Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This morning I went outside before daylight because the dogs were barking up a storm. Badger, the great pyr, was really sounding upset, barking with more aggression than usual. Bobbie Sue, who never gets right into the middle of things, was on the sidelines cheering him on. Once they realized I was out there with them, the turned up the heat even more. Whatever it was sounded large, lots of crashing noises out there behind the shed. I yelled for one of the kids to bring me a flashlight. My youngest yelled back "What about the shotgun?!", but I just wanted the light, not the gun. I did think it might be a bear, since we do have lots of those around. but they don't normally come that close to the house. Finally, the light was delivered and I shined it out there. It was a coon, high on top of a huge rose bramble, and Badger was in the bramble with it, furiously trying to reach it but just getting caught up in the thorns the more he tried. That was the source of the loud noise, just Badger in the bramble. The coon saw his opportunity for escape and made a run for it, and the dogs followed him down into the gully. They came back to the house soon, checking to see if I was pleased, which I was. He does a really good job of keeping the chickens safe, but we did lose one a few weeks ago and I'm figuring it was to that coon. I hope he won't keep trying to come back for second helpings. The chickens are free range, but they go into a house at night. Other critters live in the gully, a fox and a weasel, and now I guess the coon too. I don't try to clear all the woods and mountains of critters, that's their space. But near the house and garden is our space and they need to steer clear of it. That's what Badger does, he enforces the "Green Zone" around our home. And Bobbie Sue does a good job of helping him. Sometimes she's the first one to sound the alarm and Badger takes it from there. She doesn't like direct confrontations. Some people couldn't sleep with all the barking they do at night. But it actually doesn't bother me. When I don't hear them barking I will wake up and wonder what's wrong, or if they fell asleep at the post. Then I have to get out of bed and check. Usually, though, it's just a calm night and they don't see anything worth barking at.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The other day my sister, Jennifer, called me and she said that a pelican had eaten all the goldfish in their pond! One of them that went missing was a pretty old fish that had survived all sorts of mishaps, so what a shame that some mis-guided pelican found her pond and did him in. They don't really live near the water, so it was pretty odd for him to even be out her way. She and her husband Brad have also purchased some land in Arkansas, over near Yellville. One day I'll have to do an herbwalk over at her place because the soil composition is different and there are different plants there than what is at my house. In particular they have lots more dogwood and it's really beautiful in spring when they're all in bloom.

Today I went hiking in the woods with my friend Dena, looking for ginseng. There are a few wild plants scattered around out there and sometimes I can look all day and not find them. Today I was lucky and found several, but they were all small. The old ones are already retired for the year or dormant or gone. We also found some slippery elm and gathered a little bark for each of
us. The picture is of dena stripping some slippery elm bark. None of the other pictures I took today came out very good and so that was disappointing.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Last night I went to the Benton county Master Gardener's meeting. It was a delightful way to spend my evening! Before the meeting we toured the exhibit hosted at the Rogers Historical Museum - The Healing Power of Plants, a traveling exhibition from the University of Colorado Museum. That in itself was awesome and without having been invited to the meeting I would have otherwise never known it was going to be so close and would have missed the opportunity to view it - thank you Chari! Afterwards, Chari Cross presented an excellent slide show program on common medicinal plants and their uses, featuring plants we can grow right here in our own Arkansas gardens. I brought some of the ginseng seeds from my planting stock and some goldenseal rhizomes to sell after the meeting. I met lots of wonderful gardeners and thoroughly enjoyed myself.