really should of thought to keep out of reach. But she's not the only one getting in to things. We had a black and white kitty in the garage. The kind with a distinct waddle and a white stripe down its back. Really it was our fault. We'd left the cat food and water outside as Sir Reginald Stewart has been spending almost all his time outside. Normally, his cat food is down stairs out of reach from our youngest grand daughter who loves to mix the cat food into the water dish. The basement isn't finished and we don't take her down there unless she's in our arms. Thus we spend lots of time opening the basement door for the cat and closing it so the grand daughter doesn't go down stairs.

We thought since all the houses moved in on the other side of the hill, we were safe from the skunks that use to come in. You know like we no longer have 6 or 7 bull and rattlesnakes in the yard anymore. Yeah, well that theory was just proved wrong so inside the dishes came.
At the corrals we have the same problem. We feed barn cats that aren't really ours or anyones as they are either born there or wonder in when the numbers are low and the mice plentiful. We do some tending to them by feeding some cat food in the hay barn to entice a few to stick around. Not too much food as we want the cats to be a bit hungry so they'll want to look for mice. And not too much so there's some left over sitting in the dish at night to lure skunks in.

When I was growing up, skunks were drawn in by cat food or dog food too. Seems somethings never change. I remember many a night when my dad went outside with a flashlight and a 22 to try and get rid of a pesky critter. It wasn't easy and they are sly beggars. Most of the time we never saw them but the distinct perfume that was left waifing in the air led us to know they had been there. You see, once they've found a free food buffet, they'll stick around to find out what else you have to offer.
Why all the big fuss? Rabies!! They are the main carrier around here for the disease and it isn't fun trying to get rid of the smell when they've fumigated your favorite cat or dog disagrees with them eating out of their dish or they just grow curious. I did hear of a good mixture to rid your pet of the smell, Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda, all mixed together. Tomato juice sure doesn't work.

Saturday night, I'm really glad we didn't have to find out since Reginald obeyed when called. He came into the garage and instead of continuing on his path toward the corner where the skunk was hiding out, he came inside as called. Curiosity may not kill the cat but he sure wouldn't smell nice.

I bet some of you have some tells to tale about a skunk or two.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Making a Splash

Oh, what do you do in the summer time when the temperatures turn above 90 F well our littlest grand daughter decided to play in the hose as I was washing livestock equipment.
The water was refreshing and fairly warm as it comes from a tower that sits on the hill and is warmed by the sun.
What did I do except work and wish I could take the day off. Well, I photographed my small flower garden. I've become facinated this summer at what insects are attracted to what flowers.
Here's a flying ant on my ??? plants. I can never remember the proper names of most of the flowers. When I use to take care of an older friend's yard when they were gone, I rename all her flowers. Oh she told me the proper names more than once but I have no short term memory and I gave up trying to recall them so I gave them all new names, names I could remember - The Can Can girls, Macy's parade, and Flopsy and Mopsy for example. All titles that the flowers reminded me of. The funny thing was when we would talk on the phone, she knew just what plants I was talking about. I would give her an update just as if they were her children. The Can Can girls have spread their pretty skirts and they're flying in the breeze or the Macy's parade is looked rather peaked no matter what I do. It would make her laugh.
I don't have very many flowers as the vegetable garden is about all I can handle but I tore up the front flower bed this summer and moved the plants to a new spot in the back. It brightens my days as I can see it out my kitchen window when I'm doing dishes - which is all the time with three little ones.
These pretty little daisy like plants come up every year. Can't tell if they reseed themselves or come up from the roots but they volunteer and that's huge in this area where nothing, not even Russian Olive trees sprout up on their own.
What has me intrigued is that this bright yellow flower does not attract a single bee, not a bumble bee, a honey bee, a sweat bee - nothing. There are some grasshoppers just now making an appearance though the county has been spraying against them for weeks. There are also lots of different kinds of flies that are busy pollinating this plant.
Where are the bees?
They are all over these purple flowers. I have been trying to photograph them but they are flitting faster than I can focus in. My poor little ol 50 Macro has to be manually focused in order to get a real close up shot and ... the little beggars won't hold still long enough. I've even tried focusing in a spot and waiting for someone to arrive to fine tune. I'm not done trying as long as they aren't done coming to dine on the nectar. Haven't seen any pollen on the bumble bees legs with this plant.
Now this is what I need to add near those pretty yellow ones - daisies. This was taken next door to our oldest daughter's home in Colorado. Daisies is one flower I know. They were my choice for my wedding 31 years ago this August.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Busy, Busy Day

Oh what oh, what do I say today? I've been busy, okay, not the last hour as the kids are sleeping and I took it off for the first time in ... let's just say a long long time but the rest of the day I have been going full out. I think I deserved to just lay on the bed and watched a BBC mystery television show on Hulu. Such bliss to just hold still and not be doing anything.

Last night until eleven I was baking a home-made pizza on Ciabatta bread I'd started that morning so my hubby would have something to take for lunch and while it cooked, I folded several loads of clothes. Since Kirk was still up we sneaked in an television episode from Hulu. I about rolled off the bed I was laughing so hard at an episode from the eleventh season of Top Gear. Kirk and I just love the British television show and our daughter said they are in their fifteenth season but we just discovered it a couple months ago on Hulu. If you fellow Americans haven't discovered it yet, it's a must watch. Though it is about cars and I have about zilch interest in them, they put a twist on the subject that has me hooked. In case some of you are wondering no, we don't have cable or satellite television as we don't have time to watch that much t.v.
Oh my, I got off track. The reason why I thought I deserved the break was this old lady was teaching a young mother about canning. She has two boys three and under and with ours that makes five children (four under three years old) to wrangle. I can certainly tell you that it made things more interesting, okay...challenging, alright I can see your eyebrows arched. It was downright tough, especially since our youngest grand daughter insisted I hold her the whole time.

The first thing we did was start chicken breasts cooking on the barbecue grill. While we shuffled breasts off and more on we were also making apricot jam. When that was cooking we cut up chicken and put it into the jars. Of course while that was both going I was flipping and cooking an artisan bread. All in between giving snacks to the kids and closing the back door for the umpteenth time or running in search for the two little ones under two years old.

The kids weren't done playing but I gave my young friend some warmed up pizza on a paper towel and she bribed the boys into her car with it promising they could eat it on the way home. Her youngest zipped past her and made a dash for the vehicle screaming, "pizza, pizza" in his toddler's somewhat garbled voice. Yup, worked like a charm.
After my rest and while my grandchildren were still sleeping I started some raspberry jam. The berries were frozen and in the freezer. No, unfortunately they aren't mine. I'm moving my smaller plants next month in hopes of getting them to produce better next year. I did make the rose pedal, lemon jam into ice cream last night. It tasted a bit like a creamy lemon pie. Can anything be too creamy? I think it was and I even cut down the amount of cream I used by a half a cup and used milk instead but still it wasn't quite right. The next time, I'm using milk only. This morning before the grand kids arrived, I made the cheese cake ice cream and with some strawberry ice cream I made a few weeks ago, I think we should have plenty for Saturday.
Lest you think I was being lazy, LOL I made some cream biscuits also and put the dough into the freezer ready to bake on Saturday to go with the fried chicken. Now if I can find the umph to go stir up the pie dough I'll be on schedule.

First though since the kids left with their mom I really, really, need to go shovel some manure from the trailer on to the area of the garden we want to add next year. My garden doesn't look too shiny this year, too much manure. I knew it would be a problem but I also want to have some things accomplished that I won't have to do again next year and that is hauling lots of manure. Oh I'll still get a trailer and a few loads in the back of the truck as I clean this winter but the major work I want done and decomposing. Next year, I keep telling myself it will be a super garden. Our youngest grand daughter will be older and hopefully she'll let me work while she plays in the yard.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goats Babysitting Again

Babysat 37 hours between Monday and Tuesday and well, it's hard to get much done with three little ones.
I have to admit I often stick our youngest grand daughter into the goat's pen and fasten the gate to corral her and ask the does to watch over her please while I feed Pedro, the beef, Bess, the horse which I've yet to get a chance to ride this summer, and the chickens. Yup, it isn't easy to do chores with little ones.
The girls do love the little goats.
This will have to be brief because of all the back log of chores to be done with having the grand kids for so many hours. I have to go find the dehorning iron and elasticator dohicky for the little buck. Yup, we haven't done that yet and I didn't want to with the kids around. It is my most dreaded task. I trimmed the does feet with the kids in the pen yesterday. Chicory stepped on our youngest grand daughters foot and she cried. The kids and I were in a pretty grouchy mood as I tried to accomplish a little more than the bare minimium chores. I'm getting frustrated.

This morning bright and real early I weed eated the corral area before the kids came. There is lots and lots of that with an apiary yard to weed eat, the corrals, and our yard. So much to do and so much I can't do with the kids in tow. Hopefully tonight our daughter will be home early enough that Kirk and I can sneak off alone to do the dirty deed of banding the buck and burning the horns.

But for now I had better go look for the equiptment as I don't want the kids down in that room since it also houses the kitty litter box and the.... and the.... you get the idea. Then maybe I can do a little work on the garden before they wake up. Probably hopeful thinking. The dishes and messy kitchen will just have to wait. I can do lots of it while holding our littlest one.

So as usual this won't be edited well but one has to do what one has to do. Sorry, hopefully all the mistakes give you a good laugh because right now its all I can do to get a blog up.

Thanks so much for following my posts. I'm going to start a new thing where instead of answering the comments by e-mail, unless it needs a personal reply, I'll notify you that I've replied on the appropriate post.

I mixed up the custard with the lemon/rose pedal jam for ice cream and it's chilling in the fridge. Tomorrow I'll post the results as I make ice cream with it today. I've also a batch of cheese cake ice cream custard chilling to make as this weekend we're celebrating Kirk's birthday. I have to do a little each day to get ready even though its only a few family members that will be present. Which reminds me I had better get the pie dough mixed today so I can make pies tomorrow. If I don't peice meal things I never get anything done being a full time grandma and sitter.