Over the Fence Chat for June 1st - June 7th, 2003

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June 1st - 38*. Now just who had THAT bright idea?! I woke up early this morning, about 5 or so, and headed out the door to let little red dog outÖ.then headed right back in the door for a jacket. Light green cotton nightie + red plaid flannel insulated jacket does NOT = a fashion statement. And just why does the neighbor think he needs to head out fishing at 5am anyway?!? I guess it was payback for the underwear curse failing yesterday - I did a few loads of wash and no-one stopped by. I almost felt let down!

At least the temp is climbing; itís up to 43* now, so maybe Iíll get out of the sweatshirt by noon or so anyway - right in time to climb into my whites and head to work at the nursing home. Poor, poor Hubs!! I worked him to a frazzle yesterday afternoon, once I finally crawled out of bed; and then he got a look at my to-do list for todayÖ.I really think heíll be doing the happy dance as I head to town this afternoon!

I came home from work at the hospital yesterday morning and somehow managed to stay awake long enough to make a batch of waffle batter - and to chow down on a couple of them before I hit the bed. Then, I got up and had another one - ooooh, waffles, sliced strawberries, a little bit of heavy creamÖ.better go to Wally World and be finding me some bigger dresses, I reckon!! Jessie came out in the afternoon when she got off work and we went out and picked berries in my beds that are in the garden; ended up with 24 qts. She took 4 home with her, so I got to stem the other 20 last night - poor old Hubs pooped out on me after about 4 qts (well, he hadnít got to sleep all day, like I did!) but then did manage to crawl out of the recliner and put them into containers for me and tuck them into the fridge. Iíll get most of them put in the freezer today, I guess. Iíve already got 6 gallons in the freezer; and more freezer jam than we need, but I reckon I can find room for a few more. I need to pick some and take them to Mr. Moffat - heís the older gentleman who gave me the zinnia seeds last year, and dropped off some morel mushrooms for Pop this spring, since he knew Pop wasnít walking well. Some folks still have ďneighborĒ down pat!

After we cleaned out the berry beds, Jes and I picked some peas for her to take home as well. I need to get out there and pick some more before they get too old. I also need to lop off the broccoli that got away from me while I was working all those hours last week! And weed. And weed. And weed. Díya get the idea that the weeds got away from me too?! Today is a good day by the moon sign to destroy weeds, so maybe Iíll finally get on top of them!! Iíve finally given up on natural measures to control the broadleaf weeds under my clothesline and in my new perennial bed area, so if the wind is right, Iím going to turn Hubs loose with the Roundup today. I hate to use it, but even I have my limits! (they just get easier to find when Iím tired!) Iím going to give up and plant the plants that I got for the new perennial bed into the small bed just west of the porch tomorrow - where I usually put Hubís four oíclocks (and no, I DONíT know where Iím going to put the four oíclocks if I do that! Maybe at the east end of the stock tank? No, thatís where I was going to put the mint. Maybe in theÖ.) Iíll just keep on working on keeping the weeds out of the new area and deepening my mulch. I should have tons of things in the front perennial beds that will need divided next year, so I will just plan to plant the new garden then. I did have a stroke of genius and planted my Shasta daisies and my perennial bachelor button side by side, so they are fighting each other for space and leaving the rest of the plants alone! I am still sure that I will still have more than enough of them to divide next year.

I was reading back through the chat for last month and I donít know how I managed to not mention my new guinea fowl! Uncle Ivan went to a saleÖ.(those words strike fear into Hubís heart!)Öand came home with 21 baby guineas. We lost one, but the rest are hale and hearty. We put them in a dog crate in Hubís shop and came home to find them running all over the place - they looked too big to get out between the wires, but obviously they werenít! We managed to get them all corralled again, but we need to get them into bigger quarters for sure! All the stuff Iíve read says you need to keep them penned up where you want them to stay for at least 6 weeks, and then theyíll come back there to roost, instead of roosting in the trees or on the roof. They are bug eating machines, so I would like to have them closer to the garden, but Hubs (having heard one call) adamantly refuses to have them east of the house , since our bedroom is on the north east corner. So, I guess weíre going to move the three old hens that we have left into a new hutch (that Hubs is going to build) and clean out the old chicken house for the guineas. Hubs is getting pretty good at this carpentry thing; he built a really nice hutch for my banties last week; so we moved Bunís hutch down a bit and put the new banty hutch beside it. We moved the five older banties into it; but the seven new ones are still a bit too small to go in with them.

We still need to get two bean towers set up in the garden - we ran out of twine last week when we were setting them up, and then, when Hubs got the twine, we didnít have both of us home and awake at the same time to finish up. I still donít have my melons, cukes or pumpkins planted; but I need to wait until the corn comes up to figure out where to plant them. Uncle Ivan planted everything tractor planted - corn, beans, sunnys, bird plots - one day while I was sleeping, so I donít know where anything is. Thatís okay - I like surprises, especially when I know itís going to be a nice one!! I may have waited too long to get sweet potato sets; the nursery didnít have them in yet three different times when I went by to get them, and then I got busy and didnít get by there. I sure hope they have some left; I might leave for work early enough to stop by today. Tomorrow and Tuesday are good days to plant, so that will work out well. Iíll try to get those perennials and herbs and flower seeds and all the rest of the stuff thatís gone by the wayside planted on those days too!

We got some good news when we took Pop to the doc - his kidney function IS worse, but he isnít to the point where he needs dialysis. We said to heck with physical therapy - his left arm was still swollen; and contracting to the point that he was carrying it in front of him like he had it in a sling, in spite of the PT. Heís started going to a massage therapist instead. In three weeks, the swelling is gone from his arm and he is able to straighten it out almost completely, he is walking better, and he is able to keep mowing the yard when we thought he was going to have to give it up because of difficulty getting on and off the tractor, and also sitting so long. Pop had been so down because he felt that he hadnít been able to help around here lately (yeah, right; he just stemmed 16 qts of berries the other day, mowed the yard, swept the porch and swore to my boss that I wasnít home when he called looking for me for an extra shift!) so it is really perking him up to be able to do all these things again. Sherri, since youíre moving out to the country, maybe you ought to advertise your massage services to farmers, or stroke victims - we are really just SO impressed with the change in Popís abilities!

Well, Iíd better get my butt in gear and get out side and get started. You folks take care this week - and take time to sit and do something you enjoy, too! Me, Iíll be sniffing my roses, watching the hummingbirds, napping in the glider with Boo-Boo kitty and rolling around in the yard with the dogs. Might even flop down and watch the clouds go by for a while - altho that will probably end up with me rolling around in the yard with the dogs!! Maybe Iíd better drag the hammock out of the shed before I try that one! Take care...

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2003


Ah, Polly, now I know where you get your fortitude! Your Pop is amazing!

I too have been out in the garden all weekend. AND I was thinking a lot about you, Polly, while I was out there. I kept wondering how you get so much done. But then, I have wondered that since I *met* you!

I planted corn and beans. It's funny because I couldn't find any Golden Jubilee corn seed this year (probably because I waited until, oh, the very last minute and it was all out at all the local feed stores). However, I happened onto some G.J. *seedlings* at a local hardware store (and I had tried a few in 2001 and was happy with the results). Thus, I transplanted corn plants yesterday. I hope I get all the corn I planted! Crows better just stay away. Today I planted beans (Kentucky Wonder), plus set out brussels sprouts starts and zucchini. I have a ton of garlic, and lots of strawberries (just starting to ripen). Well, to me a ton is a few quarts of jam! My Bing and Van cherry trees look like they'll make some fruit this year (two years old). We are having a tent caterpillar season this year, though.

Mr. S. mowed half the pasture yesterday. The lambs are getting big. After losing the other lamb, the geese, and whatever else nasty has been going on, we now have a duck with a prolapsed vent. Mr. S. caught her, and I disinfected everything that was hanging out and gently stuffed everything back in. She's recovering in a cage on the bunkhouse porch (with gentlemen callers...drakes...stopping by to woo her). I hope she makes it.

Mom's 80th b.d. is this week. We're celebrating by going camping in our camper van (plus several tents). Mr. S. has determined that we need a new belt and alternator in the van....hope this all gets fixed by Thursday. Yikes.

At any rate, y'all have a good week!

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2003

Our computer started doing really weird things again. Tech support had me do something that wiped everything out of my system. (I asked him if it would too and he said no. Should know by now) My son is taking this opportunity to say we need a new computer. I figured I'm still good until the extended warrantee runs out in December. This computer really isn't bad, just a little slow. Lost all my pictures and jokes that a friend sends me. Have to admit that it downloads alot faster since it's clean. Told him we had to get rid of all the dead pictures and files but I didn't mean to do it that way.

I wanted to start my garden but between the rain and work, I haven't been able to. The weeds are growing real well. I figured I have to buy already started plants. Never found that dandelion seed. Shouldn't have used them all up last year. Didn't even get manure in it yet. Tuesday it's suppose to be nice. Maybe I'll get it all done.

I hate this time of year because I want to do everything at once. I really don't want to be in work because I keep thinking of all the work I need to do. I have some separating fencing to put up (and one to move off the neighbor's property) garden to put in, that back yard to finally landscape. The pool liner got a leak and we are trying to decide on replacing the liner (the bottom had settled lumpy)or fixing (we haven't been able to find a hole) AND that pond is still torn apart with only 1/2 the water in it.

We finished cutting the other half of the wall in the barn so it is all open now with 15 keyhole feeders. I thought I was being smart and locked some of the keyholes so the mom's can't get in. This would leave food for the babies to eat since the moms are pigs and will beat up the kids and eat their food. Unfortunately, the moms are just getting frustrated and won't let the kids near the feeders. I'll have to make a creep feeder instead. It's amazing how big the barn looks now. I know I have less room for hay and am thinking of making an extention on the barn now. Sure, sure, what else...

I started to weedwack in my backyard yesterday and noticed it started raining. I didn't stop because it wasn't raining hard...yet. As it was dripping down my face, I still kept thinking I'm almost done. I got it done anyway. Hey, the machine was nice and clean after I wiped it dry. Unfortunately, I let the horse out to graze and she really tore up any lawn I had. I knew better but...

How is everyone else?

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2003

My next week is the same as this week as was the same last week. Overtime big time. I'm plum tuckered out - I don't mind the extra money, but its already no more fun. The building we are really pushing to get out is starting to get under control. My boss let me know that he's glad I am working the extra time - new project in the works. O boy.

I don't know if you remember the old Countryside poster Hoot Gibson (Hoot), but he's doing well - still posting on Homesteading Today bulletin board. He e-mailed me a copy of an old standard diet (The Mayo Clinic Diet) that I will be going on pretty soon. It's pretty good for a carnivore like me. Breakfast is 1/2 grapefruit or unsweetened juice with 2 eggs, 2 bacon strips. Dinner is vegetable salad w/ any quantity of meat. Supper is much the same. Nighttime snack of tomato juice or skim milk.

My wife went on it yesterday - said she was never hungry, but her energy level is pretty low. She's a trooper though - she plans on sticking to it.

Thats my immediate future.

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2003

Polly I'm glad that massage has worked so well for Pops. Keith's mom tells the same story about her shoulder (she crushed it in a car accident earlier this year). Physical therapy wasn't doing a whole lot of good, but now that she's also getting massage her surgeon is really impressed with her progress.

It's been a sad couple of days here in Indy. Our zoo is home to the first and second African elephants born via artificial insemination. Amali, the little girl, died yesterday. She had surgery to correct a blocked large intestine on May 20th and never recovered. She was 3 years old. Her name means "hope" in Swahili because her birth brought so much hope for African elephant breeding programs worldwide. Her mother and the other elephants in the herd have gathered around her body and are caressing her with their trunks and having the elephant equivalent of a wake for her. With all the stuff going on in the world today some people may think I'm strange for getting all choked up and teary eyed about a baby elephant, but I don't care. She was a sweetie.

My poor tomatoes are shivering in their beds. It's only 64 today, temperatures have been running about 10 degrees below normal for the last month. It feels more like April than June. I was hoping to get at least a few tomatoes before we moved but it's not looking so good. Things are still progressing with the farm purchase, there's been a couple of little hiccups but nothing major.

I had a strange experience last Wednesday when I was driving home from work. I have a Darwin fish bumper sticker on my car, and apparently this guy in a Toyota 4wd pickup didn't approve. He kept pulling up next to me on the freeway and waving his Bible at me and yelling "Jesus, Jesus!". I just smiled and waved and kept on driving. Like having some goof waving a bible and shouting at me is really going to make me rethink the whole evolution thing, hehehehe. There is a large church located on the street where he finally turned off, and since it was Wednesday evening I assumed he just got a little over-excited on his way to bible study. It was pretty funny, I'm just glad he didn't run off the road or rear-end the car in front of him (although if he had, I would have nominated him for a Darwin Award!)

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2003

Well boo - frickin' hoo :^(.

Found out that the city I live in WON'T ALLOW me to keep chickens at our home - only commercial egg producers are allowed to keep livestock. The code specifically states no cages / enclosures within 300 feet of a residence.

I will try for variance, but am not optomistic - politics sucks. This pretty much shoots me down for rabbits too.

Glad to hear your dad is recovering Polly - he seems to be a very active person - that will help his recovery immensely. Getting old and just 'settin thar' doesn't really help you get motivated to get well.

Glad to hear everybody's gardens are doing well - you take care.

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2003

That sucks, jr. Is there any way you could claim the chickens and/or rabbits as pets rather than livestock? Heck, even Martha Stewart says chickens are fashionable backyard pets, although she may not be the best example to cite to lawmakers right now. :)

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2003

Pets . . . hmmm . . . maybe. Anyone know where I can get a chicken leash? Maybe even teach 'em to fetch? :^)

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2003

Upper 80s here today. Dang, that's hot for this part of the country!

I was out watering in the very last light (10 o'clock). Skeeters left me alone, I'm glad to say. Anyone have West Nile around their place? We had two birds last year within about 10 miles. Guess it's hit the Pac. N.W., sort of.

Going camping this weekend. Should be fun!

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2003

I am horibly busy, but am checking in here anyway. :-)

Sherri, what about transplanting your tomatoes into large containers (5 gal pots or bigger) and taking them with you when you move? I've successfully grown even full size tomatoes in large pots. My tomatoes aren't even in the ground yet.

The other day I saw a car applique/stick-on -- small Darwin fish was being eaten by a larger fish labeled "Truth". That one had me shaking my head the rest of the day. What is this, war of the stick- ons? One upmanship? What? I suppose the next step from "the other side" could be a Jesus fish belly up with crossed eyes -- wouldn't that be stupid? [sigh]

JR, actually, yes, there ARE bird leashes! Really! They're made for pet parrots -- a sort of harness that fits the body. I don't know if there are any big enough for the largest chickens, but your average chicken and bantams could be fitted! Of course, they're expensive. I don't think they're safe for parrots -- nylon webbing, parrot bill, SNIP! bye-bye birdie! You could start a whole new fashion trend -- chickens on leashes. Wow, if you had some of the more exotic looking birds, you really could make the case that they're pets. No enclosures? So, no dog runs allowed? What about fencing your yard and the dog runs around in the yard -- isn't that an animal enclosure? Sounds like there might be wiggle room . . .

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2003

Man, I'm almost ashamed to post here, you guys are so busy, energetic and tired I'm guessing, and we've been so lazy. Down sized garden alot this year. Just gonna have 3-4 beds planted.

Chris came down with some kinda asthmatic condition a coupla years ago so shes tired alot and coughs alot too. Several years ago she worked at this place where they worked her ass off. When she finally left they replaced her with 2 1/2 people.

Anyway, her boss was a screamer, yelling all the time and it made her a nervous wreck. She finally went into overload and suffered a fairly traumatic and dramatic burnout and it compromised her immune system so she gets sick at the drop of a hat.

It seems there's not alot we can do about her asthma. She does a coupla types of inhalers which help briefly. She tried something from the Edgar Cayce foundation who sell herbal remedies. It helped for a while but shes been experiencing pains where she never had them before so shes off that now.

I'd sure like to find something that would actually HEAL this problem, rather than just merely manage it.

We've been running a critter cafe lately. A coupla weeks ago some varmint got after my doves---munched 3 adults and two babies in one night. I bought a large live trap and have trapped 4 coons and one skunk so far.

We've got maybe 1/3 of the garden in now. Last weekend we were handtilling and that was too much. I just bought a Mantis tiller today and worked up one of the beds tonight. It seems to do a good job.

The old tiller, when it worked, did a good job too but holy moley!, if you did a bed with it, by the time you were done it felt like you'd done it by hand. What a brute.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2003

john, I hear you about the tiller! When Mr. S. would use our Troy tiller (rear tine), it would buck all over the place like a bronco. I now dig everything up in the main garden by hand. I want to sell the tiller and the little tractor (yeah, and the big tractor, too), and get a nice mid-size John Deere that will do everything (puree vegetables? maybe not, but everything else!).

Sad about your birds.

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2003

Joy, I do have an enclosure around my house. Unfortunately, the code is written in a way that make the average home owner unable to own livestock in the confines of the city limits. They require the enclosure for the animals to be 300 feet minimum from a residence. Not exactly your average city lot - 300 feet is slightly less than 3 times the depth of our entire city lot.

I'm going to meet with the animal control officer and see if Sherri C's idea work. I'm going to tell him we intend to keep only four to six hens (no rooster - no crowing to wake up neighbors), in a chicken tractor, which should go a long way in keeping manure from building up. We're not going into the egg business, and we're not raising fighting cocks.

Keep your fingers crossed.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003

John, Have Chris take a good multipule vitamin with minerals. From the healthfood store, not One-a-Day or such. I personally take Solgar's EarthSource. It's expensive but I really felt better with it. Next, extra Vit C, echinacea (do NOT take if allergic to daisies),CoQ10, L-Cysteine and L-methionine all for good lungs. Also include fatty acids in the form or Primrose oil or Flaxseed oil (do not cook with these oils) It is also suggested that Mullein is good for bronchial congestion but I have never personally tried it. I have it but keep forgetting to try it if I'm ever sick, which I am very rarely anymore (knock wood)

Don't take all at once. Try one for a while to make sure there are no reactions then follow with another. I have gotten real lazy with my vitamins lately and have been feeling it with my allergies this wet spring/summer.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003

Hi folks!!! Like John, I'm also almost ashamed to post here. You all have so much going on and are so busy....I feel lazy after reading everything here!!!

Polly...I'm so glad that Pop is doing well. One of our neighbors just recently passed away (after many diabetes-related health problems) and he died while rototilling his garden! That's exactly how I'd want to go. I pray that Pop has many useful and healthy years left!!!!!

Sheepish...my mom just passed her 75th birthday. She's doing okay...although doctors have recommended NO hip replacement surgery (either with full anesthesia or a spinal) 'cause her lung keeps filling up with fluid that has to be drained off periodically. They don't know what's causing this and they don't believe that her heart could withstand any type of surgery...so I guess she'll be in a wheelchair and living on painkillers for the rest of her life :-(!

Our garden is finally completed. Amazingly...after downsizing the area, I actually planted some extra "goodies"!! I put in some early watermelon and cantaloupe. Much of our gardening this year has been "vertical". Speaking of gardening...we'd been fighting with an old rototiller (a free-bee) for over 20 yrs. It would work after some tinkering, but it sure left ya aching!! Finally, this year we invested in a BRAND-NEW tiller. It's amazing and actually starts with the first pull on the cord! It's a rear tine tiller, but works very easy and doesn't beat the Hell out of my wrists and arms like the old one did!!!! We bought it at Home Depot.

We've had our "big" boat on the water for three weeks, but have only had a chance to spend the night on it once. Hopefully...tomorrow after taking our granddaughter to "T-Ball" practise, we'll be going out on the water around noontime and wont be back til Sunday...sometime :-)!! Our lobster traps have been catching lots of crabs (still to early to catch lobsters around here) But we love crabmeat almost as much as lobster. But I wont bore you all with the details :-)!!!!!

That really, really SUCKS about you chickens, j.r.!! I'd be seriously thinking about moving if I were you! My meat chicks are going on three weeks old now. I've just started giving them fresh goat's milk to ward off any possible leg and joint problems. I also picked up 6 turkeys last Wed. Next week I'll be ordering my organic grass-fed beef and we should be all set for meat!

Well, it's a beautiful night here so I think I'll go out and sit on the back porch and listen to the spring peepers and the woodcocks. The apple trees and lilacs are in full bloom and the air smell wonderful. It's awesome to sit under them and listen to the drone of the honey bees as they go about their work. It wont be long before the Basswoods are blooming...and they attract even more bees :-)!!!

Have a wonderful week everyone!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003

Just got back from camping. Not too used to HOT weather around here. It was fun, but I'm pooped and trying to catch up on watering. Hung four loads of wash out, and the neighbors decided to burn something (brush) and the wind started blowing our way. Had to take down the laundry and finish it in the dryer. Smoked wardrobe. Ridiculous. And it's still about 80 out!

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2003

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