Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy Hot July!

 Dear Friends,

The above picture shows one of our ducklings enjoy a yummy tomato hornworm for a snack. It's been so hot here lately, that the bugs and weeds have gotten ahead of us! The hornworms took out five tomato plants without our even knowing they were there; squash bugs are after the squash and cucumbers; and Japanese beetles have chewed up our baby fruit trees, corn, roses, elder bushes, and about everything else around here. Such is gardening, and so we plant again and try to be more diligent in the future.

A few sunflowers are blooming in the yard. Some were planted by birds from the feeder, and others were seeds from Baker Creek (I can't remember which variety, but they smell yummy).

This rose has been chewed on by Japanese beetles, but it's still beautiful. I was not expecting our front yard roses to bloom this year, since we just put them in, but after settling their roots for a few months, they are really taking off.

Our marshmallow plant that we bought at a local farmer's market is beginning to bloom, and we hope it goes to seed and spreads all around in future years. Marshmallow is a great herb that is cooling and soothing to the mucous membranes.

 Wildflowers are blooming everywhere along the roads in the Ozarks, and we were excited to find these Black-Eyed Susans growing wild on our property.

We started Lemon Bee Balm (horsemint) from Baker Creek Seeds back in February, and they are doing well. They have a strong, oregano-like flavour, and are a powerful anti-bacterial herb.

I haven't had a chance to do any drawing since we moved here, so I thought I would take time to draw a horsemint blossom before it faded. Perhaps I should have chosen something easier!

May this find you all doing well and keeping cool this summer. Let's pray for those who are not receiving enough rain and are suffering from wildfires at this time!



Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Midsummer's Day!

Dear Friends,

This year is flying on eagles' wings! Can half the year be gone already? We have been taking life one day at a time, working mostly outside (sadly, the house has been greatly neglected) to get the bulk of the garden in while there was still time.

I have been sneaking beans here and there, as well as squash, trying to fill in every available space.

Today we harvested some yummy purple ones!

The roses I planted in March are starting to bloom. We pinched the first buds off to encourage leafy growth, but they have decided that it's time to put out blossoms, in spite of our pruning efforts! I will be pinching off the petals to use in potpourri, and to prevent them from forming hips this year (Setting fruit the first year makes for a weaker plant).

Our chicks are getting bigger, and the ducklings are huge! I am working on making a duck house for them, since all we have are the movable pens, and I'm nervous about leaving them outside all night with predators around. It's been so hot lately, that it's been hard to get out and do anything physical without getting heat exhaustion, but thankfully the next few days are supposed to be cooler, so we'll be out working hard.

I'll leave you with a link to "Mabel on Midsummer Day," which is the poem we read to our children every Midsummer's Day. I first shared it back in 2009, when we lived in Idaho.




Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Happy May (Catch-up Post)!

Dear Friends,

My, oh my, it's been over a month since I last posted! I have been so busy in the garden I have had nary a chance to get in and work on my blog (those of you who are friends on Facebook have been more informed).

We bought chicks and ducklings the first of the month, and have been busy making movable pens for them, to keep them safe. One of our dogs killed two chicks, sadly, before we had them in a good place, and another chick died of natural causes. Life with animals can be hard!

We've been feeding the local hummingbirds and orioles, although now the honeysuckle is blooming at present, and they are having more fun enjoying a natural diet!

Turtles are on the move right now, and we have tried to save as many as we could safely pull over to help cross the roads. These two turtles were in our yard and road, so we played with them for a bit.

Phoebes are nesting in our front porch, so I've had to move the bird feeders where the other birds won't be dive-bombed every time they come for a snack.

We enjoyed going to (and performing at) the Spring Planting Festival at Baker Creek. Ken performed as Elvis, and the children sang a few songs as well. We were happy to meet John Denver's banjo player and writer of "Grandma's Feather Bed," Jim Connor.

I hope that you have had a lovely month of May, despite the crazy weather that seems to be happening all over the world!



Friday, April 20, 2018

Enjoying Nature, and More Projects!

 Dear Friends,

Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes. We have been enjoying seeing all the new growth in our yard, and along the roads nearby. I was excited to find two patches of May apples growing on our property the other day, as well as a little fern. Normally we would have to take a drive to the country for wildflower-viewing, so it's nice to have it all around us. Now we just have to drive a ways to do any shopping!

We have been planting lots of peas, radishes, carrots, favas, and salad greens in our garden, and hoping that they survive all the frosts we've been having lately!

 These are Thomas Laxton peas, which we learned were bred by a famous friend of Charles Darwin.

The children and I have been building a strawberry planter box out of pallets, in hopes of keeping the rabbits from eating them once they start growing. We're trying Ozark Beauty strawberries, which should do well, since they were bred in this area. Gardening is always an adventure! We also have put in lots of alpine strawberries that we started from seed purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, where our three oldest daughters work. If you will be in the area for the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival in May, the girls and Frankie will be performing a few songs and we would love to meet you!

May you have a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Birthday Time Again

Dear friends,

This past Sunday I became 90 divided by 2. We had church in the morning, and in the afternoon, my girls made me a beautiful cake with strawberries and magnolia blossoms on it. Magnolia blossoms are a little strong, but they're good medicine, so it was worth it!

Hyrum gave me a sweet hug and a tractor made out of Legos to help in the garden (we'll see how THAT goes!).

We had fun target-practicing in the woods on Saturday. and Mother Nature blessed me with gold in the form of finches, as well as dandelion blossoms all over the yard.

We also had our first asparagus harvest from the bed that planted years ago, so that was an especially wonderful treat.

I am so grateful to finally be here in land in the country, where we will be busy doing more projects than I can keep track of, until we make a real homestead out of our place. There are fences to install, chicken coops and other animal shelters to make, a greenhouse or two to figure out, ponds and other waterworks to dig, etc. etc.  My husband suffers from severe diabetic neuropathy, so thank goodness for wonderful people from our church who are willing to come lend a hand with tilling, clearing brush, etc. and neighbors that offer to help, as well!

Thank you to all my friends who read this blog. Your friendship means more than you know.