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September 2020, The Ides of September

I cannot believe we are hitting the middle of September already.

The cool weather continues on and long-term outlooks for the rest of September show our weather will continue in the present pattern.

Rainfall may be influenced by a group of Tropical Storms making their way towards the USA, including Tropical Hurricane Sally, currently down in the Gulf of Mexico, and expected to bring massive rainfall totals to at least parts of Mississippi and Louisiana when she comes ashore, likely as a Hurricane. I think Sally likely makes the turn back north/northeast far enough away from Arkansas that maybe Larry won't have to build another ark. We'll have to watch rainfall projections and see where her moisture plume goes. There's a lot of other Tropical Storms and potential ones in the Atlantic but it is too early to know if they will make it into the Gulf of Mexico and head towards our region or if they'll go up the Atlantic coastline.

This time of September is a great time to clean out summer plants, if you can do so safely without encountering snakes, a great time to to overseed lawns with a winter cover crop of grass like annual or perennial rye grass (perennial rye isn't perennial here, but I didn't name the stuff so am using its correct name, lol) or to sow winter cover crops into garden beds. This might be the absolute last weekend that someone in the warm parts of the state (south of the Arbuckles) could put out a pre-emergent to prevent cool-season weeds from sprouting. This also is a great time to sow wildflower seeds that need cold scarification. Often they will sprout in the fall, remain as tiny rosettes down low to the ground all winter long, and then will grow rapidly and bloom once the temperatures reach the right range for them in late winter/early spring. Cool season annual color plants like ornamental cabbages and ornamental kales, stock, snapdragons, dianthus, violas, pansies, etc. should be available in stores soon if they aren't already---much depends on how far north or south you are.

It is time to plant garlic or to at least begin planning to plant it, and not too late to plant cool-season crops if you can find the transplants this weekend.

Summer garden plants continue to bloom and produce, and harvesting, eating and processing/preserving of the crops continues as well. I am hearing from a lot of people that they remain vexed by the lack of canning supplies on store shelves, but have noticed more supplies being put out on shelves lately, so it appears the stores are trying to meet the demand.

Have a lovely day everybody and a great week.


Comments (47)

  • 3 years ago

    we'll I didn't get the rest of the plants in the ground yesterday, but we did make the trip to Broken Arrow to get the greenhouse. I had seen an ad for $299. Must have been a labor day deal, but I at least had a 20% off coupon. It is 6x8. We have always vasilated between what size to get, I would like to have a bigger one but I don't want to pay for it. With my health being what it is, a small one might be better anyway. I didn't want to fight with a flimsy one again. We'll see how it stands up to the wind. I doubt it will get put together this fall, but maybe next year I can put the citrus trees in it fore the winter. Have I ever mentioned that the lime tree turned out to be a 2nd lemon? I would have preferred 2 limes.

    Have a good week everyone. Stay upright Larry.

  • 3 years ago

    Dawn I am so sorry for yall losing your friend. What a horrible virus.

    My garden in ground at home has me so puzzled. I have about 15 20’ rows of blackeyed peas. The plants are decent to awesome looking. I am getting a handful of peas every two days.

    the African x okra is still stunted and the watermelons are barely growing although I went out there after ignoring it for a week and there is one nice size watermelon.

    i definitely won’t be planting there next year and I am not giving up yet but so far I am very disappointed.

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  • 3 years ago

    This is (oft repeated) just the weirdest gardening year. I'm not sure you should base any decision on how things did this year.

  • 3 years ago

    Amy, I will try to stay upright. Madge and I talked about me getting a walker with a seat on it last night. I have the material in the shop to make racks for each tractor and the zero turn mower. I want to build the things I need before I need them. I think I do pretty good, but sometimes my feet and legs forget how to work. I think the problem is in my back. My back specialist told me 11 hears ago that he did not see why I was not having a lot more pain than I was having, his advice was to just keep going as long as I can. I am having more problems now, but I am older also. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon, but I expect to make some adjustments.

    The seeds I planted Wed.,& Fri. are sprouting. I was surprised with the radishes, they are about the only seeds I can see, but I missed so many when I was covering them, but they are sprouting on top of the ground anyway. I will try to keep them damp, I think most of them will make it if not eaten by the birds. I want to plant more seeds today, but I itch like crazy when I get in the garden, especially the south garden, that is where I have the okra, and some kind of weed that comes up by the hundreds. I plan on pulling the itchy weeds, that are in a row of mostly dead green beans and planting a row of fall crop. I have a lot of forage collard seeds, I have never grown them in a garden, so I think I will try some this year.

  • 3 years ago

    I think i'm going to follow Dawn's example and try to have some sweaty hot cocoa tonight. I want something..and darn if that doesn't sound good...though kinda hot :(

  • 3 years ago

    Stopping in to say "Hi". I feel like everything I talk about is won't say much other than we (HU and I) managed to can 18 quarts of veggie soup tonight. And all the fall seeds seem to be germinating. It's encouraging for sure. I didn't find any brassica plants at stores yesterday, but will continue to look. HU found 2 6-packs of cabbage but everything else was cleaned out. It appears people are doing fall gardens this year. Normally those plants just sit on the displays and dry out. At least in my experience.

    Started working again on Sundays. It was okay.

    Dawn, condolences. How horrible for your friend, his family and friends.

    dbarron, yes! Don't base any decisions on this year's performance.

    Kim, do you think your garden needs some compost or something? I have an area in the garden that is like that--everything is just stunted and doesn't grow well there. I'm hoping to fix that this autumn?

    Larry, you continue to impress...and make me laugh at the same time. You have such a great sense of humor.

  • 3 years ago

    Yes, agreeing with myself (first sign of multiple personality disorder?), if I based decisions on this year. I would never grow peppers again nor scarlet runner beans...oh or zinnias. My luck was abyssmal and I am not a novice at growing things...I grew zinnias successfully when I was ten (probably before). But this year...I failed at all of those.

  • 3 years ago

    H/J you're not boring. We all report what's going on with us. Sometimes it's not new or different. You are doing so much.

    Larry, my mom used a walker with a seat. It was good for her. I got one, but to get one that holds my weight it is too heavy for me to put in the car alone. It is also built for a man I think and too tall for me without adjustments. Check into those things before purchasing. Since you go over rough ground you might look into one with big tires like a garden cart. Maybe you can build one. They sell motorized scooters and wheel chairs with big tires for "off road" travel, but I'm sure they are big bucks.

    most things grew for me this year, though the peppers were slow and one may have had the roots eatten off.

    the sorghum didn't come up, which made me sad. And the seed starting mix was bad. Those were the disappointments.

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend Dawn. Just when schools are doing in person classes again and people are feeling safer. I am not excited about grandsons going back to school, since I babysit them every other week.

    But, like you, we need the company of our family and since I have 4 kids, with their own families it starts to be a crowd.

    l really have no gardening news. Ron is ready for clean up. Bah humbug. Do I feel that way because it is the end of the season or because it ushers in the dark days?

    The dogs wanted to go out in the middle of the night. I haven't noticed damage in the garden, but they have been chasing something. They kept me awake till I let them out. Not a good night.

  • 3 years ago

    Well, I just came in from checking the gardens, nothing to gripe about, except, I would have liked to have seen more beet coming up. I am the world worst about marking things. I found a marker that stated 9 - 11 on it, but the beets may have been planted a couple of days before that. The carrots, lettuce, and radishes were marked 9 - 11 and are coming up. The carrots are coming up as well as the lettuce and radishes, but I may be rushing things a little.

    I went down to get the tractor at my small wildlife pumpkin patch. I think I had about 5 or 6 vines that survived the wildlife and insect attacks, and at this point I have 24+ pumpkins that are about ready for harvest, and a few that may not make it to the wire. I would like to plant some kind of cover crop over there, but most of that area is too wet.

    I hope to get a place ready for a 4' x 8' cold frame today. I hope to get a treated 4' x 8' bottom with hardware cloth made with 2" x 8". I will scoop out a place to set it, fill it with good soil, and then set my hinged hoop on top of it.

    I think I will use Daikon radishes and forage collards in part of the garden as a cover crop. I have used Elbon rye in the past, it works good but I am hoping the radishes and collards will be easier to till in. If I have any Austrian winter peas in the shop I will use them also. I dont want to buy any more seeds, when I have so many on hand. I really like the peas, but they are a deer and rabbit magnet.

    Jennifer, I dont feel impressive. I felt very embarrassed lying there on the ground with eve rone saying dont move, dont get up, all I could think of to say was, " I just get weak around so many good looking women". My wife is a very pretty 81 year old woman, her daughter and granddaughter are just chips off the ole block. Any one of them is enough to knock a man off his feet, with the three of them together its boarder line murder.

    dbarron, it has been a pretty good year for me. The zinnias did well, the peppers did fair, the squash, winter and summer were better than expected, the tomatoes were disappointing, they were small, and I lost a ton of them because of insects, but we had all we needed and some to give away. The critters were murder on the wildlife garden, they demolished everything not protected by the electric fence, they even did some damage to the house gardens. My biggest complaints were too much water at some times, and too many insects at most times, but there were a lot of happy birds and fat spiders. The okra did will, and I need to go pick it again.

  • 3 years ago

    I'm pleased. I was standing at the kitchen window lamenting the fact I hadn't seen hummingbirds on the cardinal vine when 2 came and fought over it. One came back and went to it. I thought it was useless and I should come up with something else.

  • 3 years ago

    Not sure if I'm early or late, but I planted a few radish & peas this weekend. The cilantro I planted a few weeks ago is up & doing well, so I'm hopeful for a nice crop for fall.

    Tomatoes... I planted 10 this year. 3 died outright. Three grew beautifully but have yet to produce a single tomato. Two produced one tomato each. The other two have been horrible all summer. And then there's the two volunteers. They popped up in spots I really didn't want tomatoes but didn't have the heart to pull them, so they've been growing all summer. I've been getting 2 or 3 large cherries a week off one & the other has about half a dozen fruits on it right now. Figures the ones I've been wanting to grow do nothing. Still not enough to dehydrate & freeze for later, but I at least get to enjoy a bite or two.

    Someone had a greenhouse listed on Facebook for free. If we had the space and the means to haul it, I would've jumped on it. Hopefully next year we'll be prepping to move because I'm determined to get my greenhouse/potting shed by fall 2022. I'll have been with the state 14 years so my longevity bonus should cover most of the expense.

    For those of you talking about walkers etc. Check out ABLE Tech. They have a DME reuse program. People donate their equipment (walkers, shower benches, crutches, you name it) and then someone else can get it for free. At least, SoonerCare members can, and non-members may pay a small fee (still cheaper than new though). I can't remember if it's statewide or just the metro areas, but it's worth checking out.

  • 3 years ago

    Jen, thanks for the info. I live in Arkansas, but I think we have a program much like what you are talking about. My neighbor was telling me about something like that, the husband is now in a wheelchair, he has Alzheimer's and seems to be going down fast. I am the last one of the old timers in this area, all of the others have either gone in the ground or in a nursing home, except this one, and if thing don't change he will be in a nursing home next year. I do what I can to help, it seem that most people have a life or too busy to help. Helping makes me feel good.

    Amy, thanks for the info on the scooter. I looked on the web and found one like I would like to have when the time comes, but it was close to $9,000, and I am afraid by the time I get to time I need it I wont want to garden. At this point I am planing on using the small tractor and the zero turn mower, but I can still walk pretty good. I walked down to get my tractor this morning, that was close to 200 yards, and I could have walked farther, but Madge is afraid for me to get out far from the house, she make me carry my phone with me when I leave, I try to carry it all the time anyway.

    This has been a good day, and I have wasted most of it. I need to get out and make ground ready to plant collards and turnips. Madge is gone for her music lesson, this will be a good time to sling some dirt, that rear tine tiller is about like a powered walked, but very slow.

  • 3 years ago

    HI Everyone. Just a quick check in.

    I've looked at the stores around here and they have nothing yet as far as brussels sprouts and friends go.

    I didn't do any gardening today, but think I'll need to drag the hose out to water the raised beds tomorrow morning. There's lots of tiny seed in those beds and I don't want the surface soil to dry out.

    Jen, I saw that free greenhouse on FB Market. IF I had time to go get it, I would. It looked like a nice one.

  • 3 years ago

    I planted Barkant and Purple top turnips, Detroit red beets, Daikon radishes, forage collards yesterday. I always get seeds like these too close, but we will see, maybe none will even come up. I only have one more row empty, then some warm season crop will have to come out.

    Jennifer, I liked your video. Your garden looks so good, I see that I am not the only one that has to do major thinning of plants. I can.t understand why I am always so far behind everyone else, and I don't even work.

  • 3 years ago

    Me too Larry.

    maybe your other name should be speedy not slow poke.

  • 3 years ago

    Thanks, Larry. It's a bit rough looking but it should look really pretty in a couple of weeks. I'll try to do a video of the other garden next week.

    HU sows heavily. It's his style and it worked well for us in the spring/summer garden. BUT, even I have a really difficult time spacing the smallest of seeds. They're just so teeny tiny. Probably most of those fall crops can be used after thinning. They could be used sort of as microgreens or thrown into a stir-fry. I hate to waste.

    I shouldn't have sat down. Now, I'm sleepy again. I'm not working today and have a lot to do around here so will need to force myself up off the couch.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    The turnips and rutabaga can be used for cut and come again greens for a while until they start to get a little rough and tough. Then can be thinned out later for the roots. A lot of times they'll sort of thin themselves later into the early winter. And they're frost hardy, only need to cover a little for the Arctic air spells.


  • 3 years ago

    Larry, I believe you might find you tube videos or on line instructions for one of these. Otherwise they have a seedling planter as well. I used a pointed PVC pipe to plant beans with. I had the same experience with dirt clogging the pipe, so I just used it to poke the holes.

    Johnny's has a bunch of seeders you might look at and maybe build. They had basically the same as above out of stainless steel. I'm seriously considering that seeder, but I'm not sure the squeezing would do my hands any good.

    H/J, have you checked a nursery? I think Worley's starts their own seeds, rather than using Bonnie or other services.

    I need to work in the garden, but we have company coming this weekend, so we need to clean. Shouldn't have been so lazy last week.

  • 3 years ago

    Thanks, Amy, I will have to check into some of these. I think every year that this might be the last time I start a garden.

  • 3 years ago

    I am sitting and watching the news on The Weather Channel where Hurricane Sally came ashore while we were sleeping. She is crawling along at a forward speed of 3 mph and dumping heavy rainfall. While her impact is not expected to be as bad as Harvey, who dropped up to 60" of rainfall, things will be pretty bad and some people could get as much as 35" of rainfall from this storm. I am trying to imagine what it feels like to be a gardener facing up to 35" of rainfall and, if you're closer to the coast, the surge of many feet of water as well. As bad as this year has been with too much rainfall in some locations too often, none of us have had to face 35" of rainfall in just a couple of days time. I feel bad for everyone in the path of this storm, but especially for the farmers (their fall harvests obviously will be ruined), ranchers and gardeners whose animals and plants are at great risk.

    Amy, If you like the 6' x 8' greenhouse after you've used it a year or two, you always can get a second one. A lot of people have bought two Harbor Freight greenhouses and attached them to one another to create a larger greenhouse. Or, you could keep two separate ones, which would allow you to control the climate differently in each one if you wanted.

    Kim, I suspect there is something missing in your soil that a soil test would reveal, but since you aren't going to garden in that soil next year, I guess there's no point worrying about it. Southern peas (and okra) both became immensely popular in the south back in the old days because they not only tolerated the insane southern heat but also produce well even in poor soil. In fact, southern peas often produce better in poor soil than in great soil. So, it doesn't surprise me that they're producing for you in an area where pickier plants have failed to produce. I'm sorry that garden has been such a disappointment to you this year.

    I haven't grown the African X okra, and don't even want to, because I understand it can be very late to produce and it drives me nuts when a plant takes up space and refuses to produce until late in the season. Okra in general does better for me in a hot dry year than in a wet year. I feel like staying too wet keeps it growing vegetatively too long and slow to flower and set pods, and I believe a lot of people here in OK have had that trouble with their okra this year. It just has been such a peculiar year.

    Jennifer, Doing as much food preservation as you're doing now can be so exhausting and that is one reason I have cut back so much on canning the last 3 or 4 years. I just got tired of being tired all the time. : ) I am sure the being tired also is age-related because I'm more than 20 years older than I was when we moved here and I have nowhere near the energy in general in my early 60s that I had back then in my early 40s, and that affects both gardening and food preservation. It certainly is rewarding to do it all, and it is great when you have a canning pantry full of canned goods to eat, but the whole process from growing to harvesting to food preservation can wear out a person. I did too much of it all for so long, but there's bits and pieces of the process of food preservation that I really miss. For example, when the cherry crop hit the stores and cherries were $1 a pound, I'd buy a lot of them and can some maraschino cherries and make chocolate cherry jam. I'd buy bananas and make banana jam, etc. It wasn't enough to just preserve what we grew, I'd buy stuff to preserve too. No wonder I burned out.....I expect to return to canning more food next year and beyond but have enjoyed the prolonged break from doing it.

    Larry, Beets can sprout erratically and sometimes I've had them pop up long after I've given up on them, so maybe more of your beet seed will sprout later. Maybe it is just taking its own sweet time. One year I broadcast sowed a deer food plot seed blend out back in a pasture and that blend included radishes and turnips. The ground was very hard because of drought, and that was a big problem. There also was a lack of rain. Eventually a lot of the deer food plot seeds sprouted, but the turnips and radishes couldn't grow in the hard ground, so they had only a bit of root in the ground, and the rest of them grew on top of the soil. It was the oddest sight. The deer never touched the food plot either, and preferred to eat deer corn.

    Amy, One of our neighbors had one of those fairly heavy duty wheelchairs that he could use outside as he aged. His mobility was impaired as he hit his late 80s and early 90s and that was hard for him because he loved the outdoors. He always had tons of chickens and guineas, and his motorized wheelchair traveled well enough over the ground outdoors that he could go out to his poultry coop and gather his eggs and feed his chickens even when he was well into his 90s. That probably helped keep him sane. For getting around the neighborhood, he had a nice all terrain vehicle. You'd see him out going down the road on it, which of course isn't legal, but no one said anything because there's not much traffic on our road in the first place, and no one wanted to see him be forced to give up what little mobility he still had. Fred used both a utility vehicle and his tractor to keep himself mobile outdoors as he aged, but what really worked for him was elevating molasses feed tubs by putting them on top of picnic tables and such so he could tend tomato plants while standing. He'd had back surgery around the time our house was being built, and had trouble bending over, so when he saw how well tomatoes grew in feed tubs for me, he started growing them that way himself and didn't miss having them in the ground at all. There's ways to keep gardening as we age, and I'm working towards that now because my body more and more resents the work involved in bending over and weeding and sowing. I plan to move more and more towards container gardening in the future. Considering how much the woodland is trying to shade and take over the garden and the way its size is shrinking down every year because of encroaching shade, I need to do something because some day it will be too shady to use as a garden plot unless we cut down a lot of trees. We are, of course, too old to deal with cutting down a lot of trees that are 40-60' tall or taller, so the fenced garden plot is increasingly shady and I cannot change that at this point. When we built the garden in its present location, I knew that "someday" the woodland shade would begin to encroach on the garden so this is not shocking.

    Jennifer, The plants you're looking for usually don't even arrive in stores here until mid-September, so maybe you'll see the stores up there get a fresh shipment this coming weekend? Some of them don't arrive here until October, which really is too late, but September has remained extra hot for so many recent years that the plant wholesale nurseries just aren't planting the brassicas in their greenhouses as early as they used to.

    Larry, All the older guys here just kept on ranching, farming and gardening until their kids took away the keys to their ATVs, scooters, and tractors because they were, um, falling off of them and unable to get up. One of our neighbors fell off a horse in his 80s and broke his pelvis and his kids told him that was it, he was done riding horses. Oh no he wasn't. He healed and got well and got back on the horse and told them to just deal with it. As far as I know, he is still riding over a decade later, though probably not as much as he once did. You just have to keep doing the things that make you happy for as long as it is possible to do so. There's very few gardens left in our neighborhood now because so many of the older folks have passed on. Those of us who are left are slowing down, but we aren't stopping, as we become the old ones now due to the fact that we've survived this long. Most of the newer folks who move in don't plant gardens, which is a shame.

    Amy, Cardinal vine always vexes me with its slowness to bloom, so I tend to grow cypress vine instead since it blooms much earlier. The hummingbirds like them all though, so anything you grow for them will get visited once the birds spot it.

    The hummingbird traffic really has slowed down this week. I feel like many of them rode the big cold front north, which probably wasn't a bad idea since this September is cooler than most recent Septembers have been. We still have a few hummingbirds, but nothing like the numbers we were seeing a month ago.

    I haven't done any gardening this week. I feel like I've been too distracted by our friend's death to stay focused on anything for long. He was a professional firefighter for 29 years and a volunteer firefighter here in our county forever, so when they brought his body home from Texas yesterday, where he was hospitalized before he lost the battle with the corona virus, there was a huge Coming Home procession the likes of which I've never seen. It was bigger than 99% of the funeral processions you'll ever see, and it wasn't even his funeral procession. Don't get me wrong---I know that law enforcement officers and firefighters often accompany their deceased brothers and sisters on that last trip from the hospital to the funeral home, and often set up trucks on overpasses to pay homage as the hearse travels, but this procession was huge. It included many cars carrying his family members---everyone wanted to help bring him home. We had firefighters set up on all the I-35 overpasses from Sanger TX to just south of Ardmore OK, and I tried to count all the different departments but couldn't keep up. There were dozens, including Irving, Grapevine, Coppell, Lewisville, DFW Airport and Ponder, TX, and then all the Oklahoma departments in our county and some from a couple of nearby counties. They lined the roads in town all the way from I-35 on the west side of town to the funeral home on the east side of town, parked in every available lot. In some places, citizens lined the streets, a few of them with flags waving. You would have thought a governor or president was coming home but it was "just" a great man who had served his community for decades with great love and humility. He loved the world and we all loved him back. His visitation is Friday and funeral is Saturday and I suspect the crowd for both will dwarf what we saw yesterday.

    This gentleman who passed away is the son of our dear friend, Jesse, who died last year, and his name is Chris. Chris' extended family has really been through the wringer the last 18 months or so. Many of our neighbors who have passed away the last two years were Chris' relatives---his uncle last April, his great-aunt a short while later, his dad's brother in early July, and then his own dad 3 weeks later. Chris lost his mom in June of this year. Never, ever, under any circumstances could we have imagined Chris would outlive his dad by less than 14 months and his mom by only a couple of months. They lived into their 80s and I guess we just assumed he'd do the same, but of course, no one had any idea that a pandemic virus would sweep through this country, taking so many people who otherwise might have lived longer lives on this earth. Chris had just turned 60 this summer and he is one of the key reasons our son became a firefighter---he mentored so many young volunteer firefighters here in our area and inspired them to pursue firefighting as a career as he had. His death is unbearably hard on all the firefighters in our county, but especially on the young ones he mentored and inspired. I think that is one reason so many DFW metro areas are participating in celebrating his life...those young volunteer firefighters from Love County grew up, became professional firefighters and work at various DFW metro area and southern Oklahoma area fire departments and were determined to be a part of the group honoring his life and bringing him home.

    Aurora's sixth birthday celebration was supposed to be this Saturday and we had a big day planned, with an outing to the zoo or aquarium, a meal out, and cake and presents at our house afterwards. It would have been an all-day celebration. Because of the funeral, we've had to alter the plans quite a bit and she's trying to understand and accept the changes. She hasn't fussed about it at all, but had tears in her eyes as I spoke with her and discussed the fact that we'd probably have to postpone the zoo/aquarium trip...but promised her we'd still have birthday presents and cake, and that really perked her up. Jana and Chris are going to do their best to make sure her party is fun for her after the funeral and burial are over but it definitely is not the day she was expecting and I feel bad for her because she's only six. I'm staying home from the funeral as part of my ongoing attempt to social distance and avoid large gatherings, and it is a really tough decision to make. I haven't made it to funerals, birthday parties, wedding showers or weddings this year since the virus arrived, and that's not changing. I have watched some funerals and weddings via Facebook Live so at least I could see the events even though not in person. So, the girls will be here with me on Saturday and we'll try to stay busy until the others get home to celebrate the six-year-old's birthday, and Tim, Chris and Jana will represent the family at the funeral. It is being held at the high school football stadium to allow for social distancing, and Tim and another of our firefighters probably are going to stay with the firetruck in the parking lot at the stadium and just listen on the loudspeaker because they're in the age group that is more likely to die if they get the coronavirus, so they have good reason to avoid it. They want to be there for the family and for Chris and for themselves, but they also understand that the coronavirus is the worst it has been in our community so far right now and we have community spread occurring right now and they also want to stay safe. Chris' wife had the coronavirus at the same time he did, but at a certain point she began to improve and feel better, and he did not. She is considered recovered from it.

    Yesterday I cleaned house a little, and will finish today. I wrapped Aurora's birthday presents and today I'm going to bake her cake, and then freeze the layers in the deep freeze because that will make them easier to frost tomorrow or Friday. I'm trying to stay busy so am glad to have the birthday party to prepare for. I had Aurora here with me on Sunday night and Monday because her school had a teachers' in-service day, and she loves kindergarten so much that she was unhappy about school being cancelled. I loved school like that when I was a kid too.

    A friend of ours posts photos pretty much daily of the rattlesnakes he is encountering outdoors, mostly in gravel driveways or on pavement, and his photos keep me on my toes and keep me watchful when I go outside. September and October are second only to July when it comes to venomous snake encounters here. I've been avoiding the garden because of the snakes, but do need to check on, and perhaps water, the plants in containers today.

    You can feel and see the changes in sunlight intensity and day length now and it really is starting to feel like fall. I hate the shorter days, though I sure don't mind the cooler weather.

    We have too many fire ants everywhere thanks to Tim draining the pool and putting a massive amount of water on our lawn. On the one hand, the bermuda grass sure did green up, but then the fire ant mounds popped up everywhere at the same time, making our lawn an obstacle course. I guess we're going to have to get actual fire ant products and treat the yard because we have a ridiculous number of fire ants this year. We haven't treated the lawn area for fire ants in ages and ages and ages because we have free-ranging chickens, but I think the chickens are going to have to stay in their chicken run for a few days while we put out fire ant pellets and water them in. We'll use the Texas Two-Step method of fire ant control, which requires several days. Maybe we can do that on Sunday afternoon since Saturday is going to be such a busy day already, and then I can do the second step a couple of days later.

    All the stores here have Christmas stuff now. I'm not ready for Christmas stuff. I'm not even ready for Halloween, but it is quickly approaching. The weather may feel like fall, but my brain is stuck in summer. Some bulbs that you can plant in fall are popping up in stores now, but I'm not in the mood, and my garden remains full from summer anyway.

    Have a good day everyone, and forgive my ramblings about our friend. If anyone had asked me six months ago who in our county was most likely to die from the coronavirus, his name never would have entered my mind. I feel so completely discombobulated and weary, wondering who it will get next. Hopefully the answer is that nobody will, but people here are acting like the virus is gone, despite the fact we just lost a key community member to it. One of my friends said that no one will take this virus seriously until they or someone they love becomes very ill or dies from it, and I think he was right about that. The need humans have for life to continue on as it always has is called the normalcy bias, and I see the normalcy bias on full display here in our county.


  • 3 years ago

    Amy, I had been thinking about PVC pipe with a 90* L glue on it and then grind, or cur away part of it, hoping to protect from plugging and still provide a path for the seed to fall. I could also heat the PVC to put 60 or 70 degree bend in it, then cut some of it away. I have that PVC pipe still laying at the edge of the garden, I could play with it while I sitting on the porch letting my joints rest. It will need a small container attached to the top to hold seeds also.

    I need to get up and do something, I didn't do anything yesterday except water the seed beds.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I can't imagine how difficult it would be giving up something you love and enjoy, even if it's for the best. Cliff & I have had this argument, usually over driving & his belief that everyone should hang up the keys by a certain age.

    We have a close family friend, I called him & his wife my "second parents" growing up. He was working in his shop & cut all 4 fingers off his left hand. He's back home from rehab & dad said he's already back in the shop, working on some contraption so he can get back to wood turning. I'm glad he has something to focus on, but I'm sure his kids are afraid of getting another one of those calls. Cliff has said his kids need to "make" him quit; he doesn't understand that for some people giving up their passions would be worse than having another accident.

  • 3 years ago

    We got flu shots yesterday and Ron had a fever last night. He has a reaction to flu shots like this, that's what we think it is. But... Anyway he called in sick today and plans on a couple of days vacation. We are supposed to host grandson's 12th birthday Sunday, so that is up in the air.

    I watered pots yesterday and the Brussels sprouts in the beds.

    I feel the need for retail therapy. Maybe I'll buy a seeder. I need a transplanter right now, though.

  • 3 years ago

    I want an earth way seeder. Since I do like to grow some row crops it would be beneficial.

  • 3 years ago

    Dawn, please don’t apologize for talking about your friend - what an amazing and touching tribute! I cried for you and his family as I read your story. We have several law enforcement and firefighters in our family as well as numerous nurses so your story hit very close to home. We are all gardeners on here, but I like to think we are also friends- and people who share our experiences in life.

  • 3 years ago

    Where I have been working in the wildlife garden. The far left and up toward the hwy is Daikon radishes for soil improvement for zinnia bed for next year. The short bed straight ahead will have rape and forage collards, the long narrow bed right of the tractor has purple top turnips. The long bed to the right will be a deer plot mix.

    I will also try to post a picture of where my cold frame will be. My soil is very shallow, so I scooped away my amended soil in the north garden, and will set my cold frame there. I will have at least a 2" x 8" treated bottom on my cold frame. I have never used one before, hope I can make it work. It does not look like the cold frame location is going to post. Well, I expect y'all have seem a hole in sorry soil before, so I will get back to work in the wildlife garden.

    Dawn, I agree with farmgardener, we are all friends and should be able to talk about anything that is bothering us. Any one of us could go at any time.

    I hope I can get this computer to post pictures also.

  • 3 years ago

    As mom use to say "I am going to have to eat crow". I dont know where that phrase came from, but was the same as I am going to have to eat my own words, The seeds I planted day before yesterday are as thick as hair on a dog's back. The seeds I planted a day or two earlier look pretty good, especially the arugula and pac choi, that day I felt like getting down low, and I could see the seeds better.

    Our AC went out last night, so I need to call around and see if I can get any parts. I want to buy American if I can, but getting anything made in the US is difficult. I also am having my helper come over this afternoon to help me change the wax ring on the commode. I also have a slow draining shower that needs work. I also need to finish plant the wildlife garden. I dont see how I will be able to get all that done today. but if it never gets done, its not the end of the world.

    Y'all have a nice day.

  • 3 years ago

    Ron just picked 2 cucumbers. They were on the plant that grew into the papalo. All others died of disease. I wonder if the papalo repelled cucumber beetles (which I didn't see) so that one isn't diseased. I don't remember which variety it was.

    I bought a flat of pansies today and Stringer posted they had them. Got mine at A New Leaf, which is a non prophet. I believe they employ special needs individuals.

    Ron feels better today. We got our whooping cough boosters so we can see the baby when he's born. No hospital visits though.

    I read the reviews on the above seeder. Most were good but alot of people didn't think it was sturdy enough.

  • 3 years ago

    I've been missing, and will be back tomorrow morning, but wanted to let you know that Sanders Nursery in Broken Arrow had perennials they were selling for 75% off and some for $1 a piece. Sandy and I cleaned house. They don't have a lot left--quite a few autumn sedum, a lot of salvia, echinacea, I got a couple anemones. . . for annuals (not on sale), they had pansies, ornamental kale, then I got sidetracked on the perennials.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago


    It was good to catch up with your posts just now. I was sort of dreading it because I hate being behind, but it wasn't bad at all.

    Dawn, again I'm sorry about your friend. It's interesting how some deaths just hit us in a deep way. I don't know if that makes sense or not...but sometimes a certain death--for whatever reason--is more painful or felt more deeply.

    Tonight HU planted a cover crop. I'll let him explain more about it. I was working in the kitchen garden while he did that. He pulled the tired, half-dead southern peas and put them there.

    While he worked on that, I pulled out cherry tomato plants and planted cabbage and brussels sprouts.

    Amy, I found cool season things at Tractor Supply. They had everything but broccoli. They looked dry, but I bought a couple of 6 packs of brussels. They perked up with a watering. HU got cauliflower, cabbage and other things from somewhere...maybe Lowes? I wasn't going to grow any of this, but here I am doing what I said I wasn't going to do.

    It's been that kind of year. Remember when I said I was only going to plant 12 tomato plants. Ha.

    Tom and I picked up the supplies to rebuild the back garden yesterday. It's just a little garden--3 raised beds. We are doing the design I'm sure you've all seen floating around. Using the deck blocks/planter blocks (not sure what they're actually called) and then just slipping boards down into them. We are doing a double stack so the beds will be 12 inches tall. The sizes of the beds will be slightly different. Each bed will be a little shorter, but also a foot wider. I'm excited to get this done. Tom and Ethan built this little garden for me in the fall of 2014. We used untreated lumber so it lasted an okay amount of time considering that fact. Something is wrong with the soil in that garden. It handled the onions beautifully this year, but nothing else will grow in them. This happened last year too. I think I had neglected to amend the soil EVER since 2015. I dumped chicken dropping on it last fall, but I just don't think it was enough. I'm not sure how to explain that. It's like maybe the first 4 or 5 inches are amended--and maybe that is all the onions needed (plus I used Dixondale fertilizer too). But the goodness of the composted chicken poo (maybe) has not made its way deeper into the bed.

    So many tiny seedlings everywhere in both gardens. The peppers are producing like crazy. The okra slowed way down after last weeks cooler weather. For the first time in 2 months, I don't have a giant pile waiting on me to process it. I have a very small pile. I'll slice it up and put it in the freezer. It's just one bag's worth.

    Tomorrow we will can (more!) peas. And then the only other thing waiting for us is the peppers. We need to do something with them. The sweet peppers will be chopped and frozen, but the jalapenos will need something else. Maybe more pepper jelly.

    One month to the wedding. Church shower this Sunday. A couple's shower next weekend. Ethan is going to Portland the first two weeks of October (I'm not thrilled with this). I'm glad it's October so he will be home after/during the election. I'm glad Mack and Mason will be back from their honeymoon before then too. I just need everyone to be near home.

    Oh! My neighbor and friend is letting me borrow her roomba to try out for a month or so. She doesn't love it. However she is a stay-at-home person who doesn't have the number of animals we have. I'm not sure what model it is. I took the questionnaire thing on the roomba website and they suggested one of the more expensive/fancy ones. Of course they did.

    Okay...I'm out. Good to catch up. :)

  • 3 years ago

    I had a busy day, I worked on my AC unit, now I find my furnace needs work also. I have everything running ( Patched up) and will go for parts for the furnace tomorrow. I did not find a problem with the furnace till this afternoon and had been on my feet too much to start another manual project, so went to the wildlife garden instead, where I could work while riding on the tractor. It look good, but think I well rework it. At this point I am really happy how I have contoured the land. I am thinking it will drain okay. I will still have to work on it for a few years amending the soil. I sowed over 100 pound of seed yesterday and today. I dont have the equipment I need, so I have to sow the seed the old fashion way, which is a lot of walking, and its killing me.

    I dont have a good stand on the beets, collards, and chard yet. I seems as though I never get things planted on time.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I planted "Austrian winter peas" for a cover crop (green manure) in place of the spent southern peas in the Survivalists Garden. They are suppose to be edible as well , the young vine tips can be used in a salad . It's my first time growing them.

    Anybody grow these?


  • 3 years ago

    I have been growing Austrian winter peas for the past few years. I have only eaten the vine tips while working in the garden, still trying to get the wife to try them in salad and stir fry. I like then as a cover crop because they are so easy to get rid of. I just mow them with the mower, and till. They till in much easier than Elbon rye. The only down side for me is that I some times leave the rye to produce bird food, it does a very god job of that, I am not sure how the peas would do. I think I will set aside a spot this year and just let the peas go to seed. I dont have a lot of faith that the peas will do as good as rye or millet at producing bird food.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I've heard that the pods aren't as good as the regular green English peas but are still edible.Supposed to make good split- pea soup. I'll be tilling mine under before it pods out anyway to make way for the spring plantings.


  • 3 years ago

    I had read that winter peas were "fodder", which doesn't mean you couldn't eat them, but probably not great taste. I have grown them. The tips taste just like peas. I believe I put some annual ryegrass in with them because a read they took a while to fill in and I wanted the soil covered. I don't remember actually getting pods. I wonder if they take too long to produce.

    Nancy, I want autumn sedum, but I don't want to go to BA to get it. Maybe I'll see what Worleys has. I want ornanental cabbage and kale, too. The cabbage worms completely denuded the broccoli seedlings I had. I need to see if I can get more. Y'all would be proud of me, I pulled those suckers off bare handed. Some squished. Didn't care.

  • 3 years ago

    I picked the okra a while ago, I think it is time to push it out of the garden, it is just too tall to pick, and we don't need any more anyway. I may wait till after Sunday and see if the girls want any before I push it out.

    I need to go to Ft. Smith for furnace parts, and I think Madge wants to go also, we may just go out to eat also. Because of out age, and this pandemic we have been trying to spend more time together. Its a shame that a person has to wait for a crisis to pull their family together, I have been bad to help other people and let the home front go.

    I have mowed a strip in the lawn and planted collards, radishes and winter peas, but I have a hard time watering them, and I will have to keep the watered to get them to come up, if you dont have tilled ground there, you forget that you have seeded it.

    I am really tired, but proud of myself for forcing myself to work longer and harder. to try to build up my endurance, but I go to sleep every time I sit down.

  • 3 years ago

    Hmm, those winter peas sound interesting...I may need to look into that.

  • 3 years ago

    You can get them in just about any feed store


  • 3 years ago

    I was thinking of your friend Chris, Dawn. Your whole post. I was just so incredibly sad. And then sad for little Aurora, too. And for everyone struggling with these pandemic times. Then I was thinking about my brothers, and well, I just ended up having a poignant and sad evening. It's okay to do that once in a while. . . to remember our loved ones and to just MISS them so. I think you all for your friendship. We are certainly used to social distancing with this group, right?!

    We're still picking tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers and melons. I'm going to harvest all the peppers and pull the tomatoes and peppers out in a few minutes. Then to the school this afternoon and plant the goodies we picked up over the past few days--except for the forgotten vegetables. My bad. I was so excited to find that great sale yesterday, I totally forgot the vegetable bedding plants! Agghh. I guess I'll call Lowe's and see if they have any now. They didn't a couple weeks ago.

    How's Ron now, Amy? Better, I trust? I wish I'd been paying more attention to your greenhouse news. Well, maybe not--that's the whole deal with me---I've waffled on the notion of getting one since I got to OK. Still not convinced I need one. I love the idea, but . . .

    Larry, what a gift you have; sounds like you are able to fix about anything. Garry's like that. He often needs my help to track down parts on the internet, but I swear, if it CAN be fixed, he can do it. Well, except for our big upright freezer. I "fixed" it. It had sat empty for a couple years. I suggested we clean it up and then take it to someone who could fix it. So I began scrubbing it out, then was reading up on it. I went all around the door, making sure the seal was intact, It didn't really appear to be in a couple spots. Well, got it all cleaned up and plugged it in and it's been working fine ever since--that was over a year ago. It must have been a seal problem.

    HJ, you all must be getting excited about the upcoming wedding. Prayers that everything goes smoothly for the next month.

    I got an email yesterday from a guy thanking me for the green tomatoes. He said they produced well for them and they enjoyed giving them to people who couldn't believe there was a green tomato that was ripe. He signed his name. I said to Garry, "WHO the heck is "Joe"? I had NO idea who it was. Oh dear, the memory is going. . . it was hilarious to both of us. I finally later figured out who it was and felt pretty ridiculous.

    I'd better get outside and get peppers picked. Have a good Friday and weekend, all.

  • 3 years ago

    Thanks, Nancy, but there are a lot of things I cant fix. I opened up the furnace and cycled it a few times, and called the service man. The blower has to come out and my beat up old hands wont work in that tight of a space, I dont see as well as I use to and I am very bumble fingered. We live in a mobile home, and a lot of things in a mobile home are hard to repair, and most things in a mobile home dont last long, it is the worst home I have ever owned. I feel that I am too old to move, plus I want the land to go to my daughter, and I could not afford another home without selling something.

  • 3 years ago

    Amy, did you notice if Stringers had dianthus too?

  • 3 years ago

    HU , I plant Austrian Peas every year, they're part of this seed mix I use for a cover crop, in fact, I planted this week....

    I've not had them " go to fruit " . They generally die out with temps below 10* .

    A fella told me a couple years ago, that for them to " fix " nitrogen in the soil, they had to be " innoculated " . I did not ask what was involved in that, he was quite the talker and I could not get a word in edgewise.

    Our hummingbirds left this week, not seen one in 4 days

  • 3 years ago

    Well the gremlins got my post. Rebecca the A new leaf people had dianthus but I saw stringer's FB post so I didn't see any thing

  • 3 years ago

    We are getting ready to harvest the winter storage food for this year. We found these sweet potatoes from last year. It was getting late in the year, so Madge put these in a plastic box to protect the carpet if they started going bad. She gave me all the little potatoes to use for slips. We store sweet potatoes under the bed, and being old and stiff, we dont get up and down very well. As you can see, we forgot about these potatoes. They have been under the bed for almost a year. These Covington sweet potatoes keep better that any other potato I have grown.

  • 3 years ago

    I am so far behind that I'll never catch up. I stayed busy towards the end of the week, baking multiple batches of desert from scratch for the luncheon following Chris' funeral and burial, and had to make two birthday cakes for Aurora...because, apparently, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic it is advised to put the birthday candles on a small cake or cupcake for the birthday child, and let them blow out those candles while having a separate cake for people to eat---a cake no one has breathed all over apparently. So, her birthday candle cake was a small confetti cake with pale pink frosting and her official birthday cake was a hot pink colored vanilla cake with sparkly hot pink sprinkles on top of hot pink vanilla frosting from a can. (The candle cake frosting was a buttercream made from scratch though.) am, quite honestly, sick of the kitchen now and don't intend to cook anything today. Either we'll go out to eat or eat cold sandwiches because I'm officially on kitchen strike. After spending a couple of days in the kitchen baking, I don't even want to eat any baked goods myself. : )

    Larry, I have had stored sweet potatoes last up to 18 months in the upstairs spare bedroom, and had some like yours that I just let sprout and grow all winter, and then I took slips from them for spring planting. It is amazing how long a well-cured sweet potato can last when stored indoors.

    Larry, I think the furnace parts of the HVAC system are harder to repair than the AC air compressor type parts. Tim can fix a lot on the AC himself but has to call the repair guy when the heater needs repair.

    Nancy, It was such a hard week. I am not sure if anything prepares us for losing someone we love who is younger than we are---it feels unnatural. I know you understand that yourself. This summer we've seen two friends in our own age group, one a wee bit older than us and one a wee bit younger pass away rather suddenly and unexpectedly and I found it much harder to bear than when we lose someone a generation ahead of us.

    I hope you are feeling better and less melancholy. One of the hard parts about aging (and I know it is a privilege to live long enough to acknowledge that we are getting older....) is that we increasingly lose everyone in our age group and older than our age group--first, perhaps, our grandparents and their generation, then our parents and their generation, and then we start losing cousins, siblings and contemporaries from our school days. Perhaps this is why we increasingly find ourselves turning peculiar and talking more and more to our cats and dogs, or to the garden critters like hummingbirds and butterflies, who are great listeners but cannot carry on much of a conversation with us themselves. (grin)

    Some friends who used to live here in our neighborhood but who moved down to the DFW metro area about 13 or 14 years ago, stopped by our house after the funeral yesterday and we were sitting around the dining table trying to run through a list of all the local friends and neighbors who had died just in the last year or two and it was an alarmingly long list. We've gained new neighbors and friends, of course, but the newer ones tend to be more in Chris' and Jana's age group, or younger, and not so much in ours. I don't understand how Tim and I have gone from being the newest transplants and pretty much the youngest adults in our neighborhood to being among the oldest. It seemed like it happened so quickly, although of course it has been longer than two decades, because we bought our land here in 1997 and moved here in 1999. I wish I could slow down time, or wave a wand and bring back all of our marvelous old neighbors who were so kind to us and so helpful when we moved here and were attempting to turn a fallow cow pasture and accompanying woodland area into a home, garden and yard. I miss chatting with them all.

    My greenhouse is only a hoophouse, and an unheated one at that, and I don't even use it as much as I thought I would. We built it mainly to give me a way to grow on transplants outside in it in late winter and early spring after they outgrow the light shelf, so it was going to be an intermediate step between indoor seedlings and transplants going into the ground, but I have used it some years to overwinter zone 8 plants in pots, particularly brugmansias and citrus trees, and even to attempt to grow some garden crops in winter. What I learned from that was that my hoophouse could be used to grow cool-season crops like lettuce and other greens in winter if I used shadecloth and opened all the doors and vents daily to keep it from building up too much heat and inducing cool weather plants to bolt, or I could overwinter tomato and pepper plants in pots by letting it get pretty hot during the day time....but I couldn't do both things at the same time, obviously. If I keep the pepper and tomato plants happy and somewhat productive in winter (fruit size remains small and very slow growing in the greenhouse in winter and it isn't really worth the effort) then the lettuce burns up and vice versa with keeping it cold enough for lettuce which kills off the tomatoes and peppers at night. It needs a new plastic cover and I'm toying with the idea of not getting it one. Maybe we'll move it to the garden, which would involve talking it apart and moving one piece at a time through the garden gate, and cover it with something and using it more in there. I've stared at it and its wind-shredded plastic all summer trying to decide what to do with it this fall, and cannot make up my mind. I'm going to have to decide one way or another though.

    Larry, Going to sleep every time you sit down sounds like a nice goal. I feel like I could take a nap or two daily and maybe then be more energetic for the rest of the day if I did that. I remember when my dad used to come in from work and sit down in his recliner and nod off while mom was getting dinner on the table, and he was only in his 40s or 50s then. Even a brief little cat nap seemed to revive his flagging energy. Hard work wears out a body at any age, though I do think it wears me out more easily as I get older. I am sure you have found the same to be true.

    Amy, I generally don't like handling any caterpillars bare-handed, but can tolerate picking the broccoli worms off the plants bare-handed when they are small. I hate those things and they are so destructive to seedlings. I hope you can find replacement plants.

    HU, Technically you can eat Austrian winter peas, and I might do it if it were a matter of life or death, but the peas get tough and fibrous while very young, so if you want to eat them, eat them while they are small like baby peas. Don't expect them to be all tender and tasty like sugar snap peas though.

    Larry, I find fall planting so challenging in our climate. It seems like it is too hot and the soil is too dry (or, if it has been raining, too soggy wet) to plant in August and sometimes September and to get a good stand of seedlings, and then the day length is getting too short by the time the conditions moderate and plants finally sprout. I think my last really outstanding fall garden was way back in 2012, although I may have had a half-decent one in 2016. More and more, I am so tired of the heat that I don't want to deal with a fall garden at all, although a lot of that is because of the timber rattlers that come out of the woodland adjacent to the garden to plague me. Then, when the weather cools off in October and I think a fall garden would be nice, it is too late to plant much of anything down here except garlic and spinach.

    Amy, I found Autumn Joy and several other sedums at Lowe's last fall, but all of them were exhausted and half-dead summer plants that hadn't sold....and which clearly hadn't been watered enough and were barely clinging to life. None of them were new plants for fall sales. I bought them off the clearance/almost-dead-plant rack with just a glimmer of life visible in them and planted them anyway, cutting back all the dead parts pretty hard, and now they look great after being in the ground for about a year.

    Jennifer, This death hurt so much....and not just for us but for a huge number of people. Firefighters from the D-FW metro who had worked with him at various fires, mostly but not all from his three decades as a professional firefighter with the Lewisville TX FD, came to his funeral in droves. Various professional fire departments provided personnel to perform the traditional firefighter funeral tasks, and even an honor guard from D-FW Airport's fire department, where Chris' son works with our son, took part in the ceremony. A man as active and seemingly healthy as him just shouldn't be gone so soon, and that is a widely-shared feeling here. He had just barely turned 60 and seemed to be very healthy until Covid-19 hit him. I hate Covid-19 and hate that it took his life prematurely. His youngest grandchild, still an infant, won't even have first-hand memories of him and I totally hate that fact. I social distanced and stayed home with the grandkids (and though I hated missing his funeral, I have no regrets there because I am so prone to respiratory illnesses) but Tim estimated there were about 1,000 people in attendance. Social distancing was not being practiced, though his family masked up and arranged the services to allow as much social distancing as possible. They could not force people to comply with proper distancing though. Tim did say that virtually everybody present was wearing a mask, which is a shock because you don't see a lot of folks masked up here in our county in general. We've never had a funeral here that big, and it had to be held at the football stadium because no building in town was large enough to contain it, and the family and funeral home did a great job of planning for a large crowd with lots of help from the fire departments and emergency management personnel. Parts of the procession and services were live-streamed and I could watch it at home while helping the girls blow up balloons and decorate for Aurora's birthday party. For a 6-year-old she was extraordinary in accepting that the birthday celebration she was having later in the day was not at all the one we originally planned and she never complained on e, and she told me she thought Capt. Kirk was "a handsome man" and said yesterday that she wished she had known him herself. I'm also grateful to our many friends who took photos and videos and posted them as it enabled me to see as much of it as possible. Now, we all take a deep breath and carry on, and try to support and encourage his family as much as we can while they grieve and adjust to their new reality.

    For the garden area you feel is underperforming, how about a soil test? Perhaps one nutrient or another is out of kilter there and a soil test would show that.

    I am looking at my increasingly shaded garden, built beginning in 1999 about 15' from a woodland that now has grown out to its fence, and thinking we need to move the whole thing. I hate this, but it will become inevitable at some point unless we cut down a bunch of gigantic trees, which we'll never do. They are too big to cut down at this point without spending thousands of dollars per tree to pay someone else to do it. I really blame the almost 80" of rain we got in 2015 for this, because that heavy rainfall caused the woodland to explode in growth and suddenly a woodland that was some distance away from the garden was practically in the garden, seemingly overnight. I've been fighting a losing battle to keep the woodland out of the garden ever since then. In some future year, and not too far in the future, we should build a new raised bed garden closer to the house and further from the woodland, but I hate the thought of starting over. Even if we laboriously moved the current beds one wheelbarrow load of soil at a time so we don't lose all the great soil we've spent two decades building, which is what I'd prefer to do, I cannot image starting over in a completely new garden location. So, maybe we'll cut off the northern edge of the garden and let the woods have that back, and try to keep a much smaller garden going in the remaining raised beds in sunnier areas. Already, the front garden is only about 1/4 the size it once was, so I don't feel like we can surrender much more to the encroaching woodland. The woodland growth is so relentless though that it will win in the end. I keep daydreaming about a very selective tornado coming through, missing the house and garden, and taking out the acre of woodland next to the garden, but that is a silly pipedream that's never going to happen.

    Enjoy the showers and the lead-up to the wedding, and I hope your son returns from Portland healthy and happy. I understand why you aren't happy about him going there. That place is such a hot spot of activity lately. My sister is looking at yet another wedding I guess. Her stepdaughter got married in a beautiful vineyard wedding last month, and then on Friday night, her daughter became engaged to her long-time boyfriend. Love is in the air...apparently.

    Oh Jen, your poor friend and his fingers! My heart aches when I think of the pain and shock he must have endured. I wish him speedy healing and successful rehabilitation. A part of me agrees with Cliff, but I also agree with you. If woodworking is so vitally important to your friend, the kids won't even be able to make him give it up...nor should they. Perhaps they can help him review his work and ensure safety measures are in place. It often is when folks here have to give up farming or ranching that they quickly decline and then die. I believe being able to maintain their interests, livelihood and regular routines are what keep them going as they age into their 80s and 90s. Fred used to say we'd never see him give up his activities because the alternative was to just sit on the porch until you die. He had to cut back on his farming, ranching and gardening in his 90s, but his nephew and son did a great deal of it for him and around him and kept him mentally engaged in the process long after he no longer could physically engage in much of anything.

    Farmgardener, Thanks for understanding so well. Our friend mentored literally hundreds if not thousands of younger firefighters over the decades, and it was the most wonderful thing to see so many of them come here for his services and to comfort the family. Some people kept looking at all the fire apparatus and firefighters from a widespread area of Texas and scratching their heads and wondering what they were doing here in this tiny Oklahoma community, but those of us who knew how much he meant to those he mentored and taught understood exactly why all those folks came both from near and far. It now is the responsibility of all those younger firefighters to teach and mentor just like Chris Kirk and Jesse Kirk did for so many decades. No one ever thought we'd lose them both just 13 or 14 months apart, but if there is any comfort in this whole thing, it is that Chris is reunited with his father and mother in Heaven. We do have many accomplished firefighters and emergency management people here in our county who are extremely dedicated to continuing the work that he and his dad performed for decades, training and mentoring younger, newer firefighters and working to maintain unity between all departments and all personnel. That is their legacy that lives on behind them.

    There are so many virus cases here now that it is getting scary. Our daughter in law said this week that her hospital has 8 Covid patients currently, which is a lot for such a small hospital, and she is somewhat concerned by the rising number of patients. Down here along the river, we kept caseloads and hospitalizations low for months and were so pleased with that, but all that ended a couple of months ago and it has been increasingly bad ever since then. Since the virus spreads asymptomatically, literally any person with whom we interact could be carrying it, and that is what is of great concern. We always wear masks out in public, but I hate wearing one because it makes me feel so claustrophobic, so even if we go to the store, I rush through the experience and just hurry to get what we need and get out of the store so I can take off that mask. Leisurely shopping is a thing of the past. (Tim should enjoy this because the less time I spend shopping, the less money I spend. lol.)

    Friday night, Aurora said she really wants to go to Red Lobster (we took the girls there earlier in the summer before the virus case load began rising so much again) and eat crab whenever we can safely do to. It cracked me up, as she was munching on chicken strips at Cracker Barrel at the time, and crab seems like a rather exotic thing for a 6 year old to be craving. As far as I know, she hasn't eaten crab except for a bite or two that Tim gave her from his plate the last time we were at Red Lobster, but she must have liked it. She also gravely informed her she'd never eat shrimp because she is allergic to it (but we aren't sure she actually is allergic). Maybe one day we can take her to Red Lobster again once it seems safe to do so.

    Amy, I hope Ron is okay and is not still reacting to the flu shot.


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