Saturday, May 28, 2011

More rain - new stringtrimmer

We have been having rain daily since I posted last. I think about three inches total.
Nothing has been done outside lately. I still have plants on the patio but it is way too wet. It looks like next week is going to be dry.....and hot, 80's and 90's.

We have both been having trouble with equipment. DH with his chain saw and me with my Stihl trimmer. We have lost confidence in the local repair center so went back to Bolivar with both of them. The serviceman started both of them pretty easily!
We were embarrassed! I owe an apology to our local service center. He did think I was having to pull too hard on the Stihl and suggested I try the E-Z pull Echo...did and was sold! We bought it and will have the old one as a backup. I hate getting all set to do a job and the equipment fails me (or I fail it!). Because of the wet, I haven't tried it out yet.

The yard is beginning to look like a jungle. I have let weeds overtake some beds that I will now just mow the centers down.

I got a real surprise on one of my morning walks around the house. This azalea has been planted for years and has never bloomed or grown. It must be a dwarf of some kind. I bought it at Lowe's on sale. It how has a few very large apple-blossom pink blossoms!. Of course it is pretty much hidden by other plants now since I didn't think it would ever do anything.

From gardening Spring 2011

My first early daylily is in bloom. I bought it unnamed but think it is Buckeye.
I need to relocate it to another spot. I don't like it with the baby pink rose behind.


The cistern planter on the patio was in full glory.....until a heavy rain and some hail.

I think this rose is Marie Daly. It is a polyantha, has few thorns , is fragrant, and is disease resistant, all I ask for in a rose. It is one of Chamblees Roses in Tyler, Texas' Earthkind roses (they have been tested for several features above). Most of my roses came from them.



The blue flax was a gift from a passing bird! The sedum was a piece I accidentally broke off the mother plant. Coming up around the rose will be some bulbs I bought from the neighbor boy and a lavender I had left in a flat. This is my normal way to plant!

I save the biggest for last. This is a great shrub rose, William Baffin. I believe it is a Canadian rose. It has one heavy spring bloom and then blooms sporadically for me. Unfortunately, no scent, but a very large and healthy shrub.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thank you all for your concern. I did talk to the doctor (not his nurse) yesterday and all the tests were negative. This confirms his diagnosis of sacroiliac. I am to continue with the pain meds, if needed, and the muscle relaxant and just wait it out.
He told me I can take aspirin too. I am happy to report without pain meds, I feel better this morning! He also said to keep busy so not so much easy chair from now on.
Enough said.

First, I cannot comment to your Blogs this morning. Rest assured I have read most that I follow and will finish shortly. I get some error message or it doesn't recognize me and keeps wanting me to try again. I will check back later.

What I have been doing is when the pain pills kick in, I get up and do what I need to do. One of those things was bake Ilene's Hot Milk Sponge Cake again. I doubled the recipe and cooked it in my 9x13 pan and it came out beautifully. Some recipes shouldn't be doubled but this wasn't one of them.

Note: The cook had a sample piece!

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Gardening

I soaked some pepper seeds overnight in warm water and planted them in 6-paks and put then under the lights. I may be too late, but I am giving it a try.

We got another 1.2 inches of rain yesterday so I know it is way too wet to do anything in the garden except maybe mulch if I use wide boards for walking. I need to get the strawberries mulched since they are sending out runners now.

Random Cow Picture

One of the heifers enjoying tall grass due to the recent rains. This pasture needs clipping.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

I have been missing for a few days....Hips have been really bad and I gave up and went to the doctor....he still says sacroiliac but I am waiting for test results before he prescribes any nsaids for it. In the meantime, I am doing no gardening, in fact, not much of anything at all!. I am taking pain meds and a muscle relaxant at night....so I am in a drug stupor most of the day......I probably shouldn't try to post anything!

I try to do some housework and cooking when the pain meds kick in. I also was able to do a very brief walk around the house this morning.

We were shocked and saddened by the severe storm that hit Joplin, Missouri yesterday evening. We are presently under a thunderstorm warning with the a medium risk for tornadoes today. It is very windy and cool and has rained off and on all morning.

DH found a photograph in the field this morning. No doubt it is some debris from the Joplin storm. They mentioned on the news last evening that Willard had some stuff blown in and we are just 5 miles northwest of Willard.

I took a few pictures this morning of the foundation beds around the front of the house.

This is the dining room porch bed. I show it only to show the self-seeded love-in-a-mist, nigella damascena. This is the first year I have had it self-seed and I left them all. I love how airy it is and it just fills in various spots withou crowding anything and the white is a good divider.
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This shows it better.
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It has a ferny leaf and the bloom is a thing of beauty,
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Buff Beauty rose is in full bloom. The color which is a rich coffee cream color doesn't photograph well here.
PhotobucketSo far, this has been a great rose, no disease and very fragrant.

This is the pale blue clematis growing up behind,
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This takes us to the front steps where the spirea is in full bloom; that is more nigella growing in front of it.
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Random Cow Picture

I couldn't resist snapping this heifer belly deep in good grass.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ozark Vinaigrette, Tomatoes

Yesterday was the day to plant tomatoes come what may! I was partly successful before stopping for lunch and the drizzle that began.

I planted 28 total, Heinz Classic, Granny Cantrell and OTV Brandyvine. I still have Ananas Noire (Black Pineapple and Druzba to go plus egg plant and peppers (starting to bloom in pots). I may end up planting them in mud if the rain keeps up for a week like predicted.

The rains began seriously around 3 AM this morning but at least the temperature has warmed to 61°. Actually my garden needed a good soaking.

I am happy to report we harvested our first salad of the 2011 Gardening Season!




This was a simple salad of Asian Red lettuce, sliced green onions (Super Star), sliced red and white radishes served with what I decided to call Ozark Vinaigrette.
Any Ozark cook worth her salt saves bacon drippings (I call it grease)in a container by the stove.....like Mom, I use a canning jar and lid. Melt the grease in a small pan, add vinegar and a little water to cut the tartness, a bit of sugar and salt and bring to boil. Pour over the salad and toss. If you want it very wilted add more and keep tossing.

I think I finally spied a few dwarf blue kale coming up! I just wanted enough for a test so I am happy.

The sweet corn and cucumbers are up.

I have a new garden plan.......I am going to try to cram everything into the Kitchen Garden and then get it all under mulch so I don't have to hoe and there won't be enough room to till. I will still till the new space and turn under the growth but won't be under pressure to get it done now.

Random Picture


Last year I had one single lavender poppy in the Dining Room Bed; this year I will have several and this is the first.....not even close to the one last year. They cross more than any garden plant that I have.

From gardening Spring 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday, May 17. Cold Night -

I can't believe it is the middle of May and I still don't have all my garden in. It has been too cold. The 5 tomato plants I did plant don't look good! They need some heat. I put black plastic around them this morning to help heat the ground. I left one without the black mulch for a test to see if it makes a difference.

I took yesterday off from outside work except for milking. I did milk Willow, but will just have 12 more days and then I turn her dry.

We were completely out of bread so I baked. I made three loaves of Oat Bran/Whole Wheat. I also made a small mincemeat tart (for me) and a cherry for DH. He is not a fan of mincemeat.



I did my morning tour to see what was happening in the garden and took a few pictures.

The Garden Fence Border

This is another path: Between the garden fence and the smoke house.


One side is the fence (Garden Fence Border) and the other side is part of the New Bed, the smoke house (hosta bed behind) and the old apple tree. It runs all the way to the old chicken house.

This is a border that was never dug. I layered wet newspapers and then flakes of my old hay....once in a while I would lift a flake and dump the kitchen waste of coffee grounds, greens and egg shells, but that is it. I let it lay over one winter before planting then I just moved a flake and dug through the wet paper to plant. I had to replace the hay this year in places but it lasted through several seasons.
I have clematis, roses, iris and perennial salvia and some white hesperis that tried to take over this year all along this fence. It is actually prettiest from the garden side. There also is the shrubby perennial persicaaria polymorpha which is just beginning to bloom.

The two heirloom roses, Reine des Violettes, a hybrid perpetual and Baronne Prevost, also a hp. require an acid soil so I have added iron, soil sulphur and sprayed with Miracid. The BP has responded better and has dark green leaves. The RdV needs more care and attention. Both are in full bloom and smell wonderful.
There is a bluish hint in the pink of the RdV but the camera doesn't pick that up well.



The blooms of both are very double and very fragrant.




The blooms are very similar but RdV is more purple which doesn't show in the photographs very well.

Next to the roses is a clematis named Pink Chiffon... I later found it is the same as my Hagley Hybrid, just a different name:


I am waiting for the sun to dry the grass before mowing and trimming.
We had a minor adjustment made to the Stihl trimmer this morning and it should start much easier. I have already started it once to test it and did a tiny bit of trimming.

In the meantime, I am making a pot of chili for lunch.

Surprise, surprise! after lunch DH said he would mow the orchard (can't damage anything back there). I will start testing the trimmer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back Home - Cecropia Moth - Peonies

We cut our visit short this trip. It rained almost the entire time we were there.
We did get to see the dance competition, but the Friday ball game was canceled and then on Saturday, more rain so DH decided we would come on back to the farm!
I knew the girls had a whole day of photographs scheduled for their dance schools and I didn't want to do that. I think we are a jinx with the rain!

We drove in rain back home until about Waynesville on I-44 and it got very cold, 53°.
We did get all the plants I took up in the various beds so that was a very good thing.

I have been having really bad hip pain for three days now and lived on pain meds for three days. I hope it is weather related and when it finally warms and dries up, it will be better.....one can only hope.

Friday morning before we left I walked around checking things and saw this most unusual moth. It was huge, maybe 4.5 inches.




On closer inspection, I saw it was laying eggs on the iris blade.



It is a Cecropia Moth also called a Robin Moth. I haven't seen one before.

It was in the iris edging what I jokingly call the New Bed (not new anymore....needs a new name):



I also discovered I have another fragrant peony and it is in the same bed.

White never photographs well with my camera, but here is the bush and then a single bloom photo which shows the color better.


I am looking forward to some sunshine and warmer weather this week!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Perfect Day - Again , Gardening. Tuesday, 5/10/11

It was 74° early this morning and was supposed to be another hot one...but so far, it has been perfect. It is still in the 70's and overcast with a slight breeze.

I went out very early and checked everything before getting busy.
I thinned more on the lettuce, tilled and hilled up the potatoes and hoed the ever- present Maple seedlings here and there between rows. I also managed to till between the daylily row and the garlic. That was a much needed thing.


I planted one Granny Cantrell tomato and three Druzba's with some Italian Basil around them.
I got the ground next to the hoop frame ready for the pole beans. That end of the garden is delightfully loose soil....I think I will extend all that area and use it for gardening. It will have to be beds here and there because of the cherry tree and the plum tree.
I also risked spraying a blooming multiflora rose near the garden gate with herbicide, Gly-4.
These are the host plant for the microscopic mite that causes rose rosette disease.

Speaking of roses, I also dug up 'America' from inside the garden and relocated it.
It may not survive but that is OK. It is a magnet for black spot.

Also the two heirloom roses that I have been paying special attention to by feeding them an acid and iron supplement are looking better. One is looking really good and the other needs more help. I will be spraying it this afternoon with Miracide.
I sprayed it and it looks dreadful this morning...must have been too hot and I
didn't check the label. It won't be fatal.

I have been trying to get a red iris in the Grace smoke tree bed, but somehow I ended up with Swingtown! It has to go.
I dug up a clump of blooming reds and moved them. It is a much better fit.

All I plan to do today is water the corn patch and dig up perennials for our DIL.
We are heading to St. Louis again hoping to see our grandson play ball and one of our granddaughters has a dance recital.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It is a very warm morning here; no sun so far. 68°

Should be a good morning for transplanting some things into the Kitchen Garden.

The peonies are beginning to fully open, the first is this single pink one, no fragrance. It is on the path between the Light Pole Bed and the Ash Tree Bed leading to the drive or to the back porch.

I like the singles and semi-doubles because the stay upright, even in heavy rains.

and this is my 'free' tuberous begonia from a local nursery when you buy $20 in other plants.



and I think this iris is Stepping Out,


and Superstition,


Well, I didn't get any transplanting done; instead planted a small patch of sweet corn Bodacious and thinned some of the lettuce. I planted way too thickly...what a waste of seeds.

We had an errand to run this morning so by the time we got back home, it was lunch time...and I am probably finished for today.

It is almost 90° and the wind is very strong. Typical Ozark weather, too cold one day and too hot the next. This should dry some gardens out very quickly.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mothers. I think you/we have the most important job on earth.

This is my sweet Mother taken before she was married.



As always thinking of Mom brings tears to my eyes. I still miss her. She was my staunchest supporter and thought I could do no wrong and could do anything! I had a friend tell me once after loosing her Mother that is was the loneliest you would ever feel.....she was right.

Today we will be having DH's folks out for dinner. I am planning a regualr roast beef dinner of meat, potatoes and carrots with green beans on the side. I will make my refrigerator rolls (skipping the refrigerator step) and pecan pie for dessert. It is my MIL's favorite dessert.

Random Picture for Mother's Day

The only scented peony in my garden

Friday, May 6, 2011

Yesterday was another nice day.

I finished the Garage Wall Border. DH hooked up three drop cords in the garage and drug them out to me for the electric chain saw. Where the Russian Sage (perovskia atriplicifolia) was growing was a snarl of Bermuda Grass, maple and elm saplings and, of course, the old sage plant that hadn't been pruned properly so I just cut it almost to the ground. I said I wouldn't use them anymore, but I succumbed to the need to get rid of the tangle of BG and sprayed with Gly-4.

This is the area I am working on.


and this is the rat's nest that I cut down and sprayed.


I did some trim mowing but haven't used the string trimmer yet. This border has some bare spots that I plan to fill with rampant self-seeder, like hesperis and larkspur....no more iris. You cannot pull Bermuda Grass (BG) from the roots of iris! Maybe some dill tossed in. I have culinary sage and Bronze fennel and another herb that I am not sure about already there. I would make a good herb bed because it is a berm and stays very dry and is on the south side.

The weatherman predicted some rain so I decided to mow the rest of the yard and got almost all finished before it did start raining. It rained a long time, but was just a shower with maybe less than a 1/4 inch in the new gauge. Why or why do they make things so complicated to read! Water get down below in the holder...which has a separate gauge...I think my coffee can was just as good.

I like paths! There is the path where I was working; then the path between the east end of the Kitchen Garden and the back side of the Driveway Border,



Notice the self-seeded malva sylvestris along the path; it is another rampant self seeder. So far, no rust but I am sure it will appear. I just cut it down when that happens. If I am lucky I get some pretty flowers first. I had two varieties but they have crossed so the colors are variable.


This is the garden side of the path. I had just tilled it. You will see various clumps of potatoes...they volunteer each year and I just till around them; they will give me tiny new potatoes much faster than the new ones planted in a row.
The left side of the photo is the fence where I grew hyacinth bean vine last year and at the base of the fence is the compost heap. See there are potatoes growing out of the top of it too and some garlic from my original garlic planting of three years ago. I can't bear to chop out good plants.

To the right are some leftover strawberry plants that didn't fit in my two new rows and the row of garlic I planted last fall....then on farther out of range is the "temporary" holding bed for daylilies and iris and the two apple trees (the left of the garden path where I was working). The temporary bed has become a permanent bed!
There are Hyperion, some seedlings I raised and another cream and burgundy eyed daylily and, of course, various iris.

Hyperion is a great old landscaping daylily and it naturalizes really well. It has a lovely fragrance if you bend close. There were very few weeds in it.

Where the mower and tiller are resting is another path separating the garden. It divides the Kitchen Garden into an East and West side. I still didn't get the lettuces divided, but I did get them hoed. I was very disappointed in the germination of the snap peas on the hoop frame. I vow to never buy seeds at a big box store again (W-M).

And last: This is the oldest rose on the farm, Parson's Pink China Rose. I cut it to the ground last year and it came back very nicely. If it had scent, it would be perfect, but it does not. I planted it when we first moved to the farm in 1992.

Gardening - Milking -

Yesterday was just a perfect day for working out. No wind, sunny and a lovely 63°

First thing was milking. I haven't milked in three days. All went good but I didn't get as much milk, down about a quart.

I tilled the veggie garden between rows. All the potatoes are up and the two varieties of beets. I didn't get the lettuce thinned but hope to today.

The new strawberries are looking very good. I don't think I lost a single plant.

I tackled the Garage Wall Border next. Bermuda grass is the greatest challenge to a gardener, I pulled runners three feet long. I don't use any of the weeds I pulled as mulch when BG is involved because it will set roots and go again! I am now down to the end of the bed where a Russian Sage is. I plan to take the chain saw to it today. Then I can get to the sapling maple and BG and other weeds that are inter-weaved.


On the other side of the garden path is a border of two apple trees, iris and daylilies. I weeded that also and have it finished.

I hope to take some pictures of the beds today.

After lunch and a good rest, I went back to the garden and mowed what I could with the rider. It will need some trimming with the small push mower and the string trimmer to get it really tidied up.

I noticed some buds of blooms on the blackberries and raspberries (they are getting ready to feed the Japanese Beetles). There will be cherries this year, but only a few plums.

Chickens

The setting project is ended! I tossed the second girl off the nest and locked her out of the house; pitched the few remaining eggs and cleaned out the nest. We will not go down that path again. I will just buy replacement pullets.

Random Pictures


Another unknown iris


The Baltimore Orioles are back.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, - Errands - White Hesperis

We finally have a pretty day and we spend it on errands!

Actually it was so wet and cold outside, I would have had to wait until late afternoon anyway, but the errands took so long I was pooped and am done for the day.

Visits were involved......with relatives........... My aunt who is in her mid-80's lives alone and does everything herself but is getting less competent each year. This spring's problem is she can't use a hand pump to air up her lawn mower tires. Finally a neighbor brought down his air compressor and did it for her. We bought her a small portable air tank, filled it with air and took it to her today. I am sure the neighbor will have to show her again how to use it even though we went through the steps with her. She only drives locally to the gas station, Wal-Mart and a local hardware. She also won't pay anyone to do anything if at all possible. I give her a few days before she calls and "it won't work" will be the message.

Next we visited DH's folks...all good there.

On the way home we stopped at our local market for just a few items....
By the time I put things away, I was as tired as if I had worked outside all day.

I did find some broccoli plants....my seed never germinated after two attempts. I picked up a real rain gauge and another hummingbird feeder. I may plant something in my green painted coffee can (the old gauge).

When I went out the take care of the chickens, I noticed a very pleasant smell around the patio area. At last I can smell the white hesperis! It reminds me of flowering apple trees, a faint cinnamon smell, not heavy but very nice. I couldn't detect an scent last year. This plant grows differently than the purple one. It makes a clump or rosette that gets about 12 to 15 inches wide at the base before sending up the flower stalks. I believe the flower heads are larger too. Also it seems to be a much stronger self-seeder and just a more vigorous plant.

From gardening Spring 2011



This is the purple one for comparison. I like it too and hope to save seeds from the very few plants I have left this year.


I planted this one right by the patio and back door in front of the pink Aloha rose, the Back Porch Corner Bed. There are several plants there now. I also have a small border of them going from self-seeding back by the white clematis 'Huldine'. There was just one plant there last year.

I hope tomorrow is an 'outdoor' day for me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kitchen Tools - More Iris

This is the second post about "good tools" inspired by Nell Jean's about good garden tools...that made me think of cooking and cooking tools....what doesn't?

I know it is not necessary to have really good tools in the kitchen or a state of the art restaurant range or a monster mixer. I have cooked for lots of years on cheap ranges, cheap mixers, and regular pots and pans.

I have found as I grow older, I appreciate having some better things for cooking. I bought a set of All-Clad that I positively love! The only negative is they are very heavy....I need help sometimes with the large skillet with food in it. They clean easily and I appreciate them each time I use them. I don't regret the very high price and feel that my children can inherit them like fine china. I know they will outlast me!

I have bought some inexpensive but good quality small tools that I wonder how I got by without;
A spider skimmer, a really good stainless steel sifter/strainer, a maslin pan for jams and jellies, and I am starting a set of high quality wooden spoons. Mine are stained, chipped and very inexpensive....usable but being replaced.

I bought a couple of new bread pans by Chicago Metallic and a new sheet cake pan with matching rack. I still kept my old blackened tin ones too.

On my list next are a Bosch Mixer and a Nutri-grain mill. If any of you can think of some really great kitchen tool or appliance let me hear from you. I bought a Foodsaver....still not convinced about that one though!!

None of these are necessary to making outstanding food, but at this stage of my life, I am splurging and tell myself I deserve it. My older sis keeps telling me I don't need to justify anything at this point. I try to listen to her; she is older and wiser (and she does not ready my Blog!)

From Interior house


Small tools:



I must mention my new range....not a real expensive one, but I am still loving it totally! Such a relief to have one that works well, is easy to clean and the oven door fits properly (remember my lemon Jenn-Air?).

I guess I should list here the new counter-top oven....still using it and enjoying it. These biscuits were cooked in it just a few days ago.



The weather has been so cold and rainy that I have not gone outside since Sunday morning. I think today is supposed to be slightly better....up to 60°.

More iris are blooming now.

Champagne Elegance

Fragrant Lilac

and Dashing


There are more, but enough is enough!

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