Over the Fence Chat for June 8th to June 14th, 2003

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Mornin' all! Hope today finds everyone doing well. I'm just getting ready to finish up here at work; and then go home to catch a few hours of sleep before I'm off to my other job - I'll work until 11pm, so I won't have another chance to post today.

Hubs is planning to head for a "Vintage" motocross race today. No, he's not racing, just going to watch; but it wouldn't surprize me to see him pull in with another bike in the truck! Pop has plans to go to a cookout with friends and Jessie is working, so it will be a nice quiet morning for me to sleep.

Everything is going okay out here; though I did lose one guinea keet this past week. We are still inundated with strawberries - I picked 2 of the big beds (two to go!) and ended up with 10 qts of berries when I got up last night; then brought them in to work with me and shared them out with my co-workers. I'm about ready to pull out the peas, older broccoli plants, and the lettuce as it is getting bitter - how, I don't know, since the weather has been fairly cool. I'm not sure what I'm going to put in their places; may just do some lasagne composting to get the beds ready for next year instead! Lots and lots of things on my "TO DO" list; and not nearly enough time to do them all - as usual!!

Well, I know this is short; I just wanted to make sure it got started for this week. You folks all take care, write in when you can,

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2003


Well, a stressful situation was finally resolved yesterday afternoon, when my brother and I let my 'cattle baron' uncle know that we would not be participating in leasing out our portion of the ranch. We had been leasing the entire place to four hunters for the past three years, and frankly haven't been happy with the situation.

The hunters were good people, hardworking and kinda friendly, but they had one flaw that really put us off. They practice hunting OVER feeders, where the hunting stand is within sight and rifle shot of the feeder. To my brother and I, that is totally against fair chase, and though we have been feeding the wildlife for the past 15 - 20 years, we always made sure that the feeders were in the brush, (not visible from a blind), and that the deer would not be 'funneled' into traffic patterns.

The deer are becoming conditioned to go from feeder to feeder, seeking this corn feed. They are not exclusively feeding from them, but their behavior has been modified greatly - they have become, in effect, livestock. All the hunter (?) has to do is get in the blind and wait for the animal of his choice to show up shoot it. The only hunting involved is the deer seeking the feed dispensed by the feeder. That is something my we can't abide. Deer are wild animals, not livestock, and they deserve better than that.

This is going to cost us plenty - the hunters pay out nearly $700 for leasing rights to my brother and I (we split that), and we are going to have to survey the pasture so that we can split the acreage from the rest of the ranch. We then have to bulldoze a sendero so that the fence can be routed through the brush. We will also need to put up two fencelines, for a total of about 1 1/2 miles of four - five strand barbed wire fence. The fenceing alone should cost about $2500 total, materials and labor. I don't know what the survey will cost, but legal fees should mount up. Nevertheless, we feel better about it, my brother and I want to HUNT, and getting rid of the leasers will go a long way getting things back to normal.

Anyway, we were afraid that a rift would develop between our uncle and us over the issue. We do lease his cattle grazing, and requested that the months between September and February would be cattle free. Our acreage is only 167 acres, and deer / cattle sharing the acreage would be detrimental to our hunting - cattle make deer skittish. My uncle was agreeable to this - he personally owns 500 acres, and his other two brothers each have 167 acres also. We also told him that he would not pay the monthly 160 for the grazing rights during that four month period.

A big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And now . . . the work begins :^)

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003

j.r. I somehow got it into my head that you lived out there on the family ranch. I was really suprised last week when you posted about not being able to have chickens because you lived in the city. I'm glad you were able to resolve the situation with your uncle without hard feelings. It sounds like the fencing will be a lot of work and expense, but you really can't put a price on peace of mind, can you? Do you think the hunters will abide the fence and leave your property alone?

Not much new around here. The weather is warm one day and then cold the next. I didn't do a thing this weekend except laundry and groceries and it felt darn good! We got the survey report back on the new property today and it was good news. It surveyed as one acre larger than what we thought it was. Things are still progressing on track for closing on next Monday.

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003

5:30 pm

Hey all! Whew! It's been a really busy day, but finally I've found a few minutes to sit down at the computer; while I'm waiting for Hubs to get home from work; then I'll be on the move again. Yesterday was one of those psycho work days - a 12 hour shift at the hospital, home for a nap, then an 8 hour shift at the nursing home - which turned into a 9 1/2 hour shift. I got home about 1am, took me 'til about 2 to wind down enough to THINK about going to sleep; then I'll be darned if they didn't call me at 4:30am and want me to come in to work. I know the word "NO!" was in there somewhere, but I'm not really sure what else I said - And now I'm wondering, 'cause they called me a little while ago to make sure that I was still going to come in for my day shift tomorrow. Eeek!! Wonder if I need to apologize to anyone when I get there?!

Pop and I had a pretty busy day today. After I did a quick buff and fluff job on house and took care of the chores, I spent the morning doing 7 loads of laundry - I do so love that wringer washer!!! - and picking strawberries. I ended up with my big dishpan full of berries, and called Mr. Moffat (who promised me more zinnia seeds!) to come get 8 qts; then sent the last 6 home with Unc and his buddy Glenn. Unc and Glenn also grabbed some rhubarb to go along with theirs; I'm thinking that they might have had visions of strawberry- rhubarb pie dancing in their heads. Though why anyone would want to ruin a perfectly good strawberry pie by putting rhubarb in it is beyond me!!

Pop was feeling pretty good, so he got on the little tractor and tilled my flower border, tomatoes, raspberries, small bed of sweet corn and the strawberry patch; I had to stop picking berries and hurry out and move all the new strawberry runners in to the rows so Pop wouldn't chop them off with the tiller; so while I was out there, I weeded in between some of the plants as well. Pop also tilled in between my fruit trees so I was finally able to get my sweet potatoes planted this afternoon. Had a few too many for the space, so Uncle Ivan took them down to his garden to plant.

I had hoped to get the last of the perennials and mints planted this afternoon, but I wore out and flopped on the couch with a book from 2:30 to 3:30 instead - after a refreshing splash bath in the stock tank! 76* doesn't sound all that warm, but it sure is when you're out working in the sun! After I managed to pry my butt off the couch, I went out and started weeding the last section of garden; got 8 of the 10 raised beds done.


Well, supper is over - pork chops, scalloped taters, 3 bean salad, cottage cheese, and - of course - strawberry shortcake for dessert. I can't believe that I'm not sick of them yet!! Hubs and I took a drive after supper, over to a farm where there will be a sale on Wednesday morning. They have a couple of 50 bushel grain bins that I would like to have but Hubs is trying his best to discourage me - Guess I'll have to call Unc to come down and go with me, y'think!? They also advertised a couple of 5' tall fruit jar shelves; I'm sure I could find a place for them!

I managed to get the last two beds in the back section of the garden weeded - 8 of them have pole beans/towers in them; and two of those also have sweet corn in them - I want to see if the beans climb the corn or the strings! I'm going to plant squash in the other 6. The beds are 4x4 with a center pole, and 4 strings running down from the pole to each side of the bed for a total of 16. The beans are planted near the outer edges of the beds, so I figure I might as well do something useful with the inner part as well. The other 2 beds in that section of the garden have 4 tomato plants each in them - Roma in one bed and Juliet in the other. Only 14 more beds to go and the whole garden will be weeded!! Too bad they're all BIG beds!

Hubs was busy hauling straw out to the garden while I was weeding; we need to finish mulching the tomatoes and potatoes, hopefully tomorrow afternoon if it isn't raining. I get off work at 2:30pm; have to stop at the grocery store and gas station, but I should still get home in time to get something done before dark if the darn weather will cooperate!! Not that I'll gripe too much if it does rain - every time I do laundry, I watch the level of the tank go down a couple of inches and worry about running low! At 34 gallons of water for 7 loads, and an 850 gallon capacity; I think it might take me a while, but I still appreciate the rain!

Well, I've got to get up at 5am, so I reckon I'd best be heading for bed. Sherri, I've got my fingers and toes crossed, hoping that everything goes well with your new home; wish I could come help you make garden! JR, I think you and your brother are doing the right thing, but I'm glad it didn't cause problems with your Uncle. We had problems out here with people putting their deer stands on the Corp ground, but right next to the plots that we plant for the wild birds and other game. What sportsmen. Not. Jerks, more like!

You folks take care,

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003

I don't get what you're saying about the hunting thing, JR. Guess I never understood the 'sport' aspect of it anyway. What's the dif if the hunters shoot the deer by the feeders, as long as they don't suffer in the process? wouldn't the meat be of superior quality since the deer wouldnt be filled with adrenalin from being chased by 'fair chase' hunters, not to mention the trauma to them? I too was suprised about you living in the city....how can you say you were a "survivalist' when you can't even produce your own eggs? :)

sheepish, a troybilt tiller shouldnt buck if its being used right. I've used two different models for over 20 years in all kinds of soil, and I they worked wonderfully for me, although it takes patience cuz the depth has be done a little at at time , else it will buck.

My family is coming over this weekend for fathers' day; i invited them in a manic moment, and now i'm of course regretting it. trying not to have an anxiety attack. why do i turn into a child when i see them? sickening. anyway, i tore up the back yard, what was left of it cuz the Pyr has destroyed it. Gave up on grass.........tilled the whole thing up, planted perennials and shrubs and plugged some annuals in here and there, and mulched the whole thing with wood chips. Had to put stupid little wire fencing around all the plantings cuz the stupid dog stomps on everything like baby huey. i put in barberry hedge along the path so it would HURT to go near it ......HA!! she stomps on it anyway, doesnt feel a thing! I wish the dogs would go play on the freeway!

So I'm frantically cleaning and stuff, trying to work in the yard between constant showers, and keep up with my research on the food thingy, which is changing form somewhat this week.

Oh how I love summer......if only it were always nice enough to play in the green yard!


-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003

Yeah, it can get quite confusing when you talk about two places at the same time - it isn't surprising people get confused. Okay, where to begin . . .

The ranch is about 60 miles away, where my grandfather was born and raised. He, along with his siblings, inherited their father's land when the man passed away, somewhere back in the 19teens. His portion was 90 acres. He spent most of his life accumulating more acreage, buying small portions from his siblings. During the late 50's, he was able to buy a large portion of land from a neighbor. His ambition was to be a rancher, but also had a 'day job', managing a hardware / ranching supply store in the town I was born and raised in. In addition, he had his own small store, selling produce and meat.

Upon my grandfather's death in 1981, his six children inherited equal shares of the land. 1000 acres, divided by six children, 166.66 acres each. The ranch has constantly had cattle raised on it. One of my uncle's (Gus) was the only one interested in carrying on the ranching interests, and had his own herd on the property. My father loved to walk the ranch but was not much of a hunter, having a soft heart. His brother Fred, a lifelong hunter, was our mentor, and often took us hunting with him. Until his heart attack in 1990, he was an active hunter. The episode with his heart alarmed him greatly - the nearest hospital is about 40 miles away. The ranch is about a mile and a half drive over rough roads, negotiating three locked ranch gates. In other words, not a quick and easy trip. No police, no neighbors (the nearest one is 3/4 a mile away, heavy brush between the two houses), no ambulances, you are on your own. So he basically retired from hunting, but does enjoy occasionally going for the day and reminiscing with my brother and I. The other three children couldn't care less about the place - they enjoy going out there, but as far as having an interest - nah.

We first started leasing our land to four deer hunters three years ago, $1000 a person, for a year round hunting lease. One of my four uncles, the only person interested in cattle ranching, purchased his two sister's shares, bringing his interest to 500 acres. Two other uncles, along with my brother and myself, own the remaining 500 acres, split equally.

I live in Edinburg, a small town in the Rio Grande Valley. It's about 40,000 in population. My brother and I grew up in the city we were born in (McAllen), but spent much time out at the ranch during weekends. We just had the outdoor bug - we love the outdoors, and spent much time out there.

So I can see the confusion when I am talking about deer hunting in a post, then in the next one complaining about the size of my small garden and dealing with our once small town atmosphere disappearing. My fault - sorry, Julio Rafael Guerra (j.r.) doesn't explain things to well.

Earthmama, you are correct about adrenalin tainting the meat taste in stressed out deer. The hunting aspect in differences between the leasers and our approach is as follows: We will sit in a stand, and wait for deer to walk by. The person spots the deer in the sendero (a bulldozed road through the heavy brush surrounding it), raises his / her rifle to sight it in the scope, judges if the deer is the deer you want to shoot, then shoot it. Time frame - about five to 10 seconds. You see much more than you shoot. We also spend some time with a method call 'still hunting', which is where you walk through the brush and try to sneak up on the deer. Very challenging, as deer have really good hearing and smelling abilities. Their sight is attuned to sensing movement very well, but lack detais, as their eyes are on the sides of their heads (like most prey species are).

We also use deer feeders, but put them inside the brush, where deer are able to feed without being targets while eating. They can spend five or ten minutes at these feeders, eating the dispensed food which falls from them. They are alert for any suspicious sounds / smells / or sights, but are at a severe disadvantage, as they have their heads down, focused at the ground.

The leaser's use this to their advantage. The feeders draw the deer to the stand. Feed being available year round, deer know that corn is available at these feeders. Thus, the deer routinely go to these feeders. So the person who hunts over the feeder has quite a window of time to take his shot. Not very sporting, the deer doesn't stand much of a chance - and that is our objection to this method.

Either way, the deer are shot and killed the same way. The only stress is right after the shot is taken, and when the bullet hits vital spots like the spinal column, the kill is virtually instataneous. The adrenalin stress you mention is caused when a poor shot has been made, superficially hitting the deer in a non vital area. They can run for miles, and this is the stress you are talking about. Both the leasers and we can make their shots count, and nobody makes a shot which cannot be made confidently. We just skip the shot - it is not worth the price of wounding an animal.

I call it sport hunting, because I can afford to buy meat at the supermarket. My brother and I do enjoy hunting deer with large antlers - these deer are mature deer, at least four years old, and are very intelligent. Hunting the 'Muy Grandes' (Big Ones) is extremely challenging when fair chase methods are used. Skill and a whole lot of good ol' fashioned luck are involved here. No meat is wasted when we shoot it - we process the deer ourselves, and have the butcher cut up the steaks and ground the meat into burger. Deer and wild hog meat make up about 75 - 80 percent of our yearly meat intake, excluding fast food meals. Venison is more often eaten at home than beef, chicken, pork and other supermarket meats - my children sometimes make a face when eating at Grandma's (what is this stuff? :^))

I hope this clears up somethings - again, sorry for the confusion.

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2003

Thanks for clearing up your family situation, and thanks for giving us your name! Julio, eh........I like that!

Doesn't Texas have the strict regulation on hunting that we do up here? You can only get one deer here, so I never understood why people cared how that one was shot, long as it was shot as humanely as possible.

I'm pretty familiar with the hunting culture; my father was an avid hunter all his life. Not so much anymore cuz he just can't cut it in the woods, especially since his favorite brother and hunting buddy died a couple of years ago. Besides getting his yearly deer here in MN, Dad used to go most years to Montana or Alaska or Canada or somesuch after bigger game, and all my childhood our freezer was full of venison, bear, elk, or caribou, etc.

Oh I understand the excitement of the chase all right; my father would never have sat in a stand as a younger man......he thought THAT was unfair period. You must do the Daniel Boone thing or it ain't real huntin, doncha know. What doenst resonate with me personally is how anyone can consider hunting with firearms 'fair' no matter how it's done, as if the animals had a 'fair' chance of competing, or even if they should need to. I think we are perfectly justified in hunting and eating wildlife, as long as it's done humanely. I think it's part of the lifecycle of nature that we are predators. As to making a game out of it, or 'sport' as it's called, I personally can't identify, I'm too queasy to ever be able to kill anything myself, but I have gone with my dad and the tracking was greatly enjoyable.

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2003

Earthmama, did you say "patience"??? The Troybilt *operator* is the guy with the recent heart surgery who just rode his bike mile and after mile and played frisbee this past weekend. He's also the guy post-knee surgery who was putting a roof over the hot tub the 2nd day out. I guess being patient to till something doesn't satisfy him!

8-) And do you mean to tell me a Troybilt is not a sod cutter?

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2003

OH you poor dear, sheepish........you're right of course, rototillers are not for A types. I cut lotsa sod, but only after I became one with my tiller............

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2003

Oooh - spooky JR!! I was just sitting here at the computer last night, wondering what the initials JR stood for - and next thing I know, you go and tell us! You been reading my mind again?! (Lots of static, fizz and snoring lately, no?) And now I'm wondering how come I got to feeling nosy about your name - when I haven't wondered what Sheepish and EM's first names were? Ah well; no matter! I, too, like your name, especially Rafael. Do you just go by your initials, or do you use one or the other of your names?

Where did all the rest of you get your names? Yeah, I know - "From our parents - duh!" I mean, how were your names chosen; and for those of you with kids, how did you choose their names?

My "real" name is (ick!) Ellen Renee; Ellen after Aunt and Grandma on Pop's side, Renee after G-Grampa Rene on Mom's side. Neither side of the family could agree on what to call me; so my Godmother started calling me Polly, and Polly I've been ever since!! It suits me far better than either of my "other" names!

I named Jessie after her Grandfather, Uncle, GG Grandmother, GG Grandfather and GG Uncle; and her middle name, Leah, was in honor of my Godparents, Louie and Lillie. It's just a good thing she was a girl; otherwise she would have been John Jesse - named after the 5 Jesse's and 13 John's (and that was going back only 4 generations!) We like family names, can you tell??

We actually walked around a couple of family cemetaries to look at names while I was pregnant - how weird can you get!? I guess that's one thing about having roots where you live; Jessie can go back eight generations in one small cemetary in Kinmundy, IL; and it is told that we are related to every last person in the other one, by blood or marriage. Jes is kin to George Washington and Christopher Columbus (Mulvaney, that is!) and also Cinderella (Carman) - now how many kids can say that and mean it!

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2003

Wow, I guess I coulda posted my name earlier, lol . . . not a problem. J.R. is my name for a couple of reasons. My father had the same name - hence, I'm a junior (Julio Jr.). Then its also my first and middle name initials (Julio Rafael). I've gone so long by J.R. (EVERYBODY) calls me that, when in school and they call out Julio, it took a little time for me to realize 'hey dummy - say here' now.

Earthmama, I think understand your feelings when you have objections to fair chase being considered using a high power rifle. Primative cultures (well, so called primative anyway) have fed themselves and their families with bows 'n arrows / spears for a long long time. Now THAT is really hunting, but it sure wasn't for sport. That was SURVIVAL, and when the hunters came across game that bit back (Grizzly Bear, for example), some of those folks came back gored, mauled or dead. (I think that may have been the reason why man invented croquet - hunters who had a serious attitude adjustment :^). Some of primative man's methods weren't very sporting - stampeding buffalo over the edge of a cliff comes to mind - what a waste of meat. But man was just trying to get the job done the best he knew how.

How do I justify my hunting method? Well, it's easy - I cop out.

The hunting season in Texas in the South Region is from first weekend of November to the second weekend in January, plus a 'antlerless deer only' (female deer - does) for two weeks. Our hunting license gives us tags that allow five deer to be taken, the maximum of two deer being bucks. That gives me about 10 weeks to get my deer, and hunting with primative methods (bow and arrow) would not allow me to get deer, without more time than that.

Hunting is not only bringing home game,however. I'd estimate that I only bring meat back home about 10% of the time - I just really dig the outdoors folks - the smells, the sounds, the sights. I've had more time to really look at a sunrise or sunsets and really appreciate them. The time spent on stand is (for me, anyway), contemplating my place in the universe. When on stand, you are sitting there not moving, trying to spot game before it spots or scents you. You have lots of time to yourself - quiet time, no distractions, time to really look back on your life, analyze the rights and wrongs of it.

I can't do that at home - phone rings, my daughter or son wants my attention (NOW dad, NOW :^) or I have a task I have to do, an errand, yard work, just plain ol' stuff to do.

One of our leasers bow hunts, and he estimates that it takes at least ten to twelve trips out before deer will even come within bow range. Which is why his bow hunting stand is very near a feeder. Bow hunting is extremely challenging when practiced like the Native Americans did. So few folks do nowadays - these folks are to be admired. That still hunting method I spoke about in my last post is very similar to this, in that you sneak through the brush, hoping to see a deer before it senses you and splits. The rifle range in these conditions can be as long as 200 yards, and as short as 10 feet - the terrain dictates the range. Very challenging. I've only accomplished the feat four times. The number of 'white flags' (the south end of a fleeing northbound whitetail deer - see ya) I've seen waaaaaaaaaaay outnumber my kills.

Deer feed has not always been legal to do - it became legal in Texas about 20 years ago. That is when, IMO, hunting really became a game, rather than a challenge. I think it came into being for two reasons, both involve money.

Reason one: Allowing the use of feed would increase the number of hunters. Feeding game makes it easier hunting game - no question in my mind. Game departments wanted the increased hunting license fees to help their funding.

Reason two: Allowing feeding would really give big land owners the incentive to start 'farming big buck'as a business. What I mean is that people are willing to pay large sums of money to kill a deer with large antlers (Look at me - mighty hunter ook ook ook :^)

But these people were NOT willing to pay out $10,000 without making more certain they had more chance of killing one. So large landowners petitioned to make it deer feeding (bait) legal. Just more chance for their clientele to kill one. More business for them.

And that is another objection I have to what deer feeding has done - deer hunting is now a business. For them, it is. Not for me.

I gotta wrap this up . . . I'm beginning to get hand cramps, and its only 7:20 a.m. - gottat whole day of Autocad in front of me.

Good discussion - I hope I explained my reason for hunting more adequetely.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

Oh JR, please don't feel you hafta justify your hunting to anyone else! I know you're a good guy and give these things a plenty of thought. It IS fun to discuss how people view things though, isn't it?

I agree that hunting has become a business, especially for the state. Here the department of of natural resources make a mint off hunting, only two deer are allowed per hunter, and our deer hunting season is only from 2 days to 17 days, depending on where you're hunting. Obviously we have lots more deer up here in the northwoods! The woods are mad with armed humans for those few days in November.......it's kinda crazy!

The deer hunting industry is in bad trouble this year because people are freakin out about mad deer! So that could be bad for the overabundance of deer up here; the hunters do perform an important service to weed out the excess, but in my opinion, it would make more sense, but apparently less money for the state, to let people hunt more and for a longer period of time. No wonder there are too many deer, many starving and many wandering around the suburbs (we have them in our yard all the time). NO more wolves or coyotes to speak of; its just not a natural situation.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

I was doing some research on deer feeding a couple of months ago (trying to get the leasers to see things my way - fat chance!) when I came across some data about CWD in Wisconsin and some of the measures they've had to take.

Apparently, CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) has hit deer herds pretty badly in the West and North in past year. Studies had shown that feeders beared a major responsibility in spreading CWD, which is spread by animals sharing confined spaces. Apparentely, CWD is spread just like a cold does us in, and when deer are in a small area, with their faces close together (such as eating feed thrown on the ground in a limited area, i.e. deer feeders), the disease has been shown to be spread quicker. It is especially bad when groups of deer congregate to eat the feed.

A proposed remedy was to limit the amount of feed that could thrown out, thus limiting the time period these feeders can disperse feed. That would work, IF the person putting in the corn was not available to keep those feeders filled. Otherwise, no effect would be realized.

If you want to learn more, do a google search on U.S. baiting laws Wisconsin - there were plenty of articles in there.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

Busy busy busy. Have to go to Rockford this weekend, too.

I finally planted out my squash and gourd and muskmelon seedlings yesterday, when it had finally quit raining enough and seemed like it was going to be warm. Predicted temp for today: 78 Actual temp for today: 62! Now I'll have to go put warm blankies over them.

Actually, my seedlings are rather pitiful. I probably didn't have enough light for them. Very fragile stems. One pot of yellow crookneck didn't even get planted, because ALL the stems broke before I could get it in the ground. I want to also put in seeds -- if I can figure out where I put the packets -- as a back up for these.

I was just down at Whole Foods, where I discovered much better transplants than mine, so I bought some of those too -- more back up. The varieties might be different, but at least they're the right veggies. {sigh}

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

It was sunny yesterday so I decided to plant the flats of veggies I bought. I've got 32 zucchinni plants. Am I nuts or what? I figured I'll freeze alot of it and I plan on picking them as babies instead of waiting until they are soooo big that you cannot eat them. Four tomatoes and 12 Italian peppers. I found that dandelion I was looking for (actually someone on Homestead helped me) so I'm waiting to get it by mail. That can be planted all summer. I still want to find some green bean plants. Anyway, I had to weedwack first before I could rototill. Boy, did my arms ach.

I'm still not sure if they were able to cut any hay yet. If it doesn't rain for a few days, they can get it done. I have the horse mowing the backyard for me. The goats are eating the woods clean.

Well, nothing else to add except that anyone who hunts by my house has to give us some venision. Yum.

Signed Diana (named after Paul Anka's song) aka Dee

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

Hard to believe this week is half over!! And this month is half over...where the H*** is this year going??!! Gosh I feel OLD :-)!

We've had some pretty nice weather around here the past week or so. Off and on showers occasionally, but when the sun's out...it's in the mid to high seventies. The apple trees and the wild lilacs are almost done blossoming. I love it when they're all in bloom...it smells so nice outside! The wild phlox in shades of white, pink and lavender is just starting. Next to make an appearance will be the wild lupine. The sides of the roads will be covered with blooms. Nature sure does put on quite a "show"!!

Our garden has been all planted for a couple of weeks now. Some veggies are a little slow 'cause of the dampness we've had, but now even the squash, watermelon and canteloupe are popping up. I did have to reseed some of my pole beans, but the yellow wax beans came up fantastically!! I think I'm gonna have more Swiss Chard and sugar snap peas than I can use. No pigs for us this year so I'll be giving lots away!!

We've been spending as much time as possible on the boat...occasional nights after we close the garage and each weekend. We've spent several nights sleeping on it. It's so relaxing to sit out there watching the seals play in the water, watching the ospreys catch fish...and watching Harry cook my dinner on the grill :-)!! I don't even have to wash the dishes on the boat! All I do is fish. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!!!! We caught our first lobster of the season on the 7th of this month...a whole week earlier than last year. We've already caught tons of crabs and have been freezing the meat. Oh...that first lobster we caught...we cooked on the barbecue!

I've started working with my horse...making sure he remembered his training on the lunge line. It's been awhile for him, but it wasn't long before he remembered what walk, jog and lope meant! The last horse I'd worked on a lunge line was English, so I had to relearn some of the commands, too!! Next we have to take our granddaughter up to be fitted with a riding helmet. I NEVER wore one in the past when I rode, but I definitely want one on her!

Well, not much else going on here and I have some quarterly business reports that I have to get started on for Uncle Sam! You folks all sound busy...it's that time of year I guess :-)! Take care.....

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

Oh Dee, 32 zucchini plants!! Too funny!! I assume you're going into the zucchini business, 'cept I hear it aint too profitable, unless you perform the service of having folks pay you to take their extras away! :)


-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

You are a very good man Julio! I've always felt that about you! I wish you were closer so I could help with the fence.

Well my daughter was out here for 8 days. It was wonderful!! Now I'm slowly coming down to my low energy life again! She has a much higher "buzz level" than I do!! Not much else happnin, just workin on my roof. take care......Kirk

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2003

Greetings from the land of monkeypox! We've got 5 confirmed cases so far and 25 more suspected so I think that puts us #1 in the standings. Although we do have to give special kudos to Wisconsin for having the first apparent case of human to human transmission of the disease. With the way the news plays things up, it seems like we're in the "Exotic Disease of the Month" club.

Polly I need you to cross more body parts in addition to your fingers and toes because we've run into a couple of glitches with the house. Actually I've got them all resolved now but Tuesday and Wednesday I was not a happy camper. Buying a house with someone you're not married to sure has been an eye-opening experience. I guess I'll just be happy that we legally can get married to each other (if we weren't so darn stubborn).

My name on my birth certificate is Sherri. I used to get asked all the time if that was short for Cheryl or Sharon, but I don't anymore. I guess it must be more common now. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I'm named after a dog. When my mom was growning up the neighbors had a collie named Cherie. Mom really liked the dog and the name. My middle name is Lynn, after my Aunt Linda. My brother is Brian Jay, when he was little we used to call him BJ but now we don't for obvious reasons. One of my sister's middle name is Jo, after the girls on the TV show "Petticoat Junction". It can get confusing when we get together with our cousins on mom's side of the family because the children's names are (in order of age): Sherri, Terri, Brian, Brad, Shelli, and Kelly.

My dad feeds the deer on our family farm, but he doesn't have fixed feeders so the deer don't get set into a pattern. The feed of choice up there is carrots. There are several carrot farms and packing plants in the area and you can buy truckloads of cull carrots for cheap. Most of the factories even advertise them as "deer carrots". My dad has been deer hunting since before I was born and has never got a deer. I honestly think that he doesn't even load his gun. He just likes to sit in the woods. I got a lot of my love of the outdoors from him. I think that in Michigan you're allowed one buck for each of the seasons (bow, blackpowder, and rifle). You need a special permit to shoot a doe and those permits are harder to get. We have 2 large parks in Indy and the deer populations are horrible at both of them. The DNR announced they are going to hunt the deer at both parks this fall and a lot of people are upset about it. Like letting them starve is more humane.... As far as I know CWD hasn't made it down to Indiana.

I wish there was a way to scroll back through all the posts on a thread instead of just seeing the first one. I know I'm forgetting something! :)

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2003

Sherri, when I'm posting I just hit my back button to reread the thread and hit forward to continue posting.

"My dad has been deer hunting since before I was born and has never got a deer. " LOL!! That's a riot! (Maybe not to your dad, but I thought it was funny!)

What sort of problems have you had just cuz you're not married? Bren and I ain't married, and I don't remember any related problems in the 6 homes we've bought over the years.

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2003

Sometimes when I do the back and forth thing it erases what I've typed. It seems like it usually happens at the end of a very long post too, grrr.

When we were looking into a VA mortgage we couldn't find a lender that would also consider my income. They had no problems offering us a conventional loan so I don't understand the problem with a VA loan, especially since the federal policy does allow loan to unrelated co- borrowers. Also the title company gave us a big hassle because we wanted the deed written as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and not just as tenants in common. This title company has a policy of not offering joint tenant with ROS to unrelated co-borrowers unless they've consulted with a lawyer first. Since this was the title company that the mortgage company required us to use, we were stuck with them. Fortunately I have a friend who's father is a probate judge so I just dropped his name and that cleared everything up. The rest has just been minor stuff, like people assuming that Keith's last name is the same as mine and filling out paperwork accordingly.

Our biggest hassle so far had nothing at all to do with our marital status, we were just dealing with a little twit of a girl who couldn't comprehend anything that fell outside of her one brain cell's worth of job-related knowledge. It only took 5 phone calls, 3 faxes, and 2 conversations with her supervisor to straighten things out.

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2003

You guys know I work in a pet store, right? Imagine how I feel about this monkeypox stuff. I've been bitten alot and sometimes wonder if I could get something. The owner's son told me that one place we buy from was sued because a kid was bitten by a rat and died but he didn't know of what.

We have some neat stuff at the store. Hedgehogs, Chinchillas (my son wants one of them and I came close to buying one once...so cute), Dagus, Doormice, Spineymice, Russian hamsters, Dwarf hamsters...not to mention all the lizards.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2003

My Ali raised Chins for awhile. They are the softest things in the world ,and so adorable......and if they are handled alot when young very nice pets. Have to watch em closely when out of the cage though, cuz like all rodent friends, they like to chew electrical cords and other neat stuff.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2003

Man Polly, I don't know how you keep that pace up! It would drive me nutz to be that busy, not to mention exhausted.

Around here there ain't alot going on. We're still at four coons and one skunk caught in the live trap.

A buddy stopped over the other day with three blue gills to restock my pond. What the otters didn't get last fall, the winter killed off. Its gonna be slim pickins for the otters this fall but hopefully the gills will spawn this year if they haven't already so there'll be some youngsters going onto the winter. (thats what they feed on once the pond is frozen over)

Some good news---Although the frogs and toads really took a hit this last winter they were'nt totally wiped out. I was concerned about that. I see some big tadpoles, quite a few of them, in the pond. I'm guessing they're leopard frogs, and I do hear a few spring peepers, tree frogs and the toads. Used to have thousands of toad tads every year but this year haven't seen any so far but I do hear the toads. Its kinda funny how things work out.

In the fall the otters wipe out my adult fish population. Just left a buncha fingerlings and a coupla smaller bass and blue gills. Last winter was a real bear. Several weeks of zero degree weather with no snow, frost seven feet deep in places. Killed everything in my pond, not even a fingerling left from what I can tell.

Just a few frogs and toads seem to have survived. Haven't seen any of either but I hear them, even right now as I write this.

Prior to being raided by the otters, lotsa toads and quite a few frogs, but also lotsa fish in the big pond. Only ever saw toad tads in the big pond because the fish didn't bother the toads but would munch the frogs and their tads without hesitation. Now the fish population has been depleted the frogs have moved back into the pond and I expect to have lots of them next year if the winter is more reasonable. They say nature abhors a vacuum. It seems to be true.

I like our new mantis. Its small unuf to get into small places so I can do "spot" tilling and it does a good job too. I've cut roots, 3/4" thik with it. Its a little work because it "pulls" foreward and to till deep (8") you have to pull it back toward you. That woulda been murderous with the big tiller but not much of a problem with the mantis. About the only downside that I see so far is you gotta clean the tines now and then from the grass and roots that tangle in them.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2003

John, that's the only thing I always hated about tillers: the cleaning the grass out of the tines afterward. I'm not good with tedious chores, and I would get in a bad mood fast if I was all hyped to get out and do some tillin and I had to spend a half hour cleanin out the tines cuz I didn't clean em out last time I used it.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2003

Oh my Dee, I forgot that you work in a pet store. It must be kind of weird time for you. I remember back when I first started working in the blood bank, it was right at the time that HIV and Hepatitis C were starting to make the news and we were all a little freaked. At least this monkeypox stuff seems to be more along the lines of chickenpox, by that I mean it's not that serious of an illness if you're healthy to start. I hear that they're offering smallpox vaccinations to anyone who's been exposed to monkeypox, that seems like killing a mosquito with a shotgun to me.

I had some nice family news today from my mom. My grandma and her sister had a falling out several years ago. I was just a kid at the time so I don't know any of the details, I know it somehow involves a silver tea set but thats about it. Anyway, they haven't spoken to each other for decades, in fact Aunt Onalee and Uncle Harold moved to another state. What makes things even more complicated is that not only are my grandma and Aunt Onalee sisters, but my grandpa and Uncle Harold were brothers. So not only was grandma not speaking with her sister, she was keeping grandpa from talking to his brother. I think that Aunt Onalee has made attempts at a reconciliation a few times but grandma had rebuffed them (stubborn woman). In the beginning of March of this year Aunt Onalee had a major stroke. Then two weeks later my grandpa died. Aunt Onalee's Dr forbid her to make the trip up to Michigan for the funeral, but she went anyways (stubborn woman). Well that marked a turning point in the relationship. I think that grandma realized that life is short and family even shorter to stay mad for so long. She and her sister have reconciled and now they're back to being best friends again. It's too bad that this couldn't have happened while grandpa and Uncle Harold were still alive, but better late than never. :)

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2003

Sherri...I'm so glad for your Grandma and Aunt. Your story gives me hope that one day I might see my little sister again and she'll reconcile with our mom!!!

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2003

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