Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crepe Myrtes

 This is my grandmother's very pretty bright pink Crepe Myrtle.  She has three of them around her house.  This one was the brightest in color and also attracted the most bees.  It stayed in bloom a lot longer than the others.  I think it is due to the partial afternoon shade it has.  With summer almost at an end the little monster and I agreed to help her trim up the spent blooms this fall.  Hopefully next year they will be just as pretty for her to enjoy.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Late Summer Blooms

School has started and the weather is still steaming!  I am very excited about our Calla Lilies that are still in bloom.  They never reached the deep purple we wanted, but they are still very pretty.  It has not rained in weeks and the temps are still staying right at 100.  The high temps are making the little monster cranky and tired after school and homework.  The flowers are hating the dry, hot air.  I am tired of the heat and can not wait for a nice two day long cool, steady rain.  I have reading to catch up on and a rack of ribs waiting for a long cook in the oven.  For now, it is too hot to bake or turn the  oven on for more than a few minutes.  The dry air is full of dust bringing on allergies with massive sneezing even in the dog.  All of the potted plants have been moved into mostly shade and need massive water daily.  The only two left blooming are the Lilies and my new rusty colored mums.  The mums are a little early, but I noticed the local stores are stocking up on fall colored mums.  If mine stop blooming before Halloween I can always get more.  They have always been one of my favorites.  I would love a porch full of dark red and orange mums to great guest and little kids on Halloween.

Nothing to worry about now since no one is out moving around in the heat.  It is nice to see a little green and flashes of color in the yard that is surrounded by very dry grass and trees already loosing their leaves from lack of water.  (we have way too much land and too many trees to water everything) Hope you enjoy the last of our summer blooms while we wait for rain and ripe pumpkins!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Game Camera: Natural Trophy

After a long wait for the little monster, we finally saw a few pictures of our raccoon we released to a safer place.  He seems to have found a new family as there were many different pictures.  We also caught a few rabbits, hogs, coyotes and of course deer of all sizes on the camera.  The little monster was happy to see his relocated friend happy and still a little cranky. 

After finding a few pictures here, my husband relocated the camera to a new area.  He sat if up for a few weeks before checking the pictures.  He came home with over 900 photos from that time.  All were of deer.  Most were does with their little ones running around.  One strange picture was of a doe on her back feet standing up to fight off a younger doe.  The strangest pictures are the ones I am about to post.  I have never seen anything like this except for on tv and is usually retained within the fences of a hunting ranch where daily feeding to maximize growth is used.  This picture however, is 100% natural, "free range" deer from the middle of nowhere.  There are a few dirt roads in the area, but no houses for miles.  The land is owned and used for the harvest of timber to make paper products.  I know this is not the largest deer on record, but it is a lot larger than we usually see in this area. 

If you zoom this last picture up, you can see another deer at the tip of his horns.  This is average size of a good mature buck for the area the pictures were taken in. He is also in the first picture, but harder to see.  Here  he looks tiny!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Game Cam

So far this  week we have not captured any of the relocated racoons.  We did find a tiny and thin little doe that decided to lick the  camera.  We do not know why she looks so thin.  There are plenty of food options in the area.  She looks really young and she was alone so this could be the problem.  Or she could be the momma that lost her baby to a coyote this summer. 

She just looks so sad.  We are taking her a little corn down today.  Hopefully she will find it soon and so will the coons.  On the other hand, the little monster is eating more than ever during his first week of school. It usually takes his a good two weeks to get back in the swing of things during the first of the school year as well as after Christmas break. Today was the day that the excitement left the house and the complaining returned. His favorite is "You are the worst Mommy ever.  I do not want to go to school."  Some how it is my fault that he has to get and education. 

He likes school, his teacher (finally) and all of his friends.  His problem is being told to wake up.  He is a cranky little monster in the mornings that will have a few toys taken away if he does not correct his attitude. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Trapping Garden Creatures

After a long break during the heat of the summer to have a some fun with the little monster, we are back with tons of new stories and pictures.  First and foremost, he would like everyone to know that one of his dreams came true. He went for another horse ride.  He is still talking about it and all he would talk about at school when it was his turn to share what happened over summer break. 

The first thing he would like for me to write about is his little adventure with a few creatures that stalked the large trash can that holds the fish food.  Every night they would break in and eat the food, make a mess then leave without a trace.  The poor garden was tortured all summer a pack of these hungry things.  On top of that, you would think we had a bunny farm out back. (Which was what the trap was intended to catch as well.)

The little guy found a trap, set it up with a little peanut butter one night.  It worked. He caught a shy little guy.  He was relocated miles away to a very secluded wooded area where we have pictures of them thriving and growing to massive sizes.

Next, he caught "scrappy".  This feisty little guy wanted to eat the dog and break free from the cage as soon as he could.  He barked and growled more than the dog, which is very unusual since my dog tries to kill everything moving.  We left the dog at home for this relocation too. 

My son thinks he will see them again and is very hopeful.  He probably will this fall, but I am happy they are gone. They can eat up a lot of food in one night. Our game camera is set up close to the release site.  Maybe we will have a few pictures next week.  For now we are in full back to school mode.  Things are a lot smoother this year so far and he actually having fun!

Here is a video of one of the released and angry animals.

Monday, July 15, 2013

First Watermelon

This weekend we found our first two watermelons on the vine.  They were both hiding under a few weeds we cleared out.  Both are around five inches in length, so we have a little while before harvest.  It felt amazing to find our first tasty little treats hiding.  Hopefully we will have a few more producing this week.  We finally got a couple of little rain showers so maybe that will help with growth.  We have rain all around us and the little melons would love another drink.

We have newspaper ready to place underneath them to soak up extra moisture and prevent rotting.  As of now, it does not look like we will have enough moisture to need them in the near future.  The tiny little showers are soaked up in the dry ground very fast and a little movement is all they need so far.  Every few days we will turn them a little to prevent on side from flattening. I like nicely rounded melons. How is your garden after the weekend?

Friday, July 12, 2013


Here are a few fireworks we set off for the fourth.  The little monster loved them.  We threw in a few sparklers at the end.  He had so much fun he talked his uncle into doing it again a few nights later.  This did not require much talking since my brother had already planned on the activity on a night he was off. 

My first time shooting fireworks.  The little guy loves the pictures so I have to share them. I need a little more practice, a few pieces of new equipment and more colorful fireworks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dahlia - Garden Wonder

My first Dahlia, Garden Wonder, is finally blooming.  This is the bright red one the little monster picked out back in the spring.  Even with the lack of rain and temps souring to over 100 on most days, this little bloom looks amazing.  We also have three more set to bloom in the coming week.

The little one is amazed at the deep reds and the size of the blooms.  I will just let the pictures speak for the flower.  They are not the best at capturing the color since the sun has been relentless this week. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Canvas Art and Custom Wreath

It is almost time for fall so I am taking orders for custom tulle wreathes. Any colors, designs or themes.  We are making items for fall, a few for first birthdays, and few for a special little girls bedroom door.  Let me know if you would like one.  They range in price from $25.00 to $100.00 depending on size and items wanted for use.

We also have canvas art for sell on Etsy here.  If you do not like canvas then let me know and we will do a high quality print for you of the size you choose and a lot cheaper than the canvas.  The little monster hand picked each canvas print and will get all of the money to go towards his dino dig vacation next year! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Serrano Pepper Recipes: Tamale/Taco Soup

Our peppers are growing non-stop!  They are almost ready for harvest and put into a nice fresh batch of dinner rolls with cheese.  We do a few different things with our peppers.  These are 3 to 4 times stronger than jalapenos.  We let a few peppers turn red before picking.  When they are ready we set them out to sun dry similar to sun dried tomatoes.  Once they are dry, I grab a chefs knife and start chopping.  This is a good way to test their dryness.  If they are not completely dry, then let them set a few more days.  Once they are dry you can chop them a little more for pepper flakes or crush them into a powder for chilli, tamale or taco soup, and to add a kick to BBQ meats.  My favorite is to add some in the water that  boil corn in.  Boil you water, add a little butter and your ground up peppers for a great side dish.

These peppers can be frozen or canned.  I use green peppers for both of these.  They will become the peppers I dice up for breads and add to peas for a little heat.  The juice from the canning jar can also be used to season other veggies.  My favorite by far is a bowl of tamale soup.  So here is the recipe in case you want to try it out. This makes a huge pot of soup.

4 tamales sliced to make a half in thick rounds with the meat still in the middle.
2 lbs of cooked beef or turkey meat
1 cup or 1 can of cream style corn
1 cup or 1 can of cooked black beans
1 cup or 1 can of cooked pinto beans
1/4 cup of floor for thickening the juice
1-2 cups of tomato sauce (if you really like tomatoes than use 2 cups)
2 cans of chicken broth
2 cans of beef broth
2 packages of taco seasoning
1-2 teaspoon f ground Serrano peppers
1/2 diced onion or add onion powder to taste
salt to taste
a dash or black pepper

Brown your meat while you get your broth boiling with the corn, beans and seasonings.  When the meat is brown add it to the boiling soup mix.  Cover and let simmer on low heat for one hour.  Stirring occasionally to make sure it does not burn on the bottom.  The last ten minutes is when you need to add the tamales other wise they will fall apart from over cooking.  Fill a bowl with a few fritos, add your soup and top off with a cheddar and jack mix of cheese.

If you just want a taco soup, then leave out the tamales.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mammoth Sunflower Planting

The little monster had a nice surprise for me yesterday.  I was ready to water our little garden right before dark and he made me close my eyes as soon as I came close.  Our first Mammoth Sunflower had opened it's bloom to show a bright yellow face. A few more are getting ready to do the same during this week.

We planted our seeds one inch deep once the night temps started to stay around 50. (winter sowed seeds did not grow as tall and are no where near producing a flower)  We spaced our seeds one foot apart.  They started to sprout within 3 days of the first planting and watering.  Once they grew a good six inches, we packed a little more soil and fertilizer around the base of the plants.  We did this again at two foot tall to help prevent to sturdy flowers from falling over.  They were also watered daily during times of no rain.

Our first bloomer is around six feet tall with a flower that is eight inches in diameter.  The yellow is very bright on the petals and even with the weight of the bloom the plant is not sagging or bending over at all.  These heavy feeders are doing great with a little bit of lime, magnesium, calcium and fish waste to make sure the soil keeps providing nutrients for the plants. We used this  mixture every third week since the soil was very rich to begin with.

First day open
 Third day open.

 Sunflowers after a few weeks of growing.