Sunday, May 22, 2022

Pallet & Container Garden



Building this garden is turning out to be fun and a matter of using what is at hand to make things work.

The plastic under the pallets are old round hay bale covers that farmers used before they started to use the wraps. The old tubs have holes in them from being bashed around.

I added chunks of wood and a small bit of squished goat bedding to the bottom of each container. A tiny version of Hugelkultur gardening. The manure, leaves, sticks, and tiny pieces of wood break down in the bottom of the container and provide the soil with nutrients.

This is all an experiment afterall,...so why not?

The dirt. I am digging it from an old pile of Bull manure from the pen we kept our Dexter bull in years ago. Under the grass and weeds is a fine textured soil. It has been perculatin' for about 6 years, so it should be good for garden soil. It will contain weed seeds, but I am prepared for that. I haul it by bucket loads in the 4 wheeler's cart. 

Rich made a comment that I was going to use Bull-hit to make a garden.

😲

Rich also voted that I use the green bucket. It is ugly! I may go find a black lick tub that isn't so garish. I threatened to spray paint the green plastic tub but that would only make it look worse!

I'm sure I can find a black one that somewhere in the weeds behind one of the sheds. But in the end, it doesn't matter much about the container other than can IT hold dirt and can I grow a nice plant in it?


Sunday's project is to bring in two more pallets to have a fun little garden between the house and the LP tank. This is a pain in the arse to mow, so with the pallets, I can have flowers and walk through 'the garden' on the wooden slats!




It seems that my Lego People really like the pallet garden too. It is always good to have extra help.


Miss Molly dropped in [we never even heard her!] and jetted out to the shed where she promptly cleaned the rest of Sven's pen and then cleaned Lil' Richard's pen. 

Sweet! She and I fixed Sven's pen [say that 3 times fast] door so it would open properly. She visited with Rich and then helped him with the gates so he could dump manure with the skid steer and mow the one pasture we had made last week.

Today, if the timing works out, she'll come over and we will go riding together in the woods.



Saturday, May 21, 2022

Craaaazzzy!



Photos above. Rich moving waste from Sven's pen and smoothing a path out in the Winter Pasture.

I attached a milk crate on the front of the 4 wheeler and set Charlie in it. He likes to ride there and supervise while I am hauling stuff with the 4 wheeler. I GO super slow with him on board. It is better that he ride there than scrambling around on my lap.






Spring is such a busy time of the year. Everyone is catching up with yard work or planting flowers or a garden.

Mowing the grass is a fun change over plowing and shoveling.

Mornings are glorious and the weather keeps changing so we are kept on our toes.

Most early mornings find me wandering up the road checking out the trees and brush leafing out. I'm still trying to figure out which bush is what. I may be getting a handle on a few trees also. I'm taking a lot of photos, but just leaving them in a file to look at later...

I've been morel hunting without great success but I've found enough to give us a taste. I scored some Golden Oyster Mushrooms and may dry them for soups later. 

Deep Woods Morel
Hunting with chaps on to protect
my legs:

Morels are getting hard to spot if they are small:


The neighbor's woods are 
becoming overgrown with Garlic
Mustard!


Golden Oyster Mushroom




I found yet another newborn fawn while hiking. I just get all mushy inside when I find them. They are beyond adorable.




I am ditching the idea of raising a garden. But I am cobbling together a container garden and dropping it in a section of the yard that is too hard to mow. 

It was never really smoothed out after they made a mess while remodeling the house. Each year I ask to hire someone to come in and re grade it or at least fill the bumps and lumps in to make it a nice section of yard. Each year HE says NO, he'll do it. 

Creative gardening can really help. Years ago there was a huge mess of stumps, rocks, and weeds alongside the little Red Shed. I asked if I could re-purpose it into a shade garden. HE said yes. The garden is pictured below. The area around it is very hard to mow, but I'm working on it!


I'm still not sure what to do with my 'containers'. But I placed them here on the west side of the house and then decided that I want the works to be place on the bumpy place which gets a lot of sun but has nothing but lumpy bumpy sand and clay from the construction on it. 

I plan on putting tomatoes in one or two containers and then filling the pallets with dirt and tossing in wildflower mixes along with sunflowers. Basically just toss in the seeds and see what craziness occurs.

The green container is an old mineral lick tub, I may add a second one. The others are washtubs and the buckets are from Rich's Grandfather's farm. They were used in gathering maple syrup.

I know it is ugly, but with the price of wood or even the price of containers for raised beds being what they are, who really cares??? I think I'll go out and see what goodies our old farm has. 


I even found wagon wheels in the Red Shed! Hmmmm!  I love new projects. I never sit down and draw it out, I just get the pieces and experiment. 

This morning I have a Mobility and Flexibilty Class. I like it a lot since I am constantly on the move and need to keep up my mobility, flexibility, and balance. After all...I wouldn't be able to do what I do if I just sat in a chair and watched TV.

From last week's hike. Photo by Wild Bill:




 Have a grrrreat Saturday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Hired Help?

 


You can't see her. But there is my 'hired' part time farm hand. Her name is Molly and she has spent the last 3 years working and training in show barns along with a second job. She has partially completed her Equine Management Degree and I am going to push her to finish it. 

I taught her to ride in 2018 and she IS a natural. 

[She has a tough backround which I won't go into. But she has a natural ability with animals. She has worked and been on her own for 3 years.  The price of renting an apartment got to be too expensive so she moved back home to get on her feet. LUCKY for me!]

With the extra care it takes me right now to help out hubby, I have not been able to keep up with grooming and working with my fabulous mules. 

Molly has extensive knowledge of each mule and the horse we have. I offered her a part time job-ish to come out and groom them, clean the goat pen, help fence, exercise Sunshine and Siera along with other jobs like worming and clipping. All things I can do, but easier with a second hand to get it done.

She also will work with Sundance to see if we can't finish her off with getting steady under saddle. This she wants to do on her own. She also sees the horse as a good challenge to test her training skills. I'm all good with that.

A real upside to this?

Hubby sits right up and becomes sociable when Molly arrives. Yesterday HE came outside and did some work with the skid steer while Molly helped me with a fencing job. BONUS! 

We put up a temporary paddock. I do this one each summer to lessen the mowing. It generally takes me all day to unravel the wire and set things up. It took less than two hours with Molly. 

I've always felt like I wasn't doing my equine justice the last two years. Is it worth paying someone to help so I can garden, care for hubby, and reap the benefits? 

Is it worth it? Yes.

To see my husband perk up ... to see my animals groomed and slick? To see the equine given the attention they deserve? Oh, heck yes!

Oh yes. One more bonus. I have someone I can go riding with! 

When she gets her full time job, it will be less hours but right now, the extra hand IS fantabulous.

Molly on Siera Monday night. The two of them were getting reacquainted.



Will this be permanent? No. Molly will do as Molly does and she will move on again once she is back on top of her boots. 

It is working for right now and that what I can ask for and it is a good thing.




Tuesday, May 17, 2022

One Longgg Day

I woke up at 4ish something o'clock, that gave me time to drink my decafe and pretend that it was caffiene coffee thta would give me a jump start on the day. Sunday was the lunar eclipse day! Yipee! I get excited about the strange things.

Charlie and I went for a nice early morning walk to check out the different trees I had tried to ID last year to see if I'd learned anything. 

By 7, I'd finished up my crazy Saturday blog stuff and went out to wash stock tanks and move critters around. Well. Let's keep it short. I was like a busy bee all morning.

I promised myself that I'd take a midafternoon nap because I wanted to stay up and watch the lunar eclipse. Hah. I didn't take a nap. I went Morel hunting and it was a flop!

Me, waiting for the sunset before watching the moon come up.



Sunset:


Moon rise...I was afraid the clouds would cover it all up but we got lucky!



The photos didn't turn out that well. I am not that great at doing moon shoots yet. The clarity still evades me, but these are some samples of what I got.








I tried to get the clouds moving through and it just really flubbed up the photo! 


The following is 57 seconds of the first half of the eclipse. It is wiggly because the moon of course kept moving out of frame. IF I had a movie/video editing program I suppose I could have edited the clips to make them all nice looking. However I rarely do any video work. ON1 has a nice time lapse feature which I used to do the sunset ~~ that was 27 seconds in camera and like 3 seconds at the frame rate the program has for choices. 

Keep watching to the end because it looks like the moon disappears...it does into clouds but I recorded until it went black!

57 seconds of the eclipse:


I didn't get to bed until wayyyy past my bed time. 

Monday proved to be a most excellent day.  More on that tomorrow.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Saturday Wonderday!

A good day starts with a good walk if I can manage it. Sometimes the other half gets up too early and needs his coffee made and can get grumpy if it isn't taken care of. [I am smiling as I write this, because I know that I can get up at 4:30 now and enjoy quiet time for a while!]

I am trying to keep track of the trees alongside the gravel road to our house. The one below is a Grey Dogwood ~ I believe.


This year I am trying to keep track of birds...trees... and of course fungi. It is a means of keeping myself occupied and my mind stimulated.

My favorite Box Elder

Red Oak I believe!

Another one? Oak.

I think...not sure... Hazel nuts? I will have to wait for the tree to leaf out a bit more or some sort of elm??
Speckled Alder??? 
Gosh I don't know!

I found more amazing trees on the morning walk then headed to town and picked up Rhubarb Pie and Cherry Pie from the Farmer's Market and some fresh leaf lettuce. I've decided to just grow sweet corn in the garden this year.
When I can purchase fresh produce each week all summer for our needs and for freezing, it doesn't make sense to spend endless hours in a vegetable garden.

For example, the cost of the beautiful lettuce I got? $2.50, I can't grow it for that! 

MMMM. It gives me more time to play with flowers which I LOVE!

I went out just before lunch and found Morels with Charlie!



Charlie didn't feel so good, so I took him home. As I cut through a deer trail looking at the ground, I saw this...


Fawns do not have a scent when first born. They lay so still as to be invisible! I moved away with Charlie and we headed home.

BUT! Not before we heard a commotion in the trees about 40 feet away. An owl was having it out with some red wing black birds and crows.

I thought to myself...Dang where is Aurora with that lens of hers? I know she would have loved watching this owl watch us. [Taken with my pocket camera and cropped so you can see the owl.]


We had Morels with our steak and watched several squalls come through and ended the day with a rainbow. [A bit over the top with the edit, but the clouds were so amazing and I wanted to catch their strangeness as it cut through the rainbow.]




Saturday, May 14, 2022

Turkey Buzzard and birds...and hike

Either I am getting used to the heat or I chose my clothing well. Wild Bill and I decided to do a short easy hike. I chose a hike along the top of the river that was shaded mostly by pines along the bluffs of the Kickapoo River.

I told Bill I was going to call him Wild Bill from now on. He said he was not wild and I said: Exactly. That is my point. 

Below ~ Wild Bill on a bluff above the Kickapoo.


From where we stopped to chill out in the shade we could see the river's winding path. It made 3 U turns that we could see from our vantage point. That is part of the reason it is called the crooked river. It is nearly 130 miles long and doubles back on itself quite often.


This was section 43 of the Trail Challenge and is only .75 miles long. Even though it is short, it is fantastic for a scenic hike if you stop and explore both campsites that accessible by water. Those would be campsite W and S. 


Field of bluebells!


The river is prone to flooding and most campsites have been moved out of those areas that could be flooded.


Charlie didn't go on this jaunt, the heat and humdity wouldn't have agreed with him. But we survived. We saw several huge areas that were filled with bluebells. Areas in the woods looked like they were a blue haze.

As I drove out of LaFarge towards home, the time and temp at the bank read 96 degrees. Whew. I don't think it was quite as bad as it was on Wednesday, but it was warm!

Late in the afternoon Charlie and I sat on the porch and enjoyed the shade and light breezes.

I noticed something odd far off on a dead tree. It was huge!

A Turkey Buzzard! Also known as Turkey Vulture and apparently it is known by other names also.

This guy/gal Vulture creature sat on this dead tree for 45 minutes and preened its feathers. It flapped its wings and twisted this way and that as it groomed itself. I had read about these carrion eating birds and found some very cool but sort of gross facts about them. However I'll let you read about yourself.


I think it was 'sunbathing' here but not sure why as the outside temps were pretty warm. 
When I worked at the power plant these birds would sit on top of the coal pile on cool mornings just like this. It was eerie to watch them as I drove by on a gate check. They'd watch you with their giant wings outstretched.
 
I think they are pretty unique birds.

As this was going on, a hen turkey decided to walk up into our driveway and give herself a dust bath.


And finally the Vulture decided to take off.



What a show Charlie and I had from our porch!

Friday, May 13, 2022

Squatch and Hobby

Squatch to Hobby.
Do you suppose I'll ever find another one like me?

Hobby:
Oh sure, we just need to keep looking.


Squatch:
I'm sure getting discouraged.

Hobby:
Let's not get discouraged. Let's be persistent. You never know when we could bump into a relative of yours!