Friday, May 31, 2013

Our Muddy Paddock Is Drying Up

Tawny & Georgie Girl along the fence line.

Even though we look forward to spring time, we know it will also be a muddy time for a period. The spring rains wash away the snow that is left and the dirt and grime of winter. Maybe that was how spring cleaning got started. The animals lose their winter coats and the spring rain makes them soft and shiny. We don't have as big of a problem with the mud outside of our horses' paddock. Our ground gets soggy in places, but if you don't walk there or drive on it, that area will dry up fine. Unless a horse gets out and tromps all over that spot.

A muddy paddock!

In the paddock, that is another story. The ground gets walked on by three heavy animals and leave behind deep tracks in the ground. That makes a lot of mud when it rains for days. A quick rain in the summer doesn't do much damage. It just runs off. Our paddock has a little hill right near the barn, where they have always found relief from the mud, if they didn't want to be inside.

Dark Shadow all dirty from laying in the mud!

Soon though, the summer weather will dry it up. The paddock grows a little bit of grass, but they don't seem to like that grass as much as the kind that grows in our yard. When we first moved here in 1999, this whole paddock was all forest. My husband cleared it, using only his chainsaw. No heavy equipment at all. Even the stumps. We used to let the horses out in the yard to eat our grass, but they got a bit wild and wrecked our garden. Now they get the grass from the lawn when my husband cuts the grass. They nicker when he takes the lawn mower out!

"Fresh grass is SO good!"

Our lawn mower is electric, running on batteries that we charge in the house with our alternative energy system. That means there is no nasty fumes on the grass they are given. Just nice fresh grass from the lawn. We try not to use anything that will contaminate our gardens or our lawn. Our lawn furnishes us with wild foods, known as "weeds" in the other world. We try to make that extra effort to keep it safe. After all, it is for our health and our animals' health!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Planting Our Garden In Spite Of The Weather

Wood Raised Beds Planted

My husband and I have been working on our garden as much as possible for this whole month. We thought our weather was going to let us get our garden in before Memorial Day, and was excited about that. Well, it did let us get it in a day or so before. But we had nights of frost warnings, tornado warnings, high winds, heavy rain and days so damp, cold with no sunshine. EEK! Not good for planting my precious little transplants and new seeds!

Salad Greens Already Coming Up!

Luckily, salad greens and lettuces like cold weather. I did cover them up the nights of the frost warnings. For the most part, I didn't worry about them. They are all coming up really good. I can't wait, because we eat salad every day if possible. Buying it from the store in the winter is not my favorite thing to do. This year, for sure, I am going to get some salad greens going in the fall, for winter time salads. I say that every year, but this year I am doing it for sure!

Backyard Beds Mostly Of Rock

For the time being, we have all but two beds planted. We will fill them up with more compost in the next few days and get them planted too. I have also planted many containers. My tomatoes will stay on the deck this year, away from the rest of the garden in their own containers. Hopefully, that will keep them from getting the dreaded Late Blight. I have really missed canning my own tomatoes for these last two years. This year I am determined to overcome that problem. Tomatoes in the grocery stores have absolutely no taste. Compare one of them to your own home grown tomatoes and see what you think!
No Fumes! Uses Human Power!

In these times of everything costing so much money, planting a garden is truly a necessity. Growing your own food is so important. Most people cut their budgets to accommodate other expenses, and you know where they cut it? If you guessed, their grocery were right! When food in the grocery stores is questionable, it is time to get your hands dirty. If you are not growing your own are way behind! You are not putting your health and your family's health above everything else. Start today! Once you get started, I am sure you will love it. So will your family!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Composting Is An Important Element Of Our Garden

I am sure most people have seen these composters. Maybe you even have one in your yard or garden. They work good and should be used by everyone. It comes in handy to have it near your garden. Then you do not have to haul the dirt from it so far to your garden. Mine is right in the middle of our raised beds in our yard. It doesn't turn or do anything special. Just sits there. A lot of work is going on inside!

Up close, its not so pretty!

Since we have horses, we compost their manure. If you have some kind of livestock, composting their waste makes sense. Even if you only have chickens or rabbits. Every little bit helps. I also add raw food waste, like when you peel a fruit or vegetable or have some go bad. Don't throw them out! Put them in your composter. I even empty coffee grounds in mine.

Adding bedding hay and manure

Cleaning the horses' barn gives us a lot of manure. A lot more than what this little composter will hold! We only add it to that when it needs it. Most of it will go into our bigger compost pile out back. This composter has a little drawer at the bottom to take the composted dirt out of. Pretty simple design and easy to use.

The Big Composting Area

I have told on this blog before, but will tell it again in case someone new has arrived here. We have three basic piles. One for the new compost that we are adding today. That will just sit and compost. Then we have another pile that is from last year and the year before. That pile is not composted enough to use. Then the last pile is the one that has been composting for three years or more. That is the one we will be using this year.

Rich, Black Dirt full of  Worms!

Two years ago we had a massive summer squash plant growing in this compost pile. I could not believe how many squash I got from it, or the size of some of them. It did not look like any certain type, kind of a cross between a zucchini and the yellow squash. I canned them up and we have a huge supply that we are still eating from. Of course, it was kind of hard to get to the compost piles due to that plant. The other plant that grows in massive amounts in this compost pile is jewel weed. Jewel weed is a valuable medicinal plant to have around, especially if you get into poison ivy. Fortunately, I have never needed it!

Final Result!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, May 24, 2013

Raised Rock Beds In My Garden

Apple Blossoms On Our Little Tree

Spring time means a lot of work to many home gardeners. It is work that most of us enjoy. There is something about digging in the dirt to plant a seed or a plant that will be food on your table. The marvel of that little seed, which gives you more than one piece of fruit or vegetable. Each seed is precious to me. I don't plant a whole row of something, just to thin it out later. Each seed I plant, I am hoping will give me a plant that is healthy and plentiful.

Jurassic Bed looks horrible!

This year I took a look at our raised bed that we call, The Jurassic Bed. It is named that, due to the fact, that everything that grows in it is a Jurassic size. Anyway, it has been here more than a few years and looked like it needed some updating. It is made with rocks we harvested on our property and old cinder blocks I got from a friend. It looked so ugly, I felt bad for it. It produces a ton of food for us. Plus, I love making things out of the various items we have right here on our land. Instead of purchasing rock or new planters. Besides no one else has one exactly like mine! LOL

Added More Rock, Compost & New Plants!

I mentioned to my husband that I thought I'd try to bring more compost to it after I add another layer of new rock. I moved the cinder blocks to the end and took a look at our rock pile. I was not up to moving such heavy rocks but figured I could do them a little at a time over the week. Next thing I knew, he had the wheelbarrow at the rock pile and was selecting rocks to add to the bed. It didn't take him long to put them on. After that he hauled five wheel barrow loads or more to fill it up to the top.

Cinder Blocks Are Individual Planters

I added the compost to the cinder blocks. They make a nice little planter for five special plants. I have planted green peppers in each one. Hoping they make it with the cold temperatures we are now having. I knew I jumped the gun by planting my garden this week. New York is a little "iffy" around this time of the year. The general rule is "ON or AFTER Memorial Day!"

All Done!

Did you already plant your garden? If so, I hope you have great weather to keep your garden producing for your family. This is the most important thing anyone can do this year. Grow a garden and feed your family!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, May 17, 2013

Garden Time For Me

Patches found a cool spot!

I have been having a productive week here working outside in my garden. It is sunny, warm and breezy. So not too hot and the breeze keeps those nasty little black flies (or better known as, "May Bugs" here in NY) away from me. Tell me, why do my cats have to get on my lap if I sit down to take a break? I tell them, "You are outside! Not the time to be sitting on someone's lap!" Every break I take, I have a cat on my lap.

Lemon Balm

The bed with the Lemon Balm is coming in good. This bed used to have chives and oregano in it too, now I don't see any of that. Just lots of lemon balm. It takes over the bed. I love it. Smells so clean and fresh. I add it to salads and make tea with it or add it to lemonade. Drying it for winter use too. I have more than enough for us.

Strawberry and Mint coming in!

Strawberries are already blossoming and that is usually one of our first crops here in NY. I have never had much luck with trying to make my own strawberry bed. This year, I have a plan from a picture I found on Pinterest. I am hoping that will work better for me. I'd really like a regular strawberry patch in my garden.

Apple Tree is in full bloom!

Working outside after our long winter is just so relaxing. I am doing physical work in the garden, which is now much harder for me since my knees became so bad. I think my desire to do it, makes me just do it. Hurting or not. I feel such a satisfaction of looking at my garden and watching my food grow. This is the only way to be able to afford the food we love. Not living on high carbs makes you eat more fresh food, such as produce from the garden. Salad is my favorite food of all! Fruit is next.

Raised beds in the backyard

I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some sunshine in your garden today. It is another benefit of gardening..........fresh air, sunshine, the music of listening to birds sings and the breeze flowing through the tree tops, exercise (if doing any activity like gardening) and soon, food from your own hard work!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thinking Of My Wonderful Father On His Birthday!

 Daddy on  my brother's horse, Dusty

Today would have been my father's 94th birthday. As most of my readers know, he passed away last August. Last year on his birthday, he told my brother that it would be his last. I think he was ready. Not that he was sickly or frail. He was pretty active for a man his age. I am glad he never lost that, his ability or mind. He was aware of everything and could hold a conversation as well as any twenty year old. Especially if they were discussing automobiles or motors!

 Daddy playing the organ for Mom

My father was a man of  many talents and abilities. He was very musical and as a child, I'd beg for him to play his harmonica. Later he learned to play an accordion and the organ. He played the organ for many years. When my mother was bedridden, and he cared for her at home, he entertained her many evenings with his music.She thought there was nothing he could do.

Daddy in the garden

Even though my father was well known for repairing cars and motors, the thing I remember the most is his extraordinary gardens. He planted large gardens every year. My parents would put up a lot of pickles, grape juice and jelly, and freeze a large amount of other vegetable and fruits. Even last year, he had a garden but it was not harvested. In the end, it died before I could get there to care for it. I know he knew it was his last garden, as it was the smallest one he ever planted. He knew.

Michael Dran 
May 13, 1919 - August 11, 2012

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day 2013!

My mother, Hazel Neer Dran

Happy Mother's Day to all my readers and their mothers today! I was very fortunate to have a very loving and caring mother. She thought there was nothing my brother, Mickey, or I could not do. Her love for her family was the most important thing to her. I loved her with all my heart and I miss her terribly.

My mother and grandmother, Anna Leonard Neer

My grandmother, Anna Neer lived only eight miles from our home when I was a child. I loved to go to her house and would spend several nights with her. It was just her and me. She would bake cookies with me, take me out to help her in her garden, pick blueberries with me and a million other fun things. I loved to be with her at her house. Still to this day, I can picture every room in that house. Even her furniture and the smell. Oh Grandma, I loved you so much!

Bob and Lucille Lupole, My In-Laws

My mother-in-law, Lucille Toft Lupole is remembered on this day too. She loved her family and it showed in so many ways. Her love of music, inspired almost her whole family. My husband and his sister, Pat, and her family, are all musical thanks to her. Many holiday dinners were spent at her house with music being played after our dinners. In our local area, she was practically a celebrity, due to being known for her music. I will never forget her! Loved her very much!

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, May 09, 2013

La Crosse Weather Center

Weather Center is on the barn, to the left of the door.

The La Crosse Weather Center is part of our alternative energy system. As my husband is installing our wind turbine, FINALLY, we need a way of knowing how strong our wind is. If it is over 50 miles per hour, it will need to be turned off. Since it is a low wind turbine, those heavy type of winds that would be like what you get in a storm, could ruin the turbine or overcharge our batteries. 

It has a remote control that sits on a window sill in the kitchen. That way we can read it at any time. Keeping track of our weather is handy since we generate our power based on the weather report. Even a slight breeze, as low as one and a half mile an hour wind, will start the turbine. We have wind here often, so I can see us generating a lot of power. My husband has been saying ever since we bought the turbine, and didn't get it up yet, "Wasted power today!"

Closer View of  the weather wings.

With the mixture of solar panels and the wind turbine, our power should increase. Hoping to be able to get the water system in after that, which will make it possible to use our washing machine. I have tried to be patient, but sometimes it has been hard, as I got older and wanted things a little easier. 

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Loomis Cemetery In Tyner, NY Is Full Of History!

I loved this old tree in the cemetery!

A few days ago, my husband and I took advantage of the beautiful weather we are having, to spend a recent morning in a local cemetery. It is one of our favorite activities! I wanted to add a picture of a grave to the FindAGrave website. People request photos of stones for various reasons. Then a volunteer will go to the cemetery and try to find it. So I planned on fulfilling a photo request. Chenango County is full of those little rural cemeteries. We have always enjoyed reading the stones, and letting the people know they are not completely forgotten. Even if we did not know them.

Some of the trees have grown too close to the stones!

Chenango means "pleasant river flowing through the land of the bull thistle". Chenango County was established March 15, 1798. The Chenango River flows through out our county and neighboring counties. It is located in the northern edge of the Southern Tier Of New York. So there is a lot of history to be found in reading the old grave stones or researching the people buried there.

Along North Tyner Road

The Loomis Cemetery is located on North Tyner Road in an area identified as Tyner, even though the addresses of the homes in the area is Oxford, it really is in Tyner. That is only for the postal or telephone service. In the 1800's that area was quite a bustling community. Now it is just homes and camps. No businesses, schools or churches any longer. And most of the homes are sadly gone too.

Found It!

The stone I was searching for is the tall one leaning against the tree in this photo. There are more grave stones behind the trees seen in the picture. Most are unreadable, many are broken or have fallen over. Unfortunately, I could not read the inscriptions on many. The most recent burials in this cemetery were in the early 1900's. I have been researching our house's history, the people who lived here, and the area around us. Especially trying to find who the builder was of our house that was built in 1850. I have found that browsing the local cemetery has proven to be a valuable tool.

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013  Kathleen G. Lupole