Category Archives: Greenwood

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.

 

 

Pink phlox.

 

Deep pink phlox

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood

Nice Storm

Iron Man Robot

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!

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Tired, But Clean

Klyker

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.

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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.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, holidays, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

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.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, DIET!, exercise, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Yesterday’s Harvest

I’m grateful for the harvest yesterday. In the picture above you can see that my spinach plants are not enjoying the heat. Lettuce and spinach are cool weather plants and I usually enjoy quite a harvest before the too-hot begins. I’ll harvest as much spinach as possible because I can freeze it.

 

The head lettuce leaves are still okay, but looking a bit stressed. These plants are happier than anything else, with the exception of the radishes, in the square foot garden right now.

 

I’m sad because the really hot-too-soon in the season weather we’ve been having is causing the romaine lettuce to bolt. I’m not sure how much more I can harvest before the leaves taste bitter and I have to compost the plants.

 

We’ll enjoy the fresh lettuce and spinach for salad each day for as long as possible. I’m not sure whether I’ll get more broccoli, but the hope is that I’ll get more from the shoots from the main plant after the center has been harvested. The radishes and onions are doing fine, although some of the green tops of the onions are shooting up and trying to make seeds. The tomato plants on the other side of the house are growing rapidly. They like the heat. I have a few blossoms, so I’m hopeful we’ll enjoy a nice crop this year.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, DIET!, Favorite Things, getting the lard off, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, taking care of yourself

Garden Harvest – May, 2018

broccoli

I harvested this yesterday when it was super hot. I didn’t harvest any romaine because I just got too hot out there. I’ll do that later today.

 

head lettuce

 

Spinach

I also wanted to show you our tomato plants in the two planters we converted to square foot gardening on the east side of the house.

 

The first tomato blossom of the season!

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, taking care of yourself

Ready for Another Harvest!

Our raised bed square foot garden is doing well so far this year. We have six 4’x4′ boxes on metal ‘tables’ at about my chest level. I can just walk up to them, planting, weeding, or harvesting without having to get up and down from my knees or bend over double – a thing I can’t tell you how very MUCH I appreciate!

 

We are growing iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, sweet onions, radishes, spinach and broccoli. We have two converted planters on the east side of the house with tomato plants.

 

I’m going to go out and harvest some things today, but I wanted to show you how nice the plants look before I do.

 

 

 

I have some celery started in the kitchen that I’m hoping I can transplant to these empty squares soon.

 

 

On the lower right, you can see the start of radishes in the square.

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New Iris

Last fall I cleaned out the planter where the ‘new’ iris were, the ones from Nanna’s Iris Garden in Charleston, AR.  I transplanted iris all over the yard, and still have some that need to be planted. This is one of our new ones and I think it’s really nice. I cut the top bloom and brought it into the house for us to enjoy, leaving the rest to bloom outside.

I love this time of year, each time I take a trip around the yard, I find something that fills my heart.

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Survey Tape

Arkansas Valley Electric Company

This picture shows some of the equipment being used, but the season is wrong, showing them clearing branches after a bad winter storm.

The Arkansas Valley Electric Company guy woke us up this morning, telling us that they were bringing their equipment today to cut branches that were too close to electrical lines. We have seen them on the main arteries of Greenwood over the past few weeks, sawing down countless branches so that we hopefully won’t lose power during spring severe weather due to trees falling on power lines and bringing them down.

I just came in from trying to mark all of our guy wires on the ham radio tower, plus electrical lines going low across the area where their equipment is coming up to make sure they see them. My husband brought a PVC pole we use in the garden for them to use to hold up the low hanging lines so the equipment can go under them safely. I also unplugged the electrical cord that goes from the house out to the greenhouse so it wouldn’t get run over.

They have a regular pickup truck, a big vehicle that has a radial type saw on the end of a long pole that can cut horizontally or vertically, as needed. There is something else that is causing big chips to fly in all directions, so we’re keeping our animals inside until they are finished.

The biggest problem area that I can see is our triple evergreen trees that are practically grown together, home to countless birds. The tops of the trees are really encroaching on the power lines. They might have to aggressively attack those to protect their power lines.

We are due for severe storms Thursday, so I’m delighted that they are out there now cutting away the stuff that might cause problems.

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Hummingbird Bird Bath is UP!

Last year I saw the prettiest picture on Facebook of a hummingbird bird bath. This one is very different from the one we saw, but we enjoyed putting our spin on the idea.

This tub has a hole in the center where the water can come in. We have a trashcan under it with a pump. The system is set up to recycle the water, only using more water if the level in the trashcan goes down below a certain point, at which time the hose automatically turns on to add the needed amount. The PVC pipe is drilled with holes to make the spray.  The system is on a timer, so it starts up at about 8 am and turns off at about 8:30 pm.

 

I put bricks and stones in the bottom to be at a level where hummingbirds can sit or stand. They can play in the water, then warm up and dry off on the rocks. For some reason, we didn’t have a lot of hummingbirds visiting our deck, even though we had several feeders out and then built the bird bath.  I like the bird bath enough, though, if only for the calming sound of the water, to make it well worth the effort – whether the hummingbirds like it or not. :0)

I’ll put out feeders this morning, just in case we have some hummers around.

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Greenwood Arkansas Tornado – 1968

April 19, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of a tornado that practically wiped Greenwood, Arkansas off the map. It happened just after school let out on that day in 1968. 13 people died and hundreds were injured. Half the town square was obliterated, the tornado blowing away over 400 businesses and homes in the space of 4 minutes.

Greenwood Tornado 1968 – GreenwoodDemocrat.com

On April 19th of this year commemorations were held all over the city. Books were published by the Greenwood Democrat that we could buy, showing photos and giving details of that day. Farmers Bank also published a book that they were giving away to citizens.  People gathered to see a video, ask questions of the survivors, and appreciate what happened.  Others gathered at the square. Survivors recounted their memories of the day that devastated Greenwood.  The tornado was national news in 1968. They figure now that it was an F4 tornado.

Through the tragedy, though, people rebuilt. Survivors with homes intact offered rooms, clothes, and food to those who needed them. Ham radio operators helped with communications. Surrounding towns provided help. Help was offered from far away, as well.

There were 2000 residents of Greenwood in 1968. Today there are around 10,000. Instead of giving up and going elsewhere, the strong people rebuilt the town, building a stronger sense of community than ever before.

The photos of the devastation tear your heart out. The people of Greenwood were stronger than 4 minutes of Mother Nature’s wrath, though – stronger than anyone knew.

My husband and I found Greenwood, Arkansas when he took a job in Fort Smith in 1987. We feel lucky to have found such a wonderful place to live.

 

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Greenwood AR Car Show 2018

Photographer Unknown

We went to the 31st Annual Greenwood, Arkansas Car Show yesterday. I think it gets larger every year as word of mouth spreads about how enthusiastic we are about incredibly restored and souped-up cars.  Proceeds go to local scholarships and charities. There are the wonderful cars of all types, models, years, of course, and there is food and drink, country music, door prizes and awards given in several categories for the entrants. Many of the cars are for sale.

The good businesses around the square shut down for something like this, knowing that the events are good for the town, the charities, and fun for the people. They close off three sides of the square to traffic, allowing the main road to stay open.

We spent about an hour there. My husband was interested in the engines. I was interested in the shape and colors of the cars. The oldest car I saw was a 1926 Ford. Something older than we are! :0)

My favorite is always a 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe. There is something about the size and shape of that vehicle that calls to me.

Photograph by Dave Koontz

I have to tell you, though, that as much as I like a Deuce Coupe, I’ve been drooling over a deep purple Jeep that is in a lot on the way to Fort Smith lately –

The 1st Greenwood AR car show was in 1987, the year we moved to Greenwood and had our home built. It has been wonderful to watch it, and the town grow and thrive.

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Square Foot Garden Progress – April

 

Yesterday I showed you the first harvest from our spring veggie garden. I’m delighted that everything seems to be happy so far.

The raised bed square foot garden consists of six 4’x4′ wooden boxes about my chest level filled with Mel’s Mix (a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and three or more kinds of compost.) The boxes are divided into ‘squares’ by stretched string. I have opted to space things out a lot more this year because I lost a lot of produce by having the plants growing into each other. I decided to opt for a lot more air and space for each plant and see what happens.

We also have tomato plants in two converted brick planters on the other side of the house. We’ll plant another group of tomato plants soon so that we can space out our harvest and extend it as much as possible.

In the picture above you can see broccoli plants, spinach, iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, and onions. I’ll add some radish seeds soon (as soon as I get the squares weeded) and also celery (when the ones I started in the house are large enough.)

Each box has a sprinkler in the center that are connected by pieces of hose. These are all tied to a main hose that connects to a rural type outside faucet. We put a timer on it so that the garden is irrigated each morning.

I’m going to wash spinach, romaine, and iceberg lettuce for our salad today harvested yesterday from the garden. I hope that one day we can eat our own broccoli!

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Companionable Amber

quotesgram.com

 

Amber – April 2018 – 13 months

I grabbed my camera to take a picture of the entertainment center and the winterized deck for the previous post. Amber, of course, wanted to come with me.

We ended up walking all over yard, taking pics of flowers, veggies, etc. Amber would watch me, then run off and do doggly things for a while, and then come back on her on, or when I called. We did this over and over, walking out to the greenhouse, then all the way across our land to the square foot garden, then back around the house.

Amber is a really sweet, wonderful dog. I particularly enjoy her when it’s just the family here. She responds eagerly – probably in anticipation of a ‘cookie’ when we go back inside – but is truly fun, affectionate, curious and playful. (It’s when others come here, or we go out in public that she tends to go ‘maniac,’ requiring all our tools, skills, and dubious intelligence to handle things. We have agreed that we need to invite more people here, and put the no-pull collar and leash on her when she is allowed to get out of the car on our outings, giving her more occasions to meet people, LISTEN to us, and hopefully, do what we say.

As to what we saw on our walk this morning –

The deep purple iris is fading, but the yellow iris is all over the yard in clusters. My husband is less than impressed with the yellow ones, but the display is very impressive to ME.  (Each pic displayed here is a different clump of iris, plus there is more going down the driveway!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Favorite Quotes, Gardening, Greenwood

Purple Iris

Deep purple iris are our favorites (although I like a lot of other colors). I’ve been working on trying to spread the purple iris all around the yard, since my husband loves them above all others.  Right now we’re feeling rich in purple iris!

 

This is toward the top of our driveway, on the right as you drive up. We have an antique computer tower perched on one of our brick planters. My husband put it there as a conversation piece years ago, but the birds now build nests in it each year. You can see some parts of the ’emu’ planters just past the brick planter. We’ll place my husband’s favorite periwinkles in those as soon as the weather warms up.

 

This is one of the clumps of purple iris that are finally happy along the side of the driveway. They make us smile as we go down the driveway. My husband remarks about them each time he sees them, thanking me for transplanting some there.

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Square Foot Garden After Storm

We had bad storms with a strong cold front Friday afternoon and evening – including tornadoes, damaging winds, rain, hail, and flying hair balls. I was worried that my fledgling square foot garden plants would get battered.  Yesterday and today we’ve had cold temperatures for April in Arkansas – barely 40 and gusty north winds.

As you can see, the garden is doing fine. WHEW!  Thank  goodness these are all cool weather plants!  I may lose some of my tomato plants, but the rest of the garden is good.

 

 

Broccoli

 

Iceberg Head Lettuce

 

Romaine Lettuce

 

Spinach

It’s almost time to start snipping!  I can gather the outer, larger leaves of the lettuces and the spinach soon. As soon as it warms up a bit, I’ll get some radishes started.

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, getting the lard off, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Mother Nature in a Snit

Mother Nature was in a snit yesterday afternoon and evening, bringing us a cold front with accompanying 60 mph winds, hail, rain, tornadoes, and flying hair balls. The sky was black in mid afternoon and I watched the hard-working local weather guys try to warn people in our area and all around us about when to dive for shelter.

Happily, though we got wind and rain, all the bad stuff either went north or south of us. We came through her bad temper well. I checked this morning when I took the doggies out, that the greenhouse was still standing, we didn’t have any damage to the house, my roses were still intact, and the square foot garden was still looking good.

We planted 3 new rio samba rose bushes recently. I’m just thrilled that they seem to be happy.

 

 

 

Even though it’s too cool to be comfortable outside today, I’m thankful to see the sun and our thriving plants.

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I’ve Definitely Quit Dancing!

piccsy.com

Okay. We were in the middle of a drought and it even caused bad problems with our water supply, making the turnovers in the lakes cause our water to have a bad odor and taste.  Wildfire danger was high. Warm, windy days were worrisome.  I started doing mental and physical rain dances, trying to get our area over the problem.

Mother Nature listened. I’m not sure if she saw and heard ME, or if a whole lot of people were also doing rain dances, but she delivered. Big Time. We’ve had rain, rain showers, heavy rain, storms, sleet, and more rain. I’ve definitely STOPPED even thinking about rain dances, but now I’m thinking Mother Nature is saying, “You wanted rain. Okay. Here it is!”

Today we’re due for MORE storms, particularly between 11:00 and 3 this afternoon with possible severe weather.  We did a group of errands this morning, paring our list down to one appt this afternoon, in an effort to be ONLY blown away, rather than blown away and DROWNED trying to get our stuff done.

The doggies came and demanded that I take them out a couple of minutes ago, insisting they would blow up if I didn’t take them out NOW. I complied, then came back for my camera, to record some of the beauty I found while walking around the yard. The storm today might wreak havoc with our yard, so I wanted to try to catch Mother Nature at her BEST – first.

Every day the wisteria gets more lush and more purple.

It SMELLS wonderful, too!

We have purple iris blooming in planters, in clusters around the yard, even off the edge of the civilized part of our yard, plus down our driveway.

 

We have buds on the three new Rio Samba rose bushes, and now some of the buds are starting to open up!

 

A knock out rose bush is starting to have blooms.

 

This is the north side of our square foot garden.

And the south side.

The winds really picked up while I took pics and walked the dogs. We’ll probably be right in the heart of the thunderstorms this afternoon, since we have to be out at 1:30. It’s a good thing we don’t melt in the rain. We’re thankful for our warm, dry home. Our doggies have already snuggled down for a nap, and even the two cats came in with us.

Have a wonderful day. Stay warm and dry!

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

One of the Perks of Living Out in the Sticks

One of the many reasons we love living on top of our ridge line outside the city limits of Greenwood, Arkansas is the privacy.  We have our space without having to speak to lots of neighbors or having them look harshly at us because we don’t make sure each blade of grass is cut to the neighborhood specifications.  We have created out own little world up here and we love it.

We can pretend we own all the land we can see. :0)  We own about 8 acres. Our land goes down to the street in the front. Picture a hill with the top part cut off horizontally. That’s our land.  We keep a small part ‘civilized’ and let the rest be natural.

We absolutely love our view from our back yard. We can watch the seasons change. We can enjoy the firework displays of our neighbors in the valley below.

If we can SEE it, it’s OURS, isn’t it? :0)

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Radiating Spring

We are enjoying a pretty early spring here in Arkansas. It makes me feel a bit guilty, so I’m trying to send some nice spring weather in all directions.

In my trip around the yard with the doggies, I found some nice things –

Even though it’s cloudy, the redbud is till showing up nicely around the yard.

Here is a close-up view of some of the redbud blooms.

The tulip tree is fragile, already losing a lot of its petals in the gusty winds we’ve been having off and on, but it makes me smile each time I see it.

Here is a close-up of some of the blooms.

These hyacinths are in one planter beside the front porch. We have some more in the planter on the east side of the house.

 

I love the contrast between the lingering winter and the redbud, plus the nice greens of the iris.

 

The first blooming iris of the season!

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The Unofficial State Tree of Arkansas

The official tree of Arkansas is the pine tree. I thought it was the Redbud, but that’s the state tree of Oklahoma, where I lived much of my childhood. We have three or four Redbuds on our property, and we carefully cut stuff away from around them, trying to encourage them to get as large as possible and have a nice show each year in the spring.

 

 

 

You can also see our larger propane tank and the shop here.

 

HAPPY SPRING!

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Shhhhh!

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.

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

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Recently we’ve received a wonderful gift of being able to look at lots of birds we don’t often see. When we’re eating breakfast, we love watching the birds come to eat the seed we put out. We’re not official birdwatchers, and identify most as just ‘pointy headed birds,’ ‘cardinals,’ bluejays’ (my husband tries to shoot the bluejays because he read they eat the eggs of other birds), and more.

Recently, though we’ve seen –

a wonderful roadrunner who looked like a baby. He sat in the dish of one of our deck planters, then finally made it over to the shovel bird and found sunflower seeds in the shovel part.  We see full grown roadrunners from time to time in the summer, running in their characteristic, comedic way, where they put their head and tail down to form a kind of horizontal line with their body, run like mad for a few feet, then stop putting head and tail up – frozen as they survey their surroundings – and then the ‘horizontal line’ runs again as they cross the yard.

We also saw –

TWO robins! I guess we probably have a lot of these around, but recently was the first time we remember actually SEEING them on our deck railings and feeders. I realized that I didn’t know if we were seeing two males, or two females, or a pair. I found this –

 

So we saw two males – meaning that we hopefully have at least two pairs of robins close around!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Sow What?

mycraftilyeverafter

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

Mr. Bountiful

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My husband and I work in harmony each morning to get all the animals fed, breakfast fixed and eaten, dishwasher unloaded, and our basic chores done.

He usually takes the animals out first thing, stopping at our big bucket of sunflower seeds in the garage to take out to the deck for the birds. We put out both sunflower seeds and the small seeds you see in the picture above.

After he comes in and we are sitting at the dining area table for breakfast, it’s like the memo went out – “Mr. Bountiful has come!”

All of a sudden we’re awash in lots and lots of birds of all stripes bouncing from feeder to feeder, plus a squirrel or two, entertaining us as we eat.

We put a special squirrel feeder up, right on the other side of the window. It has a gallon glass bottle held up by a wooden closure. The squirrel has to come into the wooden enclosure and then stretch out to get the seed in the bottle. We get a really great look at him. There are little pointy-headed birds that also use this feeder, popping in and out with regularity.

With the birds and squirrels outside the window, our two dogs and two cats sitting on the floor around the table, and the fish happily eating in their aquarium, we feel happy and rich.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Family, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

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

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

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.

 

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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