Saturday, May 27, 2017

I had plans

Last night as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to envelop me, I decided today would be the day we'd clean the filthy carpet in the living room and hall.  Cliff has been wanting to call somebody to come and do the job, but I think the worst part of cleaning a carpet is the preparation:  moving furniture, vacuuming thoroughly... it seems to me as though the actual cleaning wouldn't be such a huge problem, once all the prep was done.  This morning I woke determined to get it done.

Noticing the eastern sky lighting up a bit, I took my coffee out on the back deck and soaked in the peace surrounding me.  A tiny wren perched on the fence and sang a lively tune for me.  I heard frogs croaking in the distance and various birds awakening, and by the time full daylight came, I heard the occasional hummingbird buzz past.  

I finished my coffee and walked around the yard awhile, strolling to the garden.  I surveyed the tiny (to me) plot and decided on a small vacant area to plant a couple more hills of corn.  I fashioned two hills in the lower right-hand area of the garden.  By the way, a "hill" of corn doesn't have to be an actual hill, just a grouping of seeds.  But since I'm in the process of spreading straw over the entire garden, I though it would be easier to see where my corn is if I made actual hills.  You can see the earlier two hills of corn I planted before, with corn plants about six inches high.  Since I now had the hills made and watered, I went inside to get the seeds I had wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed in an open baggie for germination.

I went back to the deck, sat down, and surveyed the pasture where the calves are; that's when I noticed how healthy the sour dock plants were looking.  Cliff has mowed that pasture twice this year, but within a week after mowing, those dock plants raise their ugly heads as though nothing had dampened their enthusiasm for taking over the place.  Early this spring I decided to wage a war on those hateful plants.  I knew the whole four-acre area was too much for me to tackle, but I decided to simply fight the ones within twenty feet or so of the yard, all the way from east to west, so I wouldn't have to look at them first thing in the morning.  I went out with a shovel at various times and dug the plants in that area up.  Of course I didn't get the entire root on any of these pesky plants.  Those longest roots must go down a yard or more.  But I figure at least it set the plant back more than simply mowing.  

Those broad-leaf weeds are my enemy!

Look at all those nasty seeds.  

Well, I decided I'd better go dig up a few of those while I felt so frisky.  When I got that done, I went in the house to prepare about two quarts of strawberries for eating, since I wanted some ready to put on cereal when Cliff got up.  Plenty for cereal and plenty for dessert at lunch, I thought to myself.  But wait, we don't have any shortcake.  

I love store-bought shortcake, but the other day we didn't have any, so I made the home-made kind, which over a period of two days we devoured (with a little cream poured over them... I wonder why we can't lose weight?).  Cliff remarked that he preferred the home-made variety to those little golden shortcakes in the store.  

Well, I'll just make some shortcake again, I decided.  (Recipe HERE.)

Cliff got up, we had our cereal, and I told him about my original plan to clean the carpet.  Then I put on some boiled eggs to use in the potato salad I intend to make at some point today and took the trash out.  

That's when I realized I had used up my initial energy doing so many other things, I wasn't going to mess with carpets today.  I was tired already!  And I still have strawberries to pick.

And now you know why I hardly ever do any housework.  It just isn't at the top of my list of priorities.    

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How does my garden grow?

Well, I'm a pathetic gardener now.  I planted a short row of lettuce, and one of spinach, early in the season.  I went out to harvest a little of each one day, stopped and assessed my "want-to", and decided I didn't want to wash all those leaves of vegetables.  As soon as it was dry enough, I tilled both crops under.  Cliff enjoyed the radishes I planted, though.  

And then the strawberries started coming on.  My mother was very diligent in seeing that her strawberries were picked clean every two days.  Since her birthday was in the latter part of May, she used to get strawberry shortcake for her special day.  If they were late in a particular year and there weren't enough ripe for everybody, she got the first bowl.  This year I was so lazy, I stopped picking them for four days, so of course some were rotting.  I could hear my mom exclaiming, "Oh no!  Those pretty strawberries are going to waste!"

So I picked a few more.  Then after three days, figuring they'd rotted and stopped bearing, I checked them and realized I could salvage a lot of them.  That's how my strawberry picking has gone this year; I just don't care much about any of it.  

Today the kid helped me, and she's a great little picker.  Oh, she misses more than she picks, but she knows to throw away the bad ones (if they're too rotten she won't touch them, though).  

Because of those young Norway Spruce trees in the background, I'll probably relocate my garden next year lest the tree roots rob nutrients from the things growing in the garden.  

Here's what this years garden looks like:
Strawberry patch in the foreground.  I have two hills of corn; a short row of green beans, and I just planted more today; three young cabbage plants; and a dozen tomato plants.  I have no idea how I ended up with so many.  I only planned on half-a-dozen.  This happens to me every year with tomatoes.  I have six hills of potatoes planted, I believe.  I planted them mainly for the kid, since she loves to help dig potatoes.  I don't have plans to freeze or can anything except tomatoes this year... and a few of these strawberries, if I can force myself.  

I have gotten rid of a lot of canning jars, and I need to get rid of more.  But you can't even give them away most of the time.  The Amish folks at Jamesport will buy them, but I think you only get twenty-five cents per jar.  

I have more than I will ever use again.

Every time I look at my jar collection, I know I should get rid of at least half of them; but then I remember how I bought brand new jars when we could barely afford to buy them, and how happy I was to see my pretty jars sitting on shelves in the basement.  It's like selling my children!  So I'll just keep them and my kids can haul them to the ditch when I'm gone.  Can you say "hoarder"? 

I've been spending at least an hour outside every morning lately, watching and listening to the world wake up.  The hummingbirds seem to be the early risers of the bird world, so I sit on the porch and watch them fight over the nectar in the feeder before I come inside.

I love my mornings!  Honestly, that's the highlight of my day.  It just doesn't get any better than a morning in May in Missouri.

Let's not forget about my cats!
The whole gang at feeding time
the boys

The only "chores" I have these days?  Feeding the cats and the calves in the morning... okay, and keeping the hummingbirds fed.  I'm going to suspend giving the calves their sweet feed for awhile, though, since the pasture is so lush they really aren't interested in grain.

We won't have our little princess next week, so I'm going to be plotting something interesting to do.  Look out, Cliff!