Monday, February 28, 2011

First Peek

It has been a week since the asparagus were put in the ground.  I'm amazed at the growth.

The spears are not harvested the first year after planting the year-old crowns.  According to eHow, the spears need to fern out for the roots to grow stronger.  

Artichokes are said to be easy to grow.  This one had no leaves when planted last Sunday, February 20.
I gave it a growth boost with Miracle-Gro time release fertilizer.

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yahooooo & Yippeeeee!

At last!  Luc is a certified Penny's From Heaven therapy dog!  It's been a long time coming, but Luc finally accomplished not licking (kissing) when meeting people.  Therapy dogs must not lick so as to not carry germs from one person to another.  :D  It's hard on him, but he realized that he gets lots of petting and love without giving uninvited kisses.

Patsy and Denise from Penny's From Heaven Foundation and Luc.

Patsy almost cried she was so happy when Luc passed this last requirement.  Luc passed all the other tests in December, 2010.  I'm very grateful that Luc was allowed more time to get this one thing under control.  He is a lover, first and foremost, but has gained the discipline to not lick.  There were times that I was not sure he'd get pass this test; however, I begin to think he would about 3-4 weeks ago. 

I also want to express my thanks to Charlotte and the staff at Stay 'n Play.  They allowed Luc and me to hang out in the lobby on numerous occasions so that we could work on the "no licking" command.  We couldn't have done it without their support and encouragement. 

Hip, hip, hooray!!! 

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Brenda's Photo Challenge - Red

I made a mistake last week and posted my photos for the challenge.  However, I have one more red photo.

Go here for more Brenda's Photo Challenge.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Garden Woes & Rewards

The Farmer's Almanac said this is the best time to plant potatoes -- I never met a potato that I did not like.  So, I got busy preparing the soil and the potatoes.

I bought some red seed potatoes a few weeks back and the instructions said to place the potatoes in a window that gets quite a bit of sun for a couple of weeks to encourage the eyes to bud.  Next, cut the potatoes into pieces but be sure each piece has two eyes.  Air harden the outer layer for a couple of days to prevent disease.

Dust the pieces with sulphur just before planting. Sulphur helps to prevent the potato from being attacked by fungi.

I combined two single rows into one approximately 4 feet wide.  The red crate is my stool and the blue container is my trash barrel.  Recycle, recycle, recycle.  :D

I topped off the new row with 3 or 4 inches of  Lady Bug's  mixture of Rose Magic soil and Revitilizer compost.

Dig an 8-inch deep trench, place the pieces about 12 inches apart, mark the spot with a stick, cover and water.  Rows should be about 15 inches apart.  Since these potatoes are planted in Texas, cover with about 3-6 inches of a hay mulch to keep the potatoes cool as the weather gets hotter.  Hay is one thing in abundance around here and will mulch the potatoes soon.

This is the asparagus bed, which, if you noticed, is just beyond the potato bed.  Originally, I wanted to dig an asparagus bed in another part of the garden, but the tiller would not stay running.  The asparagus needed to get in the ground, so I made do with what was quickest to prepare by combining two single rows at the far end of the first two rows as you walk into the big garden.  Then, as mentioned above, I made a little walkway and combined the rest of the first two single rows for the potatoes.

Now to the woe part.  After the potatoes were planted and watered, I decided I'd better find out companion plants to both the potatoes and the asparagus.  The companion planting guide also tells which plants to keep apart, i.e., in this case do not plant asparagus and potatoes together.  Aaaaargh! 

What to do?  Move the asparagus or the potatoes?  I have a commitment tomorrow, Friday, and cannot prepare another bed until Saturday.  Meantime, I've got to get the tiller running or buy a new one.  The asparagus are moving even though I see little asparaguses peeking out from the straw. 

BTW, I'm waiting for the reward part.  lol  But, be assured that I will not make the same mistake twice.  I'll check the companion chart before picking up a shovel, rake, or put a seed or plant into the ground.  It's called learning as you go along. 

Until next time, God bless.


A Present to Me

Well, I did it last night and ordered a Kindle 3G reader, a Kindle jacket, and a light from Amazon

When the Internet went 24/7 back in the early 1990's,  I started getting the news online. Research is at your fingertips and a snap online.  I simply quit reading books and dropped all magazine subscriptions because about sixty percent plus is advertising. If I was interested a magazine article, I could usually find it online.  In addition, I detest all those card inserts.  Tearing out those cards is annoying.  I also have 6 bookcases filled with books and really need to donate most of them to the library, throw them away, or at least hold a garage sale.  The library is about 15 minutes away but never seem to find the time or desire to go. 

The ease of the Kindle appeals to me along with the fact there is no clutter.  I can hardly wait.  The Kindle is due to arrive in early March.  Happy present to me.  :D

Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Steak & Eggs

Steak with scrambled eggs is one of my favorite dishes.  The ingredients are mainly leftovers.  It's good for a brunch or dinner. 

The finished product -- too bad I didn't have some parsley to spread around for a more attractive presentation.  But, what the heck.  I did not think to take a photo until the eggs went in. 


4 eggs
Two or three dashes each of Worcestershire, Tabasco, and dry mustard
1-2 Tablespoons of water -- makes eggs lighter
grated cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice, a handful or two
Salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 onion, chopped
Red, green peppers or both, chopped - leftover from another recipe and frozen
Steak, diced - leftover
1/2-3/4 cup of leftover cooked rice; brown, white or wild - it doesn't matter.

*Fresh tomato -- always good to add a small,  fresh, diced tomato about a minute before the eggs are done.
** Fresh, sliced mushrooms are a tasty addition. I generally saute the mushrooms when the peppers go in.

Put the eggs in a bowl; add salt, pepper, Worcestershire, Tabasco, dry mustard, and water.  Beat well, add the cheese and gently mix.  Spray a pan with Pam, add a little butter; saute the onions until clear; add the peppers and cook for a minute or two; add the steak and leftover rice, cook for a couple of minutes; and lastly add the egg mixture. Scramble until just right. 

Serve with toast or biscuits, salsa and/or flour tortillas for a breakfast taco.

I always feel so thrifty when I use leftovers because thrift is not one of my strong points.  :D

Until next time, God bless.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Square Foot Gardening Designs & Other Ideas

Square foot gardening is gaining in popularity with each passing year.  Here are some examples that I found at The Natural Gardener in Austin, Texas, which may give you some ideas for your garden.

This is a kit which looks to be quick and easy to assemble.

Use whatever is at hand -- string for markers, some old wood, and pvc pipe fitted over rebar stakes for supporting a garden fabric to protect plants from cold or heat, insects and birds.

Recycled wire is used for this one.

I have no idea what the original structure was use for, but this little garden is one of my favorites.  I'm always amazed when someone takes something old and turns it into something useful and attractive.

While this is not square foot gardening per se, I like these individual beds and plan to use this type of set up in my big garden.  Last year I did 20' rows with about 30" of walkway in between.  This year I plan to make each garden space 4' wide by varing lenghts of 6-8-10-12 feet bordered with whatever is readily available be it wood, rock, flexible plastic or metal edging material.

The Natural Gardener used pine needles instead of crushed granite for weed control between the beds.  While I did not pull back the pine needles, I suspect a weed control fabric was laid on the ground first with pine needles placed on top.

This bench is unique and a great addition to a garden.

All these examples look so easy; but let's face it, gardening is hard work.  :D  I keep thinking calories are being burned.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Garden Visitor

I bought some asparagus, artichoke, and bare root strawberry plants the other day and placed them in a recycled molasses tub in the little garden until I could get them in the ground.  I was unprepared for planting the asparagus since there is a little more to planting asparagus than simply sticking them into the ground.  A 3-4' wide trench has to be dug,  mounds of enriched soil are made in the middle of the trench for the asparagus roots to dangle down, fertilize and then cover the plants.  Since I've been on the "project," i.e., cutting and chopping agarita from under, inside and outside of the fence, I did not get the trench dug until Sunday afternoon. 

Meanwhile, I found a mess when I walked out to the little garden Friday -- asparagus and artichoke plants were in the middle of the little garden, the plastic bag was in pieces, strawberry plants up ended, a few holes appeared in freshly raked garden rows, a couple of bags of potting soil had holes, and other items were either torn up and/or scattered about.   It was time to put the wildlife camera out to catch the marauding critter.

Here is what the camera caught:

Aha! Maggie is visiting the little garden in search of an intruder, be it warm blooded or insect.  Whether or not she created the other mess is not known, but she becomes a critter of interest.

The camera is positioned too high to catch what she is doing; but to venture a guess, she is digging.

She heard something outside the little garden.  Time to slip out before caught by alpha female.

According to the time stamp, she is back again two-and-a-half hours later.

Something called her attention to make a nighttime visit the little garden.  

I found the entry into the garden partly opened and  must not have fully latched. I'm using a piece of fence to close it and apparently did not hook all the way down, which is not uncommon since it is a pain to unhook.  The real test will come now that I am sure the entry is securely closed.  Will it be Maggie and/or another marauding critter?    The camera will be loaded with the disk and operational this evening.  The camera tells all.   Stay tuned.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Brenda's Photo Challenge


Red is today's theme for Brenda's Photo Challenge.  I asked myself where I could find plenty of red in one place and the answer was The Natural Gardner in Austin, Texas.

Radio Flyers waiting for customers.

Hardy geraniums are always popular.

Metal flowers never die.

A bright, red lawn chair is always a welcomed addition.

A red water fountain brings serenity to any backyard and the birds love it too.

Once I started taking photos of red objects I couldn't stop.  There are more and surely I can find a way to work them into the blog.  :D

Go here for more Brenda's Photo Challenge entries.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I haven't written anything this past week or ten days because I am on a project.  When there is a project, everything else can fall down around my ears.  The project is to cut the agarita out of both sides of the fence.  The last time we cut/chopped it out was in the Fall of 2009.  This is an annual chore.  Birds eat the berries, sit on the fence and deposit the processed berries.  :D  Once agarita gets started it is almost impossible to get rid of it.  Roundup does nothing to it.  However, before the growing season, I'm chopping it out as best I can and will try a homemade root killer -- vinegar, orange oil, liquid dish soap, and baking soda.  In theory, liberally cover the roots with baking soda and pour the vinegar/orange oil/liquid dish soap mixture over the baking soda.  Vinegar over baking soda creates a foaming chemical reaction.  I'm hoping the agarita hates it and dies.  BTW, baking soda and plain vinegar are good for your drains.

These two sections of the fence are the worst and represents a little over a year's growth.  I'm cutting it before the agarita flowers and produces berries.  I'm hoping that cutting it during the winter will help in getting rid of it or at least retard its spreading.

Each leaf has five needle-like points.  You need a good pair of thick leather gloves when working with agarita.  Some people make jelly from the berries which are collected by placing a sheet or tablecloth around the bush then whacking the bush with a stick.  It takes a lot of berries to produce one jar of jelly.  Needless to say, I'm not one of those people.

Where there is agarita, you will find this bush too.  I have yet to find out the name.  The bigger it is the longer the thorns.  Handle with care.  :D

There is still one-half outside the fence on the front and the length of one side of the fence to cut.  Fortunately, most of that remaining is not as dense as that shown above, i.e., three or four hours should take care of it.

I need to get the big garden in shape for Spring planting, but this mess around the fence started getting on my nerves.  lol  And, it occurred to me that perhaps cutting it down before flowering and the growing season might be a good way to rid ourselves of this eyesore.  None of the garden experts around Central Texas has an answer on how to get rid of agarita.  I even did an Internet search and there is no mention of how to eradicate this pesty, ugly bush.  But, this year is the year to concentrate on destroying agarita around my fence!!

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday has two rules: 1) photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking.

Maggie is trying to start something with Luc.  She loves to poke him with her nose or nip around his neck.  Luc is ignoring her.

For more SOOC, click here.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, February 4, 2011

SkyWatch Friday

Along with the rest of the country, we've been in a deep freeze since Tuesday.  A slight snow finally arrived about 6:30 AM.  It's stopped and the sun is coming out.  Thank goodness, the well might thaw out and we can get water to the cows without having to carry it from inside the house to a couple of make-shift containers outside.

Facing south.

Facing north.  Notice the cow-that-hates-me turning her evil look upon me.  She also does not like the black and white cow and will not allow her into the shed.

As a side note, this may be one of the worst norther we've had since moving from Houston in 1982.  We were fortunate in that we did not get freezing rain; it's been a dry cold.  I tried to do more in preparation than ever before.   Unfortunately the heat wrap on the well pipes did not work, but the wrap on the rainwater collection, which supplies water to the house, did work.  I knew the well heat wrap was iffy since it was old and now realize I should have gone with my instinct to buy a new one.  There is not a heat wrap within 50 miles of my house to be had.  I've ordered a heat wrap overnighted which should arrive today if the place of origin was able to get it out on UPS.  We've another cold spell coming in Monday, I think.  I now know what more should be done before Monday and hope the well pipes do not break.

The sun looks very good right now and am hoping everything will thaw out today without incident.

Click here for more skies around the globe.

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weather Chores

It's always good to see hubby doing chores.  I know, I know those of you getting the full force of this winter storm think we Texans are pansies when it comes to cold weather, and we are.  Temperatures are predicted to dip down to 14 degrees tomorrow night.  We probably will not lose power because the rains did not precede the winter blast, at least not yet. 

Hubby loading up firewood in preparation for the next couple of days. 

Would you believe that the sun came out for a few hours this afternoon?  We kept thinking of things that needed to be done  -- fill the cattle's water tank, disconnect hoses, drip faucets, fill extra water containers just in case we lose power since it takes electricity to run both the well pump and the rainwater collection pump, fill the dogs' water containers, bring up some wood, pick up a few items at the grocery store, fill up the cars before gas prices go up more, etc.   We've been in a flurry of activity the past couple of days, and we are prepared.   Last year we were not, water froze in the main water line into the house and broke the line.  No doubt you in the center of this storm are having a hearty laugh at our expense.  lol  We warm weather types get in a tizzy when temperatures go below 30 degrees. 

But, to all my friends north of Dripping Springs, stay warm, stay safe.

Until next time, God bless.