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December 2019, Week 2

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
December 8, 2019
last modified: December 8, 2019

This week the cold returns and temperatures, after today and tomorrow (depending on how far north or south you are), return to more seasonal numbers. Let's enjoy today's and tomorrow's milder weather while we've get it. I believe we are going to be windy though, and warm and windy is not the best combination once all the vegetation is dormant or dead and dried out.

Most of the deciduous trees here finally are pretty bare, later than usual. There's leaves on the ground everywhere. At our place there's obviously acres and acres of them, and we mostly leave them where they fall except for the ones that fall in the yard right around the house. We mow those up and put them on flower beds as mulch or on the compost pile. There's still quite a few post oaks (and a few other oaks) with leaves clinging to them, but with post oaks in particular, this is common. Their leaves often hang on here all winter.

We're still seeing green (cool-season forbs and grasses) plants sprouting, though it is fairly late for that to be happening. We have been warm enough to make it possible and this could be considered a good thing for anyone who planted cover crops, fall veggies or wildflower seeds late.

Garden catalogs continue to arrive. Most of them have about the same old things as always, and seeds that are new in one catalog tend to be popping up in all the other catalogs too---a reminder that, as much as they do not want for us to realize this, many of them get their seed from the exact same multinational seed growers/wholesalers.

For anyone who wants to add a green plant or two indoors, I'm still seeing lots of holiday type plants in the stores---poinsettias, amaryllis, paperwhites, Christmas cactus, cyclamens, Norfolk Island pines, rosemary plants sheared into Christmas tree shapes, etc. Home Depot even has little holiday planters filled with red and green succulents.

Of the three Amaryllis plants that were in bloom the week before Thanksgiving, the week of Thanksgiving and this past week. only one still has flowers on it. On the other two, the flowers have faded and are done. On the third, one of the two stalks remains. Each stalk had 4 flowers and at one point all 8 flowers were in bloom simultaneously, and it did look pretty spectacular. Of the remaining 4 Amaryllis plants, two are growing really well and two are really slow. We'll see if any of them manage to be in bloom by the time Christmas arrives.

Outdoors the warm weather continues to bring us surprises. The coyotes are getting a little bold, and are out both day and night. While often assumed to be nocturnal, we often see them during the day---perhaps a bit more in winter than in summer, but it can happen any time of the year. Wasps continue to swarm and try to come indoors on any and every warm day. That is irritating enough to make me wish the cold would settle in and stay. Out in the front pasture? The biggest surprise is the grasshoppers that keep hatching. Usually by now we are a grasshopper-free zone, and yet I am seeing very small ones in the tall grass in the pasture....maybe 1/4 to 1/2" in length. Actually, let them all hatch---let every single egg hatch while we are warm, and then maybe all the little grasshopper nymphs will freeze when the weather turns back colder.

Nothwithstanding this week's cooler weather that we'll have for a few days, the longer-term outlooks show a warmer than average December for us. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though it probably kills anyone's hope for a white Christmas. The western part of OK is sliding more and more into abnormally dry or drought conditions, with an obvious increase in grass fires on warm, windy days, so they probably could benefit from some rain, yet seem unlikely to get anything significant any time soon. It wouldn't help enough now anyway unless it encouraged the sprouting and growth of some cool-season plants that would give them some green. I'd like to add that green plants burn too, but the green can slow down grass fires and wild fires in the short term. In the long term, the green plants will catch fire and burn even hotter than the brown dry/dormant plants because they release oxygen as they burn, so green plants at this time of the year are not necessarily a barrier to grass fires. It took me a few years to learn that!

Have a great week everyone.


Comments (34)

  • slowpoke_gardener

    It is another beautiful day here in western Arkansas. I walked along the hwy in front of our house picking up trash. I bought a "Steel Grip" tool, it is sorta looks like a walking cane to pick up trash with, it really works great. I told Madge when I came in that I should have bought one of those years ago, she said "you did" and reached beside the freezer and pulled one out. I have know for years that my body would be going down hill and have been preparing for it. I did not think that my memory would be going down hill also, but it has. We started a long time ago building handicapped ramps, widening doors, and installing a handicapped shower, but I have not found anything to improve my memory, if I do I am going to bottle it. I think that will make me rich and I can just hire someone to take care of Madge and me.

    I noticed while I was picking up trash, that the cover crop of Elbon rye and Austrian winter peas in the south garden was looking pretty good even though it was planted late. The Elbon rye is growing much faster than the peas. The part of the garden without the cover crop looks pretty good also. I have burned the garden plants and weeds with a weed burner. I started experimenting with this a couple of years ago. My hopes were to make it easier to get rid of weeds and to kill a few seeds and insect eggs, and maybe some disease also. The jury is still out on the amount of good it is doing, I may be killing more good bugs than bad bugs. But the process is much easier than bending over and using a hand tool or pulling a plant, my pulling days are about over.

    I have been playing around more with our zero turn mower in the garden. I think the mower will work okay in the garden, I did notice that it is hard to turn around between the rows. I will have to work on that. I will have to widen the rows, or make sure I can drive all the way through to the other end of the row. I dont back well with the zero turn because I cant turn around and see what is behind me.

    The weather is very nice, I am going out to work on my shed. I am hoping to get started on the roof today. I am not able to do much and my helper has to have a lot of supervision, but he is doing very well and such a joy to work with. It is wonderful to be around a young person that is eager to learn.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Larry, You weather sounds lovely. I'm glad your young helper is such a joy to work with and also glad he is eager to learn from you so that you can pass on your knowledge, skills and experience to him. He is so lucky to be able to learn from you.

    Our weather was sunny and warm yesterday but pretty windy. Today is cloudier, cooler and windier. I fear the cold front is almost here and I know we've already reached our high temperature for today and it isn't even 10 a.m. yet.

    Oh, the ultimate irony or perhaps just the craziness of OK weather....while loving the recent warm weather, now we have a slim chance of a mixture of rain and snow tonight. That seems crazy after such a warm weekend. It won't be a White Christmas type of snow, and to be honest, the Fort Worth office of the NWS is buying into the idea a lot more than the Norman office seems to be (though Norman does have a chance of snow in our forecast). I was just telling Tim yesterday I wish we'd get cold enough to kill all the little grasshopper nymphs that have been hatching out, and now maybe we will.

    This graphic posted by NWS-Fort Worth shows the rain/snow band mostly in TX but spilling over into the Red River counties in southern OK.

    NWS-Fort Worth

    Any other time I'd be thrilled at the prospect of snow, but our oldest granddaughter is staying with us this week while our son and her mom are on their long-delayed honeymoon cruise. We drive her each morning to Ardmore for school, so would rather not have to drive in snow. lol. She, of course, is just excited to think that it might snow. We do have a sled and a snowman kit in case the unthinkable happens and real snow falls. We don't get real snow often. She remembers it once or twice in her young lifetime---and she's 10 years old. Tim is on vacation this week because he wanted to be able to spend time with Lillie while she is here, plus he can putter around the house and yard and work on some of the things on his To Do list this week. Tonight he's taking her to her Boy Scout meeting, where they are going out caroling at a local senior citizen retirement village. I'm going to stay at the kids' house with the tropical birds free from their cages to play, interact with me and each other, etc. When Chris and Jana are gone and we are keeping an eye on their place, I try to spend 2-3 hours a day with the birds out of their cages because that's sort of the routine they are used to and we like to keep things as normal for them as possible. There is one bird out of the 7 who never wants to go back into her cage when it is time to do so, and she makes it very challenging.

    I noticed this morning that our son's neighborhood is just buried in leaves. There's leaves, leaves, leaves everywhere covering the ground, the sidewalks, even the streets. It is an older neighborhood, with the earliest homes dating back to the late 1800s, though most of the homes on their street were built in the early 1930s, so there's tons of huge old trees that have lots of foliage. I had to restrain myself this morning because I just wanted to go out and start raking up everybody's leaves so I could bring them home. I might at least rake the leaves in their yard tomorrow and bring them home with us. A gardener never can have too many autumn leaves. Of course, it is supposed to be windy today and maybe tomorrow, so it might not be good leaf raking weather. If it isn't, then maybe one day later in the week would be a good time to do this. It looks like temperatures are about to return to what would be about typical for December during this cold spell. I just looked at the temperature map and the cold front is moving across the state at a slant from NE to SW, so the county next to us to the west already has falling temperatures but the counties to our north are still at their max temperature for the day. We are a few degrees higher than forecast, but the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and I bet we don't warm up further.


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  • hazelinok

    Wow! It turned winter in the past couple of hours! I went out to feed/let out the chickens and decided to put the dogs out on their cords. It was very mild and no wind. That is certainly not the case now. Poor dogs were out in it for awhile before I realized it had gotten miserable out. Josi's house isn't repaired yet, although we've given her Kane's house because he is less bothered by the weather with his fluffy coat. She was certainly in it when I looked at the window and realized the turn the weather had taken.

    Our little banty cockerel, Sisko, had gotten out of their yard and he couldn't figure out how to get back in. I'm sure he wanted to be in the protected pen and/or coop.

    (so far so good. He and Jean Luc Picard are getting along.)

    I really should cover the broccoli/cauliflower/brussels this evening. It's so difficult in this wind, though. It will be unpleasant taking Lane's flowers and bears to the cemetery this afternoon as well. The cemetery is so windy....more than any other place. No wind blocks, maybe?

    I spent the last 3 and a half hours scrubbing our kitchen. Wiped down the cabinets, backsplash, appliances, and floors by hand. It's been a year since it's been this clean. I'm about to tackle the dining room side now. After lunch.

    Dawn, I love that Chris and Jana live in such a neat neighborhood! I would enjoy birds, I think. I would be afraid to have them with my cats. My brother in law and sister in law were like Doctor Doolittle. All their animal of all sizes and types got along. No one tried to eat anyone. She is a vet. Maybe it's still like that at her house. We don't talk to her any longer really, since Tom's brother died.

    And honestly, I can't take care of anything else right now.

    Larry, I'm so glad you had some nice days to work outside. Sounds like you're coming along on your shed project.

    I should eat and get busy again. Not spend time online.

  • hazelinok

    Then there’s this brat who doesn’t care that I just spent 3 and a half hours cleaning the kitchen and took her hairy self right up on the sink and cabinet!

  • slowpoke_gardener

    This day is not so great. I have not been able to do anything on my projects. The neighbor that I have talked about in the past still needs my help. Today I went up to the edge of Ft. Smith and brought him back to Greenwood to run errands, then up to the mountain behind me, where he is still renting 10 acres. I dont understand the man, he has spent Feb. to Nov. in the nursing home or the hospital and still renting 10 acres of rock pile for more than I am getting for 60 acres of good pasture land. He is 88 years old, and I dont think he should live on his own. Of course no one can tell him what he should do. One of the places that he went to today was to get his drivers license. That alone bothers me.

    I have a meeting with a Federal wildlife person on Fri. to advise me on how to be more wildlife friendly, and the different programs available.

    I had better go get my neighbor on the mountain and take him back to Ft. Smith. I worry about the man, but there is little I can do with him, other than to love him and try to look after him. He has no family around here.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Larry, thanks for the great laugh!! Garry and I loved that (re your steel gripper). Now the neighbor story, not so funny. Yikes. He is so lucky to have you for a friend.

    HJ, we did the cleaning thing on Thursday of last week. We knew we'd be cooking chili all day Friday, so Garry vacuumed thoroughly and I did the other stuff. Neither of us felt the least little bit like cleaning, but were glad we did it.

    I am psyched! This new book I think is so outstanding, the one about planting native plants for the native wildlife--Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy. When I was was reading it, I told Garry I might have to make HIM read it too. . . I knew that wasn't going to happen. I think the book is so important that I bought two extra copies for other people. Well, one came today, and this afternoon GDW said, "I might try to read that one about eating the right food." I was puzzled and asked what he meant; he said he meant that one I got in the mail. I chuckled to myself, but brought the book to him. Well, after he'd been reading it for 30-45 minute or so, he put it down and said, "I better quit reading that. That's rough stuff!" We both laughed. I said, "I KNOW!" But Tallamy writes so well and with humor now and then that it's not nearly as scary as it could be.

    And that's about the only thing from here that has to do with gardening.

    Garry and I competed against each other in a chili cook-off on Saturday. I had so much fun cooking. I couldn't make my regular chili, because it's almost exactly like Garry's. I found the most fun recipe and used it for a starting point. Marmite! What the heck is Marmite. As old as I am, I'd never run into Marmite before! Had to look it up. and could see I wasn't going to be running into it for THIS cookoff. Probably maybe could special order it from somewhere. At any rate, if any of you are up for this much fun, here's the link:

    I loved making the chile puree, but didn't have whole anise or cardamom or or or. That's why I say this recipe was a starting point. Didn't have fresh Thai peppers, didn't have the exact kinds of dried chiles they used. So I used Guajjillo and Ancho. And soy sauce, and fine ground coffee, and and and, loved the bourbon at the end. I used San Marzano whole tomatoes in the can, and turned them into crushed tomatoes in the food processor. And used ground beef.

    Well, GDW made his the regular way. But the next morning when we took them out of the fridge and put into the slow cookers, we realized we hadn't made enough--either of us! So I quick fried up a bunch more hamburger, onions and garlic, split it in half--he doctored his, I doctored mine, and we added the extra to the originals. By THAT time the recipes were both different from where we began.

    I will say I loved my new fancy chili, though it only got second (It was better than first place! It WAS! LOL) Garry's didn't fare as well (and we thought HIS was better than first place--that's the thing about chili, though, right? Unless one is a chili cook-off pro, one always likes their own chili best. The whole thing was a joke, however; three of the entries dropped out so there were only four there. Still. A lot of fun, and we'll for sure be doing it again.

    Then Sunday, kids and grandkids descended. We were planning an informal snack affair, but I freaked Sunday morning, so ran to town (again) and got drinks, deli meat, cheeses, chips, veggies.. . . and of course we ended up with TONS of stuff, tons of leftovers and ALL the soda pop. AND I had 40--count em--40 deviled eggs. Garry helped me peel eggs, and then he cut them, and he saw how many were there and said, "You're SURELY not going to have that many deviled eggs??!!" I laughed. Yep. And there wasn't one single one left. GDW and Nancy--NO one apparently drinks soda pop anymore. How're we going to unload 5 six packs of pop?!

    I was so exhausted last night I just collapsed and put my feet up for the evening.

    I was in no mood to get up and go to the school this morning, but now am committed to those little pesky kids, so did.

    So it was MY turn to blab on and on.

    Happy Week 2, everyone!

  • hazelinok

    That's true, Nancy, about soda. Most youngsters (teens/20's) are drinking other things. They like bottled water, but many of them (including me and I'm certainly not that age) are carrying refillable bottles. I don't remember the last time Ethan had a soda. I still like one or two a week. Tea is big too. That's what I mostly drink.

    Can you take the soda back to the store for a refund?

  • hazelinok

    Hope everyone is okay and is enjoying their holiday season.

    Nancy, things like La Croix and Bubly are also popular drinks that people are drinking now. They grow on you. Just sharing so you can put it in your mental notes next time people come to your house. And I LOVE deviled eggs. Do you use vinegar in yours? I'm always interested in the different ways people make them.

    I did a few (very few) garden things. I watered all the pots of pansies and the in-ground ones also. Watered my new Chinese pistache. We aren't that wet here even though we had some good rain awhile back. In the winter, I don't keep up with when we get rain, but it's been at least a week. I covered the broccoli/cauliflower/brussels.

    I feel completely out-of-sorts. Maybe it's the full(ish) moon. I'm having animals encounters/situations tonight. The coyotes were very loud at twilight and sounded almost creepy. As soon as it got dark, I went to close up the coop, and as normal counted each chicken. Baby was missing. Is missing. We were in the kitchen, which looks out at the chicken yard/coop and outside or in the we were close! I don't know where she is! I searched the property and noticed a skunk was very near. I could smell it. Got Tom and he brought a stronger flashlight. We couldn't find her. We did find the kitten from next door. He and Finn chased each other and played while we searched. No luck. I came in and started cleaning up the dishes and the kitten jumped on my window ledge and meowed to come in. Oh my. He is a love. He wouldn't go home, so I brought him in and contacted our neighbors, who are currently in town. In the meantime, I looked out and a possum was in between the house and coop/pen. It got scared when it saw me and wandered off. Right after that, the neighbor messaged back and said to put him outside, but we drove him to their barn. Now, I can't find Finbar either.

    I feel very sad about Baby. She could be hiding somewhere, but I don't think so. I've never seen such a small chicken. The thing is, she knows how to put herself up at night. And she's so tiny she can easily squeeze back into the yard if she gets out. I wonder if Finbar killed her and the skunk and possum came in to eat her, but I couldn't find a body. Finbar has chased chickens before when they get out, but has never attacked one. However, she is so very little. And with all the molting going on, feathers are everywhere on the I can't use that as a sign of where she was attacked, if she was attacked. She never even got to lay her first egg.

    Maybe I'll have a glass of wine and watch TV.

  • hazelinok

    Oh. I forgot to ask. Have y'all heard of Jung Seeds & Plants? I received a catalog from them today.

  • dbarron

    I want to think Jung is one of the bad ones that you shouldn't order from.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    I got a Jung catalog, too. I think they are on the naughty list for selling Seminis (owned by Bayer) seeds. Jung has been around since 1907. There are a lot of other companies that sell Seminis seeds. I've bought from some of them. Of course some companies, like Johnny's have been removed from the list. Probably every company sold Seminis before Montsanto bought them. Seminis owns the patent for Better Boy and Sunsugar tomatoes and some All American Selection winners. Reading through the Garden Watchdog comments, I probably wouldn't buy live plants from Jung. I have my favorite vendors and wouldn't go to a new-to-me vendor unless I ABSOLUTELY couldn't live without a variety they sold (that happens more often than you'd think).

    I've been working on my "things to try" list. I need to inventory my seeds, too, but that will wait till after Christmas. I did Christmas cleanup and put all the seeds in the drawers, not necessarily where they belong, but out of sight. I only NEED some things I've used up. But Nancy's got me going on natives, so I guess that will be the grand experiment this year.

    Larry, I chuckled about your neighbor and his driver's license. We bought my dad's car from him to get him off the road. He was 91 then, coming up on 93 now. My sister drives him now.

    H/J, I'm sorry about your chicken. It is hard to keep poultry safe. I remember when I worked on the ranch the coyotes coming around this time of year. They scared this city girl. We saw one once on a neighborhood street so I know we're not immune either, but no packs howling anyway. You really did have a lot of visitors!

    Dawn, you sure are good grandparents! We're trying to figure logistics for Christmas and we may have the kids all day. 3 of 6 children have to work. Making breakfast a better option than dinner. But daughter already planned breakfast with her boyfriend's family. Sigh.

    I need to get moving.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    I am still pretty much useless from having the flu. I'll wake up feeling all energetic in the mornings and thinking I am getting so much better, and then two hours later all that energy is gone and I am sure that I'm going to have the flu forever, y'all, and spend as much of the rest of the day sitting on the sofa resting. I'll be glad when this stuff is all gone and my energy level is back to normal. And, I do want to emphasize, it is not nearly as bad of a case as the flu I had 2 or 3 years ago, but it just seems to be especially fatiguing, regardless, and the cough hangs on forever. Everyone I know who has had it says the same thing so clearly that's just a part of this type of the flu.

    It has been a hectic week of running back and forth to and from Ardmore to get Lillie to school, then going to the house to feed the tropical birds, etc. In the afternoons after Lillie gets out of school, we change the birds water (because they bathe in it and drop food in it throughout the day), and let the birds out to interact with each other and us for a couple of hours before we cover up their cages, turn out the lights and had home. The kids have a security system with cameras that alert my phone every time the cameras pick up movement, and this is pretty hysterical. So far, all the alerts have been for normal stuff like the mailman walking up onto the porch to put mail in the mailbox, or the neighbor next door triggering the driveway camera by his proximity to it or....this big gray and white cat that must belong to someone but roams endlessly. I get to see the cat come from the south, travel across their porch and keep heading north every morning. Then, a couple of hours later, it travels back south across their porch. I'm guessing it likes walking on porches, sidewalks and driveways more than walking on wet ground. Yesterday the cat upped its activity level by spending time walking around the driveway setting off that camera. It isn't feral---it is fat and well-fed, but it sure likes to roam.

    Tim wants to add the outdoor security cameras to our security system, but I am less sure about that. With all the wildlife we have roaming day and night, I'm worried our phone apps will be going off nonstop to alert us to roaming wildlife, so we'll see. Maybe we'll start with 1 camera and see if it drives us crazy before we add more.

    Jennifer, I am sorry about Baby. I hope she shows up. Did Finbar come in? We are seeing a lot of roaming wildlife at night, and a little bit more out during the day. The coyotes are out and about in the daylight, and just as thick as thieves, so I am not leaving our cats and dogs out in their yard for very long at all---just long enough for the dogs to do their business, and the chickens are restricted to their fenced, fully enclosed chicken run now. That rule may stay in place all winter. It depends on how many wild things we keep seeing out roaming around. The cats police their own behavior, and mostly stick close to the house, either on the porches or very close to them, or they'll wander in and out of the garage if I leave the walk-in door open for them. They'd just as soon hang out in the sunroom on these chilly days since it stays nice and warm on sunny days and they can pretend it is summer. If it is a sunny, warm afternoon, they'll roll on the concrete parking pad by the garage but they return to the house and the sunroom if clouds roll in and block the sun.

    The cold weather on Tuesday and Wednesday was not welcome, but it is December and here we are. At least we are on a slight warming trend now until the next cold front rolls through. Our vehicles were heavily coated in frost yesterday morning, despite the air being really dry and the dewpoint very low.

    I'm not overly fond of Jung. They are fine if all you want is seed, but their plants and bulbs are not as good in quality as those sold by many others. I have bought seeds from them in the past, but not in quite a few years now. It is getting harder and harder to find someone who doesn't carry Seminis seed or seed from one of its many, many subsidiaries unless you just totally avoid hybrid seeds. That's why I prefer Johnny's, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (their catalog arrived yesterday, by the way) and Victory Seeds.

    Nancy, If the sodas still are packaged together as they were when you bought them, I think you can return them to the store. If they were held together by plastic rings and you cut those, then I think the stores won't take them back. We mostly drink tea and water now too, in refillable, reusable bottles that are BPA-free. Drinking soda doesn't seem as popular as it once was, perhaps because of the association found between sugar and so many illnesses like diabetes and cancer.

    Larry, Your neighbor reminds me of Fred---determined to just keep on keeping on, even if it doesn't make any sort of logical sense. He is so lucky to have you to love him and to look after him. As people age, often they have no one like you in their lives and they become quite isolated.

    I've got to go. It is time to get that girl up out of bed and into the shower so she'll have time to eat a hot breakfast before we head off to school. I love, love, love having her here, but admit that maintaining the school schedule is something we haven't had to do in ages, and I'm grateful for that....early mornings and then having to be there when school gets out surely does determine your daily schedule for you!

    Oh, and the kittens are well, eating three meals a day of solid food now (I miss bottle feeding them) and running up and down the stairs like the own the place. They are destroying the Christmas tree though and their favorite thing is to knock ornaments off the tree and bat them around on the floor. What was I thinking? It is almost impossible to have a Christmas tree with a house full of 8-week-old kittens. The older cats are not necessarily amused by their antics either, so there's lots of 'leave me alone' type hissing coming from the older cats to the younger ones, but then that is one way that the kittens learn to respect other cats' personal space.

    It is a good thing I had all the Christmas décor up and completed before the flu hit, because if I hadn't managed that, there would be no Christmas visible in our house this year. I'm also grateful for early shopping because I don't have the energy to do it now.

    The kids call my phone via Messenger each afternoon to talk to Lillie (and to us) and they are having a great time, even though Jana got seasick while snorkeling. Today they are going to try some sort of activity that doesn't involve seasickness. (grin) It is sort of crazy that we can communicate with them even when they are pretty far out at sea. Text messaging is not available when they are that far out, but they can use Messenger. They'll be home on Saturday, but Lillie is going to stay an extra night with us on Sat so she can go to the VFD Christmas party, which she really enjoyed last year.

    Have a great day everyone.


  • dbarron

    Dawn, one of the good things about being sick, you can recline on that couch and look at seed catalogs (or websites) to your hearts content..then roll over and take a nap (assuming custody issues allow).

  • OklaMoni

    Hello all

    Been not coming here often, and then didn't post.... but I read last weeks posts, and answered Amy about the goulash.

    slow poke gardener: Look for a rear view mirror that cyclists use... it mounts on your glasses frame. I can recommend the "take a look" mirror.

    it might be perfect for backing that mower up? or at least, to see what's behind you?

    My garden is a mess. Been a mess since last years chip drop... and being gone all of July didn't help.

    I had only two tomatoes on that plant variety I asked Dawn about... but I had tons on the free seeds package from Heirloom seeds. Variety: Black Vernissage They are small, the skin was tough during the hot summer but less so in the few days of fall. :) I will plant them again.

    The cantaloupes that came up volunteer never amounted to anything... they looked fine till I try to harvest one and the bottom of the fruit was all rotted. That was to bad, as I was so looking forward to eating one.

    I just may stay home this summer and have an honest to goodness garden... but then, if something good comes about for a bike trip... who knows.

    Meanwhile, I am still riding my bike as much as the weather allows, and had to laugh at my sister that asked me, if I all do is biking... she is the sister that is also on facebook. Nope, sis, it's just about the only thing I post about what I do. LOL

    I just have to keep moving as much as I can, to keep stiffness from creeping in due to arthritis.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    I had missed your post about goulash, thanks. I thought the mushrooms might have provided some umami, too. Mmmmm, we need to go there more often. Loved their Jager Schnitzel, too. That's Margaret's in the Farm in Tulsa if anyone's interested.

    Dawn, I'm sorry you're sick. It takes me longer and longer to recover the older I get.

    Still working on my list for next year, and trying to clean house when I don't want to.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Moni, thanks for the tip. I will check into the mirrors. I had work done on my right eye yesterday and I can see better, so the mirror may work for me.

    I had cataract surgery a few month ago, which was a big goof. The right eye was done last and it was like a three ring circus. I was taken back to the pre-op room and given a shot in the tube I was hooked to. I then went to la la land for a while and then left la la land and still no surgery, given another shot and went back to la la land, came back and still no surgery. I seemed to wait for ever, and returned to stone sober. I told the nurse when she came in that I would have to have another shot before I could let anyone dig in my eye. The nurse said dont worry we will give you another shot. it was not long before another nurse came in to roll me back to the operating room. I told that nurse that I needed another shot, again was told that they would not operate before I was given another shot.

    Well, to make a long story short, the nurse and doctor held me down and worked on my eye anyway with the doctor bitching at me the whole time because I could hold my eye open and lie still. The nurse was lying on me with her right hands finger nails digging into the skin just above my right eye and the left hand's finger nails digging into my skin below my eye. the whole thing lasting about 1.5 hours. When I went back for a check-up I was told I needed more work on my eye. I called my insurance and told them I was afraid to go back to that doctor, and ask if I could go to another doctor. I went to see a lady doctor that my wife uses, less than 24 hours I can already see better, my weakest eye is now my strongest eye. I am reading my computer screen without my glasses.

    My garden still needs work, but looks pretty good for this time of the year. I am burning the old plants and weeds with a weed burner. I am trying to find an easier way to clean the garden, hoping the weed burner works, because I am not strong enough to pull all the plants.

    I want to order some seeds, which I dont do often. Most of my seeds are bought at the Farmers Co-op, but they do not have as large of a selection as the seed companies do.

    edit, changed with my glasses, to without my glasses.

  • OklaMoni

    Yikes, that sounds super scary about your eye surgery. Glad you got a way around another round with that quack.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Larry,I would sue! That is horrifying!

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    This is the damage untrue things online can do. Regarding Jung. Check this link out. Turns out J.W. Jung in Randolph WI is NOT the "bad" one (owned by Monsanto.) I had read that Jung was affiliated with Monsanto/Seminis/Bayer a couple years ago, so put them on MY bad list--that was a mistake by the researchers--THAT company is Jung Seed Genetics.. Now I feel BAD. Might have to order from them just to make it up to them. J.W. Jung is the one you got HJ.!

    Now. . . . back to those deviled eggs, HJ. Do YOU put vinegar in yours? I never have put straight vinegar in. But I usually put a bit of gherkin juice in, so yes, I guess I do. Sometimes I put a little juice from jarred jalapenos, so that would be vinegar-y, too. And sometimes I put a little of the sweet pickle juice, but then DILL relish. Usually a bit of very finely chopped onions; Dijon or sometimes even just regular mustard. And sometimes dry mustard. Mayo. . . sometimes a bit of sour cream. In other words, varies from time to time. Main thing is to have them NOT bland.

    I'm so glad you got your eye problem fixed, Larry! CRAZY bad.

    I'm familiar with La Croix, HJ, and have been a fan for years. None of our 6-packs are intact now. I took them to two separate luncheons the past week (LOLOL) and had a couple taken each time. At this rate, I might actually eventually get rid of them. I thought it was hilarious, in a way, that none of the kids or grandkids drank pop, but was dismayed that most of them were drinking "energy" drinks. From the frying pan right into the fire. SHEESH. I didn't even notice until they were all gone and we were cleaning up.

    Well, I'm going to retire to the office now. I was out here with the laptop and GDW, but he's watching a dumb futuristic serial (with the sound off, thankfully), so here I go. . . .

    What yummy seed catalogs are you all getting?

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Amy, that is what my daughter said. I dont want to sue anyone, but I would like to stop this from happening to anyone else. The new Dr. that I went to did say that she has had to fix several of his screw ups. When I talked to the insurance co. I told them that I did not want to cause anyone any trouble, I just want someone to fix my eye. They said that they would like to have a report anyway. I got a letter about a week ago that they were investigating anyway. I think they were concerned about future patients. The thing I am hacked off the most now, is that I had to pay another $250.00 co-pay to get my eye fixed. It seems wrong that a person has to pay for the screw-ups also.

    My brother was an Electrician and would joke about Doctors having a "Practice". He said that he was not aloud to practice, he had to do his job right the first time, or go back and fix it free.

  • hazelinok

    Baby was found!

    I went out to the shop. I have a pile of garden crap that needs to be sorted through and organized, etc. and was looking through the pile for a pot when I noticed chicken dropping and then there she was! Dehydrated, but fine. We looked twice for her that night AND we've been to the shop several times since...quickly grabbing items. I guess she got hungry/thirsty and was tired of being in the dark. It's a large 1200 sq ft. shop that is fairly junky, but still! I was thrilled. AND it takes a weight off my mind about Finbar's possible involvement in her disappearance. I know it's rare for a cat to attack chickens, but it does happen. He was going to stay inside while the chickens were out of their pen and vice versa. But, now I'm not so worried about it.

    That's my bit of good news for today.

    It was good to read everyone's posts.

    I don't really need to order anything from Jung...there's plenty of places I already order from. This was the first time receiving their catalog.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Ha ha ha ha. My family made deviled eggs with pickle relish (sweet) and probably Miracle Whip because there was no mayo in the house when I was young. I was never big on deviled eggs. Ron makes them only with mayo (he hates miracle whip). There is no relish or vinegar in them. Some mustard (if I make them it's Dijon or brown mustard) dill weed, salt and pepper, a few drops of hot sauce and also, if I make them, a little cumin. Put a little cumin in egg salad, too, which I make the same way.

    Larry, I'm glad they're looking into that eye doctor. He shouldn't be practicing.

  • jlhart76

    Larry, if anything, I'd blast that idiot on social media. That's the best way to retaliate against someone nowadays.

    Speaking of...Our car has had a battery drain for months. We've taken it to the warranty shop multiple times only to be told there's nothing wrong. Then last time we dropped it off, we waited a week to go pick it up. And lo & behold, the battery was dead as a doornail. So they spent a week "fixing" to look at it, but as soon as I filed a complaint with corporate they found time to work on it. Funny how that happens.

  • dbarron

    Well, today seemed like a good day to plant a new annual impatiens for winter treatment to break dormancy on the seeds. Impatiens bicolor, a japanese purple and yellow impatiens species. It's an analog to our impatiens capensis (jewelweed), so I may be releasing the genie from the bottle, but I won't know till I grow it.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Amy, like you, I grew up on Miracle Whip. I first tasted mayo at my BFF's house as a kid. When I had my own household as an adult, I've always kept both. I like Miracle Whip for some things, but far more often use mayo, and if I need a touch of sweet it, will add sugar or something else sweet. Garry ONLY eats Miracle Whip.

    I didn't know what jewelweed was, dbarron, so had to look it up--pretty. I don't recall ever seeing it, but it surely must be around me. I'll have to look harder this year.

    I'm so happy you found Baby, Jennifer!!!! Yay!!

    It's hard enough to stay healthy with a GOOD doctor. Kind of scary out there finding the good ones. I'm sorry about your trouble, Larry We were surely not happy with GDW's expert urologist--and would never go back.

    Are you feeling any better today, Dawn? I'm so sorry you're ill! Bad time of year for it. I do hope Lillie and Tim don't get it--or did you get it from one of them? Lillie and kittens. Nice combo. I bet she's loving it!

    Some of you must know this. I did not. Not until today. I had a delicious kale salad yesterday. It had cranberries and cauliflower and chopped nuts in it. Come to find out it was in a bag mix from Walmart. I won't buy those salad mixes in bags--just too many ecoli scares. BUT I looked up the recipe today and found out that if you massage (think kneading bread) the kale thoroughly, then cut it, then wash it off, you lose the bitterness--or at least a lot of it. It WORKED! I was so excited. I have been trying so hard to make myself be able to eat kale. I'm thrilled.

    The guy across the street told GDW he got the wood from a tree a buddy cut down--got it back to his house and it was all kind of rotting and falling apart. So Garry told him he could have a bunch of the firewood in back that we won't use. And I laughed and said, "I love rotting wood." So he brought their rotting wood to us and got the firewood. Haha.

    And we got a lot of groceries today to re-stock the pantry after our chili cook-off and our big party last Sunday, as well as two potlucks this past week. I got two big containers of mushrooms and a smaller one and just fried them all to put in individual supper portions. I love doing that with peppers, celery, carrots, and onions, too--the traditional mirepoix and the Cajun holy trinity. Well, I need to go organize the freezer, so I'm off.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    I had a wildlife garden crew here today to work on the partly burned brush pile. They had a track hoe, and I let one guy use my small tractor to move small chunks to the burn pile. Everything looks good. I will have to do some finish work and plant seeds when the time is right. I also had two people here from Game and Fish to check the place over to point out thinks I can do to make the place more wildlife and cattle friendly. They stated that they did not think grow and release quail would be a good idea because of so many predators, but would like for me to plant for pollinators. I told them that I had already planted 2# of wild flower seeds and had clover ready to plant.

    I also found out that a plant I hate is "Beefsteak weed", I think it is some kind of mint and toxic for many things. I will be starting a project of trying to get rid of all of those weeds.

    I also had my young helper over this afternoon and we started doing maintenance on some of the junk I have. He will be back tomorrow and we will finish the maintenance project and finish the roof on my shed.

    It has been a good day, but I am very tired.

  • hazelinok


    Nancy, I've just started putting a bit of vinegar in my deviled eggs. I like it a lot. I've always done it the "southern" way with pickle relish. But, I really like the vinegar. Actually, there's so many fun things to do with deviled eggs. I love eggs. And will be happy when my little ladies pick up the laying again. That should come in about a month. Just a side thought as I type this...I wonder what color Eve's eggs will be. She hatched from a Buff Minorca egg (white), but Jean Luc is a red rooster mix who hatched from a brown egg....

    My Jung catalog is I probably won't order anything from them even if they are good. I don't really need to.

    About Miracle Whip and Mayo. My Mom kept Miracle Whip and I just asked Tom and his Mom did Miracle Whip too. (His Mom is old enough to be my Mom's Mom.) We do mayo at our house. I have no idea how we came to mayo. I used to be grossed out by it, but prefer it now. "Ew! She didn't use Duke's mayonnaise." (from a Sh%t Southern Women Say video)

    We actually have Duke's in the refrigerator now.

    Dawn, if you don't start feeling better soon, you might see a doctor just in case you have something other than the flu that can be helped with medication. I KNOW that I don't heed my own advice on such things. But...I want you to feel better. I think I'm getting something. I pulled the echinacea tincture out this morning. I have that weird tired feeling that comes with a cold/flu. (It's not as serious as with the flu, though). We are having people in our home tomorrow for dinner, so went shopping tonight. I just couldn't bear the thought of spending all evening in the kitchen. I was so tired. SO, put some pumpkins in to bake and laid down for a nap. I told Tom to wake me at 8 IF I'm still sleeping. Luckily he woke me 'cause the pumpkins were slightly over cooked. I slept so hard. But, got up and made cookies and pumpkin puree for a pumpkin soup. All I need to do tomorrow is make the soup and put it in the crockpot. Tom smoked the pork tonight.

    Nancy, the salad blend you're talking about is one of my favs. (I think) Is it the chopped salad mix that comes with the honey mustard dressing? I have used it often over the past month. I like kale cooked, but not in cold salads EXCEPT if it's chopped into really small pieces. I, too, am a bit scared of the bagged salads. I killed my salad garden and am so addicted to eating salads everyday, that I throw caution to the wind and just keep buying the store greens. I've gotta get this right in the future.

    Yes, Baby is back in the coop and doing fine. It's just such a relief because of the Finbar worry. He is such a hunter that I just wasn't sure. I've decided her name is just Baby. I couldn't find a name that fit her and always called her Baby. At first she was Trixie, then Robin, then Susie, and then Princess. But Baby is what I always called her, so Baby it is.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Nancy, kale is sweeter after a frost. If you've been eating summer kale (or collards) it tastes better after a frost. I personally like the "dinosaur" kale best, but the curly kale sold by Bonnie isn't bad and we still have some surviving without protection!. I don't like the Russian kales, they're too tough. Our favorite way to eat kale is in soup. Tuscan white bean, sausage and kale soup.

    I missed H/J's post, glad Baby is safe. If memory serves, Miracle Whip was cheaper than mayo when I was young and so that was what you got. Also my mom had a sweet tooth. I would guess she also compared calories and fat, because it was the kind of thing she would do and Miracle Whip is ahead on both.

    I hope Dawn is feeling better.

    I was awakened by a hissing cat and the stomping of Sasquatch feet this morning. The dog is not allowed in the back of the house but SOMEONE who lives here can't shut the gate when he goes through.

  • dbarron

    We always had Miracle Whip, and I can't really abide mayo. It's what you're used to, for the most part.
    I think I'm going to assemble and bake a fruitcake today (totally adhoc based on what I have..which is citron, pineapple dried, candied cherries, dried mango pieces, sliced almonds, and figs). Basically throw it together with a batter composed of flour, brown sugar, baking powder, honey, cinnamon, ginger, eggs, vegetable oil, and a whatever amount of water is required. I tend to not cook off recipes, and just do what seems right. Wish me luck.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Good luck, dbarron. Sounds good. No alcohol? I made fruitcakes last year for the first time, and they had copious amounts of bourbon or rum. I had a blast. More assembling than anything to do with baking, right?

    I had read that about kale, too, Amy. NEXT year the big kale year! I've eaten a sausage/kale soup that was delicious--but we hardly ever have soup here. Potato soup. . . . that 's about it. The only kale I've seen at this Walmart is the curly kind. We'll have to take a trip to Broken Arrow one of these days. In fact! Gotta take a friend to the doctor next week--so I can put "dinosaur" kale on my list. Thanks! I'll look forward to trying it since reading that it's not as bitter.

    I guess that's the kale mix, Jennifer. . . I couldn't pinpoint what the dressing was, but that sounds about right. I had never heard of Duke's until your post. LOL Just learned something. :)

    I don't know about relish in deviled eggs being a Southern thing. Most of my acquaintances up north use sweet relish in theirs. There are few recipes or dishes that I always fix exactly the same way. (Fried chicken is one.) Most are an ongoing experiment. . . always on a quest for the best possible way to fix. Ahh. Another think I love to put in deviled eggs is a tad bit of creamy horseradish sauce.

    Here's a fun thing, speaking of chicken fried steaks, Amy. GDW was musing about fixing chicken fried hamburgers. He was tired of getting gristly chicken fried steaks at restaurants. So I fixed "chicken fried hamburgers" for him. They were delicious!

    Got a new gardening catalog "The Natural Gardening Company" based in Diamond Springs CA. I feel bad about receiving these unsolicited catalogs. What a waste of trees.

    I looked up beefsteak pland/weed. It's a perilla, I see! I have some blasted perilla that sprang up in a big stand of four-o'clocks. I was pulling them whenever I found em, but they were hard to see among all the four o'clocks. But they're a bad customer, so I'll be more diligent this year.

  • dbarron

    Nancy, I have repeatedly doused fruitcakes with rum, but don't really see a 'good' fruitcake needs that treatment to be edible. Just like a truly great steak doesn't need steak sauce.
    Perilla, the most incredible weed that has naturally occurred for me at the last two houses...where I try most diligently to eradicate the stuff...can't STAND the smell of the leaves if mowed etc.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Hi Y'all, I just posted the Week 3 thread after multiple failed attempts. Houzz is not being very cooperative today. I'll try to read this one and catch on everything later. We have the girls this weekend and it is time to make them breakfast. We have an apparently well-rested 5 year old who is awake about an hour earlier than usual and ready to get her day started. I am feeling better by the way, but it has been a long slow recovery. As Amy noted, the older we get, the harder it is to recover from these illnesses.

    Today we are going to decorate Lillie's Mario Brothers gingerbread house and Aurora's Paws Patrol gingerbread house. I know that just reading that makes the rest of you insanely jealous. The regular/normal/traditional gingerbread house was done a couple of weeks ago, so now the girls get to work on their 'special' ones. lol lol lol


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    dbarron, Since Tim had taken a vacation week, he was here to deal with anything I was too tired or too flu-impaired to handle. There was a little napping on the couch, but not too much---I was coughing too much.

    I tried to always be awake, alert and involved when Lillie was home--it is such a rare treat to have her with us for a whole week that I didn't want to miss any of it.

    Tim really took the burden off of me as far as dealing with the pets, cooking and laundry. He's a really good guy. He probably was counting his blessings that I felt too crappy to go Christmas shopping. lol. He did have to get ready for the VFD Christmas party pretty much all by himself (usually I do most of that) and he did a great job. I skipped the party on Saturday evening because I still was coughing too much. Today I am so, so very much better. There's still a little coughing, but it probably isn't even 10% of what it was on yesterday or the day before, so I've finally turned the corner.

    Moni, I cannot imagine you staying home this summer instead of biking around the country or around the world. Won't that feel strange? On the other hand, you'd have a chance to do all the gardening you want to do.

    Amy, Thanks. I'm finally feeling better, just about when I was going to give up and go to the doctor. The difference between yesterday and today was like night and day. Hooray!

    Larry, That is crazy about your eye surgery. With my cancer surgery in 1999, they thought I was knocked out and I wasn't, and I remember reaching for them and literally clawing at them to tell them I was awake and aware and feeling things. I could hear them talking, but I couldn't speak. They didn't seem to notice that I wasn't unconscious the way I was supposed to be. I guess at some point the anesthesia kicked in because at some point I stopped being awake and aware, but I didn't trust that bunch after that, and my next two surgeries were with the same doctor, but a different anesthesiologist.

    I assume your beefsteak weed is perilla. That stuff is almost as evil as Bermuda grass and Johnson grass.

    Jennifer, I'm glad Baby was found. We have had chickens go broody and disappear into the woods for weeks before reappearing, and I'm always sure they are dead and gone....until they reappear.

    Jen, I agree that a social media blast can get you a quick response, though I hate to have to resort to that. Imagine them suddenly fixing your car when you filed a complaint with corporate. Big surprise there. Is it just me or have we arrived at the point where there's a ton of people who don't do quality work any more and who don't care that they aren't doing quality work?

    Nancy, Jung Seed is not a bad option if you're only buying seeds, but their bulbs and plants are small and low-quality and I'll never buy any non-seed plant items from them again based on my personal experience with them.

    Amy, Someone who lives in this house (and it isn't me) is not good about closing doors and gates that should be closed either. It drives me crazy. I do a much better job of controlling the dogs' activity than he does. Jesse is trying to catch up with Sasquatch in terms of growth and he is getting so big that it is starting to scare me. We don't need for him to get much bigger. It never was my intent to have a dog who is the size of a small pony inside the house.

    dbarron, That's a pretty little flower. Hopefully it won't prove to be invasive for you. (The plants I hope will be invasive never are, and the ones I hope will not be invasive always are....why does it work out that way?)

    Good luck with your fruitcake. We had a couple of uncles who always made it, and wrapped in a liquor-soaked cheesecloth and aged it properly and all that. I didn't care for fruitcake myself, but my dad did. He never made a fruitcake, but he did like making a fresh apple cake with a lot of apples and nuts in it.

    Now that all our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles are gone (we have one elderly aunt still living, but I don't think she bakes much any more), no one does all that holiday baking like they once did. I kinda miss that. I bake a little here and there but not like I once did because we've all cut back on how much sugar we eat nowadays.

    Amy, I think you are right about Miracle Whip being less expensive than mayo---it is the one my parents always bought. I probably didn't use real mayo until I was grown up, married and buying my own groceries. We prefer mayo and haven't bought Miracle Whip in decades.

    Nancy, I get that catalog from The Natural Gardening Company periodically, but don't think I've ever ordered anything from them. If I did, it was decades ago, probably before we moved to OK....long before.

    Somebody asked which gardening catalogs had arrived. I'll list all I can from memory, but I know I won't remember them all: HPS Seeds, Wildseed Farms, Seeds N Such, Totally Tomatoes, J. W. Jung Seed, Tomato Growers Supply Company (under new ownership and I'm not sure I like them as much now), Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Park Seed, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Dixondale Farms and Vermont Bean Seed Company. There's probably others that I'm not thinking of. There have been a few bulb company catalogs over the course of the autumn, but ColorBlends is the only one whose name I can think of at the moment.

    While Lillie was staying with us while Chris and Jana were on their long-delayed honeymoon cruise, her great-grandmother (Jana's beloved grandmother) passed away. She had been very ill a very long time, so I don't think you could say it was unexpected, but I think it might have happened a bit sooner than they all expected. Chris and Jana didn't know about her death until their cruise ship was close enough to the USA that their text messages and social media were accessible, which I think was Friday night. We had been able to stay in touch with them via Messenger most of the time they were at sea, but we didn't know about her grandmother's death, having met that side of Jana's family only a couple of times and not knowing them well. I just hate that Jana and Chris were away when this happened, but y'all know that's just how things happen. The funeral is tomorrow.

    This weekend the grandkids' big thing was "I can't believe it is only 11 days until Christmas...," etc. and it is said in almost an annoyed tone of voice, like they think the time is flying by too quickly. lol.

    When we dropped off the kids, Chris wanted to run a test to see if the tropical birds would go to them or to us, so he let one out of the cage and told her to fly to her favorite person. I told Chris she'd fly to Tim (Chris thought she'd fly to him) and she did. lol. Then he put the bird back on top of her cage and told her to fly to her second favorite person, and she flew to me and landed on my shoulder. He was totally shocked, but we were laughing so hard. I am sure that now that the kids are back, the birds will forget us overnight and the next time they see us, they'll act like we are strangers.

    There. I'm all caught up on last week and this week too. For once. I am glad. I hate feeling out of the loop.


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