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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Update: The satellite is now a pond!

Remember the old satellite dish that my sweetie and son decided to make into a pond? Well, he bought the liner to fit, got it into the ground, and it is holding water! In the picture above it is still filling up, but now it is filled. Rocks still need to be put around the edge and other things need to be done to make it more attractive. The water is not as clear as it was filling up, however, we have 12 little goldfish that are doing well in it. He bought cheap little fish to make sure that something will actually live in it, before we spend a lot of $$ on other fish. I am trying to find information about water lilies for the fish to have shade. We have a board going across the edge right now so that the fish have some protection from the extreme heat. They stay in the shade during the day. As soon as we have this all figured out and prettied up, I will post more pictures. Do any of you have information on water lilies? The ones I have found out about need soil to plant them in. This pond has only a liner, so I am not sure how a Lily would grow in it or how to get one started in it. Any ideas or resources you can lead me to would be such a help and I would be grateful. Thank you all for stopping by and for leaving your comments. Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Out in the garden

We were blessed enough to get the much needed rain we have been needing. Along with that comes the weeds growing faster than any vegetable in the garden. So every morning at dawn, I'm off to take care of the animals, then out to the garden to work.
On the way out, I am greeted by this scary looking creature. A vinegar roan. Not half as mean as he looks. Those big pinchers he basically uses to hang on to his dinner to eat. The worst thing he can do, is spray a good shot of vinegar into any thing's eyes if they mess with him. The odor of vinegar lingers in the air afterwards. I won't spend too much time visiting him.
I just love the blooms of the pea plants. The rain has given them the boost they needed.
The pumpkin vines are looking pretty with their gigantic leaves spreading over the ground. I can't wait till fall!
Something catches my attention while I am weeding. A gentle horse fly has landed on my arm, inspecting my work. I love his colors.
This naughty weevil is hoping I will think he looks like a pretty lady bug on my sunflowers. He is asked to leave immediately!
On the way out, a tarantula comes creeping out from under a bush, looking for something to eat. A day's work done, and another day's work is waiting for tomorrow with more creatures to greet I am sure.{:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The colors of summer

The West Texas environment this time of year can be harsh and unforgiving. The temperature has reached up to 101 and the sky has not given one drop of rain. The dirt has been hard packed and suffocating.
Yet somehow, in the middle of this all, life and beauty spring up. This handsome dragon fly was enjoying the water pouring into the flower bed. The smell of the water making him unafraid of me as I snapped his picture.
Rose moss is one of my favorite flowers. These delicate flowers spring up in the hottest and driest time of the season. There is always a new color each day.
He only looks mean. He is really very shy and evasive. Only interested in large spiders. I have seen one of these drag a full grown tarantula to it's nest by itself!
These horned toads look like miniature dinosaurs to me{: They seem to be not bothered by the heat or dry spells that we have. What kinds of creatures do you have wandering around your grounds? I would love to see and hear about them!

Friday, June 13, 2008

No Salmonella in these tomatoes!

First of all , for any of you, my blogging friends who are going through the terrible weather....floods, tornado, and what ever else is happening, my heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you. This is such a harsh year it seems with the weather! In our state, and in the local towns, no tomatoes can be bought because of the salmonella outbreak. I am so glad I planted so many tomato vines this year and so far they have produced very well.
This weekend is supposed to be hot, but hopefully no more wind and dirt blowing! So I am off to take care of the weeds and plants. The greenhouse has sprouting plants, but because of the extreme temperature, there is not as much as I had hoped.
I have a good supply of both red and green tomatoes. I fixed fried green tomatoes for friends who came to visit a couple of days ago. My friends teenage son was not that impressed with them, but was sweet enough to give them a taste.{:

The cherry tomatoes are doing well also. I hope to experiment making homemade salsa and sauces this summer. If any thing turns out good, I will share the recipe! I hope all of you who are reading, have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good snake, nasty snake, and a very naughty egg eating snake

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving your comments! I so enjoy hearing from you!
Snakes are not my favorite creatures. However, once in a while, a snake can be very gentle and pretty to look at, such as this Western Hog nose snake. If you click on the picture, you can see his up-turned nose just like that of a hog. I almost stepped on this one as I was working out in the garden. A very good snake for controlling mice.
Then comes along the very nasty snakes.
Surprisingly, this is not a rattler, one of the nastiest I think, but a bull snake. They are usually good snakes, shy and run away as soon as one spots them, and good for chasing off rattlesnakes and controlling mice. However, this one was in my yard, in the middle of raiding a rabbit's nest. My cat discovered him and was just inches away from being bitten in the face. I heard the hissing, came out with a shovel and discovered what he was up too. I shoved the shovel at him, and instead of running off, he just kept striking at me and inching closer. He was heavy, and I thought I would never accomplish scooping him up and tossing him out of the yard. The more I tossed him, the more he popped back with a forceful leap.

At the end, the snake was tossed away into the woods, and one little baby rabbit was saved. I covered him back up in his nest.
And then, there is the naughty snake. ....
These past few weeks, my chickens have quit laying, ( I thought). I have only been getting one to three eggs a day. Yesterday, I went into the duck's pen to clean and there was another bull snake lying in their box. I chased him out and he quickly disappeared like a bull snake should. We went out of town, not getting back till wee hours of night. I went to check on the chickens and close them up for the night. With a flash light, I entered the dark hen house to gather the day's eggs. Right beside a nest, empty, was the same bull snake curled up! I tried to run him out, instead he went in behind the chicken hutches for new chicks. This morning, I had to pull all the nest boxes and hutches out of the hen house to get him out. He had already gone. I now have placed ammonia all around the outside hen house, on the hen house floor and around the outside pens. This should keep him away. Hopefully, I will have eggs to sell if he does not come back! What a naughty boy!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Texas wind and dirt

The wind and the dirt have been non stop and so harsh on the garden and anything outside. The cats are all staying in, and I have not been able to place Hercules, my rabbit, outside. He has been inside of the shed.The chickens can barely hang on to their feathers and the ducks pools are filled with brown dirty water. Wind and dirt have blown from the early morning to late at night with the temperature being in the high 90's. It is like a dirty blow dryer.
This is a shot of the field next to our property at 7:00 a. m.
As you can see, telephone poles in the distance are barely visible.

My garden is hanging on. I stand out in the dirt and wind to water. By the time I am through, I look worse than my scarecrow that has been standing out in bad weather.

The pumpkins leaves are usually vibrant and green, here they are dust covered and show wear from the wind.

A beautiful butterfly has sought refuge on our front porch. Our porch has a layer of sand all over. I wash it each morning along with the swing and pew, and the next morning it is covered again. Today, however, the wind is still and at 8:00 a.m the day is dark with a cloud over us. A hope for long awaited rain.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The rewards of a daily walk

I look forward to taking a walk each day especially now that the weather has gotten warmer and everything has come to life.
I am greeted by the family of barn swallows who come to stay in the same nest and hatch out a new family each year that we have been here. How sweet the babies are!
I am delighted to see that another freesia has bloomed and this time it is in a cheery color of orange and yellow.

This spider has been guarding my flowers for the past few weeks. He is as used to me as I am of him. Just like flowers, I am drawn to the intricate design that spiders, wasps, and other insects have on them. Their jewel like colors are amazing!
My attention is soon directed to the sound of Sophie growling and barking. She has found a beautiful corn snake sunning in the grass. Don't worry, I know which snakes to not pick up. (Although I have been popped on the hand by a coach whip.) Even though they are not venomous, they will still bite. I had to show this colorful one to my sweetie.

Isn't he beautiful? I can just imagine a bead necklace in black and red, with silver spacings. Can't you? Click on the picture to really see his pretty colors.
The wild berries are so pretty this time of year.
The grounds are filled with wildflowers of all colors. The air is filled with their fragrance.

I return home to find Elmo, relaxing in the coolness of the porch. A day full of inspiration. I can't wait to pull out my embroidery floss and start matching colors. Who knows what tomorrow's walk will find?