Monday, June 29, 2015

Beauty & The Beast!

The last couple of years, I’ve tried planting cabbage from seed……each time the seedling would just pop out of the ground, and something would eat the entire seedling.

This year, instead of planting cabbage seeds, I purchased several cabbage seedlings (healthy in size, approximately 4 inches) from Atwoods Ranch Store, and directly planted them in the compost soil mixture.   These larger seedlings started to grow nicely; that was until we had massive rain storms, which caused flooding in my garden. 




The water/moisture attracted bugs…..you know, those type of bugs that love to eat in your garden, as if it were a salad bar at a restaurant.

To stop the bugs from targeting my cabbage leaves, I mixed up a natural bug concoction out of water, alcohol, and Dawn dish soap, and sprayed it on the cabbage leaves directly.  This natural bug concoction/spray worked at killing off the bugs….that was until it rained again.  After each time it rained, I went back outside and re-sprayed the cabbage with the organic homemade bug spray.



After checking on my cabbage last night, I noticed these thin green looking worms munching down on the cabbage……here we go again!!!! 

This time, instead of a bug, its worms, munching down on the cabbage leaves.  Half of the leaves looked as if they were pieces of Swiss cheese with all the holes in them. I pulled off each and every worm…….squishing each one to death, and then sprayed my cabbage plants once again with the organic homemade bug spray.



Tonight while outside, I checked my cabbage plants, they’re doing well, no signs of worms.  I will continue to check my garden until harvest time; hopefully I’ll have some nice looking cabbage not too long from now.

These worms are called Cabbage Worms, nasty little boogers.  Bright green/blue in color, small and thin looking, and can be very destructive. I prefer to use organic homemade sprays to kill off bugs/worms.  Most people recommend using Bacillus Thuringiensis, an organic crystal protein, which paralyzes the digestive system of the insect.

*****

Just to get out of the house, I took Bulldog Man (since he's still not allowed to drive until after he gets a release from his doctor because of his surgery) for a nice drive down to where we love to go fishing; down at Lake of the Arbuckles, Davis, Oklahoma to see what type of damage was done to the lake after all the storms we had.

We stepped out of the truck twice in the park, and walked to the edge where water was not supposed to be, to take these pictures.  The park was really messed up; old trees and vegetation are sitting in water. You could smell the stench of rotting vegetation because of all the sitting water.  It will be sometime before we can fish in our favorite location.  We may have to wait until winter to test the water……if you know what I mean.  

There was, however, two gorgeous butterflies flying around Bulldog Man and me as we took in all the damage to the lake and park.  I took a few pictures to share with you; the damage at the lake, and the beauty of two butterflies that wouldn’t leave us alone. 









Tomorrow is the infamous follow up doctor’s appointment for Bulldog Man to see if he gets released to return to work, and approval to be able drive anytime soon.  Folks, I must say he looks good for having his throat slit.  

Tell me about your weekend........

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Homestead Improvements, Bulldog et al

A little ditty about Bulldog Man……..
Surgery was the 11th of June, picture of neck after surgery.


Today, 23rd of June, picture of neck healing nicely, with Durabond peeling and falling off from around the incision.



My days consist of taking care of Bulldog Man, and making sure he gets his medications on time; and since he’s not allowed to lift, push, or pull anything over 10 pounds, raise his hands over his head, or drive…… I make sure to keep an eye on him so he doesn’t accidentally do what he’s not suppose to. 

Sound easy right???? 

Not with Bulldog Man…….he likes to do things himself without help unless he asks for it.  I think it has something to do with that stubborn streak which runs on the male side of his family……..LOL

*****
Garden Updates
After harvesting all the onions, I cleaned out the raised bed, and prepared it for planting red potatoes.  Each potato seed was cut in half before planting in the soil.  Several tires were also cleaned out and planted with red potatoes.  In a couple of months we should have a nice stash of red potatoes to harvest and put away for winter meals.




Speaking of potatoes, 2 weeks ago, I harvested all my Yukon potatoes because the over abundance of rain destroyed the potato garden.  The other night I made a pot of Yukon Gold potatoes with fresh picked green beans, onions, black forest ham chunks, butter, salt and pepper to taste, and homemade vegetable broth.  This quick and easy meal came out really good; Bulldog Man gives it 4 paws up!!!



Here’s my 2nd green bean harvest from my garden.  These beans were added to the meal indicated above.



The cucumbers seeds planted in two large planters are finally taking off, climbing, and attaching to the feedlot panel used as a trellis.  I also see a few dinky cucumbers starting to grow.




*****
About a month and a half, I planted flower seeds in my flower beds around the front door to attract bees, and butterflies.  These flowers are starting to bloom. 




The sunflowers are starting to really take off.  After dealing with all the rain we had in May and June, and the birds digging up the sunflower seeds, we finally have sunflowers growing.  Yes, you heard right……the birds were digging up the sunflower seeds I had planted, and ate them. 
Sunflowers are growing in the garden bed along with tons of weeds, and grass.

*****
Not too long ago, I learned how to crochet from watching videos off of the internet and you tube.   I’m not a professional at crocheting at all; my first projects were small, making several dish cloths, and a toilet paper roll cover.  Bulldog Man had asked me to make an afghan for him later on.  Instead of waiting, I went ahead and started making his afghan; it took me about 6 weeks, working on it only part time.

Last night, I finished his afghan and presented it to him.  Here it is folks, the completed afghan I made for Bulldog Man. 

He can use the afghan in any direction.



He loves it, errors and all, and purchased me a bag to hold all of my needles, yarn, and notes for future projects.    


Do you crochet, knit, or have a hobby you do in your spare time?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away....... Garden, Bulldog Man




May presented us with very heavy storms, flooding, tornadoes, hail, rain, and winds. In fact, many areas still haven’t recovered from the flooding. 

Listening and viewing all of our weather notification resources, this tropical storm rolling into Texas, will also be heading toward us, and other states.
   
With May’s storms, we lost a good chunk of our garden, and had to replant.  Because this storm is heading our direction, I went once again to the large orange box store and picked up a good handful of large 3mil + painter tarps to cover areas of our garden.

Speaking of gardens, here’s an update on how things are going in ours at our homestead. 

Here’s our first harvest of green beans, a small but healthy looking harvest.  Since the harvest was small, instead of freezing or canning these beans, I went ahead and cleaned them, chopped them up, and put them inside my chicken and dumplings with the other vegetables: carrots, celery, and onions.



Tomatoes………..they’re starting to really sprout.  If you ask me what type of tomato, I’ll have to say I don’t know, because several of my markers were blown away with the last storm.  Come harvest time, I’ll be able to identify the type of tomato J



Jalapenos are developing.  Last post, I mentioned blossoms on the plants, now we have actual peppers.



On Sunday, I harvested the last of my onions, and started curing them inside the house, in the kitchen, on two shelves.  My entire house smells of fresh onions. 
Another shelve is off to the side.

We now have 91 onions to last through the year; only one onion had to be thrown out because it split, and was a tad rotten due to all the rain we’ve been having.

*****

After my husband’s surgery, he couldn’t have a regular meal (for a couple of days) because his throat was extremely soar, making it hard to swallow.  So for one of our meals (yes, I was sympathetic and ate the same things my husband did) I made a cantaloupe slushy with fresh cantaloupe, crushed ice, and filtered water, blended up in the blender. 

OMG folks, this was so good, fresh, naturally sweet, and nice and cold.  If you want something light and filling, try the cantaloupe slushy; you won’t be disappointed.

For all of my friends who asked, Bulldog Man is feeling better now, after having a good night’s sleep last night, and a solid meal today.   To all of my Blogger friends, thank you all again for your warm thoughts, and prayers; we felt them.


No complaints here from me folks, life is good!!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Six Million Dollar..... Bulldog!!!

A while back on a previous post, I talked about Bulldog Man having neck injuries that would eventually require his neck to be rebuilt.  That day came yesterday.  His neurosurgeon, on our last office visit said; “there’s no more waiting, it has to be done”.  Bulldog Man’s neck has gotten worse, and if, God forbid, someone hit the back of our truck, the impact alone would make him a quadriplegic.

Yesterday we went to the hospital early, prepared for surgery.  Bulldog Man was pulled into pre-op where I sat with him until the surgeon was ready for him.  Instead of being rolled into surgery early as scheduled, the doctor decided my husband would be his last surgical patient of the day, so he could investigate in detail, the additional work that will be required in the near future.  Surgery started in the late afternoon and ended several hours later. 
Instead of using stitches the doctor used Durabond on Bulldog Mans neck.
The hospital made him wear this awful socks so he wouldn't slide on the floor, he's going to
kill me if he knows I
posted this picture, lol......

The doctor performed a discectomy and fusion of C5 to C6, and C6 to C7.
 
This afternoon Bulldog Man returned home. He will be out of work for a while on short term disability.  He now has complete feeling in his fingers, arms, and feet…..it feels strange to have no more tingling in his limbs after 20 years. 

This is just the start of fixing a busted Bulldog Man. There will be another two or three surgeries just on his neck, and then it will be on to fixing his back.  In the end, when all is done, surgery wise, my husband will be called the Six Million Dollar Man, with a smile on his face, lol……..

They’re many disabled Veterans requiring surgeries, please make sure to pay your taxes and let your Congress Critter know you support fully funding Veterans’ medical costs.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Onions - Delayed Post

Several of the Super Star, Red Candy Apple, and Candy onions I planted in my garden displayed signs of being ready for harvest. The slips from Dixiondale Farms out of Carrizo Springs, Texas were planted about 3 months ago in my garden.   They were bent over, and the tops were dried out.  I pulled approximately 22 onions out of the garden bed on Saturday, and hung them on one of my covered clothes lines (under the patio roof outside) overnight.
On Sunday, Bulldog Man and I rigged up an old sweater drying rack and a baby gate, to continue the curing process of the onions inside our home.  Over the next several days I will be adding more onions to the drying/curing process as each of the remaining onions in the garden show signs of needing harvested. 




After the curing period I will be storing onions in a burlap bag for use over the next several months.  I’ll also be dehydrating onions to create onion powder, making an onion marmalade (which I’ve never done before, this will be a first for me), and freezing pieces.  Over the next several weeks I will follow up these processes with posts.

Sunday morning, I weed-whacked the front and both sides of the property, then pulled out the Zen Machine (tractor) and push mower, and mowed until I couldn’t take the sun and heat any more.  I came inside our house to cool down, enjoy a Mexican Popsicle (which wasn’t sugar free), and a nice cool shower. 

This morning I woke up, had a large cup of coffee with almond milk, a handful of honey graham crackers; then took Tylenol and water to help get rid of the headache I’ve been holding on to since Saturday.
Instead of dirtying more clothes, I pulled on the same grubby work clothes from yesterday, and proceeded to cut the grass in the garden area and the back of the property.  


*****

 Update/Tomatoes
Okay, here’s the poop on my Okie Drip System and tomatoes.  I’m totally sold on using this system for tomato plants, it works wonderfully.  I’ll need to experiment with other plants to let you know how it works.  I know from now on the only way I will grow my tomato plants is using this watering system. 

I have a tomato plant growing from my raised compost bin.  Maybe we will get some tomatoes.  I’m not sure what type of tomato to expect from this plant, I guess it will be a nice surprise. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mystery Solved, Garden, & Speaking The Truth

Last night, while watering my onions in their raised garden bed, I noticed what appeared to be an egg.  You heard right…..an egg!!!!   I directed the hose head toward the egg, to rinse the thin layer of soil off the top of this egg. 

I thought to myself, “what type of critter would lay an egg in a garden and cover it with a thin layer of soil…………………I know, I know………….a SNAKE egg!!!!”   I thought this, because, we’ve had copperhead snakes in the garden, in the past.

Think again; snakes, when laying eggs, will lay a clutch (multiple together in the same area), and will cover the eggs with loose soil or sand.   
After removing the loose soil on top of the egg with water, I picked up my hand shovel and scooped up this egg, called for Bulldog Man to come outside and investigate this egg. 

Bulldog Man picked up the egg with the shovel, and tossed it in our outside trash.  He said whatever was inside has to be dead.  The shell on the egg was cracked open and the mucus membrane was oozing out. 

Now being the inquisitive person I am, I thought about this egg all night long.  Once Bulldog Man left for work, I went outside, put my gloves on, grabbed my hand held garden shovel, and went to retrieve this egg.

The egg was no longer a formed egg.  It was totally cracked open, the shell of the egg was in one section of the trash can, and the strange looking critter was on the other side. 

I pulled out both the critter and egg shell to determine what we were dealing with.

I never seen anything like it before.

Come to find out, it was a Netted Stinkhorn…………..a mushroom!!!!

The actual egg looked like a hardboiled egg, the size of a goose egg.
Around the crack on the egg was a clear/yellowish film, which looked like a membrane.

Here is a picture of the cracked egg, and Netted Stinkhorn mushroom I found.
The cracked shell.

The mushroom broken.

I’ve also attached a You Tube time lapsed video from American Mushroom.com. 

This is the first time I have ever seen such a mushroom.  It’s my understanding, after researching this mushroom; it was named the Netted Stinkhorn because it puts off a terrible smell which in turn attracts flies.  Apparently, the outside temperature was too cool therefore the mushroom didn’t put off its terrible scent (stink).

Due to all the water we received, the moisture levels were high, in turn, producing all kinds of mushrooms throughout my garden.  This was a first though, for the Netted Stinkhorn.

*****
Speaking of moisture, here’s a look at the damage I created while trying to cut the grass.  Areas of our grass on the property absorbed the water, while in other areas, the water sat. 

While driving and looking in one direction to miss sitting water and destroying the grass, I found myself and the tractor stuck in mud.  It took me about 20 minutes to get the lawn tractor out of the mud by pushing it.  When finished pushing; my shoes and clothing were caked in mud.


*****
Every couple of days I place new homemade humming bird nectar in the bird feeders.  So far, we haven’t had one humming bird.  We do however, attract the occasional bee or hornet.



*****

Garden News/Updates 
Even though my green beans were battered from the storms, I didn’t pull them out of the garden for replanting.  I just left them in, and now you can see several beans appearing on the vines. 



My jalapenos, planted in 5 gallon buckets, have flowers blooming on them in preparation of peppers.


The celery ends planted in the ground 2 months back took a hit with water and bugs, only one survived out of 3.  The red cabbage seems to really be coming along, even after the water and leaf-eating bugs.  I continue to spray the leaves (with a water, dawn soap, and alcohol concoction) and recently cut off the outer bug destroyed leaves.  I will say this is a first for cabbage in my garden.

Two years in a row I planted cabbage seeds, and had no luck. This year, I planted healthy looking seedlings picked up from Atwood’s Ranch store and they’re holding their own. 



I added a few more cucumber seeds to these pots, because several of the seedlings ended up getting water logged from the storms.  They seem to be doing pretty good now.  Hopefully in the next 2 weeks, they’ll start climbing the trellis.



My tomato plants have really taken off.  They seem to really like the Okie drip system I installed.  To find out more about that system, go here.  Bulldog Man and I recently trimmed the branches affected by our recent storms.

















During our 2 weeks of storms, the tops of my onions were shredded and destroyed (not all but most).  Bulldog Man and I clipped off the shredded and dead parts and now we have new green tops (green onions) and they’re looking really healthy.

On a sad note, the storms ended up killing off my Yukon potatoes.  There was just too much water.  I pulled up all the potato plants from my tires, and harvested what good potatoes were left, making sure to discard the dead potato plants and water logged potatoes.


Each tire was cleaned out and prepped to replant a new variety of potato in the next several days. 

Out of two containers full of sunflower seeds planted, only a handful lived through the storms.  Yesterday, I planted 2 more packets of sunflower seeds to fill in the areas where I originally lost flowers.

Sunflower and a little mushroom next to it.

A notation regarding health…………with all this sitting water from the recent storms rolling through, we have found mosquitoes rapidly breeding.  There have been several cases of meningitis found in the state of Oklahoma.  If you have sitting water and want to prevent a mosquito problem, try to get rid of the sitting water.
Clip Art From Letscoloringpages.com


*****
Several months back, I purchased a used stove top steamer at a yard sale/estate sale.  I was told by a friend (who will remain nameless) this steamer was a piece of trash, and I should have never purchased it. 

I‘ll have you know after thoroughly cleaning, and sterilizing this steamer it works wonderfully, and I’ve used it numerous times. Here’s evidence the steamer works good. 


Steaming Tamales

By the way, I can use my steamer on an electric stove, gas stove, or campfire; whereas yours can only be plugged into the wall.  My steamer cost me $4.33, yours $89.00 plus the cost of using electric.  So tell me, dear friend, whose steamer is a costly piece of trash now??

No digs……just speaking the truth.


Tell me Blogger friends, do you have a piece of trash you would like to share?