Christmas in July

Yesterday morning my husband walked in while I was laboriously cleaning our 2-gallon wheel-shaped fish bowl.  I was on one side of the bowl trying to capture the fish with my one cup metal measuring cup. I caught each one, put my hand over the top of the cup, walked around to the other side of the divider, poured the fish and water into a larger bowl and then covered the top of that bowl.

My husband said, “You need a fish net.”  He asked why I didn’t move the fish bowl into the kitchen sink. I told him that with the water in it, it was too heavy for me to do that. I needed to get the fish out, use a tall plastic glass to remove about half of the water, then move the bowl into the sink to clean.

He said, that’s a lot of work when you have to do it every few days to keep the water clear. I simply said, “I love fish.” He said, we haven’t had an aquarium in a long time. Why don’t we go get a small one and that’ll save you a lot of work.” Not a stupid lady, I said, “Hooray! I’d love it!”

My husband said later, “I’m antsy. Why don’t we go to town and get the aquarium.” And so I enjoyed Christmas in July. :0)

We got a 5 gallon aquarium, air pump, air filter, gravel, some decorations and greenery, and extra filter pads. By the time we got home, it was 8:00 in the evening and we just piled the boxes in the dining area, fed animals, fed ourselves, and watched a movie.

We just finished putting the aquarium together. It took us awhile to arrange an electrical strip for all the plug-ins and then to clean things up, but the fish are swimming all around exploring their new home. We got a siphon type cleaner to clean debris from the gravel, and I’ll read up on when to change the filter pad, etc., but now that it’s altogether, it looks like it’ll be a lot less work for me and a nicer home for the fish.

They’re already swimming through the holes in the decorations. It has LED lights and a quieter air pump than we had in the bowl. We corralled all the wiring as much as possible.

I keep finding another reason to go back to the kitchen/dining area so I can look at the aquarium again. I love Christmas in July!

 

 

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Filed under Changes, Delightful Surprises, Family

The Caterpillar Disintegrated

At least, I THINK it was a caterpillar. It came from the exclusive emporium of WalMart. It was bilious pink with knobby things all up and down its length. It had yellow feet, a head sporting a smile with very white teeth, yellow ears, and squeakies in both ends. Amber loved it.

It lived to go through the wash twice. Amber got one squeaky out, but the other one was still in.

Amber was here in the office with me. She moved from one toy to the next and then came through my legs to get to the bed under the counter, and then out again, over and over. She then got quiet.

I should have known that wasn’t good, but I was so happy she had settled for a bit that I didn’t pay enough attention. The next time I looked, the pink caterpillar had lost about half of its length in bits and pieces all over the carpet. I spent the next minutes with the whisk broom, trying to gather the shreds, threads, and balls of pink ‘stuff’ that used to be a toy. I have now disposed of the caterpillar (thank goodness the squeaky is NOT inside Amber!).

Amber won a trip out to the back porch so that I could clean things up. The threads were everywhere. I used a whisk broom, the vacuum cleaner, the whisk broom again, and the vacuum again before things were good again.

I don’t think Amber learned any lessons from this, but “I” did. I’ve learned to pay better attention when the soft toys start getting raggedy.

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If You’re Gonna Get a Tattoo… Take 3

Elegant Animalistic Tattoos by Joanna Swirskaby

Christopher Jobson on July 14, 2017 – Colossal

 

“Wrocław-based tattoo artist Joanna Swirskaby inks carefully considered depictions of animals tinged with psychedelic splashes of color. Her most common subject is the humble feline which seems to make an appearance in nearly half of her works which run the gamut from graceful to fantastically absurd.

 

You can follow more of her recent work on Instagram.”

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It’s Impossible to Paint Water, But… – Take 2

Funnyjunk via FunSubstance.com

 

 

Wave Art – The Shallows – Artist Unknown

 

 

YouTube – Artist Unknown

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Music Magic

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

To my way of thinking, music is magic.

If I’m in the shop working on something and one of our long time favorite songs starts, I’m instantly transported – 14 again and dancing at a party or remembering something I thought I had long forgotten. The years fall off. If the music is slow, I may hum along. If it’s fast, I jump up and shake my parts in time with it, feeling just as I did umpteen years ago, pain gone, creakiness gone, a smile on my face. Isn’t that amazing?

It’s been found that playing favorite music in hospitals makes patients happier and heal more quickly. Music from the big band era played in nursing homes brings smiles, tapping feet, happy memories.

I don’t understand it, but it’s a miracle we should take advantage of whenever possible. Bop to the beat in your heart to get an instant burst of energy!

 

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, music

Paintings of Children – Take 2

Artist Unknown

I want to reach out and stroke this child’s hair. Isn’t the light in this painting wonderful?

 

 

 

Selene Salvi

The girl is beautiful, and I love the pose. The texture of the clothes is amazing, too.

 

 

 

 

Donald O’Conner

I want to look for shells with this child. The dress is eye-popping and I love the texture of the sand. I can almost hear the water lapping.

 

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Multi-Shampoo Day

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Heat index is 110 degrees F. today. UGH.

Amber and I went out to the garden to plant 3 celery plants and take pics of my squash. Then we walked out to the greenhouse so we could take pics of my husband’s ham radio tower which now has THREE sections together. By the time we got back to the house, my head was not only wet, it was dripping. UGH. It’s always hot in Arkansas in the summer ( July and August are the worst). We’re used to that, insulating ourselves from the heat as much as possible. This year, though, we’ve had a lot more humidity than usual. I’m too old for humidity, I find. I refuse to wash my hair more than three times a day, though – so if you’re coming to see us, I might look like an exploded dandelion.

______________

Since I  planted my first celery this year, I’ve learned two things:

Thing One – I’m supposed to be giving them a lot more water than the rest of my garden plants. I’ll keep using the irrigation system, but will also arrange to add extra water to the celery a couple of times a day.

Thing Two – I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together tightly as they grow. I’ll give that a try, but I’m not sure that’s a workable thing. I may just continue to come out and cut some stalks when they’re ready and let the plant do its natural thing.

I planted two spaghetti squash plants grown from seed taken from one bought at the store and sprouted in a glass in the kitchen. I now have FIVE spaghetti squash(es)! I’m not sure what the plural of ‘squash’ is. Anyhow, they’re looking great. Pics below.

I spent about an hour in the raised bed square foot garden yesterday trying to catch up on the weeds. I got things pretty much under control. Even with irrigation, the heat is stressing plants out now, so I’m feeling lucky to have anything still alive. I’m concentrating on trying to keep the plants as comfortable as possible, growing where and how they want to.

This grape tomato plant spread out all over one whole 4’x4′ square planter. Since it has blossoms all over it, I’m just letting it take over the planter.

 

The marigolds are happy. They don’t have very many plants to protect right now. Such happy-looking flowers! (Celery plants are along the back of the marigolds.)

 

Two of the spaghetti squash. I’m just pulling up the vines that spill over the box, spreading the vine carefully over the dirt and letting them go where they may. I put special plastic melon holders under the squash for support. I guess I’ll harvest these soon, as they’re getting to be the size of some I’ve bought at the store. They have blossoms on the vines, too, so I may get more!

 

Three new celery plants planted this morning.

 

 

Two more spaghetti squash(es). you can see a couple of yellow squash blossoms.

 

And this is a dog plant……

Amber went with me to plant the celery and take pictures this morning. She loved walking around under the planter boxes, enjoying the new world…  she got hot, too, and jumped into her pool on the way back from taking pics of my husband’s tower.

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Tomatoes! July 21, 2017

We had a GREAT harvest today. It’s so hot that even though we have an automatic watering system, the plants are pretty stressed. I’m not sure if we’ll have any more or not this year.  We mustn’t be TOO greedy, though. We’ve had a truly great year for fresh tomatoes – plenty for us and more for family and friends, plus ones to freeze. YUM!

The next time I go out, I’m planning to weed the raised bed square foot garden. I’ll take pics to post.

 

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Gifts!

I told you yesterday that our thank you to the Taylors for coming and helping us pour all the concrete for the ham radio tower pad was that my husband replaced the rickety arms of the cart the concrete mixer was on with some metal, painted ones that will probably outlive all of us. I also took a bag of our tomatoes.

We didn’t expect that WE would get gifts from the Taylors!

Laufrain is a master with plants of all kinds. I’ve told you about the Taj Mahal of greenhouses that Dave built for Laufrain. I can’t think of anyone who deserves something fabulous like this more. Her whole yard, right on Shadow Lake, is a wonderland of stone paths, garden areas, natural areas, beautiful lush grass, and more.

The picture above shows an elephant ear plant she gave me. Isn’t it wonderful?

 

If Laufrain told me what the name of this nice plant is, I’ve forgotten it. Not only does it have this beautiful purple and green foliage, it blooms with purple flowers! I can’t wait!!

I went out last evening with the idea of quickly planting these two plants, and ended up calling on my husband for help. We have a wisteria on one end of this planter, and it had big gnarly roots growing all the way to the opposite end of the planter! We used two kinds of shovels, a pick axe and a lopper to finally get holes deep enough to plant.

Laufrain also gave me an avocado plant! It’s on my window sill right now because I want to read up on how to try to take care of it.

We are lucky to have such wonderful friends.

 

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Ham Radio Tower Progress Report – July 21, 2017

Last night my husband attached the 1st section of the tower to the base plate on the pad we made. You can see that there is a base plate on the bottom of the section that is now bolted to the base plate on the concrete form. This is so you can lay the whole tower down if needed.

He’s going to put the 4 ten-foot sections together on the ground, add the antenna propped up on a pole, and pound stakes in on three sides for guy wires. Once the whole thing is together and cabled, he can test it to make sure all is working as it should. Then our good friend, Dave, will bring over his equipment to pull the tower up into place and we can tie the guy wires to the stakes.

 

 

This is a better picture of the base plate on the bottom of the 1st section. There will be another bolt to hold the base plate to the concrete when the tower goes up. There are four sections of the tower, each 10 feet tall, plus the antenna, which is square – 9 feet on each side.  The whole tower is about 45 feet tall.

This will all take some time, and I’m fighting with my husband about trying to do too much at one time in the sun. I’ll take progress pictures as we work.

 

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The Gruesome Foursome

I got my newest fish from Petco last Sunday. So far, everyone seems healthy.

When I lost my last fish, I emptied everything out of the bowl, treating the bowl itself with hot water and bleach, and the decorations with hot water and vinegar. Then I used aged water to fill up the bowl. I have no clue why I lost the last ones. I got them from WalMart and I’m beginning to think maybe the fish in that one tank weren’t as healthy as I had hoped. It was either that, or the environment I was providing, so I decided to get everything super clean and then get the fish elsewhere.

 

I got four small goldfish. They were really swimming fast in the tank at Petco, and even the guy who worked in that department all the time had trouble catching them with his net. I haven’t named them, but they are so much alike that it’s hard – if not impossible – to tell them apart. One may have a little more red that the others.

I’m keeping two gallons of aged water ready for each cleaning now, rather than using water from the tap and putting in the treatment stuff.  I’m holding my breath and keeping all appendages crossed that the combination of the new source for the fish and my intense cleaning of everything will do the trick this time.

They are really reacting to my voice when I feed them. They start swimming really fast in anticipation of the food being sprinkled in. :0)

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Feeling We’re Inside the Crock Pot

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With the humidity at 54% right now, the heat index is at 106 degrees F., and due to get hotter as the afternoon wears on.  I realize it’s summer, but I’m older than dirt now, and not as able to handle this as I once was.

That said, I’m going to be doing some stuff outside, activity in short bursts with cool down and lots of water in-between, for the rest of the day.

  • gather ripe tomatoes
  • weed the raised bed square foot garden
  • weed whacking around the yard
  • pruning the rose bushes,
  • weeding the flower planters

This is my list in order of priority. I’ll be lucky if I get ANY of these things done.

Thank goodness we have good air conditioning. If we didn’t, I think all I would do is lie around with wet towels over me…

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Solution

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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Blowing Bubbles

onsecrethunt.com via http://www.wallpapersxl.com

Blowing bubbles is one of my favorite things. I loved it all through my childhood, and used our son as an excuse to always have some on hand as he was growing up. Now he’s across the world from us and I still have some on hand.

 

 

zen to zany via cathy ruggiero

Now, when my husband and I are cooking outside on the grill, we turn on the rope LED lights that we strung around the top of the deck cover and I bring out my bubbles. My husband looks at me as if I probably have brain damage of some kind. These were never an attraction for him. The only ones he got into was when they came out with a humongous wand that generated HUGE bubbles.

I’m content to use my ‘ordinary’ bubbles and wand – happily remembering wonderful things I can share with him as we enjoy the smell of the charcoal and the sizzling beef.

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Poor Amber Wants to Play

Poor Amber tried to get Molly to play with her this morning. She was relatively sweet about it, too, taking one toy after another under my chair to make her way to Molly’s bed in the space beside my feet at the computer desk. She was serially rebuffed by Molly, who had no interest at all in Amber or her toys. I defended Molly, and then played tug of war and fetch the plastic squeaky bone for about 20 minutes. Amber was just getting started!

She switched to the rawhide, taking it to Molly, then to my husband across the room, then to me. I threw it for her several times, but it wasn’t enough. We went through the stuffed caterpillar with the squeaky, the heavy glass paperweight, the teddy bear, the indestructible weird ring with knobs on it, an empty plastic bottle, all getting a small share of time and attention, but it wasn’t enough.

I finally took her for a walk just now. We walked out to where the greenhouse is, and the new ham radio tower will be, all around the edge of the civilized part of the yard in the back, out to the garden and around it, back to the front yard, out to the kiddie pool. She jumped in, splashed all around, drank a bunch of it, and jumped back out. I finally left her on the porch for a while.

We’re heading for Lunch Bunch in a few minutes, and then all of this will start again….

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Painting Water is Impossible, But…

Painting of Reflection on Water – Ann Ardon Fine Art

Look at these! These are so good they bring tears to my eyes. Painting realistic water and realistic snow are extremely difficult, and yet some people are talented enough to do it.

 

 

Gustavo Silva Nunez – DeMiked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Zener

 

 

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Paintings of Children – Take 1

Artist Unknown

 

 

Artist Unknown

 

 

Svetlana Cameron 2010

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Never Stop

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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Glorious Red Flowers

“And Yet Love” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Beauty” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“I’ve Got a Crush on You” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Mimosa Flower” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Passion and Love” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Reaching Red Fingers” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Red Stars” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Refinement” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Today is a Good Day

credit: unknown

Yesterday, even with the concrete mixer, vibrator, and help from our friends, we really worked hard to get our ham radio tower base form filled.

Today, my husband is finishing making new ‘arms’ for the cart on which the concrete mixer sits as a small thank you for our friends help. If he finishes today, we’ll call and see if they’ll be home so we can return the concrete mixing stuff and give them some more tomatoes.

Otherwise, other than normal stuff, today is a quiet day. No ‘have-tos,’  no rushing around, no working a lot in the heat (although I need to do some stuff in the garden and check for ripe tomatoes.)

A day to regroup, play with the dog, enjoy having a/c  when our heat index is in the danger zone for the rest of the week.

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Amber at 4-1/2 Months

Amber has decided she likes Molly’s bed under my computer counter. She goes in and out over and over, stepping on my feet, making my chair swivel, squeaky toy in her mouth. She thinks it’s a great game.

I think we’re over the hump on her digestive problem now. She has remained playful and happy throughout, but is now almost completely back to normal. I’m going to start giving her a bit of puppy food again and we’ll see if that’s a problem or not.

She is spending more and more time with us inside. We taught her “PLACE” (the big bed in the living room) and she either plays contently or goes to sleep, over and over.  She and Molly sit together on the bed, or Molly chooses to sit elsewhere, but isn’t freaking out. Amber is dive-bombing her less over time.

One of her favorite things now is for either my husband or me to come over and sit on the floor beside her ‘place.’  She knows it’s then okay to come sit with us, play, and love – and we do a lot of that.

This morning we worked on “DOWN.” She didn’t want to cooperate at first, but changed her mind when she discovered she got a cookie if she was down.  We’re working on SO many things all at the same time. One of the important things now is to take food from our hands without teeth. I’ve found that if I touch her eat, she will take the treat more gently. Who knew?

We keep reminding ourselves, one day at a time.

Meanwhile, I’m making sure that a couple of times a day, Molly and I sit together. She’s my lap dog, and she loves it. I don’t want her to feel she’s getting lost in the shuffle of training the new puppy.

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If You’re Gonna Get a Tattoo… – Take 2

Elegant Animalistic Tattoos by Joanna Swirskaby

via Christopher Jobson on July 14, 2017 – Colossal

 

“Wrocław-based tattoo artist Joanna Swirska inks carefully considered depictions of animals tinged with psychedelic splashes of color. Her most common subject is the humble feline which seems to make an appearance in nearly half of her works which run the gamut from graceful to fantastically absurd.

 

You can follow more of her recent work on Instagram. ”

 

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Going to the Dogs

Stacy Sanchez via Ariaa Jaeger

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“Scene of the Balcony”

“Scene of the Balcony” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Ham Radio Tower Base is Done!

This morning we made sure we had electricity and water at the ready for the pouring-the-ham-radio-tower-base project. My husband and I emptied the back of the truck of the 16 sixty-pound bags of Qwik-Crete, stacking them on the ground close to the form. I then went back to Yeagers to get 14 more bags.

By the time I got back, our good friends Dave and Laufrain were here. We started at 10:00.

The concrete mixer would handle up to 3 sacks at a time. Most of the time we kept it to 2 sacks. But the mixer did a wonderful job. They also brought a vibrator, which was an electric vibrating pole-looking attachment that got the bubbles out, made sure the mix was good, and really did miracle work for us. There was very little hoeing to be done – mainly to move the poured concrete to the opposite side of the form when necessary. Dave finished the top off with a regular concrete smoothing tool, encasing the metal attachment base in its proper place in the middle of the concrete.

The tower base will attach to the metal we encased today. It is meant to ‘open up’ allowing one to ease the tower down on its side if necessary, and then be pulled back up into position.

We’ll bring all the parts of the tower (4 ten-foot sections) plus the huge antenna top, and will lay them out, ready to be cabled and then put together on the ground. The actual antenna will be off the ground, supported on ‘something’ so that my husband can be sure it’s responding to the correct band width level before we haul it up into place.

We’ll install guy wires on stakes pounded into the ground to keep it secure.

Here are some close up pics of the base.

 

 

 

My husband wanted me to put the date on one side

 

and his call sign on another. He was okay with me using my finger.

When the concrete sets up a bit more, we’ll use a brush on the metal in the center to get the concrete off.

We would have been dead trying to mix this much concrete by ourselves, with hoe and wheelbarrow. Our friends made it a much more bearable process. Dave will also bring another tool he has that will help us stand the tower up when it’s ready.

As partial payment for our friends’ efforts, my husband is going to replace the rickety wooden ‘arms’ on the cart the mixer is on with some nice metal arms that will probably outlive all of us. :0)

We’re lucky to have such great friends.

 

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Secretarybird

This was posted on Facebook yesterday. They said she is called a “Secretarybird.” I think she’s beautiful, and a wonderful sight with which to start the day.

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If You’re Gonna Have a Tatoo…

Elegant Animalistic Tattoos by Joanna Swirskaby

Christopher Jobson on July 14, 2017 – Colossal

 

“Wrocław-based tattoo artist Joanna Swirska inks carefully considered depictions of animals tinged with psychedelic splashes of color. Her most common subject is the humble feline which seems to make an appearance in nearly half of her works which run the gamut from graceful to fantastically absurd.

 

 

You can follow more of her recent work on Instagram.”

 

Credit: Christopher Jobson, Colossal

 

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Hummingbird Birdbath Update

We’ve had a really poor year for hummingbirds.

How many we have varies from year to year. One year we remember fondly we would try to keep our heads perfectly still and count the number we could see. There were SO many, we would be laughing, unable to get an accurate count.

This year we had seen a few, but far between, in that our spring was longer, wetter, and cooler than normal. While that was wonderful for humans, I think it discouraged the hummers from coming to see us.

We went ahead and built the hummingbird bird bath above, hoping that when they finally came, they would enjoy it.

All of a sudden yesterday, while I was in the front talking to our wonderful handyman Foy, I saw FOUR at one time in the wisteria! I was amazed. Either our wisteria hasn’t bloomed enough or at the right time, or I wasn’t in the right place at the right time, to see them.

Since then, I’ve seen TWO at once several times going to the deck feeders.

But not one have we seen even TRY the bird bath!

I decided months ago that it didn’t really matter to me if the hummers, or any of the other birds, liked the birdbath or not. I love the LOOK of the thing, and I’m even happier with the SOUND. I find it very relaxing to stretch out in a chair, cold drink or hot coffee at the ready, feet propped up, closing my eyes and enjoying the sound.

Foy and Judy had some iced tea before they left yesterday and Judy mentioned the ‘water feature.’ I told her it was built for the hummingbirds, but that they didn’t seem to like it. She just looked at me and said, “Their loss.”

Isn’t that a great attitude? :0)

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Tomato Harvest 7-18 – 2017

Well, I pruned the tomatoes in the nook planter, taking out a LOT of particularly the plant on the left side of the planter. Then I moved to the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house where the other tomato plants are, pruning them. I got pretty ruthless, because I want all the nutrients and energy going to the parts of the plants that might actually produce.

The plants don’t look pretty now, but it looks like they’re responding to the pruning, fertilizer and Seven I put on them about a week ago.

Here is today’s harvest. We’re really pleased with our crop this year. We’ve been oohing and ahhhing at lunch and dinner, eating a BUNCH of sliced ripe tomatoes at every meal except for breakfast. We particularly enjoy giving people we like bags of tomatoes, since we have more than we can eat. (I now know how to can, but I hate to give any of them up when I can eat them fresh off the vine.)

Our friends Laufrain and Dave (our friends and bowling buddies) were telling us last night how pretty the tomatoes were and how good they tasted. :0)

We also gave some to our driller and brush hog master, Foy, and his wife, Judy.

Who can ask for more from a bit of work to grow them?

Sheer luxury!!!

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

The Miracle of Brush Hogging

Our man-for-all-next-to-impossible-chores, Foy Brown, spent most of the afternoon here yesterday, brush hogging. He has a really nice looking Kubota tractor with a front end loader on the front and an 8 foot wide brush hog attachment on the back.

We needed to have the easement cleared where my greenhouse is – and the ham radio tower WILL be. The grass, blackberry briars, and other assorted weeds were my chest high, and sometimes higher. We need to be able to lay the pieces of the tower down on the ground in order, run two kinds of cables through it, test the system, and then put it together and haul it up.

 

 

After Foy finished brush hogging to the east side of the house, you can clearly see the greenhouse!  If you’ll strain your eyes a bit, you can see the wooden edge of the form for the base of the ham radio tower to the right of the greenhouse.

 

This is the view to the north of the greenhouse.

 

 

He then went across the edge of the civilized part of our back yard, where I’ve been trying to lop down and throw weed trees.  He did a wonderful job. We still have weed trees, but they’re growing in extremely rocky ground, between rocks just shoved down the side of the hill when our house was built 30 years ago. You can’t tackle this area with any kind of riding equipment. I’ll lop what I can of the remaining trees.

 

You can see where I’ll need to do a bit of clean up, and then a LOT of spraying with the nice weed killer that is on its way to us.

 

We showed Foy where he could go down past the pile up of rocks and get to the area we would like to have cleared to renew our fire break. He did a lot of work yesterday, but then a part of the hydraulic line broke. He’ll need to get a new part to repair the tractor – now in the back off the edge of our world, ready for him to climb down and repair it. He said he’ll be back before Saturday to finish up what he can do back there.

Between the help drilling the hole we needed for the radio tower and the brush hogging, Foy is worth his weight in gold.

The next step on the ham radio tower is getting 16 bags of sac-crete. Our friend Dave has a concrete mixer!  He’s going to bring it and help us mix and pour the concrete, we think tomorrow. Hooray!

 

 

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Be

The Daily Kitty via Cathy Ruggiero

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