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Posts from the ‘Garden’ Category

Cherries and Tomatoes

Several years ago I discovered Ranier Cherries—they are a lovely golden reddish cherry made for eating fresh from the bag. I have shared them with co-workers and friends–all of whom went out and bought some as well. Last year I was disappointed to never find any although I looked diligently each week.

But this year they are back–and I am enjoying a full bag of them–and hope there will be more this week.

my20favorite20cherries-mAnd for the big news—after two terribly unsuccessful years in the garden–my raised beds were over-run with grass and I switched to stock tanks filled with rocks and soil—I have my first crop of tomatoes. There are a few more and I have a cucumber vine growing contentedly as well—so hopefully I will have more fresh produce.

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Japanese Magnolia

Magnolia blooms have a lovely fragrance that greets you whenever you walk out the door this time of year. This tree is near the front door of my shop and has huge dinner plate size blooms that last just one day. The magnolia in my backyard blooms last several days but are too high up for my to photo; I usually photo my neighbor’s tree–they seem to be accustomed to my odd  wanderings about in their yard.

Several years ago, I spied hummingbirds in my neighbor’s yard and stood for over an hour looking like a peeping tom with my camera trained on their backyard. Fortunately they just laugh and tell me to just come into the yard for better photos.magnolia20bud202-m

Pink Lilies and Green Figs

img_5807-mThe sun is shining but it is still a relatively cool 79 degrees this morning. Humidity is drastically lower than the 94% it was on Saturday and the world seems right again.

Today I put another box on my chicken yard bee hive–the bees much better behaved today than the previous day but the deep box is clearly full and the bees needed more room. I found two hive beetles and scraped away at the inner cover which had been stuck to the telescoping lid. A few bees were hanging around outside the hive after I finished—so felt a success. I did not inspect the hive–figuring disturbing them twice in less than a week was not a good idea.

Then out to the front yard to check out the lilies. I bought a small pot several years ago at our local Master Gardener’s sale–and we have split it at least once–but now it needs to be split again. The blooms are huge and many.

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The fig tree is doing its best but I have yet to find ripe figs on it. I would guess the blue jay or the pigeons get to them before I do. This fig is hard; definitely not ripe.

And here is a glimpse of my neighborhood

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Rain, Rain Go Away

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We did need rain but now my backyard is a lake; my pond is full to overflowing and the wheelbarrow we had been using to mix mortar for the pond and left standing in functional position was full. Toads are busy making little toads, the birds are all hiding, and the dogs are beside themselves. Toby runs to the edge of the driveway to bark at the thunder, then to the pond to bark at the toads and this morning during a brief interlude of hopeful sunshine at the birds who were thrilled the rain had stopped.

But now it is raining again. I don’t have rubber boots to get out into my truck parked in the driveway–the ankle high boots I do have will not be enough.

Off to Tractor Supply to get some mucking out barn boots, then to the post office to mail the bills I worked on yesterday and the donation to SAQA—photo of it tomorrow.

Another day to stare out the window and wish for sunshine so I can add a super to my chicken yard bees.

Chicky Fluff

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I had to work this past weekend–it involved a long drive on Friday and returning on Sunday. I loaded up their feeder, filled the watering bucket half full, changed the paper in the crate and left them on their own–the dogs were kenneled–otherwise I’m sure I would have no worries about chickens in the future.

When I arrived home early Sunday afternoon, they still had food and water–but there was fuzzy fluff everywhere–and these little chickies no longer had down—anywhere—just feathers. I took them outside in the crate and let them wander around on the grass—in the crate–they don’t really come when they are called–quite yet. Changed their paper, refilled feeder and water—and then put a handful of grass and some sand in the crate–they still yell….the sky is falling but then they take one look at that grass and dive right in.

Tomorrow they are graduating to their coop====before I retrieve the dogs from their vacation at the kennel.

Chick a Boom

For some reason I wanted to have backyard chickens. Maybe it was the idea of eggs with nice really yellow yolks or maybe it was just wanting more livestock and a reason to not travel so much. But after we built the chicken coop–we needed to populate it.

Off to Tractor Supply.

There were five or six chicken varieties there including banties–my favorite but Glen wanted larger eggs. So we got four leghorns and two Cornish reds or maybe they were Wyandottes–or maybe that is the same.

The clerk asked me if I wanted any particular ones. I said no–and he just chased them around until he captured the requested number and put them in a cardboard box. I thought we could keep them in one of the dog crates we have–not sure why we had two different sizes. It is still a bit cool in the evenings and so we set them up in the dining room with a watering device and a chick feeder.

Then Toby had to see. She stared at those little chicks–who all screamed–the sky is falling!

We decided the coop would not resist a dog intrigued by these little creatures and so off we went to Tractor Supply again—after going to Cars and Coffee—where I TOUCHED a McLaren–a quarter of a million dollar car—I don’t think I left any fingerprints.

Putting in TPosts is a lot easier with a post driver–but that was at the shop—so Glen went to the shop and collected the driver—we put up a few until I was eaten up by tiny mosquitoes and retreated to the house.

Today I had to clean the dog crate–they all screamed the sky is falling and then WE ARE STARVING!!!!. They now have a clean crate, clean water, and a quarter jar of chicken feed that they dove into.

And if anyone is interested—I photoshopped out the poopie.

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Men do read directions

This is photographic evidence with no photoshopping or other alterations of a man reading directions.

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It was a simple project—buy the kit at Tractor Supply–I had been looking for months, reading, consulting a friend, and trying to remember the ins and outs from my childhood–albeit a few years ago–and in a different climate. This kit was on sale–the company no longer making them–and it seemed sturdy.

I hauled it home in the bed of my F250; Glen backed my truck into the backyard, we used a rope around the end of it to pull it out–it weight 160 pounds a bit more than the neurosurgeon would advise me lifting.

img_5204-mWe pulled out the pieces–hunting for the directions–hoping it was originally written in English, not Chinese and then translated to English.

but it was a diagram with numbers. img_5203-m

So now I have a chicken coop with a small enclosed pen. Toby refused to go in carefully keeping her feet outside the doors.img_5208-m

Maybe some chicks this week.

Pink Snow

pink20snow-mSnow in this part of Texas doesn’t last long—thank goodness for this Yankee who admires it greatly in photographs and for maybe a week or two—but shoveling sidewalks before going to work/school each morning, stocking up for blizzards–this was okay as long as we had electricity and heat–but not so much fun when you had to go to school on Saturday to make up the lost days–and then the mud in the spring.

Snow here means treacherous driving as people here do not understand a light foot on the gas pedal is essential. And it seems that every time we have had snow we have had a significant hurricane.

But Pink Snow—it lasts just a couple of days and presents no driving hazards–just a bit of sadness as the season of the azalea flowers is coming to an end.

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Azalea

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This time of year always seems to surprise us–it seems much too early for our yards to be in full bloom. I have three colors of azaleas, white, salmon, and pink.

Satsuma and lemon trees promise a lot of fruit—but my poor peach tree did not survive last summer.

Busy Bees

img_4848-mTwo weeks ago we split my one hive–it had several queen cells on one frame. There weren’t a lot of things in bloom and so we added four frames of honey to feed them until they could start feeding themselves.

But that means I will need more supers–places to store honey–and maybe even another one or two hive bodies if I need to split again. Splitting is supposed to reduce varroa mite infestation and also to reinvigorate a hive by the growing of a new queen–and hopefully preventing swarming. As the initial hive was a captured swarm–we were more than a bit concerned.

So I ordered unassembled hive bodies, an extra super, and a nuc (a baby hive). And we put them together Sunday morning. Not a bad job–although I had glue all over my fingers and hands. After they dry, I’ll put the foundations in and take them out to the shop to live in the shed until we need them for the hive. I”m hoping for a bumper crop of honey this summer.IMG_4847-M.jpgimg_4847-m