It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

 

Just a quick update… Hopefully to motivate me to blog more:

–as of Tuesday morning, it’s just rain, rain and more rain. Not tons of it, just steady.

–Hoping to miss the worst of the storm and praying for Houston and now Louisiana.

–Plans for the new house are pretty much done.  We have decided on a builder and will soon be moving on to the next steps of getting financing and signing a contract.

–Randy has done a ton of work on the dam and it is just about ready to reseed for grass.

 

 

–I started classes in the LSU Ag Center Master Gardener Program. It’s a volunteer program to help out in the community while learning a lot of what it takes to grow things here in the state. So far it’s been fun.

Love to all and keep looking for the rainbow…

 

Wildlife

Wildlife

Well we knew the property had wildlife.  We had heard stories of hunting deer and turkey. We see squirrels all over. The birds are incredible: cardinals, robins, blue jays are among the most colorful.

While our actual sightings to date of the bigger game are somewhat rare (maybe something to do with a couple of active dogs), some of them have been spectacular.

We had seen deer in the pasture, but April got an eyeful when Marble’s growling (in bed with her) woke her up and she looked out the picture window to see an deer walk through the back yard!! She was awake enough to let us know it didn’t have antlers and as such was a girl deer.

At the end of the second turkey season, we started to hear turkey calls in the woods across the pond. We saw one in the pasture, then a few days later as Randy, Mom and I were sitting on the porch, a huge one came swooping through the yard just ten feet off Randy’s right shoulder. So cool…

Not so cool were some coyotes we saw walk through the pasture near the house.  They are considered outlaw quadrupeds here and we can’t wait until we can get our hunting licenses and be able to take them.

Also not so cool-being surprised by a copperhead crawling out of my garden from where I was sitting a few minutes before. Two days later I surprised one of them while mowing.  I am seriously considering armed gardening!

 

 

 

We are looking forward to seeing more wildlife now that all of the hunting seasons have closed for the year.

One of the more curious sightings occurred on Hwy 62 about 3 miles from the house.  My brother and I were driving and came across a peacock crossing the road!! It brought to mind driving Soledad Canyon road and seeing elephants in the wash.  Turns out there are at least 4 in that area. Two blue, one green and one white.  We have seen them on various trips to town but don’t know the story behind them.  Just fascinating and glad they are 3 miles away!

April Showers

April Showers

Well, we have been waiting all month and it’s finally here.  A downpour.  We left for church at 7:45 and the rain gauge sat at zero.  The storm started in Mass, by the time we got home at 10:45 it read almost 1  1/2 inches, and the rain was still coming down.

I started a garden in late March with some okra, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beets, radishes, turnips, carrots and greens. Randy has gotten to laugh at me quite a few days, as I have had to go out to water my fledgling garden. This rain is wonderful for it. Sort of…I am sitting down to post this since we got cell service again this since the rain kept us in.  I checked on my garden during a break in the rain and boy did it take a beating.  The rain gauge is now coming up on 3 inches and the rain is still coming down.  I think this falls under the category of be careful what you wish for!

My fishing holes needed water too. The water in both ponds has been lowering, but fishing is still good.  The sac-a-lait have pretty much stopped biting(that turns out to be seasonal) and the really large bass elude me (that’s going to take practice), but the catfish, perch and smaller bass cooperate nicely, thank you very much.  Usually rain makes the fish bite–we will have to try!

 

Laugh of the week:  We had to go vote yesterday on a local bond measure. The nice lady at the polling place started asking us where we lived and if we were new. After the requisite invite to attend her church, she asked the big question: “where are y’all from?”  When we replied California, her response was, “Well bless your hearts.”

 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all,

Seems like after a lightning Christmas and Mardi Gras season, Lent was loooong.  But it was indeed meaningful and good. It makes Easter all the more joyful and vibrant.

I am thankful to have Mom here this week as we welcome spring to Green Acres. The new house plans are with the draftsman and the next step will be contractors.  May garden is starting to show green and grass cutting is becoming a weekly event.

Sad to say goodbye to Randy’s Dad, Terry.  He passed away this Easter Saturday after a long battle with cancer.  Keep him in your prayers.

Love to all from Green Acres

 

 

Das Boot

Das Boot

Cappuccino  and Marble

One day last January, after some fierce rains raised the level of the small pond, I decided to retrieve the small aluminum boat we had seen tucked away in the trees in the corner of it.  I had checked it out from the yard and noticed it was floating- finally -and wanted to get it before the next bout of showers.

It was the end of the day and I was already dirty from yard work, so I got a paddle and pushed my way through the brush and trees and found it.  It was indeed floating although it did have 2-3 inches of water and leaves in it.  As I untied it and got in both the dogs came crashing along and with tails wagging looked longingly at me in the craft.  They jumped in to join me as Randy appeared and said he wanted to come along.   So he got in and the fun began.

Cappy wasn’t happy as Randy pushed us further out so he leaped back onto the shore. I started paddling and Randy wondered if he should bail. Now– there were two containers in the boat: a dog bowl and a black plastic container. He started to bail (with the black container that turned out to be a planter with a large drainage hole in the bottom).  Cappy started swimming out me meet us and Marble found a frog-or maybe a lizard-but whatever it was it decided to run around in the leaves and water and Marble (all 80 pounds of him) started chasing it  from side to side.  Cappy reached us and Randy got busy trying to pull Cappy back into the boat that was rocking awesomely. THEN we noticed that the water in the boat was getting deeper.  “BAIL” I cried, “PADDLE” Randy calmly said, Marble bounced from side to side and Cappy just bounced.

We made it to safety without getting fully drenched. Lots of drama to travel about 30 ft never more that 5 feet off the shore!  Turns out the drain plug was missing from the boat :0 .  Oh, and the max capacity for the boat was 2 people or 325 pounds. I am not going to tell you what I weigh, but consider that we had 120+ pounds of dog alone.

And so ends another fine day on Green Acres.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

What did I do for International Women’s Day? Well….

We had to go and rescue a bale of hay from the woods at the edge of the upper pasture because Mr. H-,  who tilled my small garden, said we should use hay over a year old instead of the new bale we had Mr. B-, who cuts the pasture for hay, leave for us.

I wanted to ride with Randy when he did this, but there was no place to ride on the tractor. So he told me to go ahead and drive it!! We switched out the front end loader with the bale spear(one wicked looking attachment) that we found while clearing the crape myrtles.

And off I went on the Massey Ferguson 471. After chugging up to the pasture, I followed Randy’s hand signals, speared the bale (a 6-ft diam HUGE bale, mind you), raised it up, and transported it down to the blueberries for mulch. I have to admit I wouldn’t want to do it every day because the tractor is one rough ride, but what a thrill!

What did YOU do for International Women’s Day?

Name That Tree

Name That Tree

Now you would think that since we live in the “pine belt” that we would have mostly pine trees. Au contraire my friends. We do have a number of beautiful pines, but just about as many huge magnolias and oaks, and lots others.

In fact, one of the fun games we have been playing since actually buying Green Acres has been “name that tree”.

The previously mentioned ones were relatively easy (although I am still not clear on all the different TYPES of oaks we have).  We could tell the satsumas, fig and plum as well as the pecans and crepe myrtles.  One of my brothers came to visit and identified a lot of them. Some neighbors told us about “cowcumber” magnolias.  Then came the mystery trees.

Tung Oil Tree

This was one of the first that seemed to stump even the locals until one of the friendly WST Coop electric workers stopped by to see why our second electric meter wasn’t reading remotely anymore. He clued us in that it was a Tung oil tree. Seems there used to be Tung oil plantations all over southern LA and MS until a major freeze many years ago. He also showed us which trees were Maypop trees and even a casaba worm tree.

 

Sweet Olive

 

I had this one pegged as a ligustrum of some kind, but my cousin recently informed me that it is actually a Sweet Olive tree. It is an awesome heirloom fragrant type of tree.

 

Once we cleared out behind the shed, this one came to light. I still don’t know what is. It looks like willow bark and leaves, but willows usually send out lots of suckers and this one did not have any, so I am holding off on a final judgement. If anyone has ideas, we are all ears.

Willow?
willow bark and leaf?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this one [OUCH] just a few weeks ago while Randy was working on the electric panel at the shop and thought I was seeing things.  Google came through for me when I typed in “tree with massive thorns”. It was the first hit!  You are looking at a Honey Locust tree.

Honey Locust
Honey Locust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for now, I will just “leaf” off here.

He Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy

He Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy

So we went into Hattiesburg yesterday to pick up my new lawn tractor.  It is a cool Cub Cadet XT3 with lots of power for the hills and slopes I have to cut. I got a brief walk-thru on the controls; we loaded it up, and trailered it back home.  With a lawn that actually needed cutting a week ago  I wasted no time.

I changed into old clothes, got my hearing protection and anti-vibe gloves, climbed aboard and started the engine. Boy it was loud but sounded great. I lowered the cutting deck and engaged the PTO and….nothing L I made a few passes in the back yard but the blades just would not spin. I stopped and restarted and this time the blades worked-yeah!  I cut the back yard then the blades stopped again. I had to keep toggling the PTO (power take off) button to keep the blades cutting.  I got about a quarter of the yard cut and Randy figured out the problem…I didn’t weigh enough !!!!! Oh yeah—you heard right. [Sounds of fireworks going off and lots of clapping]   Evidently, the seat has a cutoff sensor that is meant to stop the blades and then the motor if you leave the seat without the Cub stopped and the parking break set. Every time I leaned too far forward, hit a bump, or twisted in my seat the blades quit. While it helped to know what was wrong, it was also frustrating because the top of the front yard was really bumpy and I had to go really slow.

Randy made an adjustment to the seat sensor today and I did some finishing work around the blueberries and muscadines, but he still wants to talk to the dealership.  As he told them yesterday, he is not going to get a bigger wife just so that she can mow the yard-LOL

Never a dull moment here—lots of quiet ones—but never dull.

And So It Goes

And So It Goes

Wow-it seems like just yesterday I was taking down Christmas decorations and now it’s Lent already. Mardi Gras passed like a blur and that was without taking in any parades or major parties.

 

It turns out January and February are prime times to prune around here. Really nice since the weather is mostly cool and mild. This would not be fun in the summer. Randy did all of the heavy pruning: the satsumas, crape myrtles, and the muscadines. We did my beautiful big fig together and I even got the chance to use the FJ and brush grubbers to pull out trees by myself one day when he was working on getting his part of the electrical done to the shop. We did one of the big oaks and he even got out a HUGE chunk of poison ivy without a major outbreak. More clearing around the house and potting shed and all of a sudden I have another giant burn pile to get through.

Yes that’s poison ivy

We finally got some advice on the big house. Three contractors have given us advice and it was all the same-build new. One of them actually worked up a plan to repair the foundation, but the cost was up there.  When you factor in a new roof, redoing the plumbing and electric, and adding a carport and garage—it just makes more sense to start from scratch.

 

We are planning to build a new house right in front of the current one. It makes better use of the land and we can continue to use the kitchen in the big house for now.  Randy got some software and made use of his drafting knowledge, combined that with some advice from my mom (who has designed a few of her own homes with great success), and we have a pretty neat home plan.  Just a little finishing and we hope to send it out to contractors for bids soon.

Randy also spent most of February getting the electrical in his shop set up. When his part was done, WST Coop (our electrical provider) sent a “local” crew to put a new pole in place of the older one. The crew was so local (all six cherry picker trucks of them) that we they broke a water line in the yard, one of them was going to “run home” to get some pvc parts to fix it.  Randy had the parts so it was all good. Then a few days later the “imported” crew from Slidell came to run the underground part from the pole to the shop building. Then today, the final crew came to connect everything and Randy is probably the happiest kid in town.  Now he can use his table saw, welder, grinder, etc, etc, etc.  But not just yet…

from the front porch

Got a call from Hattiesburg this afternoon and my new riding lawn tractor arrived at the dealer.  Just in time. The grass really started to grow a few weeks ago and I even had to get out the push mower to do around the house just to trim things up a bit.  I couldn’t do a lot of the yard though-a girl has to have time to fish J

 

Love to all from Green Acres.

 

Satsumas!

Satsumas

 

Satsuma: Citrus unshiu is a seedless and easy-peeling citrus species, also known as unshu mikan,[1] cold hardy mandarin,[2] satsuma mandarin,[2] satsuma orange,[2] and tangerine.[2] It is of Chinese origin, but introduced to the West via Japan

When we were looking at the house, originally we noticed the beautiful citrus trees. The owner told us they were Satsumas and joked (sort of) that a condition of the sale was that they would be allowed to come back and pick some satsumas when they were ripe.

When we started visiting after the sale was complete, we noticed that the trees had A LOT of green fruit on them and the neighbors started commenting on the wonderful Satsumas.

Fast forward to the actual move-in in October and the realization that we were the proud owners of not one or two, but TEN Satsuma trees.  And, boy was it a good year for this amazing fruit.  They are sort of like cuties, but come in small, large and everything in between.

They commenced to ripening, and we commenced to doing everything in our power to get rid of them.

We eat them with breakfast, lunch, dinner and for snacks-no vitamin C deficiency here.  No one can visit without going home with a bag or box of the little orange balls. We took them to the DMV when we registered cars. We took some to the nice man at the chainsaw store where Randy bought his chainsaw. We took some to the Vet when we got Marble and Cappy up to date on shots. We left some in the mailbox for the mail carrier and always got a nice thank you note. We brought some to the well service guy when we went to pick up a new pump for the well. We gave some to the lady from public health who came to get a sample of our water for testing after fixing the well (Water is bad and we had to chlorinate!-another story).  We usually had a bag waiting for Mr. Mike, our UPS driver (we love Amazon Prime).  In fact, we had a bag labeled for him one day when we had to go into town and came home to find our “fed ex” delivery right on top of the “UPS” satsumas. After that we kept better track of who was coming to deliver what and left bags for them all.

The big freeze last week ended most of that. There are still some good ones on the trees. I harvested all the ones left on my favorite because they had thinner skin and needed to be used. In fact the asst fire chief that came by to give us our new mailbox numbers (another story!) had his kids with him and we let the kids loose in the trees and they had a blast getting all they could.

I ended up making marmalade out of the ones I harvested from my favorite tree and the next spell of cold weather got the rest. To give you an idea of how many we had: we were giving them away by the 5 gallon bucket load at the end and still ended up with at least 400-500 in the burn pile.  Now to see how the trees survive and what kind of crop we get next year. The LSU AG extension agent is scheduled to come by with some neighbors to get cuttings from our trees to graft and propagate them. Never a dull moment.

Happy January to all.