Thursday, April 29, 2010


Guess what? I found basically an unlimited source for mulch so I can finish mulching around my garden beds and I can also fill up the compost pile and flower beds. The problem?

When my grand kids and I went to pick up a truck load, they wanted to climbing all over it. About a mile down the road they started to itch. Then they developed red dots on their arms. 2 miles...and they were close to tears because they were hurting now.

Poison ivy? Poison oak or sumac? I have no idea because it was chopped up.

Monday I stopped in Rockwall at my Toyota dealer and while I was waiting for my oil change I took a walk in the adjoining field. While there I found it!!! Ribbed Plantain. Also known as Ribwort Plantain. It differs from Broad leafed plantain in appearance and also in medicinal qualities.

Ribbed plantain is a miracle healer. Since I knew it was there and it was a plain field that no one would have sprayed with pesticides, and I had water to wash them off, I stopped there. Washed a hand full and then chewed them up.

I handed the boys each some mush to rub on their arms. They thought it was cool. They wanted to chew up their own poultice. So I washed some more. J liked the taste. D almost threw up but before we could even get home their red spots were gone and the itching had stopped.

Thank you God for miracles.

Came home and made half alfredo and half red homemade cheese pizza. Yum

Also I hope it's ok to share this:

Find more videos like this on Great Pyrenees Community GPC

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just as I did with my back yard before all of the renovations, I took a good look at my home. Why am I so cluttered? I am only one person. Yet I have no more storage space.

Here is what I came to understand. I have a lot of storage space which is not being properly used. So it is time not only to de clutter and rearrange, but while I am at it I will Spring clean.

Here are my plans:

1. Write down a plan for each room. (what will be stored there and where)
2. Then start at the back of the house (if I clean the front that people see first I might find an excuse to stop there)
3. Enter each room with 2 boxes. 1 for give away/throw away and 1 for items which don't belong in that room.
4. After the whole room has been sorted to see what goes and what stays, then remove anything textile. Take it to the laundry pile for washing.
5. Remove venetian blinds, take outside to a fence, hang up, spray with 409, scrub and rinse with a hose...leave to dry
6. Dust down cobwebs from ceiling, walls and ceiling fan and also dust furniture.
7. Re-organize remaining items
8. Take a broom and sweep along the perimeter of the wall and the baseboards.
9. Take a bucket of hot Murphys Oil Soap and water and a sponge and wash the baseboards, window sills, and all wood furniture
10. Wash windows including vacuming inside the edges where dust collected all winter.
11. Wash light fixtures on ceiling, fan and tables
12. Spray all pillows and mattresses with Febreeze
13. Remake the bed (if it is a bedroom)
14. Vacume floor
15. Remount venetian blinds

That is it...sounds simple right? I bet it takes me two weeks.

***Update***This will be harder than I thought. I have some really cool stuff.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is a cool little experiment: I am making 7 biodigesters. If they work well, then I will make more. This is a dual compost making/earth worm attracting invention.

I now have a limitless supply of free buckets with lids. Some have a spout on top and some don't.

First you drill holes in the bucket bottom...a lot of them. And then up the sides about 2 inches.

Then you dig a hole about 2.5 inches deep and big around as the bucket will fit into.

Then you take the dirt you dug out and break it up and put it back into the bucket bottom.

Then layer anything else worms love to we layered wet shredded paper, llama poo and juicing debris.

Put on a lid and shade cover and leave it alone for a week. Check it then and add more juicing debris if needed. There should be lots of worms moving in by the second week. I will be experimenting with different sized drill bits and different types of food.

Just 6 more to go!

wow a full blue moon tonight! lol

Got some tomato cages built tonight. This wire is very tough.

We also got 1 row of grapes wired up.

Now trying to unwind and go to bed!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The campout was sooooo amazing. I love kids and love to listen to them interact with each other. This weekend was great. I can't believe how much sugar they ingested though.

Friday night storms tore through this area though...yes while we slept in a tent....and my garden loved it. I am going to bed now but here are a few pics.

Things I learned on the campout..

1. what a cheese touch is
2. why you never listen to the weather man
3. why you need rope
4. why you need at least 15 different kinds of dessert on a campout
5. no matter how many times you roast a still burns you if you grab it too soon
6. friholes + 2 boys + 1 tent= a bad thing
7. yelling "CAR!" doesn't clear kids out of the road as fast as "SMORES"
8. with enough determination you can start a fire even after a down pour...if you want coffee bad enough
9. are NEVER going to get that tent back into the same bag as it came in



tomatillos and maragolds and sweetpotato vine




green beans

speghetti squash and kholarabi

tomatos still not caged!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


First dinner...Wednsday is always "enchilada day" with a group from work. So dinner is light tonight. Ok you might say "yuk!!!" But it really is tasty and because it has juiced collard greens in it I am confident that it is very healthy. Collards, 1 apple, a cucumber and 4 stalks of celery. Very refreshing.

Ok, I am getting ready for this weekend's cubscout campout. I google'd "camping list" because I really didn't know where to start and you know me...I need a list to be at all productive.

First on the list....a tent. Wally world actually came through on this in more ways than one. Here is my new tent...

And as I was pulling into the parking lot I spotted these sitting there doing nothing....

As I was walking in to the garden section a man was walking out with a tag that said his name was Jeff. I asked Jeff what they planned on doing with them and he said he was just on his way out to smash them to pieces and put them in the dumpster. He was very happy to help me load them into my truck since that was easier than smashing them. He asked what I had in mind for them.....oh the possibilities are endless.

Tool shed, chicken coop, rabbit cage holder....I am thinking tool shed for the tall one...6 ft...and rabbit cage holder for the smaller one...5 ft.

And here is Bull trying to help unload and load the truck. He thinks he is going camping!

Tough life of a working dog.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


With Iron and Wine playing, a cold glass of wine by my side, the pop and crack of the oven as it faithfully cooks my home made garlic drenched alfredo pizza, I realized that I never left my homestead this day.

I am not often blessed with a day filled with peace...this was one.

How often do you get to just do things that make happy?

My soul screamed for the out of doors today so after the kitchen got cleaned, instead of cleaning the whole house like I planned, I headed outside. There were two annoying things that needed to be done.

One was cleaning out the bed of my truck. It hasn't been done in months. slowly things had been gathering there. Rocks, llama poo, boxes, extra bags of dirt...etc.

The other was building a compost bin. Since I could not afford cinder blocks like I want, free pallets from craigs list will have to do for now. I added wire to the inside to keep most of the debris inside. Re mixed the horse manure and stall cleanings with yard debris and water. I need a correct fitting front. I will have to build that. Neither of my two remaining pallets fit. But that is ok. I will use the two pallets to build compost bin #2. Both will have home made front gates. The blue feed trough for now will protect from heavy rains. Later I will salvage my tarp from the chicken yard and cover the compost.

**While I typed the pizza got done. I really wonder if things you plant and harvest with your own hands taste so good just because of the work you put in. Now the pizza has on it greens from my garden but the rest is store bought of course. But I made it myself. The salad is topped with finely crushed smak ramen noodles uncooked, the dressing is olive oil toasted garlic, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar with a tiny bit of the smak ramen seasoning stirred in.

I am sipping the remaining red wine.

What an amazing day.


56 degrees and windy. It has been raining softly all night long. Not the down pours of this past winter but perfect garden rains. The clouds are just now starting to break up. I may be able to mow this evening.

Last night just before it was too dark to work outside, and right before the rain started, I remembered that I had two packages of potato starts that needed to go into the ground. They would be perfect for the last raised bed. I laid them out and then filled the bed up the rest of the way with good compost. I may build another box out of 2x6's and set it on top once the potatos are up and thriving and fill that to the top. Then I will simply remove the top to harvest the potatos this summer.

After I harvest potatos, I will use that deep bed for an asparagus bed.

Breakfast today is oatmeal, dates, walnuts and honey with hot milk.

Dinner tonight will be a home made Alfredo pizza with chopped greens from my garden and parmasian cheese.

I have to post about last night. I went to my sisters on the way home from the barn, proudly toting my 30 gallon trash can of newly scooped llama poop.

My sister was getting ready to go to the Ritz Carlton in Dallas for dinner. (I really wonder if we really are sisters).

I gave her some eggs and she gave me some wire and I left. As I pulled out of her driveway, her rear neighbor was out and working in his little garden by his driveway. Last summer I had noticed something very cool that he had built right at the end of the driveway. It was a series of 4 home made compost tumblers. They were 4 50 gallon blue drums mounted horizontally on poles on a wood rack. I will take my camera and get a picture next time I go.

I was the first time I had to tell him that they were great. He laughed when I rolled my window down and told him how cool they were. I told him I had llama poo in my truck and asked him if he wanted some. You should have seen how excited this young man got! "You'll gime me some????" I pulled into his driveway and we started talking. He asked if I wanted to see his water collection system. I will also take a picture of that when I am out next. Then he took me on a tour of his yard front and back. This is just a city lot but it is heaven. The beautiful beds are full of perinnials and herbs and he knows the names of all of them.

I left telling him to let me know if he needs more llama poo and he asked me to return so that he could divide his sedum and other plants and give me some! That will be a great trade. His name is Joe.

Also on the Llama poo farm: I spoke to the farmer and she has the large metal shipping containers set up as animal shelters. One is about 20 feet or more long. As we walked into it she pointed out that the floor is covered in about 5 inches of powdered manure. This is mixed but is primarily cow/goat mix. This will be hot and will need to be composted but will it ever be a wonderful addition to my compost pile??

Well since it rained all night I will spend today cleaning house and later will go out and build tomato cages.

What is that sound? Yep it's the garden growing!! woohooo

Saturday, April 17, 2010




Ok we planted 3 kinds of cucumbers, kohlrabi, corn, bush beans, spaghetti squash, okra and the billard ball zuchini. Purple hull peas will be planted when the corn is about 2 inches tall. As well as butter beans. Both will be planted around the corn.

Sorry about the fuzzy pics. We also harvested a huge bowl of lettuce and broccoli (the last of the broccoli I think) and a huge bundle of collard greens. Tonights dinner is fresh salad and steamed collard greens with a home made warm dressing of olive oil, garlic and soy sauce, hot corn bread muffins and that is it!

Friday, April 16, 2010


If money were no option this would have been done by now. But I can only do as much as the money (or lack of it) will allow.

Monday, April 12, 2010


There was some good about this winter. My winter crops seemed to thrive from being covered with snow multiple times. But usually here in N TX winter is pretty much done by February. She hung on til March this year and threatened to take April also.

So now that it seems winter is done, I worked all weekend to erase all signs of her. The huge fire was to burn all of the winter debris that I didn't want to get out and pick up because it was too cold or muddy.

There is still the monster burn pile but that will have to be a different night with lots of spare time to monitor it's progress.

I mowed a quick turn around the pond. Lots of weed eating needed there. I spotted a lot of poison ivy which will need to go away.

The blackberries are in full swing. I really hope we have a huge crop this year. I will freeze as much as I can so that we can make ice cream this summer.

Getting ready to make apple/celery/cucumber juice for breakfast. Hope your day is wonderful. I was mowing I noticed that several types of wild flowers were thriving this year. I will keep track of these and see if it is my imagination that each year something different thrives.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My weekend is done;

I accomplished almost everything I wanted to. Still much much more to do though.

Finally got that glass of wine. But wine, farmers almanac and matches? Sounds like trouble...


I know this is not a healthy meal but onion bread and left over spam....yum.

It might be wishful thinking but the world seems at peace. Even the bunnies are quiet. The birds are settling down. Bull is on patrol. The last of the embers in the fire are snapping and popping. I remember now why I moved out here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


My back is sore, my hands are very rough, everything aches. But I really see progress. I think there is a reason that farmers never stop working. Stuff piles up! The little glass balls are solar lights for the garden. They are not very bright but they go from white to green to blue to red lights. Kind of cool. Can't get a pick of them in the dark though.


You have to admit, that a day that starts like this can not be at all bad.

I got 6 pieces of concrete reinforcement wire and this is my first attempt at a tomato cage. I think it will work well.

The wood is all stacked and ready for summer cookouts and winter warming.

Here is how high the grass is in the front yard. But John fixed my mower this morning and I am now inside on lunch break resting between mowing jobs.

In the foreground of this picture you can see how high the weeds had gotten.

Flash says it is nap time though. (I wish!)

Breakfast today: fresh orange/carrot juice
Lunch today: Fresh broccoli, corn chips, Lucky Layla drinkable Pure yogurt and cold water