Checking In

This evening I wandered through a few blogs I used to follow, and found they are about as inactive as this one. Facebook’s influence.  How sad that we’ve all gone from humorous and informative compositions to reducto absurdio. Everything is reduced to a few lines with misspellings, poor grammar, and emoticons.  Sigh.

It’s been over two years since I last wrote, and a lot has changed. We’ve added to the grandchildren count, the beautiful woods in our backyard has died (all 200 or so mature ash trees), I’ve been re-elected again, for my fourth four year term… A lot has changed.

The big things are the same though. We are financially stable, our children (or their spouses) are all in the careers of their choice, everyone is healthy, the children are doing well in school, and I think we’re all relatively happy.  Life is good.  Praise the Lord and pray for more of the same.



The Bunnies Have Friends. Big Friends

Maybe putting hot sauce on the green beans made the bunnies mad.  Looks like they’ve gone out and found some muscle in their fight against the humans in the garden.

Half-eaten tomatoes and big bites out of cucumbers aren’t the work of rabbits; then today Bud saw a big groundhog waddle out of the garden between the rows of tomato plants.  I think he was carrying a basket of tomatoes and cucumbers with him.

I went down and picked what was ripe (why doesn’t anything but bugs ever bother the zucchini? –  I could afford to lose a few of those).  I finally got my first ripe tomato of the year.  Not the first one of the garden mind you, just the first one the critters left for me.

Look on the bright side.  Rachael came home from vacation and found a dead skunk in her garden.

Tabascoing the Bunnies

I love to garden.  And I love to watch the bunnies frolicking in my yard.  However, I DO NOT love to watch the bunnies frolicking through my garden, eating the green beans.

I took care of the problem, but have to admit to feeling a bit sorry for the little bunny seen from the kitchen window by my better half this morning.  Glad I was at church and missed it.

To back up, I went into the garden Saturday evening and found more bean plants chewed off to nubs.  I don’t mind losing a few, but this has gotten serious.  The plants are starting to flower, there are little beans on them, and they are disappearing rapidly (the plants, not just the little beans).  So I went into the house, filled a spray bottle with water, added about half a teaspoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce, and sprayed the plants liberally.  (Yes, it’s not Tabasco like it says in the title, but “Louisiana Hot Saucing the Bunnies” made it sound like I was cooking them up for dinner.)

This morning Bud watched a little bunny hop across the yard into the garden, and shortly thereafter watched it shoot out the back of the garden jumping into the air, doing back flips, and in general acting like it was berserk.

Poor bunny.  But he’ll recover, and when he does I’ll bet he leaves my beans alone.

No actual bunnies were poisoned, trapped, killed, or in any other way permanently injured by this method.  It works equally well with groundhogs, deer and other large herbivores.  CAUTION:  Do not use close to harvest time, and wash produce well before consuming.

Raspberry Fields Forever

Okay, so raspberries grow on bushes, not in fields.  But the five little starts I planted two years ago (really six starts, but one died almost immediately) have multiplied till it seems they are going on forever into my garden.  I’m giving a bunch of starts away Friday – third time so far this year, not to mention all those I have pulled up and tossed.

I’ve been picking red raspberries for a couple weeks now, and just today determined the bounty is about over for the season.  Or at least until this fall, when the second harvest comes on.  I have made batches of raspberry jam, raspberry pie, and sauce for ice cream.  I have given raspberries to Katie for jam, even though her 6-year old informed me they have lots of jam in food storage already.

Ah, but not raspberry jam, I said.  He was helping me eat  pick berries as we were talking, and he ruminated on the possibility of raspberry jam before pronouncing it probably better than all others.

That was this evening’s activity.  This morning was taken up by a three hour mandatory state training on the Sunshine Law – both Open Records Act AND Public Meetings Law.  Am I lucky or what?  Fortunately this training is only required once every four years.  Last time it was given the presenter made it so basic it was insulting to the intelligence, but this time?  This time it was given by an attorney, for attorneys.  You could even get continuing education units by putting down your attorney number, if you had one.  Of course I don’t, and neither did the other people in the room.  That didn’t stop him from giving it as if he were speaking to attorneys though.

I believe that law is keeping many attorneys living in well-above-average housing stock and driving luxury cars, based on how many times he said “be sure to seek legal counsel.”

This afternoon found me at a three hour drug task force meeting, complete with representatives from our federal congressman’s office and our state attorney general’s office.  Looks like prescription drugs are a huge problem across the state/country, and our community is not exempt.

A little time on church work late in the evening and the day was complete.  At least it ended on a good note.  Now for tomorrow.  One day at a time gets it done.

See Those Beehives Back There? They May Be An Endangered Species

One of my hives swarmed Sunday.  I don’t know if was the “nice” bees from the hive on the left, or the “mean” bees from the hive on the right (only one shows on this page anyway), because there is still one heck of a lot of bee activity in both of those hives.  As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we could float an ark back there right now, so I haven’t been back there to put supers on for honey storage like I should have been.  Something about mud and mire and duck poop and all that.  Anyway, the bees felt too crowded and swarmed, which means they made a new queen and half the bees stayed at home while the other half followed the old queen in search of a new home.

If you’ve ever been around swarming bees,you know they are so totally docile you can scoop them up by the handful and they don’t care.  They just hang out in a knot on a branch somewhere like they’re on drugs and wait for the scout bees to tell them where there’s a nice condo for lease close by.  Or something like that.  Anyway, these bees apparently swarmed about the time we came home from church, and the grandkids next door spotted them in the grey dogwood tree by the driveway and got all excited.  As did their mother, who was shouting and gesticulating wildly from her deck as I was futilely trying to get a few tomato plants in the ground before the next deluge fell upon us.  Futile.  Absolutely futile.  If we had to depend on my garden this year I would be buying clothes six sizes smaller for winter.

Long story short, after asking Sean if he would help me get the swarming bees in a hive, and being met with the best deer-in-the-headlights look I’ve seen in awhile, he and Bud did in fact whomp them into a hive.  While I took pictures.  Which were with Katie’s camera, so I don’t even have any to post.  Me, the one person who has actually handled swarming bees before, becomes the photographer.  But they did a fabulous job, so I’m not complaining.  Then the rains came down and we left the hive there between our houses, close to where the kids often play, and went in for the night.  And didn’t move them in the morning (bad, bad).  If you know bees, you know that means they came out in the bright morning sun, flew around to set their GPS bearings to their new home site, and flew off to get busy. 

That evening after they were all in for the night we did move them down back, in front of the two hives that were already there.  And the morning came and they flew out and got busy, but many of them forget to reset their little GPS’s.  So they flew back to the tree by where the kids play, and there was much unhappiness among the land next door.  And I said, “What the heck am I supposed to do?  Give them engraved invitations?  Put leashes on them?  Walk them home each time they come back?”

So the evening of the third day came upon us, and the errant bees had again formed a swarm in the grey dogwood tree by the driveway, and I wondered if perhaps they would still be docile due to their not having a home or a queen to protect.  So I took a bucket and whomped the branch into the bucket and the bees WERE VERY ANGRY!!!  (Did I mention I hadn’t bothered to put on long sleeves, or gloves, or even a bee veil?)  Long story short, I got stung on the arm and the lip, and several minutes later my husband got stung on the arm while pulling a few weeds close by (really??  he never does that and perhaps should go back to his previous schedule after what happened this time).

And that, dear friends, is how I ended up spending most of last night in the hospital emergency room while my husband was being treated for angioedema.  I always thought if your body, face, mouth, tongue, and throat swelled dramatically that was an anaphylactic reaction, but no, they tell me that’s angioedema.  You also need a drop in blood pressure and adrenal collapse to be full blown anaphylactic.  They’re right next door to each other though, and last night portends that next time we better be prepared. 

We now have an epi pen in the house.  And those bees back there?  He says we can keep them, but I’m thinking I would rather keep him.

I Could Float An Ark In My Back Yard

I haven’t blogged since February.  Really??  February????

Guess I need to get better organized.  But then, I’ve been really busy.  Really, really busy.  And last month I got even busier, what with the new calling at church and all.  I’m not complaining mind you, just trying to justify my neglect of things.

Before I continue, look at the beautiful green grass behind my garden in the background photo.  Doesn’t that look nice?  I really, really would like to plant my garden for this year, but a lot of that grass you see back there is currently under water, and there is about a half-acre pond in our woods (“our” meaning ours and Katie’s).  We’ll be buying grass seed in bulk when it finally dries up.  It’s really very pretty with the ducks paddling around, especially with the sun filtering through late in the afternoon.  As soon as we get a few hot days it will begin to stink and start breeding mosquitoes though, so I’m not getting attached to it.  Voice of experience here – it’s happened twice before in the 28 years we’ve lived here.

The garden is above the water table and Bud tilled and enlarged it for me today, bless his heart, but it’s all clumps of mud.  Nothing is dry enough to work.  There’s a possiblity of rain in the forecast every day this week too, so my little pepper, tomato, cabbage, and tomatillo plants will have to wait to get their feet in the ground.  And seeds would rot in this cool, soggy soil.  It’s way past time to plant the spring garden – sigh.

So instead of planting today I did some canning.  I just took 16 pints of chicken out of the canner, and will add it to the 12 jars of strawberry jam I made last week.  There is something so very rewarding about putting your own food up.  Between the gift card for the local nursery from Elaine and the one for Amazon from Lolly (there are men involved here too, but I know who does the shopping), I am set for the season.  The Amazon card went toward three more books on food storage and backyard self sufficiency, and the other card bought the veggie plants.

Anyone else putting in a garden this year?  If so, may you enjoy it as much as I do.

Secret Two Week Report

I said ask me in two weeks if the Secretropin is making a difference.  It has been two weeks.

All I can say is WOW!

I haven’t felt this good in a lot of years.  Energy, endurance, mood, strength – you name it and it is improved.  I spent almost half an hour on the treadmill at the fire station yesterday, talking to a friend while she was on the elliptical machine.  I was doing an uphill 18 minute mile, repeatedly bumping it up because I was having trouble getting my heart rate up to the target range, while carrying on a conversation almost the entire time!  (Okay, you young people who run on treadmills, don’t mock me for going so slow.)  I could not have done this a few weeks ago – I could have walked the treadmill, but not carried on a conversation without getting out of breath.

The Secretropin definitely gets two thumbs up from me.  It is supposed to increase energy and endurance, and it is. It is supposed to turn fat into lean muscle, and it is doing that too (how much is DHEA and how much is this I don’t know, but the rate of improvement changed A LOT once I got on the Secretroptin).  Here’s hoping it’s doing all the other things it’s supposed to do, too.  You can get info on what it does and how it does it  at these websites.  Or if you’re like me and like to dig deeper into medical studies there’s this one.  I have searched for info on negative side effects and there appear to be none.

This whole supplement regimen is making a dramatic difference.  I can’t help but wonder why I was so very deficient in so many areas to begin with though – for my age the average human growth hormone reading is 100-150 and mine was 41.  The doctor says ideally it should be 300-500 for optimal health throughout your entire life.  So, no wonder something that makes my body produce more growth hormone would make me feel better.

I had kicked around the idea of going to a wellness doctor for several years before I finally did it – skeptical whether it would really make a difference or would just be a placebo effect.  Now I have no doubts and wish I had done this a looong time ago.