Category Archives: Arkansas
Filed under Arkansas, Attitude, Encouragement
Yeah, You Wish!
My body is letting me know that today might be a ‘take it easier’ day. Yesterday my husband and I did some cleaning out of our shop.
It was half as large as it is now when we first had it built. Now it’s 64’x24′. It’s a wonderful place. We have been able to set up some ‘work stations’ in there, so we don’t have to move so many things when we’re working on our projects.
It’s also large enough that we can be kind of sloppy about how much we keep out there. My husband started the clean out yesterday. Then he came and got me because about 25% of the shop is ‘mine.’ We cleaned out a whole lot of ‘stuff’ that should have been thrown out a long time ago. My husband burned it in our burn barrel, so now it looks like someone might care about the building – hence, my body complaining. :0)
Several of the yard critters we have made over the years are badly in need of a spruce up. Sun, wind, rain, and temperature changes are really hard on things that are outside. (We discovered that most recently when one of the shutters on the front of the house simple fell off the screws and anchors attaching it to the brick and shattered on the rocks below.)
I have cleared my work table now and will work on a critter we call a “box turtle” first.
Filed under aging, Arkansas, Lewis Art, Lewis yard art, Organizing/DeCluttering
When I was taking Molly out for her first morning outing this morning, this sight greeted us. If you look closely, you can see it is now growing WAY UP in the tree on the far side of the actual plant in the brick planter.
A little closer view now where you can see the glorious color.
There were big, fat bumble bees enjoying it this morning. (I don’t mind them because they need a reason to sting you, unlike the red wasps who hate everyone, but tend to dive bomb me whenever I’m not paying close enough attention. There is a lovely fragrance, too. Not overpowering, just NICE.
This blooms every year regardless of surrounding circumstance, reliably. Sometimes it is not quite so lush and fragrant, but it reminds us that nice weather is on the way, and the hope that things will get better soon!
Filed under anticipation, Arkansas, Attitude, color, Delightful Surprises, Gardening, hope
Filed under Arkansas, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Greenwood
On the Way to Relocate Another Raccoon…
Last night we set the humane trap again, having been cleaned completely out of sunflower seeds for several days in a row that are SUPPOSED to be shared by birds, squirrels, AND an occasional raccoon. This morning a BIG one, maybe the daddy of the pack, was in the trap, calmly waiting for us.
As we always try to do – unless the raccoon is hissing and spitting and trying to bite us – we fed our animals and then put the trap in the back of the truck. We travel about 5 miles away from the house and let them go in a small creek that runs under the road. I like to think they all meet again to enjoy the rest of their lives together.
This morning the trip to relocate the raccoon was a bit more eventful than usual.
On the way out to the little creek we saw three deer beside the road. They were on my husband’s side of the car, but I think they were close enough he could have reached out and touched one of them as we slowly went by.
Further down the twisty, turn-y road there was a bull in the middle of it!
We slowed and watched him as he gradually moved a bit to one side. We went VERY slowly around him. He didn’t move a muscle. I don’t know about my husband, but “I” was holding my breath.
Further down was one cow, munching grass right beside the road.
Finally, another raccoon raced across the road in front of our truck.
We let our raccoon out. He went right out of the trap and down into the creek. (It MAY be that he’s been through this before?)
We came home, hosed off the porch, and will re-bait the trap tonight to see if there are more.
Filed under Arkansas, Challenges
Perfect Day for the Annual Greenwood Classic Car Show
It’s 73 degrees F., a bit overcast, a hint of raindrops – the perfect day for a car show. In the past we’ve gotten sunburned, even though we wore hats. We’ve had downpours that basically rained out the show. We’ve had bad winds that caused havoc with the tents. Today was perfect.
The Greenwood Car Show is an annual event. I believe this is year 30, but don’t hold me to it. We love attending this. The main thoroughfare is kept open, but the rest of the square is roped off, filled with incredible cars of all makes, sizes, shapes, years – all ones you almost never see. People come to show their cars from the surrounding states. Prizes are given. Proceeds are given to various charities. Food, fun, music, and wonderful cars! The music was from “our era” which means the songs were older than dirt. Several of the people showing cars were Marines, so my husband had several nice chats with guys.
My favorite car – a 1932 Deuce Coupe –
wasn’t there this year, but we had plenty of wonderful cars and motorcycles to drool over.
Isn’t this amazing?
This was my personal favorite this year.
This is a Maserati. It had a 200 mph sticker in the window.
Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood
Petite Jean State Park, Arkansas
Filed under Arkansas, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Mother Nature
Chomping at the Bit!
It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.
I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.
I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.
My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.
I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.
This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.
This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.
The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.
I’m starting to plan where the plants will go. It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes. We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.) He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.
I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.
We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.
I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.
If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!
Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)
I’m Feeling Sassy!
I’m feeling sassy this morning because my first floor carpet is CLEAN for the first time in several years!
I’ve vacuumed and spot-cleaned, when necessary, to the point the only CLEAN spots – where we used RESOLVE – showed up horribly. I had put off using a professional carpet cleaning service because I’m a slob, but I don’t like to advertise the fact any more than I must. It’s depressing, though, to be doing all you can and for the carpet to still look grungy when you finish.
I finally called a company called, ChemDry. They serve the Crawford and Sebastian County area in Arkansas. They use a method that uses a lot less water and chemicals that are safe for kids and pets – a really important thing to me. I lucked out. I called one day and they were due to be in our area the next day so I got an appointment for 1:30 in the afternoon yesterday!
1:30 came and went, but then we got a phone call from the cleaning guy. He said they were running an hour late. I said, “Fine,” and we waited. They came right at 2:30. I showed them what we wanted done and they both listened carefully. They were very careful moving their equipment in and out, (a real challenge with dog gates in each doorway), very courteous, and total professionals. At one point they had me come in to look before they were finished. There was a clear line between where they had cleaned and what was left to be done. Very impressive!
Alex also told me about a product to use on spots on the carpet that is better than Resolve. It’s called Benefect Decon 30. It comes in a gallon jug. You pour some on the spot. Let it dry. If there is any ring, you wipe with a damp cloth. I ordered some on Amazon yesterday afternoon.
It took them approximately two hours to do our living room, office, and foyer. The only ones a bit frustrated at the activity were our dogs, who were out on the back porch. After the guys had gotten a good start, I went out and sat on the porch with our doggies, who welcomed me as if it had been YEARS since we had last seen each other, and then calmed down. I again left them after spending about an hour out there. We enjoyed it because it was a beautiful, unusually warm day for Arkansas in January, and I saw THREE PAIRS of cardinals in the evergreen trees in one side of our back yard!
I left a good review on their website and am trying this morning to call and talk to the nice lady who schedules appointments. I have put their name and phone number in my contacts list and will call them again. They also clean tile and grout!
As I’m moving small stuff back in place, I’m SMILING at my carpet!!!
This is my greenhouse. My husband and I built it, following some plans he found on the net. It has a dirt floor covered with two layers of heavy black plastic to discourage weed growth. It has a people door in one end and an exhaust fan on the other. We built ‘tables’ all the way around with room under them for storage, plus one corner for taller things, like a trash can full of Mel’s Mix.
I think most people who build greenhouses are concerned about warmth. We live in Arkansas and the big concern here is trying to keep our plants from burning up inside! I manage as well as I can with the exhaust fan which comes on automatically when the temperature gets too high in there. I also prop the door open on the opposite end. In order to run the exhaust fan or turn on a light, I string about 300 feet of outdoor heavy-duty extension cord from the house to the greenhouse. We don’t have heat or air conditioning, so the main thing I’m trying to do is extend the growing season.
My plan is to start seeds for cool crops, such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. around March 1st or so, with the hope that when it’s the proper time to plant them outside in my raised bed, square foot garden, I’ll have healthy plants to transfer. I’m really new at this, so everything is an experiment, and I’m reading everything I can get my hands on trying to figure out how to do things.
Our Garden –
We started out with a square foot garden on the ground. We live on top of a ridge line and had to truck in the soil to make a small space around the house for a ‘yard’ when we built over 30 years ago. The square foot garden allows you to build a garden plot on top of your existing soil using Mel’s Mix to bypass any soil problems. (Mel’s Mix is a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find. We use mushroom, barnyard, cotton burr, and some made by us.)
As I avoid getting down on my hands and knees – and up again – as much as possible, my husband and I decided to build a raised bed square foot garden. I now have 6 ‘boxes’ (4’x4’x12″) that are about at my chest level with a fence around it. I can add more Mel’s Mix, plant, weed, and harvest standing up! I mark the squares with stretched string and plant according to Mel’s suggestions. (Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew). We’ve had better luck with our veggie garden than ever before. We converted two brick planters close to the house to be square foot planters, too, and plant our tomatoes in those.
Each season I’m learning more and more about what I’m trying to do. So far, it’s mostly learning what NOT to do again, but I AM making progress. We were able to enjoy several different kinds of lettuce, spinach, a bit of broccoli and cauliflower, radishes, some celery, squash, and more during the spring. We were able to keep things alive during the summer, fall, and even a bit into the winter.
I started some lettuce plants in the greenhouse this fall because we had a cold snap super early. They did well, but then the greenhouse was getting too cold, so I transferred the plants into my dining area. I was able to harvest lettuce almost all the way through December.
Now all is in hiatus because of the weather. I’m using the time, reading and scheming on how I’ll start the next season.
A Beautiful Day
I was out working in the yard and took some pics of our remaining flowers. This is the black elephant ear my friend, Kay, gave me.
The Rio Samba rose only has one bloom on it now, but the impatiens around the bottom is still happy.
And these are on the left side of the front door.
And the right side. (You can tell that we have mainly shade around the front door on the north side of the house.)
A sweet hydrangea bloom.
Otherwise, I lopped off a BUNCH of branches between the house and the shop. We had to add air to a tire in the Vette this morning before going grocery shopping, and some branches were reaching out, trying to scratch the car. They’re gone now. :0)
Fun in the Greenhouse – October 27, 2018
This is my greenhouse. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that I haven’t done much with it until recently. We run electricity out there with two super-long extension cords so that we can run the exhaust fan and a secondary fan, plus a light, if needed, but we don’t have cooling or heat, due to the expense.
I’ve been trying to get it set up all summer long, but we actually lost a regular, bulb-type thermometer out there due to excess heat, even with both fans on and the door open. The thing simply blew its top – spewing the red stuff all over the place, as if someone with super colorful blood had died out there. The thermometer stopped at 120 degrees F., so I assume it was hotter than that. Needless to say, the heat in there was not conducive to me spending time out there, or even thinking about trying to grow anything.
Now that our temperatures have cooled off, I’m having so much fun trying to see what I can do! I have iceberg head lettuce growing (one set of plants bought when they were very small, and the other set bought when they were really leggy – almost too much to get planted.) I was very lucky to get those, so I’m doing what I can with them.
The three large pots hold the leggy lettuce plants. The 4 smaller pots have celery I started indoors.
The two pots on the right at the top of the picture are what remains of the small lettuce plants. The rest are tomato suckers I gathered and planted.
These are also tomato sucker plants. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a blast.
I could go ahead and start cutting the outer lettuce leaves for our dinner salads, but the plants are looking so pretty I want to give them more time before I start harvesting. I’m thinking about starting some radish seeds, too.
Fun in the Greenhouse
I had a lot of fun working in the greenhouse this morning. I’m reading a book, Greenhouse Gardening – A Beginner’s Guide by Jason Johns to try to figure out what I’m doing. :0)
It FINALLY quit raining today, so I’ve been out there and back again several times. It was 90 degrees in there this morning, so I’ve propped open the door, hooked up the electricity so the exhaust fan turns on automatically, and turned on the 2nd fan.
On the left side of this picture, are new tomato suckers I planted today. A couple of them were large, so they’re in the larger pots. To the right you can see the two smaller lettuce plants I planted a couple of weeks ago. They’re not thriving, but they are still alive. In front of them are more tomato suckers I started today.
I moved the six leggy lettuce plants into much larger pots to give them room to spread out. They’re looking really healthy. I’ll start cutting outer leaves from each of the plants for dinner salads soon. In front of the two big pots on the left, You can see the celery plants I started in the house from cuttings from celery I bought at the store. In front of the pot on the right are more tomato sucker plants.
I just read about tomato plants in my greenhouse book. He suggests they need a LOT of air circulation around each plant, so I think I’ll go back out and move them from the 4 and six-pack planters to each in a 3-4″ pot to give them the best chance possible.
I’m like a kid at Christmas with the lettuce plants. I can’t wait to be able to bring leaves in and bite them!
Fall Greenhouse Project Report 10-15-2018
The two plants on the left are the small iceberg head lettuce plants I bought recently. They’re still alive, but I can’t say they’re thriving. The plants on the right are the tomato suckers I gathered and planted last week. As you can see, they’re still alive, too. :0)
These are the longer, leggy-looking iceberg head lettuce plants I found several days later. I planted them as deeply as I could, trying to have the soil support the plants as much as possible. They seem to be doing really well. I’m watering the saucers under the plants, rather than the plants themselves, thinking the plants will draw the water up if they’re thirsty.
This is looking down at one of the lettuce plants. I’m so pleased so see lots of activity.
The outside temperature this morning is 45 degrees F. The temp in the greenhouse was between 55 and 60. I still have the electricity hooked up, so the exhaust fan can turn on if it wants to, but I’m not expecting that any time soon. If we’re having anything beyond a temporary cold snap, I’ll probably disconnect the extension cord that runs all the way across the yard from the greenhouse to the back of our home.
In another day or two, if things still look good, I’ll harvest a few leaves of lettuce for our dinner salad!
Progress in the Greenhouse!
I found these suckers on a tomato plant and replanted them in the greenhouse. I’ll be trying to get lots of others started, as it’s too cool outside now for the tomato plants to create ripe tomatoes. I’m HOPING that I can either have tomato plants ready to replant in the planters in the spring, or even have a ripe tomato or two to enjoy! So far, these seem to be doing well.
Yesterday I turned off the second fan and closed the greenhouse door. The exhaust fan is still hooked up and will turn on if the temp gets over 80 degrees in there.
These are the really small lettuce plants I planted about a week ago. They’re still alive, but aren’t having an explosive growth.
I took TWO shots of the ‘leggy lettuce’ I planted several days after the small ones. Here you can see how large they are compared to the smaller one on the right.
If they continue to do this well, I’ll start carefully cutting larger leaves to include in our dinner salads!
I also have several celery plants I’ll bring out to see how they do. :0)
Baby, It’s COOOOL Outside!
The above picture is a gross exaggeration of our situation in Arkansas this morning, but I found it, loved it, and wanted to share it. :0)
We’ve gone from having to wear a sweat band while working outside to having to wear a light jacket or sweatshirt outside in the space of a day or two. I have to tell you, I’ve been more than ready and am embracing the change. It DOES take a bit of switching of gears, though, and I’ll start that today.
I’ve been running the exhaust fan and a second fan in my greenhouse, plus propping the door open to keep the plants I’ve started from boiling in their pots. I haven’t been out there to check on things this morning, but, depending on what the thermometer in there says, I’ll probably shut off the second fan and shut the door. I’ll also accelerate trying to find tomato suckers to plant – if it’ll stop raining long enough. I want to start a BUNCH, since I’m new to this and tend to make lots of mistakes.
We haven’t started our get-ready-for-winter list around here, since we were sweating and using the a/c only a couple of days ago, so I’ll watch for forecasts and decide if we need to accelerate THAT, as well.
My spirits are soaring. I get a lot more energetic when the weather is cool. I’m raring to go!
It’s Said That a Sucker is Born Every Minute…
Since our weather is cooling off – finally – here in Greenwood, Arkansas – I’m getting more serious about starting things in the greenhouse.
I told you recently I started some iceberg head lettuce plants. My plants are doing well so far. I just went out and watered the saucers under the plants this afternoon, and the plants seem happy with this procedure. The exhaust fan was on – signaling that cooling was needed in the greenhouse. I still have the secondary fan on and the door on the opposite end of the greenhouse open to encourage as much air flow as possible.
Today while watering, I noticed that fire ants were swarming again on the floor of the greenhouse, so I went back to the garage and mixed up more EIGHT bug spray. I really love this stuff! It kills the bugs while being safe for plants and animals, so I don’t have to worry that our pets will come sniff or come in contact with the wet spray. I also can spray the plants in our raised bed planters in the square foot garden when needed without worrying about the residue on the edible plants.
I sprayed ants, which had shown new ‘homes’ in several places, and then found and planted one six-pack of tomato suckers. The picture above shows what a sucker is. You can plant these and a whole new tomato plant is possible. I’m going to plant a whole bunch of these because I have no clue what I’m doing and expect to lose a lot of the plants. If I can get SOME to survive, though, I may actually get some ripe tomatoes before we have a hard freeze!
I’ll try to accomplish something outside daily now that the weather is ‘my kind of weather.’ Maybe it’ll last long enough I can get things under good control for the winter! :0)
The Dari – Greenwood, Arkansas
This restaurant opened recently. My husband and I met one of our best friends to try lunch today. We met there at 1:30, but it was still quite crowded. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Breakfast served from 6-10, Lunch and dinner ’til 9.)
We ordered and paid at the front counter, got our drinks and found a table. My husband and I ordered a hamburger steak combo, which included mashed potatoes, your choice of sides (we had green beans), and your choice of Texas Toast or a roll. (We got Texas toast.) Our friend chose a grilled chicken salad without eggs.
We got our orders quickly, much to our surprise. And both things were GOOD! The chef/cook cooked our hamburger steak to perfection. It had a brown gravy with onions in it. Beside that was mashed potatoes, also with onions, that made a nice combination. The green beans were like home grown and home cooked, with the beans flat and cooked with bacon. Our friend enjoyed her salad, saying it was delicious.
We don’t usually go to breakfast, but do when we have to go for blood tests – so we’ll try it for breakfast in November. Our ‘lunch’ was a heavy meal for us, so we’ll modify our eating the rest of the day to work it into our Nutrisystem eating plan, but we were very happy with our experience and plan to go back.
I told you I planted 5 iceberg head lettuce plants recently. Three of them are still alive. They’re really small, but they’re better than NO lettuce plants. Today I found a six-pack of some really leggy iceberg lettuce plants and snapped them up. I just came in from planting them in the greenhouse.
I still have everything open out there, with the exhaust fan coming on when it gets too hot and a 2nd fan on all the time. The door on the opposite end of the greenhouse is propped open with a metal chair. The thermometer said between 95 and 100 degrees when I planted the lettuce. I’m not sure if the sweet plants will live with it that hot out there, but the evenings are cool and some cooler weather is on the way.
Tomorrow, if it isn’t raining, I’ll try to find suckers on my tomato plants and get them started in the greenhouse too.
This is a grand ‘fall’ experiment. I would really love to have lettuce and tomatoes until it freezes really hard here. That MIGHT be as late as February, if we’re lucky. Then around the first of March, I’ll start some plants for the spring garden!
I’m reading everything I can find on how to start and grow plants in my greenhouse. Frustratingly, most are written for people who are trying to keep their plants WARM, rather than having them boil to death, as mine have. I’ll keep reading, because I would really like to extend our growing seasons as long as possible.
When I get the tomato sucker plants going, I’ll try to get some pics for you.
Home Security System
As I type, we’re making the final arrangements for an ADT Security System for our home. We called when we got an ad offering a promo and arranged for the installation man to come today.
So far, I’m impressed with the installation guy. We went over all the doors and windows before he started, and we had several questions. When we were in agreement about these, we discovered that because we didn’t have prewired doors and windows, we had to go for Option 2. This means that instead of being able to use the standard system out of the box, we get credit toward the purchase of the equipment we need. After a lot of talk (questions/explanations) a major consideration is whether our Internet system will qualify for the lower monthly charge, or we have to ‘upgrade’ to the use of a sim card in the control box at a higher monthly charge.
This is not a typical bait and switch thing, or if it is, it’s extremely well done. The communication between the ADT people and our system is cut and dried. If it works, we get the lower price each month. If it doesn’t we choose whether to pay the higher monthly fee or blow off the whole thing.
We ARE considering some add-on equipment, since we have more doors and windows than they were covering, have two stories, and I like the idea of the personal emergency thingie I can wear around my neck in case I fall on my head unexpectedly. Even though I’m not alone, our house absorbs sound really well. I have been in the position of trying to yell for my husband’s help and he doesn’t hear me.
So – as soon as the test results are in, we’ll make the decision as to whether we put the system in or not.
Okay. It’s quite a while later. The ADT system couldn’t communicate with our CenturyLink modem, so the lower monthly price is off the table. My husband said no to the higher monthly price with a contract for 3 years. The installation guy is trying a last-ditch effort to get the price of the equipment down enough to mostly offset the higher monthly price. If he can do that, maybe my husband will go for it. Fingers crossed.
It is again later in this saga of home security system. We have made a deal and he is installing the parts now. I’ll update this a bit later, as I need to be available for him.
There is a keypad that’s the main part of the system. We’ll have an extra keypad for the second floor, a motion sensor, a detection sensor on every door and every window, 2 keychain remotes, and a personal emergency pendant I’ll wear. On the keypads there are panic buttons for police, fire, and emergency.
Important considerations for us are that our system can be active and we can open our bedroom window to use the attic fan when the weather allows. We can also let our doggies in and out without triggering anything.
I can’t say enough about the installation guy. His name is Roderick McCray. He is knowledgeable, pleasant, put up with Amber, and worked with us to make our home security happen. He started his day by driving to us from Little Rock – a 2-1/2 hour drive. He’s been here since before 11:00 this morning, jumping through countless hoops to make this day good for both of us. He faces the drive home once the system is finally in. He has taken no breaks.
I will feel safer knowing there is someone on the other end of this system that may be able to help us in case of emergency.
I told you yesterday that a scorpion casually waltzed up from the drain hole in the sink and mooned me night before last while I was sleepily washing my face getting ready for bed.
I won’t have it! Today I’m concentrating on the second floor, getting stuff up off the floor, vacuuming thoroughly, and then spraying all around the baseboards, windows and doorways with our good bug sprayer. One of the bug companies years ago said, “The only good bug is a dead bug.” I basically agree – emotionally – since I know that bugs are good for something in our ecology. I just don’t want them to be good for the ecology in my house!
We’re in the awkward stage for the commercial bug sprayers to come back here. They spray, and for two weeks afterwards, if you see a live bug, you call and they’ll come back and spray again at no extra charge. We’re about halfway between the no charge respray and them coming again for the contracted quarterly treatment. I’m trying not to have to pay an extra charge, if I can knock these out myself in-between.
So far, I’ve finished our master bedroom and the master bath, plus our two closets. I’ll rest a bit and then go up and tackle the next section. Hopefully, I’ll finish the second floor before the end of the day.
I hope it’s not buggy where you are.
Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance
The Wicked Witch is Dead
I just came in gasping and weaving, from getting the garden cleaned up – making a check to make sure I harvested all the onions yesterday – pulling off the demarking strings (most of them snapped the minute I touched them) and re-spraying the bug killer in the boxes again.
The last step will be when I can get my breath back and my temperature down below ‘WAAAAAY – too – hot.’ I’m going to mix up weed killer and spray it on the floor of the garden, and all around. At another time I’ll do the weed eating of what I hope will be dead weeds around everything and then I’ll be ready for fall, hoping that we don’t go directly from lethally hot summer into way-too-cold fall.
We have GOOD air conditioning in our home and in our vehicles, so we can insulate ourselves from it, unless we’re determined to get yard work done. I’m counting the sessions working in the garden as most of my exercise for the day. Once I’m finished with that, I’ll do my yoga and then head for the showers.
I hope that if it’s hot where you are, you have somewhere to go to give you some relief.
You Know It’s Hot
The heat index is 105 degrees right now. Not fit for man nor beast.
Thankfully, my husband mowed the yard last night right before dark, so the Lewises are lookin’ pretty good (for the Lewises). One of the many reasons we don’t live in the city limits is that we didn’t care for trimming our lawn to a required height and in the proper frequency, agonizing over brown spots, moles, voles, or other ‘ole’s, etc. We usually mow once a week, weather permitting, and my husband is delighted when we get to the stage in the summer where we aren’t getting any rain to keep the grass growing before our eyes. “Brown and crunchy’ is his favorite grass.
I never got back outside yesterday after gathering tomatoes and getting into the hostile ant pile. My ankle is FINALLY only a bit puffy today. The swelling is such that you can actually SEE the bites/stings rather than my ankle being one pink puffy area all the way around. I’m planning to try to get the garden cleared tonight, but I’ll mix up more EIGHT to spray all the plants, all the raised bed planters, and the ground around them before I try to start clearing things out right before dark this evening.
I’m going to pull out all the plants, including the onions. I’ll put the onions on a screen we have on the side of a trailer so that they can start drying. They’ll need to do that for several days and then I can store them in mesh bags in the pantry. I’m hoping we got a good crop this year. Last year we had home-grown sweet onions throughout the winter and into the start of April!
If you’re having similar weather, don’t forget to take frequent breaks and drink lots and lots of water.
Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds
Mother Nature is Smiling on Us
This morning about 1:30 a.m. we had flickering power and a new thunderstorm. I stayed awake long enough to make a trip to the bathroom and then turn on our fan again before sleeping through the rest of it.
It was raining (still – again?) when we got up and had breakfast. Both doggies have been out and are back in – TWICE – both wet and happy from playing out in it. The cats are staying firmly in their cube beds on top of the woodpile in the garage, shaking their paws at even the THOUGHT of getting wet. The fish in the aquarium are unimpressed and bewildered by all the hubbub.
We usually shop for groceries on Sunday mornings, but we’ll hold off, not wanting our groceries to get any more wet than necessary. I’ve been on the front and back porches, though, a couple of times, enjoying the cool and the wet, the rumbling of the thunder, the blowing of branches, and the glorious smell of the rain.
Once this is over, we’re back into the oven that is Arkansas this year, so I’m soaking up all I can get.
Flower Planters Looking a Bit Better
I did two sessions of weeding in the trio of 8′ long brick planters that are between our front yard and our driveway today. I thought I would take advantage of the cooler temperature and overcast sky to do some good outside. Of course, the MINUTE I walked out there, the sun came out in full force…
I came in dripping twice, and then called it a day. I’ll try to do more tomorrow. I wanted to share some nice flowers that are blooming now, though. This is a burgundy lily. It’s all one bloom and knocks our socks off each year when it blooms.
This is impatiens on the front porch.
Deep pink phlox
Our wind and rain yesterday evening was impressive – hard rain and gusty winds. My husband waited out the storm in the shop. Our electricity flickered twice, but came on again quickly enough that our generator wasn’t triggered.
When the rain finally let up, my husband used the opportunity to burn all the trash that had been piling up in the shop, able to finally burn it safely.
When we drove down the driveway to go to town this morning, our robot beside the driveway (over 6 feet tall, weighing 250 pounds) was leaning into the trees. When this happened the last time, he went completely off the driveway and was head down halfway down the slope of the yard. We had to use a winch and my husband’s smarts to laboriously get him into position again. At that time, we arranged for a SECOND length of chain to be attached to his neck. The original went around his neck and was around the iron gateway post you see behind him. The second one is around his neck and goes around the tree down the driveway in front of him. The two together kept him mostly upright, just leaning into the trees. We were able to easily bring him to an upright position again. It’s an impressive wind, though, that blows him over!
No other consequences from the storm, thank goodness. Everything got a really good amount of water. All the plants are saying, “Ahhhh!” as we walk around the yard.
Since it’s still a bit cooler, I’m going to use the opportunity to try to get our trio of brick flower planters that run between our front yard and our driveway under better control. I’m hoping not to get bitten and/or stung, having sprayed everything with a good bug spray last week called, “EIGHT,” that’s supposed to kill the bugs, but not harm the plants, our animals, or us.
Have a fun day!
Tired, But Clean
My husband and I bought two kinds of salvia, 3 six-packs of impatiens, 2 mandevilla, and 15 small pots of wave petunias at the nursery yesterday. Since our weather has been wonky – with a cooler than normal spring followed by hotter than normal summer temperatures – it’s been all I could do to try to keep up with our vegetable garden, our flower planters, and the yard.
I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get ANY of our normal choices, but we did pretty well. Then there was the prospect of getting everything planted. Yesterday I planted the two mandevilla and some of the petunias on the deck. This morning it was already in the high 80s when I started planting. I finished the deck, saving one wave petunia to go in the planter at the entrance to our shop. My husband keeps a jug of water out there so that he can water ‘his’ flowers…. :0)
Then I cleaned out Amber’s kiddie pool. I scrubbed it with the car broom, drained it a bit more than halfway, scrubbed it again, and then dumped out the rest of the water. My husband suggested that we put it on the east side of the house where it gets a bit more shade so the water would stay cooler. I got it into a reasonable spot, sprayed it out again, and then started to fill it. Amber came running around the side of the house, jumped into the filling pool, laid down in it, drank some of the water, then jumped out into the dirt, now made into mud by her dripping body. She loved it. She ran all around like a mad thing, started digging in the dirt, and then, of course, jumped into the pool with the muddy paws. She laid down again, smiled at me, bit at the sprayer hose, jumped out…. You get the picture. The water isn’t pristine, but it’s much better than it was, the pool has been moved to a better spot now, and the dog is ecstatic. Mission accomplished.
I then used another hose to clean up the deck where I had made a mess planting. I used the “less is more” philosophy this time, emptying 4 big pots I usually fill with flowers. We have really nice, bright burgundy wave petunias and mandevillas on the deck now – making a nice spot to sit outside – assuming this abnormally hot weather tames down for a bit before we officially get into the too-hot-to-sit-outside part of the summer.
I took time while the pool was filling to move the nice Joseph’s Coat climbing rose-bush my friend Kay gave me for my birthday in March to a sunnier spot where I think it will be happier.
That’s it for the day on working outside, until this evening before the sun goes down, when I plan to mix up batches of ‘ant-to-elephant’ bug spray that I can use on my veggie garden. I plan to hose everything down, use a stronger spray for the ant hill I discovered, wait a day or so, and then see how things are out there. I still have pink areas up and down my arms from the angry ants that bit/stung me for disrupting their ‘homes’ as I pulled up cool weather plants, but the swelling and itching are finally mostly contained, thank goodness. I’ve just come down from taking a long shower and putting on clean clothes. Ahhhh!
I hope that you have fun playing in the dirt at your house, too.
Filed under Arkansas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds
Romaine Harvest and Yard Work
All of my romaine lettuce plants are bolting in the heat. That means that the plants which used to be fat and lush, suddenly shoot up into the air, looking like miniature trees. I tasted some of the leaves on the ‘trees’ and they tasted fine, so I cut off all the bolting parts of the plants, harvested the leaves and brought them in.
I couldn’t know less about what I’m doing, but the rest of each plant still looked pretty good, so I’m hoping there are good leaves to harvest later. Time will tell.
I brought in a big basket of the best leaves, dumped them into the sink so I could get them clean, and then stored them in gallon bags and put them in the fridge. We’ll have some in our salad with dinner this evening.
The sun is so hot I was really shot when I brought the leaves in. I let them soak in the sink while I rested and gulped water. I cooled off and then washed and stored the leaves, then rested again!
I just came in from scrubbing and refilling Amber’s pool. I use my husband’s car washing broom. It works just fine to clean without hurting the plastic of the pool. I loosen everything, drain about half the water out, then use the broom again, then dump the rest of the water out. Then I spray the pool out and leave the hose in the pool, held down by two bricks, to fill it.
When it was about half full, Amber came bounding around the house, looked at me, and then jumped right into the pool. She walked around, drank some of the water, then laid down full length in the water. I could almost hear her say, “Ahhhh!” as she gave me a very satisfied look. She got out, shook water all over me, then started barking at the hose. When I laughed, she jumped into the pool again and luxuriated some more. I finally finished filling the pool and put everything away. Amber is snoring on her bed in the living room now.
At dusk, my husband and I will do our first pass at cutting back the greenery on the sides of the driveway. I’ll put our battery-powered weed eater in the back and my sunglasses that wrap around, and my gloves, so that when we get to the bottom, we can do some weed whacking and pruning. Then we’ll go slowly up the other side of the driveway, cutting things back as we go, and we’ll be finished for the day. Our driveway is long and steep – about 650 feet, so this will take several passes to get it the way it should be.
I hope that you’ve had a wonderful day, too.
A Bit of New Life for the Garden
Today after a nice time at Lunch Bunch, we stopped at the co-op on the off chance that they might have a few plants for our garden. I found a couple of lettucy type plants that I hope will fill in where my romaine is bolting and not long for this world. I also found a plant called, “broccoli stir-fry.” Since I’ve harvested the majority of the main part of the broccoli plants and I’m not sure if I’ll get more from any of these, I’m happy that I may have another chance for more broccoli this season.
The fact that we’ve gone directly from winter to summer this year is hard on the garden, particularly for the cool-weather plants like broccoli, spinach, and lettuce.
This is one of the lettucy plants and two cantaloupe plants at which my husband was looking longingly. Since it looks like a lot of the rest of my plants have a very short life span remaining, I’m happy to try these. (The last melon type plant I tried took over the whole 4’x4′ box, so I’m going to plan for this.)
It’s WAY too hot right now to be trying to work in the garden, so I’m doing other stuff while waiting for the sun to tone it down a bit. (We’re having a high of around 90 with humidity at 61% right now – way too hot for this old lady.) I’ll try to take some pics to share later.