Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yesterday we got the floor seals put up on the house. Today Gary bought some boards to go on and finish the porch so we will have somewhere to sit and rest while we work on the rest of it. I am sooooo looking forward to a real house for a change!! The old house we're in has been .... er ... a challenge, to say the least.

Also yesterday I checked on my garden and saw that the horses had broken in and trampled much of it and something ate all the peas down to the ground - again. So today I reworked the turnip bed and replanted and put up a cage over just that row and put protection around the peas. It won't stop mice or rats, but it should handle just about anything else. Everything concerning my garden is always feeling like one step forward and two steps back. I can't ever seem to get ahead and stay ahead!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I just visited the website of some herb-growing friends of mine, Dave and Floralyn Perry over in the Missouri Ozarks. You should definitely go have a look and plan a get-a-way at their new lodge: , it's very beautiful! They also grow ginseng and medicinal herbs. I haven't been able to go see it yet, but I sure hope to do so soon.

This morning we saw a beaver at the bridge on our way out to school. I love beavers! Most folks out here do not like them, though - they don't like the way their dams cause the water to back up in their hay fields. Then when they take the tractor out to cut hay, it sinks them down to the axles... at least that's why my neighbor up the road doesn't like them. So I told ol' Mr. Beaver to head on over to our creek if anyone out here gives him trouble. I'd love to have my creek backed up, haha. It would create a great habitat for some skunk cabbage that I've been wanting to grow. Skunk cabbage is one of the greatest antispasmodic roots in the herb world, but the plant is endangered or rare in some areas. I've never found any out here, but it is supposed to be here, so maybe it is rare here, too. And if Mr. Beaver is really eager, it might make a good swimming hole, too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Ozark herbalist, Kristena :) We met first over the internet a while back but today we met in person and walked around looking at "weeds" at the Compton Botanical Gardens in Bentonville. Her daughter Olivia joined us. You might like to check out Kristena's website, and her blog too.

We saw a few plants that we stopped to pay attention to, but this garden is a great resource for hurried folks; I like to eat lunch here and it helps to break my day if it's been stressful at work. One of the plants I was most excited to see is boneset. I've been searching all over our own land for this one, and it should be there, but I haven't found it. Another one was perilla, which I do have in abundance, but have never really studied it to get to know it better. I do know that it stains my fingers a pretty brown, so if you are interested in natural dyes, this might be a good one. And we saw what I believe to be Lady's Thumb - click on the link to go to a website to read up on it. There was a different name tag near this plant, but I believe the plant it identified was no longer there, or else I am mistaken about the identity.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Planted more peas and carrots, cabbage and turnips yesterday. My dad brought his "arrowhead digger" up with him and while he's here I'm using it to till up some new garden. My husband got his bulldozer fixed, so site prep was easy between the two of them. Now to fence it in and get it growing! I should have enough room now to grow more than enough vegetables to supply my CSA and our own household. The trick is now to make the time to get the 4-year rotation plan together and get started :) I'll probably go on and get it certified now, since the entire bench will be ready this year. Rather than "certified organic", I'll do "Certified Naturally Grown". CNG is the new grassroots organic movement, and it's tailored for small growers and direct-marketing farmers. They require growers to follow the same stringent rules as "organic" but it is not so influenced by the big ag business. I think it is less likely to become corrupt (at least until big ag wants to use this name, too).

A critter has been eating my sugar snap peas, and some turnips, and the sweet potatoes. the poor little seedlings weren't but a couple inches tall. about half of the peas are gone and only a few turnips are gone. but ALL of the sweet potatoes are gone, at least the leaves have all been eaten. I'm not sure they can continue to grow without leaves, but I haven't given up all hope on them yet. It is becoming clear that I need a good fence if I plan to come close to substinence gardening, not to mention market farming!

As with almost everything else I need these days, money is an issue. I can't buy fencing materials until I get my Christmas bonus, and there's a big "if" about whether we will even be getting bonuses this year. If we don't land the contract we need, even whether I have a job or not next year is up in the air. I'm really not worried about not having the job, I think I can get another one fairly quickly if I want to - but I will have to learn other ways to do things that don't involve buying everything I need. As for the critters, I am sure that my sons will be happy to sit out one evening to see who's coming to dinner and turn the tables on it. LOL. Hopefully it is something good to eat, like a rabbit. I've never tried groundhog before, but maybe I will soon. How did people garden before fences were available? If I plant more, will there be more predation or is there a point where volume of produce will exceed predation by enough to supply my own household and a few others with food?

On another subject, the pediatrician called today and they still want my son to see a specialist. His pain was gone, but yesterday it was back although the Aleve aleviated it this time quickly and he didn't need additional pain medication. The fact that it was back is worrisome, though, and it completely blows my theory for what happened out of the water.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Here are some pictures from a little hike I took right before dark today:

oh boy, moving the propane tank turned out to be quite a chore! but we did get it done and i have pictures to prove it :)

getting ready:
trying to decide exactly how we'll do this:
Plow-reining down the driveway backwards was harder than it looks! (1/2 mile and HILLY)
Too far left on the pads:
Reposition the chains and get ready to pull it backwards a little:

All done, FINALLY!
It's a beautiful day today in the Ozarks! It was around 50*F when I got up this morning (late because I was out til around 1:30 taxi-ing my daughter and her friends around) and now at 1:45 p.m. it is still only about 70*F. Wonderful weather for working outside. We're getting ready to move the propane tank down to the final resting place near where we're building our new house. I'll try to get pictures of us hauling this 1000 gallon tank with the bulldozer and me holding it in the right alignment by walking before it with a rope. Or maybe we'll load it on the trailer and pull it up to the house. I don't know yet how we're going to do it, but we'll get it done somehow today. It will be nice to start using this huge tank rather than the small ones we've been using. The only thing we use propane for is the hot water heater right now, but eventually I will have a gas stove and oven, maybe a clothes dryer too. Right now all those things are electric and I hate being dependent upon the electricity especially in the winter when the power is likely to go out during an ice storm. At least with the propane, as long as the tank is full, we will always have the stove to use and with our gravity feed water system we will always have running water. When the kids are all grown and moved out, I may just drop the electricity all together. I rarely watch TV and solar can power a few lights and the computer fairly easily.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Did you know that those blue-belly lizards, otherwise known as Western Fence Lizards, have a protein in their blood that deactivates Lyme disease? When the ticks are very small their main food source is our cute little blue belly lizard. When the baby tick bites the blue belly they get a dose of the protein from the blue belly's blood and if the tick had the lyme-causing bacteria, then they will no longer be carriers of that disease! We have lots of blue bellies out at our place and every time I see one I am so grateful for them. Here are a couple links to sites that talk about this in more scientific terms if you are interested:

We have a lot of ticks and I'm always afraid that the kids will be bitten by one that has a disease. Every day we check for ticks before taking a shower, but it seems that the longer we live here, the less likely we are to be bitten. I've noticed this with my horses, too. The horse we brought up here with us, Snippy, was plagued by ticks the first year here. The horse we bought from our neighbor didn't seem to get so many. This year, Snippy only got about as many as the native horse, so maybe we also are building a deterrent-smell or taste to them too, lol.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

uh-oh. I just found out that I have to give a presentation to a client that's walking through the lab in a few minutes. you cannot begin to imagine the amount of dread i feel about this! it doesn't matter that all i've lived and breathed for the last 6 months is ICP-MS (at least at work) - i am TERRIBLE at explaining or talking in public! please say a prayer, or hold me in your thoughts, or do SOMETHING to help me through this, lol!
10:11 same day

well, the results were all negative - whooo-hooo! so apparently all this pain was just leftovers from a virus his immune system went overboard in fighting. but just to be on the safe side, i think i'll leave Garrison out of the bamboo harvests in the future.
9-12-07 (just in case Blogger gets it wrong again, it's a habit now)

Not too much to write about today. We should find out whether Garrison has a tick disease or whether his hip has been hurting because an infection settled there, at least. We had to bring him to the emergency room last Thursday morning because he was hurting so badly he couldn't even sit up in the bed. This is a child who did not shed a tear when he broke his arm last year, so I know the pain must be intense. The only other thing I think it could be is that he's allergic to that bamboo we harvested last monday - he rode back to the road in the truck on top of the pile, and he also had a rash by Monday night. But the ER team didn't seem to think much of the idea.

In the garden we have planted some seeds: english peas, sugar snap peas, turnips, spinach, lettuce, carrots, and beets. Last time I looked, the carrots were well up and the turnips were all looking strong. Oh, I also planted some italian leaf cabbage, something new that I've never tried before. It's supposed to be really good and tasty for soups and stews.

I made a pretty little fence with the bamboo and now I need more of it! I'll have to post a picture later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I had a great Labor Day weekend, but it wasn't labor free, lol. Saturday we poured the concrete footing on the chicken house and barbequed, and harvested big bamboo from a nice lady who lives down the street from our county road. Sunday after church I made my husband come help me harvest river cane to fill in the fence I started Saturday afternoon with the big bamboo. I love bamboo and wish I had plenty of my own growing here so I didn't have to gather it from other people's houses, but both persons who gave me the canes over the weekend said that I could get some started from theirs. The river cane grows like wildfire, so I'll have some of that quick, but the big bamboo takes a while to get going. In 10-20 years, I'll have plenty, lol. I hope I'm still able to be active in my 60's!!

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