Friday, August 30, 2013

Oh that overgrown front yard!

  The weather gave us a little glimpse of Autumn for almost three days. It was awesome! Of course I tried to spend as much time as I could outside. That's when I took a close look at the front yard. Oh my! Have a lot of work to do. haha First thing I noticed (after all the weeds) were the sweet potato vines running willy nilly  in a shady corner. That was the first thing I planted when I moved here many years ago. A sweet potato patch. Even used to have rabbits build their nests in it.
   So I think its time to start another patch! I can certainly take enough slips from the vines that are here. Usually I plant in March through June, or a little later... but they'll grow year round here so I figure "Why not?". They like the warm weather for optimal growth, but this time of year they'll just grow a little more slowly without it. And if we have a winter like last year, I doubt if the vines will get frozen back.

   While poking around and pulling weeds I found some scuppernongs to graze on. They're soooo sweet when they ripen on the vine! I've got to take better care of them from now on. chuckle  I could say that about everything!

   Even found some Gloriosa lilies blooms hiding in the branches of the rosemary plant. Theres just too much shade for them in this area! Will have to move them too! 

   The mulberry leaves are really starting to turn and drop now. You can hear them as they tumble down! Same with the sycamores. And now I can rake and put ALL of those leaves on the hugel! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Improvised Hugel. First Steps.

Started my hugel yesterday!  Had what I thought were a large amount of boxes. Turned out they only covered a small area, but its still a start. I'm using cardboard to try and "drowned out" the sandspurs! I figure my version of hugelkulture is based on improvisation anyway, might as well try whatever I want! Brought home more boxes today, will just keep expanding till I cover the area I had planned on.  And yes, I'm well aware that this could become a small disaster area if I don't get it covered up with enough stuff!!! chuckle
Threw on a few dead palm fronds and small branches and twigs from the sycamore and mulberry tree that are nearby. I'm supposed to put the larger wood first, but most of that isn't even cut yet! So I using whatever I have.

Then trimmed some laurel branches. I'm adding both dead and green wood and leaves. Need to cut the branches up a bit more, but it was easier to drag them across the yards this size. Trust me, its way too hot here in Florida to make extra work for yourself!

And here are the old sycamore leaves! LOTS of them! Partially decayed and ready to go. Then I have the pine shavings out of the chicken house... complete with chicken manure. That ought to help a lot!
Will probably still need to get a truckload of dirt someday, but that can wait till cooler weather. For now, I'll just keep adding and layering. My main goal is to raise the level of the soil in that corner. Creating enriched soil is an added bonus!!!
Another bonus: Driving my neighbors nuts because they can't figure out what the hell I'm doing over there on the corner lot!!! hahaha

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Got a Surprise This Morning!

   You know, I have several oracle and divination card decks, and I usually do a throw or two... or three... for general information and comment each day. For the last few days things have looked really good! Yesterday evening I kept getting cards that denoted Compassion ~ Sensitivity ~ Endless Supply ~ Believing in Miracles ~ Healing ~ Divine Passion ~ and more Compassion!
   So what happens? Well, this morning when I got out of my car in the parking lot at work I heard one short, LOUD meow.... from a VERY young kitten. The cry had come from a small bit of shrubbery. You've seen how they pave over an area then build a few little "islands" that they fill with soil, plants and maybe a tree. Anyway, I couldn't see anything in the low growing juniper. And the little cat had gone silent. So I finally went into work. (Mind you, this is before sunrise) At 7 a.m. our cake decorator Sue came in all concerned because she had heard the kitten. But now it was crying continuously. She bought a small can of cat food and took it out to the area where the cries were coming from. (Another co-worker admonished her for feeding it! Told her to ignore it and it would either go away or just get killed by one of the cars. How do you like THAT attitude?)  Still no kitten to be seen.     About an hour later I went out with a box... just in case... and as luck would have it, the kitten heard me calling and tentatively came out and over to me. It was nervous and scared, but soooo lonely too! Started purring the moment I picked it up.  So, I clocked out for a very early lunch and brought the little one home! Set it up in a carrier inside, making certain that the larger animals couldn't bother it. That kitten was still crying.... but it would be safe till I got home.

   So? You might be asking whats the big deal with that story? Well, that wasn't my story. That's nothing more than the background information. The main thing I want to ask everyone to look at is COMPASSION. Just like the cards had been pointing out repeatedly to me. Being sensitive enough to another living being to take the time..... to make the effort... to help however you can. I had the necessary items at home. I've fostered quite a few kittens in the past. Of course, I was going to try and help this little one! And Sue was trying her best too. She spent her last bit of change on a can of food for a kitten she couldn't even see.  That's being compassionate. That's having a Good and Loving Heart..... and listening to it!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

I Learned a New Word ~ Hugelkulture.

   Oh my, received and watched a short video on Permaculture yesterday. Nice young couple up in Jacksonville, Florida. Really got me to thinking!!! I'm sure I can apply some of those same principles to my yard and the corner lot. Utilize yard "waste" and improve the soil all at the same time. Sounds good right? No compost bins to turn and tend. Well, heck yeah! So I spent the morning poking around the back yard and checking out the low spots over on the empty lot. (Got lots of sandspur plants to dig up over there. And I need to do it BEFORE they grow actual spurs!)  Pulled weeds and made plans. Pulled more weeds and pondered planting locations. Pulled MORE weeds and thought about the chicken tractor plans I'd seen. Then pulled EVEN MORE weeds and wondered if I could put in a tiny duck pond............. at that point I came to my senses and figured the heat was getting to me! haha
   But seriously, I've been trying to figure out how to dispose of the small branches I seem to always have on the ground ~ and now I know. I'll build a couple of hugels with them! I can use some of the old sycamore leaves and the pine shavings from the hen house to place on top. Extra dirt is a little harder to come by, but I'll figure out something!! I'm skipping the green stuff for now as I won't be planting anything on them for a long time! I've been thinking along those lines for a few years now, but actually seeing it being executed by someone was the boost I needed.   Yep, I'm going to try my hand at hugelkulture. It mimics Nature and seems pretty darned idiot proof.  Of course, I will be posting photos of my endeavors!   Now I want to think about that chicken tractor some more................ hmmm.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

After the Dog Poop Lesson.......

And this is what happens when you change your perspective! Blessings to All!

"One man's trash is another man's treasure"

   Yes, this is exactly what you think it is!!! I even posted it over on the other blog. After listening to people complain like crazy about how horrible their lives are.... I was left wondering why they didn't put more effort into changing their perspectives. If its that bad, then start looking at it from different angles and try to find a more positive view!!  That brought to mind something that I observe daily in my yard. Yep, dog poop! Its a very real by-product of having canine companions. There will be more of it every day! (Of that I can be completely certain.) And I always thought of it as simply causing me more work. Then I realized that the toads saw it as a real blessing. They gather around it..... not usually as close as this guy mind you.... and wait for the bugs! Easy meals!!  I often refer to it as an insect buffet.
   Anyway, this is one of those little things that has helped me tremendously in Life. Always look at things in a positive light. Or at least try to!
   Bet you never thought that dog poop could be so profound!!! chuckle