"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands........" 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walking in wildflowers with Sophie

This time of year, our acreage comes to life in bursts of color in hues of yellow, purple, red, orange, and white from all of the wildflowers. One can smell a sweet fragrance in the wind from all of these together .
Sophie is telling me to stop taking pictures and start walking!
She loves to go tromping through the fields, sniffing and nibbling as she goes.
I love the ox-eyed daisy. It grows in clusters all over the grounds.

Sophie likes to smell and taste anything that is offered to hear. She looks like she is smiling, doesn't she? .

I have walked every part of our property year after year, and I am always amazed to find another new flower that I did not spot the year before. I have never seen a flower like this. Do any of you have an idea of what it might be? There is no fragrance, however, the ants were all over the petals. It's not a drop from an envelope of flowers that I have planted. It is about 2 acres from our house.

I love blanket flower. Their colors are so warm and cheery. These look a little tired as the wind has just about beat them down .

Daises of any kind are always so cheery!

This big cluster of different wildflowers was underneath a large mesquite tree. So pretty when they are bunched up together. So now, what kind of flowers do you have growing wild in your fields. What is your favorite? I wold love to see the pictures!

Monday, April 28, 2008

a playground for my chickens and ducks

I used to let the chickens and ducks roam the grounds. I enjoyed watching them explore. They seemed to enjoy it so much. However, they damaged so many flower beds and plants and the coyote and bobcat carried so many away, I now keep them penned up. Of course, in doing that, they scratch away all of the grass and there is nothing but dirt. In this hot west Texas environment, it can be so dusty and miserable. They have no trees in their yard. They have boards mounted to give them shade. They have a large house and a large yard to run around in. Last year, I found a young honey locus tree growing in the flower bed. I dug it up and planted it in a container. It has grown and done well and leafed out so pretty this year. Today, I penned off a section of the chicken yard and tilled up the ground. I planted the tree in the middle and then planted grass seed. Hopefully, the tree will grow and they will have some nice shade next year. As for the grass, it's just for their enjoyment. I know it won't last long.

Here is the tree ready to go to it' new location

Here it is in it's new home. I hope it grows!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A good scare crow

I awoke to the sound of distant thunder, a bright flash, and hard drops of rain plopping on the window. I am so thankful that we are getting such good moisture this time of year. My scarecrow, Muddy Mildred, has certainly done a good job. I put her together in a hurry, so I am surprised she has survived two major hard rains, a good hail storm,constant wind, and still standing. Her makeup, hair and clothes are still in place. Best of all, she is standing in a plot of peas. The birds have left and the sprouts are getting bigger. She still scares Sophie, however. It does not matter how many mornings Sophie has gone out with me to check the grounds, that she stops in her tracks and starts growling and then barking. It is so funny!

Here's Muddy Mildred after a hard rain and still smiling. ( I think she's actually smiling because she makes Sophie look silly. )

Doesn't look like much, but there are a whole lot more of these pea sprouts. I already need to do some weeding .

And now, green house pictures! Here is lettuce that I hope to raise year round. With this being my first green house, everything is an experiment.

pumpkins and decorative squash are sprouting! I can't wait till fall!

Watermelon..........yum! Which do you like best.. yellow or red?

Flowers are sprouting fast! I received a package of forget me not flower seed in the mail from a dear friend. I have never seen forget me nots. Have any of you? A friend of mine told me they are beautiful, actually what flower isn't? {: Speaking of flower seeds sent in the mail...... I have sent tons of seed over the years to family and friends when I send letters. Do any of you do this? It's so fun when another friend sends a different pack back.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The beauty in threatening weather

a storm brewing up over the distant fields

This one is making a lot of noise and telling me to go
back into the house!

although the camera doesn't justify the real beauty of
this cloud, as it moves in, it has the appearance of
orange cotton candy.

Much of the whole day yesterday was filled with lightening, hail, and tornado sightings. The school bus usually drops the kids off around 4:30 p.m. The school called around 3:30 p.m. and said the bus could not make it through the high water. So off Sohpie and I go to pick up my son. The clouds are looking darker with each passing minute. I make it down to the main road to find a man waving his arms at me . He tells me I am about to head into the worst "golf-ball sized" hail storm that he had just gotten out of and a tornado was also on the way. So just like Dorothy and Toto, Sophie and I hurry back home and make it into the back door just as the storm hit. The school had also taken the kids to the gym because of the tornado. We only got "pea sized hail" and no tornado, thank goodness. After all was said and done, my son did not get home until 6:00 p.m, my garden got enough rain to hold for a few days, the green house suffered no damage, I will have photos next week as everything is sprouting!... and Muddy Mildred, was still standing, smiling, a little bit more muddy. with sprouts all around her! I love rain, but I dis-like lightening and hail. One thing I love about storms.......when they are way off in the distance.... are the clouds. It is hard to capture the beauty on camera because they change so fast. I hope you all have a safe and happy weekend. I always enjoy hearing from you! blessings, Kathleen

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Meet Muddy Mildred

Remember over a week ago, I spent the days tilling, planning and planting? Well, I was hoping to post pictures of my pea patch that has been sprouting. I have been noticing sprouts one day and then the next day....... they are gone. I could not imagine what was wrong with my eyes. So this morning I waited and watched and just as I had thought.... birds are taking off with my sprouts! What a waste of hard work. So now, my solution, I hope.......introducing Muddy Mildred. Isn't she a sight? I am hoping the birds will think she looks scary! I thought that if I am to fix a scare crow, why not a scare crow lady, with locks of plastic hair, a beauty school makeover, and an apron over her dress? I am not good at sawing or nailing, so a visit to my sweetie's shed one more time( it's a miracle we are married after 25 years of this!) and I spied his patio torches just gathering dust in the corner. We haven't used those in over 2 years, plus there is a burn ban in our county.. no trash burning, no grilling.. and that would mean no patio torches. Bringing all of this up, made him let me have at least one.{: I wired mesquite branches on for her arms. I just hope she can scare the birds. I have planted peas each year and have never had this happen. Maybe the extreme dryness and limited food is what is making them do this. Sweetie told me that he had a talk with all of my cats...... they are supposed to give up nap time one hour each and take turns to watch the garden. I don't think they like black eyed peas.... they are still napping.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Roses and Evening Primrose

The weekend is over, but somehow, I still have much to do.Yet, I did get a lot of stitching done, my house is clean, and forget me knot, zinnia, cosmos, hollyhock, watermelon, lettuce, cantaloupe are sprouting in the greenhouse,.... I will have pictures on a later date. The Evening Primrose has started blooming. There was a whole patch of these beautiful flowers along the roadside last year. I dug some up, transplanted them to my flower bed, and am so glad I did. The county has graded up the sides of the road in the past weeks, including the spot where these grew. To mark two special occasions that are happening in our life, I planted this Charisma Rose bush. Our 25th anniversary will be the 26th of this month and my daughter will be graduating high school the end of May!! I love these colors. I hope to match the colors to my embroidery floss colors and stitch a rose. I hope it survives and grows through the years. I have known several people to have had rose bushes for over 10 years. How about any of you? What is your oldest rose or any other plant you have growing? I would love to hear!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Working, weeding, potting and planting

Well, things are piling up around here and needing my attention. So I will be busy these next few days and I hope to return with a clean house, a few more stitches completed, more eggs to count, and something green sprouting in the greenhouse. While your visiting, look over my previous posts and stop and say hello to me. I would just love to hear from you! For all of my friends who leave your sweet comments, let me just say.... you make me smile and you brighten up my day. Bless your hearts! Have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Now this is my kind of chicken!

No... she isn't mine. I found this picture and thought is was just precious. I had heard of mama cats taking in dogs and other creatures, and now and then I hear of mama dogs doing the same, but I have never heard of a chicken doing this. Either way, it made me smile, I hope it does for you too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

violas and pink prairie grass

I love the golden hue that fills the house from the sun in the early morning hours. In the late afternoon, the sky is filled with a palette of color from soft butter yellow, flamingo pink, tangerine orange, cornflower blue and violet. There is always is different sky each day at sunset. This is one of the things I noticed when we moved out to the country. The neighboring houses in town always hid this treasure.This is one reason I love Violas. Their colors remind me of the evening sky. I am really going to miss these flowers as the weather heats up and they die away. Another thing I was thrilled to discover was that the prairie grass has purple/pink tops as they get ready to seed. When the sun hits them either in the morning or sunset, they give off a pink hue. When one looks across the field, they would think it to be a mass of pink flowers, and then are surprised to see the prairie grass waving in the wind. I am thinking about trying to gather some seed to sprout out into a container, maybe an oblong window box type?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Planting, potting, and plotting

The weekend was filled with the smell of broken/tilled up dirt, potting containers and seeds being filled and planted, shelves being assembled, tired arms, sore hands, and ideas and dreams being thought out. Thanks for all of your advice everyone, on shelving for the greenhouse. I already had a metal table that I used outside for potting plants..... it fit perfectly into the greenhouse. I was only able to steal away 2 cinder blocks from my sweetie's stash, but being the sweetie he is, he brought home shelves from wal-mart, just like the suggestions from Katy, and they work wonderful.As you can see, the greenhouse looks plain and bare. Hopefully, it will fill with color soon. I think the best thing I am really going to enjoy about having a greenhouse is that I can plant seeds this fall, such as lettuce and tomato and have a winter garden inside of it. We have fairly mild winters. It will be a great experiment at least. The outside grounds took me all day to till up, but I am finished! Now I am looking forward to planting. As much as I love vegetables, I love flowers more. I have one space ready for flowers only. So instead of a flower bed, I am hoping for a flower garden. Hope you all had a good weekend.

Oh my, how sweet Julie

Imagine my surprise when I went to visit one of my favorite blog places, Julie, at Gingerbread Pumpkin, to see that she gave me this award! How very sweet. I am touched and honored! If you haven't had a chance to visit with Julie, here is her link. http://gingerbread-pumpkin.blogspot.com/ She is one busy lady. She homeschools, makes the cutest stockings and other things, and has a great cookie recipe. Stopping by to visit her is just enjoyable. Say hello to her while you are there. She is just the sweetest. Thanks again, Julie

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Getting along with Hercules

As you can see by the pictures, Hercules is growing. He has been such an enjoyable addition to our home. He is very sweet and loves to be held. The harness does not bother him at all. He has already learned that when this gets put on, it's time to go out and run in the grass. My biggest worry about bringing him home was the danger he would be in around Sophie and our cats. The first few days, they all would sniff him and then try to nip or grab him, thinking I had brought them a delicious treat. But now, as you can see, they are learning... we don't eat family! However, I still would not leave him unattended. We got so much rain last night! Much needed rain. So this weekend I will be able to go and till the ground that was once like concrete. I will soon be planting after that. So this will be my last post until the weekend is over. I hope you all , dear friends, have a wonderful weekend. I will catch up with you next week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How good can it get?

Yesterday, Sweetie worked and worked and at last....... he got my greenhouse finished!! And if that isn't just the greatest news, we are now getting rain!!! How much better can anything get may I ask?LOL I can't wait to start putting things in my greenhouse,....... now I have a question for all of you helpful and creative bloggers. What can I use for shelves? They can't be too wide, but wide enough for plants and plant crates and they can't be too expensive. Any ideas? I have looked at professional greenhouses and some have wooden slates on cinder blocks... do any of you have any suggestions? I would love to hear from you . Even if you don't have suggestions, I still love hearing from all of you! Oh, and for all of you who have been asking, Annabelle, still misses Jasper, but she is doing fine. Noah got over the snake bite and is back to purring full time. Thanks for all your concern. blessings, Kathleen

Monday, April 7, 2008

Rattlesnakes, bobcats, and coyotes

What a weekend! Over the span of just two days, I have lost 2 ducks, and one laying hen, to now what I suspect to be a bobcat. Several areas around us has either lost trees due to farmers clearing the land, or lately, wildfires have been a problem because of extreme dry conditions. Because of this, predators have been moved out of their homes and have moved closer to our woods. The fact that we have a plentiful supply of water also draws them to us. To add the topping to the cake, Noah, one of our cats, got bitten by a rattlesnake. He has been so swollen and sick the past couple of days. I have been force feeding him water and food. Yesterday, he finally started eating and drinking on his on. Today he managed to go out onto the porch and spent the day napping in the coolness. I am so glad he pulled through. As for my little feathered friends, we re-enforced fences and doors and hopefully, Sophie will sound off an alarm if she hears them. It's the time of year where we have to stay on our toes and be extremely careful of every thing around us.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Peroxide Soak

Hello everyone. I am not sure if after reading this post, you may have questions about hydrogen peroxide soak... or maybe some of you are aware of this procedure. So I will explain this, as this is what I do to some of my seeds to get them ready for sprouting. I used this method last year the very first time for me to plant pumpkins, and my pumpkin patch was beautiful. I had found this on a forum on the Internet and decided to try it. Has anyone else heard of this or has done this before?

STEP 1: In the photo with the cups, I have pumpkin, cantaloupe, zucchini, and watermelon seeds soaking in peroxide, straight out of the bottle for 18 hours. Why peroxide? Peroxide has extra molecules of oxygen which oxygenates the seeds and also disinfects the seed coating, thus protecting it and aiding it in the germination process. This in turn, has healthy sprouting plants.

STEP 2: After the soak, place the seeds on paper towels that have been wetted and then squeezed of excess water, leaving the paper towel moist. Fold the other side of paper towel over seeds.

STEP 3: Label ziplock bags for the seeds and place the wet towel with seeds into bag and zip closed. Place the seeds where they will remain warm. Keep them covered and unexposed to bright light. I place them in a box, cover them with a towel, and either lay them on top of the refrigerator, or outside in a warm, but not hot spot.

In a couple of days, you should see the main root sprouting. Carefully separate the seedling sprout from the paper towel and plant them root down in cups of potting mix. I hopefully will have a photo in a couple of days. I let these plants grow until about the middle to the last of May, assuring a good root system, and then I transplant them to the garden areas I have prepared. This is the way I enjoy sprouting seeds and it may not be a good way for others. The best advice I can offer anyone, is try different things and find what works for you the best. This is what makes gardening so enjoyable.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Goodbye Jasper

Almost six years ago, we were able to purchase the home of our dreams.. the someday farm of my dreams.. That very first spring I learned that feed stores have so much more to offer than feed and seed. I happened to wander in for okra seed during Easter week. Hearing the sweetest squeaks ever, I followed the sounds to the back of the store and there in a large container, were balls of yellow fluff and the sweetest little webbed feet ever! Upon picking several up and seeing their permanent smiling faces, my love for ducks was born as well as the beginning seeds of my farm. Jasper, Annabelle, and Betsy came home with me in a brown paper bag. With a little information from the feed store manager and the toughness of these little ones, I learned my way through to raise and care for them. Betsy died a couple of years ago, leaving Jasper and Annabelle as the barnyard couple. The were in-separable, following each other all over the grounds. Annabelle laid eggs a few times, tried to sit on one for 20 minutes and gave motherhood up. Jasper loved Annabelle. He watched over her and protected her from anything that approached. They had their own separate pin together because of his aggressiveness. This morning, just before dawn, I went out on my usual rounds, starting with the chickens and ducks. And my heart stopped in sorrow to find Jasper lying motionless on the ground with Annabelle lying close beside him. Something in the middle of the night,(looks like a small fox or skunk) pulled and dug at the wiring of their pen. Jasper being the aggressive protector he is, apparently stretched his neck out with his head down as he always does, and the predator grabbed him, leading to Jasper's death. Poor Annabelle. I put her in a nesting pen for the day to rest and to watch her. I have other drakes that will certainly be glad to be with her if she accepts them. This is one thing I have had to get used to in this new life I have dreamed of living. The heartache is as full and plentiful as much as the joy and harvest. Every year, we have lost pets and every year I vow I will not do this again! And every year the feed store beckons me with it's treasures. I have met people who raise different animals and have not much to say in the death of them. It's basically a way of life to them. I wander if I well ever get to that point where I will stop naming each creature and mourning it's death. All I do know at this time, even though there is heartache, there is still so much joy in watching these creatures grow. I don't think I will ever grow tired of a rooster's crow in the early morning hours, and even though the coyotes are horrible, what would it be out here without their late night serenade? So, I now have pen strengthening to do. This is my working weekend where I am tilling up the sections for pumpkin, melon, cantaloupe, black-eyed peas and zucchini. Sweetie almost has the greenhouse finished. If the wind would just calm down, he could get the panels in for me. I can hardly wait. Thanks everyone for your prayers concerning my last post. Maybe with the good Lord's help and time, I will have a happy post on that subject someday. Hope you all have a good weekend. Blessings

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Last year, I planted a young wisteria vine. It leafed out beautifully and then when winter came, it went away to it's deep sleep. As the other flowers have awakened, I have watched and waited for this vine to come back. I just about gave up hope, and today, I noticed the green leaves bursting in small clusters. I was so glad to see it again! At this time, this is how my life seems to be. A beautiful flower that once grew here and once so close to me, decided to pull up it's roots and has gone away, so suddenly, without reason or warning. This happened a few weeks ago and I have been struggling with it since. How I miss it and desperately want it back. No matter how much I have tried to bring it back and to replant it, it wants to be in other gardens. All my friends tell me that in time, it will come back. So for now, all I can do is watch and wait and hope that our road will soon bring it back home to where it's roots belong. Sorry about this, I don't mean for this blog to be this personal. Sometimes, writing is a way for me to vent.