Thursday, December 18, 2014

Garden Reflections

I have noticed over the years (this was our 5th year of gardening!) that my attitude about the garden is more relaxed.  If something doesn't make it, I'm a bit sad, but shrug my shoulders and think, "Oh, well...".   Tim and I have an acronym we say, OWIIWII.  We pronounce it, Oh-wee-wee.  It stands for, "Oh Well, It Is What It Is."  Some years are better than others, some vegetables do better than others in different years.  

There's more of a letting go on my part, more peace about what grows and what doesn't.  There is more trust in God, that I will have what I need, and if I don't have it I must not need it.  We just take what we get and appreciate what we have. Learning this in the garden transfers to the bigger issues in life as well.  

It certainly is amazing to watch things grow from such small seeds.  I keep thinking about the parables of Jesus, when he talked about seeds, soil and gardens.  Here's one:
"He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.'"  (Mat 13:31-32)
It is so amazing to see these little, tiny seeds and watch them sprout and grow into such huge plants that make more seeds, which make more plants.....  It is like God's Kingdom.  He does the planting and watering in it, and as we cooperate with Him (obey Him), the Kingdom grows and grows as He desires.  There is peace in knowing that He really is the "vinedresser" with all His wisdom, carefully tending and watching everything work together for His purpose.  He cares about us and His world much more than we do.  We continually look forward to see what all He does with His Kingdom all around us.

If you're interested in more of our thoughts about His Kingdom, please go to our website, Listen To Him.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Road Ahead

We are now making plans to change our lifestyle by eliminating a great deal of our stuff, eventually selling our home and moving to the mountains.  We are now in contract to purchase a lot near Guffey, Colorado, where we intend to build a small home where we will retire.  We will be Golden Gaits Ranch, Guffey.  (GGRG)

We visited the area on a recent vacation, and "fell in love with" the land there.  This "trip" truly did begin a new path for us, as we immediately began to consider moving to this location.  It's at about 9000 feet, where the summer temperatures never go above 85 degrees.  Wahoo!  We both dislike hot weather.  Considered a "banana belt" by nearby locals, there should be equal to less snow there than what we experience here, and a great deal less wind in addition to the lack of hot temps.

In the next weeks and months we will begin working on our timeline of how we'd like to proceed. This is bare land.  We will need electricity (which is already there), a well, septic,  fencing, barn, workshop, garden, probably ducks or chickens, and a home--more or less in that order!  We are purchasing a fifth-wheel that we plan to live in for 1-2 years while we build.  Prior to our actual move there, we will visit on weekends and vacations to both work and relax.  Eventually, we'll sell our current home and make the move, maybe in 1 1/2 to 2 years.

For the home, we plan to build something small and energy efficient.  We want to keep our accumulation and retention of stuff to a bare minimum.  Living in the RV while we build should be quite an experience, and help us get accustomed to that new kind of lifestyle.  We may build a yurt, if we can get county approval; or if not, another circular, open type of structure.  We're thinking of a small living space with a basement for storage & work space that won't need to be heated all the time.

I'm thinking I may start a new blog to document the process.  If I do that I'll post the address here.  I don't want to just talk about the building and moving process, but include some of our thought process and how this all fits in with our desire to "seek first the Kingdom of God".  That is really our goal in this change, and we really want to follow Jesus and the life God wants for us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ducks 2014

An update on our little flock...
We now have four ducks, 3 Welsh Harlequins and 1 Pekin; they are three years old.  After several months of getting "dud" eggs pretty consistently, we finally determined one of the Pekins was throwing the duds, so we retired her.  The duds were deformed shells: soft, like the membrane without the hard shell, sometimes with a string of shellish mass hanging off the end; or sometimes little to no shell at all--just the white and yolk in a splooshy mess with a little membrane-ish stuff along with it.  After seeing one of the Pekins lay these a couple of times, we began calling her "Dudley", and soon after that we had her for dinner.  She was not good.  I wondered if being an older duck would make her tougher, and it did--I should have made soup or stew, I suppose, rather than put her on the grill.  As it was, we couldn't eat it.  Nice try.

With the four remaining ducks, we do still get an occasional dud here and there--they seem to be coming from the remaining Pekin (our current "Whitey").  On very rare occasions we get four good eggs in one day.  I know that the 3 Welsh Harlequins lay good eggs, I'm just not sure if "Whitey" is done with her egg-laying days or merely a bit off for a while.  We don't really want to keep feeding a non-productive duck!  I've been encouraged by two days with four eggs in the past week. 

One duck has begun to lose feathers, and I suppose the others will soon, too.  Along with the loss of feathers, egg production will drop off and stop as they molt.  Another year done.  Hopefully this coming fall/winter they will begin laying sooner than last year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thar's Voles in my Peppers!

See the trench going under the plant!
I've been noticing underground trenches in my pepper bed, starting at one end and on through to the other end.  The holes are about 1 1/2-2" in diameter, and go under the pepper plants, up again, down and up to the end of the row.  First off I discovered that 6 or so peppers on my only paprika plant had completely disappeared.  Then I found holes and chew marks on some of the anaheims.  Each day I inspected, I'd kick the soil back into the holes.  I'm amazed that the pepper plants are still living, with the holes going right through their roots.
I began researching on the web to determine what kind of critter might be burrowing like this and eating chile peppers.  All I could find was that I should use chile pepper spray to repel them.  Ha!  These guys seem to LIKE the chiles and at first were leaving the sweet peppers alone.  I said, "at first".  Now, I find chew marks, holes, and half-eaten sweet peppers almost daily.  They really seem to like the peppers, but so do I!  That's enough.
Yesterday I went out and bought some snappy-type mouse traps and placed them near some of the entrances/exit holes.  Before I ever left the area, in maybe 3 minutes, I'd already caught a vole.  Mystery solved--it IS voles.  Overnight I expected I might catch more, but although a couple of the traps had been snapped, no more catches.  I also bought some castor oil, which is supposed to repel them, so I'll give that a try, too.  Perhaps I can keep them out of the peppers, but hopefully by just "repelling" them from the peppers, I won't be sending them off to the tomatoes nearby.
I took a pic of the dead vole in the snap trap, but I'll spare you.  There's a nice picture of a cute, fuzzy vole and more information HERE.