For you. *grin*
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can check it out on YouTube.
We don't have any flowers blooming in the garden, so I'm stuck with photographing them at rest, or at the feeders. Looks like I might be in the market for another feeder! They seem to enjoy the two I have, and three to choose from might be even more fun! I already have a garden hook to hang it from ... just need something to hang on it! Maybe for Mother's Day.... *grin* The "flowers" on this feeder is really bleached out from the HOT sun!
Hope you enjoyed the photos ... I sure enjoy taking them!
Here's the video I put together following this afternoon's storm. I'm sorry to have missed filming the earlier part of the storm -- I was so involved in watching what was happening! So, I missed the trees blowing sideways, tree branches blowing across the yard, the rain and huge HAIL blowing completely sideways. I'll be better prepared next time!
Here's a bit of what you'll see:
BIG HAIL (at 1:10 and 1:45ish)
My poor tomatoes and other garden plants
The new calf having a milkshake tasting contest, and a RACE!
Rain, rain, RAIN!
5 calves eating hay
Dash on post
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can always check it out on YouTube!
We've been watching storms in the area on the radar, and almost ALL of them have missed us. We soooo very badly need rain, that we welcome even serious storms! We thought today's storm might miss us, but it looped around and we caught the edge of it at least. The tornado siren in town was enabled twice today. Once before and during the first storm, and again for a second storm that soon followed the first. We saw rotation in the clouds, but nothing officially touched down that we could see.
These photos are presented in order that they were taken, starting with the one shown above.
...then it started raining...and blowing...and hailing!
I did take some video, and I'll share that when it finishes uploading to YouTube.
We've got several hummers visiting the feeders I have hanging out in the garden. They zip back and forth from the trees to the feeders, grab a snack, and occasionally come to rest on the wire fence trellis I have around the herbs. I snapped some photos when they were resting on the wire trellis.
I'll be sure to keep the feeders filled, so the birds have an excuse to stay around. I think they might be nesting in the trees behind the chicken house. Fun!
Alan and I spent a good amount of time today working on what I'm calling our redneck tomato bed -- a grid trellis and watering system. Last year, watering the garden was very time consuming, because every plant had to be watered by hand. It was too easy to get water on the leaves of the plants which spreads disease, so this year I wanted to change how we water the garden.
I showed Alan this video of how Donald, "The Bayou Gardener" in Louisiana, uses a PVC tube at each plant to direct water to each of his tomato plants. He fills the tube with water, and the water drains out slowly through a small hole he has drilled at the base of the tube. I really like this idea! And for what it's worth, I really like Donald's other videos, too!
Since our plants are in a raised bed, and not nearly as far apart as the plants in Donald's garden, Alan suggested that we create a larger fill tube at one end of the raised bed and connect it to a smaller "drain tube" that runs the length of the bed, with a small hole drilled at each plant to direct water at each plant in the bed. I liked his suggestion, so we did it!
The tomato plants also needed some sort of trellis, and I thought we could utilize the corner posts on the bed to create a sort of "grid" over the plants to help support them as they grow. We put this in place today too, and I'm crossing my fingers that it works!
We used 1x2 boards we had around the farm to create the grid trellis, supported by the 2x2 corner posts. Each plant had it's own section of grid when we were done. And we can add more height to the trellis as the plants get taller. The boards are all connected with screws, so at the end of the season, the grid can easily be taken down.
Once we had most of the grid trellis in place, we stood the large 5' tall x 3" wide fill tube at one end of the raised bed. We set it on a short brick to elevate it a bit from the other end of the garden bed.
We attached a narrower piece of 1.5" pipe to the fill tube, that had a small hole drilled at the location of each plant, to direct water along either side of the drain tube. If you look closely, you can see water squirting out of the pipe towards my tomato plants!
It takes about 25 seconds to fill the tubes, and it takes about 2 1/2 minutes for the unit to completely drain. We guesstimate that we're directing about 8 gallons of water to the bed when we fill the tubes and let them drain completely. In the heat of summer, I might have to fill the tube twice a day, but for now I'll keep an eye on the soil and plants to determine how often they'll need a refill.
I love that it's quick and easy to fill the tube with water, and I LOVE that it directs the water at the plants and keeps the water off of the leaves and hopefully soon-to-be-growing tomatoes! I'll also be able to add fertilizer or duck pond water to the fill tube as needed to give the plants an extra bit of growing power. We didn't glue any of the tube sections together, so it will be easy to take the sections apart for any required cleaning and winter storage.
Once we had it all in place, we wrapped the entire bed again with deer netting to keep the critters out. I admit it's not the "prettiest setup", but here's hoping it WORKS! And like Alan said ... as the plants get bigger and bigger, the supports will become less and less visible. And I think that's a GOOD THING! *grin*
If you'd like to see birthing photos, the next photos are for you.
If not ... proceed w/ caution! *grin*
Welcome to the farm, little fella!
This is Bing, one of the reasons I had to surround all of the garden beds with deer netting or short fence. He loves talking to the ladies in the chicken yard, so I've got to keep him out of the flower bed that runs nearly the full length of their yard. He likes snapping off my seedlings! Baaaad rooster! Thank goodness he can't jump my short 3' fence -- those frizzled feathers of his are worthless when it comes to flying.
Shorty is another reason for the netting and fences. He is particularly fond of dusting in the lose soil of the garden beds and planters. Baaaad rooster! But with netting and fences up, he's content to search for bugs and grubs in the grass.
The row of purple pole beans didn't come in very well, so last night I planted more pole bean seeds under the bean trellis. I was out of purple pole bean seeds (dang it!), so I planted green pole bean seeds. Grow, babies, grow!
The first planting of tomato plants are noticeably larger than they were just a few days ago. And the Juliet plants are putting on flowers! So soon!? We'll be setting up our tomato support structure soon ... more on that later.
The peas are noticeably larger too! And so THICK! Apparently I put plenty of seeds in the soil! *grin* Sure, it's a bit too late in the year for getting a good pea crop, but I've got a bed that gets shade most of the day until late afternoon. So, I thought why not plant some peas there... maybe they'll love it, maybe not!
The heirloom tomato starts I planted last weekend are starting to show growth. They might be small now, but let's hope they get mighty! They got goat fertilizer added to their bed ... you can see some of the pellets in the bottom right corner of the photo. Who knew those two silly goats could be so useful!
I had to put up a windbreak on the backside of the sweet pepper bed. We had such strong wind the other day, the plants were nearly laid over! They are MUCH happier now that they have a bit of shelter from the ridiculous wind we get here.
The strawberry plants are growing, too! Well, half of them anyway. I ordered some plants from Gurney's earlier this year, and the order kept being delayed. I wasn't sure they were going to ship at all, so when I saw strawberries on sale at the local farm supply store, I picked up a box. The roots looked a little on the small size, but they weren't dry or showing signs of mold or mildew. I planted them in the lower half of the prepared strawberry bed. Days later, I got the shipping notice for my Gurney's order.... more strawberries were on their way! (Good thing, too!) When the Gurney's order arrived, the roots were MUCH larger, and healthier looking. I planted them right away in the upper half of the prepared bed, and as soon as the next day they were already showing growth! About two weeks time is the difference between both plantings, and STILL the plants I bought from the local farm supply store have YET to show ANY above ground growth. Any bits of green you see in the lower half of the bed are either leaves that have blown in from the hackberry trees, or growth from the little tiny straggler roots from the Gurney's order that I planted in between the rows of roots from the farm supply! Lesson learned!
This evening I was looking for something specific in my photo archives. Eventually I found what I was looking for, but got sidetracked several times along the way by images that were either filled with great colors, of favorite places, or sparked fun memories, and well ... I just thought it might be fun to share some of them with you now and then!
So, I think I'll start a new "thing" here on the blog that I'll refer to as "Photo from the Archives". I know, clever, right? *grin*
I'm not going to schedule it for any particular day of the week or month, or with any sort of frequency -- it'll just be a random sort of thing. I may not say a lot about the images I share ... perhaps just a description, or location, or year. Even so, I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do!
And oh by the way, you'll find "Photo from the Archives" as a new category over in the list on the right side of the blog.
I took the photo on this post in 2003 in Skagit Valley, Washington around the time of the tulip festival, at one of the many tulip farms in the valley. The flower fields are an amazing thing to see in the spring, and I had a wonderful time visiting the fields with Dad's sister who lives in the area. Hope we can do it again sometime, this time with Alan along for the ride!
I have a photo published in the May/June 2011 issue of GRIT, and received a spare copy of the magazine from the publisher. I don't need two copies of the magazine for myself, so I thought I would do a give-away for the spare.
If you'd like to enter the drawing for a copy of this issue, leave me a note! I'll choose a name at random on Friday morning, April 22.
Here's to gettin' gritty!
Hopefully you've been able to check out the samples the featured designers have shared for this release so far. Wonderful ideas, all of them! The best part of being an illustrator is seeing what other stampers do with my art. So fun!
I was able to get several cards made using the smiling flowers and garden sentiment from Garden of Friendship.
I made stamping extra easy by mounting the two images together on the acrylic block. Having them mounted like this made for quick and EASY stamping! Ink, stamp, ink, stamp, ink, stamp... Placing images and sentiments like this on a single block means there's no need to line up the sentiment each time. Get it in the right spot once, and you're ready to stamp again and again and again!
It's time for another Whipper Snapper Designs cling set release! We've got three new sets releasing today, as well as a recipe card stamp that will come in handy for so many projects! I've got a lot of info to share, so let's get to it!
Garden of Friendship is filled with all kinds of garden themed images and even a few sentiments. And you can't have a garden set without garden HELPERS, like two fat hens, bees, and butterflies!
And I am particularly fond of the smiling sunflower trio! They get me excited for our own blooming sunflowers! On both of these cards, I used the text block from All Things with Love to add interest to the background. I like the whimsical font of the text background image combined with the images in the Garden of Friendship set.
Garden Fresh is a set that won't be leaving my desk any time soon. I have been having a blast coloring up various jars of homemade goodness! I can't WAIT to make labels and tags for all my summertime canning, and homemade gifts!
The recipe card was designed to be simple, and easy to use. It tucks nicely into standard sized recipe boxes. I have another project to share with you that features the recipe card and companion images, but will need to wait until another day. *grin*
(Click on images for a larger view.)
You are going to want to check out the blogs and galleries of the Featured Designers we've lined up for this release, as they share projects throughout the month. They are amazing stampers sure to impress and inspire!
The Who's Who of March/April Featured Designers:
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/ShellieD
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/ematson
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/flowergal36
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/PMarsh5
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/3_Little_Love_Bugs
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/Thimbles
and Me! Anna Wight
SCS Gallery: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/go/sweetmissdaisy
You can see all of the projects current and past Featured Designers have uploaded to their SplitCoast galleries by viewing the Whipper Snapper Featured Designer Gallery. Have a look -- it's a great place to find all KINDS of great inspiration!
We're about 125 or so miles from the closest wildfire in Texas, but the smoke is all around us. I took this photo this evening, well before sunset. There's not a cloud in the sky ... no fog either. Just smoke. You can see the sun, well above the horizon.
The smoke blew in thick and heavy late last night, and continues to linger. The smell of smoke was so strong (and so sudden) last night, we thought perhaps a nearby pasture had caught fire during the lightning storm we were having. We got a bit of rain with last night's brief storm, but it wasn't even enough to make the chicken yard muddy.
According to weather reports, March 2011 was the driest March on record since 1895...
I'm not kidding when I say we need LOTS of rain. Isn't it about time for a hurricane?
I was almost finished with my tax return. I got to the page right before you select your filing option, and saw my refund amount that was so proudly displayed in the top corner during the entire entry process miraculously turn into a "you owe us" amount! How could this be?! ... I got to poking around on the various pages and found that somehow ALL of my business income and expense entries were now at $0, and it was basing my "you owe us" amount purely on my salary.
I cleared the entire form, and will re-enter the data Friday, bright and EARLY. Should take a lot less time the second time around, I hope!
Argh, argh, ARRRRGH!!
I've received several requests for an update on the garden, so I took some time this evening to snap some photos.
I said in a post on Friday that I was going to spend some time working in the garden over the weekend, and guess what! I did!
So, here ya go! A garden update for you!
Here's the big picture. You can see all of the new beds we built, and the 2x2 stakes that Alan added to the corner of every raised bed. LOVE THEM! They make it possible to wrap the beds with deer netting to deter the chickens, cats, dogs, armadillo, and whatever else wanders through the yard OUT of the beds. The beds are wrapped with the netting now, and you can hardly see it in the photos! Like the blue and silver tarp on the chicken yard? Yeah, we do too. But it kept the rain from blowing in under the roof all winter and not once did it get muddy in the covered yard, so we put up with it's beauty. Soon, I'll remove the tarp and replace it with a sun shade. That way the breeze can get through, but the harsh afternoon sunlight gets blocked.
The aluminum tub I grew lavender in last year will be the herb garden this year. (Which reminds me, I need to update the 2011 garden map!) The lavender didn't make it through the winter, so I pulled out the dead twigs and planted basil, dill, chives, and some spearmint. Then the roosters promptly jumped in and kicked about the top 2" of dirt out -- and I'm guessing most of the seeds, too. So I put what dirt I could back into the tub and added a wire cucumber trellis from last year to the top of the dirt to keep the roosters out. Little buggers! The wooden produce basket has what's left of my mint plant from last year. It was growing on the other side of the garden in a similar basket, and it was growing GREAT! ...until the roosters decided they needed to scratch around in the basket for bugs, kick all the dirt off of the mint plant, and destroy the basket. I saved what I could of the plant and replanted it in this basket, and surrounded it with a little wire fence. And it got a healthy drink of duck pond tea! How's that for a summertime beverage!?
Things are moving along at the front of the coop. Both of the large raised beds will be tomato plant beds. I was going to plant sweet peppers in the front bed, but decided to plant the peppers on the other side of the garden, to make room for more tomato plants! I think what I might do, before I plant anything in the front bed, is add another row of 2x6 boards (and more SOIL) to increase the depth of the bed. Right now it's the shallowest of all the new beds at only 6" deep, and I'd like a few more inches of dirt if I'm going to put tomatoes there. You can see what tomatoes I do have planted in the second bed. You can also see the flower bed along the front of the chicken house -- I've got lots of flowers coming up in that bed! There's a hummingbird feeder hanging there that has at least 1 hummer feeding from it. There's a narrow bed along the chicken yard where I've got gourds and sunflowers and a few cucumbers seeded. They will grow up nicely on the fence and provide OODLES of shade during the hot summer afternoons. At the corner of the chicken yard is where I've got a few more sunflowers and more chives, and where another humming bird feeder hangs (when it's not being washed).
This is a portion of the LONG bed that runs the full length of the 30' chicken yard. I dug it deep this year and added lots of compost from the farm. I edged the entire bed with a 2' wire fence to keep the roosters out of this bed. There are a few cucumber plants stuck in this bed, along with more gourds (several variety), sunflowers, strawflowers, zinnia, and California poppies. There might be other things too, but that's what I can remember. Oh! And at the VERY end of the chicken yard, I planted three raspberry canes, where they have room to make lots of new canes!
I'm amazed at how big the tomato plants are already! The larger plants were planted last week, and the smaller two (which you can't really see at the bottom of the photo) I planted this evening right before dinner. Soon we'll be adding some trellising to support the plants as they grow.
I planted the sweet pepper plants over the weekend. I picked these plants up at the store, not trusting the seeds I saved from last year's garden. They weren't heirloom, and I just didn't want to be left with no peppers this year if the plants I grow from them don't produce any peppers! So I bought 2 Big Berthas, 2 Orange Bell, 2 Sweet Red Bell, and 1 Yellow Bell. Next to the Yellow Bell, I planted the ONLY Chocolate Pepper plant that sprouted from the seeds I bought last fall.
FINALLY, the seeds I planted in the other raised beds sprouted! I think these are the black zucchini. Or maybe the 8-Ball zucchini... I can't remember off hand which bed this photo is of! Ha! At least I know what's planted in each bed, and when they start producing fruit, it will really be obvious! I can't wait for these to get a little bigger so I can add some good farm mulch around them! And it looks like I might even need to thin them out a little! In other beds, the beans are coming up, cucumbers, more squash, patty pan, and even more zucchini! The strawberry bed isn't showing ANY activity at all... but I've got another 15 or so plants to add to finish out the bed. Hopefully we get at least a few of them to grow!
Finally, not really a GARDEN update, but an update just the same. Remember the gorgeous little chick Alan brought me last month -- the one that had really heavy "eye liner"? She's growing up so big! Still no idea what breed she really is -- I haven't taken time to research it. Maybe an easter egger... dunno. She doesn't really have the right comb for an easter egger... Anyway, as always, I'm hoping she's a SHE! She doesn't display any rooster behaviors, and really just wants to either be held, or sit on my shoulder. My money's on her being a SHE ... but then again, I'm not really a betting girl.
In this post, I mentioned I wanted to do a Whipper Snapper stamp give-away, and the winning name has been randomly selected from all comments left on that post ... big congrats to #32, Dee in NH!
Dee, get in touch with me and let me help you shop at Whipper Snapper! *GRIN*
Supposed to be HOT here in the "Milford Vortex" today and tomorrow (90+, and not a drop of rain)... meanwhile, Mom and Dad are still experiencing some snow flurries and chilly temps up in northeastern Washington. Unbelievable how late in the year they're seeing snow! I'm sooo very envious of their weather this year. I love the cold, and rain. Alan saw a news article that stated that 179 counties (~80%) of Texas is currently in "serious drought" conditions. From what I'm seeing, that's no joke.
This weekend, I plan to do a bit of work in the garden -- most (99%) of the seeds I planted have yet to sprout, so I may be looking into getting some plants from a local garden center and planting them in place of the unsprouted seeds. In addition to planting, I'll be wrapping the last of the beds with deer netting to keep the free-range roosters, cats, and armadillos out of the garden beds. Wish me luck!
In other news, I've been busy working on samples for an upcoming cling set release for Whipper Snapper! The release date is scheduled for April 18, and I can't WAIT! I have so many ideas for the new sets, and have been having a blast creating projects!
Speaking of Whipper Snapper, I'd like to do a little give-away! I'd like to offer one lucky reader the option of choosing one Whipper Snapper individual stamp (not set) of your choice. Have you SEEN the cute images from the Spring release?! Ack! If you'd like to be included in the drawing, leave a comment here on this post. Sunday evening I'll choose one name from all comments. The lucky reader will be able to browse through the Whipper Snapper store, select their stamp of choice (and mount preference), and I'll get it ordered up! Sounds like fun to me! *grin*
What are your plans for the weekend!?
Alan had to run some errands in town yesterday afternoon. When he came home I was out in the chicken yard saying hello hello HELLO to the ladies. He said I had a package... that I should go to the house and check it out. Oh REALLY!? I like packages!
To celebrate today's release, the High Hopes design team is doing a blog hop! Start at the beginning of the hop by going to the High Hopes blog. There you'll find all the details about the release, and the hop.
I chose to use this adorable "Duckie Flying Kite" image for today's card. Isn't this just the cutest duck fanny you've ever seen!? QUACK!!
Next stop on the hop is the always amazing ANDREA!
More new-release fun with High Hopes Stamps today! We're sharing sneak peeks of DRAGONS! You'll find a complete list of designers sharing peeks at images today on the High Hopes blog.
Also, yesterday's challenge is "open" for two weeks, so there is still lots of time to participate in the "for the boys" theme.
There's a challenge being hosted on the High Hopes Stamps blog, For the Boys ... check it out!
We're sharing sneak peeks of new release images releasing this week, so you'll want to pop in and see the rest of the projects being shared, even if you're not able to join in the challenge. I think this little party celebration robot is so cute, and I used a nuts and bolts image on the background (stamped very lightly). There are oodles of techno-themed sentiments, too! FUN!
We used the reclaimed lumber we bought at a local lumber yard to build the beds, so they're full of "character". Very few of the pieces were the same length (or width), so Alan did lots of measuring and cutting to get optimum use of each board. The beds are not all the same length (or height) but I think they're PERFECT in their own wonky sort of way! Eventually there will be mulch between the rows to keep the grass down. You can see some of last year's mulch over near the pitch fork - it is still doing a great job of keeping the grass down!
We have enough soil from our delivery for one more 4'x8' bed, which will go in front of the chicken house. We got the bed built today, but I need to get the area prepped before we actually put the bed in it's final location and fill it with soil. We ran out of "steam", and daylight, to get it done today.
Here is Jonathan busy cutting 2x2s into 4' lengths. They will be added to each bed corner to help keep the netting I will be wrapping around each bed in place. Gotta keep those silly roosters, barn cats, and armadillos out of the beds! In this photo you can also see Alan on the tractor bringing a bucket full of dirt around. LOVE LOVE LOVE that we have the tractor bucket for moving all of the soil.
Next steps... forking in a bit of compost and readying the soil for planting, actually doing the planting, and getting watering hoses in place. Oh, and getting the last bed in place.
We're tired. We will sleep GOOD tonight!
LtoR: Dumbo (Harry), Pixie Stix (partially behind tree), Gracie (black one in front), Riblet (black one closer to the fence), and Popsicle (standing)
And here's why I hardly ever get photos of the goats with "short" lenses on the camera (or any lens, for that matter!) ... the camera strap gets chewed on, my pockets get assaulted, my toes get stood on. *grin*
If you picked up a copy of the 2011 On the Farm calendar, you might already know that you get to enjoy cats for the month of April! There's Popeye (top left), Junior (bottom left), and Sparky (right).
And if you haven't picked up a copy of the 2011 On the Farm calendar, well ... it's not too late! *grin*