Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #169

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Welcome to our Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Deb is up to here eyeballs in gorgeous flowers!  You must head over to see her beautiful arrangements and for ideas on DIY Flower Arranging!

I am going to be canning this weekend! I am very excited about that. It is the first of the season. It has been hot here and we have hundreds of tomatoes just screaming to be used. It seems that while we were gone they just took off.  A few are struggling, but most are very happy! Our beans are climbing, our squash is out of control (in a good way) and we have a lot of green action.

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Last week’s share from The Red Feedsack, had a yummy looking salsa recipe for canning.  I am suspecting that some of my tomatoes will end up in that! And she uses yellow pear tomatoes also, which I love and we have thousands of them.  Those little critters really go at it!

Salsa from The Red Feedsack

What are you up to? Wrapping up your garden and canning? Starting a fall garden? Just beginning to reap your harvest? Flower arranging like Deb? Or maybe you have some fun happenings in your kitchen or barn. Whatever you are up to we invite you to share!

Have a happy Labor Day weekend in your neck of the woods!

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 168

Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!  I am a wee bit late this week!  Travels for me and computer glitches for Deb delayed us but our farmgirl spirit never wavered, just curves in life kept us from blogging.  Deb’s flowers are so gorgeous; be sure to hop over to see her bloomin’ colors!

I have been in heaven this week as we are visiting the grandbabies.  Mimi and Papa are having an awesome time with Arlo-he is smiling, cooing and loves playing peek a boo- we played for an hour on Friday night while we babysat! Heaven is definitely spending time with your grandbaby!

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Seeing Laura and Adam settling into being a mommy and daddy is shear joy. Another bonus of our trip was celebrating Laura’s birthday last night with a great meal and of course Arlo. AND today we are heading further south to visit our youngest!  We are actually in the car as I am writing this blog–the ease of technology when it is working right!

BUT Arlo is not the only grandbaby getting attention.  We have several puppies that are “grand doggies” and we are doggy sitting for daughter Rachael and hubby while they are on an awesome vacation in Oregon. This is Lilly, representing all three pups that we are enjoying as well.

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In my blogging absence, I have still been reading your updates on FB and blogs.  We hope you join in the blog hop this weekend and during the upcoming week and share what you are up to.  I will be traveling back home next week and will get back into “normal” (whatever that means!).

So, join in and visit Deb too and say hi! Have a wonderful weekend and week!

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You don’t have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters

 This is a blog hop!

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #167

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Our blog hop took a little break — Deb was at the beach and I unplugged from my laptop ALL DAY LONG to play in the veggie gardens. That was the best day ever being out there with all the green babies all day.

I am amazed at how cool and comfortable it has been this summer.  It is August 8th and the mornings and evenings feel like fall.  I have pulled out some long sleeves to start and end the days and have open windows more than I ever have in the summer.

A challenge though is all those green tomatoes!  Tomatoes like it hot to turn red and while my 50 something body loves the cooler temps, my young green babies would prefer it warmer.  With that in mind, I am hoping for some hot days to come! Look at all that green!

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But over at Deb’s it is colorful!  She shares some beauties with us over at  Dandelion House! Be sure to visit!

We are READY to blog hop and see what ya’ll are up to. Let’s get it going!

What’s blooming your way???

Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends! We are so glad you are here!
You don’t have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters

 

 

Ms. Tupelo

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From practically the first day that we moved here and ESPECIALLY once I started gardening, I have longed for a vehicle to assist me. I love our Kubota, but hooking up a little trailer and loading it up each time to garden is a time sucker frankly! And if hubby is bush hogging, I can’t use the Kubota. If I am cutting grass and hubby wants to haul something he cannot. Once we got bees and started adding boxes, hauling out gallons of water and sugar bags along with smokers and gear, we agreed that sooner rather than later was the answer!

While I was out of town enjoying our new grandbaby, hubby found a Kubota Diesel RTV on eBay of all things.  It was from a dealer that has great ratings on eBay and he is in the tractor biz and has a couple stores dealing in them.  After placing a pretty low bid and email communications with the owner, hubby felt like this was a great deal for us. Our bid was low though and we had a couple of days to wait and frankly with my obsession with the grand baby, I forgot about it.

The hour came and we won the bid! So exciting! I could not wait to see this wonderful orange vehicle. “Where do we pick it up and when?” was my question. And that was the challenge. It was in southern Georgia.  Now you might recall that grandbaby was born outside of Atlanta, so unless you are familiar with Georgia, you might think that is perfect! But the location of our new family member and our new equipment were 6 hours apart from one another. :-)

It was too good to not figure out though, so instead of flying home as planned, hubby drove down to Atlanta. ( I am lucky that I was to fly SW Airlines, because I have a full refund to use on another flight.) He arrived on Saturday and Sunday we headed down to pick up a trailer to haul her and our new orange buddy. We arrived late on Sunday and the guy was so nice; he met us late and we finalized everything.  An added bonus was the fact that he used to work for UHaul and hooked our new RTV up for us on our rented car trailer.

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As we drove to our hotel for the night, I shared with hubby that I wanted to name her. I did not want to just call her the Kubota (already taken) or the RTV or the little car or the whatever. She and I were going to spend a lot of time together and I felt names were more appropriate for our budding relationship.

We were in southern, hot, humid Georgia where Tupelo grows readily. We were headed to Asheville for an overnight where Tupelo Honey is a great restaurant. We had just gotten our bees so honey is on our brain and hearts. So it seemed like a natural fit for our new orange friend to be called Ms. Tupelo.

It fits her great as she is sweet, sweet, sweet. She is a work horse just like a little bee and Ms. Tupelo has such a nice, polite feel to it that it seems a great fit around the flowers and veggies.

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I got letters last week at TSC and made if official. Isn’t this great?

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So do you name your equipment? I cannot be the only one here. Confessions please. :-)

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

 

 

 

Just Nice Folks

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We had an experience that no one wants- a broken down truck in the middle of no where, in the pouring down rain, early in the morning before church.  What started as a panicked “what are we going to do?” turned into a testament to the niceness of people.

After sitting with the truck for several minutes, it was obvious it wasn’t going to start. AND we did not have a clue what was wrong with it; after all we had just had it serviced from hood to tail.

We decided to call AAA.  We have a membership and towing is free within 3 miles. That’s all well and good, but in small towns nothing is open on Sunday. When asked “where are we towing you to?” we answered “we have no idea.” We hoped that in the 90 minute wait we could find a place open on a Sunday. Our church is 60 minutes from us, so towing us home was not really an option–that would be one expensive tow!

We are pretty new here and we don’t know many folks yet at church, but hubby had been to a men’s retreat and met some nice men, so he hunted in his cell phone for a number to call.  He came upon one and called their home. It was early and his wife answered. Hubby explained our predicament and our objective. We didn’t need them to come and get us or anything but we wondered if ANYTHING was open that we could tow our car into for a look.

She was the first highlight and testament to niceness.  She hung up and started hunting. She called and called around to places she knew of.  How nice is that? Unfortunately no one was.

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We thanked her sincerely for her time and trying and looked at each other. Hummmm…what’s plan b?

About that time our tow came.  Big ol’ dude came walking up to the car in the rain and said “what’s up and where are you getting towed to?” We must have looked like we just fell off the turnip truck as we said “we don’t know and we don’t know.”

He took pity on us and said “try to start your car.”. Hubby did and he said “you got air in a line, open the hood.” We did as instructed and he pushed on something and air released. Truck still a no go however. He said “you need starter fluid; you got some?”. To which we answered, “no you don’t use that on a diesel.” He grinned and said “oh yeah you can.” I’ll go up the road to the gas station and find you some.”

Wow, OK! We will wait here… (where would we go?) We had hope.

But when he returned, he couldn’t find anything open either. He said “let’s go to Walmart-get in the tow truck.” We hopped in, he connected up our truck for the tow and off the three of us went to Walmart to buy the starter fluid. We were still concerned about using it on a diesel, but we had to put our trust in him. We had nothing else at the moment!

The dude let off our truck, waited around while we made the purchase and then used it himself on our truck to get it going! WOW again.  And the charge was “zero.” He had towed us within the three miles, and wasn’t going to charge us for us other efforts.  We gave him a nice tip and told him to go get a good breakfast somewhere. We did the same and then went to late church mass.  We found ourselves in disbelief over our misfortune in the early hours but our fortune in such nice folks.

I know there are nice people everywhere, but it seems to me that in a small town you just run into it more. There is more of a “help your neighbor” feel. Like the man that stopped by our house one day to help get our tractor out of a ditch. Or another time when our tractor was stuck up to it’s belly in mud and a farmer down the way brought by heavy tow straps for us to use and said he’d pick them up on another day when he drove by.  We did not know any of these folks, but they saw a need and stopped to lend a hand.

I love it here in small town USA. I love all the niceties that I encounter in seemingly hopeless situations. How about you? What’s something that someone, you did not know, did you for you lately? How did it make you feel?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

Musings: Identifying Passions

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Many of us “love” many things. We love this, we love that–sometimes we overuse that “L” word don’t you think?  I really like a lot of things, but LOVE is strong.  It is the for better for worse stuff right? It is loving this thing when all is well  but also loving it when it is not.

I spent the day in my veggie gardens on Friday.  I had taken a day off of the “day job” and asked myself what do I really want to do… my answer was quickly “play in the yard.” As I was out there for 7 hours all by myself (with an occasional visit from hubby and Jasmine) it gave lots of time for thinking and pondering and yes, musing.

I am in school studying Organic Agriculture. I have many ideas from supplying a CSA, to renting garden plots for community folks, to teaching organic gardening, to teaching growing your own food to lower income, single moms, to hosting farm to table dinners and on and on and on.

As I was outside on Friday, I wondered to myself if I could spend all day, everyday outside, growing things, helping others grow things, being dependent upon the weather, sweating, getting totally dirty, and yes, being by myself for much of my day.

I think that answering that when you are picking the red ripe tomato, cutting bloomed flowers, smelling strawberries as you put them in your basket is pretty easy.  Yes, I could do that everyday. I also feel like the days that I am planting is an easy yes. I love a freshly planted garden and the following days that you are waiting for the little guys to start popping through the soil. When the work is “glamorous” it is easy to say “yes” isn’t it?

But Friday was a great day for me to pose this question to myself.  Friday, for 7 hours, I weeded a 43 ft x 33 ft garden, raked mowed grass into a wheelbarrow (a bunch of times) and then filled the 80+ tomato cages with the grass to mulch the tomatoes. There was no planting, no picking.  It was what I would call “grunt” work.

Midday when I pondered over my question of if I could do this everyday, it was a resounding yes! I don’t need glamour to love my gardens. All my green babies don’t have to be magazine perfect (they are not). I love the grunt work of gardening as much as the glamour. That tells me, with a resounding “yes” that my gardens are a passion. I love them in glamour and grunt. I love them in seeing the fruits of my labor and the days that I really don’t see it immediately.

How about you? How do you know what your passion is? What do you love the GRUNT work in? Identify that and you will be on the road to knowing what your passion is.

Happy Unleashing your Passion!

FGU

 

Playing in the Dirt!

sprinkler garden 3There are few things I love more than a freshly tilled and planted garden.  I know it is exciting and oh so pretty when stuff starts coming up, but that moment I look at a newly planted area gives me a thrill. I love the smell, the look, the crud under my fingernails and the sweat I feel dripping down my back which all says in chorus “Good Job!”

Over the last few days we have planted two new beds.  One is actually a combo of Garden 2 and Garden 5 from last year.  We put them together to make one biggie plot-43 ft x26 ft. Hubby tilled it up with our Kubota and then we marked off rows and we planted using my handy dandy Earthway Seeder. We planted a variety of beans, peas, beets, cucumbers and flowers. I know you can’t see anything yet, but isn’t it pretty??

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A little butterfly enjoyed hovering over it while I was finishing up.

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The second one was more challenging. We had a mini hill that was nothing but hard dirt, glass, trash, weeds and more.  Mostly stuff we didn’t want. Hubby took to it with a hand held hoe, our rototiller and a bunch of man power and got it to the point of workable soil.

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Since it is a hill (not real noticeable here, but it is elevated) we decided to put potatoes in here.  I know potatoes are risky right now as it is July. BUT I had bought them and was out of town during much of May and most of June so they did not get planted.  It was either give them a shot now or toss them. We chose to let them see what they could do and we are optimistic they will return something to us for the opportunity. :-)

We added some eggplant in here as I understand that is a good companion for potatoes.  I sprinkled some bee friendly seeds in as well. I sprinkle a bit of those in all the gardens.

By noon yesterday we were watering our newly planted areas. Looking at them soaking in the water makes you feel so hopeful doesn’t it? I imagine the little seeds are happy to be in the soil, getting water and nutrients and are planning their grand entrance.

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I can’t wait until I see them popping up and I get to meet all of my new green babies. Are you still planting? What’s your favorite part?

Happy Unleashing in your garden!

FGU

Green Baby Nurturing–Feed and Prevent

tomato and weedsWe all know that our green babies need nutrition and a bit of help with the pests.  My first year of gardening (last year), I was surprised to learn of so many things that are good for the plants, but are still acceptable (and encouraged) in organic gardening.

I like to treat for pests once a week. I fell short last year on this one, so I am using my reminder program on my smart phone to harass me when I am due to do this weekly. It is not that I don’t enjoy doing it–I just loose track of when I last did it and when it is time to do it again.

A few favorites of mine have  become Neem Oil. I buy this in concentrate and mix it in my sprayer. I have found it to be really helpful on the pest control. Personally I like the smell of this when I spray it. I am not sure if I am odd that way or if you find it pleasant also.

I really love to make Red Pepper Garlic Spray also. I grow Habenero Peppers for this purpose. Google this and you will find lots of recipes!  Pick one that suits you. It is lovely as it makes your garden smell like salsa, but the insects (and some furry friends) don’t care for it at all.

I feed my plants weekly also. I rotate between fish emulsion (I buy Fertrell concentrate).  This stuff smells hideous, but the plants always look perky the day after they get a dose of this, so I tolerate the smell.  I also shower right after or I feel like I smell like a dead fish all day. :-)

The other on my rotation is Compost Tea. It is a fav for feeding my plants and I first heard of this last year.  I am mixing up a batch this morning in a Homer bucket to use later in the week.  It is easy and the plants LOVE it! Read directions on a post I did last year. It is easy and it satisfies my “momminess”, as I feel like I am cooking for my green babies.  I love doing this.

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What do you mix up for your plants?  What are some of your favorites? Do you have a favorite that you can’t imagine gardening without?

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #166 (and flowers!)

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Happy Farmgirl Friday!  What a great Friday it has been at Big Sky Acres this morning. First we fed our siding crew some yummy grub at 7 a.m. It was much appreciated, eaten up and we enjoyed the company at breakfast.

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Then I tossed aside the apron for my jeans, boots and cowgirl hat to head to the garden at 8 a.m. That too is a real treat! It was cool and damp and just perfect.  Jasmine and I headed back and saw beautiful flowers on our trip up.

Look what is blooming so beautifully in my garden that I cleaned up a couple of weeks ago.

Hydrangeas were my sisters favorite flower, so I always have to have them. This spot is full sun so Limelight was the answer for us when we planted them last year.  So happy to see them blooming; they make me smile and think of my sister.

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And our hibiscus that we bought really late last year and “knew” it wouldn’t make it, is making a spectacular showing.

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Pops of other colors filled my eyes and I was just so happy to be out there. I was headed to the tomatoes, but had to pause and enjoy this for a short  bit.

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And my pictures would not be complete without adding something from my garden and this little Cinnamon basil was screaming for his picture to be taken.

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It seems we have flowers blooming all over on our Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!  Be sure to see what is blooming over at Deb’s of Dandelion House (our blog hop founder and hostess primo) too!

What is bloomin’ your way today in your yard or in your house?

Put down your roots and BLOOM!

 

Musings: Night Sounds

No pictures today, because this post is on sounds–night sounds specifically.  I remember years ago visiting my sister in NY city. She lived smack dab in the middle of the city and it is noisy there.  All night long I would hear sirens and I would get up and look out the window to see what was happening. The next morning when I shared all that I had seen, she said “oh I didn’t even hear them.”  I could not believe my ears!  Maybe she was going deaf, maybe she had some illness that knocked her into a coma like state when she slept.  I mean how could you not hear that!? She said she was “used to it.” For her it was just the sounds of the night.

Hummmm…I recall living near a train track years ago and at first the train whistle at 2 a.m. would wake me up and I would complain about it.  It did not take long though for me to “get used to it.” My mom and dad would visit and my mom would say “how can you sleep with that train going all night?” And I would say, I did not really hear it; I guess I was “used to it.”

I would go away and sleep elsewhere and I would miss it.  That had become the night sound that I could count on; it told me all was right with the world out there in the darkness.

Now we live on a State Road.  Our house is set way back, but we can see the traffic and hear the traffic when it passes. The road is a byway for cars, trucks, tractors, and motorcycles when the weather permits.  I love sitting on the porch watching them all pass by.  I imagine that they all envy me for living here in the openness of BSA. They probably don’t even notice me or the house, but in my imagination they do. :-)

Last night while sleeping, I turned over and as I was in that in between state, I heard a truck go by.  I realized I was snuggled down and smiling to that sound.  That sound tells me so much.  In the winter the lack of that sound all night tells me it is icy outside and impassible.  Last night in the quietness, that little hum of the passerby truck, told me all was well.  I love the hum that I hear while sleeping here.  It is my lullaby and eases me back to sleep when I turn over to fluff the pillow or pull up the blankets.  Some folks that visit think that is disturbing.  I just say that I don’t really notice it; I guess I am “used to it.”

What is your favorite night sound?

Happy Unleashing,

FGU