Saturday, May 24, 2008

Graduation!


Tool Belt Man and I went to one of our grand-daughter's eighth grade graduation last night. How time moves on!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Coyotes are really baby puppies....




I am not sure Koda bought that explanation for that ungodly noise heard while on our camping expedition.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Is That Smell????




For several days we have been smelling something rotten as we come into the entryway to our house. Tool Belt Man tells me it is a dead mouse in the garage but I keep smelling it in the entryway. I would hold my nose and try to find it, but to no avail. I finally gave up and opened a couple windows thinking at least the smell wouldn't be so strong in the house.

When my son went to turn on the water spigot which happens to be located under the front porch, he found the "dead thing." All this time it was under the steps going up to the front porch. Don't know what happened to it or how it got there, but dead it was!!

So Tool Belt Man shoveled it up and then climbed into the jeep all the time holding it out the side while I drove like mad to the woods so we could throw it away. God, what an awful smell!!!

The interesting thing was I just made it worse by opening the window because the steps with the "dead thing" under them were just outside the window. Now, hopefully that was really what we were smelling, and do not still have a dead mouse in the entryway somewhere.

So I guess life on the 80 acre homestead sometimes stinks!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Camping By The Pond





My daughter and I thought it would be a good night to set up the tent down by the pond so the boys could "camp out". Poppy helped us get the tent up and they were so excited at the thought of sleeping outside. We kept watching frogs jump into the water and I told them my "going froggin" story. I promised them that we would take our flashlights after dark and go down to the dock and shine the lights in the frogs eyes, which blinds them, and then you can reach down and pick them up. Nobody believes me that froglegs are wonderful. Tastes like chicken, I tell them all.

So just about dark we carried all the stuff we needed including lanterns and flashlights and pillows and sleeping bags and headed down to the tent. Rachel brought some story books to read and it was fun reading by lantern light. Then we turned out the lights and told "once upon a time" stories. Then the boys quoted the old "starlight, starbright poem and made wishes on the stars. Remember doing that as a kid?

The moon was full and bright tonight and the peepers were peeping. The boys questioned what every little noise was. We could even hear the race cars from town. Everything seems so loud when lying in a tent. Cows were mooing, you could hear the cars on the highway, frogs were croaking, peepers were peeping and best of all the moon was shining brightly down on us. And the gentle breeze after the sun went down made it just about perfect. If you haven't taken your sleeping bag and pitched it under the stars for a while, why not give it a try? It will take you back to a simpler time in life where it doesn't take a lot of money to have a good time!



Life is good on the 80 acre homestead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Frustration in the garden...


I hurried outside this afternoon to run the tiller through my potato garden before it starts raining tonight. Remember the potatoes I planted in March just before it started raining and raining? I thought they had all rotted, and many of them did, but some finally came up!

Luckily, the tiller fired up with no problem. Wish someone would invent a way to start those little rascals without doing that rope pulling thing. This is 2008 for gosh sakes. Anyway, I started up the first row and of course, the ground was hard as a rock. The potatoes are planted in the worst ground on the whole 80 acre homestead, but we were in a rush to get them planted so we did not have time to improve the soil as we should have. Where we planted them use to be where a pond was, which by the way would not hold water, so we filled it back in. So, I am assuming all the topsoil had been dozed away when the pond was originally dug out. I could have had a really nice pool for what that little pond project cost us! Anyway, again I digress.

Have you ever tried to run a tiller which is not self-propelled or whatever that is called, in rock hard ground, not to mention full of real rocks? About half way through the second row, the wheel hit one of the aforementioned rocks and the inside of the wheel which was made of plastic smashed. What kind of idiot would design the wheel of a garden tiller out of plastic? The really crazy part of all this is that this is the second time this has happened this week!

Tool Belt Man does have one down side to him. Unfortunately, he thinks I have a problem with tearing up stuff. I have had wheels fall off my pull along finish mower and the metal guard on my regular mower got ripped off once. O.K.,I do have a little problem with depth perception and maybe I did hit something with that, and come to think of it I did cut a little short on my big tractor that pulls the finish mower and caught the edge of the barn, but usually these things really are not my fault. Honest. I just ride this stuff and things break. But, two tiller wheels in the same week! So you know my excitement level at getting to call Tool Belt Man at work and tell him the second wheel just splintered and fell totally off!!

And because I am a very determined individual and not a quitter, I finished tilling for over an hour with only one wheel! That's no easy task because the stupid thing kept leaning to the no wheel side and wanting to fall over. I am sure it was a sight to behold, and probably not recommended in the tiller operation manual, but sometimes you must improvise.

Hopefully, tomorrow Tool Man will get me another wheel so I can carry on with the task at hand. I must get my watermelons and cantelopes planted!!! I am trying to remember how far apart you plant hills for melons?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Muleskinner Comes For Supper


Tool Belt Man has a brother I'll call "Muleskinner" and he and his wife came over tonight for supper. We got a new grill because the bottom rusted out of our old one. So we cranked up the new one and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

I keep telling Muleskinner that he needs to start a blog of his own because he has done some very interesting things. He has built his own cabin in the woods, he has some mules with some interesting stories to go with them and he goes every year out to Western Kansas where not even a light shines and camps. I know there are others out there that would love to hear of his escapades. I'll keep working on him about the blog.

While he was at the house tonight, he took the bull horn off the wall and blew it. I told him I got it at a flea market and no telling whose lips have been on it, but no matter. The cutest thing was how my grand-kids responded to the noise. If you've ever heard one of those things blown, you know how very loud they are!!

My dad use to have one of them and blew them to call the dogs when he use to go coon hunting. I'm thinking that was its original purpose.

Is this too cute?

Happy Mother's Day!!


My son Kevin and his family gave me this rose for Mother's Day and my daughter Rachel and her family gave me this suncatcher with Red Birds on it.















Here's a poem that hung in our home when I was growing up about mothers:

To one who bears the sweetest name
And adds luster to the same
Who shares my joys
Who cheers when sad
The greatest friend I ever had
Long life to her for there's no other
Can take the place of my dear mother.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Iris and Oriental Poppies



Iris and Oriental Poppies are two of the flowers that I remember best from my growing up years. Old fashioned purple iris grew across the fence in the woods next to our property and as a little girl I was enraptured with their delicate, velvety softness. They seemed like the perfect flower to me.

Today, we have so many beautiful hybrids to enjoy, but many old homesteads still have the original iris blooming away.














Then there was the bright orange oriental poppies that seemed to bloom and be gone before you could really enjoy them. I brought some starts from my mom's poppies to the 80 acre homestead and they seemed to die out last year, but this year I have a few that have came up and bloomed again. The flowers almost look as if they are made from papermache. But, alas they only last a few days and the blooms fall apart after the first rain. I snapped a quick picture early this morning.

The lesson to be learned here is that it is very important to take time to "stop and smell the roses" as you travel through life. Which reminds me , I saw my roses are needing some dead limbs cut out of them. Better do that now before I forget about them. They too will soon be blooming. One year for Mother's Day, my son bought me a climbing rose and I think this will be it's most beautiful year. How I love my flowers!

More Power...Kicked up a notch Grain Mill

Tool Belt Man decided he wanted a better, grain mill with more power than the one he had so he ordered a Country Living Grain Mill which is a hand crank model with a V-Belt hand wheel. Since he did not want to crank it by hand, he added a 1100 rpm electric motor. The motor is a little big but it is the only 1100 rpm motor he could find. He built the chute and the cover for the top so the flour would not go everywhere when it is running. He paid $365.00 for the mill and $95.00 for the motor. The frame and rest of the needed parts he built himself. It will be more efficient and makes a better ground of flour. It grinds with steel burrs instead of stone. Plus it has a 20 year warranty. He'll put the other one on Ebay to cover the cost of this one.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tool Belt Jim's Home made Bread


Not only can Tool Belt Jim  fix things when he straps on the old tool belt, but he's a good cook too! Recently, he has been perfecting his recipe for homemade bread. He got on Ebay and bought a grain mill so now he can grind his own wheat which he special orders and has shipped in.



I'll try to get him to give me the final, honed down recipe for that wonderful bread.
















And he's made banana bread too using the fresh ground wheat.


We may never eat white bread again!

Lordy, Lordy, I'm going to be Miss Piggy before the summer is over!

Bird houses abound










Sit Down, Relax and Visit a Spell




I love company! And I have the perfect place for friends to come and enjoy the companionship of other good friends. So when I found this sign at a flea market I knew I must have it and the perfect place for it would be by my front door.




Nothing makes the day better than taking a short break for a Coke and a quick look see at your favorite country magazine. I promise myself that I will spend lots of time sitting in the cool of the patio and letting all my cares slip away!



I love to collect old , metal chairs. Think how many people have relaxed in these chairs in the past. Except they were probably sitting under a shade tree eating watermelon. I can picture it now...


Some day I may turn the 80 acre homestead into a Retreat Center  so others can come and relax and enjoy the solitude of the country.