Category Archives: Gardening


I saw a set up for selling plants at the co-op as we drove by last week. I did some research and discovered that February is a good months to start onion sets in Arkansas.  We’ll check there tomorrow and see what’s what.  We had such good luck last year that I’ve been enjoying them since harvest and still have two nice hanging mesh bags of onions in the pantry. :0)


We have six 4’x4′ raised bed planters like this in our square foot garden. If we DO get onion sets, I’ll first have to mix some Mel’s Mix to top off a couple of the planters. We don’t have string strung yet to create the ‘square feet’ for the garden, either.  I’m not really in planting mode yet. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to set up my greenhouse so that I can get seeds growing. And I really wasn’t planning to start THAT until March….


I’m still in cleaning out mode, feeling better and better as I get areas around the house finally cleaned out and decluttered.

I’m working upstairs today – the second day of working on my bookshelves on my side of the bedroom, plus the shelves in the guest room. I’m hoping to finish that today.  During this process, I found a bunch of books that I no longer need, so I brought them downstairs to the office. About a third of them were saleable on Amazon, and the rest I listed to donate to our local library.  I have to concentrate on the ‘cleaning’ part of this because I see a book on art, want to sit right down and look at it, drooling over the pictures…

My goal this year is to continually gather donations for our local library fundraisers and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. I would like to be able to make a donation each month this year. I’m also trying to gather an extra large bag of trash each week. This week I’ll be putting out TWO extra bags!


I hope you’re having a nice Sunday,too.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Arkansas, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Sow What?


I’m gathering suggestions as to what to start when – and a bit on how – in my new greenhouse!  My goal is to be ready to start some plants the middle of March. I’ll have to see what the temperature is in the greenhouse, since I don’t have heat out there, but if it’s too cold, I can start the seeds in the house and move them out there later.


Our greenhouse is 10×14. It is not heated or cooled with electricity because it would cost us a fortune. We do have the ability to have lights, and we do have an automatic venting system tied to the thermostat, so we can get reasonable ventilation in there, particularly when I leave the door open at the opposite end of the greenhouse.

So far I just moved things out there and stashed them somewhere. I’m giving some thought now to storage and work areas.


I would like to keep as much table area as possible for either planting seeds or staging the plants I’ve started. If we have some warmer days (like in the 40s or so) I’ll try to start moving things around, trying to get organized for the initial planting. I’ll take pics as I make some progress and share them with you. I’m hoping that I can stretch my growing season, growing my own plants to transplant out to the square foot garden when they’re ready and the danger of frost is past.


Our square foot garden used to look like this, with two rows of boxes on the ground.


Now we have six 4’x4′ boxes at chest level so I can replenish the Mel’s Mix in the boxes, mark the squares with string, plant, weed, and harvest without having to bend over or kneel down on the ground.  The boxes have a fence all the way around them, reinforced with chicken wire to keep critters out. We have an automatic irrigation system set up.

I’m dreaming about plants, greenhouses, and glorious harvests this spring!

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Filed under Arkansas, Dreams, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Who Knew?

I thought I had tried everything, trying to get Amber, our almost 10-month-old yellow lab to quit digging in the planters where we dug out old rose bushes and just left dirt for planting in the spring.  This was a daily problem, almost as if she made the rounds, thinking that it was her DUTY to leave dirt everywhere for me to come clean up.

Mary Lou, my sister-in-law from Charlotte, said that what she and my brother-in-law do to discourage their dogs from digging in the yard was distribute their poop where digging was off-limits.

Before the big freeze around here, I gathered a goodly amount of samples with a dustpan and put some in each of the planters. I then put some leaves in the planters so they would look like the other planters we had mulched around the yard.  This was about 3 weeks ago.

SO FAR, SO GOOD! No digging in the planters!  Even though it has been really cold around here, Amber loves to be outside. She has had several opportunities each day to do her digging. Hats off to Mary Lou for the wonderful suggestion!!!!!



Filed under Amazing Animals, Gardening

Organizing My Greenhouse


I wish that my greenhouse looked like this. Maybe one day…

Right now it looks like big piles of ‘stuff’ on the floor, on the tables, all over the place.

I’m starting to find some ideas, though.

I’ve got a couple of things that take priority right now, but very soon I’m going to start trying to move things so that I have a good place to plant my seeds in March.

I’ve already learned from the beginner’s book I got on greenhouses a whole different way to start my seeds. I may be able to lose my “Serial Seed Killer” moniker, after all!

Meanwhile, the elephant ear and purple passion roots are safe in the garage, packed in peat moss for the winter. I learned that the greenhouse will definitely get below freezing without a heater. That’s okay. One lesson learned of many to come.

What I CAN do is –

  • create an initial set up for planting seeds
  • figure out which seeds I’ll plant and when in order to have the best chance of having good transplants to put out in the square foot garden when the threat of frost is past
  • decide if I have all the tools I’ll need to get started
  • cut my seed trays to fit into the turkey basting trays (explanation later)
  • clean up the floor out there (the water from rains comes in underneath and pools in places on the weed barrier for a few days. When the weed barrier is dry, there is dirt left there. There is also a place where Amber tried to dig, right in the middle of the greenhouse. I need to either put down another layer of weed barrier secured with duct tape or put rubber mats out there, or something to protect the floor from further rips.

I’ll take pics as I go. If you have suggestions, I’d be delighted if you’d write and tell me.

Have a wonderful Thursday!


Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Organizing/DeCluttering, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

More Glorious Greenhouses

Brian Pargard

Those these greenhouses are drool-worthy, some of them do have some good ideas about storage. I’ll see if I can arrange for some shelves beneath the tables we have set up so that I can keep most of the table tops available for different stages of seeds.

Isn’t this a gorgeous ‘bringing-the-outside-in’ drawing?

Isn’t this lush? I like all the brick and tiles, too.

This is another Taj Mahal of greenhouses. One might never come out…

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Filed under Gardening, greenhouse

Researching about the Greenhouse

I was hoping to find ideas about how to organize my greenhouse on the net. So far, I’ve found pictures that make my mouth water, where people have obviously put more money into the greenhouse than we have in our whole house –

If my mouth will quit watering, I’ll change my search terms and maybe I’ll get some suggestions on good tips for setting up MY greenhouse – not the Taj Mahal! :0)



Filed under Dreams, Gardening

It All Started with Bird Seed….

I wish this picture were of birds in our yard. Aren’t these birds beautiful?

My husband is good about putting bird seed in the bottle we have right outside the dining area window. He likes it that the birds have to actually get into the gallon-sized bottle, pick up a seed, and then fly away. They’re really close so we can see them well as they eat breakfast. He also puts seed in the shovel bird we made and attached to the railing of the deck. Not so much the other feeders hanging about.

I noticed that the snowman bird feeder was almost empty. I also wanted to add another feeder, since our traffic is up with the cooler mornings.

I found one of our favorite feeders. It’s shaped like a ‘cabin,’ with plexiglass on both sides and a big root. There are places for suet on either end of the feeder. I discovered that one of the pieces of plexiglass was gone, so I put the feeder on the floor and will ask my husband if he can fix it.

I found another feeder, of COURSE on the top shelf in the garage. I got out the ladder and still had to get the grab-stuff-you-can’t-reach tool to actually get it off the shelf. I got the mud dauber’s nest remnants off, but it still needed a good cleaning. I brought it inside and had to unscrew the top in order to get the inner part out so I could wash it. A very laborious time later, the feeder was clean and ready for seed. I filled it and also filled up the snowman feeder and put them out. We’ll deal with the broken feeder later.

I then checked the greenhouse, finding that the elephant ear and purple passion greenery had not survived the latest cold snap. I went out to behind the shop and filled up two buckets with peat moss and took them out to the greenhouse. I cut off the dead parts of the plants and put the roots deep into one bucket of the peat moss, then filled up the bucket with as much as I could get in there and patted it down. The bucket is now on the counter in the garage for storage until I replant them in the spring.

Today is a pretty day. Since we have another cold front coming through later this evening into tomorrow (with hopefully some good rain) I’ll probably spend more time out in the yard, cleaning up as much as I can. The big area remaining is the planters on our deck. I couldn’t stand the idea of taking out the live flowers, so I just waited until the last front came through and did the flowers in. Now I won’t have any trouble clearing out what is dead. :0)

I hope you’re having a nice day.

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood

Cleaning Up

Our raised bed square foot garden is now completely cleaned out. I was hoping the lettuces would survive, but the recent week of hard freezes did them in. All is now ready for more Mel’s Mix in the spring.

I’m reading the new book I got about using my greenhouse most effectively. Since it’s WAAAAAY too expensive to provide heat or cooling to the greenhouse, I’m concentrating on extending my spring planting season, figuring out when the best time is to start seeds so that I’ll have good plants to put out in the garden when danger of frost is past. Since I’m new at this, I’m making lots of notes, trying to get my act together.

In the meantime, I’ll start getting my greenhouse better organized. Right now I just have things ‘in’ the greenhouse with no particular thought to where and how I’ll start seeds later. I’m going to see if I can find some information on the net and will start moving things around.

The only plants I have in the greenhouse right now are the elephant ear plant and the purple passion plant I dug up before all the hard freezes started. Of course, NOW it’s getting up into the 50s in the afternoon, so with my luck, they’ll probably die in there from getting too hot! :0(

I found some old pictures of the greenhouse as we built it –

The dimensions are about 10 x 14.  It has a dirt floor covered with two layers of weed barrier. The corners have steel rod welded to plates that we drilled holes and pounded into the ground with a sledge hammer. The plates were screwed into the wood. The ribs are pvc pipe. At first we held them to the wood with plastic pieces, but we’ve replaced several that couldn’t handle the strain with metal ones.


You’re looking at the north end of the greenhouse from the inside. We made tables from plywood and they go around both sides and across the north end. We left a spot in the northwest corner to hold a trash can filled with Mel’s Mix, plus brooms, and other tall stuff.


This is still the north end of the greenhouse, with the addition of an exhaust fan. When it’s hooked up to electricity, it opens when the temperature reaches a preset mark to draw air through the greenhouse for cooling.


This is the inside of the east side of the greenhouse. It will hold lots of supplies, though I’ll store as much of this as possible off the tables to give myself as much room to spread out planting trays and pots as possible.


Outside of the north end of the greenhouse. If you’ve been following the blog, you know that we had a break in the pvc pipe right at the top where it was attached to the wood. We ended up screwing large screws with rings onto the upright pieces of wood and arranging for guy wires to pull the end out, attached to a stake in the ground.


This seems like a really old picture, since there is now a 45 foot ham radio tower very close to the door on the south end of the greenhouse. You can see pieces of it in the left front of the picture.


This is the inside west side of the greenhouse. I’ll show you more pics as I get the greenhouse in some kind of order (I hope).  I’m hoping I can find good ideas for how to arrange things. Wish me luck?


Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Last Harvest of 2017

Yesterday I had to wait half the day for the temperatures to get above freezing. When I looked at my lettuce at the end of the afternoon, it was clear that I should harvest what I could and call the end of the season.  We got a nice harvest of bibb lettuce, and we’ll enjoy that in a salad tonight.  This afternoon, when it warms up a bit more, I’ll go out and clean out the remainder of the lettuce from my square foot garden.

The only ‘garden’ I have right now is the tomato plant and the celery plants on my window sill in the dining area. I’m hoping that the elephant ear and purple passion plants will stay alive in the greenhouse.

Soon I’ll start planning what seeds to plant and when in my new greenhouse!





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Filed under Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Winter is Here

In about 45 minutes my husband and I will go to Lunch Bunch – our long time, every-possible-Friday lunch with good friends. We’ve been doing this for years and I really miss it if we don’t go for some reason.

It’s 21 degrees F out there right now. I’m not even sure if I should just leave my lettuce covered up with a sheet until it gets above freezing or not. The high is supposed to be 42, I think. This may be a moot point, since my sweet lettuce plants may have croaked last night – sheet or not sheet. When it gets this cold, it’s beyond the frost or light freeze stage. If it’s gone, I’ll be a bit sad, but we’ve had a really nice crop this year and I shouldn’t be over-greedy. I’m looking forward to the spring when – hopefully – I’ll have some robust, healthy plants grown in my greenhouse ready to go into the garden.

I’ll see what the temperature is when we get back from lunch and errands and then make the decision whether to uncover the plants today or not.  I’m looking forward to seeing what mischief I can get into the rest of the day.

Stay warm and dry!


Filed under Friendship, Gardening, Mother Nature


We built a composter a couple of years ago. I finally made a good batch of compost this year!

I say this as if I won the lottery because even though I followed directions I found in books and on the net, I ended up with the wrong combination of ingredients and ended up dumping it out (holding my nose) and washing out the inside of the composter with a hose.

I’ve finally learned to add a whole lot more yard waste and much less food waste in order to come up with something that I hope will be a good addition to the composts for the square foot garden.

I cleaned it out today because I don’t want to leave it in there for the winter. In the picture above, you can see that we used a plastic food container type barrel we bought from the hardware store. We poured a concrete pad for the composter to sit on, with stakes coming up out of the concrete. We pounded the legs onto the stakes to make a good, sturdy support for the composter. We cut the opening in the front, making it so it opens wide enough to put new items in easily or use the tool my husband made for scooping the compost out. The barrel is on rollers. We attached handles on three spots around the barrel so you can pull the barrel, rolling it over and mixing the ingredients inside. This way you can be sure everything is mixed well.

This is the tool my husband made. It’s rounded to conform to the inside of the barrel, making emptying it really easy. It has a rubber grip, and the tool is plenty long enough to reach all areas on the inside of the barrel. The tool “lives’ on its side beside the composter.

You can see one of the three handles on the top of the composter. The metal ‘wand’ keeps the latches shut and the door firmly closed. My husband made the handle for it on the mill. The end slides through the parts of the latches, or pulls out if you’re opening it up. The end also helps pry the ends of the latches up.

After cleaning out the composter today, the trash can under it is a little over 1/3 full. We can mix up Mel’s Mix behind the shop, and then wheelbarrow some out to add our own compost to the mix next spring.

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Filed under Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Ready for Winter?

We’re pretty much ready for winter now.

I finished mulching the flower planters yesterday – finally.

We cleaned out two square planters in order to plant new Rio Samba rose bushes in the spring. We converted two brick planters to be square foot planters for tomatoes, so four of our brick planters didn’t need mulch. The other 10 did. I feel good that things are cleaned out and protected now.

I dug up the elephant ear plant, potted it, and put it in the greenhouse.


Same for the Purple Passion plant. (I put two starter plants in water beside the big one. It would be fun if I could get those to grow. )

The jugs of water are an attempt to keep the plants warm in the greenhouse during the winter. I’m hoping the water will warm up during the day and keep the plants warm at night.

The Bibb lettuce is still doing well in my square foot garden.


Here is the Simpson lettuce. Both are in the same raised bed box, so when we have a freeze coming, I just have to cover one box with a sheet and clothespins. I’m hoping I can keep these alive for at least another month, if not more, depending on Mother Nature.

I’ve started two celery plants in pots on the window sill. I’ve never tried this before, so it should be fun.


This tomato plant is also on the window sill. I’m hoping I can keep it alive for the winter and replant it in the spring. Fingers crossed!

I still need to clean out the plants on the deck, but these are much easier to handle. They can wait for another day.

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Filed under DIET!, Gardening, Healthy Eating, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Planters are Cleaned Out

We started the day with Lunch Bunch and good friends, and I’ve spent most of the afternoon outside. What could be better?

I just got the last brick planter cleaned out, the elephant ear and Purple Passion plants, dug up, potted, and put in the greenhouse. Tomorrow I’m planning to spread the rest of the mulch and we’ll be pretty well ready for the colder weather to come.

I found three small hydrangea blooms, so I brought them in and added them to the purple iris I gathered the other day.

I have two more celery plants that are ready to plant. I’m thinking of planting them either in the greenhouse or inside on the window sill. I’ll read and see if I can find out what people think is best.

Starting on Tuesday night we’re supposed to have freezes for at least three nights in a row. I only have the one box of lettuce plants to cover. I’m hoping I can keep them alive to harvest for quite a while longer. Fingers crossed.

I’m going to go have a snack, put my feet up and relax for a while. I hope you’re having an enjoyable day.


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Filed under Gardening

Last of the Flowers?

I have one more hydrangea plant to prune before filling the planter with mulch, but I’m pretty sure this is the last of the blooms for the year. I gathered the twice-blooming iris so that we could enjoy them inside. (These usually bloom in April and October – I’m not sure what’s happening this year, but I’ll sure take it.

Today I’m going to see if I can finish cleaning out the planters and getting them ready to mulch. I have 5 left to clean out – three 8-foot planters and two small, tall planters on each side of the front porch. I’m hoping I have enough mulch to finish filling things up.

I’ll prepare pots for the elephant ear and Purple Passion plants, digging them up carefully and putting them in the greenhouse. If it gets too cold in there over the winter, I won’t have lost anything, since I would have dug up the bulbs after the freezes got them and stored them in peat moss in the garage. I’m hoping it won’t get too cold in there. I’m filling lots of small jugs with water and hoping the sun will warm them each day and they will keep the plants warm at night. We’ll see. Fingers crossed!

Have a wonderful day!

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So Lucky

Williams Sonoma Raised Bed Planter – $179.00 plus shipping.

This is typical of what is called a “raised bed planter.”  It’s wonderful because you don’t have to worry about building up your soil or heavy duty weeding as you do in typical gardens. You can grow a good amount in a much smaller space, and it’s up from the ground. This is a nicely made one offered by Williams Sonoma.

When we first started square foot garden, this is what we did. We had two rows of raised bed planting areas –  The thing is, I still had to either bend over double to plant, weed, and harvest things from this. It was good, but it didn’t go far enough.  I’m old and I can’t do a lot of kneeling or bending over double anymore.


We decided, when the wood was beginning to deteriorate, that we could do better.


When we decided to break down what we had and redo it, we made metal table-like supports for boxes to ‘sit’ in. They are at about chest level on me, comfortable to stand up and be able to reach any side of the boxes with an easy reach. I have six 4’x4’x8″ wooden boxes on my supports, with hoses stretched down each row of three boxes for automatic timed irrigation. I can spray weed killer under the boxes or around the perimeter of the whole garden without bothering my veggies.

I stretch string across the wooden boxes to create 1 foot planting areas. Then I can plant according to the advice of Mel (the square foot gardening expert), either one plant in a square (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), 4 plants in a square (lettuce, spinach, etc.), 9 plants in a square (carrots), or 16 plants in a square (radishes.)

I can plant standing up or sitting on a tall stool. I can pull weeds or harvest without kneeling or bending over double. The Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find) has all the nutrients needed for the plants, replenished when you harvest all of a plant when you add a bit more. The soil’s consistency is such that pulling weeds is easy. The planting plan makes it easy for a beginning gardener like me to see what is a ‘good plant ‘vs a ‘weed.’

I’m really lucky that my husband spoils me rotten, figuring out how to tackle things like building the square foot garden in the first place, then improving it when we needed to pull up what we had done after several years. We also built the new greenhouse recently so that I can hopefully grow my own transplants, rather than having to depend on what is sold in stores locally. I’m hoping I can get a jump on the spring season, plus have more transplants growing in the greenhouse, ready to plant in the garden at the proper time.

Trying to grow some of our own veggies, plus flowers around the yard, is one of my favorite things. There is never enough time or energy – or cooperating weather – to do all I’d like to do. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Changes, Greenwood, Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Greenhouse Repair

This picture shows you the break in the pvc pipe rib for the greenhouse.


My husband drilled into the wood uprights on either side of the louvered fan and attached guy wires to the wood.


He used a cement drill to drill a hole in the ground at the proper angle for the guy wires, ran the wire around the stake (held in place by a hose clamp.

This picture shows you the completed guy wire fix for the end of the greenhouse.  It’s nice and sturdy now, thank goodness.


Here’s the fix from the side.

So, thanks to my wonderful husband, things are once again in good shape. He’s definitely a keeper.

When he came in, and could man the phone, I went out and got an 8 foot brick planter cleaned out where we have two really large hydrangea plants. I cut off all the branches and disposed of them. I have 4 more planters to clean out and then I’ll put mulch in them. :0)



Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Best Laid Plans

I was PLANNING to clean out another flower planter yesterday. My husband came in and told me we had a problem with the greenhouse. The end ‘wall’ you’re looking at in this photo had broken loose because the last pvc pipe ‘rib’ closest to the lumber had broken. The rib isn’t repairable. We would have to take the whole end of the greenhouse apart and replace the whole rib,  probably resulting in more damage.

My husband, who is really good at figuring out how to fix things, figured out that we could attach heavy wire (like that used in the guy wires for the ham radio tower) to the upright pieces of wood on either side of the louvered exhaust fan. He is outside as I type (waiting for an important phone call we’re expecting) drilling a hole some distance away from the end of the greenhouse. He’ll then pound in a metal stake with the sledge hammer. Then we’ll attach the wires with what I think are called turnbolts – metal things with rings on each end and a threaded length in between that you can turn to tighten the wire until it’s taught.


The stake and ‘guy wire’ type attachment should keep the end of the greenhouse secure. I’m not sure what he’s planning about the broken pvc pipe. Maybe we can just ignore it and rewrap the transparent liner stuff on the end carefully.

Anyhow, my best laid plans had to be set aside, once again, in order to try to fix the greenhouse – again before it is forecast to rain today…  I’m lucky to have a guy who can look at something and figure out how it works and what needs to be done to fix it. I don’t have a clue – although I’m a pretty good helper and ‘gofer.’

If I can get the yard under control for the winter, I’m planning to start moving things around in the greenhouse, getting ready for planting seeds later. I’ll post pics as I get things organized in there.

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Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Getting Flower Beds ready for Winter

Since we have no soil, other than what was trucked up here 30 years ago, my husband, son and I built 14 brick planters of varying sizes and shapes around the yard and filled them with potting soil.

Recently, we’ve converted two of them to raised bed square foot planters so that we have a better place to grown tomatoes each year. (My husband says I can try to grow anything I’d like, as long as we have plenty of home-grown ripe tomatoes. :0) )

We cleaned out two more, having decided to start over with our favorite Rio Samba Roses in the spring. These are empty now, except for soil. (Our lab puppy, Amber, is determined to dig in the planters, spreading soil each time she goes out. We’re in the process of trying to deter her. )

That leaves 10 brick planters that I need to prune and otherwise clean out, and then mulch with the leaf mulch I’ve been making so that all is protected for the winter.

So far three of the 10 are finished.


Three planters are end to end between the civilized part of the front yard and our driveway. Please ignore the leaves you see on the ground. My eye injury has put me way behind on raking leaves and making mulch. It’s on my list….



This is the planter in the middle of the three.


This is the planter on the other end.

So far, today, I’ve cleaned out one more planter –

As soon as I get a few more planters cleaned out, I’ll distribute mulch.

Here is a close up of the mulch I’m making and distributing –


We’re going to do errands in a bit, and after we’ve had lunch, I’ll try to get at least one more planter cleaned out today.

I hope you’re enjoying your day, too!


Filed under Gardening

Mulching, Matilda….

I just finished spreading two of the four large leaf bags of mulch I made recently. I wore Targa 2  “Racing” Goggles we had on hand while I did it, not wanting a repeat of the eye scratches I got when I made the mulch a little over a week ago.

The next step is cleaning out more brick flower planters. THEN I can probably distribute the rest of the mulch.

Exciting, huh.

Actually, I DO find it exciting that I can make my own mulch, cleaning up many of the leaves in the yard as I do, and not have to pay for bag after small bag of mulch I used to buy at the local hardware store each fall. As I remember, it was about $3.00 or so per bag, and I used about 20 of them one year. So I’m saving money, cleaning up, recycling, and mulching my plants for the winter!

And, between the weeding and cleaning out of my square foot garden, plus distributing the two 39 gallon trash bags of mulch, I’ve gotten a good amount of exercise and fresh air today.

If the weather is cooperative tomorrow, I’ll try to get more planters cleaned out, working my way around the yard.


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Filed under Arkansas, Bright Ideas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood

Garden Update 2017-11-26

Amber went out with me to finish cleaning up the garden today. She tried to eat some big faux terra-cotta pots, but that was the only behavior I had to warn her about. Otherwise, when I took a break, I called her. She came every time, knowing she would get a small treat. :0)


5 of the 6 raised bed square foot garden boxes are now cleaned out, ready for the winter. I still have two kinds of lettuce and one spinach plant in the 6th box. When freezes threaten, I now have only ONE box I need to cover with a sheet.

In the spring, I’ll mix a bunch of Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as I can get or make (I’m using some I made, cotton boll compost, mushroom compost, and barnyard compost). I’ll fill the boxes up to the rim and then use string (that hopefully won’t deteriorate in the sun as the stuff I used this year did), and I’ll be ready to plant.

I took this to give you a close up of the Mel’s Mix, and part of the irrigation system for the garden.

I’m going to rest a bit and then see if I can get the trio of brick planters between the civilized part of our front yard and the driveway filled with mulch.

I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday.



Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Gardening Odds and Ends – 2017-11-25

When I went out to the garden this afternoon, I had prepared myself for everything to be gone, as we had two freezes while I was in the worst phase of my eye injury. To my delight, my lettuce was still going! I took two pictures because I put the two kinds of lettuce, plus a few leaves of spinach, in the same pile to be washed, dried, and put into two gallon storage bags.


There is Simpson lettuce, which is the frilly, lighter green lettuce; and there is Bibb lettuce, a darker shade of green with more leaf-like shape, and finally the darkest green, the few leaves of spinach I harvested today. I was so pleased that in our Thanksgiving salad, about 2/3 of it was from the garden!


I splurged and bought this mainly for the seeds and plants I’ll have in the greenhouse. I wanted a good mister, and this one got some of the best reviews I saw, plus it’s a burgundy/light purpley color that makes me smile every time I see it. :0)

Besides the harvesting, I cleaned out three of the six raised bed boxes in the garden today. If the weather is cooperative, I’ll try to clean out two more, leaving the one with the lettuces and spinach to cover for the next freeze. I’ll try to get some pics of the garden when it’s cleaned out tomorrow.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Last of the Flowers?

We may be to the last of the flowers now. Although it hasn’t been down to freezing again yet, we had a cold snap that has pretty much stopped things from blooming any more in our area.

I brought in these hydrangea yesterday. Even my husband reacted when he saw them on the table. I’ll be glad when we can take them a little bit for granted next spring and summer.



I also found some twice-blooming iris, probably the last for the year, that we can enjoy.  It would be really nice if we could enjoy these through Thanksgiving!


Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening

Iris in November

With all the iffy weather we’re having lately, I cut these iris and brought them in for us to enjoy. I just couldn’t stand them to be beaten up by wind and rain and cold. They make me smile every time I go into the kitchen.


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November 14, 2017 Harvest

Isn’t this carrot cute?  It’s about an inch and a half long. I pulled it up to see what the status was of the carrot seeds I sprinkled in the garden several weeks ago. I don’t know if I can keep the garden alive long enough to grow reasonable sized carrots, but these are the first I’ve tried to grow in a long time. I’ll definitely try to get some started in the greenhouse in February or so.


I have so much lettuce We probably won’t be able to eat it all. I’ll give some to my friends as I can. This is Simpson lettuce. The Bibb lettuce is also doing really well, but I’ll wait a bit longer to harvest some of that.


This is from the sole spinach plant I have in the garden. It makes a nice addition to salads. I’m looking forward to trying to get a bunch of spinach started in the greenhouse in late winter, along with lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions.

I have one tomato plant still alive on the window sill in the house. I don’t know if it will live or not, but I’m hopeful.


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Filed under Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Good Workout

If anyone asks you, blowing leaves into piles, then picking them up and putting them in the mulcher is a really good workout. I’ve only been working an hour and I’m pooped.

I have to say that this is a perfect day for leaf gathering and mulching. The temperature is 62 degrees F. with a slight breeze, and mostly overcast. If you’re just sitting out there, it’s chilly. If you’re working like a stevedore, like I am, you’re still sweating, but the breeze cools you off when you stop.

I have half a 39 gallon bag of usable mulch so far. This has been through the mulcher twice and is ready to put into the flower planters. I’ve used the leaf blower to make another humongous pile of leaves, but I’m resting and drinking lots of water before going out again. The task is endless, but I’m going to TRY to clean up the civilized part of the front yard today.  Since it’s supposed to be rainy Tuesday through Friday, that’ll probably be it for the week.

I can’t begin to tell you how filthy I am. I sat down in my computer chair and there was a ‘huff’ with fine leaf powder that poofed out. I’m like that all over. Needless to say, I’ll hit the shower when my energy is sapped and work outside for the day is finished.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, exercise, Gardening

Maniac Mulcher

I THINK the leaves are dry enough today that I can blow them into piles and put them through our leaf mulcher. If they aren’t, I’ll have to wait until NEXT week, since the rest of the week here is supposed to be rainy.

I just finished unhooking and gathering the extension cord we’ve been using for the greenhouse. This was a job, because we had TWO 75 foot HEAVY extension cords linked together to get from the house to the greenhouse. I THINK I have the greenhouse ready for winter now. My basic book for using a greenhouse says that I can extend my growing season in the spring by starting seeds for hardy plants, such as broccoli and cauliflower, in mid February, and most other early spring plants, such as lettuces, spinach and such at the beginning of March. Until then, things will be idle out there, though I’ll get out and try to organize for seed planting soon.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to do things like final weed whacking, clean up, mulching, pruning, etc. to get ready for winter.  I’ll also harvest lettuce from the raised bed, square foot garden. I have two kinds of lettuce, Bibb and Simpson, carrots and celery left.

Right now, we have so many leaves in the front yard, you can hardly tell there is any grass under there.

This is our mulcher.


We attach a 39 gallon trash bag to the bottom part (orange). We dump the leaves in the top and run the mulcher to put the mulched leaves into the bag. Then I run the bag full again, because the first time doesn’t get nearly as small as I would like. Then the bags go into the garage until I have the flower planters cleaned out, and then I’ll fill them up with the mulch we’ve made.

This time of the year, it’s all I can do to try to get everything outside done, so I’m not doing yoga or my elliptical trainer until things are under control.

I hope the weather where you are is cooperating with your plans today.


Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Feeling Creaky

For the past two days I have been mixing and spraying weed killer. We’ve had really perfect weather for it, except for a bit too much wind, but I was able to work around that. It needed to be sunny and in the 70s or 80s, and we had both of those.

On Saturday I mixed and sprayed 6 gallons.  Yesterday I did the same. There is always more than could be done, but I got a pretty good job done. If we get another good day, my husband says that if I’ll mix it, he’ll spray the weed killer up and down our 650 foot driveway – if I’ll drive down to the bottom and pick him up. :0)

Meanwhile, our work outside is done until the rains are finished for the week and it’s a bit warmer in the afternoons. I have to admit I feel pretty creaky today, so it’s a nice thing to be forced to work inside. :0)  I tried to get down the awful, rocky slope past the civilized part of the back yard yesterday to spray the weed trees remaining, slipped and fell down, injuring my dignity, but nothing else. It took me several minutes to get up, since the bare rocks and dirt don’t provide good hand or foot holds, but I managed, inelegantly, to haul my rear end up and get back to the civilized part of the yard.  Fortunately, one of my survival skills is the ability to stand back and “see” myself from a distance at times like these. I was laughing and saying bad words simultaneously.

I told my husband that we’ll have to burn the trees down or hire someone more agile than I to cut them down.



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Watch Out, Weeds!

Starting Monday, we have really good chances of rain all next week with lower temperatures as we reluctantly give up the summer season for fall/winter in Arkansas.

Lately it has been really windy most of the time. I’ve been waiting for a dry, relatively calm day to do some serious weed killing around here. I’m going to concentrate on working my way around the yard, starting around my garden and the shop. I don’t how many times I’ll need to mix another 2 gallons of spray, but I’ll just try to space things out, resting in-between, until I have everything coated.

I use KillzAll, thanks to a recommendation from my good friend, Cathy. At first I didn’t think my efforts had any result. But Cathy warned me that it would take a bit of time before I saw any results. I was amazed at how well it did.

I weedwhacked around the perimeter of my garden and around the shop propane tank and then sprayed the KillzAll. There are STILL no weeds, and it has been weeks! Hooray!

It seems to work better if you use the weed whacker first and then spray, but I’m really interested in getting a good coating of the stuff on the weeds this weekend. I’ll do that, and THEN finish weed whacking as I can  and hope it is just as effective.

So, if you see an old lady hoisting a sprayer with a wand, and a maniacal look in her eye, WATCH OUT! She might be in the mood to consider YOU a weed!


Filed under Gardening

Two For One

Craftsman Push Weed Eater

I just spent over an hour using our push weed whacker (Craftsman calls it a weed EATER).  I find this to be a two-for-one thing: good exercise and character-building both at one time.

‘Good exercise’ because nothing in our yard is flat. I’m either trying to get it to go uphill, fall in a hole, or hit rocks or a hard clump of weed that cause me to really work. I rested once outside, then did another hitch before coming in. I was really breathing hard, hot (it got to 90 degrees F. today!) and my hips were screaming.

‘Character-building’ because I worked harder than I would have normally because I really wanted to get the area I was working on DONE. I went all the way around my square foot garden perimeter, around the garden bins, around the shop propane tank, and the whole area beside the shop out to the garden.

I have a lot more weed whacking to do, but I’ll do the rest with one of our hand-held weed eaters.

Now my husband can run the gas out of this and put it away for the winter.

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Filed under exercise, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Weathering the Weather

I’m delighted to tell you that my veggies and my tender flowers seem to have made it through the 2nd freeze of the weekend! I just came in from taking the sheets off of everything. The rest of the week is supposed to be warmer with no freezes, so, once I get all the sheets dry, I’ll store them in the shop for the next time.

Our 65+ pound ‘puppy’ Amber seems to love the cooler weather.  She is actively sniffing everything while we’re around the garden, following paths all over the yard while I stand shivering, holding wet sheets in my arms. After waiting for what seems like a LONG time, I finally put the sheets on the ground, throw my arms in the air and yell, “Run like a bunny!” Amber looks delighted, and then tears off running as fast as she can all the way across the yard, around the house and back out to me by the garden. She then demands a treat, which I give her. And THEN she’s amenable to going “IN.”

I’m hoping that it’ll warm up enough this afternoon that I can do some weed whacking.

I hope that wherever you are right now, the weather is bringing you pleasure.


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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Gardening, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds


It was UP to 32 degrees this morning at 8:30, when I went to uncover my plants. We still had the a/c on a couple of weeks ago! I bundled up and took Amber out to the garden with me to uncover my veggies. It LOOKS like they came through the freeze last night and this morning, but lettuce, in particular, is fragile, so I’m not sure yet. PLUS, it’s going to do it again tonight.

I brought in my two newest tomato plants and put them by the window in the dining room. I’m learning from my good greenhouse book that the greenhouse won’t protect my plants from freezing without a heater  (DUH) – something we just can’t afford. We won’t put a/c out there, either, so it looks like what I’m going to be trying for is the longest regular growing season I can get – maybe from mid or late February through the next December or January. I’m getting lots of good, practical information, and I’ll be sharing that with you as I use it.

I gathered up the sheets I had put over the plants in the garden, plus the one I put over my elephant ear and exotic purple plant that my friend, Laufrain, gave me. The sheet for the flower planter was fine, so I just left it on the ground to be put over the plants tonight.

The sheets I put over the garden plants, though, were thoroughly soaked, with a thick layer of frost still on the sheets at 8:30! I’m running each of those through the dryer so I can use them again tonight.

If we can just make it through tomorrow morning, I think our weather is due to go back to more fall-like temperatures with no freezes for a bit. Hooray!


Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature