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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Does reading your daily newspaper, with all of it's bad news,

shocking stories, 
and predictions of doom and gloom............

leave you feeling like this??
Do you feel like you just want to tear up the whole paper and not read it again until something good comes from it??

Well, you can do just that!!
That's right, after reading your daily horror story, simply shred or tear that paper up...............every page............into nice little shreds.

Take it all and mix it with  a wheel barrel full of leaves and weeds from the grounds.................

add a good amount of donations from your horse,

chickens or what ever other kind of barnyard friend you have................

work and look like this...........it's important to enjoy the process..............

and by the end of the season...........
you will look like this!!!
Now,  I hope I have cheered you up and taken you away from your daily dose of drama...........
here are some wonderful tips on composting and the benefits of working it into your garden grounds.
The first important ingredient for any good garden is good soil.
Building your soil from using organic matter for compost, instead of chemical methods, is a sure way of gaining garden success.
Chemical fertilizers quickly boost the soil activity but it is only a quick fix..........not to last.
Your plants will respond by having quick growth but as soon as they use up the fertilizer, their growth is over. So you have to keep buying expensive chemicals to add to the plant. In the long run, the chemical fertilizer reduces the soil's viability because it winds up killing the important microorganisms that live in the soil and make it healthy. When you feed the soil with organic matter, you are feeding the microorganisms as well.
Organic matter is stuff that once was alive.
Newspapers, cardboard, manure, straw, leaves, weeds from your grounds, potato peelings, vegetable peelings,  coffee grounds, and egg shells are all good ingredients for organic compost.
The 4 important ingredients for compost are:
Green material
Brown material
The best way to get compost to decay and to turn into a rich matter to add to your garden is by having a balance of
1 part green material
4 parts brown material.
A moist compost pile rots faster than a dry one. So sprinkle water onto  the pile........do not saturate.......
and then give the pile air by tossing or rotating it every week.
I often run my garden tiller over the pile............this adds dirt and really breaks up all of the various materials in the pile.
How about you?
Do you compost ?
Have you had wonderful results from doing so?
I would love to hear!

Friday, January 25, 2013

There are several flower beds

surrounding the house and along the grounds
and already some things growing in them are starting to awaken and sprout.
I love cheery daffodils and I cant wait to see these blossom!
Although it looks a little ragged, green leaves are starting to appear on this Italian Jasmine,

as well as it's buds and small yellow flowers. I rescued this plant from a death of a paved lot being made in town and transplanted it out to here in the country. It has flourished.

Now is the time that the chickens will not be allowed to roam the grounds freely any longer. They love to dig in the beds and can destroy the growth starting to sprout

and they have been venturing off into the woods to lay their eggs. This has started to bring coyotes up into the grounds, risking the flock's safety. So it's time for the chickens to stay in their own penned yard.

This year I am focusing on the flower beds close to the house.
One in particular has this wonderful piece of vintage fence in it. It is just a short piece, but is wonderful for growing vines.  One side of the fence gets morning sun and stays shaded during the heat of the day, because of an old mesquite tree growing next to it. This side is perfect for  Morning Glory.

The other side I have placed bags of fertilized soil along. The ground is covered in grass that is hard to get rid of, and I hope the bag gardening will work.  This side gets a lot of sun during the day. It will be perfect for Zinnia, Marigold, and other blooming flowers.
There is a flower bed that runs up to and along side of a shed on the grounds. This bed is shaded during most of the day, and I always find this the most challenging.  I have not decided on which plants I want there, but will do research on the best for shade.

An  arch way is at the front of this space and I already have a young Wisteria  planted beside it,  which I am hoping that it will grow and climb.

The old twisted mesquite tree makes a great growing support for Ivy that I hope will grow up and along it.  It all looks very bare and un- impressive at this time.............

However, with the help of the computer...........for right now,
I hope it will look this colorful by the time summer has arrived.
How about you?
Have you any spaces that are both perfect and challenging for growing?
What do you like best for shade?
I would love to hear!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A mouth watering southwest meal........cooked TEX-MEX style

is how I love to cook!

As most of you know, I have a cooking blog. But sometimes, you might forget and miss a really great recipe. I wanted to tell you about this recipe, because it is a crowd pleaser!
Tex-Mex is a combination of Mexican cooking along with the common foods that I am accustomed to in my region. It is full of flavors of chili powder, cumin, tortillas, and peppers of all kinds.
This recipe is called Siesta Roast and Beans, because you sleep while it is cooking.
It is full of flavor and oh so good! It can be served in hot corn or flour tortillas........
Or made into Flautas.
The recipe and easy instructions are on my cooking blog
Just click onto
If you want a delicious meal all ready when you come home from church , especially with a few guests.........this is a winner!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's time for all of those seed catalogs to start filling

your mail box and your heart and mind with all kinds of garden ideas!
(front cover)
One of my most favorite catalogs and one that I collect just too look at from time to time is 
R H Shumway's Seeds. The catalog is like receiving an art book in the mail.
(back cover)
The front and back cover always has the most beautiful drawn and colored pictures on them.......
The inside is full of wonderful illustrated drawings of fruits and vegetables in the most delightful way!

There is such a rich history in R H Shumway Seed Company and I thought you might enjoy reading a little about it.
R. H. Shumway is the name of both a mail-order seed company, one time the largest in the world, and its founder Roland H. Shumway, most popularly known as R. H. Shumway "The Pioneer Seedsman
Shumway was born July 26, 1842 at his family farm in Kishwaukee, Illinois. By 1881, his company was expanding so the company relocated to South First street in order to accommodate larger facilities. By his death in 1925, it was the largest in the world, shipping 200,000 catalogues per year

Shumway died in Rockford on the evening of December 30, 1925 from injuries suffered after being hit by an automobile three days prior. After his death, his son Myron Shumway assumed responsibilities of the company. M. Raymond "Ray" Shumway ran the large mail-order business until he died of heart disease on March 16, 1933

In the 1980s the rights to the name were purchased and, after some effort to publicly rediscover the lines of seeds once carried, began operation, continuing to this day.
Today the R.H. Seed Company name belongs to J W Jung Seed Company.
R. H. Seed Company, as always, has maintained the same guarantee: No genetically modified seed or plants are knowingly sold by Shumway. They are defined as mechanical transfer of genetic material between genera, families or kingdoms. R. H. Seed Company sells vegetable seeds and flower seeds including many old-time and heirloom varieties
So tell me.............what is your favorite seed catalog or company?
Do you like flower seed best or vegetable?.........or perhaps both?
I would love to hear!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A new day begins

and the sun looks as if it is setting the world on fire as it rises in the early morning sky.

The rooster crows and looks over his flock 

of fluffy hens............who are busy scratching and pecking.

Sophie hears the coyotes howling..............

along with the wind as it blows through the still and dry woods...........

so still and dry and........................ thorny.

A woodpecker braces itself against the other side of a tree, hoping it will be blocked from the cold wind.,

while a meadow lark checks out the feeder............

which this whimsical cardinal has pretty much cleaned out.

All of this fluttering and pecking has not escaped the farm cats...........
Boo..........who sits very still, watching..............hoping the birds wont see her.

Abbey watches Boo............knowing it must be something good she is watching.

While Salem is busy watching a mouse scurry across the front porch.

Only Zelda is content to stay in the warmth of the shed and wait for a bowl of food to be brought to her.

And before you know it...................the day has past and the rooster once again crows to alert 

his fluffy flock to start heading to the hen house before night falls.

The doves begin to gather seed and the late afternoon is filled with their cooing .

The late afternoon sky is full of color..........soft blues and pinks.............mixed with vibrant yellow.
Another day is done, 
as well as another  week.
I am always amazed at how fast time really passes by us.......aren't you?

Monday, January 7, 2013

The holiday season is over, but I am sure that many of you

still have a pretty poinsettia plant in your home.
I have a beautiful pink one this year. I have still not accomplished keeping one alive. I made it to April last year.
I have been letting this one sit out in the coolness of the front porch on calm days.
I always thought that it is because of the hot Texas climate why I cant seem to keep one alive, however, I have been handed down some wonderful advice on keeping these plants alive.........even in harsh environments.
To keep your plant cool and happy............place about 3 to 4 ice cubes on top of the soil of the potted plant. Continue to do this every day. When the cold season passes and the weather gets hot, transplant your poinsettia outside in a cool shady spot. Keeping it moist when needed.  I am told it will live or come back up when the cold weather returns.
I have been using the ice cubes every day and my plant is vibrant. I am not placing it into the ground because I have too many rodents that will dig it up. Instead, I am placing it into a container and then placing it into a cool shady spot when winter is over.
I hope this will work.
Along the grounds I still have pansies blooming, although the temperature has dipped down to 19 degrees.
Other plants like the Stock flower, Italian Jasmine and Larkspur
are starting to bud and bloom.
Here are a few garden tips for the month of January, that I hope you may find  helpful in your winter garden.
Use this month to check your houseplants: divide and re-pot any pot-bound plants.

Plan your garden and make a diagram drawn to scale before placing your spring order.

Organize, clean, oil, and sharpen garden tools. A splash of bright paint on tool handles will make them easier to spot out in the yard

Prune fruit trees now. The prunes can be gathered up into bundles to be used for kindling after they’ve dried.

Order seed catalogs early in the month. Research plants. Consider edible varieties that are drought-tolerant or disease-resistant.

Start ordering seeds. Do not wait until late in the winter, as varieties may sell out early.

Fertilize your houseplants with a water-soluble fertilizer and remember to water them.

Remember to wash and sterilize seed-starting containers before planting seeds. Use 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

If you want to give your vegetables an early start, use season-extending devices such as cold frames or hot beds
How about you?
Are you successful in keeping poinsettias alive and growing?
Are you looking forward to a  spring garden even though it is freezing outside?
I would love to hear!