Thursday, July 2, 2015

More Animal Tales - Talking Turkey

The universe seems to be conspiring to force the ridiculous upon my battered intellect today. (Words in bold are for Words for Wednesday - yes I realise I'm running a bit behind - held by River at Drifting through life this month. Originally begun by Delores, who is leaving the blogosphere, it has been carried on by Elephant's Child. River has taken over for the month of July, and I will be doing August.)

Assessing the ridiculosity includes this addition to my collection: The dimes have returned, and a quarter has been added! Some of you may recall this tale of the mouse in the bucket and the trail of dimes...If You Give A Mouse A Bucket. Earlier this week I found a shiny, new dime sitting in the centre of the cushion I sit on whilst at the computer, and last night I found one on the floor by my foot... at the dining table. Tonight a shiny quarter was perfectly balanced on the very edge of my chair at the dining table. Hmmmm. Believe me, my eyes widened more than a bit when I spotted the quarter; had I been thinking with some clarity I'd have snapped a shot of it!

Thanks to a lovely blog-friend, I've been reminded of a wild turkey story to add to my collection of Animal Tales; the credit goes to the lovely Buttons, of Buttons Thoughts.

Back in the mid '80's I drove a car very like this little red Chevette:

It was a standard (manual) transmission, and quite fun to drive... quite a good looking car of it's type. I was driving back to the lab with samples, after a day on the job, and was hoping to get the samples read and stored in a timely manner so I could get home to my dinner. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only creature on the road that day who felt the little Chevette was quite an attractive specimen...

No, along came a fine male example of the wild turkey species. He looked rather like this,

pacing along the side of the road, giving my wee car 'the eye'. Apparently impressed, and wishing to be impressive in turn, he quickly blew up...

Amused but pressed for time, I shifted gears and began to slooowly roll forward but lover boy wasn't having any of that... no, he jumped in front of the car before you could say 'jackrabbit'. I slowed. He displayed. I stopped. He began strutting around the car, emoting noisily and rubbing his head against the windows and mirrors. Cautiously, I began creeping forward again, whereupon Tom Turkey rushed to the front of the car and began displaying again. Sheesh!

This do-si-do continued for another 20 minutes, and in the days before digital cameras and mobile phones there was no way to either call for help or gather evidence. Talk about frustrating! The little booger didn't even drop a feather to help me prove my tale!

What finally broke the impasse between this erstwhile Romeo and I? An old pick-up came rattling up Leatherwood that alone didn't frighten off big Tom, nope, he displayed at it for all he was worth... but the braying horn and squealing brakes finally did the trick. I, seeing my opportunity, left Romeo to eat my dust!

When I finally made it home, supper was a bit crustier than was palatable so I had to settle for a tv dinner. Turkey, of course.

Good thing: It's been a read-a-thon of late. Re-reading the Hunger Game series, as well as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe  by Fannie Flagg, The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, and dipping into Arguably, a book of essays by Christopher Hitchens.

And now for a little Loverboy - Turn Me Loose. Just seems to fit, lol.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


This older building, which had been poorly 'modernised' then badly neglected, is in the midst of a renovation which is much more appropriate for it's original look:

The top seems to be mostly finished, but the lower floor still needs work - mostly on the lovely Art Deco windows, which have several cracked or missing panes. More photos when it's finished!

Right now I'm trying to re-focus on the many positives in my life, so am starting up my 'Good Thing' blurbs again and will continue them as long as necessary. It's an excellent tool for shifting one's focus from the negative to the positive; you're welcome to join in!

Good thing: Hearing a voice on the phone this weekend; one we haven't heard for far too long, and which has changed from a boy's to a man's. I admit it, I cried.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Selections #230

Originally begun by Kim of Frog Ponds Rock, this weekly meme is now continued by River at Drifting Through Life. The rules are simple, and as follows:

1. Post photos of your choice, old or new, under the title 'Sunday Selections'.
2. Link back to River somewhere in the post.
3. Leave a comment for River, so she knows you've joined in and can come over and see what you've posted.
4. Hop over to Elephant's Child to see what she's posted. (Andrew, who often joins in, is on holiday in North America just now.)

Today my theme is: On The Road, these are random photos taken a few weeks ago on our way to visit Mansfield. Some are a bit shaky, do forgive me. (All photos my own unless otherwise specified. Want to see a bigger version? Click on the photos to 'make it so'!)

Heading off into the long light of early evening.

A few clouds to keep us company.

This charming old farmhouse is very well-kept, just ignore the rearview mirror.

Love this beautifully restored barn, with it's fancy light.

In the town of Rockville, county seat of Parke County, the Ritz movie theatre is where you go on a Saturday night - just as it was in my grandmother's day.

The Parke county courthouse (in the process of being restored)- where my grandmother and grandfather were married. She in a new dress in 'Alice' (Roosevelt) blue; coincidentally, Granny went by Alice. To learn more about Alice blue, go Here.

Federal style home in Rockville.

An extensive group of farm buildings.

Sweet little country church.

Since this song seems appropriate...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Crazy Container Lady #2 - Choosing Containers

But first: the kidling and I had a wonderful time and lovely dinner on her birthday; along with her main gift, I got her a 'pet' Marimo. What is a marimo? This is a marimo:

It is a moss ball, well actually it's algae - it seems to be this generation's pet rock, lol.

Before we begin, let me just point out that I am not an expert or professional... lots of people know more than I do... but I have been container gardening to some extent for years, and I truly do love it. Would not, in fact, be able to garden in any other way because of health issues. If I can inspire you, or give you information that will help you with your own endeavours, I shall be delighted.

So, containers... 1. Pros:  I'll begin with ceramic (and terra cotta) containers, a perpetual favourite. They are extremely attractive; coming in a variety of shapes, colours, and sizes -

Jenn's wee container herb garden, with a variety of containers, including both ceramic and terra cotta.

The cons of ceramic, concrete and terra cotta containers: They can quickly become very spendy, especially as you get into the larger sizes. Cost alone could potentially limit the amount of gardening you're able to do. Terra cotta planters, in particular, can also wick water away from the soil; not something you want, especially in hot, dry weather. You also need to factor in the weight of the filled container, which can make it difficult to move your plants when/if needed. Further, ceramic, concrete, and terra cotta pots are vulnerable to cold temperatures, making them subject to cracking, flaking, and breaking - they are also one of the materials most likely to be accidentally chipped, cracked, or broken. Not, in my opinion, the best type of container unless you want a mostly decorative garden, and don't mind moving heavy pots in and out of the house/shed when the seasons change.

 Wee purple hot peppers, the plants are loaded

2. Plastic - the pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, available in a number of sizes, styles, and colours. A good way to get started, especially if you can find food-grade plastic containers... such as empty icing buckets from the local bakery.

The cons - If you are interested in organic gardening, plastic may not be your best option - although food grade plastic is better. Still, you are potentially exposing anyone who eats food grown in plastic containers to various chemicals, plasticizers, and so on. Plastic suffers from temperature fluctuations, just as ceramics and terra cotta do, and eventually becomes brittle after continual exposure to sunlight. And, let's face it, it's plastic, and looks it.

3. Resin - the pros: Comparable in price to plastic containers, available in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colours. Resin deals better with fluctuating temperatures than many materials, and may be left outside year round - easy on your wallet and your back. 

The cons: I have the same concerns about resin that I have about plastics, but this may not be a concern for you.

Our biggest sweet pepper thus far.

4. Wooden containers - The pros: Often attractive, a natural and renewable material, fairly reasonably priced, and widely available.

The cons: Good quality wooden planters, half barrels, etc... can be spendy. Cheap ones are often poorly made, and you're lucky to have them last more than a couple of seasons at best. Untreated wood, other than the more-expensive redwood, cypress, etc... often rot quickly, and may introduce unwelcome insect guests into your environment. You should never use treated wood in containers or raised beds where you plan to grow edibles; the chemicals used to treat wood are very toxic and DO leach into the soil where plant roots draw them into the plant. Wooden containers, especially when filled and wet, may be extremely heavy and hard to move. Some types of wood may not play well with all vegetables, thereby limiting what  you can grow in containers made from them. 

First ripening (cherry) tomato!

5. Metal containers - The pros: Okay, you guys are well aware of my fondness for galvanised containers, lol. Here's why: Often lightweight but sturdy they can last for 10, 20, even 30 years with a decent amount of care; making their already reasonable cost even more so, when spread out over their working life. Metal containers are recyclable when their working life is over, and if you avoid metals like copper and lead, they are non-toxic. Whilst it's possible that in, say, a desert climate, they could get too hot and the soil might pull away from the sides,  I have never had that occur... not even in our hottest (100+ F.) driest summers. Metal won't wick water away from the soil, and because it reflects light up into the plant from below, it actually promotes better fruit set and ripening.

The cons - Unless you purchase containers specifically made for growing, you'll have to drill your own drainage holes. I did so for all of mine, and if I can do it betcha you can too! Some people don't care for the look of galvanised, so you might get some complaints - then again, some people would kick if you hung 'em with a new rope, lol. Also, if you have your containers sitting on wood or concrete, there might be some staining beneath/around the containers. You can seal your wood or concrete to help prevent that.
Nope, I don't like my galvanised much at all.

Heavy storms were predicted for yesterday morning, and with the tomato and sweet pepper plants so heavily laden, I decided it behooved me to put in more stakes. Better safe than sorry!

The first -teeny tiny- cucumber of the season.

I found these raised beds while exploring the online...

Raised beds are our next step... after all, raised beds are just really big containers. It seems pretty costly at first look, but weighing that against the 20 year guarantee, and the fact that good galvanised can last 50 years or more, it's not really that bad in the long run. Next week: location, location, location!

Sad news: Oscar, the sparrow, didn't make it - he had been too long without food and water. We did our best, and at least he didn't die alone.

Better news: Mom will be moving back to Indiana once the house sells.

Songs of my life, this week's offering is a charming little folk tune I remember my mother singing when I was wee. The singer is no relation - that I'm aware of. (Thanks to Mildred for posting this on her blog!)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Birthday and a Great Scot Rescue

Take a bow kidling!

Today you are a quarter of a century old. Look out your window; the weather here today is much like the weather on the day you came into this world...

...and yet my day became unimaginably brighter, and has remained so.

How could it not, with that smile to brighten the days?

Keep on rollin' bebe, nothing can stop you!

Now for the rescue:

A small bird had been stuck beneath a machine where the Great Scot works, he and one of his workmates worked together to rescue the wee soul. It was covered in oil, grease, and 'glaur' - a good Scottish word for a mucky mess. So what's to do but bring it home and give it a bath, the first of many:


Now to research foods for a young sparrow, it's been three days since it's eaten, poor thing... and hope that we can keep it alive long enough for it to heal and fly free. By the by, for now I'll post when I feel I have something positive to share, and give myself time to reach a final decision.

For Jenn:


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Here, Kinda

Getting set to get back in the swing of things; I've missed your blogs. Not a lot of words right now other than Thank You. Thank you for holding my hand, metaphorically speaking. 

Pop's Obituary

I'm trying to decide whether to quit blogging altogether, to give myself a longer break, or to start fresh with another blog - there's just been so much negativity over the last few months, and there's already enough negative in the world; I don't need to add to it. Here, though, is a positive I can share with you: my beloved container garden. (All photos my own unless otherwise stated, click on them to embiggen... and click on plant names for a link to more information, etc...)

The Black Vernissage sauce tomatoes I direct-sowed (as an experiment) are coming along very nicely... the plants are sturdy and are reaching a nice height. I'm not worried about the tomatoes ripening before it frosts, because any fruit that has set will continue ripening after the plants are brought inside - thus extending the homegrown tomato season. 

The sweet pepper plants are loaded, the one on the left - partly hidden by leaves - is already around 5 inches long, and has another 2-4 inches to grow. The Napoleon sweet pepper is unusually long, and will be very colourful once it's fully ripe.

The cherry tomatoes are covered, and will need additional staking.

I used my second, taller, 'birdie' obelisk for the cucumber, which is busily climbing up and setting blooms. You can see some of them peeking from beneath the leaves.

My Black Krim tomatoes are growing well, although only four fruits have set thus far. I'm hoping for more, but a few Black Krims are better than none.

Last but not least..........

My gorgeous, ruffledy, Rosso Sicilian tomatoes. First grown in this country by Ann Fuller of Mitchell, Indiana, in 1897 (per Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds) these prolific plants - I already have a dozen fruit set - have the sturdiest stems I've seen, easily twice as stocky as any of my other tomatoes. It's had over a hundred years to adapt to the area's growing conditions, and it shows! Because the seeds grow mostly in a ball in the centre of the fruit it's great for stuffing, and for making sauces and pastes. It's already proven itself to me, and we'll be growing it again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Not So Fearful

A consensus has been reached: Pop has had a stroke, yes, but also suffered a massive cardiac arrest. His responses, when tested, are minimal at best... and he only agreed to three days on the ventilator before all this happened. Today is the third day. He will be taken off the ventilator, and everything else, this afternoon. We will be starting down to Florida as soon as we can.

The kidling is upstairs, sleeping; I'll let her sleep a wee while longer.

Be not so fearful/Be not so pale/ Someone watches you/ You will not fail.

My sweetheart is still at work, but knows what is happening. I'll sit, quiet, for an hour or so... until things begin to stir and it's time to face the day.

There are family members who still need to be contacted, so I won't be putting any of this on Facebook until they have been.

Thank you, everyone, for your patience and support. I won't be online whilst we're gone but if anything needs to be said, the kidling will post it.

This seems appropriate for the day: