Dear Shooter…..we miss her so much! She was the best! We lost our favorite cow in November of 2016. On that sad day I told the family that I was building a Memorial garden in memory of Shooter. Well, it’s taken me this long to finally finish my project. So now, I’m not sure who’s resting more peacefully…..me or Shooter?! Let’s take a look at this garden and see what has transpired in the last year and a half……………….. I didn’t have it all mapped out, I just kinda created as I went along. This was an empty space and for die-hard gardeners……no empty space is allowed. My parents gave me the wagon as a gift. I was on cloud nine. So, of course I had to incorporate this into my latest project. Shooter would have loved it! Empty and ugly. I finally got tired of looking at this unfinished project and decided enough is enough. The “boys” were kind of between work projects and so I casually announced one evening that we should “get rid of the gravel pile” tomorrow. Haha Earl being the handy man with the tractor and loader. I had ordered the gravel and it had been on a pile since last summer. This isn’t easy work….maybe that’s why I was procrastinating. This is back breaking work……smoothing out the gravel. We persevered and conquered the beast! Needless to say, we were sweating buckets. I started gathering little things here and there to make the garden cozy and comfy in memory of Shooter. I bought the plants for a “song”. This time of year everything is marked way down. This is the night version of Shooter’s garden. I had all the lights in storage that were leftover from Christmas shopping. So, I dug them out and Ta-Da….I thought it made a spectacular show. Just in time for the 4th of July. Not that we party or anything….but it’s the thought that counts. I love sitting out after dark and turning on all the lights. It’s so peaceful…… Here we have the “star of the show”….Shooter. I remember the night that she was born….and the night she died. She had a difficult breech birth…..and both she and the calf fluttered to “cow heaven” the same day. (breech is a calf coming out backwards) The Troyer household was very quiet that night. You might say it’s just a cow, but when you raise them from babies on up for years they become a part of the family. Now granted……we have quite a few that I would call very wicked. I am not attached to them. Just like humans….some are kind and lovely and then we have mean and ugly!! We all cried big crocodile tears for our dear Shooter. It’s so nice to finally finish that project. I like it…………………….Carol
I’ve also been busy placing all my “garden flags” around the farm. Memorial Day is just around the corner and it was very important to have them all up and proudly waving in the wind. I love decorating with the flag, but more importantly I’m so grateful for the sacrifices that have been made so that we can live free. Once I place all my flags…..they usually stay up for the rest of the summer. This is what I have…………… This one stays up all the time. I never take it down. It certainly adds color in the dreary days of winter, and summer time is for all the patriotic holidays. The flag adds beauty anywhere I put it. A patriotic welcome on my front porch. No one ever comes to the front door……everyone likes the back porch best. But I still have to have my front porch looking its best….just in case. The cats like it too…..we have a litter of kittens living here. Welcome to the dairy farm! This is out by the road flowerbed. This gives the whole front yard a nicer look. I usually take these down after the holiday and just keep them safe until the next use. Too many “pranksters” in our neck of the woods. My concrete cow decided to mooooove her legs and walk out to the barn. Haha What a pathetic joke?! Michael moved her for me…..notice her cute little cow bell? She desperately needs a coat of black and white paint, but that will have to wait for the “dog days” of summer…..when it’s too hot to move. She did ask for a flag to stay by her side. I gladly granted her wish. And this about does it. My color scheme this year is red, white, and blue. More purple than actual blue but I’m ok with that. I always have red……a farm must have red flowers. Those are the rules. Enjoy the weekend…………………Carol
I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere with my “to-do” list after spending weeks putting up hay. I’m never totally caught up. You know the saying….”A woman’s work is never done”. How true that is. I just quit for the day and start over again tomorrow. I try to prioritize, but when it comes to planting flowers and working outside…..everything else takes a back seat. So, come along and I’ll show you how a farm girl/milkmaid likes to garden. I love antiquing and flea markets, but hardly ever have time to go. Usually it’s only when friends or family visit from miles away and I get to take the day off and show them a good time. So, I’ve collected a few things over the years and I like to incorporate them into my garden plans. Like this wagon…..it carries something different every summer. I can never make up my mind…..so I change it up constantly. I didn’t actually find this at a sale. I found it hanging in the barn. What a priceless treasure….if you’re into this kind of thing. And I am…I love “cow skulls”. Maybe because I’ve worked with cattle for nearly 25 years. I’ve learned a thing or two. My life is consumed with cows, calves, and cow poop. I pick things up here and there. I don’t always know where I’m going to put it, but it usually comes to me when I’m in the barn milking the bossy bovines. My mind begins to wander while waiting on a slow poke cow and suddenly…..a light bulb goes on!! The big rock comes from our pasture. I don’t think Earl will ever move it again. Amen! What’s not to like about an old iron wheel?! So many memories are sitting right there in that flowerbed. If only they could talk. The great stories they would tell. So glad we don’t have to farm that way anymore. Whew! Those pioneer farmers had to work hard. And I thought I had to work hard?! Thank God I don’t have to milk by hand! This bike belonged to my Aunt Clara. We called it her “red corvette”. A lot of memories go with this thing. I always have it right here by the tree…..so I walk by it every day on my way to and from the barn. I just want you to know that not everything is lovely around here. This bed was a natural disaster. I had to walk past it every day and I shuddered every time. How could I allow it to become so hideous?! What is wrong with me? What in the world am I thinking? What am I doing? Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to work and did some serious weeding and planting. I feel like I accomplished something great. My only problem….little Dixie Chic is digging holes and laying in the cool dirt. Grrrr……I am fit to be tied. It’s like training a young child all over again. I think I’ll just look away and pretend I never saw anything…or maybe not………………………Carol
Ok, so my last post was about mowing down hay for the cows. I’m supposed to be talking about the next step….raking and hauling and wrapping. We’re still in the middle of all that feed making process, so I’ve got plenty of time to talk “feed” later on. Instead I’m going to slip in a short gardening story. I’ve been working on this project all spring and finally wrapped it up. This particular bed was long overdue for an extreme makeover. It was looking stale and outdated. Plus it desperately needed some fresh compost. I love taking something old and ugly and transforming into something beautiful. I found this compost pile in the back pasture. I was so excited….it’s good stuff. So, I grabbed Michael and we headed to the back 40. It took 2 loads of this “gold” to transform one big bed. I sure hope it makes things grow. Just look at the ugliness! It was so weed infested and the soil was hard and ugly. My poor hostas were gasping for air. I didn’t have it all planned out in my head…..I just started digging. The rest of the inspiration came to me as I went along. I think I broke a sweat when I did all that shovel work, but I am not complaining. That wicked weather from last winter is still too fresh in my mind. It’s amazing what a little TLC can do. I wish I had more time to sit and relax in this chair. It’s an excellent place to hide from the rat race. I freshened up my little gravel pathway. It was looking very worn and tattered. I shoveled the gravel onto my little trailer and carried it in by bucket. Not an easy job, but I was determined. I put in a few new plants. Three lilac bushes and two oak leaf hydrangeas. A few coral bells and some annuals. Here’s to hoping that everything will grow beautifully this summer. The cat is very real! So, this is what I’ve been doing in my spare time. Now I need to keep moving around to the rest of the beds. My poor patio is crying out for attention. It is very important to get this feed project finished up because I’ve got flowers to plant………………….Carol
Yes! Finally, I am reaping the harvest. I planted cold weather vegetables the first of March and am now enjoying the “fruits of my labor”. It is so delicious! Vegetables that are packed full of flavor. I’m not being ungrateful, but the grocery store vegetables taste pretty bland compared to homegrown. Gardening takes some effort, but well worth it. Just look…..a sight for sore eyes. I could eat my lunch outside by the garden….all I need is a salt shaker. I can use my handy dandy pocket knife to cut and trim….shake off the dirt and we’re good to go. Hmmm…..where has that pocket knife been? What have I been cutting today? I love red leaf lettuce…..green lettuce…..any color lettuce. All that work of putting a cage around everything finally paid off. Those sorry “chickens” tried their best…but to no avail. My ongoing war with the chickens is almost over. I have my pen built….all I lack is to cut their wings so that they can’t fly over the fence. I’ve asked myself a thousand times…..is this really worth it??? Still no answer. Kale is cool! Or so I hear. I like to eat it when it’s young and tender. Hot or cold? I’ll take it either way. I planted enough for an army though. I always seem to get carried away during planting season. This year I’m going to try and rein it in a bit when I plant the rest of my garden. Not plant more than is necessary. Be reasonable….practice self-control. Is that possible for a “mad cow milkmaid”? We shall find out. Last but not least. My apple trees are blooming right now. Such beautiful blooms. I’m hoping for a bountiful harvest. We like homemade applesauce and we ate the last of it about a week ago. It’s a mess to make, but sure is tasty. “Farm to table”….”know where your food comes from”….”farm to fork”….everybody’s jumping on the bandwagon. I didn’t even know it, but I’ve been on the “bandwagon” ever since I was a kid. Some things never change…………………….Carol
Every farm has a junk pile. Amen! Some may be hidden from view. Others may be in plain sight. Then again…you might find some in the “back forty” dumped on a pile in a low spot. It’s inevitable. What are we supposed to do with all the “scrap metal” that you might use in the next 50 years?! You dare not get rid of it…it might be valuable someday. Then again…the price for scrap iron might go up and we could haul it off and make 30 bucks or so. Or worse…the farmers wife might decide to use it in her garden. I’m talking about rusty old stock tanks. These are the best when it comes to early spring gardening. My big garden is saturated. Spring is sorta like our “monsoon” season. So these tanks “fit the bill” for all the cool weather greens. Here’s my spearmint tea. Aaaahhhh……it smells wonderful. It stays contained in this tank, otherwise it spreads like wildfire. Here’s the “big granddaddy”. I planted strawberries in here last summer. I can’t believe they survived our wicked winter. Just look….a nice little patch. The netting is to keep the chickens out. I’m at war with the critters. So, my next project is building a chicken pen ASAP. I can’t function if they scratch around in my flowerbeds. Don’t they realize that my gardening is my life?! Flowers are much more important than chickens. End of story! I have 5 or 6 tanks in the back yard. I planted lettuce, radishes, spinach, kale, and green onions. I tried potatoes in one as an experiment. Will see how they grow. I’m chompin’ at the bit….can’t wait for some fresh greens. The grocery store produce just doesn’t have flavor. I’ll eat right from the tank. A little dirt doesn’t hurt. Shucks, I’ve had cow poop all over my face and hair and I’m still alive. Here again, the netting is for the chickens AND the cats. Oh the cats….that really gets my goat! Just wanted to show you my “tomatoes” that I have in the house. Remember I started some seeds to see if I’ve got the touch? Now, I’m begging for a greenhouse. I want it heated so that I can sit out there in the dead of winter and “play” when the going gets rough. And eat boxes of donuts and bags of chocolates and pans of lemon bars. It’ll be my “girl cave”. No boys allowed……………………….Carol
P.S. This is totally unrelated……The boys and I were watching a show a while back and a “busy signal” was mentioned. They looked at me and asked……what’s that? So, I proceeded to explain to them what the old rotary and land line phones were all about. If someone was on the line…a buzzing sound, and you had to call back later. How weird….they couldn’t imagine such a time….haha. Now you know that I’m a 70’s child. They think I’m old.
So, I decided that I’m going to be proactive and start some seeds on my own. I love snapdragons and so I ordered a few of those seeds plus some sweet peas. These are both cool weather flowers and in my mind I was going to be ahead of the game. Little did I know what kind of surprise I had waiting on me. Another lesson in life. Live and learn. Nothing is ever as easy as it appears. I gathered together all my supplies and got to work. When I came to the snapdragon seeds……my mouth dropped open. Holy Moly! Have you seen the size of them?! Very tiny! Extremely tiny! I proceeded to gather up my stuff and headed for the kitchen table. This was going to take a little time. Take a look at that. Yes, that’s a 4 dollar package of snapdragon seeds. What a sucker I am. Well, not wanting to waste any of them I put on my reading glasses, grabbed the magnifying glass, and tweezers. Those little dudes can jump. Every time I got one with the tweezers…..they would pop all over the place. It was maddening! I really don’t know if any of them made it into the tiny holes. I just did the best I could and called it good. I was eating handfuls of jelly beans throughout the whole process. I was about to have a fit! I have no idea if anything will sprout. I’ll be sure to let you know either way. It may have been a total bust. So, this is what I felt like doing when I finished…… collapse on the chair and take a nap. But alas, I’m not a dog. Just a wanna be gardener trying something new………………………..Carol