Sunday, July 26, 2015

An Unwelcome Visitor

It was completely destroyed, ravaged right under our noses.
For the second time.

Now anyone who reads this blog knows that I Love the
little woodland critters.  We have regular visits from raccoon,
opossum, birds and even skunks!  They all get their little treats,
of left over cat food, older eggs, dinner scraps and 
at times some nice conversation, although a bit one sided.

This; however, takes the cake.
Or the coleus, to be more exact.

The culprit?
Based on the late night vocalizations and recent roadside carcasses, 
the Armadillo!

I was sitting with the cats and a juvenile raccoon yesterday, 
everyone enjoying a bite or two on the covered porch,
when we heard a screetchy scream,
then another and one more.
The cats and raccoon stopped in their tracks, 
ears up and heads turned in the direction of the scream.

Oh oh, I thought, I'll bet that's one of them now.
Sure enough, this morning my planted pots were dug up again.
It got 5 of them last time.

What might an armadillo do?
Dig holes in your yard 1-3 inches deep
Uproot plants
Damage underground pipes and wires
Cracking sidewalks and building foundations
Their burrows attract other tunneling animals
and could lead to foundation cracking.

We cannot have this

How does one get rid of an armadillo?
According to one site:  good luck.

According to another: get rid of brush and woodpiles
(we have 5 acres full of brush piles)

Other methods are to trap them (and then what?),
fence the yard (5 acres?)
remove grubs and insects (laughing).

We'll see if it sticks around or if it follows the path of 
most of the armadillo we see around here.
It might be interesting to actually see a live one!

If you have any suggestions- send them my way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Do You Like Them Eggs

How Do You Like Them Apples Eggs?

It's no wonder that laying time sounds like
total mayhem in the coop!
Would you look at the size of that egg?
It won't even fit in the egg carton. 

The girls are astounded!

Maybe it's a double yolk?
We'll have to wait and see, we eat the oldest eggs first. 

Poor girls!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Few Hot Days in the Garden

A few hot days in the garden normally would result in some
great progress; however, with the weather being so fickle this
season, the vegetables just don't know what to do.  The 
tomato was growing well during the rains but not turning red.
Then when the rains stopped, the temps jumped to 100
which was equally as bad.  I have dead leaves and only a couple
of ripe tomatoes.  Hopefully they will turn before the entire plant dies.

The tomato tower is great but bugs found the horseradish.
That might be OK since I'm after the root.  I would have thought
the leaves would be bitter or hot and not too attractive to bugs.

A few green peppers have developed, they are
supposed to turn red so not picking them yet.

The square foot garden up at my in-laws's house is doing much 
better but it also has better exposure and ground.  We did not
plant up there this year but maybe we should have.
Lots of beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

I'll plant a fall crop, in fact I am going through my seeds now.
My leg and foot are still bothering me so I"ll keep it to a minimum.
I'll see what the Doc says next week, maybe it is just horrible
arthritis with the huge amount of continual rains we have had.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bees Everywhere

We have had an abundance of bees this year, even the 
news stations have commented on it.  The amazing thing
is that they are so docile around us to the point of moving
aside so we can tend to the flowers.  Sometimes they hover
just in front of your head as if they are just checking out
what you are up to.

I think they are carpenter bees. 

And they are everywhere on the flowers.
The cone flowers really draw them plus the hosta blooms 
and of course the bee balm which you can see here in the background.
I do find them asleep on the flowers on occasion, thinking they died but
later they are gone so our nectar must be pretty good stuff!

We don't see carpenter bee damage, maybe on the very edges of the 
deck but nothing major anywhere.  I have to say I truly enjoy
watching them, especially since they don't mind me getting close
and taking photos of them.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

All The Fruit I'll Never Eat And One I Will

The blackberries have done well this year with all the rain.
They used to line our road, huge fines with giant berries
that you could fill your freezer with after making jelly or sorbet.
Then the developer sprayed them! 
I suppose that they were trying to clean up the lots so they 
were more attractive, not thinking that anyone moving
out in this area would probably rather have the berries than
a manicured lawn.  They just never recovered.
Some started popping up in our yards and this year was a good one.

Except. . .  I can't eat seeds anymore and all the cute and adorable
animals I love to watch plus the birds that visit me on the porch
all love blackberries.  We were not proactive enough
to pick and freeze until we had enough so I'll not eat these.

The peaches are plentiful this year as well, small but nice.
The fronts are nice and peachy color but the backs are green.
With this couple days of hot weather they are getting nicer 
but like last year I know I'll walk out one morning and find
the tree bare!  One night branches are hanging heavy with 
fruit, the next day- nothing.  Will I get to eat these?  Maybe
but not keeping my hopes up.  With my leg and foot still acting
up I am not walking up to the tree much so the deer and raccoon
will likely get these too.

Here's another little bunch of berries at the wood line.

The ones I planted are doing well too and next year should
be producing more and better. 

I also have to get a mate for my elderberry.  
I am looking for a Wyldwood for my Bob Gordon.

I did get a couple of my plums but they mostly had worms.
I don't want to spray them since the bees were all over it
this year, hundreds of large down to teeny tiny ones you could
barely see along with strange fluffy flies and the moths
that probably laid the worm eggs.

I did get to taste my fig!
It was overly ripe, sweet and gooey.
I can't really eat it due to the seeds
(I know, why do I plant seedy things when I can't eat seeds?).
Do you see the baby fig above and to the left of the ripe one?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Skunk Meets Raccoon

We have a cute little lady skunk (I think) that visits us
on a regular basis.  I can identify her as she has a pronounced limp.
She's very calm and doesn't seem to care if we walk out the door
and right by her.  It seems that skunks are non aggressive as long
as they are not startled; however, when they are threatened,
well . . .  you know the rest.

This is Mama raccoon, a lactating female that has also decided
to adopt us, cleaning up the leftover catfood- or sometimes
having a little snack compliments of me.  She is feeding a
few young ones so I make sure she has leftovers.
Again, she is non-aggressive to us, being very used to us.
If you're thinking rabies, in our area we have not had an instance
of rabies in raccoon in almost forever. We found this out
when our neighbor had to send in a specimen to the state when
their daughter was bitten by a baby (after unintentionally aggravating it).
Animals prone to rabies here are the fox and bats.

I knew something was about to happen when I saw little skunk walking
across the yard at the same time Mama popped up from under the
porch.  Mama began eating while little skunk climbed the steps.

They see each other now and both want the food.
Neither of them is starving, you would think they would share
but no, the raccoon was claiming the food.
The little skunk was going to back off and tried to find
a way off the porch.  She walked around the handrails to see 
if she could climb down but it's raised and too far to the ground.
I tried to get Mama raccoon to leave but she is too used to me
and basically sat there, continuing to eat, even when I said Please!
She finally had to use the steps but when she came near the
raccoon, it growled and lunged forward.
That's all it took.

Little skunk flipped around and let Mama have it!

Mama raccoon went down the steps
and little skunk could now leave.

It didn't take long and Mama was peeking
from under the steps.  She came right back up
the steps so she could finish the food.
Unfortunately for little skunk, the food
was quickly gone but I'm sure she will find
plenty to fill her up.  The neighbors tell me
she is a regular visitor to their places too!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Practicing for Halloween?

It was a dark and stormy night . . .
(as they all are these days)
I got all excited about a pretty web dripping with rain drop that 
was outside our back door by the light fixture.  What better place
for a spider to set up shop?

My husband took a look and said,
"Yep, that's a spider web,"
not nearly as interested as I was.

Oh well, it was fun for me.
And the spider wasn't one bit upset by the photo
although I'm sure some of the moths were none too thrilled.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Twice in One Week!

Twice in one week is getting out of hand!
First we get the River Hills Traveler and what do I find?
Tom's been published a second time!  

This time on how the power boats (jets) and the increasing 
canoeist and kayakers on our stretch can get along by 
understanding the very shallow rivers- which is much different than a lake-
and the capabilities or limitations of each type of boating,
reminiscent of The Farmers and the Cowman should be friends from Oklahoma.

Then today The Current arrives and "What do I see? 

I see Tommy staring at me, "
(think Brown Bear, Brown Bear)
working the Knights of Columbus
beer tent at the car show in town!

It wasn't too long ago that he was featured in The Missourian,
our local paper, for his ham radio volunteer work 
during the Boy Scout Camporee.

There have been a few others as well.
He's getting to be quite the celebrity!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Great Deal on Pork Loin

Our local grocery offered Pork Loin for $1.69 per lb prepackaged into almost 10 lb packages. He purchased this one a week or two ago, cut it into smaller portions, about 5-6, and vacuum sealed them for the freezer.  We had one already and it was fork tender, cooked in the dutch oven at 350 degrees F.  

The vacuum sealer keeps the meat safe
from freezer burn and when packed into our large deep freeze,
it is good for a very long time.  We also take advantage of the
pressure cooker which can make a lesser cut of meat fork tender.

We'll have a few more meals to come out of this!  
As meat prices skyrocket (hamburger $6/lb!!) we are keeping our
eyes out for great deals.