Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Summer Go Away

I went outside and the heat was oppressive. I was worried about the chickens so I filled up a second water container. All six of them ran to it and started drinking. The other container had plenty of water but it had gotten a little dirty and the chickens were having none of it.

I watered the garden and came in before my head exploded. I checked the weather page and it said 92 degrees and I thought there is no way it's only 92. Three seconds later the page refreshed to 98 with the predicted high of 101. I went out without a headache and came in with one. Now I'm sitting indoors in front of the swamp cooler sipping water and soda.

"Summer, you are through," signed Autumn.

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Garden is Tasty to Bugs

You know it is too windy to knit outside when you start getting sand in your teeth. And it is starting to get dark anyway.

Just when I started making headway with getting hornworms out of the tomatoes, the squash come down with a serious attack of aphids. I know banana peels got rid of the aphids on my roses, so that means a trip to the market tomorrow to get bananas. I just hope I'm not too late. The bright shiny umbrella shaped leaves of the squash are now looking worn out and seem to be shriveling. Aphids suck the very life out of things.  I haven't seen any ladybugs around here either. Maybe they can't take the Mojave heat.

I'm also worried that though the tomatoes are covered with blossoms, they are not setting any fruit. Out of five tomato plants I've only seen one teeny tiny fruit.Maybe I am watering them too much.
Tomato hornworm
It is worth it just for the sunsets.
Fabric For A New Tote Bag
This will be a chicken once I add the embroidery
Fletcher whipped up a great chicken stir-fry including the yellow squash I picked today, so I am eating something I grew and that makes me happy.

The chickens have finished their big bag of grow mash and now have a new bag of laying crumble. Hope they like it.

Happy homesteading.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Solar Toys

One day my friend Lezlee bought me a little solar toy of a frog swinging. Well, I just love the cute little buggers. I hit the jackpot yesterday and found 8 new solar toys at the dollar type store. I got 4 circus ones and 4 flowers.  They sell so fast that I don't usually find more than one or two.  So I bought all 8. Yes, I know it is silly but I'm coming to value my happiness more and more. If something for $8.00 can make me happy over and over again, isn't it a better buy that something that cost me $200 and hardly makes me happy at all?

In other news, the washer is leaking so we need to drag it out of the laundry room and figure out what the deal is. Leaks run up our electric bill, because they keep the well pump running. Plus, no one wants to waste water in the desert in a drought.

This morning 2 large roadrunners came to drink at the water buckets. I never noticed that in the right light, their tails look blue. One of them had white tips on its tail feathers.

It's so hot today, but I really want to work on my washboard and other projects out in the yard. After I worked on the garden I had to come back in and sit in front of the swamp cooler. Maybe I'll sew in the kitchen instead. I need more of fall and spring and less of summer and winter.

The rabbits attacked my succulents again so I dragged more chicken wire over the rocks. There isn't much left of them now. They even pull the ones they don't like out of the ground. I keep replanting them.
I'm sure if they ever got established the rabbits would leave them alone.

My yellow squash is about ready to harvest. One of them looks bumpy and the others look smooth from the same plant, so I wonder if that one got cross pollinated by the ornamental gourds.

I found one more horn worm this morning and tossed it to the chickens. Right now the beats, mescalin and cucumbers have all sprouted.

I think I'm going to have some hummus and chips for lunch. Then back to work.

A Day In The Life At Shoebox Ranch

I'm really trying to follow my bliss, and for some crazy reason that included buying a kazoo on Ebay. Go me. It's been really fun and funny trying to play it. I hope to get a holder for it, so I can  play it along with the washboard that I'm still making.

I also saved the bones from some beef ribs. They are sitting under a basket on an ant hill waiting for the ants to clean them for me. If you've ever heard anyone 'play the bones' this is what they originally came from. I also got a red oak board to make some wooden 'bones'.

I'm currently waging war on the tomato hornworms. Twice a day I study the tomato plants trying to find the menaces. I usually pick off about 4 a day and feed them to the chickens. I wonder if I'm raising tomatoes or worms for the chickens.

Tomato Horn Worm. They strip all the leaves off the stems.
The girls are all grown up now.
The three black chickens are the most dominant. They are always the first ones to the fence when the worms get poked into the cage. Then they all run in circles trying to steal the worms from each other.

Tonight's sunset was like melted butter. And now the moonrise is gorgeous.
Sunset in Lucerne Valley, CA
My cat thinks he is a parrot.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chain of Events

My front yard drama has had an interesting chain of events. On Sunday we picked up some cracked corn, which the quail love. I hadn't put any out yet, but I did refill the tin can bird feeder with wild bird seed. So this morning I spotted two scrub jays eating out of the can. I know they love corn as well, so I put some out there.

Now I'm sitting by the window and spot some chipmunks stuffing their cheeks with corn. And then I saw something I've never seen before. A roadrunner outside the fence stalking a chipmunk inside the fence. Now I know roadrunners are carnivorous, but I've never seen them hunt. So the roadrunner and the chipmunk were madly dashing back and forth along the fence when the chipmunk did the dumbest thing ever. He went through the fence onto the same side as the roadrunner! And off they ran under the bushes. I have a feeling the roadrunner is now dining on corn stuffed chipmunk. Poor Alvin!

I need a new camera but I tried to get a shot of the scrub jays for you. It's the first time I've seen them this year.
Last night's sunset from my front yard in Lucerne Valley, CA
Scrub Jay
This was the best photo I could get. I need to order a new camera.