"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, October 15, 2019

A time of busy work.........and then, a time for slowing down..........

..the past few days have been full of work for my husband and I. As you know, I have a small group of tiny chickens..........which I adore. However, when winter starts up.........it is quite an ordeal to move them back and forth from their enclosed kennel and into the big hen house so that they will stay warm on freezing nights.
 Because I can't let them run out in the chicken yard without cover, a hawk can get them and they can get out of the chicken yard fence...........winter comes, and I move them all into the big hen house.......
trying to keep them in and trying  to keep that heavy hen house  door closed without them getting out on me,..........it is a struggle. 
  So one early morning, it was "chicken coop day". My husband and I started to work........stopping only for me to make some lunch, then back out to work...........we finally finished just ......before 5 pm.  We were exhausted.  We took off one panel of the kennel and it slipped perfectly over the hen house.  Then we had to put on the new tarp and cover it all with chicken wire to keep hawks and predators out.
  Now I don't have to chase chickens or usher them into a carrier and haul them into the hen house. They can enjoy their day and go to roost by themselves.

The next day,  I spent re potting plants and large cactus in my collections........and then transporting them all to the greenhouse. I am not as fearless as Ruth Bancroft ( a cactus garden designer I admire). She planted her various collections in the ground to see what would survive through the year........I want to keep  my unique collection a while in the greenhouse.  I did all of this just in time to protect them from the cold front that headed our way that afternoon.  It got down to 35 degrees  the next morning........but then warmed up to the 80s the rest of the week. This is so typical of Texas.  We have a lot of ups and downs before the snow flies.
I dug up some of my rose moss and it is doing so well and is so pretty to see 
in the greenhouse

I also have potted zinnia blooming


As well as my soap aloe.

And my tomato plant is blooming and has small green tomatoes
on it!  It was so worth the effort to move everything!

The next day, my husband trimmed all of the dead limbs from the
mesquite trees that grow around the yard and driveway.
After he cut it all into nice size pieces, we both loaded it and 
stacked it for use in the fireplaces when the weather gets cold
With all of the cooler days and balmy weather, many 
of the outside plants are blooming beautifully.
The rose moss, as I earlier mentioned is so thick at this time.

The wild Prairie Aster that starts in spring, lasts all 
the way through October. 

The 4 o'clock always has sweet smelling blossoms.

The morning glory always blooms better at this time of year.

I love the way the morning glory looks even when it has closed for the day!

The moon flower.....(Jimson weed)
has a sweet scent and so lovely!

my wonderful, sturdy Lantana is also in full bloom.

Which is wonderful because at this time, the Monarch 
butterflies have migrated to our grounds for just a few days.
These flowers will help nourish them and help them along their
way to Mexico. 

There will always be some kind of work to do here........
whether it is autumn or any other season.........
but for now.......
we take an enjoyment from the work of 
the wood gathering and 
sit out and enjoy a late afternoon fire as the 
day goes to slumber.
How about you?
Any snow yet?  What is hanging on in your back yard?
I would love to hear!


Monday, September 23, 2019

Autumn,

 gorgeous in yellow and red,
Is the harvest time, when man is led
To garner the fruits of sweat and toil
From dear Mother Earth, the deep rich soil...
Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "The Four Seasons" (1940s)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

It is getting dark a little earlier,

and the nights and early mornings have a welcomed chill to them.
A balmy and cooler breeze blows.

The cheery little wildflowers that dotted the landscape have dried and lost their color, 
the wild grasses and other flowers are dry and brittle.

Everything is tired, weary, and ready for the ending days of summer.

Some of the flowers in my gardens are feeling much better with the cooler days
and are still blooming.  The morning glory seems to 
do so much better when fall time arrives. 

The tolerant Mexican petunia is still green and vibrant and still blooming
it's lovely purple blossoms. 

I am already in the mood for "everything pumpkin" 
I have pulled some of my favorite fall food recipes and getting ready for my kitchen to fill with the aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger.
How about you??  Are you ready for summer's end?
Are you already gathering fall decorations to display?
I would love to hear!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The "watering hole" ....

which is really a large tray that I fill with fresh water 
for the wildlife to drink from, 

has been getting the attention of many
colorful and .....most often.....
hard to see visitors.  The wild birds......all in 
beautiful colors, shapes and sizes stay continually
in and around the water, enjoying baths and an escape 
from the harsh high temps we have been having lately.

Even the shy and standoffish bobcat that usually only comes
around in the late, late, evening, has been visiting
in the early day for a relief drink.  As you can see from 
the photo above, it is panting in the 104 heat of the day.  

Underneath the watering tray......there is a little
world......living in the damp coolness and unseen
from the eyes of predators. Hundreds of Pill bugs
are always abundant, but, for these past 6 weeks, 
this young Tiger Salamander has been calling this 
spot it's home


I am surprised to see it.......everyday.......because the salamanders
that I have seen here in the past, usually only come out at night
after a heavy rain. I have only seen them twice in all the years 
we have lived here.  I change the water every day........and 
this salamander was only about 1 1/2 inches long when I first discovered it.

It is quickly growing and is now almost 3 inches long. Salamanders
are very friendly and do not mind to be picked up.  I just wonder how much
longer it will stay and if I will see it when the cold winter arrives. 

Also living underneath the water tray are several baby bullfrogs.
It always amazes me to see bullfrogs here when we hardly 
have any rain or any ponds nearby.  These are not the rain toads 
that we also have an abundance of.  These will grow to be very large with
spots and good jumping legs. 
I spend the early mornings watering what flowers and plants that are
still hanging on in this heat.  The rest of the day, I spend
inside.......grateful for air conditioning and keep my fingers busy with 
my stitching. 
Summer is almost over, however.......
what has your summer been like?
Have you traveled?  Have you had guests?
Have you raised a garden?
What kind of creatures have taken sanctuary in your backyard?
I would love to hear!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Off in the distance, across the thirsty fields

the sound of thunder comes from a cloud that 
looks like fluffy meringue.

The hot, humid, wind suddenly cools and carries
the fragrance of fresh rain.......

then.... one large cold drop......and one after another, 
chases Sophie and I indoors. 
The drops steadily forming into 
bubbling puddles of relief for 
the hot baked earth, 

bringing life in all forms to the tired and weary gardens.

Although we have not had the terrible swarms of grasshoppers as
those that have hit Las Vegas, 
we do have problematic grasshoppers in an abundance this year.
 Our scattered friends throughout the country have them as well.  
The grasshoppers are quite large and can strip one plant in minutes. 
They also bite.........not hard.....but enough to say "let go of me!"
How do I know this, you might ask?
...while trying to make the one in the photo above to stay still and pose
for the picture
.......it clamped down on my finger. 
(photo session ended quickly)

Can you imagine how terrible it would be to have
grasshoppers as large as the one in the photo above?
I found this photo on the internet......and the short
history on it......swears the photo is true.
For those of you who live in Montana......maybe you can vouch it's 
authenticity.......
Supposedly, a farmer in 1937 Montana created
a growing potion for his orchards .
The grasshoppers ate his orchards or got sprayed 
and grew to be this large..........
True.......false?
What do you think?

Monday, July 8, 2019

The summer night......

is like a perfection of thought. 
Wallace Stevens


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hot summer days are here.............

and I have only worked in my garden in the early morning are very late afternoon.
Every plant looks fresh and happy in the early morning

and everything has blooms..........
but by mid afternoon
every plant looks wilted and tired. 
The heat has been up to the 100s on some days........
yet, every thing seems to survive it all
I have even been able to enjoy a plate or two of fried green 
tomatoes from my tomato vine!  No one else in my family cares for fried green tomatoes...........for me there is nothing better......
don't  you agree? 

My little group of tiny chickens......seem to not mind the heat as much.
They have plenty water and shade..........
yet, I am still surprised at how they enjoy running and chasing after bugs and such
when the days are so hot and muggy. 
So when the heat is just too unbearable, I spend my time with my needle.
I finally finished a luncheon cloth and napkin set that I have been working on for months.
I designed it to match some of my vintage dishware in my shop.
You can see more photos and read about this on my embroidery blog at this link

I also went through some old recipes and decided to make a 30 Day Friendship 
Fruitcake..........yes, it does take 30 days...........but so worth the effort! 
To get the recipe and to read the story about this cake you can visit my cooking blog at this link
So how is the temperature in your back yard?  Are  you growing a garden or creating something with your hands? I would love to hear!

Monday, June 17, 2019

There is something in the nature of silence which affects me deeply.......

Why it is I know not; but I do know that I love to be alone at such an hour as this. I love to forget the outward world and hold communion with the beings of the mind. 
Charles Lanman, "Musings," 1840


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Early one morning, while outside,

enjoying the quietness and beauty...............
I watched, with intrigue, a rabbit........
dashing, back and forth, with something
in it's mouth

I quietly got closer and could see it was gathering strings of weed and grass.



Mouthful after mouthful, several times, until it finally stopped
over the place it was carrying the assortment.

Later in the day, I quietly snuck up to the place where the rabbit
had been placing the weeds, to discover a small nest
it had made for itself underneath a group of wildflowers. 

Weeks have passed, and yesterday I went once again, to check
and was wonderfully surprised to see a nest of baby rabbits.

A couple of weeks ago, we had non stop harsh 
wind and dirt blowing for days. 

The dirt covered everything in sight and it took me 
days to rinse it all off.   Just something that 
is a "normal" here in Texas.
We have been getting an unusual amount of rain now, 
and the change from dirt to moisture is wonderful.

I have decided to try container gardening this year. 
So far, the containers have proven less work with weeding 
and less attacks from pests.
Although at the moment, my garden looks pretty slim, 
If you look a little closer.........
you will find, .............


There are cucumbers, 

okra,

carrots,

tomatoes, 

which,  are already showing much goodness!

The lemon trees are starting to produce lemons.

I also planted gourds in a container to run up along the fence. 

The only thing I have in the ground is pumpkins.

My little pomegranate tree/bush is starting to leaf out well. 

My garden is in the far corner of the back yard and close enough to where 
I can happily
sit out and look upon it

Across from it is my greenhouse,

and to the side ,is the wonderful wild woods.

One of the pretty flowers that is currently blooming ,is 
the lantana bush.  I love it's clusters of pink and yellow flowers. 

This year I have a few that have grown up and done well. 
One in the back patio,

one in the front of the greenhouse, 

and one in the side greenhouse garden, 

and one very large one out in the front entry way. 
and all over the grounds.............where there is still remaining paddle cactus,
the blooms are brilliant in the bright sunshine........
June is here.........
It is the month of June, 
The month of leaves and roses, 
When pleasant sights salute the eyes 
and pleasant scents the noses.
Nathaniel Parker Willis

Wishing you calm and happy days !