A little Garden Update

Well, the garden is still intact. The new chicks kind of put all that on hold. Additionally, I think something out there read the blog and told everyone to shape up or else! We got more from the garden yesterday than we have for the last month, but it’s still not a lot. The only plant I really want to leave is the basil. I always plant basil and marigolds near my tomatoes to deter horn worms and other nasties. I bought a basil plant this year, and then found the seeds I had saved from two years ago. I planted those just to see what they would do, and they didn’t do bad. I’m thinking I will harvest the leaves from the plant I bought and then let the other produce some seed that I can save for next year. I have one die hard marigold too!

Basil among the weeds

Basil among the weeds

Die hard marigold

Die hard marigold

The front yard is doing much better. We harvested the three little cabbages that survived from the seeds Kat and I started indoors last winter, and turned them into a nice batch of slaw (whole 30 compliant, of course). The green beans out there are still steadily producing. I am thinking about leaving them now, and using what else we get for next year’s seed. The strawberries are sending out runners everywhere, and I am looking forward to seeing what we get next spring. We also have sunflowers growing from saved seeds. They are working nicely as a trellis for our best producing cucumbers.

sunflowers and cucumbers

sunflowers and cucumbers

just about ready

just about ready

I have been working on covering the strawberry and herb beds with newspaper, cardboard and mulch to cut down on weeds and provide some nourishment to the soil. So far, most of the mulch has come from grass clippings, and it has been a slow process. This week, I was determined to get finished. Technically, the herb garden isn’t much of one yet, although most of the transplants I put out there have done well. So, I was out there, pulling the bigger weeds, and covering the smaller ones with newspaper and cardboard, when I came across a vine with some interesting, feathery leaves. Then I noticed a few red blossoms. I headed in the house to see if Google could shed some light on my mystery plant. Success! They are rose feather morning glories, and they are rare. Considering where I found them, I think a previous owner had to have planted them. So they can stay for now. I just mulched around them.

Rose feather morning glory

Rose feather morning glory

mint

mint

Rosemary and thyme

Rosemary and thyme

Oregano getting ready to bloom

Oregano getting ready to bloom

Sage

Sage

Rosemary

Rosemary

more oregano

more oregano

Since Ed has decided that he can rake grass a lot faster than I can, he started helping with that last time he mowed. Yesterday, he determined that it was just going to take too long to get enough grass to finish the job. We have a ton of old hay in the barn. So, we went and filled the truck bed with hay and quickly finished the mulching. I just hope its dead enough to not try and give me new growth in my herb bed, next spring.

Tossing hay from the loft

Tossing hay from the loft

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mulched herb bed and extra mulch

Oh, and here’s a little chicken update:
As Ed said, Katherine has already named the chickens…much in the same way she names her drawings of dragons and My Little Pony characters. They are Free Fall, Sunrise, Noon, Dusk and Moonrise.
Here is a pic I shared with our facebook friends.

Kat and baby Moonrise

Kat and baby Moonrise

Today, she came inside, grabbed a pair of plastic gloves and headed around the corner toward her room (and the bathroom). She came back a few seconds later with a wet washcloth, holding up her gloved hand which now displayed a dark runny streak. Yep, she had just been pooped on by one of her “babies”! As I struggled not to laugh, she did too. Then she begged me not to tell Ed, but he figured it out when he saw her wiping her hair down with the wash cloth. I have a feeling the chicken stories are just beginning!

Have a blessed weekend!

Connie

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Making Plans and Picture of the Week Thursday

Yesterday morning, as we looked at our still overgrown, under producing garden, I told Ed that I am ready to “be done with this”, and start working on a fall garden. He agreed. So probably some time today or tomorrow morning, we will mow it all down.

While we were out there, we also discussed where to put a temporary chicken coop. I told him that I want to be able to look out either the kitchen or the den window and see the chickens, which basically means they will be in the back yard. He should like that. It means less to mow.

Since he is off today, and we don’t have to do a bunch of business in town, we should get a lot done around here. Lord willing, he’ll be able to tell you about it tomorrow. I have a few things in working on too. I’ll share those this weekend.

Now for the Thursday picture(s)of the week:

As most of you know, we have three generations of cats: the daughter (Adora), the mother (Bookworm), and the grandmother (Captain). Adora’s nickname, given to her by Ed, is Arrhythmia, since she pretty much stays in freaked-out mode. She will eventually get her own blog post.

Like all cats, she likes to cram herself into places where she really doesn’t fit, but the last few days, she has taken it to a new level.

Adora in  the ktichen drawer

Adora in the ktichen drawer

She used to do this when she was a kitten, at our last house, but it was usually a bathroom drawer. She stayed there about five hours. I just let her sleep.

"Tater"

“Tater”

Ed says her new nickname is “Tater” This roost didn’t work out quite so well for her. Its wasn’t so great for the potatoes either.  I wish I could have got a shot of her in the pot with the avocado tree!

See ya tomorrow.

Connie

This, That, and The Other Thing

Last weekend marked our first anniversary on the homestead. This weekend will mark a year since my accident. A lot has changed in the last year, and in some ways, not nearly as much as we would have liked. However, in all things we are thankful to God. He allowed us to get this place, and He kept me from being crushed under the wheels of my son’s car. Life is good!

Earlier this week, when we were out feeding the dogs, I told Ed that although we seem to have the ticks under control, the dogs (Libby particularly) were still infested with fleas. He suggested we bathe them Thursday morning since he didn’t have to be at work until three. I thought that was a good idea. By the way, the DIY tick repellant recipe that I use on the dogs, as well as the one for us, can both be found here. It works great for ticks, but like I said, the fleas are still a huge issue.

So, early Thursday morning, Ed, Kat and I, did dog bathing duty. We hadn’t bathed them since we moved. Bathing them at our last house was a super challenge. If you are interested, you can read about that, and a couple year’s worth of other dog and cat stories here. (I went back and read Ed’s post about that bathing, and noting his analogy and vocabulary choices, I am amazed at how much the Lord has worked on that man!) Of course, he told you a lot about Libby yesterday. I  can add a little information: Before I got Libby, I was told she was a “pure bred Lab”. Obviously, she isn’t. As I’ve often said, “She’s no more pure bred Lab then I am!” You cannot bribe her with food. She just dosen’t care. Our last vet witnessed this and told me that training her was going to be challenging. He was right: Libby is now eight years old, and she still won’t come when she’s called, if she has something better to do.

Anyway, back to the bath. Now we have outside water spigots and hoses; things that make dog bathing oh so much easier. I recorded the bathing this time, but compared to years past, it was a non-event. The highlight of the bathing was probably Meeko running past Libby a little too closely and hitting her right in the jaw with his hard head! Besides, from where I placed the camera, most of what you see is our backsides. Nobody needs to look at that! We don’t even want to look at it!

Speaking of big backsides. Today, we are starting the Whole 30. I will keep you posted as we go through our thirty days of eating only meat, veggies, fruit and healthy fats. No grains, no legumes, no dairy and definitely no sugar or processed foods. I’ve already been doing a modified version of that as we used up food we already have, and I’m feeling pretty good.

Also, earlier this week, Kat and I carried some things out to the barn. While we were there, I wanted to check the two rooms that have doors where we have been storing holiday decorations, things that belong to my boys, and the majority of my book collection.

To be honest, I was most concerned about the books. I had seen rodent evidence around the barn, and I didn’t want them nesting in my books. I turned on the light and stepped up into the room. I had started to check some of the boxes; shaking them first and listening for anything moving. Then I heard Katherine express some surprise. I honestly don’t remember what she said, but when I turned to look, she was pointing at the floor that I had just stepped over.

There was a rather large snake skin. I think I may have jumped. I really don’t like snakes! Intellectually, I understand that there are good snakes and poisonous snakes, but the scared to death side of me doesn’t pay much attention to intellect. My second thought was that if that skin was in this closed room, it’s previous owner might be in here too! We went back to the house.

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Kat and the snake skin. She thought it was cool!

Later that evening, I relayed the incident to Ed, showing him the skin that we brought back to the house with us. He said, “Well, he’ll keep the rats and mice out of your books.” “Yes,” I replied, “and he’ll keep me out of them too!”

We’re still debating on whether we should give up on the garden for this year. It’s really over grown and not producing much. The pole beans have been showing us lots of lovely blooms, and very little bean. If anyone has any ideas about that let us know. Since we were told the previous owners had their garden in the same place we have ours, we are both thinking that we should compost and mulch that area well, and then let it be fallow for a year. That way, if the soil is as depleted as we think it is, it will have a chance to recover. If we can get a cold frame built, I am thinking about a fall garden with some greens and broccoli, cauliflower etc.

beanless beans

beanless beans

I am also working on pulling together what I need for this home school year. We are switching to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, which means shorter lessons on a wider range of subjects. We will still be using Life of Fred for Math. We will be reading from many different books, some of which I already have, and some I will have to order. Amazon and I have become great friends! I would love to be able to take advantage of their affiliate program, but Amazon and the state of Missouri had issues, so I can’t. Anyway, for Kat and I, school starts September first!

Speaking of home school. Last year, during Botany, we stuck some tooth picks in an avocado seed and put it in a glass of water. Now, we have a nice looking start on an avocado tree. Don’t expect to ever bear fruit here, but it is a nice looking house plant. I just have to keep Adora from laying in it.

avocado seed

avocado seed

avocado plant

avocado plant

Well I guess that’s enough this, that and the other for now. Have a great weekend!

Connie

Lord Knows Everything Grows (Whether You Want It To or Not)

“I don’t really need the money, but the people I owe it to need it a lot.” That was something Hank Williams used to proclaim in the late 1940’s, on his Health and Happiness radio show, when he was selling his own records over the air. If you would like to hear some of that, you might look here.

Hank had a way of speaking for the common man. I really care nothing for money. A horse can’t eat it. Too bad my creditors do not agree with me. So I have to work, because robbing banks in Missouri has already been done to death.

Now I am settled into my new job, I can take a few moments and write to you about what is going on around the old Homestead. I have not been idle on that front, it is just that, between working, working around the place, eating, and sleeping, I have had very little time for much else.

So here are some random topics, things I have worked on, mistakes, and successes we have had over the last few weeks. As I told Connie not too long ago, “We do not fail; we either succeed, or learn how to succeed next time.” Unfortunately, quite often the tuition at the University of Hard Knocks can be high.

The Rag Weed that ate my fence row.

The Rag Weed that ate my fence row.

This is my forth summer of attempting to do some small farming, and wrest some small piece of property back from the clutches of flora so diverse and aggressive, it staggers the imagination. This year I have learned about the effects of an over abundance of rain on plants in the state of Missouri:

It appears that over watering kills, stunts, and/or messes up the growth cycle on everything you want to grow. Causing such behavior as cauliflowers that go straight from “tomorrow I will grow out and make a nice head of cauliflower” to, “on second thought I will just go to seed, see ya.” Not to mention that grass likes rain water much more than tomatoes, who “don’t like to get their feet wet” or corn which tassels while less than waist high.

The grass that ate what we were going to eat.  You can stand there and watch it grow.

The grass that ate what we were going to eat.
You can stand there and watch it grow.

On the other hand, everything you really would rather NOT grow, when allowed to take every other day showers, grow like Jack’s Beanstalk. Connie has learned to name near every invasive plant, common weed, tree, shrub, or fern on the place; whether useful, neutral or dangerous. We used to walk across the pasture and she would point down at her feet, name the plant, and tell its lineage, whether it is good or ill, and what we should do with it. She still does that, but now she has to point up over her head.

As I stand in the dog lot, I recall having cut out all the standing hemlock with a machete and some other light hand tools. I was counting on my ability to find the stuff as it grew back and destroy it quickly. That worked for a couple of weeks. I would see the little plants and knock them down with a hoe or even my foot. As I stare up at the seven feet Rag Weeds I ignored, I think, “Use the chain saw.”

This is Rag Weed, the picture was taken by a 5 foot tall most beautiful woman in the world. But it makes the perspective interesting. The plants are between 7 and 8 feet tall.

This is Rag Weed, the picture was taken by a 5 foot tall most beautiful woman in the world.
But it makes the perspective interesting. The plants are between 7 and 8 feet tall.

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In spring none of these sapling were over knee high and bigger around than your finger.

Let’s talk about the fence rows. All winter long, I would look out my door and see the sprouts caught up in the fence rows and think to myself, “When it warms up a bit, I will cut those out.” Let me save you some trouble. Don’t ever do that! Barring weather so extremely bad that the risk of death or serious injury is imminent, cut them things out right now. My fence rows look like a scene from one of those dinosaur movies.

Put shortly The Homestead is suffering from serious case of Underbrush Overgrowth.

I have never been a real fan of lawns. They always seemed to me to be such a useless waste of time and resources, unless you had chickens running loose on them. Then there is mowing the things weekly, and the constant obsession with only having the right grass. Crab Grass need not apply, and God forbid is that a Dandelion? Who cares and why?

So why did we end up buying a place with a BOY? (Big ole yard).

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This is the front yard, it is not as big as some but try mowing it and the other half with a push mower.

Because the BOY surrounded the house we wanted and was surrounded by the land we wanted, on which sat a cool barn with two horses pained on the front. Who could resist that, and why should you? So I have a large yard in which grows plants of all shapes and sizes, a lot of which Connie assures me makes good salad.

After having mowed our largish yard four or five times last year and again this year about the same, I spoke to Connie saying words to the affect of, “Hon, as soon as we get a chance we need to buy a riding mower.” Something I had largely disdained. She tells me that I misinterpreted her look, but I would swear she looked at me as if to add “wimpy boy” to her smiling statement, “We’ll have to see dear.”

The next week, she offered herself and Katherine to be stand in mowers. switching off the lawn mowing every time around. After a few rounds we finished and, back in the house, Connie smiled at me and said. “Dear we need a riding lawn mower.” Ah, the joys of shared experience.

So now we have one; a riding lawn mower I mean. Next week, I will tell you how that is turning out. By then I should probably have the stitches out.

May God Bless,

Ed

Deception

As most of you already know, I have been taking WordPress’s Blogging 101 class. Yesterday’s assignment involved looking up the daily writing prompt and using it to write a blog post. The prompt had to do with being deceived by someone.

One might think that the art of deception is limited to human beings, but it isn’t. The natural world is full of deception too. I’m not going to go into my beliefs about how the earth is cursed because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, I”m just going to discuss some interesting ways that nature can be deceptive. Knowing many of them could save your life.

One of the most common deceptions is camouflage. Think of the chameleon that changes colors to match it’s environment, thereby protecting itself from predators. Many species of butterfly have markings that make them appear to be something else entirely. That “log” in the river just might be a crocodile.

Plants are deceptive too. Think of the Venus fly trap. When you start foraging and learning about wild edibles, and edible plants in general, it is extremely important to understand that not all berries are edible, no matter how tasty they look. Pretty is no guarantee for safety. Unless you absolutely know the identity of that plant; don’t eat it! When in doubt, leave it out!

Elderberries and mulberries are wonderful edible berries. Choke and pin cherries are edible, but you probably won’t want many of them. Poke berries will kill you. When in doubt, leave it out. I have everything on my property except Elderberries. I just may have to plant some.

Green Poke Berry

Green Poke Berry

Several wild edible plants have poisonous lookalikes. Wild Carrot, aka Queen Anne’s Lace, is edible. One lookalike is the wonderful medicinal plant, Yarrow. A second lookalike, Poison Hemlock, will kill you. To tell the truth, once you know for sure the differences between these plants, you won’t mix them up, but for a novice forager, the similarities are confusing. When in doubt, leave it out! I would love to find some yarrow on our property, but again, I will probably plant some next spring.

Hemlock that hasn't flowered yet.

Hemlock that hasn’t flowered yet.

Queen Anne's Lace. Notice the purple flower in the center

Queen Anne’s Lace. Notice the purple flower in the center

More Queen Anne's Lace

More Queen Anne’s Lace

It’s a good idea to get a book, or books, on the wild edibles located in your area. I have a little book called Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide To Over 200 Natural Foods. It’s available on Amazon here. (This is not an affiliate link). What I like about this book is that it lists poisonous lookalikes. The internet is a good source too. I belong to a facebook page that is devoted to wild edibles in Missouri. I am constantly impressed with the knowledge in that group. I bet you have one close to you too.

If you’re like me, and really need to see it, youtube videos, like this one, can be a great source as well. However you choose to find your information, I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what you are eating BEFORE you eat it. Don’t be deceived. When in doubt, leave it out!

Connie

Chicory on the Homestead

Yes, I admit it; I spend entirely too much time exploring the net. Pinterest is one of my biggest downfalls, but email notifications from blogs I read can keep me going for days. I’ll see something, which will make me think of something else that I really need to look up, and suddenly the whole afternoon is gone.

A few weeks ago, during one of my exploration excursions into the world wide web, I saw pictures of chicory blossoms. A few days later, when I saw those pretty blue flowers on tall, spindly stalks, I was really hoping I had chicory growing outside my barn doors. I went online and looked at more pictures of chicory plants and blooms! Yes, it’s chicory! Chicory root can be dried and used for coffee! Yes!

One thing I have discovered about identifying plants; once you know what something is, you see it everywhere. We have a lot of chicory. I noticed some growing outside my back door. It had been cut off several times with the weed eater and lawnmower so it wasn’t in the best place for a long healthy life. I thought that would be a perfect place to dig up the roots.

Well, not quite. This first snag was the stones underneath a very thin layer of top soil. The roots grew down through the stones. Ok, well, I’ll just dig them up. I wasn’t expecting the larger layer of gravel underneath the stones. At that point, I knew that my little garden trowel was not going to help me. I did manage to break a few roots loose, but called it a day.

A week or so later, when Ed was off and it was too wet to mow, I asked him to help me get the chicory root by the barn. Ed really likes chicory so he was agreeable to the task. Well, guess what? Underneath a thin layer of top soil, he found gravel: dry, hard as a rock, gravel. He went to find the mattock. If you don’t know, a mattock is kind of like a pick ax.

Ed and  the mattock

Ed and the mattock

more rock

more rock

After breaking up the dirt and gravel, He alternated a couple of different sized shovels to dig up the gravel and expose the roots. It took him over an hour to get this.

Wheelbarrow full of chicory

Wheelbarrow full of chicory

Since I really hate to waste anything, I spent some time looking up alternate uses for the stalks and flowers, but didn’t find much. However, I did find out some things I didn’t know about dried chicory root.

For instance: while it’s true that chicory is often used as an additive to coffee, it actually has sedative properties. So I suppose if you drank enough of it by itself, it would put you to sleep. It also works to relieve constipation. When I told Ed, he said that he would hope that it wouldn’t do all that at the same time!

Since all I need are the roots, I tried to remove them with my garden shears, but that was not going to happen. I ended up getting the hatchet from the garage and chopping the roots off. Chicory blossoms open and close at the same time every day. It was fascinating the see rootless flowers continue to open and close for four days after the roots had been removed.

Anyway, my plan was to chop up the roots, roast them, and then grind them in my spice mill/coffee grinder. Chopping up the roots was a little harder than it looked, and to make an already long story short, I enlisted Ed’s help. Between him, I, and the food processor, we finally got it ready to roast.

washing the roots

washing the roots

all clean and ready to chop

all clean and ready to chop

chopping the root

chopping the root

Roasting chicory smells wonderful! Katherine asked if I had something chocolate in the oven. She was disappointed to learn it was the chicory. Once it cooled, I ground it in the spice mill and put it in a repurposed honey jar.

ground chicory

ground chicory

I made Katherine a cup of chicory tea, but she wasn’t impressed. She said it smells a lot better than it tastes. Out of curiosity, we made a pot of straight chicory in the coffee pot. It was ok, but not something I would want all the time. However, adding a tablespoon or so to a pot of regular coffee adds something that I can’t quite describe.

Yesterday morning, Ed noticed the chicory jar is nearly empty, and asked me if I was ready to go dig some more.

Did I mention Ed really likes chicory?

Connie

More Updates

The last time I posted, Katherine and I were getting ready to start a botany unit. We were also experimenting with recycling bath soap. The botany unit went fairly well, I think. We grew a sweet potato plant, and started some cabbage seeds in the house. We did a lot of potato experiments with the “Potato Chip Science” kit. We extracted strawberry DNA. We also became familiar with Thomas Elpel’s Botany in a Day for plant family identification. .

New roots coming from the sweet potato.

New roots coming form the sweet potato.

About a month later, the newly potted sweet potato plant

About a month later, the newly potted sweet potato plant

The soap, on the other hand, was a different story. What a slimy, gooey mess! When we finally did get it poured into containers, it set up hard. So much for making shower gel.

Icky!

Icky!

As Ed told you, we have started on the garden, and I have started working on the front yard. I got some strawberry plants from the local greenhouse, and am working on what I hope to be my strawberry patch just off the front porch. On the opposite side of the steps that go down to the original driveway, I started an herb garden. I planted lemon balm from seed, and then planted rosemary, sage, oregano and mint plants. In other parts of the front yard, I have planted sunflowers and cucumbers and vinca vine (for ground cover). I have pots full of herb and annual flower seeds, and am just waiting to see what will come up. Once they actually start doing something, I’ll post pictures.

The plants that we started in Kat’s terrarium quickly outgrew it, and are now in a basket in the front yard. The other herb plants that I bought in February have been put in larger pots. The oregano has taken off, but the rosemary and thyme not so much. Just for fun, I put some marigolds in an old toy dump truck and an old watering can.

Coleus from the terrarium

Coleus from the terrarium

Go Oregano go!

Go Oregano go!

Planting outside the box

Planting outside the box

Just like other parts of the country, we have had more than our fair share of rain, but it looks like we will get some dryer weather this week. Remember when we told you about the well we discovered in the pasture? This is a picture I took last week. Yeah, I think we’re good for rain right now. We need to get our rain barrel system set up so we can take advantage of the blessing when we get them.

Overflowing well

Overflowing well

In my next post, I will tell you about our walks in the pasture, and all the cool things we found growing out there.

Have a great week!
Connie

Sorry I Haven’t Written Lately

The title of this post probably means more to people who remember the postal system as the go- to long distance communications method, with the telegraph and the telephone still vying for second. This was how you started a letter to a friend or loved one with whom you had lost contact. So yeah, I am sorry I haven’t written lately.

I want to tell you that the phrase, “Hey, I got a great idea….” has gotten me into a lot of trouble. Granted, not nearly as much as “Hey guys, hold my beer and watch this….” but still a lot of trouble. The beer is gone, and the daredevil foolishness has followed it, at least, mostly it has. However, hare-brained ideas are no respecter of age or the supposed wisdom that accompanies age.

I was offered a job which paid a bit more than most, and carried with it several responsibilities. I told my dear wife, “I can do this job and keep up my other responsibilities here at the Farm.” Right; when pigs fly.

I took the job in February and, coincidentally of course, our last post to this blog was February. It appears that I am not the hard charging young stallion I once was. So something had to give and I finally remembered what should give. Bye-bye to the high stress job because, as a real live Texas Cowboy once told me, “It’s only money. The horses can’t eat it.”

So I am back.

The good news is that the old folks have still been working on the homestead. We just haven’t had time to write to you about it. Actually that might should be haven’t MADE time, but that is another post.

In February, we had Manic Meeko, the alleged dog, tied up because he had figured out how to out run electricity. Subsequently, we have built them a fenced-in quarter acre or so, where they can run and play. Nothing bothers me more than a dog on a chain; even when I know it is the best temporary arrangement we can make.

Katherine and Meeko in front of an old chicken house that will be a temporary dog house.

Katherine and Meeko in front of an old chicken house that will be a temporary dog house.

Gate post for the new dog fence doubling as a back scratcher.

Gate post for the new dog fence doubling as a back scratcher.

In the process of setting this up, we came across a plant we did not recognize. Connie is becoming a fairly good self-trained botanist, and has gotten really good at ID’ing plants. Here is a picture of the plant in question.

Hemlock which looks like other things except look for the purple stalks and the stalks will be hollow. It can KILL you.

Hemlock which looks like other things except look for the purple stalks and the stalks will be hollow. It can KILL you.

The plant turned out to be hemlock. For those who do not know much about plants, or ancient Greece; when he was given a death sentence in Athens, hemlock was what Socrates drank to kill himself. Here is what it looked like the next day:

That is not the end of it though. I am going to be digging, cutting and rooting this stuff out for awhile. For those who are interested here is a link giving information on identifying Hemlock.013

We did get our garden started and here are some pictures of that. We are starting from land that has not been tilled in years so we have good news and bad news. The good news is a good bed of topsoil with lots of organic material in it. The bad news is turning over grass. However, good or bad, here is the start:

Much more has been going on, Connie is making Tin Men and Dogs, Katherine is learning the fiddle, and I am trying to find a little less job than I had before.

Will write more soon,
Ed

Some other little pics just for your enjoyment:

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Meeko and Libby’s new best friend, I am surprised they haven’t invited her home for dinner.

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Connie and I on the front porch of the farm where Jesse James was raised.