Friday, July 30, 2010

Streamlining and ongoing project

Weather at 6 AM, 74°, 93% H and 72 dew-point. Hot and muggy is how I interpret those numbers!

I think I have mentioned here before that this year has really bothered me in lots of ways. I haven't enjoyed gardening as much; have neglected the flower beds badly; felt overwhelmed a good deal of the time. This has made me pause and reflect on my life. I do know the weather this year has been a contributing factor. We are all slaves to the weather if we garden or farm.

No one makes me do the things I do (as DH reminds me when I start complaining). So, I am beginning the slow process of analyzing my life.

I am a list maker........once it is in writing, I feel half the battle is won!

I don't know how much I will blog about the process, might just bore the bejabbers out of anyone but me or someone in my shoes. The first step will be listing what I love to do above all else. Things that bring me joy and don't feel like a chore that I 'have' to do. You all probably know by now that baking will be at the top of that list.

More to follow......or not.

There I feel better just having shared that much.

Right now we are very dry. I am watering the new garden and the HB bed and foundation beds.
All the flower beds (12) look pretty sad. I have let the weeds get way ahead of me. The biggest problem has been extreme heat and not enough rain during the entire month of June. Even though we had good rains in July, the hot weather evaporates it quickly. The Ozarks is know for its rocks and the soil doesn't hold moisture very long, it drains quickly.

I went out a 7 this morning and set up the sprinklers and picked beetles on a few roses and shrubs; less each day! Then I cleaned up and thinned the bed in front of the smokehouse that I will call the Vitex bed. I think this bed can be maintained very easily if I will just get it under heavy mulch this fall. I do want to lift and divide the huge clump of purple glads. The mainstays in this bed that are maintenance free are the Vitex and the large clump of white lilies. I will need to do some fill in with shorter, maybe white flowers. I am leaning toward vinca. Once they take off, they are good until frost and self seed for me.

Then I worked on clipping the monarda and rudbeckias by the porch. They should come back and bloom now; we will see. I rarely get this accomplished.

Weeded the Hummingbird Bed next. I will definitely keep this bed since I walk past it daily and see it out the kitchen window and when we are sitting on the porch swing. I do want to totally revamp it. I must work on a plan this fall and winter. I would like something in bloom all year.

Next I took the string trimmer to the Light Pole bed and trimmed around the generator. You are supposed to have good air flow around it. Perilla had overgrown it. This is the bed that is in doubt or in danger of loosing its life.
I am thinking just a narrow border, that can be mowed around with the riding mower with zero trimming. Another plan to work on this winter.

The rose of sharon are blooming in spite of all the JB's did to prevent it.
They don't bear close inspection but at a little distance are looking pretty.

From July 2010


My milk cow Willow calved yesterday afternoon. She calved 8/19 last year and 7/79 this year. This is her first bull calf for us. She is very protective and by the time I got the last shot she was leading him away from me to the west fence. The dark red heifer with them is Ginger, her last year's baby.

From Willow and other cows

From Willow and other cows

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Bull - Winter Hay -misc

Another very hot and humid rain. I have started watering again.

We took final delivery of our winter hay supply yesterday and DH spent all afternoon unloading large rounds. I think we have just under 200 bales. They also brought me a few small squares for the calves.

My aunt called last night and told us about a young BA bull for sale. The neighbors who rent her land had him there for a while. She thought he was a nice one and we might be interested in him. We drove down this morning, a 45 minute trip and looked at him. He is still young, a 2 year-old so will grow a lot more. We were impressed with him. He seems very gentle. I asked if they would deliver for the same price and they agreed. So in a few weeks he will be arriving. They want to be sure a cow he serviced settled first. They call him Bozo so I may keep the name.


I hope that takes care of the farm for a while....oops I forgot the tractor needs work; a hydraulic pump is going out.....always something.

I have canned a few pints of tomatoes. The main crop are starting to ripen.

I have begun mowing everything down that looks bad. I set the mower as high as it would go and took off. I will have to take the brush hog to some beds. The word streamlining comes to mind.

I made bagels yesterday evening late and will need to make bread in a day or two.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Llama; Pink Eye Purple Hull Jelly and misc.

Still hot and humid.

We were delighted this morning to see the neighbor drive up with the llama!
I took a few pictures using the zoom. She was about 60 feet away, exploring and enjoying our good, cold well water. The steer almost went bonkers for a few minutes before he decided to check her out. Notice her ears when he got close.

I think I will call her Marlene, as in Marlene Deitrich because of those eyes.
From Llama
. If you click on the album there are three more pictures.

We won't put her out with the cows until she settles down over the move. I think we may get a second one to put with the heifers and bull. They will start calving late fall, early winter.

Gardening and Harvesting

I harvested my first pink eye purple hull peas, poles beans, several cherry tomatoes and a few peaches and a couple of peppers, maybe Ancho.
From Harvest 2010

I have never grown the peas. It is a slow process to hull them! We do love the green stage of them seasoned with a little salt and bacon fat. I learned about making jelly from the hulls on the Oklahoma Gardenweb Forum. I had just exactly the right amount of hulls to do the recipe and so cooked them down yesterday and made the jelly this morning. I just couldn't believe it would taste like anything. I was pleasantly surprised. It is a lovely grapey color and has a taste like a very mild grape jelly with just a hint of tartness. I doubt I do anymore but it was fun.

This is the juice I made yesterday:
From Harvest 2010 an

and the jelly I made this morning"
From Harvest 2010

We showed our neighbor the new garden and the very tall OP corn. It is now over 8 feet tall and just beginning to show tassels. He noticed some ripe tomatoes so, like Grandma, I gathered up my apron and picked the first of the main crop tomatoes. They were pink Granny Cantrell (I love that name)and Park's Whopper (I won't do again, very unimpressive for me). Granny C. is a much earlier than some heirlooms and is a great tasting tomato.

Speaking of aprons, I love them! Mine are all threadbare and I have to either buy some or make some more. I wear them in the garden, while doing housework, in fact almost daily. They are like a necessary tool for me. I can just see my grandmother in hers. She would go out to the corn crib, husk a few ears into her apron, gather up the corners, go to the chicken yard and toss out the corn to the hens.....then gather the eggs in the apron. Of course, she also kept her snuff in a pocket........I don't do that!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


90° and 99 heat index. We got just enough of a shower yesterday to wash my spray off! I mowed the front and noticed JB's back on the Diane Rose of Sharon. I refuse to spend another $25 for spray. I have probably already used $100 of spray and still have the blasted things. I think I will just let them go at this point.

I kept waiting for the neighbor to call and tell us to come and look at their llamas but decided we had a misunderstanding about that so we drove over this morning.
They were waiting on us! We looked and selected a 5-year old female that seemed to be slightly aggressive. At least she flattened her ears if we got too close to her.
He didn't have any males available. He will wait until they come in for water this evening and get her up in the corral and either call us or he will bring her over in his trailer. We are anxious to get her with the cows asap. It has been about 10 days now since the last incident.

We returned the camera yesterday but it turns out it is the same model as the neighbor's. I still think ours was malfunctioning. We haven't looked at any in town yet.

I picked part of the pole beans yesterday and processed 6 quarts before I stopped to spray for the beetles....need to pick the rest because the Pinkeye Purple Hull peas are getting purple and I need to begin picking them.

The Oklahoma Forum posted a link to a jelly made from the hulls that I think I will try.

I made DH some of his favorite Peanut Butter Crisscross Cookies this afternoon and that finished me for the day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The hot, humid weather continues.

I did a quick walk-about this morning and found the beetles are still here and have discovered my favorite shrub, Limelight hydrangea.
Normally I would just grab up my made up Sevin in my trusty 2-gallon sprayer and hit them but I did a remarkably stupid thing the other day. I picked up the empty garden sprayer and took it to the milk parlor/garden work area to exhcange it for the herbicide sprayer.....You can guess what I did. Even though the herbicide sprayer is marked with an orange twine necktie, I just marched over to the sink measured the Gly-4 and put it in the garden sprayer. Sprayed and returned to then fill my Seven sprayer and discovered I was using it! I immediately filled it with hot soapy pipeline cleaner and let it set but I will be afraid to use it on anything valuable. Once herbicide is in a plastic sprayer, that is it! So until I buy another one, I will have to use my 15-gallon battery operated one. I will test the small sprayer on something today some time.

I do love the Limelight shrub. It blooms a long time and has grown fairly fast.

It was one of my purchases with an eye to cutting back on so many perennials and things that needed deadheading or pruning. So far, it has met all expectations (until the JB decided to eat it), no pests, no disease, water normal (until our drought this year), no trimming. I also have Little Lamb but it has a habit I am not happy with. The bloom heads are so heavy the limbs fall over. Maybe it is just young.

They are both in the new shrub, eg, small tree border I am building about midway to the road in the front yard. The only perennials will be very easy maintenance plants. I have only planted a couple of Hyperion daylilies out there so far. I am hoping to relocate the hostas this fall.

I finally found one single caterpillar on the bronze fennel:


I know it has been so hot that we all like to avoid using the oven. I found lemons at a bargain price and bought several. We love lemon pie and find it very refreshing in hot weather and it is not quite so high calorie (as if that would stop me!). I baked it in the counter top oven but had to place foil over the meringue to keep it from getting too brown before the time was up.

I just used my regular pie and crust recipes from B H & G's old standby cookbook.

Next project will be a blueberry cobbler. Blueberries are more reasonably priced this year too. I will be trying to replicate the one my sis served us at her home. I thought it was just delicious.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lost another Calf; Japanese Beetles; Cleaning flower Beds

72.4°. Chance of rain today. Up at 4:30 AM.
Read until DH went out right at sunrise to check the cows. Then I do my little housecleaning for the day. Of course with the grandcat in residence, I have to dust the floors daily! Fed him. He is eating much heartier since I have begun the suggested Vaseline routine. Cleaned the bathroom, made the bed. I have decided to just do eggs for DH on the weekends so I can keep better track of how many he is eating. I am not sure they are correct about the correlation between high cholesterol foods and heart attacks, but don't want to risk it with him even though he is still on Lipitor.

Out of the blue late yesterday afternoon, we got a 1.25 inch rain. I had just started outside to mow and was met by lots of thunder. I turned around and went back inside and almost immediately a short downpour hit. We got another nice rain, not predicted by our weathermen I might add.

So now the grass will really be difficult to mow and I will have to wait until it drys a lot before attempting to do it.


I haven't posted in a few days.....we lost another calf to a predator so I have been busy with MDC , research and wondering why our neighbor hasn't called about selling us one of his llamas. I will call them again today! Now they are talking one knows for sure. I just want it to stop.

We brought Willow, my milk cow, back down to the barn lot. I didn't want to risk loosing her calf. She is due anytime now. This gives us a chance to sample a bale of the new winter hay we bought. So far, DH is impressed. I need to go out and check it too. I like to twist a handful, see if it breaks or bends and smell it. I should smell fresh and like newly cut grass a bit.

The rains are welcome for the pastures even if it does cramp my gardening.


I am happy to report that the patch of sweet corn that the previous thunderstorm flattened arose from the dead. I was amazed. It looked like someone had run over it with a roller. It is not perfectly upright but will still produce.

Still very late getting tomatoes. I planted almost all heirlooms and they are almost always late tomatoes. Next year I intend to try some Goliaths. They are a hybrid and fairly early. My neighbor showed me two huge,perfect ones from her garden and they were beautiful.

We got a second swarm of Japanese Beetles so I am spraying regularly. I had just just sprayed about 12 gallons yesterday............will have to do that over since the rain. I will wait until I see beetles again though. They are doing considerable damage to the late peach tree. They love: Pole beans, peach, plum and apple trees, hibiscus, rose of sharon, roses,kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate, okra and Elm and Birch trees. I discovered they had eaten the top out of my last River Birch yesterday. We lost the other to an ice storm.

Onions didn't do well this year. I hear others complaining of the same thing. I think the potatoes did well. I have just dug a few though.

The pole beans on the hoop house are surviving in spite of the JB, I will pick a 'mess' today. They are from saved seeds of Kwintus, a favorite of ours.

The new garden is still looking pretty good. The OP corn is going to be really tall. I hope the pole beans I planted at the base of a few rows do OK.

I just checked and they are beginning to vine up the stalks.
From 2010_07_17

The corn is about 7 feet tall now and not through growing!

I am really enjoying watching the Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas grown. I had no idea how they bloomed only 1 or 2 blooms at the top and the hulls are below. I am assuming they only fill out if the the blooms are pollinated. I guess mine have been. Mom and Dad used to grow them, but I never have before. Looks like we will have lots.
From 2010_07_17


The row of zinnias I planted by the cabbages in the kitchen garden are beginning to bloom. They are a mix. I like the first one.
From 2010_07_17

and a daylily I just call the short melon. It is actually a little more orange than the photo shows:

From 2010_07_17

and I finally caught a Westerland rose bloom untouched by the beetles:

From 2010_07_17
To Do List:

Mow around both gardens
Spray fruit trees.
Tie up the tomatoes in new garden (I will need help with that one)
Till down the rows in the new garden. The rains have caused thousands of weed seeds to germinate.
Mow the yard proper
Keep weeding flower beds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Rain

4:00 AM, 70°

We got another inch of rain yesterday evening and during the night. No storms to speak of except lightening.

First I want to thank visitors for commenting. I always read them and appreciate your taking time to comment after visiting. I see a new one from Fort Smith, Arkansas commented. My husband used to travel to Fort Smith regularly on his route.
We drive down now and then just for old time's sake. Arkansas is a beautiful state.

I don't always respond to the comments but treasure them.


I don't do roses well. We have been hit with Rose Rosette Disease in my part of Missouri and I have lost several. I don't take care of any of them like is recommended.............except for the two I showed last post.

They have looked so sorry for so long that I sought help on the Rose Forum of Gardenweb. A man there told me they require acid soil, especially Reine des Violette. That explained the yellowy leaves! I decided then that surely I could take good care of just the two roses on that fence. They are side by side. I began feeding with an acid food, spraying with rose spray and in general paying attention to them. They are slowly coming around and rewarding me with these gorgeous and highly fragrant blooms. I have never had a second bloom before this year. They have some black spot but not as bad a previous years. I will persevere!


I failed to plant new basil and cilantro this spring. It may be very late but I plan to do it today. Usually basil self-seeds for me but only Queen of Siam did and I want the large leaf Italian variety for cooking. I had a couple of cilantro plants but they have gone to seed already. I hope to have some ready for salsa.


We are so relieved about the pastures now that we have had 4.25 inches of rain. Of course the fescue won't begin growing again until cooler weather of fall, but all the other grasses will.

We are trying a new hay man this year. He is young man from the area who has just graduated from high school and is selling hay for college. He is bringing two loads today for us to check out. We have already seen some at our neighbors and if it is the same quality, we will buy our winter supply from him. As with everything pertaining to farming, we are keeping our fingers crossed. We finally gave up on having our own hay cut. Trying to get our hay cut in a timely manner just got to be impossible.


We are babysitting our Grandcat, Louis. He is a senior citizen and as our daughter says, "has issues". One is he develops hairballs and leaves ensuing messes now and then....not a favorite chore of mine, but he is a sweet very large cat and follows me from room to room. He usually sleeps on a chair next to my desk chair and either on my lap or on the floor at my 'nest' in he kitchen. We decided to keep him off the carpet but he has free run of the rest of the house.

He does not like other cats. Our daughter took two of Willie's babies home with her for company for him and to replace him when his time is finished. He just barely tolerates them! Here he is sitting at an open window staring down at one of Willie's kittens (we will call them the kittens until they die of old age)on the porch. This was later followed with a low growl at it.

From Cats

It may be a long month!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bouquets - Flowers - Cats

Lovely cool morning here at 5 AM, 68°.


I went out early to check things and the dew was very heavy, way too wet to do any garden work. I did find a glad broke over so I brought it in.


Most of my flowers are pretty sorry looking because of our weather, but the two heirloom roses, Reine des Violette and Baronne Prevost have done another set of blooms and I found a few that the beetles hadn't ruined.

I was surprised by this one:
and a close up of the bloom

I started with a white and a deep rose hibiscus moscheutos, Swamp Mallow. All were started from seeds. Over the years I have lost some (a tornado felled a monster Elm tree on a row of them), some died. I think last year I had a white, and a medium and dark pink. The do self seed rampantly and I let a few grow each year. Last year I got a deeper rose with reddish stems right by the mother plant without reddish stems. Now I have this wonderful pure pale pink with no eye right outside the kitchen window.

I am currently letting 3-4 grow right in front of the cistern planter. They will have to be moved this fall. I think I will put them in the new shrub border out front.


These are Willie's (predator victim) babies from a year ago.

From Cats

Friday, July 9, 2010


Good news. We got 3.5 inches of rain late yesterday! There is a possibility of more later today. It is amazing how rain just lifts the spirits!

I did my morning walk-about and it seemed the corn had grown overnight. This was taken in the backyard garden and is hybrid sweetcorn.
From Backyard Garden

I found a few small pink tomatoes on one of the volunteer plants in the backyard garden. I am guessing it is Pink Ping Pong.

I checked out the new garden and took a few pictures. The cows were all around it but so far, they respect the hotwire.

It is difficult to get a picture including everything so I did it in sections.

The west side, two rows of tomatoes:

From New Garden/Orchard

This shows the cows grazing and the pumpkin and sweet potato end:
From New Garden/Orchard
From New Garden/Orchard
and here you can see the little pole beans I planted a week or so ago at the base of the corn stalks:
From New Garden/Orchard

I found so many beetles on some plants that I mixed up Sevin and sprayed. If it gets washed off, maybe I will get some kill anyway. They have done a lot of damage on my pole beans already.

Well, off to the kitchen to finish cooking down a couple more jars of plum jam. That will complete the harvest. I picked them this morning.

Lunch is going to be what Mom called goulash. It is a hamburger, chili, tomato sauce, macaroni dish, not Hungarian Goulash. We love it and now we can have a lettuce and tomato salad with it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We are under a storm watch and I do hope they are right! We need the rain desperately.

Not much has happened here since all company left Sunday evening. I have watered some and done a little tilling and weeding in the new garden.

The pole beans I planted around the OP corn has sprouted a little spotty but enough.

We still have Japaneses Beetles. I delayed spraying because of the weather forecast.

We dug a small bucket of potatoes this morning in the backyard garden and spied some huge blackberries the beetles has missed. I picked about three cups and maybe a half cup of blueberries. I washed them and cooked them together with sugar to taste and thickened it a little with flour. I had a single pie crust in the fridge that I rolled out a little thicker than normal. I poured the berries into a small casserole, dotted a little butter; topped with the crust. Sprinkled with sugar and baked just until the crust was done. The berries were already cooked and hot. The whole process didn't take very long.

I thought it was very tasty. I was surprised the little amount of blueberries added just a hint of their flavor.

We also had our first little ripe tomato! What a treat.

I made Cinnamon Cookies for our daughter's family and she wanted to take the leftovers home..........there were none! They were a big hit. I don't know why I don't make them more often. DH didn't get his share so I made them again this morning.

They are a very crisp, crunchy cookie. The texture I want an oatmeal cookie to be but haven't been 100% successful yet. I plan to play around with this one and see if I can come up with what I have in mind. I did add 1/2 cup of oatmeal to about 1/3 of this dough and it worked great. Next time I will leave out the ginger.
Cinnamon Cookies (Char's recipe)

¾ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup honey
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ginger (can use less)
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Mix sugar and shortening; add egg, mix well.

Add dry ingredients. Mix

Make 1 inch balls, roll in cinnamon sugar topping

Bake 12-15 minutes at 375°

By now, you may know Char is my sister. I have some super recipes from her. She is the real cook in our family now that Mom is gone.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another Farm Tragedy - Miscellaneous gardening

I haven't quite figured out how to handle writing the posts on a different day from when I actually publish it. This was written yesterday,June 30.

The cooler weather is here and it is wonderful. It got down to 60° last night which means I can actually sit and enjoy my mornings without having to dash outside to beat the heat.


We have had another calf killed.

Our neighbor's son swears he saw the "rumored" mountain lion this week at sundown. I believe him. Another neighbor says he has seen it before and had calves killed. I also know we have a resident very large bobcat. I have been in contact with the University Livestock specialist who was not in her office........they never are. She will get back to me (I hope). This is mainly research on what kind of guard animal would work better, donkeys or llamas. We will see.

In the meantime, I have contacted and sent pictures of both kills to Missouri Department of Conservation who will have their biologist take a look. She is leaning toward the bobcat. I didn't realize they could bring down a calf!

Always exciting....but not good excitement. We have now lost two calves and our favored indoor/outdoor cat; all killed by predators.


I decided to begin some more trimming and cleanup of the flower beds. I just finished with the Light Pole bed and was pleased to see a row of melampodiums has reseeded and are beginning to bloom. I soaked the bed pretty good yesterday so weeding wasn't too bad along the edges.

We had to empty the beetle traps again. We are now up to 8 gallons of the blasted things removed.

When DH got in from checking the cattle (all safe today) he wanted to to buy his mother a birthday cake and take in. Today is her actual birthday that we had celebrated on Father's Day. So, we cleaned up and bought her a cake at our local store and went in. She was very pleased. I am glad he thought to do it. I was just going to call...this was much better. We shared a slice and a cup of coffee with them. She is a remarkable lady at 92, driving them everywhere and keeping track of her and her husbands many doctor appointments and medications....we should all be doing so well at that age!

Then we drove to a small town east where they have an Amish store. I was out of Prairie Gold flour and I do think it makes a superior loaf of bread. I bought a 25 pound bag this time, plus yeast, 7-grain mix, bulk pectin which was a terrific savings and a few other items.


I did shred up and put down into a crock jar 6 lbs of sauerkraut. I will let you know how it turns out.

Today: July 1, 2010 11:15 AM.

The cooler weather lasts. I was almost too chilly outside this morning. I love it.

Finished some trimming, including the front ditch that I said I would do anymore. It looked so bad with the tall weeds that I had to use the string trimmer. I used to be able to mow most of it. Thank you Greene Co. Road and Bridge!

Picked a small mess of green beans and a few hot peppers and another 10 or so plums. I found the beetles on the remaining peaches and the blackberries...there seems to be no end in sight.

Pictures for the day

The heat and lack of rain certainly haven't enhanced my flowers but I took this in the very early morning light after watering yesterday. Bless echinacea; they can take this heat.

From Driveway Border

I decided to mow through here for a path that goes all the way west to the chicken house. I should have moved the rocks to the left first!