Sunday, July 31, 2011

Catch Up Post

I have no real excuse for not posting but laziness!

I am updating from my written daily journal.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hot and Dry.

We went to nearby town for DH's haircut and I went across to the store and bought blueberries that were on sale. I think I got all they had!

I made my first blueberry pie and we thought it was very good.

I will freeze the rest of the blue berries.

I boiled a chicken for later meals.

I watered the orchard deeply at each tree. I lifted the flakes of hay mulch and was pleased to see there was still some moisture showing. DH did a better job than I had thought! Maybe he is learning gardening at long last.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hot and dry today

I watered my pathetic little bed of zinnias and the Limelight hydrangea area at the end of the porch. The poor thing was wilted at 7 AM.

After setting the sprinkler, I went to the barn and milked.

I cut two rows of sweet corn and tossed to Willow.

I finally cut the patch of head-high poke and lamb quarter in the New Bed and at the west end of the Kitchen garden. Watered by hand the melon hills.
One squash plant was wilted. I guess the squash bugs or borers found it. I have been checking so carefully......

I harvested a few items.

The Strawberry Fields gomphrena doesn't quite look like Park's catalog photo! Surprise, surprise! I do like the longer stems. I have two clumps hung to dry. I hope the color holds well.

P.S. I made chicken pot pie with biscuits using part of the chicken I boiled and still have all the white meat left for another dish. Probably fettuccine Alfredo with chicken chunks and maybe the rest with yellow rice. We are really enjoying the spicy yellow rice. I cooked the last in chicken broth and tossed in some sauteed onion and red pepper flakes for a side dish. DH even ate a dish for his supper....a true endorsement over his peanut butter.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hot and dry.


Watered the Indian Giver bed

Tilled the garden and made a small herb bed next to the path. It wasn't my first choice but I realized I was going to loose the plants if I didn't get them in the ground asap. I kept waiting for a rain and cooler weather that never came. They are pretty sorry looking now. I will watch them closely and keep my fingers crossed.

I weeded the west end of the Kitchen Garden around the aster that still hasn't been moved. It was mostly lambs quarter and was as tall as my shoulders.

I did the same with the New Bed outside the kitchen. When that poke rears its stubborn head again, I am brushing it with diesel fuel. That will kill anything.

Whew! Caught up again.

Sunday looms ahead. Hot and dry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yogurt - Our First taste of real milk and other things from the farm

Hot and dry; another 100° day predicted with 82% humidity.

I am milking each morning these days. DH is going to bring his fan from the garage over to the milk barn. The exhaust fan in the barn window isn't working. He will get another cheapie for him. This is a big floor fan that we used when we were operating the dairy.

Willow is slowly coming around. I suspect she is holding up her milk....I am not getting much.

I brought one half gallon down this morning and set yogurt. I never liked it much until I began making mine from my milk. I had to laugh.....I expected this. We have two gallons of store milk in the fridge but DH asked if I had any chilled from Willow....I did and we both had our first glass, nectar of the Gods. He is as bad as I am about it. We feel so fortunate that we can have our cow and I can milk and enjoy the bounty.

I am actually watering a young tree this morning. I could see heat stress on my Red Maple and I sure don't want to loose it. I am using my favorite little cast round sprinkler. I have two now and I use them more than the large one.


I saw this Pipe-vine Swallowtail on a rose bush (note how bad the rose looks; thank you Japanese Beetles). It was so still after taking the picture, I touched it and was happy to see it fly off. The host plant is, of course, the pipe-vine. I don't grow one but it is a native Missouri vine called Woolly Pipe-vine(aristolochia tomentosa) so I am assuming there are some in the fields around the house area.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Milking, Sweet Pickle Relish

Well still hot and very dry here.

My first day of milking was yesterday. All was going smoothly until she decided to step forward out of the stanchion! Of course, she can't do that, but she tried. Knocked the milk over and I lost all but 1/2 gallon. This morning she didn't do that, but she refused to drink water all night. I guess she was afraid to come into the lot where the water was. She does have her little quirks! We will get into a nice easy routine soon. I don't think I will look for another calf. I think with the heat and the sorry grass and hay, her production won't be so much that the calf and I can handle it. Then there are all the cats...........they will enjoy it too.

I kept the calf up in the barn this morning but she can still see far, she hasn't left the nearby tree..... This may take a while.

Not all milk cows are created equal.

After milking, I finished processing the sweet relish I started yesterday. The first step was to chop the veggies and cover with a brine solution and leave overnight.
This morning I drained and rinsed it twice then mixed up the syrup solution, added the chopped veggies and slightly cooked it before canning. I almost forgot my wonderful maslin pan....but got it out at the last minute dumped everything in it.
I think the relish tastes much like the bread and butter pickles. I should have had a red bell pepper for color....didn't. I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes. I wish I had the cute little 1/2 pint jars....but used what I had. It called for Pickle Crisp which I have never used. I can't decide about using it or not. I may try some soon.

We had to buy a new hummingbird feeder and they simple love this new one! I put it right outside the kitchen window and we are enjoying them enjoying it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Surprise - Gardening - Harvesting

Do you see what I see?
I was all set to begin a week of showing Willow advancing toward calving. I got her up yesterday to give her a shot because she was limping and saw she was bagging up and there were no other signs at all. That would include a discharge, a swollen vulva and possibly leaking milk but Mother Nature has her own timetable. I didn't really know for sure when she would calve; I never saw her in heat, but our new bull was in the pen with her once. I counted from that date.

Willow did it again...well, with the assistance of the new bull from Nixa, Mo.
DH went out at dark to check the live trap and came in to tell me (I was already in bed) that she had calved and all was well. We just let them be until this morning.

Of course she did like she always does with new babies, she leads them off away from the evil people who feed and milk her! I always get a rear view:

I finally caught baby with the zoom:

This means next week I will be milking again! This is the first year we haven't had an orphan baby to put on her so I am in the market for one. I don't want to milk twice a day.......

The last couple of days have been spent just doing routine gardening: watering, spraying the odd beetle infestation and harvesting.

I said I was though with the cucumbers but then I read about freezer cole slaw and sweet cucumber relish, so I think I will do one of each.

I also am beginning to pull the corn ears. They are past being ready. So much for the label's days to maturity!

I tied up the Ananas Noire/Black Pineapple tomatoes on the fence by the corn this morning. They are looking very promising with lots of nice-size tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gotcha! More Watering and other Routine Chores - Tomatoes!

Weather continues the and dry! We have quit listening to the depressing weathermen. How they do love severe weather of any kind and can wax eloquent for way too long!

Good news this morning. Look what I found when I checked the live trap by the corn patch.

Maybe it has been him instead of a raccoon all along. DH reset the trap without new bait. So I don't expect to find anything in the trap this morning! A friend suggested a tin of salmon cat food as bait for raccoons. I have added that to my shopping list.

I did my last beetle trap emptying (maybe) yesterday morning. I got so that I dreaded that so much....the smell was horrific. I just took the second one down.
I stored the baits in a small jar and kept the rest of the trap apparatus too.

Now I will check all the plants each morning and see if they are landing on them instead of the baited traps. I had to do some spot spraying of okra and beans in the garden. Oh yes, they love the large okra leaves! A few were on the hibiscus too. This will be a test period to see how things go without the traps.

I set up the sprinkler to water the main tomato patch and saw four ripe tomatoes....well one almost ripe. I brought those to the house along with a few other harvest items.

After checking the squash daily, I still missed one that got past prime. See that warty one? Probably will become chicken feed.

The eggplant was supposed to be Slim Jim; obviously, it wasn't. That makes me so mad when that happens. The tomatoes are Heinz Classic, a canner and my favorite Granny Cantrell.

When I finished outside, I came in and had my favorite summer garden snack: sliced tomato with a dollop of Miracle Whip! It was delicious. The Heinz Classic must have a high acid content because it has some zing...very good flavor.

We had our very first summer veggies with lunch. I sliced onion, squash and bell pepper into the end of the electric skillet (I had hamburger steaks/patties cooking on one end). with some garlic flavored olive oil. Just before they were ready, I added the diced almost ripe Heinz tomato. We sprinkled grated parmesan cheese over the top at the table. Salad was a slicing cucumber tossed with some white dressing and salt and pepper. I must say we did enjoy it all.

I took a picture, but it really doesn't do it justice so I am not posting it.


Another tractor bit the dust; we are hoping it is just a wheel bearing costing a few hundred; not some other $4,000 thing that they mentioned. We may start looking at tractors.........not a good thing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beetles, watering and other mundane things.

The weather continues hot and dry.

I began the day at 4 AM. Went out very early, just at daybreak, to empty the beetle traps. I just rehung one. I decided the one by the zinnia bed was drawing them to the zinnias which they eat. The one in the front yard is being swarmed again. I may not put it back up either. I think now they are drawn more to the sex lure for reproduction than to the plants for food. I will know by tomorrow. The plan is just to spray the beans and others thing they love to eat.

I am very tired of the bug patrol!

Today is garden watering day. I began on the west end and have moved to the east end.
Tomorrow I will do the middle which is the tomato patch.

I picked more cucumbers this morning and will do a few dills without garlic that our daughter likes and then I am finished with pickles.

The raccoon is stealing an ear of sweet corn now and then. He may get them all before they are ready for harvest! He is ignoring the live trap completely.

I watered the 'Grace Bed' yesterday and took this picture just wondering if the water would show. It did.

and the butterflies are still with us,

A Tiger Swallowtail on the phlox again,

My FIL had this birdhouse buried in his shed and wanted to know if I wanted it; I did,

Follow Up on Sting

That hand still has swelling and there is a knot on the back of my hand right at the wrist that is extremely sore to touch, and another just below my wrist about two inches that is very puffy and sore. My hand is still warm to the touch. Whatever it was it really poisoned me. I haven't really felt 100% since it happened.

Would you believe we loaded two bulls this morning and before going back there, I asked DH if he sprayed around the head gate and he said he had...........well a few swarmed again as I shut the trailer gate. I left the area very quickly. I don't know where he sprayed but it didn't get the job done! I couldn't handle another sting.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Butterflies and Bread Saturday, July 17, 2011

I did beetle control, both traps were full.......again. Rehung.

Even though the grass was a little wet, I mowed the East yard and around the house. I let the West shady yard go.

The good news about the beetles is they are more attracted to the traps now than the plants! Very good news.

We really enjoyed all the butterflies that were hovering over the phlox. I can take some pictures from the window over the sink. At one time we counted 10. I identified Tiger Swallowtails, Giant Swallowtails,
Black Swallowtails, Spicebush, one little Sulphur and an orange one that was so fleeting I couldn't identify it.

Another interested thing about them was most were in mating mode! That is something I have never seen or maybe just didn't pay attention to. I think having my digital camera has made me really see things I have never seen before.

From Butterflies and Others – 2011

From Butterflies and Others – 2011

The above were the Giant Swallowtails.

This is an Eastern Black Swallowtail.

This doesn't show much detail, but I like the picture,

I am making two loaves of whole wheat bread this morning. I used the mixer for most of the kneading. My hand is still sore. I used our favorite 'Annie's Bread' recipe. It just makes two loaves but that is really more than enough for my really old KA mixer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wasp Sting - Tour of West End of Kitchen Garden

The weather is still the same here except for our last little ¾ inch rain.

I have been partially out of commission because of a wasp (?) sting on my right hand. Any kind of a sting causes me to swell double and lasts for a few days. They seem to hurt me worse as I get older (more good news about aging!). I have already alerted DH that if I ever get multiple stings to take me to the ER. I do keep antihistamines on hand.
My hand is still sore and puffy but I can use it pretty well.....except I put off bread making because of the kneading.

The Beetles are still here. They may be slowing down.....I am hoping soon to disappear!

I managed to weed my little annual bed that I planted very late. I even have one yellow zinnia in bloom. It is behind the Cellar Bed so I have to walk across the drive to appreciate the flowers. It was the only vacant spot that could be tilled easily so that's where the seeds went. I have a few red sunflowers, several varieties of zinnias and bachelor buttons up and growing.

The Kitchen Garden is beginning to look like a jungle. I failed to get the tomatoes staked but they are all on heavy mulch. I will probably loose a few but so be it.

We set a trap for the visiting raccoon, but haven't caught him yet. I don't think he has been in the corn again.

I took lots of pictures the last two days .... that was the easiest gardening to do with my semi-useless right hand. I am left handed so that was a blessing it chose the 'right' hand to sting.

I am heading to the west entrance near the old chicken house and where the chickens are. I have the garden sort of in halves. The west end is easier to get into if I use the west entrance. I use an old cattle panel for a gate that I am now leaving open so the dog can chase varmints if he needs to.

The West Gate and entrance into the loosely kept garden:

Just to the left of the gate I planted a purple hyacinth bean (forgot about it) and then planted a new melon, Jenny Lind. I may have to trim the bean!

This end is where the hoophouse frame is for pole beans and another cattle panel held vertically for the Trail of Tears pole beans. I also have more melons here.

This is another new one, Green Nutmeg. It is looking good so far. I am keeping my fingers crossed the vine borers don't find it.

The 'dirt' on the vine is dust from the hay flakes I used to add more mulch so the vine wouldn't be on the ground at all.

Behind is the 15 feet of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans. There is one giant plant in there that I am keeping my eye on.

This is the back side of the beans on the panel, looking west into the chicken yard.

Just east of the west gate is the cattle frame hoophouse that I grow beans on. This side of it in the same area as the other melon and near the base of the frame is Ambrosia melon,

I have grown it before and it is an incredibly sweet melon.

Walking past the south end of the hoophouse is the garden proper. I have a short row of Cajun Delight okra growing along the hoop frame:

Notice the two volunteer tomatoes in the mix. I rarely pull up a living plant!

That is my one yellow crookneck squash plant that is loaded with babies. I am patiently checking and waiting.

Behind is the two rows of tomatoes... a real jungle as I said. I should be embarrassed to show you this as an old-time gardener and I am but not too much. Age does have some benefits!

It isn't quite as bad as it appears. They are mulched on both sides and can be accessed without much trouble from all sides. The basil is just growing wildly amongst them.

See what I mean about volunteers. I grew tomatoes on this fence last year and have maybe 6 plants that are growing there, I am not sure I gain anything by starting plants inside. The volunteers all catch up quickly. These all have tomatoes on them. I only grow heirlooms so they will be the same as last year.

I will just show one picture of a flower,a tiger lily. I have just a single plant. There used to be beds of them here and there but they have disappeared. There are lots of little bulbils on this one and I am hoping they fall to the ground and survive.

and one butterfly picture. At long last we have lots of butterflies, mostly only the garden phlox and salvia farinaces. I never spray either of these plants since, thankfully, the beetles don't like them!

A Red Admiral on the salvia:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, 7/11/11

We had a fun afternoon yesterday beginning at 1:45 PM. Our grandson plays for the St. Louis Diamond Devils baseball team (up to 12 yrs.) This week they are playing at the Cooperstown Dream Park in Cooperstown, NY. Some of the games are broadcast livestreaming and we were able(somewhat) to the watch the game and see our own No. 1 playing ball. Of course with my Total Wireless connection, we got so much buffering with the livestream that it had lots of starts and stops and we missed some action. My sis saw it perfectly with her service in Ia. I live within 20 miles of a major southwest Missouri city and some of us can't get high speed internet service....

I believe our president promised us that , did he not? He is playing another live broadcast game tonight and we will be sitting right here!

It was a hot morning. 79°when I went outside at 7 AM. I sprayed a few things. I think malathion gives almost instant kill but no long range lasting effect like Sevin.
I haven't been happy with the hose-end Sevin then it occurred to me this morning that the tube may be clogged. Liquid Sevin is a very thick product and settles easily. I intend to dismantle it today clean everything and try it again. When dry, it should leave a milky residue on the plants.

The two traps were overrun again with beetles. I emptied them and rehung them. The beetles were swarming around the traps by the time I had them hooked up. Yesterday afternoon we saw them in a cloud swarming outside the dining room window.

I made myself get out the tiller and till the area where we dug potatoes and onions. I am happy to report it is now clean once again. I will plant a few turnips there later. It was 95° when I came in at 9AM!

More trouble in the garden! The raccoons have found the sweet corn! Three stalks were down and they knocked over a pepper plant and broke the leaves off a winter squash vine that was just up good.
I plan to leave the gate open tonight and hope the dog will run them off............but I am not counting on it. I still want my Mountain Cur dog!

I picked enough cucumbers for a couple more quarts of dills and harvested 4 small heads of cabbage. I have never successfully made sauerkraut...........I may try once again. I am going to follow Ilene's method which she wrote about on her Blog, The Rock Whisperer. I think these were secondary heads to the Early Jersey Wakefields. I have three huge Flat Dutch left in the garden.

I spied some a tiny yellow crookneck squashes at long last. I love those far and above over zucchinis. I also have a couple of bell peppers I can use. I love them stir fried with the peppers and onion slices in a little olive oil. It would be lovely to toss in some cherry tomatoes...............if I had some cherry tomatoes. I may have some before frost...I hope!

Besides the JB's I am seeing a new color of stink bug and my first cucumber beetle in the garden. I am going to hit everything with Sevin if I don't change my mind.

We are getting very hungry for dessert.......I have to decide what to fix. I am laying out pie crust as soon as I get up from the desk.

I made a cherry pie and a mincemeat. I will freeze most of the is not a favorite of my helpmeet.



We watched another ballgame tonight. Our GS got a home run but they lost the game.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Busy Saturday

Up early again. I am reading another Dave Roubideaux novel by James Lee Burke, so that is what I do with my first morning coffee. I love that quiet reading time.

First things first, at good daylight I headed out to empty the traps (Japanese Beetles). They weren't quite as full as the first day. These I just emptied in water in a 5-gallon bucket. I may try them on the chickens again today. They may never want to see another JB in their lifetimes.....I know I don't!

By evening, I noticed they were full again.

I made my rounds of the yard and garden, did some spot spraying and trimmed just a little inside the garden fence.

Back in the kitchen. I worked up (I can just hear Mom saying that when she canned) the cucumbers and the last of the early beets. I made another batch of bread and butter and some garlic and dill and one little jar of pickled beets. This should do me on pickles...maybe another jar or two of dills. Now what on earth will I do with all these cucumbers? If I just plant what I need, borers kill the I over-planted this year.........they are going great guns....

Lunch was pizza from a frozen crust. I had some leftover ground pork and mixed it with a half pound of sausage, sauteed with onion. I thought it was a very tasty combo.

During the canning day I cooked a pot of white beans....supper and other meals to come.

The blackberries are finished. Maybe I can work slowly on getting rid of some very tall poke that has grown in the midst.

Catch up Post - I have been very busy.

Journal for Friday July 8, 2011

This is what greeted us in the early morning hours:

The morning was overcast and it took forever for the fog to burn off.

That made it perfect for emptying the beetle traps. They are inactive in shade or cool weather. It was just 69°. I gave so many to the chickens they walked off and left the rest on the ground. I made the mistake of not drowning them first...had to take remedial action quickly or they would have flown off again.

Yesterday was mowing day. DH did the orchard and I did the yard and garden area.
We noticed beetles on the fruit trees so I loaded up again and sprayed everything. The little shower must have washed it off. I am just leaving the sprayer and battery in the cart for the next time.

We harvested the potatoes and onions. It was a very nice crop of Super Stars and Candy onions. They are very sweet. The potato yields wasn't good at all.

My favorite daylily is blooming, Lady Neva,

and the hibiscus moscheutos (swamp mallow) are starting. The beetles love them!
These are easy from seed and they self-sow for me.

I said I wouldn't show the ditch....I lied. Here is is:

I have to stand in the road to trim it. Next time I won't let it get so tall. The dry grass wrapped around the head of the trimmer and I spent a lot of time just unwinding that stuff; almost as much time as I did trimming.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grunt Work - Test Picture

Well the beetles were alive and well this morning after spraying yesterday with Sevin and a Bayer 3inl product. The roses look so sad; completely disfigured; same with a Rose of Sharon shrub by the garden gate.

Serious measures were called for so I broke out the battery powered sprayers. One is just a 15 gallon one I use for pesticides and diseases and the other is a 25 gallon one for herbicides.....yes, Virginia, I do resort to these things were push comes to shove!

I read the malathion label and it listed Japanese Beetles so I mixed up 5 gallons of it and sprayed most things. I need to pick the pole beans before I hit them again.

Went back to the orchard and sprayed those trees. The beetles don't seem to care about the peaches.....sprayed them anyway. I also took time to water all the trees again.

Back to the barn and mixed up 5 gallons of glyphosphate to spray some areas that I can't trim. Ran out of spray before I really got finished but I stopped anyway.

I noticed that the beetles are dropping off the roses by the back door either dying or dead. At last something that works. It may be the hose-end products are too weak a solution. I never trust that kind of spraying.

One of the glads was covered with the darned things.

Thursday Morning, July 7, 2011

Up at 3 AM again. It is overcast today so I plan to try to trim the front ditch with the string trimmer.

By 6 AM, I rev it up and begin. I was able to do both sides of the drive. I should have taken before and after pictures, but I didn't so I won't take one now.
It is not a thing of gardening beauty! It began a light shower when I was about half finished but I was determined to get it I wouldn't have to 'look forward' to it again.

I came in changed clothes (I blow grass all over me when I trim...maybe because I am left handed?)and made a new pot of coffee. DH is out on the porch swing right next to my desk. I cracked open the window so we could chat if need be. It is still showering but very, very lightly.

I will have to re-spray.........I don't really mind because the malathion seemed to give a very good kill. I did pick up two traps yesterday afternoon when we went to the feed store for salt blocks for the cows. I will put them up some time today.

We stopped by the library yesterday before the feed store. Our location is perfect for us: 20 miles from Springfield, 5 miles from a new library and wonderful local super market and maybe 7 miles from a hardware and the feedstore.

What more could a country gal want!

I am thinking about make bread again today. I haven't decided exactly what kind yet.

Summer Flowers

This is a test.

The same daylily growing in diferent locations. Can you see a difference?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bread and Butter Pickles

3:00 AM, Wednesday.

It is a warm morning again. We have just received 1/4 inch of rain again with surrounding areas getting up to 2.5 inches. We must not be living right.

I have been watering various things, Kitchen Garden and some flower beds near the house. The rest will just have to survive.

I picked and froze another two large quarts of up to five quarts.
The beetles still don't seem as interested in them as in the past.

I also harvested my first cucumbers.
From Harvest 2010

I made Bread and Butter Pickles with them.
My sis developed a recipe last year using lime as an overnight soak for crispness and added red peppers to the mix for bite. They were outstanding! I did the same this year and am delighted with how they turned out. I had more cucumbers than the recipe called for but all I changed was I added one extra cup of vinegar...left all else the same except I added l.5 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes to the solution. I ended up with 8 pints and one quart jar which I didn't seal and have been sampling out of the fridge. They are just the way I wanted them to be.

We are still fighting Japanese Beetles. I can't see the Sevin or the Bayer product is working very well. The plants are still covered in 24 hours. I am going to try malathion next. I would just give up but each one that lives lays eggs to return next year!


Another daylily is in bloom:

It is either Revolute or Hesperus.

and another glad:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gardening - Getting Ready for Company

We were both outside by 6:30 AM yesterday morning trying to beat the heat.

I did more watering and spraying for Japanese Beetles. I dug about 1/4 row of Yukon Gold potatoes. The harvest was light. That is one draw back with them. I think most of my problem was late planting and then it turning so hot so early. There were 4-5 tiny potatoes under the hills along with the 3-5 of larger ones. I will save them for seeds for next year.

I finished mulching around the melons on the west end of the garden. I also watered the beans and melons. So far everything is looking good. I need to pick green beans again.

I trimmed all around and under the peach tree and the garden path. Things finally look halfway caught up.

We are having the in-laws out for dinner to celebrate her 93rd birthday. Menu for dinner is: Meatballs, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and new green beans.
I made a pumpkin pie and will serve it with whipped cream. I may make cole slaw. I need to use those cabbages for something!

Our son called and he is coming in with our grandson either this evening or tomorrow. The rest of the family is headed for California for something to do with the girls' dance classes. It may get tricky with cooking....I want to make a birthday cake for our grandson who has a birthday in a few days....

I got no sympathy from my daughter when I worried about the cooking.....she just didn't see the problem. I may be getting old but I don't handle the cooking with company as well as I used to.

Pictures from around the yard:

I love this Shoal Creek Vitex (so do the beetles) The pale blue just doesn't photograph well, but trust me it is very beautiful.

This is taken at an angle to the dining room porch bed. I don't know why it appeals to me, but it does. Maybe the daylilies waving above the others?

and this is one of the mystery glads in the package I bought to support the local school. I stuck these in the cistern planter but will move them to a better location next spring.

I love the color of this one...there were two of them.

Wait until the orange one opens! Talk about out of is what designers like to call an accent color!

and I am adding this one just to show I did mow after cutting the hose in two.

Thanks to Jackie's suggestion, I was able to just cut a short end off the hose and use a hose clamp to repair it. Worked great.

and to change the pace,

I finally made myself organize and clean the shelves in the kitchen. Take a look, it may never be that neat again!