Thursday, September 30, 2010


She's One Happy Kitty!

Now There Are Three

This, as Martha would say, is NOT A GOOD THING!

Flicka has joined Rosewitha and Silka in the little henhouse.  I haven't had an egg in nearly three weeks now, they all must be under the girls, except for a few lone ones I have found in the big henyard and had to throw out.  We are going to have a population explosion in a week or so, and I hope these mamas plan on spending the next 3 months in the Little Henhouse, taking care of these babies!

On the other hand, the three survivors of last week's snake attack appear to all be pullets (we knew the big ones were) and are doing well in their ferret cage in the workshop. 

Fruit Trees

I can smell the pear crisp now!

The four fruit trees we put in almost were lost in the heat of the end of the summer, but they have settled in now, and the pear trees have actually blossomed on the branches we thought were lost. 

A New Garden Bed

Our latest garden project is turning all our beds into Lasagna Beds.  Patricia Lanza, author of "Lasagna Gardening" spoke at a home show here in the spring, and I heard about five minutes of her presentation, enough to buy the book from Amazon, and leave it laying around where Keith could see it. 

I built the new perennial bed using her priniciples... started with a layer of horse-barn straw on the ground, over the grass/weeds we commonly have here.  On that went dirt (from bags) and manure and peat moss, in varying amounts.  Finally, I stuck in the perennial plants I bought this year willy-nilly, and it burst into flower and has delighted us all summer.  One plus is that we can pull weeds from it easily.  It was so prolific, in fact, that I am going to have to pull one perennial out that has become TOO at home. 

This was the first bed we made, in the spring. 

Now we have started another.  To be fair, Keith has started them, along with the help of Chris and Brandon, our summer helpers.  We are building it the same way, only Keith has laid landscaping paper under the beds.  We are doing not only another perennial bed on the other side of the arbor, but covering our summer vegetable garden, which will, from now on, be a no-till garden.  We have made compost the last few years, and some of that rich soil is now on the new perennial bed.  More will be put on the vegetable garden. 

This is the new perennial bed, from both sides.  Our goal is to have the arbor in the middle covered fully with hyacinth bean plant (dolichos lablab) next summer, making a bower.  Some of the other things we are planning are an arbor over the birdbath, that will include my little garden seat... and another excuse to grow climbing plants.  We are also placing a second arbor behind the first garden bed, stringing rope in between it and the original small arbor, and growing cypress vine across them. 

Here is part of the vegetable garden, half under paper now, and starting to spread straw, manure, peat moss and dirt on top.  We are hoping for great things next season!

Spiders, Lots of Spiders

I like spiders... I don't like them ON me, but I like them.  Two weeks ago we had a spider spinning a huge web on the deck, which finally fell to wind and rain.  This week, I have been seeing them everywhere.  I guess the weather has made them realize their times are short, and they are hurrying to lay their egg cases. 

I took pictures of some of them, and after accidentally ruining a web by the gate into the henyard, I am careful now when approaching any gate or opening.  I looked up going from the pasture to the henyard the other day, and above me was criss-crossed a web with a big yellow spider!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Little Josie has filled the hole in our hearts left by the passing of the Nickster last December.  For a while, Gwen was the Queen of the House, the only cat.  Now we have little Josie, who wants to play all the time.  She bonded with Keith closely because he slept with her, "lest she be lonely" and now, she and Abby keep us laughing every evening with their antics.  Josie has pulled the "Fall Tree" over, so we know we are in trouble for Christmas, and are making plans to anchor the Christmas tree on the side deck or porch.  We'll have a small one in here with no fragile ornaments this year! 

Josie was found under a car at church one morning, dumped, and is now about 3 months old.  She's a little cutie, and we are so glad to have her in the family.


Death in the Morning

On Saturday, I bought 8 chicks from the chick man at our feed store, who was having "Fall Chick Days".  Normally, you buy chicks in the spring.  His idea was a good one... get your chicks now, and by spring, the pullets will be ready to lay for you.  Since I need replacements, I realized it was a good idea for me. 

So... I bought two Buff Orpingtons, two Golden Comets, and two Ameracaunas, which were 3 days older than the others.  I was totally captivated by the boxes of tiny straight run bantams he had... and ended up buying two Porcelain D'Uccles (which he called "Dee Uccles").  All were healthy, and after being put in the nursing cage and a light put on them, began eating and drinking with relish. 

Yesterday morning, after a restless night... I went out to find a 4 foot long black snake in the cage with them.  Four chicks were already gone, and one of the Ameracaunas was smothered and dead.  The three survivors were pressed into a corner, trying to get away from the predator.  I ran in to call Keith, who turned around in his journey to work, and back he came.  Then I ran back out to see the snake going for the other chicks, and lifted him out with a broomstick, shooing him away into a corner.  Keith was able to reach the three survivors, who were transferred into a more secure cage and moved to the workshop WHERE WE FOUND A SEVEN FOOT LONG SNAKESKIN LAST NIGHT.  They are fine this morning under their light, and maybe I can reach the chick man and get a few more replacements for the replacements.  In the meantime, Silka and Rosewitha are on eggs at the WRONG time of the year, so tonight there are going to be two very upset hens who are going to be rousted off the eggs they have collected so carefully. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One Terrific Spider

For eight or nine days now, there has been a huge spider web outside on our deck.  It is perhaps 18 inches across, and a large spider has been spinning it.  She perches in the middle of it daily, hoping moths or other unsuspecting victims will come into her lair.  I say "She" but don't really know that it is a female, only suppose so.   Even during the rain and heavy fog this week, the beautiful web held.  It's a real feat of engineering, and a wonder to enjoy.

A Glorious Start to the Day

No more words needed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Pond in September

Well, it rained last night, a gentle rain for hours.  The pond has a little water in it again, but I am dismayed to see that now grass is growing where the bottom of the pond was.  The frogs are ever hopeful, and some jumped as I walked down to see if it had retained any water.  It was never a proper pond, you see... but a hole dug out to make a pad to put a barn, still yet to be built, on.  At it's deepest it was four feet, but that has silted in, and the "dam" was simply dirt pushed up into a hill.  It has become torn up by the ducks and geese, though, over the last two years, and little animals tunneling in it.  This spring we realized it was seeping through into the pasture below it, and by the end of summer's heat, the water had gone. 

In the spring, perhaps, if we can save enough over winter and after Christmas, we will have the pond man come and make a proper pond, so that when we are retired we can stock it.  By then maybe we can have some ducks and geese again, because those feathered friends are gone now too.  This year has seen so many of our animal and bird friends go, either as gifts to friends, or like Uncle Beau, across the Rainbow Bridge.  The pasture at Calamity Acres is quiet now, except for Tony and Inca the llamas, and the chickens and roosters who are left.

Autumn.... and Autumn in My Life

Somehow, at the end of August, even though it's technically not the end of summer.... the world knows it.  The light changes, ever so slightly.... takes on a golden hue that it did not have in the unwavering heat of summer.  It's different in the morning, when the haze is greater, and the sun takes longer to come up and warm the earth.  In the evening it's brighter and clearer. 

Autumn in my life, too.... the last birthday in August was one that always seemed very far in the future to me.... 60.... and now I'm beginning to feel like I've gone beyond the "little girl" that my mom always called me to being the grandma I truly am.  When my mom was this age, my dad had already been gone 5 years.  Her mother never made it to 60.  My joints tell me I'm 60 every day, and I feel a little more somber and steady. 

I hope I am still here in ten years to see my grandkids growing, and my sons growing older, and my husband able to retire and play golf daily, which would make him so happy.