Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Babies Have Arrived!!!

 I'm so... excited!! The first of my onion seeds were born yesterday. Think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. If you had as many years of failure in growing onions as I've had you'd be as ecstatic as I am. To think I went from onion failure to growing my own seed in just a few years, WOW!  Don't laugh. Onions may not be something you consider difficult but for me it was.  

 And as funny as it may seem I feel like an onion oobstetrician with her first set of a.... can't call them twins, or triplets, or even quads hm.... offspring, I guess.

It wasn't until a few years ago  when I discovered these organic onion things you buy from a seed catalogue that come with a bulb and green shoots already started that shuzam, all of a sudden I was growing onions and they were reaching a respectable size. Then this spring when a few small onions that I didn't bother to pick over winter and volunteered to grow this spring, I figured they could be one of my seed saving experiments.
I've read up on the subject but the books lacked step by step pictures and if I could of taken a class around here, I would have. Alas, there aren't too many gardens in the area, let alone serious gardening classes like onion obstetrics. So mostly I've just guessed my way through the process and watched the onions tummies, I mean pods, swell while keeping regular check up visits photographing along the way like a proud parent.
 When the pods opened, I was so excited I could of been the one who was peeing her pants. With no pictures to guide me,  I had to assume that the yellow tips were blossoms. 
 I watched those yellow flowers closely as my bees, and a few stray bugs pollinated them, just to make sure they did their job. A job I wouldn't know if they did right anyway but I cheered them on with a "Go girl, go girl." after all all the bee workers are girls. Then the  once skinny stems began to swell.

Soon tiny little green seeds forming inside. As they grew and then the swelling began to dry, the green seeds turned to black and I figured we were getting close to the delivery day. I've got to confess I almost packed a bag. I just couldn't decide what to put in it, maybe scissors or cloths for the newborns, but really what do you need for a seed delivery?  

When I went into the garden yesterday and saw some of the little ones threatening to fall to the ground I just couldn't wait any longer for fear of not being there when they did fell so I induced labor. I plucked the pods off, cradling them inside the bottom of my tee shirt while rushing inside to look for a cookie sheet.

I shook and shook the pods and rubbed the onion's tummy, I mean pods, while trying to hurry the process along. Most fell onto the cookie sheet but some are stubbornly remaining inside. I'll let the heads set out a little longer and try inducing labor again tomorrow. I figure they just don't know how blooming nice I can be and are probably scared to meet me.

As for the rest of my patients, some are still a few weeks away from delivery and a few of the plants will begin delivering probably sometime next week. I may have to tie my hands together but I think I'll see if they don't just deliver the seeds on their own. Then I'll mulch the area where they fall and see what happens next spring. This is so fun!!! 

I have to confess not all my seed saving projects are going so well making this project especially sweet. We'll talk about that later but for now I'll just bask in the wonderful moment of birth. LOL  

Remember I won't be posting Friday but I'll see you Monday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Want a Walt Disney Ending.

I've always loved fairy tales. No, not the ones about Princesses, except Cinderella. In that story there was a dog, a cat, and pretty cool mice. LOL The simple minded princesses who worry about their frills and fluff bore me to no end. These are the ones my grand daughters, especially the middle one, love to watch on DVD and have me read about. And because I love them, the girls, silly, not the stories, I Cowboy Up, as we say around here, and I read them even though it is a bit of torture for me. 

Today, as I strolled through the garden, it was clear a fairy tale had transpired during the night.  No, not the Walt Disney kind that ends happily ever after but the old fashion kind. The kind that was meant to teach little children a lesson and sometimes scare the pee waudden out of them.  

This is one of those tales. It is the story of Goldilocks And The Three Bears. Mind you that MY Goldilocks is not blond haired and wearing a cute little yellow dress. How do I know? Well, Goldilocks wasn't wearing any shoes and she left prints in the garden.   
 She tip toed over to the cabbage and declared this one too hard,
 This one tasted better, but still..., too soft.
 And this one was just right and she ate it all gone. Grrr....!!!

 Though I didn't catch a glimpse of her, I know what Goldilocks looks like. She is a soft brown with black shiny hooves and she appears in the dark of the night. She visits my garden every year and her tastes are predictable. She loves the strawberry plants. The ones I've been fertilizing faithfully and trying to establish a new bed with.

She loves the bean plants, and when the squash are big enough, she loves to nibble a little on this one and then on that one too.

But the worst part of the my fairy tale is that, horrors of all horrors, Goldilocks is early this year, several weeks early. I'm not ready for Goldilocks and I've just started to get produce from my garden.

But what should I expect? The buck Pronghorn are already gathering does into a harem as if it were fall already. And, the buck dairy goats are bu...bu... and the does a flagging their tails with enthusiasm, "Here I am. Pick me." because they are already in heat. Yup, things have been fast forwarded this year. The deer have come back to town.

What does that mean for fall and winter? I'm growing uneasy and I'm afraid for my garden and my winters stores I glean from it.

"What ever will I do I wonder? I know. I'll put on my white hat, that's what."

 "What?", you say. Don't you remember that in the old black and white western movies, the good guy always wear a white hat and the bad guys a black one. That's so you knew the difference between good and evil. Well, if this good guy wants something to eat this winter, she had better go outside to get the electric fence up before she heads out tomorrow on the father and daughters camping trip.

No, I'm not willing to share. Call me stingy but I believe faithfully in the fairy tale about the Little Red Hen and I believe that you reap what you sow and if you don't sow, you don't get to reap the benefits.

I also don't want to be the cricket that fiddles away his days and doesn't get his food storage in for the winter and nearly starves. 

Yes, Mother, I was listening when you read the stories at my bedside and yes, I have learned to share -- a little bit-- but not with the deer. As far as I'm concerned, the good Lord provided plenty of grass this year for them and they can just go and reap that harvest and leave my garden (that I wheel barrowed two stock trucks of manure on to and... sowed and... weeded and...watered, and now want to harvest) alone. 

Besides Mother, the deer didn't ask me for nothing, so they are stealing and you made me take that candy bar back to the store and beg for forgiveness. Then I had to earn the money that it cost because you had to pay for it since I had already nibbled on it. 

Yes, I'm hoping for a Walt Disney ending for me and that I teach the deer a lesson and scare the pee waudden out of them with my solar electric fence.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Happened?

WARNING, WARNING, this is one of those birds and the bees posts. If you don't want your little ones viewing the female and male parts of plants, then wait to read this post until after the munchkins have gone to bed. And even if you are a die hard G and PG fella or gal, like myself,  go ahead, it's okay, get a little racey. After all, you've got to know the difference between the girl and the boy blossoms if you want to do a bit of matchmaking. So stare hard. What makes this girl blossom different from ...  

...this boy one. No ones looking, scroll back up and take another peek. Note the difference inside the blossom. Yup, looks like a girl and a boy to me. If you can't figure it out, I'm not about to explain. I've given you pictures, you're mom can explain them.  
I will tell you that the boys have a skinny stem and usually there are lots of boy squash or pumpkin blossoms arriving before any girls show up on the scene.
So when I saw these girls arriving early, I was excited. Whoo, hoo, I thought and I emphasise the word - thought - that I was going to have some early Rouge pumpkins. What I've learned is that these blossoms, which are obviously female because of the enlarged area at the base of the unopened blossom, were going to go ahead and do their thing. The yellow instead of green color should have been a clue that these blossoms would not open and the small pumpkin would rot on the vine. Time after time this happened.

Why? Look at the size of the leaves, large and healthy. What am I doing wrong? The cause isn't because the blossoms aren't being pollinated because the flowers never opened to be pollinated. And, the tiny pumpkin started out yellow instead of green. Anyone know the answer to the problem?

My other winter squash plants have done the same thing but now more and more are producing squash in a correct manner, such as this Delicata. This is my first year to raise either the Delicata squash or the Rogue pumpkin. I sure hope there is something to eat come fall. Squash and pumpkins are my favorite foods come fall.

As for the reasons this blog has been a bit quiet, well, I'm working on organizing cooking classes that I will teach through the recreation center. I attended an appraisal for goats (phenomenal amount of information to be learned there, WOW!) and I'm selling goats on Craig's list ( that's a new experience). I'm planning a whole new strategy for my goats now and that has been taking time. I'm researching hay feeders, etc. etc. etc.

I promise, I'll slow down soon and chat, catching you up on the tremendous amount of things I've learned, but right this second, I'm racing to keep up and get ready to go on our annual father and daughters trip so PLEASE>>>>>>>> be patient. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fawns and Flowers

 The Pronghorn Antelope fawns are closer to the road now where we can fully enjoy them. When they are first born, the doe tucks them far back in the fields away from prying eyes.
And while the fawns are bedded down in the grass relaxing, the grown bucks are in their own groups of exclusively males. Despite the hot days, the larger males are chasing the young bucks making sure they know who's boss come fall. Then dominance will basically be established and the does going to the stronger, older, and more aggressive bucks. 

 Note in this photo the older doe in the front and the condition of her hair, her fawns behind her, and then her yearling doeling in the far back. You can sure tell who's body is under the most stress by how slick their coats are. Also look carefully and you will see tiny little horns on the mother doe just above her eyes. Some have them and some don't. I wonder if it makes a difference if they were a twin and their twin was a male for that would raise the testosterone levels in the uterus.

In cattle with twins, if one is a male and the other a female then the testosterone levels will be high in the uterus. The result will be a Freemartin. In other words, a female who has a 98 percent chance of being sterile.

Maybe in Pronghorn Antelope the female just develops horns. Now don't go a quoting me on this because my mind is just a wondering trying to come up with answers to a question swirling around in there and definitely no fact.
 My Nasturtiums are blooming in light yellows and a few deep oranges. Next year I'll have to plant a much larger grouping now I've gotten my feet wet with the project and my confidence raised. My end goal is to try some of seeds at the green stage pickled like you would Capers and some to the blacker stage where they are dry and supposedly taste like black pepper. Plus, enough to re-seed a crop for the next year. I figure that just might be quite a few Nasturtiums. Some of you might have the answer for me. The leaves are also edible and are suppose to give a peppery taste to salads. I'll have to give them a try.

I brought home daisies from my mom's yard a small clump of them. In her patch they've taken off and filled the whole bed. Hence, the reason for a small clump. I do hope they take off as I don't mind plucking volunteers just as long as they volunteer. Not even Russian Olive trees volunteer here. We have had four in our yard for 29 years and not a single start. Where as over the mountain, where my mom lives, they have gone to great expense recently to try and clear the land of them. They've spread crowding everything else out. A law was passed in that area against the planting of them.

I can hear that my washing machine has quit so I'd best hurry and get a another load on the clothes line. And a goat appraiser from Iowa, I believe, is due to arrive this afternoon to appraise Anne and Micheal's herds. I'm chief goat holder and gopher in this deal.

So I'd best hurry and finish my food for the meal afterwards. Hi, ho, hi, ho, it's off to work I go.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whining Broccoli

You probably think I've lost my mind and I'd tell you that I never had it but I swear my broccoli has been whining.
Excuses after excuses such as "When I was a seedling it was too cold!" 

 "It's too hot now and I'm stressed."

"My roots were wet when I was little." And the results of all this complaining is that the broccoli that I put in the garden in early June has open flowerettes and small heads. Yes, I know all these factors can cause this result but couldnt' they be the exception?
Grrr.... doing a garden in this soil and climate is such a challenge. Despite the early broccoli's sorry appearance, I'm cutting off their heads and going to blanch them for the freezer. Hopefully, they will produce better looking side shoots. Then I'll use these uglies chopped up so their looks won't be so noticeable in soufles and soups.
Some of those that were put into the garden a week or two later show promise and though their heads too are small yet, they might come out looking alright.

What a guessing game it is to plant a garden. Don't put things in soon enough and your crop doesn't develop and too soon and they don't develop correctly.

It is the reason I'm sold on the idea of several plantings two weeks apart in different parts of the garden. The spacing of time puts you in a different window of development when opposing weather strikes. A different part of the garden means the nutrients won't be the same and maybe one of the spots the crops will really thrive. 

Yup, next year I'm going to expound on the idea even further.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kidding at One Year Of Age

 Frequently, goat owners tell me they don't breed their does until they are one and a half years of age because they want them to gain their full size. Yet, they also tell me, "Wow, your does are as big as mine or larger at the same age." This is said when they are young and after they have kidded at one years of age.
Do I push grain to get them to grow? No, my two doelings in a pen, one nine weeks old and the other 3 months old are just getting a pint a piece of a grain mixture once a day. Their grain is an odd combination of sunflower seeds, beet pulp, COB, goat chow, and wheat screenings. Along with a modest amount of grain, they get all the orchard grass/alfalfa mixed hay they can eat. Just as variety is not only the spice of life but a variety of foods is essential to a healthy human diet. So too it is for animals. A broad mixture of foods helps insure that the animal can gleam a broader spectrum and of nutrients along with each food being higher in one vitamin or mineral than another.

Goat owners can't site the fact that my kids are growthy because I wean late for my kids are wean at two months of age, if they are ready. Florence, a triplet, on our three year old doe, Chicory, was and Meagan, a single, on a yearling doe was not. Size had nothing to do with it for they are both growthy. Meagan was still nursing quite a bit off her mom and so I placed her with Florence in a pen next to her mom. I have been letting her mom, Contessa, in twice a day to nurse Meagan and as I'm now seeing her mother push her away more and more and Meagan not need her mom as much, I'll begin to let Contessa in once a day and then eventually as warranted, none. 

Compare in the picture above mother and daughter. The doe on the left is Chicory and she is three. The doe on the right is her daughter Contessa and she is one years old.
Contessa had a single her first year just like her mother did. Chicory has gone on to have triplets the last two years. I'll admit that I back off the grain just a few weeks before I breed the doelings to drop their nutrition level a little in order to encourage a single kid. All my does go on to have after the first year, twins or triplets. A few even twin the first year but I'd rather they didn't. Both yearlings this year had singles.

Looking at the shiny healthy coat, you'd have to admit nutritionally, kidding didn't hurt Contessa one bit. So if you were to ask me why I kid at one year of age. I'd have to say because of my feed program which includes a vitamin and mineral supplement, and a copper supplement three times a year, I don't see a difference in waiting the extra year to gain more growth.

Also I don't want to wait another year with a disc bulging every other one down my back along with being over fifty years of age, I'd much rather wrangle a one year old doe onto the milking stand her first few weeks of training than a hefty two year old.

I gain financially as I have a kid to sell in the first year and I have milk. I also suspect that my does milk more when they are two years of age than a doe who didn't not kid their first year.

If my goats were raised exclusively on pasture, I'd most likely wait until they were one and a half years of age to breed, depending on their size. Then again, I wouldn't have the amount of money invested in them like I do in my situation.

So dairy goat owners, are you one of those who waits until their dairy goats are one and a half for breeding or are you in the same corral as I am? If so why? You might just change my mind.

Callies's Of Course

 I want to talk about Broccoli and breeding goats when they are seven months old but I'm due at the library with the munchkins and then swimming lessons so stay tuned, I'll get right back to you. Meanwhile, enjoy the kitten photos.
 They are Callies's of course because of all the many colors meaning a mutitude of fathers. Yup, that's our queen. She's none too picky when the males come calling. I'm just surprised there isn't a black or black and white one with a male tom that has been hanging around. There isn't even a gray one. What's up with that. Percy must not be in favor. Of course Sue, yes, Sue did his job because of there's a ginger colored one.  
 She presently has them in a stack of tires in the hay shed. It keeps them corraled since I don't think they can see too well. Look at those milky eyes.  
And I know they can't walk but still are crawling. They do like to play though.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Same But Different

 Is it because I've a lousy memory or is it because I just didn't notice? These are the same flowers that have bloomed in my yard for the last five years or so. No, maybe it is ten years. See, I've no memory. I know I got these flowers from the Lewis's yard when Pam lived just a few houses away and they moved years ago. So the point is these flowers have been in my yard for years and yet each year, I study them with renewed interest.

I wish I could tell you what kind they were. I can't. I can tell you that they spread like crazy but their delightful yellow daisy like flowers makes it worth it for me to pluck out all the up shoots. Scroll back up and study the center of the flower. Note the difference in the amount of tiny little flowers that are open. Yes, this is a composite flower or in other words lots of tiny flowers within a flower. The one on the bottom right's flowers are just starting to open, the middle one half complete and the one on the upper left is nearly done.
 Every one of these tiny flowers within the center must be pollinated. 

 This flower has just three open on the far right. Note the interesting swirl pattern to the buds before opening and how flat the center is. My eyes are entranced by the pattern that radiates from the center. I feel like I should say something really profound if I could only think of it. LOL 
 Watching the change keeps me entertained. Yes, I know I'm easily occupied. I never tire of Mother Natures wonders.
 What has caught my attention and has caused some alarm is the lack of bugs this year. No, not aphids as they hit the plum trees with a vengeance. They seem to be all death thankfully. What I'm referring to is the almost complete lack of bees. No sweat bees, very few Bumble bees, nothing. A year ago these flowers were crowded, almost standing room only with bugs eager to do their part of the pollinating tasks. This year, nawda, zilch, almost nobody is doing the job. Yes, this is a photograph from last year.
Not even the dreaded, pesky grasshoppers have made an appearance. (I don't miss them.) I doubt they pollinate anyway. On purpose anyway. But someone has to pollinate my garden and flowers. I can't imagine doing the job myself. So far someone is getting the job done for I've squash and peas growing but who. I just don't hardly see anyone at the task. How do I know the job is getting done? Well, the flowers would just fall off without any fruit being formed. Oh how I wish we lived in the country where I could have my bees permenently situated in my backyard. I then wouldn't worry.
What I haven't noticed before is the amount of flies busy pollinating. Who would of thunk these pesky, dirty things would be so helpful? I detest them and yet, here they are doing me a favor.  Perhaps, the Lord did have a purpose for these creatures, beyond just annoying me and I'd better rethink my prejudism towards them. Good thing he's in charge of this old world and not me.

I'm curious, are you also seeing a large decline of bugs in your yard too? If so, what's up?

Friday, July 15, 2011

What a Week!

This is a young Robin that allowed me to stand next to it and take pictures. I'm sorry about the lack of posts this week but I'm had to try and keep up with the garden, livestock and empty half of my basement so the contractor could come in and drill holes in our foundation to auger out anchors that will stabilize it. This morning I'm going for a relaxing ride on Bess, my mare, and then begin the arduous task of cleaning and putting thing back. My whole house upstairs and down is covered in a heavy layer of dust from his drilling. 

And oooops!, the bee post about the bee suite blog, well, I called Rusty a he and I guess it is a she that writes the post. Sorry, Rusty, for the mistaken identity. I guess that is what I get for having only read a couple weeks of postings and all the Rusty's I know are he's.

I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Toe Up

I've posted twice today to make up for yesterdays absence so be sure and check out my post They're a humming.
 Though my days have been beginning early and ending very late -because of a giant work load, I'm taking an hour and a half to two hours off in the middle of the day to relax and rest my weary body. One of the projects I'm working on during this quiet time is this yarn.
 Ever since I got back from my spinning class, I've had a whole different attitude and I want to blend fibers and colors. I had this matted light pink mohair, some deep purply blue Merino wool, and a seafoam green Merino wool I thought would make a great blend. The mohair would give strength and longevity to the yarn for socks and I figured light, medium, and dark would be a good blend of hues.

I'd borrowed a couple books from our oldest daughter when I was in Colorado. One was knitting socks from the toe up. This, I decided was going to be the yarn for my first pair using that technique and I am anxious to start knitting.

Instead of weighing each fiber and using set amounts to blend, I just used a haphazard method. The matted light pink was a problem and sometimes I had to use scissors to snip and other times I could teased most of the tangle out. Yet, despite my efforts I've ended up with a more uneven yarn than I'd of like, for thicker spots resulted from spots that I thought were teased smooth but weren't. Oh well, it won't hurt the socks any. 

The first layer on the cards was the light pink since it needed the most work. I used a light amount since a little mohair goes a long ways as its shiny texture is very noticeable.

 Then I put a little bit heavier layer of the seafoam green.
 With the heaviest thickness layer being the dark purply blue.
I couldn't wait for two full bobbins to ply for I wanted badly to see the result. Yes, I did twist a single back on to itself to get a peek but it wasn't enough to satisfy my curiosity. 

I loved the result and can't wait to see what it looks like knitted up. I hope to begin the socks this weekend. As for today, I'll spin some more if I have time between work and taking the grand kids to swimming lessons and a magic show. What I'd really like to do is rest all day or weed the garden but the contractor is here and he's drilling holes in my basement wall to auger out anchors stabilizing the walls. This means half my basement had to be cleared. Of course it was the basement side with the food storage room. I bet I made forty or more trips up the stairs with food yesterday and I'm not finished. I've still a freezer to unload and move to the next room after he is through in there.  Luckily, the other chest freezer can remain where it is and buckets and buckets of wheat and grain to can be shifted to another room of the basement when he finishes drilling in there.

With a little doeling that needed a horn scur reburned and tatooing done before her trip this morning at 6:20 a.m. to South Dakota my day yesterday was extremely full. 

 I'm still working on the food storage room and so I'd better get to shifting buckets and watering the lawn. High ho, high ho, it's off to work I go.  

We have a HUGE food storage room.

They're a Humming

THIS PHOTO IS NOT MINE BUT BELONGS TO  I don't have one of a queen. Remember, I don't go through my hives unless I have to and so I've not run across the ole gals. This wonderful blog about bees had a wonderful shot so here it is. Go visit if you are curious about bees and think of signing of signing up to follow it. I've been reading it for the past couple weeks when I have a couple minutes and I'm impressed. He may live where the weather is a whole heaping milder but there is still wonderful information to be had and lessons learned. His latest post tells why he also doesn't go through his hives very often but just stands to the side, watches and listens. Oh dear, I posted this and forgot to tell you where the queen is. Good thing I checked back. She is smack dab in the middle with the more pointy behind and a bit lighter in color though that isn't always the case. Her legs are lighter and larger also.

That's what my hubby, grand kids and I did Sunday afternoon after church and our naps of course. We worked on identification of alfalfa and sweet clover with the kids as we drove down the country highways and we watched the ewes with their lambs in the crested wheat grass pastures.

Then we meandered back through a couple cattle guards to where the beehives were tucked against the fence next to expansive hay fields. Two different ranch outfits were busy cutting and baling hay. Our main objective was to make sure the ranchers hadn't cut too much of the alfalfa and left the bees nothing to eat. We having separate goals. The ranchers are worried about putting up enough hay for their sheep and cattle for the winter and I'm worried that they won't leave any blossoms for my bees so they can put up their own feed for the winter.

The pressure is on. Remember, my husband said the bees had to get off of welfare this year.
As I studied the activity around the hive, there wasn't any of this behavior as depicted in this photo from a few weeks ago. In fact, they were bringing in hardly any pollen and as for a small cluster of bees near the entrance - there wasn't any. The hives hum tone had changed too. There wasn't a nice idling engine sound  but instead, the noise was much louder and the hum was that of a highly revved engine. I sensed they knew their food supply was dwindling fast and they weren't stopping to chat but barking orders "Here take this, I've got to gather another load of nectar." "Hurry, hurry we're running out of time."

The revved engine noise I suspect was due to thousands of bees's wings beating rapidly to evaporate part of the liquid to thicken the honey. I didn't need to open the lid of the hive to know the bees were working as fast as they could go. Not surprisingly, the workers don't live as long at this time of year for they are giving their all for the survival of the hive.

Uncharacteristically, I didn't sit right in front of the entrance and just watch. Instead, I stood to the side so as not to be in the way. With the mood they were in, I could see them trying to move this irritating oaf out of the way of their direct flight into the hive. Bee stings aren't awful but still, I'd rather avoid them. 

The grand kids headed off with their papa across the cut hay field to the large stock tank as I watched bees flying in and out.

Soon I joined them with a plan to be back in a week and check to see if the bees needed more empty honey supers. That's just what I'm hoping for.

The water tank was full of moss and a variety of water bugs zipped here and there before diving out of sight into the moss. The kids had never seen the like and though I've watched this same scene many times growing up, I still delighted in the sight. We were all reluctant to leave but we had to get home and gather flags. The Boy Scouts in our church troop put out United States flags on, I think, ten holidays a year. Sunday, Wyoming was celebrating its statehood. The flags are set up at seven and down at seven, and since there are so few boys, the whole congregation takes turns helping. You just show up when your free. No assignments are given.

As a member of the community, you can have a flag flying in your yard by paying $35 dollars a year. The flags snap to a PVC pole and the pipe slides over a re-bar you pound into the lawn. The boys have around ninety flags and the number keeps growing. It's rather fun to gather as a congregation and work together. The church parking lot is soon full of people stacking poles, folding flags, laughing and chatting. The little ones like our grand kids learn respect and of course, how to fold a flag.

Did you know that more boys from Wyoming volunteer to serve in the military per population than any other state? Despite how distant our country has wondered from its roots toward socialism, we still deeply love this land.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Improper Grapes

Keep in mind this picture is from last year.

 I wish I could show you how to do this all proper like but alas, I'm ignorant about grapes except that I really like them. I've devices a poor management system because of that ignorance and since hardly anyone grow anything around here, I don't know who to ask. I've read articles but I still can't figure the thing out. Especially since different kinds of grapes need to be trimmed differently. For once I'd just like some knowledgeable person to show me how to trim my concord grapes. Ding dong me thought  that spending years in ignorance over four grape plants wasn't enough and I bought two more plants last week. This time eating grapes.

I have muddle along and figured out how to get larger grapes, beyond fertilizing them. I have to trim my grapes so the sun can shine on them.  It might be a du...h for some of you but keep in mind, I've only seen grape vines perfectly pruned, not in a jumbled mess like mine and not to get them that way. Consequently, I've no idea how to get from here to there. 
I did wack away at the vines today. If you look real carefully, you might see tiny grapes. Where the sun is shining on clusters, they are much large and so I trimmed back leaves and vines. The leaves to let in sunshine and the vines to prevent the nutrients from going to extra foliage instead of the grapes.

 Now if you live in a warmer climate, I'm sure you can grow far more grapes on a plant than I can and your grapes drape lovingly over the fence but here the growing season is very short and the amount of nutrients in our soil scant. I did get enough grapes last year to make three batches of grape jelly but if anyone who is reading this can come and give me a lesson on how to trim my grapes to look like a proper grape vine, I'd be so..... in your debt.

Just e-mail me at if your volunteering and we'll set up a time. And if there is something we can trade with, such as my showing you how to do something, I'd be glad to.

These  four  Concord grapes plants came without a main stem just a passel of tentacles poking up from the roots. Do I wrap them around each other and try and get them to meld into one big base or do I cut everything back but one stem? Which stem do I keep, for each year some of the grape dies and some lives on to produce the next year. Which does which and how can you tell them apart. That is why Miss Ignorance here waits until now to trim the dead growth. It's pretty easy to tell at this point dead as a door nail and green with life.   
Now this is the part where you say, "Oh you poor soul. You have such a big garden to take care of." Drats, I can just hear you saying the same thing as my husband who reminds me that I did it to myself. Growing a garden by our house requires growing on top of the native soil and not in it. Hence, the two stock truck loads of manure I wheel barrowed on this year alone. I've still a little left to put on here and there around plants. That's what I was doing part of yesterday, putting wood shaving from one of the goat's sheds around the grapes along with horse manure plus I started to spread it around the three apple trees.

Seriously, how does one ever keep up. Having less my husband says. But.... But... I tell him what will we eat when food prices hike to double what they are now?

That is what they say will happen in a few years. I figure if I can learn to grow much of what we eat now, our income will hopefully stretch.  Am I just a panicky ninny and beating myself up for nothing or is our economy going to go further down hill? I guess that is the real question.
Now I must confess because I'm afraid I've misled you. Diane thought it was really cute how the kids didn't want to get their feet wet. Hm.... well it wasn't that at all. I've thistle in about half of my lawn and the kids didn't want to step on them. The youngest decided that her rain boots were just the ticket. The oldest saw the youngest and thought it was a dandy idea and put on her chore boots. The middle grand daughter wore her flip flops and Grandma just felt guilty for not get the cussed things killed. 

The vinegar trick worked great for a short time but they came back since I didn't stay at them. I've a new organic kind of weed killer. We'll see how it works after I get my flower and herb garden weeded tomorrow. So much to do so little time and energy.

Got to go and get the house cleaned up a bit. The poor thing is neglected for all the outside chores that need done.