Saturday, June 28, 2014

Going to try it Again and Chickens

Ever been forgetful,boy I was today.I had bought brand new seeds,basil,snow peas and chives.I knew I had put them in something but couldn't find them.I have a closet in my kitchen where I store alot of the garden stuff.After about an hour looking and sitting ,trying to get my mind right,I looked on top of the refrigerator,yep there were my seeds in a coffee can right where I left them. Now the question is where am I going to put them so I will remember where they are next? Probably lose them again!

I have been picking blackberries along our property line and down the hill.So far I don't have enough for my cobbler.Some are sweet some are not but they seem to be coming in really nice since we've gotten all this rain.I go out every day and pick a small handful.

Hubstead has been looking at the chicken coop plans.No he's not really happy momma wants chickens but he's willing to do it for me.I got my chicken catalog in and have already decided which birds I want.Now  I told myself that it would be a good idea to start gathering up the supplies I'm going to need to welcome the birds.I think though I'm going with pullets. The dog is just too curious for baby chicks.He's not going to like the chickens anyway because they flap alot. I'm really excited about this.I have always wanted chickens and read everything I could get my hands on.

Next month and August I'm putting in the raised beds out back.I am  planting Kale which I love and maybe try some lettuce.My tomatoes are doing ok but not getting real big,yet.We evidently have a shortage of bees.I have figured out that the bees are not pollinating my pepper plants because I have them in pots on the back deck.Tomorrow I'm putting them in the yard next to the tomatoes to see if that helps,I think it will.I have to get the mulch going too.I know I don't have enough down nor any organic compost neither.I write all my mistakes down so next year I won't do it again.

Everything else is growing in leaps and bounds.The luffa plants have huge leaves on them and in the last two days have reached the top of the lattice.They have the female and males already. Hoping to see some blooms soon.

This is on my brothers shed and I love it!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Flowers and rain

Pink gladiolas


I made bisquits!

I have no idea what this is but it's pretty.

These are so nice  and I'm glad I have the start of a very nice flower garden next year.I made bisquits again these turned out nice and fluffy.I've been picking blackberries in the yard  and don't have enough yet for a cobbler but soon.....
And it's raining again which my plants needed it bad.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ticks,Rain and Musings

Found a huge   tick on the dog this morning.I knew he wasn't doing good and I thought it was the heat.  But I got it off and now he's better, I gave him a bath this past Sunday and didn't see it. The tick was huge and yucky. We have had a problem with them around here and need to lime the yard.

Finally got the backyard cut. It's been raining here so much so often that the grass doesn't have time to dry out. This grass grows really fast and thick now since we have been cutting it. Took care of the blossom rot on the tomatoes yesterday by adding some egg shells in the soil. We'll see how that works out. It's just on one plant but decided to add it for the others. Looking into using concrete blocks instead of lumber for the raised beds next year. I've been reading where treated wood can leak chemicals into the soil after a few years. Don't want that to happen.So I'll started collecting blocks now and start setting up for next years' garden.

My marigolds have not bloomed yet. I have a pot with some plants but waiting for them to bloom so I can set them out.My lone sage is growing slowly.One of the luffas has reached the lattice and is still climbing. I am excited to see what those luffas are going to do.I've never grown them before but followed the instructions from a site. I already have next years' garden planned out now since I see what will grow and what won't. Oh had to pull my green bean plants up(I only had 4) but the plants started to get bad and the leaves were getting yellowed.I'm going to have to find a better spot for them and my peas.They  aren't doing too good but they are putting out.I had one yesterday and ate it raw and the peas in the pod were vey good. Guess I'll put them in raised beds and see if they do better.

On another note-My son got married to a wonderful girl. She takes very good care of him and I'm happy for him that he found someone to settle down with.She has a little girl from a previous marriage and Lori is so cute. I'm happy for both of them!

Another note-My mom passed away in May. She had dementia and had to be put in a nursing home. I will miss talking to her so much. But I know she isn't in any more pain.Last time we spoke she didn't know who I was. So may she rest in peace now.

Well that's about it for today. I got to get up and do some housework BLAH! Did the backyard yesterday and will have to do the front today if it don't rain. Still picking up debris from the storm we had.

Some pictures-
I made cinnamon rolls the other night!

Orion finally has a big space to lay down.

Queen Annes Lace, I wanted to pick them before they got mowed.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Some close ups



Purple tomatoes

English peas

Well there,I think that will do it for now,Have a great day people!!

Updated Plant Pictures

Potted Spearmint

Luffas at two months


Bell,Banana,and Jalapeno Peppers

Beefsteak Tomatoes

I took these this morning.I always go out each morning and greet the day and tell all my plants to grow good for me.Hey it works.My mom used to do the same thing to her ferns but she would sing to them.They were beautiful.So I think plants do respond to our voices.It's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! My other plants are growing too but I didn't get pictures of them yet.Now since I know what will grow here,next year I'll have a bigger garden.I didn't want to plant too much being that this was the first time I've tried it.That was the advise that was given and I'm glad I took it.It also tells me what my physical limits are going to be.Hubstead is going to put in raised beds for us next year.The backyard can hold alot but I think I'll try at least 3 raised beds and redo some of the things I've done this year.I had to put the peppers on the front porch,I believe they were getting too much hot sun and too much rain on the back.I'm going to see if they will dry out alittle so maybe the blooms will stop falling off.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

YES it does WORK!

I found the recipe for the weed killer(Jason) and I went and mixed up enough for a spray bottle.I went then outside and sprayed the weeds under my back deck and around the tomatoes plants,being careful not to get any on the plants.Just looked and WOW the weeds have already died.I did this about two hours ago.The sun has been hot here and it literally baked the weeds to death.

I modified the recipe for the spray bottle but here:

1 Gallon of Vinegar
2 cups of Epsom Salt
1/4 cup of Dawn Dish detergent
Just mix and spray in the morning after the dew has evaporated.It will kill anything you spray it on so be careful around plants!

Mental aspects of Living the Rural Life

I wanted to write a blog about the mental aspects of living the rural life and
living off grid(we have electric but didn't for awhile).It was an eye opener of how much your mind can really absorb and still be able to function at the same time.

When the lights go out, every thing is quiet. You don't hear a certain buzzing from the electric going through the currents. You hear silence and a little panic sets in because you know that without electric you can't run household appliances or electronics. Well we figured out how to run the electronics out of the truck with the help of a little plug in gadget. Mental barrier number one solved. Knowing you have a way of calling someone if you need to. I don't like the dark,it's on my list of jumpiness. But with oil lamps and a coleman  lantern,it made things easier. Barrier number two solved. Cooking was easy, I have a coleman stove I cook on and I still cook on it. Yeah haven't found a way to get a stove yet. Barrier number three, eating hot food solved. Keeping food cold was a challenge, we used a cooler with ice but ice will only last maybe(depends on type of cooler you have)three days. We got through that, just have to be careful and watch your ice and make sure your food isn't spoiled. Barrier number four solved keeping food cold.

Ok now we kept the water hooked up for health reasons. But our bill is very low here. Flushing and washing dishes weren't a problem. Washing clothes however was at first, so I tried the 5 gallon bucket with the plunger, worked great got the clothes clean and we put up a line so I could hang them out. Now we still wash every now and then but most times we go to the laundry mat.

A lot of people couldn't and wouldn't do these things but believe it or not it happens all across America as prices soar and they just can't afford basic essentials. Now is the time to train yourself to learn basic skills as doing things yourself. Training your brain at any age to be put into a survival situation can be a challenge. I started doing these things before we left Texas. I was already getting use to doing cooking on a coleman and using the oil lamps. I read everything I could on gardening and growing stuff. Bought seeds and garden tools and books.

At night I think is the hardest part of living rural and off grid. Your hearing become acute to the night sounds. Pretty soon you know what each sound is. Your dog drinking water, cars going by, the sound of a train in the distance. The creak and crack of the house settling. The wind blowing and the distance thunder. The sound of crickets and frogs and when they go quiet usually something is just moving around like a opossum or raccoon. Or deer, in our case. The point is you don't have to be afraid of those sounds. You become use to them and can sleep. After awhile they don't bother you but if there is a sound that doesn't keep in harmony with the others, you can pick it out quick. THEN you can do the same thing during the day. You are more aware of your surroundings when you're out in the yard and you automatically look and see every tree and bush and you have a tendency to watch everything. When I am out in the yard I can spot a passing deer or a stray dog or cat just by the movements in the bushes. My mind tells me something is moving around and I need to look.

Your mind will settle down after awhile and you can go about your everyday life. Now if I can get these damn frogs to shut up yep I'll be happy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brussel Sprouts without the Gas

My new food love I can eat. I have found a way to eat brussel sprouts and not hurt.

10 to 15 sprouts cut length wise
onion or scallons chopped( ok I don't know how to spell)
2 cloves of garlic crushed(I crush mine with a fork)
Olive oil (just enough to cover bottom of skillet)
water(just enough to cover bottom of skillet)
half a cube of chicken boullion

On Medium high heat-
Cut brussel sprouts,onions,garlic cloves,pour olive oil in skillet and lay brussel sprouts flat.Add onions and garlic.Cook until sprouts are carmelized then turn them over and do the same on the other side.Add water and half the chicken boullion,let the water steam the sprouts until water has evaporated.And you're done. This stuff is good!

Everything is Growing

Yeah I surprised myself. Took walk outside this morning to see what was up and the Romas are getting big. The beefsteaks are loaded and I got peas! Yes I am excited because this is my first year garden , o.k. I admit I have grown tomatoes and peppers in pots before but they didn't do anything. Not like this. Since we live next to the woods ,I went and scraped some composted dirt from under the trees and added it to the garden. Made a big difference and it was free. The luffas are climbing the posts and they are nice and green. I have been keeping the bugs off as much as I can. If I have enough Luffas growing when they are done I'm selling some of them.

The blackberry bushes that grow wild here are putting out a lot of berries. I don't know if I'll get to pick them or not. We have deer,alot of deer here.The is a beautiful doe who runs around with a smaller doe in the woods beside us. So I figure they will get to them first.So far they haven't found the garden but I think it will be just a matter of time before they do.

We have a ponding problem and I would love to have some suggestions on what to do with it.A load of dirt is expensive here but at the bottom of this hill the water gathers up so much I got frogs!

Down on the left is where it ponds.

The backyard looking from the kitchen window.Yeah the grass was high but its been cut since this picture.All of this will be turned into garden space next year.

This is part of the front yard.Behind all those bushes and trees,my neighbors pond.

A rainy day,the other problem we have.Water run down towards the house from the top of the driveway.But boy did I love this day!We don't have much of a front yard but it's going to be doable to work with.

A total do over here but its home.For the price it was a steal,a stones throw from the local big lake.Surrounded with hardwood and soft wood trees.Lots of wildlife including the eagle that comes by here.Alot of hawks and buzzards.We have rabbits too.The soil has been alittle hard to work with but we added some topsoil and compost in the garden.There's sand and clay so the combo worked out nice.

Well there is something to always be done so I'm off doing it. Have a great day folks!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just Being Honest Here

Some of you know that this wasn't my first choice of a place to live. I fought alot of emotions when we first got here. The condition of the house wasn't what we expected nor the job situation.We still haven't gotten as far as we would like to but we didn't exactly have a easy time out in Texas the first year and a half either. So with that in mind,we have managed to do alot of cleaning and will still be cleaning on this place until we can do the floors and walls.I have half the house in pretty livable condition.I hope you will come along for the ride and the remodeling as we do piece by piece.The first thing that happened was this winter our pipes busted and we had to fix them a few times.We had very little heat and mainly lived out of the bedroom.And of all things else it snowed big time!

Now the locals said that this was the coldest on record in a 100 years.Go figure right?We live in a cubby hole that is surrounded by some very tall and large pine and oak and popular trees.I have made some use from the popular trees making stuff for the house.Which has kept me somewhat sane.Orion is loving it so much,we can't let him loose in the yard too much because he has a habit of wandering but he is minding me better.The ticks and fleas have been bad and all you have to do is walk around in the yard to get one.

He loved it and wanted to stay out in it.

We got 3 inches of snow that day.Yep we're surrounded with woods except that slope there in the back? That's a road that we have to come up to get to the house.From there we turn and go about a half a mile to actually getting to the house.It was great to see snow although hubstead didn't enjoy it as much as Orion and I did.

Well that's alittle of the coming here and happenings up to now.The idea I had of this place was off
 but after getting settled in and just taking a measurement of what we can do has been replaced with that doubt. The structure of the house is sound enough to work with.We are having issues with the roof but nothing major yet.We'll have to put the kabosh on that soon.But the walls and floor are good.We have talked about what all to put in and what to take out. I've hung some stuff up on the walls to make it feel a little more like home. But it's still missing something.We spend alot of time on the front porch watching the hummingbird come and go,Orion has found his spot there,and the only thing next will be the plants I want to get.

We did have to spend 3 months without electric because of money issues but we got it straightened out finally.Best three months I ever had! When you go without electric you come up with some good alternatives.We used oil lamps and coleman lantern.I cook on a coleman stove which I did that out there in Texas.I made coffee in our  stainless steel coffee pot.I heated water up for washing dishes. I did go buy a solar shower bag,10.00 and I still heat water in it on sunny days. As soon as we can off the electric we'll go and have solar for power. The only utility we have to be hooked up to is water.That's a must for me with being disabled. But we are going to put in rain barrels as soon as I can find some locally. We're 6  miles from anything and probably more any other way. I wanted country I got country. I do have my quiet and at night the only thing we hear are the frogs.

I decided to pot some plants to start with.I didn't  want to tear up the yard on the first garden because i wanted to see how well the plants took to the heat and humidity.So far so good,the bell peppers aren't putting out like I want them to,the sweet banana peppers are doing good,but the jalapenos are having a hard time.All I have on this one is leaves no buds.In the smaller pots are spearmint,sage and thyme.The thyme does really good and so does the spearmint.In the yard I planted the luffas,beans,peas and the roma tomatoes.Next to the back deck I planted the beefsteaks and purple and some roma tomatoes. I didn't want to get too much too quick.The Japanese beetles have been showing up and I've been killing them. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting It Going

June,18th 2014

In 2013,we purchased an acre of land with a doublewide mobile home.The doublewide wasn't exactly what we had in mind because it needed a lot of work.So we moved from Texas back to Alabama in August of 2013. The house really needed work more than what we expected.The pictures we had didn't say the whole thing. Well we got here,the smell was so bad,we couldn't figure what it was until I talked to the neighbors.A lady had lived here and had raised dogs and yep you can guess where this is going.
Ok we decided to deal with it and then there was the mildew all over the place.I broke out the bleach and dawn dish detergent and we washed the walls of this place.And we're still washing. But a lot of the smell is gone and hubstead has bought some OSB board to lay the floors with.

Some things here will have to be redone.All the plumbing is messed up and we can use only the shower and commode in one bathroom and the commode and sink in the other.The house has two baths,one with a shower and the other with a tub.Hubstead and I have come to the conclusion that someone started remodeling this place but never finished it.We don't have carpet or flooring for the livingroom or bedrooms but there is linoleum in the kitchen and diningroom and bathrooms.We have 5 ceiling fans which has helped alot with the heat.

I wrote about our trip here and some other stuff but I've decided to pick up from this point on and spare you some details.So I started putting seeds in a pots and some of the seeds didn't come up.But what did come up is now growing like crazy in the back yard. I know I started some too early but hey I'm a first year gardner and gonna make mistakes.

I planted tomatoes,peppers,beans,peas,and some herbs.I also planted some luffas  and they are doing real well. They won't be ready until October. I'll try to get the pictures off my phone and post them.I was really surprised but knew  in a way that things would grow better here. I still have a lot of work to do on the backyard and I'm trying to figure out where to put the raised beds.Next year it's going to be a lot bigger.I didn't want to overwhelm myself and be disappointed if things didn't grow.