Friday, June 27, 2014

Another Five Hours of Work

Hard work, that took it's toll on my body, believe me. 

I took the truck today, and thought I was being smart unloading the dirt here. 

Then I started on the five remaining planting boxes in this section.  See that second box? 
There was a lamb's quarter weed in there that I had to literally cut apart with the big cutters... and it still took 30 minutes to dig it out.  It wore me out. 

But, I got a little reward when I got down to the last box. 

This is the last box.  Can you see what is hiding in the weeds?  A huge tomato plant!

There were actually five in the box, and one of the smaller ones had tomatoes on it.  I stopped, trekked up to the porch, and got a bucket with water and put them in it. 

I cleaned carefully around the big tomato plant. 

I staked both the smaller tomato on the left... and this big one in the front. 

You can see a weed pile to the right... more about that in a minute.  There was another 
weed pile off to the left, from the last two boxes on that side. 

See where the bags of dirt are?  That's where I erred... I should have pulled the truck around to the right in this picture, between the vegetable beds and the henspa. 

I carried fifteen bags... from where you see them, and three from yesterday I had unloaded in the yard. 
My back.  That's all I'll say. 

As an experiment, I planted two more of the tomato plants in the end bed, and staked them.  It will be interesting to see how they do. 

You can't tell, but I also tied them up to the posts, or rather, tied baling twine around them to hold them in. 

They got many buckets of water, all four plants. 

See the pile of weeds?  

It took everything I had in me to throw them in the back of the truck. 
I had to leave the other big pile for next week, I just could not lift another thing. 

See this mess?  That's next week's project.  I'm going to limit myself to two hours a day, and not tear my body up like I did today. 

I'm going to empty those planting beds out .... they are the ones that are trellised... and try to fill them as much as possible with the garden dirt.  Then I'll put the straw on them, too... I bought two bales. 

We are expecting storms tomorrow, and I have family things to do... so maybe Monday I'll start again and slowly empty those beds out.  See the weeds to the left in the pile?  They were heavy and awkward, and I appreciate Keith taking the first batch  to the transfer station for me so much! 

I'll have to drive the truck next week, and start loading this pile, and the subsequent ones. 

I had to sit frequently... my back is just beyond sore right now.  

I looked at the dying walnut tree... so majestic... and realized that it is dropping 
leaves right and left! 

Last year, in July, I realized they were dropping, and mentioned it in a blog post... but 
here it is June 27, and they were raining down!   The walnuts are always the last to leaf out, and the first to drop. 

I was so tired, I didn't go over and eat any mulberries on the huge tree out of sight to the right... 
I just couldn't do it. 

But, happily, I didn't get the truck stuck in the yard (Keith!) and managed to get back out to the driveway with no trouble.  

I stopped on the way out and ran back and took this shot... it's one of our apple trees, full of fruit! 

It was a happy ending to a hard day. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Working in the Garden

Well, I went out in the heat and humidity to work in the gardens at the old place today. 

Friends, this is what my beautiful vegetable garden from last year looks like now. 

I don't know if all the seeds were in the straw that I used as mulch... or if they 
just drifted in on the chicken's feet. 

Some of them were four feet high. 

The volunteer lettuce had bolted and grown huge and bitter. 

I had to dig the huge weeds out... sending the shovel down deep enough to break the tap roots. 

I shook each thouroughly to try to keep as much dirt in the beds as I could. 

It took a while to get the first bed uncovered.  I tried to pull out every stray plant. 

Then I put dirt on each bed... two bags went on this one. 

It took me three hours to do the three beds you see here.  I had to carry the 
huge weeds (they were heavy) in the cart to the pasture.  I gave up with the second big load, and just dumped them.. I couldn't go as far as the first.  If I still had the cart and mower there, it would have been much easier.  

After I dumped weeds, I put leftover straw and hay in the garden cart and pulled them back up to the garden. 

So, tomorrow, I'm going to work smarter. 
I'm taking the truck... it has 12 more bags of dirt in it thanks to Keith... and 
I ran to the feed store this afternoon and got two bales of straw 
(straw here up to six dollars a bale!).  I went back by the old house and pulled 
clear into the garden and dropped them right next to the vegetable beds. 

I'll dig/pull the weeds out of the five beds... the fourth in the above picture, and the four to their left... and I'll stick them in the back of the truck.  Then on Saturday, Keith will take it all to the 
transfer station and dump it. 

The flowers are looking GREAT... that's Mondara Jacob Cline, and some beautiful daisies. 

Big daylillies are blooming... 

And little 'uns.... 
(I love the little daylilies) 

Mint is taking over the north bed, and some of it will have to be dug out. 

The monarda is pretty strong in that bed, too, and it was alive with bees going back and forth.

However, this is the reverse side of the above bed.  This was the potato bed last year, one that I lavished care on... it had new Miracle Gro dirt, and straw compost mixed in... this is what we have this year. 
I can't guarantee I am going to do anything to this bed except cut these weeds down to the ground. 

There's only so much I can do with this house to take care of, too. 

Remember the delicate wildflower I showed you last week... the pretty little yellow daisy type flower? 


I pulled it out, the whole plant!  It was laying on my asclepias tuberosa!  

And this is a project for next week... see where the deck was never finished?  It's like a jungle growing through there, and the sad thing is... there are wasps in there.  I'm going to spray... then chomp down those little saplings, and then it is going to be sprayed with Round Up.  On July 12, our families are coming together to help us get the house ready to rent out.  Keith was out there today measuring for new siding... 
the deck will be completed, and a railing put around it, with steps down to the yard. 

So, we have our work cut out for us for the next two weeks!  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The New Garden

Okay, don't laugh... it's not very big, but we have plans. 

Here is one of the two laundry tubs that have been planted with pink petunias the last two years on the deck. 
The outer ring are impatiens, and the inner ring, just coming up... are caldiums I bought on sale 
at WalMart, two weeks ago!  I did not even think they would germinate!  (They are reds and whites, I mixed the packages). 

They are coming up a little slower in the other tub, but they ARE coming up! 

I'm going to have to thin the zinnias... 

and the marigolds!

The smaller planters (not pictured) are also full of portulaca and looking good, but 
above is the piece de resistance!  

The Burpee Better Boy tomato!  

We're going to get a few tomatoes this summer, off this plant, and hopefully, the 
plant growing in the flower garden at the old place!  

Yee ha! 

I got a great idea from a blog today, and I'll run it by Keith in a few days... we finally have a 
long, flat surface where we can grow nice pumpkins.... Hmmmm..... 

Tomorrow I'm going to start working on the vegetable beds at the old place... 
pulling the weeds and replacing the soil in them, and then covering them with 
straw.  I don't think I can finish all of them in one day, but I can get a start!

I'll take pictures! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Little Worlds

This perfect robin's nest fell out of the Bradford Pear that split last week. 

The clutch had already hatched and fledged, we think. 

In the same tree, a little higher up... was another nest, hidden in the leaves and branches. 
I'm telling you, little worlds are all around us! 

I have been doing cleanup on the side of the house... and the barberries are slowly being cut back. 
They are NOT fun to cut, and I hand-clip. 

Same bushes, the week after we moved in. 

They were so long they were laying on the stone wall, almost to the ground. 


This is our new tv stand, on the right.  
That is my old desk, on the left, that has seen better days.  Tomorrow, it is 
going to be loaded in the back of my car, and go to a furniture refinisher to be re-done. 
It is perfectly sturdy, just worn out a little, and the folks in this shop, a husband and wife, 
do the nicest re-makes.  When I drop it off, I'll take some pictures of pieces they have finished and 
have for sale. 

Here's our happy girl and her daddy, watching the Royals when I got home from Jax's baseball game at 7:15.  I have had so much fun this spring and summer, watching Jacob and Jax play soccer and 
tee ball.  Keith bemoans the kids who play with their video games all the time, 
but I'm here to tell you there are hundreds, maybe thousands in this area who are still involved in sports, and whose parents and grandparents are at every game, cheering them on!  

Go Piper Pirates!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Catching Up for the Week

I don't know where the time goes, I haven't posted since last Wednesday!

We were so busy getting ready for Keith's parents to stay the weekend, and I just couldn't find time to sit and look through pictures, or even take many!

You may laugh and wonder why I am showing you a platter of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

They were so cute with the gummy bears intertwined, and a big hit with the kids, AND some of the adults!  

They were thick and gooey, and yes, I had one!

Here's Keith with his mom and dad, Trudy and Ralph Yoder. 

I didn't realize he and his mom were color-coordinated at our get-together... but the folks came 
down Friday night, and left Saturday after the party to go home to Ames. 

Our sweet little granddaughter, Brynn Allison, will have a little sister 
to play with in September. 

Papaw Yoder did some baby-dandling on his knee with Carson. 

And Big Brother Jace was everywhere at once!

There was lots of playing with balls and bubbles....

And driving around in the yard. 

By the time everyone was gone, Keith and I were worn out ... I hurried off to church... and 
was able to sleep in yesterday morning.  We spent a very quiet day resting... and then 
went to a T Bones game at 5:05. 

We saw this contraption parked in the handicapped parking.  What a GREAT idea... a 
wheelchair sidecar!

And there goes Team Mascot Sizzle, waving to everyone from the back of the Lakeside Speedway truck... while two race cars were exhibited.  The kids in black stepping out of the way were there to sing the National Anthem. 

Skies were balmy... but it was very hot and humid. 

By fourth inning, this had started to happen.... and Keith and I kept our eyes on it. 
We were still very tired... 

So at the top of the sixth, we decided to start for home.  We drove home through pounding rain. 
(The game was called in the seventh). 

And the evening ended up overcast and wet.  

We have clouds again today, but rain chances reduced from 80% to 40%, and so far, we have had no drops. 

Keith's daughters, Amber and Andrea, and sons-in-law, Jesse and Nick, have offered to 
come and help us on the 12th at the old house, to blow out as much as we can in one day's work 
on the property, to help get it ready for renting.  We are so grateful for this, because Keith's health is still dicey, and trying to do so much was going to be hard on us.  I am going to get Chris and Haleigh, and we will get as absolutely much done in one day as we can.  What a relief it will be to Keith and me to have the house ready for a rental agent to handle it, and not have the responsibility of going out there regularly to check on things. 

I know I'm remiss in reading some of your blogs, and I apologize for that.  
I'll try to get caught up this week. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Hard Day's Work in the Heat

Monday, we worked at the old place, loading things from the shop into Keith's truck, to take to the 
consignment sale for the 21st at the Tonganoxie fairgrounds. 

While Chris and Keith loaded things into the back of Keith's truck... Nathan and his friend 
Jacob helped me in the garden.  I had to take a few breaks! 

I devoted about two hours to pulling weeds and cutting out little trees, and the boys 
brought me straw from the goat barn to mulch with. 

Here is the problem corner of the south bed... the north end of it... 

And here's my volunteer tomato in the same bed.  It has blooms on the back of it... and sorry about the shadow.  

I got most of the weeds out of this bed, and just realized I did not take a picture of the "clean" corner.  

Here is the yellow asclepias that I planted last year... there was an beautiful orange one to it's right... that I lost over the winter.  In it's place has grown this delicate pale green plant... 

You just can barely see it's pretty yellow flowers because of my SHADOW again... 
but they were very delicate.  They closed up when the sun was overhead. 
Does anyone recognize it???

Nathan and Jacob took a break after we ran to Sonic for lunch, and everyone had slushies. 

The Queen surveyed all the work.  About mid-morning, Keith had to run home for something... and he took her with him.   She will be 8 next month, and just does not need to stay out in the heat and humidity for long

While I sat on the porch, our resident swallows swooped past me over and over in their 
quest for bugs in the air.  They don't rest for long! 

Stella d"Oro... always a solid performer in the garden! 

We are expecting a visitation from Keith's parents from Friday until Sunday... 
along with his girls and their families on Saturday, so things are in high gear here. 

However... we have plans to work on the old house during July... and are then 
going to put it on the rental market .  I want to get the gardens in shape for the house to be shown, so 
next week, I'll start working on the vegetable beds.  

Here's our girl Lil on the deck this afternoon... she didn't stay out long in the heat!