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Week 5, January 2018: One Month Ends, Another Begins...and a blue moon

Here we are at the end of January, looking ahead to February's arrival in just a few days. Don't forget the super moon/blue moon/lunar eclipse thing. For those of us here in North American I believe the eclipse will be visible before sunrise on the 31st.

As this month winds down, we all are busy getting our garden plans finalized, seeds started, garden beds cleaned out and prepared, etc.

In my garden, some perennials already are putting on new leaves. It is too early and undoubtedly frost and very cold weather will nip back some of this new growth. It happens every year.

I've resisted the siren's call of the transplants that arrived at the stores this week....at least so far.

For me, seed-starting time will be next Sunday, on Super Bowl Sunday as usual. We don't even plan to watch the game. All these professional football players who have expressed themselves by kneeling during our national anthem have turned me off (they can protest in their own time, as far as I am concerned---not on the field during their workday) and we just finally stopped watching NFL football for the most part, which is how we're expressing our feelings about all those guys expressing their feelings. In the past, I'd be starting seeds and cooking lunch/dinner for our Super Bowl feasting and hoping I'd be done with the seed-starting and have all the food done on time, but this year, all that pressure is off and I can just focus on the seed-starting. I'm okay with that.

I looked at my ten-day forecast and don't see much hope for any moisture of any kind. (sigh) In a drought year, that's not what you want. I don't think the 0.06" of rainfall we've received in January 2018 is our lowest January rainfall total ever since moving here, but it might be. I kind of think we've had at least one prior January with no rainfall at all.

I am worried that our drought level may progress from Severe to Extreme before warm-season planting time arrives, and if it does, I just dread that. It is hard to get young plants off to a good start in Extreme Drought (not that it is so easy in Moderate or Severe Drought either). I don't have an exact dollar amount in my mind where, if the water bill hits that level, I just stop watering....but pretty much every summer we hit that point where I do stop watering because we are so dry that you get to a point where you might be keeping the plants alive, but they also aren't producing enough to justify the ongoing expense of irrigating them. Generally we get enough rain in the winter and spring that I don't have to think about the irrigation expense that early in the year, but drought years are different. I just hate having drought at planting time. Usually we have rainfall (and hopefully this year we will too) that gets the garden going and growing and irrigation is more of a summertime thing. Maybe April will be its usual rainy self and will save us and our gardens from the deepening drought.

There's tons of garden stuff in all the stores here now, but I've been too busy to really pay much attention to it. In that sense, winter wildfire season may help me because it keeps me out of nurseries and garden centers.

Being out in the wild everyday does mean I'm getting a good feel for what is and isn't greening up here, how behind we are compared to previous years, etc. I think if we could get one good rainfall, all the usual cool-season weeds would bust out of the ground, but on our property, they remain confined to the dog yard thanks to the dogs' constant watering and fertilizing of their yard the natural way. About two weeks ago I noticed that the trees, when you look at them from a distance, are getting that 'fuzzy' look that indicates the buds are swelling and such. The cedars are pollinating. The fruit trees are budding. The dewberries are leafing out. Winter grasses like poa annua are indeed sprouting but not growing much. Perennial herbs and flowers are putting on new leaves down low to the ground. The coral honeysuckle is trying to form new leaves and buds but suffered a lot of cold injury when we went down to 2 degrees, so it seems behind where it normally is at this time of the year. Some of the wildflowers in the front pasture have emerged but mostly remain tiny rosettes of leaves down close to the ground.

Tim smelled a skunk out yesterday in broad daylight, though we never saw it (and I never smelled it). Skunks coming out and searching for one another during their mating season is another sign that Spring is coming, although it is not really a welcome sign.

What's new with y'all? Are you seeing much greening up yet? Can you feel Spring slipping in and trying to push Winter out?

Dawn

Comments (93)

  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    Bill, I grow all my peppers in 5 gallon pots, and they're all standard pepper varieties, so you should be able to grow pretty much any pepper in a container.


    Got my car window fixed, got my Amazon account fixed, but broke my exterior mirror on my driver's side. Let's hope my doctor's appointment goes better.


    I WILL spend some time outdoors today. I need the sun and air. And, the bluebonnets and lavendar need the February chill.


    I also want bacon.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    Oh dear, I haven't posted since Monday. Of course babysitting was lovely. He sleeps a lot and is mostly a happy baby. I got lots of snuggle time. My kids didn't sleep, except for daughter who was in daycare. #1 slept from midnight to 6 am. I would spend HOURS rocking him, singing to him, trying to get him to nap. Then the ice cream truck would come around. Ever see the Bones episode where he pulls out his gun and shoots the clown on the ice cream truck? Yeah, I was cheering. #2 napped more, but not as a toddler. #4 was always asleep when it was time to take/pick up the other kids from somewhere.


    I have been trying out calendar/planner things. I have one I like, it syncs with the Google calendar. Trouble is the Google calendar insists on sending me emails for everything on it. I DONOT need an email that says Clean Toilets. I really don't want to see that when I look at my calendar either. I suspect there is a setting in Google calendar somewhere that will cancel the emails, but I haven't found it yet. So I am currently playing with a planner app that includes goals and a journal, a habit changer app and 2 list apps. I'm using one of the list apps for things to purchase and the most recent has multiple sub items, which makes it good for planning goals. I can send tasks to my planner, but it doesn't link directly to a calendar, so I guess the mundane lists will go in it. What does this have to do with gardening? I find myself procrastinating because I know tasks are going to take longer than I expect or I won't have something I need. I INTEND (famous last words) to break it down into smaller tasks and lists of what I need. We'll see.


    Kim, I hear you on cleaning after other people. I cannot even imagine moving. I would have a panic attack just considering it.


    I tried making wine once, gosh a LONG time ago. It didn't work out.


    The chicken pen was originally designed to keep chickens IN, the only dog we had was Holly. 2 pieces of welded wire stretched across the yard. It is not attached to the privacy fence on the side, but the extra is rolled against that fence, kind of like a spring. My theory is Holly pushes between the fence and welded wire. If she can do it, I think Honey could, too. I've been keeping an eye on things, and not giving Holly the opportunity to go in the pen. We need to add a T post to block the possibility. DH's weekend starts tomorrow.


    Nancy, I got the only solo cups Aldi had. Later I will go to Sam's, but they are the typical red solo cups. You know I'm sure her mom was POed about holes in her Tupperware, but I would have been more upset about holes in my table! I don't think we own an ice pick, LOL. Would be longer than the awl.


    I have to get busy, I will have to come back later and finish.


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    LOLOLOL. Doofus. No one was mean! Not at all. Just that they don't like folks going onto the site and doing something different. I can really actually see their point. It'd be different if I'd been winter-sowing for 5 years. It'd be like a brand new gardener coming into the FB forum and telling everyone they're going to plant their entire garden in hay bales. Or stuff like that, you know? What was a little exasperating was that some of them didn't read the post entirely and so it wasn't really a dialogue. No matter. All is good. But if they're mean again, I'll sic you onto them. ROTFL! AND, can't you find anything that contains collagen on a vegan diet?? (Not being vegan, I would not know that, you know.) Rebecca, I'm not as worried about them frying, I mean there are a ton of holes in them. Further, cross currents are usually more effective at bringing breezes through than from just one direction. 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Not easy, especially with vehicles. Those of us smart ones (sometimes I was smart, sometimes not so much so) had engine heaters for the cars plugged in for overnight. When I lived with my son and his family in Mpls, we had a street-level garage, but the rest of the property sloped steeply up. When it snowed, we'd have great fun the first few snows in December; partying out there in the driveway--with the snowblower and the others using shovels. By February or earlier when the drifts next to the driveway were up to 5-6 feet, not so much fun. It was so MUCH colder and more brittle and so much dryer in WY and MN in the winter. But I don't care. It's COLD here. I'm with the rest of ya. I used to trot out on my patio in Mpls when it was -10, in my short nightgown, for a last cigarette. It's all just so weird! Well, HJ, speaking of rambling!
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  • luvncannin
    4 years ago

    My onions came a week early :/

  • billstickers
    4 years ago

    amy - what is the calendar tool you are using?

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    I am using IsoTimer (android) on my tablet (cannot back up from free version, but Pro is one time $5, so if I decide this is it I will buy it). Listing It for the list tool, with Swipes as another, simpler list tool with repeat and reminder options. Loop habit tracker for habit modification. I think these were all designed for phones.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    Temp is presumably about 62 here, but the breeze is a bit cool. So I'm not going to work in the yard after all. Laundry and frying up a surplus of green onions, celery and onion from Aldi. AND reading up on Thai cooking! This is my new mission for this week. I'm going to read, compare and then add a Thai section to MY recipe notebook.

    Amy, I look forward to hearing about your wine making venture. :) We toyed with the idea. Maybe we'll give it a try next summer. My dad loved to make wine. I was in my teens at the time, so didn't really know about wine. Tasted horrible to me. But he had SO much fun with it, and gave it to friends for presents. His meat-cutting room was turned into what looked like a chemist's lab in the summer months, and it was a hoot to visit with him while he was down there working (either with the wine OR with the meat-cutting. I got to be a great chicken-cutter-upper and could wrap the meat magnificently for him. I don't remember if he had a corking machine. Hmmm.

    Those red solo cups should work fine, don't you think, Amy?

    Oh, Bill, my taste buds are already watering for the White River trip next week. . . I can hardly wait--for good company AND good food! How fun! Wish you could join us. And yes, congratulations on taking a BIG step! Hurry up and get better fast!

    I am beside myself; have heliotropes popping up in WS. I had doubts about whether I could get them to germinate, period, having never tried it before. Didn't sound all that encouraging. These were the first gardening flower I fell in love with in Mpls. I became friends with the terrific young woman who managed this most excellent nursery a half block away from me. After I bought a 6-pack of them, went back and bought three more 6-packs. The smell, the smell............ oh my. I will coddle them; know it'll likely be too hot for 'em, but maybe I can enjoy them for a while, well-shaded in the afternoons--luckily the deck does just that. The alyssum out there did well last year.

    How perfect, to have a sweet snuggly baby who will sleep, Amy! My younger son was a snuggler, but sure not a sleeper.

    I hope you're having a quiet day at home gardening, Dawn. Yes, this is not acceptable--cold AND dry. Foul! That's okay. We can do this. I'm glad there are still a lot of leaves lying loose out by the raised beds. Sounds like we're going to need all the mulch we can get this year.

    Yes, you need to drag out the string trimmer on wheels, for sure. :)

    Eileen quite capably advised me on which Thai restaurant to try yesterday. But the expert advisor was only as good as the person taking the advice. We opted for convenience. In my defense, I hadn't checked out the correct site for the one she recommended (Lanna), so didn't see how beautiful it was, or how beautiful the food looked. Next Thai time.


  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    Y'all, EVERYTHING is waking up outside here. Godzilla (The Wisteria that Won't Die) is awake, my rosebushes, daffodils and hyacinths, THE PECAN TREES. Little bitty buds on everything. It's too early! I mean, the pecans only happen when it's really, really time, and it can't be really, really time yet.


    I did prune the rosebushes, hack at the crape myrtle and Godzilla, and set out a bunch of WS containers. Pansies, calendula, coreopsis, coneflowers, bluebonnets, lavendar, and shasta daisies. Didn't get as much done as I wanted to, as I ran out of both potting mix and patience (with myself and with the very barky retriever next door.) I was cool, but I was comfortable in my sweatpants and sweatshirt. I am going to have to pay someone to take Godzilla out, though, so I can get brush killer on him. Just too big for me to do it alone. I do not trust myself with a chainsaw.


    Big fire in Mayes and Creek counties. Mayes is under the burn ban, I think. We've had roughly 1/4" of rain this month.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Kim, While it is unfortunate that the drought conditions exist, it is great that those counties were declared Natural Disaster areas because it makes those folks in agriculture eligible for some FSA loans to help cover their damages and losses. Now, if only it would just rain and rain and rain and solve the problem. I expect the winter wheat crop here in OK will be a bust in most areas, unless someone has been irrigating all winter.

    It is preferable that the long walls of a greenhouse be the ones that face south/north for maximum sunlight but I know y'all will make it work with what you have.

    I've had Dixondale ship onions early some years. I don't know why they do it---perhaps they are watching everyone's weather and thinking folks would like to get the onions in the ground while the weather is nice. When mine have come early the weather wasn't that nice and I wasn't thrilled to have them early, so I just opened the box, put them in the dark back corner of the pantry and waited for my chosen planting date to arrive.

    Jen, It was almost a perfect day except for wind gusting into the lower 30s, but the wind did drop off quite a bit in the afternoon. I enjoyed being out in the garden despite the wind. The sky was such a pretty clear blue...and with no smoke in the air at all today, it sure was nice to be outdoors.

    Amy, It sounds like you had the best day with your littlest one....snuggling and sleeping well---there is nothing wrong with that!

    Rebecca, I've had peppers do really well in 3-gallon and 4-gallon pots as long as I grew them in a rich mix and fed and watered them regularly. I think they are one of the few plants that may even produce higher yields in pots than they do in the ground.

    We heard about the fires up there all day long via different media and FB posts and such. We were under a Red Flag Fire Warning and had high wind and low humidity and still had a quiet day. Having a burn ban makes a huge difference--it doesn't stop all fires, but it helps a lot.

    Oh, and I agree with you that it is too early, especially for pecans, but our plants are doing the same down here, and today's high of 77 will only encourage them more. We need for it to get cold again pretty quickly to slow down everything a bit. It is too late for the eastern red junipers (aka mountain cedars) as they are heavily coated in pollen and making everyone miserable already. Once the plants start waking up, it can be really hard to slow them down.

    Nancy, I've had heliotrope last until May and then it burns up in the heat, but it might last longer for you there. We can get awfully warm awfully early some years. I don't grow it any more, but I had to try it just because of its scent.

    It was a gorgeous winter day here, with a high of 77 degrees (did I mention that a few times already?) It even felt hot to people and animals who are more used to highs in the 40s and 50s at this time of the year. Tomorrow will be 20 degrees cooler, so I tried to enjoy the heck out of today. Our Red Flag Fire Warning expires at 7 p.m. but I am not expecting anything to happen as it stayed quiet all day with much higher wind that we have now. The wind dropped all afternoon, so at least our worst winds were in the morning when humidity was higher, and by the time the humidity was low, so was the wind. We'll take our lucky breaks however we can get them.

    My phone blew up this afternoon with constant news of grassfires in Fort Worth, its suburbs and its rural exurbs. It sounded like they were having a rough afternoon down there.

    Another catalog arrived today (Nichol's Garden Nursery...herbs and rare seeds) so I have new reading material. Now, it is almost dark and I must scurry out to the chicken coops to close them up for the night.

    Dawn

  • luvncannin
    4 years ago

    I actually was calling them to tell them to hold off until the week of the 17th because my field is not ready yet. Talked to man boss yesterday and apparently he had no clue onions were coming before March. So I go them all laid out in his barn and he will fix me a corner to put them after we get the green house finished. We are assembling sections in the barn and then will set it up out in driveway. It will have pea gravel bottom so should be pretty cushy. I can not wait to plant.

    Will tomatoes grow better faster in greenhouse than indoors? Ha one can hope right.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    I can't stand it. I have to plant something. Something little on the cart that will take a while to germinate and not grow too big too fast. :) I'll have to investigate.

    How long do you all think it will take to get the greenhouse up and going, Kim? What are you going to use for shelves? Are you buying greenhouse shelves? Keep us posted on the process, please? How're the new digs--do you have windows and plenty of light? Grow lights? I cannot picture this, but am enchanted.

    Dawn, I feared as much about the heliotrope. They will probably last a little longer here than where you are. However, I was astonished that the alyssum I had in shade from about noon on, performed beautifully clear up to frost, so feel a little hopeful.

    Hard to believe, Rebecca, that you're seeing all this growth, and a few 40 miles away, I'm not. Maybe I'm just not as observant. Glad you got your Amazon problem solved.

    I haven't noticed any early growth here yet. Actually, this has been the chilliest weather we've had here in my 3 years. Wait. Going into my FOURTH year. My, how time flies. I will never forget our move down here. I drove the car, packed with stuff; Garry was hauling a largish U-Haul and the truck was loaded, too. We left Minneapolis in 18 degrees, snow and ice everywhere, but clear weather, roads were dry. We left at 4 pm. Some of Wade's "dudes" helped us load the stuff up there, and this one guy was in long shorts--but he DID have a jacket on. (Crazy crazy folks up there wearing shorts in January.) We hit Iowa and had snow flurries all the way through the state, when it was dark, then kinda frosty through most of Missouri, and then all of a sudden, south of KC, it cleared. Seemed like it took forever--first time driving anywhere always feels like that. Then we entered Oklahoma--February 14. We arrived at 4:30 am (longer than usual trip because of the snow and the heavy loads), and then sat out on the deck--it was heaven--62 degrees and no breeze, celebrated, visited, and shared a bottle of wine. Left everything loaded up and slept. I got up at 3 pm that afternoon, walked out to the deck to join GDW, and thought I had arrived in heaven. 70 degrees. I'll never forget that. Then it got chilly for the next couple weeks and snowed a couple inches. But what a beautiful welcome, and coming-home trip.

    We were busy, Kim, moving stuff in and re-arranging--thankfully we'd had six weeks up in MN to get rid of the bulk of my stuff and to get the rest of it organized. And Garry's daughters had come down here and cleared the house out to make room for "Nancy's" house--God bless those girls. But I knew I had to paint all the dry-walled rooms, because previously they were painted deep rich DARK colors. This is DARK house. I couldn't see anything. And not one of the cabinets or drawers had ever been lined with contact paper or the like, and so I spent the next 3 months lining shelves and cabinets and tossing what I didn't need and arranging stuff to suit me; as well as re-painting the 3 bedrooms and one of the two baths and the hallway, colors that were very light. I DO love painting, however, so kinda loved that part; did it all myself, except for the hallway, last room to be be painted, when GDW felt guilty and thought he could handle it. lol He did very well. And my personal touch was creating large collage photo frames lining the hallway to include our merged family, all the kids. (That bugger took me a month to do all by itself, combing through GDW's photo albums AND mine. But our kids down here have spent SO much time looking at those pictures and loving them. A stroke of inspiration on my part. I love them all too--the photos AND the kids.) And in-between an emergency 2 1/2-week trip to Denver, where my second-oldest bro was dying in the VA hospital, and then severe colds for both GDW and me, it was a busy 3 months that spring, and also the flower beds. Yes. Moving is the pits. BUT what a beautiful move. I hope yours is beautiful, too, for your life's plan!

    No seed catalogs today, no nothing. Just laundry, Thai recipes, sauteing up tons of onions, peppers and onions, then mushrooms, and laughing with GDW--no fish. Running outside every hour to see if anything else grew in the yard, or sprouted up in WS. This is nuts. I need to get a life. Distressed, right along with the rest of you about the drought. RAIN, praying for rain. Now we know why the Native Americans had rain dances. What do you think? Maybe we should do that.


  • jlhart76
    4 years ago

    I love that you have a plant called Godzilla. My co worker gave me a rooted baby off her Beast (old fashioned rosebush). It started as one straggly twig and turned into a huge shrub before we moved. Now it's the new owner's headache.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    They don't have a Hahaha button here!


  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    It's Godzilla because it's trying to eat my house.

  • luvncannin
    4 years ago

    Nancy it is beautiful. Sometimes I just look around in awe like HOW did I get here and know this is such a perfect part of the plan for me. I don't stop here but what a great place to be while I save for my land. I have awesome neighbors and Sophie seems happy. She hardly ever barks and is using her leg. Picture a square divided into 4, 1 window on each wall door front and back shot gun style. It's very bright and sunny and cute. And right now full of junk. Honestly the only thing I mind besides nasty is doing everything alone. It is tiring.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Kim,

    So, if he wasn't expecting the onions until March, does that mean they usually plant the onions in March there? In that case, your onions are really early this year, but perhaps it will work out alright since we are having half-decent winter weather most of the time (not withstanding the coming cold spell).

    Yes, in general, tomato plants will grow better in the greenhouse than indoors under lights with a couple of caveats: (1) the greenhouse needs to be kept at 50 or above at night and I think 60 would be even better. Anything lower than that and the greenhouse tomato plants might not outgrow the ones that are grown inside the house under lights; (2) watch your vents and chart your temperatures inside the greenhouse during the day so you can see how much it is heating up. You don't want it too hot. Know why? Because if you let the greenhouse get too hot when tomato plants are inside it, you can have a big spider mite explosion overnight. They simply appear out of nowhere and give birth to more every few days since heat speeds up their reproductive cycle. Spider mites are very common greenhouse pests precisely because they thrive in the heat, so strive to keep the heat under control. Finally, (3) keep an eye on your humidity inside the greenhouse as it can get hot and steamy in there really quickly. (Your ventilation system, properly utilized, can help mitigate this problem.) Remember that a hot and steamy greenhouse can lead to tomato fungal diseases in the blink of an eye. Because of the full exposure to the sunlight, the plants will grow great as long as you control the temperatures and air flow, and your greenhouse has all the systems in place to do that.

    When I have tomato plants in the greenhouse, I open both greenhouse doors and all 4 vents as soon as possible in the morning---not while the temperatures are still in the 30s or anything, but certainly by 9 a.m. if I can, or even by 8 a.m. if the nighttime lows were not very low. I won't turn on a fan until/unless needed.

    I've said this before and I'll say it again---when my greenhouse is closed up with all doors and all vents closed, it can hit 130-140 degrees by mid-morning on a warm, sunny winter day, and by warm, I mean with temperatures only in the 40s or 50s. That is the fabled 'greenhouse effect' at work, so keep an eye on how quickly yours heats up. My long walls do face north and south with the short walls obviously facing east and west, but the minute the sun is high enough in the sky to shine through the east wall, and shortly thereafter to shine through the ceiling and long walls, that greenhouse temperature skyrockets in the winter time. That was probably the most surprising thing for me about having a greenhouse---how quickly it heats up in the winter time, especially considering I don't heat mine at night so it can get pretty cold. The only other surprise was how quickly it cools off at night, but I keep huge containers filled with water to mitigate that---they soak up heat all day and release it at night, so even when the nighttime lows drop in to the 20s in winter, my greenhouse usually stays slightly above freezing with no heaters inside. I think the Aluminex shade cloth helps with that because it not only reflects sunlight off the greenhouse during the day but helps hold in heat at night. That's why I chose that specific shade cloth.

    We're getting ready to take the shade cloth off the greenhouse so we can replace the greenhouse plastic beneath it....obviously sometime in February because we didn't get around to doing it in January. I'm just hoping the shade cloth hasn't become so brittle from UV exposure that it cracks or shreds in our hands as we remove it. I'd hate to have to replace it as well.

    Nancy, I learned long ago to rein in my need to have something growing in winter merely because I needed to be growing something and not because those plants needed to be growing because whenever I started things indoors too early, they were ready to go outdoors too early (pre-greenhouse days) and it was a very dicey situation for the plants since putting them out too early could lead to their death. Keeping them indoors meant I had leggy plants flopping around on the light shelf. If you must start something indoors now, I'd suggest something like begonias, petunias or angelonia---all of which sprout impossibly tiny plants that are pretty slow to size up. Those are three things that take forever indoors from seed so would be safe to start too early with no worry that they'd get too big too quickly and take up all the growing space you have on your cart.

    If ever there is a plant meant to be named Godzilla, it is wisteria. I love them when they are in bloom and can live without them the rest of the time. There's a house near the Wal-Mart in Gainesville with a wisteria the size of Manhattan. It has climbed the house, outbuildings, fence, wall, other trees, etc. I love to see it in bloom, but if it was mine, I'd prune the heck out of it to keep it from dominating the entire landscape year-round when it isn't in bloom. On the other hand, that house and that wisteria were there in that location long before Walmart bought the adjacent land and built the store, so maybe now they use the wisteria to help screen out the store, the parking lot, the traffic, etc. Trumpet creeper is just as bad as wisteria, but I love it anyway. Both of them are the kinds of vines that will climb 5 to 8' higher than the closest support---there is no quit in either of them.

    My plan for today is continued garden cleanup, albeit in much colder temperatures than yesterday, and I despise being cold. However, since the next few days are going to be even colder, this might be my last day to happily work outdoors for a few days. I made a lot of progress yesterday and hope to do the same today.

    Earlier this week the county road workers spent a significant amount of time bulldozing the bar ditch adjacent to the property just south of us. It was a badly, badly eroded bar ditch with tons of erosion and wildly overgrown weeds/brush, so I'm not complaining. It was so eroded that if a car had run off the roadway into that ditch (which actually did happen in exactly this manner around 2001 or 2002), it could have ended up perhaps upside down or standing on its head in the bar ditch, so I suspect they spent the time leveling it out (I think they bulldozed a lot of it and filled in the rest with soil brought in via dump trucks) as a safety issue. Regardless, it now looks fantastic---very level and flat like most of our bar ditch and no longer massively eroded. Best of all? It is very flat level soil....bare soil....so until something sprouts and grows there, our neighbors now have a nice fire break protecting the many acres of woodland that lie between their home and ours. That's just a really nice bonus. I do keep looking at the soil and daydreaming of sneaking out there at night with a wildflower mix of seeds in my hand and broadcast sowing them on that bare soil. If I did it, would they realize I planted those flowers or would they think that Mother Nature did it? It will be interesting to see what sprouts in that soil because once you disturb the soil you usually get all sorts of surprises. It will be easy to mow and maintain that area now because before it was so eroded and overgrown that it couldn't be mowed or even cut back with a string trimmer, and the ditch had been overtaken by sumac and other brushy undergrowth type trees and weeds.

    A couple of years ago the county had addressed the horrible erosion at the area where our bar ditch meets the creek by putting tons of rock there, so I guess they are moving on down the road, fixing problem areas, bit by bit as time and budget allow,

    The new Drought Monitor Map comes out today. It will be interesting to see how much the drought advances weekly now, but interesting in a bad way. I'd rather see rain falling heavily and see the drought retreating, which isn't likely. It also is shocking how much it is spreading across the continent. The drought is not just an issue for us here in OK, TX, KS, MO, AR and the surrounding states. It is really spreading almost coast to coast, although the worst of it remains over that area of TX, OK and KS that already are in Extreme Drought. While we gardeners look at the drought and the poor rainfall totals, most of us will plunge ahead and plant, just assuming either rain will save our gardens or we'll bite the bullet and irrigate as much as we need to in order to have a garden---no matter the financial cost. For farmers and ranchers, there are tougher realities to deal with because they must decide what they will do in the face of drought...plant or not? take out crop insurance? how much can they irrigate their huge fields? what about feeding the cattle? If the pastures grow poorly, do they have hay set aside or can they afford supplemental feeding? For them, the drought isn't just some annoyance---it impedes their ability to earn an income from their land. After three fairly wet years that have spoiled us all tremendously, I am concerned that this drought is about to slap us down and bring us back to the reality of what life can be like here on the southern plains.

    Dawn

  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    I am definitely planning for drought this year. Only drought tolerant flowers in my front beds and cutting garden, so I can save water for the edibles. Also seriously debating the number of plants I have, so how much water I'll use. Not even sure how I'll plant the flowerbeds if we don't get rain. Might take a pickaxe to do it.


    Whenever y'all start talking chickens over here, my Pinterest feed fills up with chicken breeds, chicken coops, chicken illnesses, chicken herbs, chicken toys, etc. I don't need chickens! I have enough trouble around here without them.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    I watered yesterday. I have some kale surviving, and the garlic and asparagus. Looks like the dog chewed on the hose again. DH is impressed with the Elbon rye. If you all just want something green growing in the winter, this is it!i planted it in the bed that had nematodes and another bed near it. DH has been trimming it for the chickens. They have now scratched up all vegetation in the pen and STILL aren't laying.

    I used to have a thermometer/hygrometer sensor hanging under the eave of the house. Well, it's still there, but the battery is dead. It has a base station to read it in the house. Then I always kept a high/low sensor in the green house. I had 2 sets of these, but I discovered both base stations would read the same sensor (probably the closest). I am ashamed to say the weather station I HAD to have last year has never been put up. Finding the right spot in the yard has been a challenge. I'm very sad the big clock/thermometer I got DH for fathers day last year has died. He went to replace the clock works, but bought the wrong thing. It was very convenient to be able to see the time while working in the garden. Neither of us wear a watch. The electricity(?) in his body kills wrist watches. He owns a pocket watch, but doesn't carry it now that he has a phone.

    We are doing grain free for all the pets. But you know, we raised a lot of dogs on cheap dogfood. Many lived a very long life. I have mixed feelings about the grain free stuff. It is SOO expensive. My cat actually prefers the cheap stuff. She eats the grain free anti hairball, but she was perfectly happy with meow mix. We just got a new flavor for Honey, bison and venison. Daughter says it it is notorious for making dogs fart. Uh oh. She didn't seem to like the last bag which was chicken.

    I wanted Honey to talk. We had a beagle that would carry on a complete conversation with you. I've tried to do doggyish talking to her, but she looks at me like I've grown another head.

    Tarantulas creep me out when they start crossing the roads in "herds" in the fall. I was birding at Skiatook lake one fall, still keeping an eye on my feet for fear of snakes. I never looked for SPIDERS. Coming home there were hoards of them on the road. do you know what kind of basket case I would have been had I found myself in the middle of a mass of tarantulas? ::shudder:: I know bites aren't poisonous, but OMG.

    Dawn, have you purchased from Loggee? They have many things on my wish list.

    Gosh, Nancy, taking a man to Bass Pro Shop is a dangerous thing, LOL. Although, DH found most of their stuff pricey. He's not much of a fisherman. He fell in the first time he took me (do not repeat that to him). I broke my nose falling outside Bass Pro a couple of years ago. Had bags in my arms and couldn't put them out when I fell. Just smack, face first.

    H/J, I am so sorry about Jolene. I do know that feeling. I would watch out for the rottweiler, though, in case he now has a taste for your chickens.

    Yes, Nancy, animals can be badly effected by essential oils. So can people. The multi level marketing companies are not very responsible when it comes to pushing their products. I don't want to offend anyone, I know they are a big thing now, and there are a few I keep around, but I think one needs to research them carefully rather than blindly following recommendations from a sales party.

    I know nothing about Thai food, except I've always heard it was hot. I'm glad Eileen was able to give you suggestions.

    Bill, did I miss reading the reason you're using a walker? You have my sympathy! I have been there. Congratulations on your "big step" mobility wise. I would still like a hand rail in the garden like Larry has. (He has a permanent rail made from the top pole from a chain link fence, I believe.)

    I guess we're going to have to try Siegi's. I really like Margaret's in the Farm, though. DH really likes German food. He grew up in New Jersey and his mom's family was Polish.

    Dawn, a string trimmer on wheels would be wonderful. DH bought me an electric one. I can't start a gas powered. It is such a hassle to get a cord, etc. And there is always something you can't quite reach.

    Rebecca, so glad you got the Amazon thing resolved and the window fixed.

    Kim, my onions have shipped. I'm hoping they spend tonight someplace warm. Hate to thing of them getting frozen before they get here. I was considering calling to have them delivered later, but maybe they will get here before the big chill. It does seem odd your people didn't expect onions till March. I'm so glad you found such a nice place to live and work.

    Nancy, I can't remember what went wrong with the wine. DH doesn't even remember doing it. It was probably in my Earth Mother days when the kids were little. It was a jug, with a balloon on top(I don't remember why). I think we put it in a closet and forgot about it. Something went wrong, it wasn't any good. My daughter has made meade, but don't ask me how that is done.

    I told DH we were going to White River and his eyes lit up and he said "Ooooo!"

    My son and his wife have been so lucky to have what I consider "easy" kids. I had the kid who never slept, threw up regular formula, suffered mightily and drooled for a month with every tooth. He had a short attention span and didn't play with toys much. And that was the first one. #2 was much easier.

    Rebecca, I'm afraid to go look at our version of Godzilla. DH never got it pruned. The dogs lay under it in summer. But it has completely covered a gate. Mostly the only green in my yard is the Elbon rye.

    Nancy, plant some cat grass for your kitties.

  • Patti Johnston
    4 years ago

    Hello to all...especially NancyRW. I've been reading all your posts about grubbing out Bermuda grass. I wanted to share a tool I use to help remove ALL the Bermuda grass in our back yard. It is from Gardener's Supply and it's called Gardener's Lifetime Cape Cod Weeder $39.95. You can order it for a left hand or right hand use. I tested the Lifetime warranty a couple of years ago. I was grubbing out Bermuda grass and Johnson grass and one particular tough root broke my Weeder! I emailed the company and BOOM!! the sent me a new one free of charge. Later the asked me to take a picture of the broken Weeder so they could see where it failed. So I did. I've got three now...one for DH and Grandson if they ever wish to help. :-) It's the tool I pick up when I go out to work in the garden. I wouldn't be without it. I think you'd like it to Nancy,

    It's taken me forever to type this. I had cataract surgery 10 days ago and they corrected my right eye to see 20/20. My left eye is still mine...blind! So my depth perception is wonky and I'm forever hitting the wrong key!! I get it fixed next Thursday for near sight. I used to wear hard contacts this way and loved it. I told the doctor I DID NOT want to wear glasses never again. DH had his done about three years ago and opted to wear reading glasses.

    I have blackberry canes to dig up and replant to another place in my back garden. I watered the back garden site yesterday in hope that would help with the tilling to make a hill. I have an electric Mantis tiller that I wouldn't be without. In fact, I have a Troy Built Pony size tiller in the shed that I bet doesn't have 15 hours on it. I need to sell it because the Mantis does what I need. We have a big tiller on our WheelHorse for really big jobs. It's set in the other shed for year again as the Mantis is my work horse.

    And I have 10-20 Vitex bushes to dig and replant in the side yard. I just love them in bloom.

    And finally, I have tons of volunteer asparagus all over the gardens. I've got two plantings that are at least 5' in diameter. A couple in my Master Gardener club offered to come help me dig it up - they are wanting to get a start of asparagus. Trouble is, she is having cataract surgery about a week later than me and we can't lift or bend over for the first 4-5 days after surgery. So that might take us to the end of February.

    We have no cute dogs stories - we are a cat family. Our outside kitties are getting old so last summer I got two younger kitties so they could be taught by the older kitties. They are totally outside kitties. All males (fixed) but they are the best hunters we've ever had. A little too good as I find feathers about in the garden. Anyway, the girl we got them from said they were brother and sister. The girl kitty was the runt of the litter and was tiny. Took them to our friend, the vet, to get shots and fixed. Turns out the male kitty had cancer in the roof of his mouth and recommended we put him down. So we just have the female. She was tiny, colored like a mouse, so we called her Minnie (Mouse). DH reminded me that his mother's name was Minnie, so I just told him she would be a good reminder how much we loved his mother. I left DH and Minnie for 9 weeks to help our daughter in Iowa, so these two really bonded. She loves to sit in your lap and if one of us in on the phone, she's on your chest listening. And she loves to play fetch. That's right....a cat that retrieves. We'll play fetch for 30 minutes at a time. ;-)

    Well, off to check the oil wells with DH. He's semi retired but kept 5 wells to give him something to do. They are close by and have sand roads which don't tear up your truck.

    One of the 5 men that were killed at the oil well explosion a week or so ago was from Crescent. They held his funeral at our church and it was standing room only. He was well liked in our community.

    Off we go.....

    Patti




  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    I wish I had some. Today. But I don't. Speaking of "for the kitties," they found the thread supply. I have a giant spool rack with probably 80 to 100 spools and put a black garbage bag over the entire thing. They got under it this morning and had a ball. . . there were 3-4 spools they'd batted across the floor, but a whole bunch more lying on the floor at the bottom of the rack in various stages of unthreadedness. What a mess. Dangerous for kitties, too. I stuffed a piece of polar fleece in the crack to keep them out while I did my Sudoku, and had to chase them away from it 4 or so times. They were bound and determined to get their thread spools back. So finally put the puzzle aside and had to go deal with it. Brats.

    Yes, Dawn, I think you need to slyly sneak down and get some wildflowers sown, to hold the dirt in place. Right? How nice of them to do that for you! Love it.

    Okay, I began to freak, seeing the monitors, and so then had to go read up on it in depth. Very horrible news short-term AND long-term. Oh my. So my morning was spent reading, first on droughts, then studying maps of Southeast Asia. That drought stuff, very scary.

    I decided if I wanted to start doing some Thai cooking, I should learn something about the country. So then expanded that to more geography study of the countries. At one point a few years ago, I had found a great online geography quiz and great maps, and began to memorize countries in SE Asia and Africa. I got started because my son and DIL opened an Indonesian furniture store, and that required occasional trips to Indonesia for him. The sold the store when he started with the houses--which was a very good thing, as they didn't make much money with it and neither of them likes sitting in a store waiting for customers to come in. Boring! (But the furniture was super cool!) Now I've forgotten much of what I learned. Best go find my game/quiz again.

    Haha, Rebecca--could you HAVE chickens where you live? I think you need a few chickens, maybe just a handful, like 6? Like Jennifer's girls? I was bemoaning having no chickens last night. And just this morning our nice church neighbor who lives .5 mi from us called, just to say hi, and she and her hubby are all excited cuz they just were gifted a dozen chickens by one of their kids who was moving. AGGGHHH. But they have an 8' fence around their half-acre lot, so their chickens will be much saver than if we had any here. She said, "Nancy, you could have them--where the vegetables are." I said, "Yeah, except that's where the vegetables are." Laughed. Oh well...............

    White River--he's going, too, isn't he?

    Thai food--"the perfect blend of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter." That's apparently what they aim for. . . balance. It's not ALL hot and spicy, but I usually order the spicy versions. In my limited experiences with Thai, what I loved was how many fresh veggies they used, and how flavorful the dishes were.

    I agree, Amy--Bass Pro, very dangerous. But the jackets were on a terrific sale, and the fishing poles were, too! And he started getting jigs and bait stuff, and I said, "Oh load em up, Garry--that's like buying seeds. lol I only get nervous when he has to walk by the guns. THAT's when I get nervous. But he didn't see anything he had to have. . . (He probably did, but common sense prevailed.)

    Ha! Siegl's. I was thinking, yeah, German's something I could do without. Unless a place were to have a good variety of sausages--that's my weakness. So I looked up Siegl's. I didn't KNOW it was named Siegl's SAUSAGE Factory!!! Oh my gosh, I am so there! Garry wondered when Ron wants to go! LOL





  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Patti, so nice to have you check in! And here I go to look at the weeders as soon as finish typing this--thanks for the tip. . . . yes I'm sure I'll NEED it. :) Okay, just looked. Yes, I probably need it. HJ (I think) and someone else swear by the Cobra, which is similar. Maybe I need both. :) I will say that for the deeper tougher roots, I love the Hori Hori. We liked it so much that GDW had me order one for him, too.

    Yes, we are enormously fond of our ornery little almost-8-mos old pills, too--both gray tabby males. Minnie sounds adorable--I gotta teach one of these guys to fetch!

    Felt so bad about that explosion. I'm so sorry it happened. Feeling for the families.

    It's good to "see" you. I probably need a Vitex, too, LOL

  • hazelinok
    4 years ago

    I'm very far behind on this thread. It was fun to catch up though. I'm sitting at the kitchen table watching the chickens. They are out, but I'm watching. For some reason they love the backyard area best. I think it's so they can keep an eye on me. I promise they know when I'm looking at the window.

    About Jolene. Luckily it wasn't a bloody death. I'm surprised that the fat dog actually caught her...although, she was very sweet and not very smart, so she probably just stood there and he scooped her up. He was carrying her in his mouth by the time I got to the window. Her death appears to be a broken neck. He didn't seem interested in eating her...or even biting her. Tom messaged our neighbor to let him know what happened. He offered to "pay" for her. I'm not sure how to calculate. She was only $3.70 plus shipping (shipping costs on baby chicks in as much as the actual chick or more),, but there's all the care I gave to her and her future eggs. I'm not going to make him pay for her. I told you about the time Josi got out and was 1 second away from catching one of our neighbors' chickens. It happens. But, there's an empty spot in the coop now. Every night I go to the coop and touch each one (Stella hates to be touched) and count and then repeat, only saying their names the second time.

    I"m so glad your chickens are getting healthy, Jacob...and even laying again. Mine are on a laying roll. I forgot the name of their food. It's purchased from Tractor Supply.

    My dogs just get Iams and the cat gets 9 Lives. Cheap food but it's what they are used to. Someday, with our next animals, I'll try to feed them better foods. Kane is probably the one who would benefit from better foods because he tends to have skin issues at times. My little Percy ate Ol Roy most of his life and he lived until age 16. We were fairly "poor" when we got him. I stayed home with our babies and didn't work outside....so, there's that. I sure couldn't buy organic food for us back then, like now. But don't regret staying home when my kids were little. Even if I had worked, daycare costs would have taken most of my earnings.

    The spider stories are funny. I do not like spiders, but generally let them live. I have one of those "critter" catcher things and I used that to relocate them outdoors.

    Nancy, chickens are so much fun. Gary could fix you up with a coop, pen and fencing in no time.

    And, yes, Nancy, I like my Cobra. It's missing right now. Probably lying in the garden hidden by a cardboard box.

    Jacob, we have a hen that laid enormous eggs--double yolks most days. She got real sick and was brought indoors and fed plain yogurt and water. I used an essential oil called Breathe Ease (Rocky Mountain Oils) in a diffuser. She perked up and is still living today. However, she hasn't laid eggs since being sick. There was obviously something wrong with her "reproductive" system. So glad an egg didn't break inside her. That sounds terrible. And luckily the oil didn't make her sicker.

    In gardening news, a man from church wants to do a gardening "special interest" group. We are going to start it at the end of the month. I'm excited about that.

    Maybe I'll clean off the light shelf tonight. It is February now.

  • jlhart76
    4 years ago

    Speaking of brats, Tigger found a way into the garden, so tonight after work I have to figure out a way to fix it again. It's been 3 years since we dealt with puppies & this one is stubborn!

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Rebecca, Maybe chickens would peck at the squirrels and chase them away. lol.

    My planting plan will be greatly, greatly reduced if we don't get significant rain in the next month.

    It probably doesn't even matter what I plan....at the rate the fires are going, I won't be home to plant anything this Spring.

    We had two fires today--a little one that apparently was started by a catalytic converter after someone parked a car on grass. The wind (gusting to 32 mph at the time) carried the fire away from the car which apparently didn't catch fire, but several homes were threatened and the firefighters were out there a little over 90 minutes. Even though it was in our fire district I didn't go---it didn't sound that bad at first, so Fran and I decided we wouldn't go but we listened all along so we could change our minds and go if things got worse. They didn't get worse, but by the time we started thinking maybe we should have gone and taken the guys drinks, they had the fire out.....

    The second fire was within the Falconhead golf resort community. The first firefighter to view the fire scene from the Falconhead fire station hollered for more help ASAP, so our VFD was in the second alarm, which paged out 3 more VFDs to help the original 3 VFDs. Then the second firefighter on the scene, coming in from a different direction, asked for even more help as she saw homes in danger. So, it went to an all-page, paging all available personnel in the county (13 or 14 VDFs). Despite the great distance many had to travel to get to the fire, it seemed like people got there really, really fast and were able to protect all the homes. I am not sure how many acres it was as I was stationed with tankers some distance away, but the chief of one department said probably 100 acres burned. To have a fire that large within a residential community and to lose no homes means the firefighters did an awesome job! All of us from the more distant departments were released about 1-2 hours ago but the closest FDs still are out there working the containment lines and hot spots.

    One gentleman came to me and wanted to know how the firefighters can "know" the fire will stay put out and won't start back up and set homes on fire when everyone is sleeping at night. I explained they were working the perimeter inward 30' from the outer edge of the burned area and were soaking it down heavily so that any hot spots within the burned, blackened areas couldn't jump that wet perimeter and get to the homes. Turns out, the fire had burned within 20' of his house and he was very nervous, so I told him that if this had happened to me, I'd hook up the sprinkler to the water hose, set it up between my house and the fire, and run the sprinkler all night long as a precaution. I don't know if he'll do it, but that really is what I'd do (I've done it before and I'll do again sometime in the future, I am sure).

    Despite the afternoon break to go to the fire, I got a lot done in the garden today, although the wind, which gusted to 35 mph in the afternoon (lol, our NWS forecast said our max wind gusts would be 25 mph and they were wrong....) kept me freezing cold even though I was dressed in multiple layers of clothing. I even wore gloves, and I hate wearing gloves in the garden. Mostly I was working our garden fence lines, digging out invasive bermuda and Johnson grasses that creep under the fences and invade paths and raised beds alike. I finally came indoors when our Asst Emer Mgmt Dir sent us a GroupMe message telling us that our OKFIre fire danger had just risen to Severe (I think the scale goes from Low-Medium-High-Severe), and that's at least our 3rd Severe this year. We have gone for years without ever hitting Extreme on that scale, so three in the last month is worrisome. At least I was ready. I had carried in all my junk, turned off the hose that was watering compost pile #2, let dogs out, let dogs in, brought cats in, fed cats, etc. and stuffed my purse with extra hats and gloves in anticipation of the pagers going off. Fran and I were texting back and forth and ready and waiting....today's Extreme conditions were almost identical to the afternoon/evening that Thackerville burned a few days ago, so we know there would be a fire---it was just a matter of when and where.

    I tried to keep Tim in the loop, but my phone had been out in the garden with me all day long and the battery was very low, so I couldn't tell him as much as I usually do. I only sent him one photo of the fire's smoke plume as we approached it. So, tonight he gave me a portable power bank that will charge up both my phone and Fran's phone when we are out at fires, as long as I remember to take both power cords with me. I guess it drove him crazy to not get frequent updates as he was driving home, so he came up with a plan to prevent future dead cell phone batteries. Yay!

    I noticed some of those horrible pink evening primroses, which are horrifically invasive, were sprouting both inside and outside the garden fence and pulled up every single one I found. I hate them. If they'd stay where they are growing down by the road, I'd leave them alone, but every year about a billion of them try to sprout uphill and invade everything and I ruthlessly tear them out. They probably are the most invasive flower I've ever seen. They are so pretty to look at, but if you ignore them for a week, they'll pop up everywhere and spread 100 yards weekly, and I don't have time to deal with them taking over everything. Oh, now I now what I can sow on that bare soil beside the road where they leveled the bar ditch......guerilla seed sowing.....a big packet of pink evening primrose seed. They'll carpet that area lickety split.

    Amy, I never have purchased from Logee's. I always want to, but never seem to get around to it. They have so many things I want....something from them may be my birthday gift to myself this Spring.

    The string trimmers on wheels are awesome. If my memory is correct, ours has a normal head with string trimmer cord or an optional one with a metal blade that will cut saplings. I haven't used it in ages, but it is time to search for it in the deep, dark recesses of Tim's stockpile of junk in the garage, get it fixed and start using it again. He just isn't home enough to help me keep up the yard work and I get too far behind. Using the wheeled string trimmer would be easier on my aging body. These fires are making me so nervous that I want to cut everything down to the ground.

    Hi Patti, It is good to see you here. Good luck with your eyes! It sounds like you are staying super busy. I am sorry to hear y'all lost a community member in that horrible well explosion. That was just such a terrible tragedy.

    Nancy, Our next door neighbors are the actual beneficiaries of the improved bar ditch---as the ditch falls within the right-of-way the county asks us to give up and leave clear (no fencing to block it) for them and for the utility workers. We're lucky our bar ditch was not as eroded as theirs, although I think part of the reason for that is that the county leveled our bar ditch after we bought the land and they put in the tinhorn and the driveway....well, the first 20' of the driveway. We had to set our fence and gate either 20 or 25' back from the road to meet the right of way easement requirements. So, since that land is left unused by landowners for the county's easement and use, in theory they mow and maintain it, only they really don't/can't. They just make one pass along the road with the tractor/brush hog that cuts make 4-6' of grass....and that is why the bar ditches and other right of way land becomes horrifically overgrown. I'm not faulting the county workers---there are not that many of them (our county is the third poorest in the state, so we never have the money to hire enough help for any county employee group) and they have to do a ton of work with very limited resources. So, when they find the time and money to do an improvement like they did to the next door neighbor's bar ditch, we all rejoice. Our county commissioner and his precinct workers are great people---it is remarkable how much they manage to do on a very limited budget.

    Jennifer, I always find my missing tools when I clean up either the greenhouse or the garden. I need to dip their handles in one of those bright plastic coatings so they are easier to find, preferably something in a hot neon color.

    Jen, Where there's a will, there's a way. Could Tigger have just bounced over the fence? That sounds like a very Tiggy thing to do. : ) We have a cat named Tigger, and she skinned her own abdomen once by catching her belly fur on the barbed wire fence while trying to jump between two strands of the barbed wire. It peeled her fur/scalp right off of her like she'd been scalped. I fetched Tim and Chris and it took the three of us to unwind her and her still-attached belly fur from the fence as she had turned and twisted so many times around the fence trying to free herself from the barbed wire. I was totally freaked out. Our vet didn't even raise an eyebrow and said it happens more often than people think. He cut off the large flap of scalped fur/scalp and gave us some kind of spray to spray on her raw skin---it was supposed to keep her infection free and help her heal quickly (and it did). Ever since then, and this was maybe 8 years ago, our Tigger no longer bounces through the barbed wire fence...she walks right up to it and carefully slides under the lowest strand of barbed wire---she officially gave up bouncing after that incident.

    I think all puppies are stubborn. We had two beautiful German shepherds (they seemed pretty young to me, though no longer the size of puppies) at the fire this evening. They live right across the street from the area that was burning and their 'parents' left them at home. Well, being country dogs, they escaped and came to the fire tankers where the brush trucks were refilling, found their 'mom' and got on the truck with her. One rode in the passenger seat of the cab and the other on the flatbed part with the firefighter who was spraying water. It was hysterically funny---the firefighter driving the truck said she'd rather have the dogs on her truck than running loose and getting hit by a vehicle, so fight fire the dogs did....or at least they rode along. When she came to the tanker to refill her brush rig and we brought her a bucket of snacks and drinks, she didn't want anything, but Fran fed cheese crackers to her dogs. The next time the dogs saw us, one jumped off the truck to come get more crackers from Fran, so we turned her over to her 'dad'. We all were laughing so hard---apparently you cannot make dogs stay home if they are determined to come fight the fire in their neighborhood. I'd pretty sure Jet would expect to do the same thing...he loves to go to the fire station and he loves to ride in any vehicle. I always make sure our dogs are locked indoors when we leave though because I'd never trust them to stay in the dog yard. They like to dig too much, although possibly the clay ground is too hard for them to dig out under the fence right now.

    I'm tired. I'm going to bed. We're expecting a bad day tomorrow just because today wasn't such a good day, and once this sort of thing starts up, it usually doesn't stop.

    There were tons of fires in TX and OK today. Let there be no doubt---the winter fire season is in full force and the drought isn't helping. For every day it doesn't rain, something on my grow list is getting reduced or dropped altogether....and I only grow drought tolerant flowers to begin with.

    Dawn


  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    Nancy, yes, I could have chickens here in town. I'm pretty sure I'm limited in numbers, and I may not be allowed a rooster. But, I still don't want or need chickens. I will happily accept gifts of eggs, though. Siegi's has plenty of sausages for you, too. You can have lunch, and then stock the freezer from the meat market.


    I guess it's ok that I have to miss the next meeting, at White River. I'm allergic to shellfish, lol. Siegi's next!


    Amy, Honey desperately needs puppy classes.


    Audrey used to play fetch when she was a baby. I could be on the bed, throw a toy mouse out the bedroom door, bounce it off the molding around the bathroom door, and it would ricochet down the hall and towards the breakfast room. She'd find it and bring it right back, drop it on my chest, and then take her place at the foot of the bed to launch herself after it again. When she was done, she'd just not bring the toy back. I guess she got smarter as she grew up, and figured out that cats aren't supposed to do that.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    Patty, I have a weeder similar to your cape cod. Does it have a sharp blade? Mine is very sharp. That and my Hori Hori knife are really all I need! Well, pruners, too.

    I had my cataract surgeries a couple of years ago. I do need reading glasses. Yesterday DH asked me if I needed a chain to keep them around my neck. I actually have one of those, but it wasn't useful. I've been eyeing the ones that hook together over the nose and loop around your neck, but that seems awkward, too. I have been known to have one pair on top of my head and pick up another to read something.

    My dog story for the day is about the beagle. I fed the dogs. DH got up (later than usual) and Holly had finished eating. Honey hadn't, but DADDY was there so food was forgotten. He thinks Honey's food is left from night before, so he puts another cup of food in Holly's dish. She doesn't even blink, but wolfs it down. A little later she's trying to eat Honey's forgotten food. I think a beagle would eat till it exploded.

    So, Nancy, I looked up cat grass, which appears to be wheat grass, which appears to be winter wheat. So my question to those in the know, can you grow wheat from what is in the bulk bins at Sprouts or Bob's Red Mill? or has it been processed too much? I actually bought some cat grass seeds, Nancy.

    Oh, gosh, I can imagine the thread mess. Maybe they need some empty spools to play with. My cat's favorite toy is a pony tail hair tie.

    Like I could keep DH away from White River. One of his favorite places. We can do Thai or Siegi's next time. He would love Siegi's.

    H/J, Jolene and the Rott is like Honey and Speckles. It had to have happened before dark, and I got home late, like 8, so Honey had every opportunity to eat her prize. She left her at the bottom of the back steps, like a cat would leave a mouse. I expect both dogs instincts kicked in and they had to catch the bird.

    Jen, you have my sympathy with Tigger. Tigger would have been a better name for Honey. It's like she has springs on her feet. Her BIG feet.

    My chickens ignore the squirrel. Actually, when he's on the bird feeder they encourage him, because he knocks seeds to the ground.

    Dawn, what powers the power bank? Batteries, rechargable? I remember they sold little battery powered chargers for phones during the ice storm years ago. Now I was thinking, a) a man who is a problem solver, b) where did he get that on short notice? LOL.

    I am sorry about the fires and the drought. Looks like you can't catch a break this year.

    Yes, Rebecca, dog training classes are on my to do list. I thought I should wait till she was spayed, but then the place I was going to take her took a 2 month hiatus. If I had it to do over again I would have started her as soon as we got her. Training classes are currently on my to do list.

    I guess I should figure out what I'm doing today.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Rebecca, We have had an occasional cat that likes to fetch and retrieve, but most give it up when they outgrow their kittenish childhood and become adult cats. Pumpkin is three-and-a-half years old but he'll still retrieve cat toys when you throw them, and sometimes bring them back and sometimes not bring them back but will just carry them around in his mouth like he's looking for a place to leave the toy. I think he is like Pete Pan and never will grow old....he's just about as much of a kitten at heart now as he was when he still was actually a kitten.

    Amy, I've only grown the packaged cat grass seed, both the regular and the white variegated one, and they grow fine, but I think stuff bought from the bulk bin probably would work.

    The power bank is rechargeable. You use the same charger to re-charge it that you use for your cell phone. Once you have it charged up, you can use it to power your phone or perhaps some other devices too, I cannot remember. I think Tim told me that you could run a phone off a power bank for hours and hours if you wanted to. Tim has had a power bank forever--he takes it on trips with him where he is attending conferences where you're in meetings and sessions all day and cannot have your phone plugged in to charge it up. In fact, he probably has two or three of them. So, when I told him that Fran and I needed to get extra car chargers to keep our phones charged on bad fire days, he thought a power bank was a better answer, and he's probably right. And....just like that....we had a power bank. Wow. That was easy. So, this weekend I'll tackle the issue of needing a faster coffee maker for the fire station. Our Mr. Coffee machine takes about 100 years to make one pot of coffee, and it takes 5 pots to fill up our two big pump-type thermos bottles, so waiting and waiting and waiting for the coffee delays our response to fires...or we just go without coffee. That's a problem because the firefighters crave coffee like mad when we are out on cold, windy days. Some of the firefighters told me that we need to get a Bunn coffee maker because it is really fast....so I'm going to lobby for getting that Bunn for the station.

    Oh, and the story of how he had a spare, unused power bank is funny. DFW AIrport always gives their employees Christmas gifts, and it generally (barf, lol lol lol) has their logo on it. So, one year you get a folding camping style chair...with their logo. Then, another year, a personal sized cooler--with their logo. Then, a portable grill (I guess for camping or tailgating)....with their logo...you get the picture.. After three and a half decades, you have everything under the sun with their logo on it, whether you care to look at that logo when you're at home or not. So, I guess the holiday gift for 2017 was a shiny new portable power bank with their logo on it. Since he hasn't traveled since then and hasn't needed one, he just had it put up on a shelf somewhere. So, I guess he gets credit for being a good guy and supplying us with a portable power bank when really....hmmmm....he just regifted! I think this is hilariously funny, but we are happy to have a power bank to use at fires and I know we'll put it to good use.

    This is just one of those fire years, you know. I don't even remember the last time, historically, that we had a Governor's Burn Ban. Maybe 2011. so we have been really, really lucky for a long time now. It is an El Nina year, after all, and that tends to bring us warmer than average and drier than average winter weather, which we have been having for a while---hence, the drought. Really, any fire season can be bad at times because of all the dry, dormant vegetation. Drought just ups the ante by making everything much drier and making the fires move faster and burn more intensely, and that's the situation we're in at this point. I've seen more horrifyingly huge smoke plumes in the last six weeks than we had, probably, in 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined. This year we have to pay the piper for those three quieter fire years. It was inevitable that it would happen at some point. It is scary how big the fires are getting and how quickly they get that big on a windy day. There's nothing we can do now except deal with it. I have noticed more and more people plowing fire breaks around their rural homes, barns, and even entire pastures. I don't blame them. I'd do it myself if we had the right equipment to do it. Now, I look at it like a gardener would--the same three rainy years that made our woodland and our garden plants grow like mad also made everything else grow like mad, so the end result of that is tons and tons of fuel for fires. Really, all of us knew this sort of fire season was coming---we just weren't sure when it would happen.

    I think we would have/could have/should have lost homes yesterday. There's almost no way to explain why/how we didn't because the wind was gusting up to 35 mph and we knew in advance that based on the conditions we had, the flames could move 2 feet per second in any wild fire that started. Those firefighters responded, often from many miles away and were having to leave their paying jobs or even to leave school if they are junior firefighters and then go to the fire station to get their gear and get on their trucks and then drive to the fire location from all over the county...and they responded so very quickly that it was simply mind-boggling. As we were driving west, we were listening to the folks on the scene directing each newly arriving fire truck to the next home in danger....it was like a choreographed miracle unfolding as we listened and watched from afar---we even could see the smoke plume moving and, eventually, getting smaller and smaller. When you have a fire like that which threatens homes and other property and a huge smoke plume can be seen from 15 or 20 miles away, and then somehow the firefighters save all the homes at risk, it is just almost a miraculous thing when you look back and realize that all the homes were saved....because logic dictates there's no way that could happen. Yet, it did.

    To satisfy myself both in terms of the fire season and the planting season, I spent a long time reading all the current ENSO and El Nina discussions this morning, searching for hope. I looked at drought outlooks. I looked at long-range forecasts. I read all the ifs, ands and buts...and the small print. I tried to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think it is coming---certainly by summer if not during spring. As a gardener, that's hard to contemplate because we need the moisture now. In a good year, at least we normally get decent rainfall in Spring to get our gardens off to a good start....and that can help a lot when the usual summer drought type weather sets in. This year, with drought in winter that seems like it will carry over through the spring months for most (but not necessarily all) of OK, it is hard to get real excited about the gardening season because maybe we'll have to irrigate almost from Day 1 in the garden. . I am extremely grateful for the 2+ inches of rain we had here in mid-December because if I dig down a few inches into the soil in my raised beds, the moisture still is there. At least there's that. I might have to water more than usual to get seeds to germinate, but once they germinate, they ought to be able to reach down and find that moisture for however long it lasts.

    I'm only 2 days away from seed-starting time and not as excited as I ought to be because I think it is going to be a really tough Spring.

    Because most La Ninas affect Australia's summer weather before they affect our winter weather, I watch Australia's summer weather like a maniac---and they have had some truly horrible, horrible summer weather this year. So, before the fires started up, I told Tim it was going to be bad here this winter because Australia was having a bad summer due to La Nina and, bless his heart, he knew exactly what I meant! lol lol lol It must be hard for a non-gardener who doesn't pay too much attention to the weather to be married to a gardening maniac who watches the weather obsessively like I do, but he never complains.

    I wanted to work in the garden today, but our wind chill has been too much on the chilly side. I might try going out in a few minutes to see if it feels much better now than it felt out there this morning. There's almost no wind now, so maybe it won't feel quite so chilly.

    The fire radio is quiet. I hope it stays that way. With low wind, I don't expect anything to happen today, but sometimes we get unpleasant surprises when we least expect them.

    The air is really quite dry and my skin is protesting. Our relative humidity is low and our dewpoint is exceptionally low. It really has to start rising because I think it has about bottomed out as low as it can go in the current conditions. It doesn't matter how much your drink in this weather or how much lotion or cream you slather on your skin, you just feel dry, dry, dry.

    Wind returns tomorrow, so I don't even want to think about tomorrow.

    Dawn

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    I've been holding mine, mksmth, but need to get them in. I'm gonna go for Feb. 9 or 10. If the weather forecast has any accuracy, I see many low 20 lows until then. Rats!

    Amy. . . I already know what I'm having for lunch at Siegl's! LOL Sausage sampler, here I come.

    A hundred acres near a community IS scary. And I loved your GS puppy story. How cute was that! But your Tigger story kind of had me undone. Narrow escape for your Tigger vs barbed wire.

    Speaking of Tigger, Jen and Amy, when you were talking about Tigger bouncing, I thought of Honey, too, Amy, and thought you could have easily named HER Tigger. I now know of 3 Tiggers--2 cats and a dog. Bet there's an entire Tigger community out there.

    Dawn, I really really hope you can get the string trimmer repaired and working--it would save you SO much time and work, right? I'm very bad at using ours--it takes some skill! lol And I don't have that skill as Garry's the one who usually uses it.

    HJ, awesome about Gardening group at church. I mentioned it to a couple people last year, but got so busy myself that I never bothered, and they apparently did, too, and this year, I'm not interested, though if someone else started a group, I'd probably attend at times. Informally, however, I'll continue to take extra plants there to those who want them, and maybe one of these years I'll have plenty of veggies to share. I tried to give cucumbers and peppers away last year and had no takers. Crazy.

    Counted em. Yes, I'm a freak, I admit it. 23 little WS pots have wee seedlings. So that means about 150 do not. Still, I'm excited to see them. You know how nervous I was. Funniest are the three little pots of IDK. When I finished with all this, I had a little plastic packet that had escaped from its cover envelope, and for the life of me, I had no idea what they were. I didn't know if I'd already planted some of them, even. Well, I guess I may be able to find out. I know what they're NOT. . .

    Audrey is an awfully cute kitty, Rebecca. Makes me miss my own Kitty. Oh, yeah, can stock up on fish next week, and then sausage after that. I do love good sausages! We'll give you lots of notice time. Are Thursdays or Fridays at all good for you? What days ARE? Yeah, okay, so no chickens for you. And HJ, nor for us. Yes, I'd love to have some and would if were 50 instead of 69. :) Comes a time when one really should use a little common sense in some areas. That's one.

    I've been thinking about your squirrel problems, and really, can only commiserate but will be on the alert for news on how to deal with them. I used to get SO aggravated with them--and didn't even have veggies, then. Not sure which pest I despised more, rabbits or squirrels. And there were tons of rabbits and raccoons up in our city neighborhoods--and squirrels. Obviously not enough feral cats sneaking around. lol

    I suppose not in the distant future, I'll be dealing with cataracts, too. I think more folks do than don't at our ages. Patti, do you live in Crescent, too?

    Beagles are the cutest--but though I always knew that, I never would have the energy for a beagle pup. Well, plus, never had the dog-owning years to try one out, since I was always at work.

    Did you ever figure out what you were going to do today, Amy? :)


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    Daughter is on her way over, so part of my day will be clothes shopping. I cleaned the bathroom ;) I asked DH to help me with something. There are cords behind my chair. I have the outlet (and the cable jack) blocked with a waist basket, but the cords leading to the lamp and a surge strip for charging phones and tablets were uncovered. Honey hasn't chewed a cord for a while, but she sits behind my chair and looks out the window. Sometimes she lays down back there and I'm paranoid she will randomly bite a cord. All I wanted was for him to lift a corner of the side table up so I could shove a rug under it that would then lay over the cords. He says should we vacuum first. Well yeah, I guess. Now the dog takes her stolen tissues back there to tear them up. There was also stuffing from a toy. I was going to sweep these up with a broom and dust pan. He had to bring the BIG shop vac in from the garage (not the one gallon one, but the one with a 3' square footprint.) I sucked up one of her rawhide chews with the dang thing. And, it is still in the house. Mutter, mutter. I had already intended to vacuum the living room, but NOT with a flipping shop vac.

    I really think Honey should have been named sasquatch, and that is my nick name for her.

    Regifting is too funny Dawn.

    Daughter is here. Later.

  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    Carmichael's in Bixby has seed potatoes and onion plants, if anyone is interested.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    We went to Perry's last week for roast for dad's birthday. We got 2 small steaks at the same time. So DH had them sitting on the counter. When he returned there was only one steak. Dog is still alive. We ate at Lonestar.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Nancy, It ended up being something like 156 or 158 acres after they used GPS to map it. Credit goes to the awesome firefighters who moved with the speed of lightning to save those homes. I'm just so proud of each and every one of them.

    When I asked Tim where the wheeled string trimmer was, he told me it was beyond repair so a couple of years ago he gave it to the guy who fixes our mowers and stuff, figuring maybe he could at least salvage parts off of it. I was like "you GAVE it away????" I wasn't mad, but I was shocked. So, this weekend I intend to be in a store buying us a new one if we aren't busy with fires. Tim is totally on board with this idea as it ultimately helps shift more of the lawn maintenance work back to me. You know, if he'd buy a new riding mower that isn't 17 or 18 years old and falling apart and hard to start.....I'd take over the mowing of the pastures too instead of only doing the yard around the house...but I don't think I'll tell him that yet.

    I despise skunks. I can tolerate just about everything else, but if you've ever been chased by a rabid skunk yourself, or had a rabid skunk throwing itself against your fences trying to get to your dogs or chickens, you'll understand my total disdain for them. Naturally, Tigger is the one cat who will try to go after the skunk instead of coming to me when called. I have had to go outside, put myself between her and the skunk and bring her indoors because she won't come in on her own while there is a skunk in her yard. Skunks out in the daylight hours here get shot period, no questions asked, because any skunk out in the daylight is very likely to have rabies. I love the deer (now that they are fenced out of the garden). Squirrels aggravate me by getting peaches and plums, but I understand why they love them so.....and, at least so far, they don't bother anything inside the fenced garden. Possums eat venomous snakes so I love them, and armadillos tear up the yard and I don't care---I wish they'd tear it up so thoroughly that all the bermuda grass would die.

    Amy, Oh no, now I'm starting to wonder why the dog is still alive. Y'all have so much patience with her. Of course, with our dogs, we don't leave anything within their reach, but ours undoubtedly are not as tall as Honey. If we have something like steaks sitting on the kitchen counter, they're safe from the dogs as long as they are pushed back all the way against the backsplash. Really, I think Ace could get up there and get them if he wanted to and if he knew he could. There was something he was interested on the breakfast room table and he jumped up onto the table, flatfooted from all 4 feet on the floor to all 4 feet on the table---it was like he flew up there. I was staring right at him and didn't see him crouch or spring or anything---he just beamed himself up onto the table and materialized there. As soon as I yelled "Ace!!!" he went right back down to the floor and hasn't done that since.

    If my garden wasn't already firmed fenced to keep the deer and rabbits out, we'd have to fence it to keep Ace and Princess out. They are digging dogs and destructive demons, and they do it all with such glee and joy in their hearts that I just have to laugh at them. Right now they are working on digging down deeply enough to go all the way to China, but it is within their dog yard and not under the fence, so I just let them dig.

    It was such a quiet day here and I loved every minute of it. So, finally, I decided the pagers weren't going off and I could take off my boots and my thermals (I was burning up by late afternoon) and relax and prepare for a nice quiet dinner with my husband. That was around 4:30, and I was all nice and comfy, not wearing uncomfortable boots, etc. and....of course, the fire pagers went off for a fire in Thackerville about an hour later. It wasn't too bad---only a couple of acres and I think they had it out in about a half hour so I didn't even have to go, but it sure messed up everyone's dinner time. Because, of course, we're not allowed to have even one quiet day. And, tomorrow the wind returns.

    The birds are out in droves on these warm winter afternoons, and the chickens remain safe in their fenced runs, so the hawks now are going after the mourning doves and even the little songbirds. We have a Trumpet Creeper that covers our tornado shelter so that in the growing season when the Trumpet Creeper is leafed out, it covers everything but the door. Right now, the bare vines are a favorite hangout/hideout of many little song birds. So, yesterday I walked out the mudroom door and there was a hawk there, perched on the mass of bare Trumpet Creeper vines trying to get to the little songbirds hiding from it. When it saw me come out the door, it took off, but I am sure it came back after I went back indoors. The hawks are acting increasingly desperate. I'm glad all our cats and dogs are too big and fat for a hawk to pick up and carry off.

    Tomorrow ought to be a shopping and errand running day. I guess we'll see how that pans out. Right now, we are not inclined to get too far from the house or from our community. I think our wind is stronger tomorrow and a little less strong on Sunday, so maybe we just stay home and mow the back pasture and push the errands out to Sunday afternoon or something. I need to buy a couple more lawn sprinklers so we can hook them up to the various outdoor faucets and turn them on to water the lawn. I don't usually use sprinklers, preferring soaker hoses and/or drip irrigation lines, but for this winter, I think sprinklers is what it will be as they'd give us the most coverage in terms of square feet in the least time.

    I'm thinking of ripping out all the landscaping around our house and putting in a firewise landscape, something I've steadfastly tried to avoid for a very long time. Some friends of ours did it about 6 or 8 years ago and I know it was a smart decision, and they did it very well with tons of landscaping rocks and concrete, but even though it is extremely well done, I would prefer to have an ocean of plants around our house and not an ocean of stone. To me, all the firewise landscaping I've ever seen looks like lost little plants floating like islands in a sea of rock mulch. This is necessary so fire cannot use your landscaping plants as a 'fire ladder' to climb onto your house and I understand all the rationale behind it. It is just that I am a gardener who wants to grow plants, not rocks. And, honestly, if I have to choose between putting a big border of stone around my garden to protect it from fire, or around our house to protect it from fire, in my heart, I want to protect the garden! (I can justify that---the house is insured and the garden isn't.) The need for firewise landscaping was driven home to me recently, watching fire climb shrubs, vines (a good reason to remove trumpet creeper and wisteria climbing on or near structures, for example), dormant perennials and trees to reach the exterior walls of homes, the wooden decks and porches, wooden privacy fences, etc. In some cases, as we drove to our assigned area, we thought homes were on fire as we drove past them and could see heavy smoke and flames, but when we looked at them the next day in the daylight, we could see that the plants burned and either homeowners or firefighters managed to put out the fires before the homes actually caught fire. There are homes with scorching on the exterior and a friend tells me a lot of the interiors have smoke damage, but things could have been so much worse. I need to look the next time we are in Thackerville, but I think my favorite prickly pear cactus (the clump was the size of a medium-sized automobile) perished in the fire. I wonder if it will grow back. I don't know if I have the heart to pull out shrubs that are at least 15 years old though.....as if the hard old clay ground is going to willingly give them up anyhow. We might have to saw them off at just a bit above ground level and either grind out or pull out the stumps later after rain returns. We wrestled with this landscaping decision in 2011 but were too busy with fires day and night and night and day to do anything about it, so pushed firewise landscaping out into the future as a "one of these days" things. Well, maybe it is time to start working on it now in whatever spare time we can find.


    Dawn

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I am so happy, Dawn! New string trimmer, here we come!! I always have called them weed-whippers. Is that a northern thing? Despite the name, I'm thrilled and glad he's on board. You know, I don't mind doing all the extra work if I've got equipment I can use. So when I insisted on buying the mower with the electric start, it was a WIN for GDW, so most of the time, I do the entire lawn by myself. He can't use a wheeled trimmer down in the back 40 because of all the really rocky areas; otherwise I'd insist on one, too. We discussed it.

    I bet you could find a good used riding mower that would meet your scrutinization, if you didn't want to spend the money. . . or at least be on the lookout. Well, it's a thought. ?

    Yes, I would be torn about rocks and cement, too. Tough choice. Would be an easier choice if you knew you could dig the shrubs up and transplant. And I hear you about sprinklers vs soaker hoses. Before I order this drip irrigation tubing, I've been thinking about large areas. Haven't been able to hit the "commit" state of mind quite yet. And glad you had such a nice quiet day, for the most part!

    Firefighters are the best (so are police). My bro David was a lifetime firefighter, too, as was one of our close friends (He was a forest ranger firefighter, who rose very high up in that organization; he resisted for many years, as he loved being in the thick of it, but even then, sometimes he was needed at the frontlines. One of the best men I've ever known.)

    Okay, you guys. I'm afraid I was a little rough on Titan a few weeks ago, voicing concern about whether I could totally trust them with the cats. First, the cats have already inflicted more damage to him (2-3 times for cats, zero for Titan.) Second. he doesn't dig. He doesn't get into the flower beds. He doesn't swipe steaks off the counter. He DID do each of these--the fish on the counter once. From then on he was banned from the kitchen. GDW didn't think I could do it. It took about 3 days. For the beds, maybe 2-3 weeks. Each day going around showing him each bed that was a NO. And the digging. . . that's a little harder, but he seems to have caught on as of last summer. We forbid the digging just for fun. But we let him dig if he's after a varmint. I think he's caught on to that now, too. Now am I bragging on him--well maybe, but that wasn't my point. My point was that WOW were we lucky, and I feel bad that I didn't realize how we lucked out by getting him. He also knows better than to mess with skunks and snakes--with each, took him one time to convince him of that. Garry and I both had our slapping the heck out of him with instinct biting over food; now we actively reinforce it by warning him, and reaching down to remove his food from him. That probably was the toughest lesson for him, and involved physical punishment and lots of hollering. However, Amy--the one time he got the fish, he was lucky to have lived through it, facing my wrath. I didn't beat him but sure did burn his ears with my wrath.

    Sigh. . . . your work day today, Amy, sounds so much like mine, way too often. Good story, though. You could be a comedy writer. Love your subtle humor. I was reading herbs all day.

    And PS, Amy: At least there was still ONE steak there. Sheesh.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    4 years ago

    I was relieved to see you Nancy. News said there was a bad wreck in Wagoner county. Since I don't know the roads there, I wasn't sure if it was near you or not. The wreck started a fire.

    Of course Honey had no idea what she was in trouble for. The steak was gone by then. I was out shopping. I have become adapted to being a mom again, I hear her nails click on the kitchen floor and call her out. Usually any chewing noise clicks the mom button. I only have to lean forward in my chair to make guilty puppies stop doing what they know they shouldn't do. DH doesn't hear ME half the time. He's still not geared to thinking the dog might get something. He's as mad at himself as he is at her. This is not the first animal to eat people food. Had a cat eat cooked fish off the table when we went back to the kitchen for the rest of the food. The first beagle (appropriately named Bandit) crawled up into a high chair and turned his head around backwards to eat a hotdog off the table. We've never had a dog tall enough to counter surf before.

    I love the story of Ace "beaming" himself up! There used to be a dog in the neighborhood pre chickens that could do that over a chain link fence. I was flabbergasted the first time I saw it. Maybe dogs are really aliens who are just faking it.

    Ripping out landscaping sounds like a lot of work. I feel bad for you, but it is frightening to think of you in a fire situation.

  • Patti Johnston
    4 years ago

    I didn't get out in the garden today. I had a mid morning appointment with the family heart doctor just to get a base line exam. I was with DH in early January and after his exam was finished, I held up my hand and ask, "I'm 65, diabetic and keep reading about how women present differently than men having heart attacks as their first clue they have a heart issue is when they keel over dead with a heart attack. Do I need to see you?" I got in in about four weeks when it's usually a two month or more wait period. He heard my leaky valve (thanks Phen-Fen) and wants me to get an ultra sound and the $50 heart scan test. So next week I have three doctor's appointments and a reception-so no outdoor work for me. :-( I'm going to try and get out there tomorrow if the wind chill isn't too bad. I've got to move those blackberry bushes!

    Yes Nancy. I live in Crescent. I grew up on the south side of the section and my dad bought the adjoining farm to the north, so my husband and I built on the north side of the section. Didn't move too far. I grew up on the same site where my dad's grandfather's log cabin once stood. It burnt down when he was a small boy, but I grew up hearing stories all about it. Both of our children started out living in Crescent - our son still does, but our daughter and her husband moved to Des Moines, Iowa four years ago. He went from being a first grade school teacher/elementary principle to fulfill his lifetime dream and got into medical school at age 39. He graduates in May as a D.O. and will find out April 15 if and where he gets matched to do his three year Residency. Doing all this with 6 children - oldest son graduating with his B.S. in May from UCO, third child, second son graduating from high school in May up there and then his graduation. Abbey, their second child, first daughter, is a junior at UCO working on here BA in Biology - PreMed. She's decided she doesn't want to go to med school after seeing what's her dad's gone thru. She's wanting to do the PA route in dermatology. Oldest grandson just got engaged at Christmas to his Chinese girlfriend. He spent his second Christmas in China and went over with a ring this time. They met at UCO where she was here as a foreign exchange student for one year She needed help with a class where the professor talked too fast for her limited English and Ethan worked in the tutoring department. And loved bloomed:-) She had to stay in China for two years upon returning. She will be able to come back this summer and they plan on going to the courthouse to get married almost immediately. She'll only be traveling on a 90 day visa and they don't want to risk problems with their paperwork. We're going to have a busy summer.

    Hey, has anyone installed your own irrigating system? I vowed last summer when I had to leave my garden for 9 weeks and rely on DH to water my garden that I would get all my beds on automatic watering this year. I really think we can do it, but I wanted to know how anyone else fared. We laid wood floors in our kitchen, dining, laundry room and front entry way without killing each other, so I "think" we should be able to do this. Thoughts??

    And another question. I've got the shelving unit and light fixtures to start seeds....do I need the heating mats as well?? They are so dang expensive.

    I saw Lowe's in Edmond had onion plants out in front of their garden area. Just drove by so didn't see if they were the Dixondale...or whatever they're called.

    Got to go put drops in my eye and get to bed.

    Later,

    Patti

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    Hi, Patti! Need to read this over in the morning, but LOVED it all. So good to get to know you better!!!!

    Only thing I can respond to is that, "No. You do NOT need seed mats." I ordered one this year for persnickety things, but no. If you key in to which ones need stratification, no seed mats necessary. We keep our house at 73 degrees in the winter, but in the grow cart, find the temps are more like 75-ish, which worked for us beautifully last year. I wouldn't worry about those, at all. . . but I'm a newcomer; perhaps more experienced friends can advise more wisely.

  • luvncannin
    4 years ago

    I have never used a heat mat indoors. I always put the tray in the warmest place keep it moist and they sprout pretty quick. As soon as they sprout I put them under the lights within 1 to 2 inches of the bulbs. I check them twice daily and move the lights of necessary.

    I did use a heat source last year in my cold greenhouse. Trying to get basil up in the cold wasnt working at all. I used a heated mattress pad and it worked great on low.

  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    Harris Seeds has free shipping on all orders this weekend only. Code is 8PATRIOTS or 8EAGLES. Either one works. You're welcome.

  • jlhart76
    4 years ago

    The first thanksgiving Cliff & I were together, we went up to my dad's & took my poodle & our oldest dog (whiplash). While we were eating, I see this black head pop up behind the counter. Went to check & he was munching a turkey leg. That was his first and only countersurfing exploit.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Nancy, We've always called them weedeaters or weedwhackers. Same difference, I guess.....they don't care what they're called and we don't either as long as they cut down all the weeds.

    The shrubs I love all are about 10-15' tall, Burford Hollies (not Dwarf Burfords, which likely top out around 6-8' tall), chosen specifically for their tallness because I wanted them to be in scale with our 2-story house and I wanted them to shade the house's south side and east side from the sun as much as possible....which they do. However, due to their proximity to the house and the way fire climbs shrubs, they really need to go, and that makes me sad. It probably would be easier to move the house than to move the shrubs, so relocating them isn't an option. We took out all the vines (wisteria, trumpet creeper and Virginia creeper) that grew very close to the house after the summer of 2011-2014, so probably in 2015. That was necessary for the same reason. So, slowly, bit by bit we are deconstructing our landscape in the interest of redoing it in a more firewise manner, but I've been dragging my heels on taking out the Burford hollies, possumhaw hollies and some of the oak trees. Now, I just think it is time because even if we have a couple of good wet years, the droughts and the bad fire seasons always come back sooner or later. Maybe we won't take out the shrubs this month, but probably sometime this year. I might limb up the Burfords to tree-form in the next couple of weeks just to keep the house safer during the winter fire season until we can manage to cut them down. Landscapes change over time, and it is time for ours to change to a more firewise type since we live in a grassland county prone to wildfires.

    Amy, When I saw Ace do it, I thought he was literally levitating. Maybe he is an alien. Tim says I am an alien all the time, and for good reason, but this is the first dog we've had who is an alien, as far as we know. (grin) Oh, and the reason Tim believes I am an alien is because I have rH negative blood, and if you Google, you can read all the theories about people with rH negative blood, including the idea we developed rH negative blood because aliens mated with humans about 35,000 years ago, or that we are descended from the gods, or that we are odd mutants.....so, rather than being an odd mutant, I took the alien theory and adopted it so that whenever I do something that Tim thinks is weird, he says "of course you would do this, you're an alien....." and I agree with him and then we laugh. This actually comes in really handy. If he totally disagrees with the way I'm doing something because he would do it some other way, I just remind him "I do things differently because I am an alien...." and he just shuts up and accepts that my mind works differently from his. We have a lot of fun with this.

    Patti, It is scary how women's heart attack symptoms are so different from men's. The wife of a friend of ours died fairly young of a heart attack during the night---she was in pain and ought to have gone to the hospital or called 9-1-1 but just tried to sleep through it because it wasn't the same sort of pain that men have with heart attacks, so she basically ignored it.

    I agree with the others that seed heating mats are an unnecessary expense (unless you are working with some very exotic tropicals that need a lot of heat to germinate--then they still would not be necessary but might speed up the process).

    Jen, We have a phrase for that sort of dog behavior "dog's don't ask, dogs take". At least ours do---if they get the chance.

    Rebecca, You're enabling! lol

    It was a very windy day here today but it was a good day as the humidity and dewpoint stayed at really good levels. Osage County has had a really difficult large wildfire today near Hominy. The last I heard, it was 70% under control and they were backburning to deny it fuel. I'm hoping for another quiet day tomorrow. We spent half our day shopping and running errands, and only went to the fire station twice. Each time, as soon as we got there, I told Tim "we are going to drop off these supplies and then we are going to leave". If I don't drag him right back out of there, we end up staying there for 2 hours and I was not in the mood to hang out there today.

    I saw the Winter Fire Outlook from the Southern Region of the US Forestry Service on FB today and it was not good for us....but then, all of us here in OK already understood that because we know how dry we are and we know how busy firefighters in various parts of the state have been the last month or two. The outlook showed the Winter Fire Season persisting into April, like it did in the winter of 2008-09, so I was not especially shocked by it.

    I don't know if I'll get seeds started tomorrow, but I intend to try.

    Dawn

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    Funniest dog stealing food story I know was my SIL and brother had a gentleman visitor from Europe several years ago. They were thrilled to have him visit and fixed a very special dinner with a leg of lamb. When it was done, SIL put it in the warming oven below. . . you know what's coming--when she turned back to the stove, she saw the leg of lamb being pulled out by the dog; he just barely got started on it--my brother AND their guest were there to witness it. She grabbed the roast, wiped it down and said, "Well, I'll let you two decide what you want to do. But I love lamb too much to not eat it. They agreed." She was mortified, of course, but that was dinner. And their guest took it with good humor.

  • hazelinok
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Oh my word, Dawn! I talk about the Rh neg stuff all the time! I do not have it, but people in my haplogroup do...and I checked my "raw data" on my ancestry/dna site and I carry a "gene" for it. (I'm about to get crazy here...but no crazier than you and your aliens). Many people do feel like RH neg (particularly 0 neg. ) is the "Blood of the Gods" because of the nephilim in Genesis 6. "Angels" (or the Book of Enoch calls them Watchers. Enoch is not in the Bible, but an ancient book nonetheless that is quoted in the Bible--the Book of Jude and was found with the Dead Sea scrolls.) mated with human women and made the Nephilim--the "mighty men of old...the men of renown" The "giants". (from Genesis 6). Either way...aliens or "angels"....some of their descendants do not carry the rhesus monkey rh factor that the rh positive people carry. My haplogroup (which is ancient ancestry that passes from mother to her children and her female children then pass to their children) is Basque. The Basque have the highest number of rh negatives. I could talk for ages about this. It's SO interesting.

    Anyway...I just got fired up. Sorry. I'm back in the present now.

    I let the chickens out for 2 minutes while I was feeding them and changing out their water. I stepped indoors to get the dogs' dinner and the chickens started squawking and flying about. I stepped right back out and two dogs were standing in our backyard. Luckily, I shoo'd them off and they left, but stood at the edge of the property watching me as I forced the chickens back into their pen. I suppose the word got out in the doggie world. We got in after dark and something was hanging out outside their pen but ran off when we pulled in. It was dog size, although it was dark and we couldn't see it clearly.

    The only gardening news I have is that I bought some boards to make my salad garden. Can't wait.

    I'm editing this to bring my "Nephilim" ramble back to gardening. These "watchers" taught humans about plants and herbs....so, see it's garden related.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Patti, yes, I guess a leaky heart should be looked into. And loved your approach to the doctor! Way to go!

    You must be SO proud of your SIL and that whole family! That's doggoned impressive! And thrilled for your son and getting his bride-to-be back here, a little nervous about her getting in without any glitches. Exciting times for you! Does she speak Mandarin?? What part of China is she from?

    I just did cart seeds inside for the first time last year. It was surprisingly easy with the good help of all our smart friends here. They were even more help advising where and when and what to plant and filling the raised beds. Last year, I had no idea how to tell what I wanted in a tomato or pepper (or anything else--I'm sure you all remember my ignorance); I have learned so much from you all in the past year; and I had to laugh at Rebecca saying that she bet I wouldn't buy seed from (I don't know who it was, some big box company). And it IS true that I've become very uppity about seed companies--but it's all y'all's fault! You know it is.

    I didn't get started on seed-planting today, Dawn. Maybe tomorrow. We are still staying away from: church, and schools. So maybe I'll get up and begin tending the garden for God. :) I'm a little bit freaked about IT, too. I bet all of you who have only recently started all the seed-growing stuff are feeling about like I am. . . So technically, this is only my second year. But it was so easy last year, I'm not too freaked out. Mostly by the nightmares of potting up, the taking all those flats out every morning, bringing them all back in in the evenings. Too funny. It's like running an orphanage, pet shelter, daycare. Constant attention, right? I'm thrilled that in what is going into my 4th year here, I have SO many perennials, self-seeding annuals, and shrubs going.

    SO appreciated the additional info on drip irrigation tubing. I'm still on the edge, there. I think I will maybe NOT do it in the flower beds, cept for the cement block raised one, and the raised veggie beds. Maybe soaker hoses, though. I really don't much care about the worry over sprinklers getting leaves wet, when I remember the 20" of rain we got May into July for two years in a row. The saving money part, sure. But I have those oscillating sprinklers, so can narrow down the watering to the immediate bed being watered. That's gotta help some.

    HJ and Dawn both posted while I was starting on this, so had to change windows to see what they had to say. lol Liked the way you tied Rh into gardening, HJ. Very creative. And now, HJ, and I am very worried about your babies since dogs seem to be about. (Which is one of the two main reasons we won't have them--the other being times we have to go to Wy or Mn.)

    Amy, I had to google the car accident you mentioned. How very sad. They still haven't released the names. We only go to Wahoo Bay occasionally, because you know my distaste for traveling. It's probably 25-30 miles from our house--as you know, we're north and east of Wagoner by 10 miles; Wahoo is south and east of Wagoner by about 15. We go down there a couple times each summer. Actually, that's where GDW is going to crappie fish--a nice heated dock not too far north of Wahoo. And he is on a mission now. We got his moon jigs, his special bobbers should be showing up Tuesday, and then he just KNOWs he'll be catching all kinds of crappies.

    That was funny, you mentioning your Mom ears. I have them, too, with the new kitties. Speaking of them. . . . uh oh, I fear they are into their teens, full blown. Jerry's actually the troublemaker; but Tom is the dangerously funny one. They were both obsessed with getting into the pantry, because of the hole in the wall where the water lines are. But mostly because it's a shut door. If a door is shut, that's where they want to go. Garry fixed the door once (previously it shut and stayed shut, but didn't latch.) But didn't fix it good enough apparently. Last night, one of the cats came racing in here with a prize--my brand new fancy dancy fuzzy "feather duster." Score!, he thought, and you could all but see them doing "high 5's" about it. All I could do was laugh. The fuzzy part is a foot long, and then has a wood handle that's another foot long. Hysterical. So I put it back and shut the door. This morning before I was up, GDW got to witness the same thing. But so, he FIXED the door good today. The cats are so ticked off. BUT, now, I fear the cabinets are next, as Tom was interested in seeing in what was one of them when I opened it today. . . and they, of course, do not latch. You could almost see the little light bulbs going off in his head. They've been rowdy today. . . SO rowdy. So funny. They're both also SO affectionate. I plunked Tom down 4 times earlier today when he was being obnoxious and in my face (AFTER I gave him 15 minutes of uninterrupted time), and four times he jumped back instantly. But he also has been in either GDW's lap or mine every time we have sat down today.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    My head's spinning after reading about herbs all day long. Amy, you have quite a list, there!

    I have lemon balm, parsley, sage, chives, Rosemary, oregano, Dawn's comfrey, Dawn's tansy, Dawn's catmint, Dawn's camomile (haha, special varieties), bee balm, a puny clump of achillea, echinacea. . . ones I always grow--dill, fennel, cilantro, basil (only lots more this year), I ordered several more herbs for this year.

    I meant to say earlier that I've been picturing Dawn's raised beds, with most being a mixture of herbs, flowers and veggies. I believe that's the route I'll follow, too. You do that, too, don't you Amy? How many of the rest of you do?

    The fellas haven't been here much lately. . . wondering what they're all doing. ? Actually doing something, most likely.

    :)

  • Rebecca (7a)
    4 years ago

    The Osage County fire has been the lead story on the news tonight. About 10,000 acres burned, National Guard out, using tanker trucks and water drops to control it. They said maybe 70% controlled now? I guess they'll be out all night.


    Dawn, the industrial Bunn coffeemakers will brew straight into the big insulated airpots, very quickly. Would definitely shorten the time you're spending making coffee.


    Maybe I'm enabling, maybe not. I may pull the trigger on some gomphrena and extra spinach tomorrow, since it's all I need and it wasn't worth paying shipping anywhere for just those.


    I don't care about the football game, and it'll be too cold to be out with my milk jugs and soil, so I just may bake tomorrow. Warms up the house nicely.

  • luvncannin
    4 years ago

    Little man in the garden today at the"old" place. I had some carrots to dig and really just Goofing off. After an hour or so he runs down the hill telling me how much his leg hurt. I rubbed his leg checked it out and said it's probably growing pains. Few minutes later he's sitting on a cinder block looking quite serious. I said what are you doing now.

    "Waiting for my leg to get done growing"

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    Bless his heart--I hope, as he grows, you'll bring him to SF's. He is the best! LOVE these insights and thoughts of his!!

  • mksmth zone 7a Tulsa Oklahoma
    4 years ago

    Thinking about running to the store and getting some seeds and soil. Feels like a good day to start stuff. I know Dawn uses Superbowl Sunday as the the start of hers.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Kim, Love hearing about and seeing Ryder. He is no longer the little toddler boy I remember---he is so grown up! Bless his heart. Those growing pains hurt---Chris went through them for a couple of years when he was about the same age that your sweet little man is now.

    Rebecca, We were too busy to even discuss the Bunn coffeemaker yesterday, but I am determined that we will have one!

    That fire was so distressing---this is just a case where the dry vegetation and weather conditions combined to create a fire that outruns firefighters, and no matter how hard they work, the firefighters cannot get ahead of it. The latest number I saw from their Emergency Mgmt guy was that the fire, at its worst, was moving 260' or so per minute. That's a fast-moving fire for sure. At least it wasn't so windy that the choppers were grounded---that's when you really lose control of a fire, when the choppers and planes cannot fly and dump water and/or flame retardant on it. Hopefully they'll have better conditions today and be able to expand their containment lines. We have heavy fog here this morning with 100% humidity---I wish they could have that up there. It wouldn't put out the fire for them, but would slow its spread. Of course, it also would impede visibility a great deal.

    Go ahead and order the seeds you want, woman! You know you want them, you believe you need them (don't all we gardeners need whatever seeds we want?) and gardening is your thing, so buy what you need to feed your passion.

    Jennifer, Tim and I have brains that are 100% different---we never ever approach any issue the same way. Even if we have split up inside a store with each of us going in different directions to pick up some of the things on our list, we never can find each other again (thank God for cell phones!) because I'll be going in one direction on one side of the store looking for him, and he'll be going totally in the other direction on the other side of the store looking for him. We can wander aimlessly without finding each other for ages if one of us left our phone at home. The totally different ways we think drives him nuts because he thinks he is always right, so once we read the article that said negative rH people are from another planet or from aliens or from gods theory....he latched right onto that because it explains why my brain works differently than his. He does concede that I am highly intuitive and can predict things that blow his mind, but at least now he knows it is because of my alien DNA. So, whenever we are taking different approaches to things, he still believes that he is right and I am wrong or that his approach is better than mine in any case, but that I cannot help it because of my alien DNA, so it isn't my fault. For the record, I'm usually right and he is wrong but often I just let him think he is right until he figures out that I was right all along and he was wrong and then he concedes defeat. lol lol lol Case in point: I told him for several weeks that our heating system was malfunctioning and I could smell something burning whenever it was running. He ignored my comments, he insisted I was imagining it, he said he just didn't smell it and didn't believe it....and then, several freezing days and $500 later, we had a repaired furnace, no burning smell in the air, etc., and he had to concede I was right all along. Then I soothe him by reminding him that a mere mortal human cannot defeat an alien and we laugh. And, it isn't so much who's right or wrong (we don't fight, we do cooperate and work together on everything though sometimes we have to negotiate a solution that is acceptable to both of us) as it is the fact that we just never approach an issue in the same way. People tell us that we appear to be just exactly alike, but actually, we are total opposites. Maybe that's why we are so happy together. Life is just simpler now that we can blame our misunderstandings or different approaches on my alien blood.

    Nancy, Your cats are a hoot. I keep my feather duster in a tall cabinet or an upper shelf that Pumpkin can access. Otherwise, it is a cat toy, and of course, I cannot dust when he is indoors.

    Cats are endlessly entertaining, aren't they? So are dogs. A household with either or both usually is a happy place.

    I love the leg of lamb story.

    OK y'all, here's your warning everyone--IT IS A NEW WEEK AND A NEW MONTH...so, give me a few minutes early this Sunday morning to go start the new weekly thread, and go there instead of staying here on last week's thread.

    Dawn

  • luvncannin
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the reminder lol. I need all the help I can get.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 years ago

    One last word on drip irrigation. Funny irreverent lady who uses some dicy language. I looked up luffas/loofahs again today--had forgotten her funny advice on growing them. Here's her take on drip irrigation: https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/drip-irrigation/


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