Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Worm Farmer- Nighttrain Garden's & Worm Farm

I met Kenn White at our local gas station sometime last year.  We struck up a conversation when I saw the the sign on his van indicating he is a worm farmer, something I don't see just any old day.  I took his card but got busy with one thing or another until I ran into him again yesterday, at the same gas station, while he was packing up his flats of home grown peaches while his little dog rested in the shade of a large umbrella next to his table. As it turns out he not only specializes in natural and organic soil amendments but also sells a variety of organically grown produce ranging from vegetables to fruit.

I introduced myself again and we chatted for a while about his peaches, what he feeds his worms and projects he hopes to be involved.  As we discussed the various charitable organizations that might take leftover fresh produce (many only want canned items) we discovered we basically belong to the same church!  Our priest is in charge of two churches, both of which we may (and do) attend.  This  gives us the option of one Saturday night Mass or two times on Sunday morning. 

   He does  not yet have a worm farm website for Nighttrain Gardens and Worm Farm but he did point me in the direction of an article that our local paper had about him and the Eisenia fetida worms he raises- link below to both the article and photo.  

I would love to see more community gardens, a community kitchen for the public to can, dehydrate and bake produce into tasty treats (donating a portion to the food banks),  school gardening projects, and public sustainability projects.  
I think Kenn would be a great fit!  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Little Garden Cart

My little Garden Cart
 Light enough to pull one handed
and fold up flat for convenience
if you want to store it in the garage.

It was a cast off by a former customer
so my husband offered to take it home to me!  Good husband.

It's been out of commission for awhile.
We finally remembered to take measurements
before we left the house to make sure the 
new inner tubes fit!  
And they do.

It is currently filled with sticks and twigs,
leafy branches and thorny roses that I trimmed.
Now when I remember to wear full coverage shoes,
I will take it down to the wood's edge and make
a nice pile that will eventually make its way back 
into the soil.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Rooting Around and Starting Over

It's a bust - we're starting over.
I salvaged some onions and a few green beans
but the big garden was a failure.
We had a wet, sloppy, cold Spring
followed by a sudden burst of the 90's
and no rain.  The garden weeds had grown out 
of control and then amazingly, everything wilted.
The squash bugs are in check but we find we 
have an infestation of what I think are flea beetles
on the squash (acorn, not the pumpkins).
On top of it I've felt terrible for three weeks,
doing better now but I wasn't up to gardening.

There's a  potato peeking through the straw
which is hopefully a good sign that more lie beneath.

So the hubby took to the garden with the tractor 
and the tiller, cutting weeds and mixing in the spent
straw from the coop then we watered it down well.
It's difficult to tell but there are three beds across (one unplanted) 
and one  narrower bed across the bottom of the three. 
This is where we typically have the pumpkins and
additional squash such as zucchini and yellow squash.

There are still some tomatoes which appear to be OK
but the acorn squash is suffering as did the butternut squash.
He mowed down the artichokes that had dried up but 
avoided the sage, zinnias and onions so they are salvageable.

The Fall garden should be much better!
I hope.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Very Close Call

Saved by the Tail.
Don't you hate finding feathers on the porch?

We were seated in the dining room when all of a sudden
there was a huge commotion out on the front porch.
We looked up just in time for my husband 
to see a bird flying away, escaping by the skin of his teeth 
or in this case, by the barbs of his feathers.
You can see what was left behind!

These tufted titmouse birds have either 
no fear or lack any sense.  
I've seen them land right next to the cat 
and once right on me!

The culprit-
Not the black and white one (Spot)
It was Rumbles!
 That was one lucky bird, let's hope it learned a lesson. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Act Casual, Maybe She Won't Notice

Miss Puffy Cheeks! 
What Are You Doing?
Guard duty you claim?
By the way, keep the tail in
I saw the mess on the floor.

Yep, they discovered the lip of the brooder.
Now a bunch jump up and then down,
Up and Down all day long.
So far no one has jumped to the floor.
It's a matter of time.
OOps, spoke too soon!

This was a three weeks ago,
a more innocent time.
It looks like we have one rooster
and the rest are gals.

 Bird tries to keep up
but his feathers are a bit wonky,
I'm not so sure what sort of hairstyle it is
but it's mighty strange.

Out in the coop batch #1 awaits the general population
and batch #2 will go into protective custody.
I should have incubated a month ago!!
Bird will be very lonely until batch #3 hatches.

  Some of the older gang.
    Now that we are down to only one rooster
(aside from the chick)
maybe the hens will grow more feathers back!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bees, Birds & Blooms

I snapped some photos of the flower garden
during our brew day today, an Irish Stout
that I'll be posting on in a day or so.

The  temperatures have been in the 90s
after a very wet Spring so 
now things are looking a bit more like our summers.
The bees are loving all the blooms 
from cone flowers to iron weed and what 
remains of the bee balm and butterfly bush.

We've had yellow butterflies, large and small black ones
that playfully flutter by each other, competing for 
sweet nectar.   Today a hummingbird moth was checking
out the iron weed.

There are bees all over this,
large and small to very teeny tiny.

The chicks also were on the receiving end of 
Brew Day munching on the grains used 
to make the wort.
I didn't hear any complaining from them or the humans
on the other side of the courtyard.

Soon our second batch of chicks will be joining the coop while
the first chick batch is released into the general population.
They have spent the last few weeks in the coop but
sectioned off by chicken wire.  They  squeeze up
next to the older ones (as their roost in also
divided by the wire) so they are used to touching and
being together now. The second batch will go
into the divided area to repeat the process.

I have to hatch a couple more to keep my little Special
Needs chick company since it can't leave the house so 
until someday when it gets big I guess I'll be rotating chicks
in and out of the house!  

More on brew day coming soon.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My New Drug of Choice

I KNOW it's sinful.
I KNOW it's my entire caloric intake for the week.
It's Probably full of stuff that isn't good for me
but I'm weak
And, I love Denny's
I at it ALL

 I had to see the doctor today for my back
which he thinks may be a vertebrae issue  
plus have some regular blood work done
so I hadn't eaten all day and it was nearing lunch time.
Denny's happens to be very close and it wasn't crowded.
This was a featured special.
I did check the rest of the menu items:
salads, sandwiches, etc.
I tried to turn the page, but it called to me,
"Kaaaathy- pick me!!!"

It's two perfect slices of bacon
Two perfectly cooked eggs
Wonderfully crunchy hash browns
and this pancake concoction that I've never seen before-
it had frosting on it.  
FROSTING! The kind that is a cream cheese glaze 
like on turnovers or bunt cakes.
It's not FAIR to offer frosting on pancakes
that also are loaded with blueberries and strawberries
and whipped cream
and syrup.

My waitress, Mary, was wonderful too.
She doted on me.
(I think they feel sorry for lone diners)
My coffee cup never emptied.
She got about a 50% tip.
Waitresses that work that hard to please deserve it.

I ate almost every last bite -- of everything.
 I'm stuffed.

I think I need a 12 step program.
I'm glad Denny's is in the neighboring town!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Who Let That Fairy Godmother In?

Remember my cattle panel squash?
The nice acorn and spaghetti squash that I was 
growing on the side yard?

Well, obviously something is not right here.
Someone let a pumpkin lovin' fairy godmother
into the yard and turned my yummy squashes
into pumpkins- next I'll be overrun with mice!

It's a darned good thing I love pumpkin,
probably a whole lot better than acorn squash
considering all the pies, cookies and cakes 
pumpkin can make.

But how did it happen?
 I didn't grow these from seed
that would have been in the bigger garden.
Were these just volunteers
. . . . . 

Did someone play 
Switch the Tags
at the nursery?


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Roadside Memorials

Little memorials scatter the roadside in and around our community.
 Tender tributes to accident victims, some horribly tragic.
  My first encounter out here was a lone cross with the inscription Moondog.
Then there was the tragic dump truck accident on Hwy 44 
near Six Flags where five family members were killed when
the driver of the truck didn't notice traffic had stopped.

In this accident a carload of teens were killed when
an oncoming vehicle crossed the center line.
They say the parents could only identify their children
by bits of tattoos that survived the fire when the vehicle burst into flames.

 Some are motorcycle accidents,
some may have caused the accident, or not.
It seems there is controversy over allowing these markers 
but for now they exist and serve as a reminder.
Not necessarily to slow down,
or don't drive drunk,
or don't text while driving
 although we should keep that in mind.

It reminds me to say a quick prayer as I drive by
because regardless of what happened
the goal is to get souls to Heaven.
And how many silent prayers do they get from passersby?
 How fortunate that these markers just might 
remind us to send up an extra something for these victims
and their families.

My mother in law told me once that every time you hear
a siren, make sure to say a quick Hail Mary because
you never know how many others are saying one too
and we can use all the help we can get.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cross Beaked Blind Chick Update

Bird is still with us!  
He's (she's) about six or seven weeks old now
but barely larger than the new hatchlings 
which are about three weeks old now.

For those that are not familiar with Bird,
I found him at a farm supply store and took him home
since he was unable to compete with the normally formed birds.
He is missing an eye- maybe it never formed,
his skull is deformed, bill crossed and 
feathers are developing strangely and
sparse or completely missing in places.  
He has frequent seizures where it hurls itself backwards
almost collapsing into himself and shakes his head
until he comes out of it. Sometimes it helps to hold
him tightly and call out to him.
The one eye that he has is blind so he needs a lot of help.

He eats in a small tub, pecking until he has his fill
(actually we don't know if it's a he or she) .
I have to give him water with an eye dropper
because even though he is able to drink a bit
out of the regular water container he has 
trouble finding it due to being blind plus
whatever is affecting his brain makes things difficult
for him.  I know he may look somewhat gruesome
but he is just adorable as I hold him and he
reaches up his head for water drops.

Since he can hear, I am trying to train him 
to know that when I say "Drink" that means to
expect water to drip into his beak. I know 
he still wants more if he sticks out his little tongue
and he's finished when he shakes his head.

While I was on vacation I stopped at the vet and
he showed me how to trim the beak when it gets too long
plus how to stop the bleeding if we accidentally nick the
blood vessel. A coating of flour will work or
anything to clot the blood.  He was the hit 
of the office, everyone stopped what they were 
doing to see why a chicken was a patient
and when they laid eyes on him, they got even
more interested.  The most interested ones were
the patients- the feline variety.  Boy did their eyes get 
big watching my chicken chirping and hopping in 
his clear plastic tubby!

You can see he is missing the other eye completely.

The vet said the chick could live for quite some time
since it's been getting good care.  He may become a house chicken
which would be OK since we have no other inside animals
and if he remains small I can easily keep him contained.

He needs company though. I will need to hatch a couple more
eggs so he has some.  The last batch must have imprinted
on him since they think he is their mother.  It's funny how
they run to him and hide beneath what little wings he has.
I'm sure he'd be lonely in a tub all day long without anyone else.  

Well there's the update.
 I've been a little under the weather so posting is minimal 
but I hope everything is going well for you all.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quick Shake

Want a quick shake without a blender?
This is my version- a little rough but pretty good.
I've been on a liquid diet for the last week
due to another bout of diverticulitis
so I wasn't in much shape to haul out the
blender and then clean up the mess
so I put a couple of soft scoops of ice cream in a glass
added milk and syrup

Stirred it up a little using some chopping motions

and it wasn't bad!   A nice change from 
jello, pudding and broth plus
I could make just a tiny bit.
Not the perfect shake but perfect for this situation.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Squash Babies

Squash babies!
These are my cattle panel trained vines
and so far, very few squash bugs
nothing like the ones that trail on the ground.

Although our weather can only be called Wet,
we are trying to keep at least part of the garden 
going with squash and tomatoes doing well.
I don't know what happened to the cukes
unless it was just too wet and cool.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rooster Tales- No Longer King of the Coop

What goes around comes around.
That's all that you can say, someone had to win.
In this case, Mr. King of the Coop
is now Mr. Where's My Tail?

If you'd been nicer, maybe Rooster the Younger
wouldn't have hit his breaking point.
Maybe he wouldn't have done whatever he did
to break your spirit.
Now you hide in the coop beneath the nesting boxes,
head to the wall.  It's so pathetic.
I shouldn't feel sorry for you,
I witnessed how you treated the young guy.
Now the girls are his and you have your corner.
I'll throw you some treats out of pity.

The newbies are watching all of this too.
(Where did the white one come from??? 
I don't have white chickens.)

 The problem of having two roosters -
We kept the younger one because the older one was never fertile 
or so we thought.  We seem to have a chick in each batch
that isn't completely a buff so who knows!
The older one is was a bully.  He ruled the yard, the younger ruled the coop
but then something terrible must have happened.

The older one is completely broken. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Creepy Tree

 It watches, 
smack dab in front of the house
with it's creepy eyebrows, 
stubby nose,
corkscrew tongue and
twisted hands.

They think I'm crazy, but just watch-
see the photo below.

The two top lines are it's pinched, evil eyebrows.
The second line it the pointy nose.
Then just a little lower down by the bent line,
the tongue twists out of its mouth, 
corkscrewing around
above its reaching arms
ready to grab an unsuspecting passerby 
at night
in the dark.

Maybe I read a little too much Grimm's Fairy Tales
when I was a kid,
Maybe too many scary stories around the campfire.
  I want it cut down.
It's creepy.