Sunday, September 27, 2015

Autumn Arrives, No Pumpkins for Pies!

Fall has officially arrived but without the grand display of 
color that typically blankets our area from the top
of the ridge to the winding county back roads.  

It seems that Summer never arrived, it only passed
through for a couple of weeks.  We went from drenching
rains with cool temperatures to blazing heat without
rain resulting in a poor gardening season.

It was my first year without squash bugs for a while.
The deer grazed on the lush greenery in the woods
but now that has changed.  Currently, my only good 
crop is the small patch of bush beans and a few
pole beans winding their was across a couple of cattle panels.

I saw three deer scoping it out last night, 
it won't be long before the beans are nibbled to the ground.
And I'll let them, it's slim pickins for them right now and
they are dealing with hunting season as well.
Now I don't mind some fine venison tacos or sloppy 
joes but a couple of these are young ones
so I hope they stick around.

The last of the golden rod.  Most of it has dried
and withered.  The bees enjoyed it while it was fresh.

I've tried leaving the hose running at the base of the viburnum
but still they just can't get enough water right now.
They are in raised beds, mostly filled with rock and a little dirt
that is in the retaining wall out front by the court yard.  
I don't know why I'm worried about them, their fragrant
flowers, abundant fragrant flowers I might add, smell
like rotting flesh, right next to the seating area.
I had no idea when I planted them. 

The bees are now choosing the marigolds which are doing well.
I planted them to help rid the small side garden of bugs
but they are doing better than anything else!

Even the potato tower was a bust.  
You can see a few little buds in the upper left corner.  
(Click the photo to enlarge)
Normally I can dig down and pull out what I need for dinner.
I still can if I want to eat giant worms!
Which I don't.

And the coleus is magnificent bedded down with the 
hostas which are protected from the mid day sun.

I am off work tomorrow, taking most of the remaining days
one day at a time other than a few together in October.
We had some restrictions during the time our company
split into two separate companies so a lot of the vacation days
were put on hold and now that we have half as many people
we really have to watch coverage since there are fewer
to take over if you are out.

Nothing big planned except running out to get cat food
and then I might spend some time in the girl cave since
I have seriously neglected sewing these last few months.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Deutsch Country Days

One of our favorite events is visiting the annual Deutsch Days or German Living Historic Festival in Marthasville, MO at the Luxenhaus Farm.  This is a historic preservation projects This opens only one weekend each year and volunteers work exhibits, clubs and non profits offer good eats, exhibitors show off their talents and sell their wares plus at times it is a hand on event, especially for the kids.

Click to enlarge the map.

This year it is October 17 and 18th.

We usually come home full after eating the treats exhibitors offer for sale and having lunch from one of the food vendors.  There are crafts to purchase or lots of food and cookbooks at the general store. 

It's a good hike for the kids too!  I usually do not try to walk to the top, although there usually is a wagon or something that you can ride up in.  Here, at the top, is the trapper and trader section, knife makers and teepees.  I've been a few times but my knee may not take the walk anymore.  Sometimes I hang around the fiber art building and dream about purchasing one of the wooden latch hook rug kits (very expensive but beautiful).  They usually have a beekeeper selling honey and all sorts of honey products as well.  I like the honey straws and usually purchase a few.

Their goal is to set up an educational barn that can hold up to 100 guests for meetings and overnight stays where they will hold workshops, exhibits and shows.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Doodle Bugs In My Garden

There are funnels of sandy dirt in my side garden
and some little inset that is below the surface kicking
up the loose pieces.   I have waited and waited until
finally whatever it was emerged.  

And it was sort of scary!

What the heck kind of beast has moved in?
This image is enlarged quite a bit- enormously in fact,
the creatures are tiny but nonetheless looking as if they
should be something that wants to eat humans
from Journey to the Center of the Earth.

What was I to do?
Google it, of course.

They are ant lions, a beneficial insect and boy,
do I have a lot of them!  This is the larval form.
When they grow up they will resemble a damselfly
but they come out at night so you don't see them much.
As larva, they dig steep funnels which capture prey,
primarily ants but also other insects that could damage
your garden.  The more the prey struggles, the deeper they fall.

After the short rain the other day it was as if a 
major construction site was in my garden.
They were all down there kicking out the fine
mix of compost to remake their funnels. 

I planted some pole beans and bush beans later in the season
which are just above the funnels.  I tried to plant more but
between the heat and lack of rain (so different than the
soaking, cool spring we had), I was not getting much to grow.
The beans are now producing so I hope the little ant lions
are working hard to keep bugs away.

The other name they are know by is Doodle Bug.  In sandy soil
you can see their meandering trails as if someone were 
doodling in the soil.  I even saw songs and poems about them on line.

Here is an adult version- see photo links below for the 
larva and the adult.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I've Got Beans

Ha, ha, Mother Nature, regardless of how much
rain you threw at us earlier this year leaving us
with soggy, unworkable ground, just look at this . . .

I planted some bush bean seeds and noticed tiny little
beans hanging down beneath the fat leaves so I've 
been checking, crossing my fingers that the deer did
not find them first and here they are, the first picking
accompanied by a couple of small peppers and a 
tomato that the bugs didn't get.

I planted another row to see how far along I can get
plus the pole beans are winding their way across
the cattle panels.  Just at deer height so we'll see
if anything develops there.

In other news, I have a couple of days off in October but
my husband is working.  Since he isn't paid unless he works,
he doesn't have those days off too.  So, what am I going to do?
I decided to plan a neighborhood painting party like we
did last year at another neighbor's house.  We chose an acrylic 
painting off the internet and tried to copy it while we had
some snacks and maybe a sip of wine or two.  
No one really cared if their painting was good-
as long as the wine was.

 A friend and I also took a water color class at our
local library, not this picture but one I tried 
later at home.  I do have water colors if anyone is 
interested in that rather than the acrylic.
Again, good doesn't matter, it's just all fun.

Then I thought a couple of us with new cameras could
go on a Photo Safari.  No, not in Africa but in the wilds
of St Louis County!   

OOOOh,  Ahhhhh you might be thinking.
A trip of a life time. And you would be right!
First we will drop off some donations to the Wildlife
Rescue center, things like paper towels and cotton balls
that they need to care for the injured ones.
Then we can go into the park walk around until
something tickles our fancy.  Maybe a pretty bird
or a colorful lizard or babbling brook and a spooky old tree.
(You gotta work with what you have!  LOL )
There is also the Wild Bird Sanctuary or Lone Elk park if 
that doesn't pan out.

Anyone else have some fun, cheap ideas for a 
stay at home vacation?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September Work Day

Last weekend it was summer, this weekend it became Fall!
With a 20 degree temperature drop, down to a high of 75, 
we made yesterday a clean up day- with a surprise!

I cleaned up the long drive, cutting back new growth popping
up on the edges while my husband jumped on the tractor to cut the
grass.  We both took the recyclables into the regional center,
it's single stream there which makes drop off so much better!

While I was there they took me for a tour of their resale shop, 
everything from nails and hinges, CDs, stereos, tvs
and household items.  Additionally, they resell paint.
A gallon is $6 but partials are free.  I picked up a couple of
free colors to repaint a cabinet which will hold quilting
books and supplies in the girl cave.

When we returned I started cutting out the weeds in the 
flower garden wall.  I had some leg problems earlier in the
year that kept me from climbing around very well so it was 
completely out of control.  I stacked everything in the fire pit,
found some old paper to start the fire and burned most of it,
except the poison ivy.  I carried small woody items over 
to the larger burn pile where we have tree debris to burn later.

When I looked down I gasped!
Oh no!  I was COVERED in those small, flat, green burrs that stick like crazy.
There had to be thousands of them!
I can't tell you how long I sat by that fire peeling burrs from top to toe.
My poor glove alone had to have hundreds stuck to it.  My husband used
his knife to grate them off into a pile which I burned in the pit.

Some friends and family arrived later and we put some wood on 
the fire and talked until we thought it was quite late.  We must
be getting old because it turned out to be only 8:30!

One of our friends broke her wrist but still had to tend the goats
so we all piled into cars, drove to her house and through the woods
to the goat field.  Her husband was talking to mine so the girls
took care of the goats by flashlight!  

I did not have a camera with me
so this is not the actual photo but representative of her goats.
This is Beau which takes care of those that have to be around the
house (kidding and the bottle babies).  His sister, Bella, is out 
with the main herd which is where we were.  

It was fun watching the babies and getting Bella and the goats 
fed and watered. One of the babies road back to the house with 
us to be bottle fed and returned the next day.  

Today I have to clean out the coop and put more straw in the
nesting boxes.  They keep pushing it out and the eggs end up
dirtier or someone jumps in and breaks the eggs.  I also have
cobwebs so need to find a good way to get those down.
I thought about taking an old sheet and wrapping it around a broom
and then just brushing the walls and as high as I can go on the ceiling.
If you have some tips, please share!

I hope your weather is as nice as ours has been.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Watching the River Run

We enjoyed a lazy day on the river this holiday weekend.
The river is finally down and clear, exposing the sand and gravel
beaches full of shells.  The weather was good and the boat ready.

When I accompany my husband for a day on the river
we bring a little more gear than when he is just fishing.
The canopy and lawn chairs are packed up,
coolers of sandwiches, beer, soda and snacks
plus collapsible side tables.  We are so close that
there is no sense of being uncomfortable.

We plop our chairs in the water, this year we have the option of
attaching a personal sun umbrella on the side.  Other times
we have brought an extra canopy and put one of them 
in the water just off the beach.

In past years we have had several couples join us or met some
great people that are sharing the same beach.  I can't think
of a time where our beach neighbors were a problem.  It seems
that is you bring a child with you, other couples with children
stop at the same beach. It works out well.

Our stretch of river is mainly power boats with 
jets rather than propellers since the river can get down
to mere inches at times.  We've started to see more canoes
but most recently these tiny kayaks that look pretty nice.

In this photo I told Taylor to go out to the log sticking up in the 
river and sit on it, pretending to be a mermaid- or water
turtle, take your pick.  As you can see, it's not deep right
there but does fall off closer to the bluff.  I can't stand 
very far from the log.

Maybe it's because we already live in the woods
or just because we like creature comforts but
we go up there to get away from it all; 
We bring ham radio equipment
We bring a radio that is attached to the trolling motor battery
We bring our cells
We bring our tablet.

Well, if there is trouble or an emergency we can at least call for help.