Friday, August 28, 2020

Hold that Heat, Please!

Wow, we have been baking in NE Kansas.  Nothing like the 
western states, or Texas, but hot, hot, hot. 

My yard, lush and green just two weeks ago, is brown and sere, 
and literally just dirt in many places.  Ask me... I cut last night, 
because I did not cut the north end last week.... and the roadside. 
When I finished, the Dust of Ages was everywhere on me, and in my eyes and mouth. 


The light is changing. 

The leaves are changing. 

The flowers that were so full weeks ago are starting to fade. 

I have never grown this before, but I love it. 

Going blank on the name.  

The two petunia baskets looked like this on Tuesday of 
this week. 

Today, they are almost totally brown husks.  I'm taking them down tomorrow. 

They did last all summer, for 6.97 at Walmart.  I shopped there maybe four times since 
March.  I may have to go there tomorrow to get some 1.00 mums to start filling in. 

There were five beautiful calibrachoa in here, they are gone, too. 

The box needs repair, so I will have to dump it and see if it can be used again. 

This is Spot.  Spot likes the sheep, and they like him.  He is the second feral eating here, he came right before Tanner died.  He will sometimes lay on the deck and wait for me to put canned cat food out for him.  

He was waiting for dinner here. 

Jester wants to be friends very much, Fritzi... not so much.  Snowy is indifferent. 

I'm keeping a close eye on seventeen year old
Snowy in this heat, in fact, I can tell when her tongue lolls and she walks slowly, even after three or four minutes, it's too much for her.  She recovered nicely from her mammary tumor surgery, and they got all the cancer. 

My little Fritz was hiding from the doctor yesterday.  She had her ears and eyes checked, and though her cataracts are not complete yet, I can tell by the way she gets startled that she cannot see.  I watch her very closely, she still wants to go outside.  She is having increasing problems walking, though, and the doctor thought that was weight related (she is not gaining or losing now for months) but also as a result of her medications. 

It hurts me to see it affect her, because she was such a happy little dog.  She is also my watch dog, nothing gets by her.  The other two dogs do not bark. 

The doctor did tell me that Fritzi cannot undergo anesthesia for anything at this point. 

I keep the ground wet by the little blue swimming pool under the tree.  This sheep was watching something going on yesterday. 

I had a new roof put on the old hen house.  It was an investment in 
my future here, maybe another year or two. 

The two men worked fast and it was torn off,  and redone in about 
four hours.  In the heat. 

Thank heavens they were directly under a tree. 

The pumpkin patch is going nutso.  In fact, as soon as I finish here, 
I have to go out and water.  

We are expecting rain in the next four days, and I am 
praying it comes sooner rather than later.  I have to watch how 
I do laundry, fill the sheep pools, etc., because I run myself out of 
well water, and then it takes an hour or so to pump back up.  

It would be good to have a surplus of water for a while. 

Pumpkin "Howden", growing on. 

I also have summer squash, and I must have 
planted a few cucumbers, and didn't remember.  I'm cutting them 
up for the chickens, because they are picklers.  Smelled GOOD, though!.

They are holding on in the heat, I thought I was losing an old hen today, but 
ten minutes later, I saw her go across the yard! 

I have something interesting to note here. 

I have been removing all seed from the flat feeder at night, and locking up the finch feeder, suet, etc. in tin cans with bungee cords across them. 

Three weeks ago, I had fourteen to fifteen raccoons feeding under the feeder every night.  I noticed that in the last week, I have had only three or four. 

Monday night, I saw a possum for the first time in weeks. 

I'm wondering if the natural food is so available right now, that they are all somewhere else eating. 

Do you realize it is dusk before 8 PM now? 

I am praying for those affected by the terrible storms and by the terrible fires.  We are so lucky here in the Midwest, and I feel 
for the humans and animals who are suffering during this awful summer of Covid and disasters. 

Fall is coming. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Summer is Waning

Well, I see Blogger has changed their set up again, and 
it's going to take a few posts to get used to it.  It doesn't seem you can set to type IN the center, with a centered post, without having to justify in each sentence.  We will see. 

Summer is waning, friends.  I know it doesn't seem like it, but it is.  Yes, the heat continues on,but subtle little signs are all around us.  Leaves have begun falling... not just the walnut tree leaves, that start in late July, but other trees have begun dropping.  I am still mowing weekly, but not twice a week, as I had to for a while there.  I noticed yesterday that the Virginia creeper in my front fence line is starting to turn red, that means the poison ivy won't be far behind, or the sumac on the banks out in front. 
It took me a few days to realize, but the red-winged blackbirds have gone now... and were followed by the brown-headed cowbirds.  The Great Migration has begun, but there is a LOT less squabbling at the flat feeder, I can tell you. 
The raccoons are frustrated with me... I literally take down everything... hanging finch feeder, suet, squirrel feeders, and I clean off the flat feeder in the evening.  They are getting only the seed that has spilled during the day, and are digging up the area under the feeder.  This morning I laughed when I went out.... they are definitely excavating to China for anything they can find. 

This picture was actually taken a few days ago, this morning it is a huge circle and everything dug up until close to the post in the middle.  I know they are VERY frustrated. 

One of my favorite birds glided over the deck the other day, and I ran for the camera!

Here it is this morning, as I left for the Ag Hall, in the horaltic pose, drying its' wings: 

Most of you know that I foster-failed with Snowy, who is seventeen.  She had surgery a few weeks ago, and a cancerous mammary tumor was removed.  She is still recovering from the surgery. 
I can see her moving slower.... I don't know how many months we have left together, but she 
has been a delightful little dog.  And... to those who adopt... it took Snowy almost six months before she was really comfortable here, and comfortable completely with me.  Don't despair. 

This looked like a juvenile cardinal on the feeder, and in fact, the presence of the female led me to believe it.  He looks like he is waiting for mom to feed him from the smorgasbord.  

Hemorocallis "Stella De Oro" is reblooming on the deck.  One or two of the others is still blooming, I had fantastic luck with daylilies on the deck this year.  (yep, that's a weed, I'm waiting to see what blooms). 
So, let's talk about gardens.  Keith built an arbor, almost as soon as we moved here, and then started building a wooden fence around the area where we were going to garden.  Along the front part of that fence, he built four thirty-foot long beds.  The first, closest to the house, fell under a maple tree. Don't do that folks, I'm telling you.  Anyway, the first was built using lovely stones, but was expensive and labor intensive (grandson Chris built the wall).  After this, Keith used landscape timbers. 
Two beds, the front two, were planted with perennials and bushes.  The back two... one was our potato bed, and the other, except for four or five mum plants, was never really planted and always had to be kept down as far as weeds. 
Here is the south of the arch front bed in its' glory, about 2011:  
In that  picture, you can see the arbor in the middle, and some of the bushes.... there was an equal bed out of sight  on the north side of the arch.  In the distance is the hoop house.... and the patio is already in, so it has to be 2011 or even 2012.  I was so proud of these beds, they were really glorious. 
In the last two years, I have pulled or had them pulled out.  I really could not keep up with them, and it was very, very hard to get a cultivator in to keep them churned up, not to mention all the mulch.  
Here is the north bed, the one remaining one, today, I literally took this picture thirty minutes ago: 
Oh yes, it really looks that bad.  There are still some decent perennials in it, but I cannot even give them away, I have offered and offered.  The gardeners my age are as tired as I am .  Twice this year, I had this bed in some sort of order... but you see, it is full of saplings.  I cut them down, they grow back up.  I actually put five Gorilla cart loads of mulch on it in the spring, but... it has just gotten away.  Last week, I told my wonderful yard helper, Benjamin, that I am going to pull this one out, too, and asked him to plan a day when he can remove and stack the stone border. For now, I am literally walking past it and trying not to look, and yes, it breaks my heart.  Next year I will be gardening on the deck and maybe the patio only. 
I had many more pictures to show you, but it seems this new update of Blogger will not let me upload pictures directly from my phone.  In the old days, ten years ago when I first started blogging, I carried a small point and shoot camera in a pocket, ALWAYS.  I'm going to have to do that again, I think.  In order to post a picture from my phone now, I will have to send it to my email, and save it to the computer.  Yep, a pain in the patootie. 
So far, the sheep are still here.... I know the three cattle at my neighbor's are going home this weekend, but I believe the sheep will be here for a few more weeks, the pasture is holding up remarkably well.  I love watching them... I'll try to sit down there tonight and take a few pictures of them.  I do keep their water changed during the day so that they have something cool to drink, but other than that, their young owners take care of them.  I have all the fun and none of the hard work! 
I am still seeing big snakes daily, again... the pictures are on my phone.  I'll get one of the small cameras out today and get it fired up. 

Guess what?  I found 'em, good heavens you would think I would be computer savvy at this point after eleven years. 

However, it stops at July 28.  

I saw this snake this morning, though.  
And now, all of the sudden, I am back in the middle of the column, what gives? 

(Blogger, that's what gives. If I were monetizing this blog, I 
would go to WordPress, but I think I would lose eleven years worth) 

I end with one more garden picture, the raised beds.  I planted pumpkins and summer squash in mid-July.... I picked four BEAUTIFUL squash this week, and I believe I'll get a dozen pumpkins.  I know there may not be trick or treat this year, but I'll have some for the deck, and then they can be fed to a friend's hogs.  I even planted some more zinnias (on the left)... they are blooming now.  

Yes, Covid 19 is still in our area, including Tonganoxie, the little town whose address I share. 
Yes, I wear a mask everywhere I go, religiously. 
I believe it will be a year before we are back to normal, and we will have further loss of precious lives. 
I try to remain optimistic and hope for the best.  I pray.  I urge all of my friends to do so. 

Yes, it has touched a family of someone very near and dear to me, and right now they are 
praying for their own fifteen year old who has been stricken.  It's here and it's real, friends. 

Remain as positive as you can, and we will get through this. 

I'll figure Blogger out and update again, soon. 

As always, thank you so much for visiting Calamity Acres.