Monday, May 29, 2017

A Week's Worth of Pictures

I had Paiton and Jax for six days, the "gap week" in between the end of school, and the 
beginning of their wonderful summer day camp at Turner Recreation Center. 

It was early mornings for a week, as they come at 6:30.  You notice that Jester
is even still sleepy. 

They went to the National Agricultural Center with me every morning (aka "The Ag")
to take care of the little chicks and the big chickens... and then in the afternoons, we 
loaded the dogs and went to the farm to work on the garden.  Jax cut down almost all the 
high grass in between the garden bed with loppers.  Paiton did not think she was "Into" gardening, but after watching us for a while, she got with the program and worked HARD. 

He's posing here, but wow... he cut and cut and cut.  The guy cutting the 
yard has been ignoring the area behind the henspa because there was 
so much deadfall and vines and thick weeds. 

The minions took care of the job. 

We have a huge pile now at the trashburner. 
So... this week, Brandon, the mowing guy, 
will be doing the pasture, and at LAST we will be able to get 
all the debris down to where I used to have a brush pile. 

Not sure how we are going to accomplish that, since I have 
no access to a truck anymore and it's a LONG walk. 

Wednesday, we went to the zoo.  

Notice Jax has his hoodie up?  It was in the fifties, and he had 
worn shorts.  It was CHILLY! 

But lots of fun. 

Jax had a ball game on Thursday night, and I saw this guy on the way home. 

He saw me, too. 

Jax pitched part of the game. 

The Sluggers lost by one point. 

We were back at it on Thursday and Friday afternoons. 

I'm a hard taskmaster. 

The globe thistle is still gorgeous.  

Lillies are about to start. 

Keith's mom and dad came down on Saturday, and we went to the cemetery on
Sunday morning.  They started back to Ames after we had lunch, and it was 
so good to see them and have a good visit with them.  That was the first 
time they had seen his stone.  

The cemetery looked beautiful, but I did not get good pictures. 

Every grave had a flag, courtesy of the Boy Scouts.  

In the afternoon, it was back to the flower bed.  I know all the little trees need 
to be dug out, but for this year, I am cutting them at the ground.  Then I'll work 
on re-doing the whole bed. 

The dogs were smart, and stayed on the porch in the shade. 

Here I have to interject something. 

See that cat food?  It's for the three cats, four raccoons, and two 
opossums who are eating on my deck, gratis. 

Yesterday was the FIRST time I found 3/4 of the food left 
in the bowls.  

I can only surmise that the cat food I got from the feed store 
is not to everyone's liking.  

Someone knocked the camera over, so I could not 
see today who exactly is eating it. 
This may get the wild critters to leave me alone! 
(Today there was feed left in one of the bowls, quite a bit, in fact, so I may keep buying that feed) 

The babies at the Ag are doing great.  

Can you see that their wing feathers are developing? 

There are five different color patterns, but they are 
all cochins. 

There are 24 bright eyed babies. 

I took some pictures of the goslings after I finished the chicks and chickens. 

Can you tell the difference between the younger and the older babies? 

The clue is here. 

See the regular feathers appearing on the wing of the chick? 
(the gosling closer to it's mom) 
This is the older gaggle.  
I think they are about a week older than the other babies. 

They really mimic mom and dad; nature is so wonderful 

This guy was waiting for me to leave, so he could go back and graze on the rich, green grass. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More Whacking

Just let me know when you're sick of it. 

I suspect we have months in front of us. 

She's looking a little shaggy around the edges, but she's getting there. By the end of summer she should be cleaned up and a different color. 

I actually intended for you to see that we are going there enough 
that the birds give us about 3 minutes to step away from the feeding station 
before they descend on the seed. 

The minions are working VERY hard.  This one cut a HUGE pile of low-hanging branches. 

That's just part of it.  We were dragging branches to a 
central pile for 30 minutes. 

There was one bush in there I did not want cut, but... what the hey. 

Before we started, the lawn mower guy could not drive back in there! 

This little minion dragged and carried and dragged and carried. 

She also cut some of the branches, and that's not a sullen look, 
she was working VERY hard. 

We also made more progress in the planting beds.  We still have three that need 
a LOT of cleaning... but two are ready to plant, and one is nearly there. 

I'm so proud of Paiton and Jax. 

Tomorrow (weather willing) we are going to the Kansas City Zoo. 
Each one earned 20.00, and they can each get something 
from the zoo.  I can tell you now that Jax will 
save his money, and Paiton will bring home another stuffed animal. 

We are going to try to do the zoo in about 3 hours, and then 
come home and work a little more in the yard.  IF we don't 
get a significant amount of rain, my lawn guy will 
drive his tractor and brush hog (called Bush Hog, but not here) from his house at 168th and State to 198th 
and State, where I will be soon... and cut the 
pasture for me.  Then we will load the 
pile of branches up and drive down to where I used to have a
big brush pile and unload all the branches and 
grapevine I have cut.   Just the first load of many. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Gardening with the Grands, and some Goose Gaggle Pics

Our day started out really early this morning.  Jax and Paiton are coming to my house daily this week,, as this is the "gap week" between school being dismissed and day camp (which they love) starting.  

Grandma usually doesn't get up at six, so you can see that everyone was tired, and Jester 
did not want to go outside, just sleep with his kids. 

Pardon the bins, you will be seeing a lot of them, I am in full packing mode. 

Okay, so despite the unseasonably cool weather, we went to the farm 
and worked on the garden.  Paiton complained at first and then REALLY pitched in. 
She had on flip flops, which made it doubly hard.  She is bringing tennis shoes tomorrow. 

Why yes, those ARE huge cutters Jax is carrying.  He did awesome work with them. 

We found lots of interesting things, a big toad, lots of spiders, and 
lots of ladybugs.  I reminded them all these creatures were helpful to us. 

There was one bit of bristly greenbriar in this bed, and I showed it to 
both of them and told them to stay away from it. 

Jax cut and cut. 

Paiton dug and dug. 

She also pulled weeds by hand, and shook the dirt back into the bed. 

As you can see, we uncovered two more beds, and started on a third.  There are eight all together. 

Jax is checking out that clump I left in the bed he is looking down into, because there was a big toad in it. 

So, before we left, we watched the birds for a few minutes. 
We saw an indigo bunting, a goldfinch (male), and a 
Baltimore oriole.  We are going to buy some oranges tomorrow, 
and put the slices on the bird feeder.  I'm going to hang a nyger seed 
feeder out for the finches, and we can watch them. 

No pictures of them today, though. 

The birds are getting used to us working near them. 

Here's a pert little female Red-Winged blackbird. 

And one of the ubiquitous blue jays... they are all over the deck as soon as we leave. 

We started out our day at the Ag Hall, though, taking care of these: 

Those are 24 new 5 day old cochin chicks, in five different color varieties.  I'm changing out that poopy paper daily, btw. 

But we have more babies at the Ag: 

After we did the chores, we went down to see the babies. 

Saturday, I drove the train for a birthday party, and the babies kept coming 
up the hill to the train tracks, scaring me to death.  The horn is no longer working on our engine. 

So... I was waving my arms like a psycho. 

Today, there were lots of little heads down in the grass, and mom and dad watching them. 

(There is a second batch to the right, who are about a week older). 

All of the sudden, the older goslings sprang up! 

And then the little heads came up. 

Paiton and Jax were being VERY quiet so as not to scare them. 

Mama was watching the mallards in the background. 


The older babies are getting quite big. 

Tonight, on my way home from the library, I saw some just 
a bit older than these by a local small lake... their heads look like 
Canadian geese now.  It won't be long until these do. 

You can see how big the earlier batch is.  
And I just realized I did not get pictures of the little ones eating! 

Just one. 

We are expecting rain again tomorrow, but we 
are hoping to get out to the "farm" and work some 
more on the garden beds, then I'll put fresh dirt in them 
and we will plant some tomatoes that the kids can enjoy this summer. 

Wednesday, we're going to the zoo after we do chores!  YAYYY! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

One Day At a Time

I've been spending hours cutting down saplings. 

I decided today to work on a couple of the garden beds. 

This is what they look like, and I don't blame 
the renters. 
You see, not everyone is a gardener.  They did 
grow some peppers in that far back bed, 
but the rest became overgrown. 

That high grass is in between the beds.  

This was after about ten minutes of digging and pulling.  You see, 
Keith and I built these beds 
according to the book Lasagna Gardening.  
We put paper down, then dirt mixed with manure. 
Every growing season, I dug through them and replenished the dirt. 

Most of these weeds began to come right out. 

My hard and fast rule is "don't overdo it".  
I'm almost four years older than before. 

However, I did a second bed.  Yes, I still have to clean them up, 
but I took the choppers and cut down the high grass around them, and 
started digging at the dandelions. I am going to have to have 
Brandon, the young man cutting the place, do some weedeating. 

Then I trudged across the yard, carrying all the pulled plants, 
because I have no way to get my cart out there. 
Still figuring that out. 

I tried to cut the high grass around the two beds (with the big cutters).  I figure it will 
take at least six bags of Miracle Gro dirt and a bag each of 
manure before the beds are ready to plant anything. 

I'm not going to garden extensively this year... but it will be 
nice to have a couple of beds for tomatoes. 

This, however, is the current state of the pasture.  Nice hay, huh? 

I can't even get in the gate. 

The dogs and I can't get down to check the status of the fence until 
I can find someone who can cut it. 

Lots of saplings to cut!

How I miss not having a truck. 

Here's the little pond I have shown you so many times.  It has decent water in it now. 

We have not been going back and forth on gravel in an effort to preserve the 
new car. 

I decided to do it today. 

The cow herd is doing well, too! 

Oh, and by the way... this has started, too!