Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Prickly pear roses...






We've been moving cows out on the summer range 
and the dry prairie is all abloom with prickly pear cactus.
The most beautiful roses ever!  
Just don't pick.
Ouch!
Happy Summer Solstice!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gardening...










Will you take a turn or two around the gardens with me?  We're still in the early stages of gardening, but things are coming along.  The flowers are taking their turns blooming.  The columbine are finished and setting seeds while the phlox are showing off along with the poppies and larkspur.  The last of the allium are blooming and the shrub roses are just starting with their spring show.   In a few days the lilies will be the sassy ones showing their enormous blooms and bright colors.  The zinnia  and nasturtium seeds have sprouted and show promise of flowers to come in mid to late summer.

The veggie gardens are up and growing!  It has been slow to warm up much here and the wind has been very blustery this spring so my tomato plants are small but healthy.  There are a few blossoms coming, but they need some heat to get excited about growing.  The same for the pepper plants.  Snap peas, carrots, and beans are up and happy.  Onions, garlic, radishes, and lettuce are abundant and we've had  a nice little harvest of asparagus.  Salad eating has been great so far this spring.  I didn't show any pics of the broccoli plants I plugged in, but they are quite happy.  So are the zukes and cukes and squash plants.  

The big patch on the hillside is my potato patch.  The spuds are growing great.  I'm hoping I can avoid potato scab this year.  We shall see how it goes.  It seems that every year is an experiment in the garden.  There are always so many variables year by year. I've been mulching everything I can with old hay to keep weeds down and water moisture in the ground.  That's working well.  The little garter snakes like the warm hay beds with an abundance of bugs underneath.  They surprise me now and then when I bend over to pull weeds.

I forgot to mention that my plum tree has quite a few green plums on it and the apple tree and tiny cherry tree have fruit on them too.  My cherry tree is about 3 feet tall at the most and it's bearing a handful of green cherries.  I'm tickled! 

I have a couple buckets of BFGs (big fat geraniums) that are flanking my front door with their plump, red balls of flowers.  I have always had red geraniums on my front porch in summer.  I like their old-fashioned welcoming ways. Do you?  What's your favorite front door or porch flower?

We've been working in the hay field making as many bales as we can.  The hay will not be abundant this year, but we'll get all we can.  We are thankful we have what we have.  Others in our area will have no hay to put up and hay will be expensive to buy.  Ranching is always a gamble.

Just a few more days until the official day of Summer!  Yay!  I love summer!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Salt...


"Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, 
how will you make it salty again? 
Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
 ~Mark 9:50

This verse was part of my reading today.  
So I looked up how salt was used through the ages.  
Here is a short list that I came up with.

SALT:
Flavoring foods
Preserving foods.
Preserving fish and curing meats.
Pickling olives and vegetables.
Used in sacred anointing oil in Old Testament.
Infants were rubbed down with salt for health before swaddling.
Antidote for tooth decay and tooth ache
For cleansing (salt water)
Marco Polo reported that in Tibet, cakes of salt were pressed with images of the emperor and used as currency. Salt bars were, and reportedly are still used as money in parts of Ethiopia.
During the War of 1812, the American government,  unable to pay their soldiers in coin, paid in salt brine.
Emblem of firm union, concord, and agreement: hence the covenant of peace is called a covenant of salt.
Linked with health, hospitality, durability, and purity.
Considered as wisdom in speech.
..................................................................................................
I've been using salt these past few days, rinsing my mouth to heal a sore.  It stings a little at first, and then it soothes and gives relief.  Often I have used warm salt water to soak injuries and remove infection or to relieve sore throats.  It works beautifully.  Such a simple, common mineral is so useful.  It reminds me of what Jesus said, "Have salt in yourselves."  How can we be used as salt?  We can offer the hope of healing to an injured world though it may sting a little, we can offer relief, we can offer wisdom, we can offer savory taste to life, we can be spent while we are on earth because of Jesus in us.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6
He calls us the salt of the earth. 
What does it mean to you to have salt in yourself?
Are you salty?

Thursday, June 08, 2017

The power of music...



Here's something I've learned about myself.  When I am driving home from a day of being in town, I sometimes start to get tired, and do you know what revives me (besides peppermint gum)?  Music.  Especially my Oldies Station, COOL 101.9.   It's the music I grew up with.  When I click on that station, my mind wakes up, I can sing all the words to songs that I've not heard in years.  When I see this video of Alzheimer's patients, I think to myself, we ALL respond to music, don't we?  If you'd like to read the article from Dr. Mercola on the power of music on dementia and Alzheimer's patients, it's really worth a read HERE.

I love so many, many kinds of music:  60s, 70s, Bluegrass, Jazz, Country, Classical, Hymns.  Just about every style and type.  Let's do something fun!  In the comments, will you list some of your favorite songs or artists or types of music? Who is on your iPod or on your Pandora Stations?
Here's mine:  Alison Kraus & Union Station, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Etta James, Leon Bridges, Motown, Sinatra, Gaithers, Selah, James Taylor, Eagles, YoYo Ma.  And I could go on and on!  Ok.  Your turn!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Pullets, hens, and haying equipment...

 These are my pullets.
Black Star.
They are black with a gold hackle and breast.
They are a hybrid laying hen that can lay 300+ eggs in a lifetime.  They aren't broody and tend to have a calm, friendly personality.  They are good feed converters and lay large brown eggs.
They will start laying in September, I hope.

 These are the Pearl White Leghorn laying hens.
They're still laying strong, between 20-23 eggs a day.

 Hens out grazing and grubbing.

 As you can see by the skies, we're hoping for a good thundershower or two tonight.
While we wait, NumberOneSon is getting the haying equipment ready.
Above:  Heston Swather, Vermeer Baler, John Deere Baler
hooked up to 4630 and 7510 JD tractors.
 
 This is my rig.
Vermeer rake hooked on to the old JD 2520.

And here's the mower.
A Vermeer attached to another 4630 John Deere tractor.
We're sure hoping that a good rain puts a halt to our start up.
We'd rather let the hay grow, but if it doesn't rain, 
we're going after what we have.
Praying for rain.
 
“I will give you rain at the right time, 
and the land will yield its produce, 
and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.” 
~Leviticus 26:4

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Sunday drive on the prairie...

 Twogrooved Poisonvetch
purple flower in foreground.
The light yellow all over behind are
Meadow deathcamas.
Both plants are poisonous to livestock.

 Hereford cows and calves on summer range.

 Smooth Beardtonge
or
Penstemon Glaber

 Ballhead Ipomopsis
or
Ipomopsis congesta

Ballhead Ipomopsis

Hubby and I took a morning drive out to check cows and calves and to evaluate the grass and water situation.  Everything looks pretty good on the range, but the hay fields are not so great.  The hay is  very short and burning up fast so we'll start cutting this week unless we get a big thunderstorm.  We went from cold and windy to hot and dry practically overnight.  Such is life on the northern prairie.

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