Severe Weather Season – Arrived Today

Day one of our official severe weather season started today. Grin … true to form my WX guy said.

*Severe Weather Possible Today.
An active evening may be in store as a strong cold front heads for Texoma(Northwest Texas / Southwest Oklahoma). Expect increasing south winds today and a very warm afternoon with highs in the low 80s north to upper 80s south. Scattered severe storms may develop as early as 4-5 PM for northwestern Texoma and then form into a line this evening before exiting the area by 10-11 PM. Storms may contain large hail and damaging winds and there is a small chance of a (few) tornado’s. Wind gusts to 60 mph may be possible behind the front.

Grape Vine Planting Up-Date

Bare root vines planted 8 or 9 days ago. The 2 seedless concord vines are budding out. The red skin Flame vine is still plyable but has not yet set any buds.
Flame is out. Next time I will buy a different variety of seedless red skin grape to replace this non performing variety.

Corn Planting. There was enough seed in the package to plant six, 6 foot long rows. I have found that almost all vegetable crops benefit from being planted side by side in short rows over 1 or 2 long rows. Pollination is better in this arrangement.

I’m off to double check and secure anything that may me moved from my house to the south 40 by the forecasts high winds.

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Where Have All The Hummingbirds Gone?

About 10 days ago I made a batch of sugar water(1 cup sugar, 4 cups water) and hung my Hummingbird feeders. Before dark I had 2 pair of Ruby Throat Hummingbirds finding and feeding from my new feeders.

Then the next day I had the start of a few days of overcast, cooler weather. Hummingbirds must have gone back to Mexico, They because they are no longed feeding at my new feeders! However I do have 4 or 5 pair of Eurasian Doves coming twice a day to feed, a few Red Wing Black birds and a pair of Red birds.

It’s almost mid-week and the sun is shining, temperature is bumping 80 degrees, but the west wind is holding steady at 30 mph gusting to 35 or 40 mph. Not really a nice day to garden.

On the brighter side, many of the onion sets I planted in my patio pots are shooting bright green shoots skyward. A few Radish seeds and Beet seed have germinated and are showing the promise of making a fresh spring time salad. Fresh green onions, radish and beets. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Pear, Apple, Cherry, Peach and Apricot trees are in full bloom every where you look. Mesquite trees are setting bugs. Mesquite trees seldom get fooled and get hit with a late freeze. So, taking my lead from my old Mesquite tree. Today sweet corn will be planted. Early planted corn has a better chance of avoiding being attack by ear and root worms.

The wheat and cereal rye seed son-n-law drilled (8 acres) in late last fall is up and providing good grazing for our livestock. I had almost decided that we had not received enough rain for get a crop up. But I think that slow melting be had in late January did the trick.

I’m off like a shot in the dark. Corn seed in hand.

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Homemade Gates – Fish Pond – Horse Barn And Tiny Garden

Click picture to Zoom In
pond gate The Pond Gate that allows easy access to our fish pond was designed and handmade by an old fat guy that’s to lazy to walk the long way around to get to the pond. Michelle L. wanted a trellis fitted to the gate. Her plan ‘was’ to plant a trumpet vine on each side of the tresses. Hehehe, trellis and gate were constructed by me and installed by son-n-law and grandson. We are all still waiting for the vines to be planted.

Note to self I had to add a chain with a snap-lock to the gate latch after the gate was erected. Damn Jack A donkey has learned how to unlatch and open the gate.

barn gate The Barn Gate leading to the cow/horse/donkey barn and to the still under construction pig pen was designed by that same old fat guy. Grandson and son-n-law dug the holes for the gate. Mixing and pouring enough cement to fill 2 hand dug gate post holed that were about 8 inches in diameter and 31 inches deep.
The gate latch is a simple drop latch. It’s advantages are that it is easy to build, it works and in the event something gets out of alinement(gate sag) there is no need to relocate your gate latck to make it work properly.

Why the bright Orange paint job, you ask. Grin .. because that’s the color paint grandson had on hand without spending $30.00+ dollars for a gallon for another paint color.

After the cement cures a few more days the barb-wire fence will be cut, attached to the gate poles and re-stretched.

garden gate Tiny Garden Gate Last on my show and tell gates is my Tiny Garden Gate. This gate protects my tiny garden from hungry cows/horse and a crazy donkey. The fence panels and gate are constructed out of 14 gauge, 1 inch square tubing and covered with common farm store bought cattle panels.

Cattle panels come 52 inches tall and 16 feet long, So that’s the size I made my fence panels.

corralCorral While I had the camera out I thought I would take a picture of the corral panels. Each panel is 6 feet tall and 10 feet long. Steel comes in 20 foot bars/joints but I have found that a 20 foot panel is to difficult(heavy) for 2 men to handle and are hard to load and un-load if you need to transport the panels to another location.

The why the panels are 6 feet tall is because we use the panels in working cows as well as Jack A donkey and Poco D horse. Horses will seldom try to go over a panel 4 or 5 feet tall. However a crazy old longhorn bull or cow will. If the top rail of a coral is higher than a bulls head they are not as likely to try to climb or jump your coral fencing.

It (the corral) is currently set up as a 33 foot round corral for walking/running Poco D horse to reestablish who is boss after he has be allowed to be on his own to long.

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It’s Spring and I didn’t notice!

Re: Blogs and Bloggers I have known.
Wanda Forgive me. Some way I over looked your blog and failed to include your blog in my list. SO, here is Wanda’s blog information.
Wanda blogs at wandering treechild
Wanda’s blog URL is
About Wanda’s Blog. I write mostly about my life-long experiment to approach life differently, about my different DIY projects, currently mostly about the office container that I’m rebuilding (the inside) to live tiny, and all kinds of other thoughts and ideas that pop into my head.
Wanda said “For the moment, I’m blogging from the heart of Europe.” :-)

budding roses First day of spring passed and I missed it! Temperatures cooled off and my soil temperature has dropped back into the low 50’s. To cold to plant almost anything. Sweet corn will half to wait a few days more before I plant. My farm store has their seed racks out.. Grin … that have been picked over only leaving things like turnips and beets. It seems that I’m the only person in this county that likes and plants turnips…

About the picture. It seems that some people can’t kill a plant. More than a month ago Michelle L. purchased 3 cheap roses. Packed with a little peat moss wrapped around their roots and stuffed into a water proof plastic bag. They have been setting in a cardboard box near a large glass door. Damn things are fully leafed out and all of them now have flower buds that will soon burst into gull bloom.

black chicks Grrrr… son-n-law decided that I need more chickens. He picked up 8 straight run at $1.99 each. Judging by their size and how much they are feather out I guess them to at least 3 weeks old. That’s a good thing. They are past the dieing stage, eating well and all look to be healthy. Hehehe, they came from the farm stores clearance bin. All that I can say is they are black, with a few brown/gold-ish colored markings. As for their sex, I’m sure in another few weeks I will have 4 or more pan size friers.

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Alfalfa – Sweet Feed – Onions And Grapes

I always enjoy going to my local farm store. The smells of alfalfa hay, range cubes and sweet feed, wow, doesn’t get much better than that.

Grapes for the table. I managed to get my tiny grape orchard planted today. Only 3 vines, 2 purple skin seedless Concord grapes and 1 red skin Flame. Trellis end poles have been marked and pole holes will be dug. I will soon set the poles and stretch my trellis wires.

Onions every where. 80 red and 80 white onion sets are in my large patio pots. They were planted very close together. I will use these as small fresh onions. Much as I would use scallions.
I will plant another 160 yellow onions in the garden and allow then to grow to full maturity. Harvest and store for use next fall and winter.

Grin… Yes I did get my garden fence moved and re-erected to keep Poco D. Horse and Jack D. Donkey out of my garden.

We are still in what the weather service (NOAA) has deemed Exceptional Drought. Soils are bone dry and this clay turns brick hard when it dries out. Today the wind was from the west/southwest and humidifies were around 10 percent.

It is time to stock up on my garden seed. My garden will be small and selections will be based on their temperature and water requirements.
Shortly my soil temperature should be bumping 65 degrees. Today at 4 inches deep my soil temperature was 61 degrees. Last frost is generally the first week of April, but, if the seed has not sprouted they will not be effected ‘much’ by a short lived cold blast.

The long range (14 day) forecast, highs in the mid 60’s to low 70’s and lows in the mid 40’s to low 50’s. So if the weather man hasn’t screwed up I plan to plant sweet corn this coming weekend. I am planting 2 varieties of sweet corn and will plant a second crop 2 week after my first planting to extend my corn harvest season.

Planting such a small garden this year I think I can get by with buying one 40 pound bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer this year.

Off on another subject. Saturday I built a 4 foot wide walk gate for son-n-law and daughter to be installed in the barb wire fence near the ‘soon to be’ new pig pen. At last count they have 1 Yorkshire, 1 Duroc and 2 trapped wild piglets.
Wild pigs do not generally grow more than 100 or 125 pounds but are excellent to split down the back and BBQ 1/2 pig at a time on our BBQ/smoker.

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Glyphosate(Roundup) Kills Weed – Not Humans!

Here We Go Again.
A European blogger has published as fact and linked to less than believable sites as a source about the dangers of herbicides and GM crops. Opinions are just that an opinion. Don’t try to baffle me with unprovable BS.

Jerry Alatalo (an author) is most certainly Anti-GMO, Herbicide, Pesticide. In truth I have no problem with what he personally believes. However I do take offense when he or any other Self Proclaimed Expert asserts wild claims of dangers from the use of Herbicides, Pesticides and from GM crops without provable facts that can not be reproduced in a different lab by other scientist.

Follow The Money. From searching his website it seems that he makes a nice income from writing and publishing fear mongering books and paid lectures.

As with chemical company sponsored research, I find this guy’s opinions to be questionable. Never put your full trust in research or opinion papers(books) that is generating money for the researchers or for authors writing Pro or Con about a product.

One more time, Glyphosate was first synthesized in 1950 by Swiss chemist Henry Martin, who worked for the Swiss company Cilag. Glyphosate was independently discovered by John E. Franzat a Monsanto researcher in 1970 and introduced for field use in 1974.
Some glyphosate manufacturers include Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, Du Pont, Cenex/Land O’Lakes, Helena, Monsanto, Platte, Riverside/Terra, and Zeneca.(thank you wikipeda)
Glyphosate products are registered in more than 130 countries and are approved for weed control in more than 100 different crops. No other herbicide active ingredient compares in terms of number of approved uses.
News that is note worthy. Monsanto Purchases World’s Largest Vegetable Seed Company, Organic Seed Alliance.

Glyphosate herbicide, AquaMaster™, is approved for weed control in aquatic evironments, including ponds and reservoirs, waterfowl sanctuaries and recreational waterways. Only a few herbicides have toxicological and environmental characteristics that allow them to be directly applied to aquatic vegetation. The AquaMaster™ formulation was selected to rid the Florida Everglades of invasive weeds.

Source Background History of Monsanto’s Glyphosate
John Franz, the Monsanto scientist who first identified the herbicidal activity of glyphosate,, in 1987, received the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor for technical achievement at which time the original Roundup® agricultural herbicide was recognized for its impact “upon the production of agricultural food and fiber as well as agricultural practices throughout the world.” Very few agricultural technologies have won the nation’s technology award.

In 1996, Monsanto received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. The White House recognized Monsanto for “pioneering sustainable technologies,” which included the development of such products as the original Roundup herbicide. 1996, Monsanto also received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for environmentally responsible systems used in the manufacture of glyphosate herbicides.

Farm Chemicals magazine, in its September 1994 100th anniversary edition, called the original Roundup® herbicide one of the “Top 10 Products That Changed the Face of Agriculture.”

Did You Know. All pesticides sold or distributed in the United States must be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based on scientific studies showing that they can be used without posing unreasonable risks to people or the environment. The law requires pesticides that were first registered years ago be reregistered periodically to ensure that they meet the current standards. Glyphosate was re-registered in September 1993 after EPA reviewed new studies and concluded that the use of glyphosate based herbicides in accordance with label directions would “not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment.”

The EPA considers glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic and relatively low in dermal and oral acute toxicity. The EPA considered a “worst case” dietary risk model of an individual eating a lifetime of food derived entirely from glyphosate sprayed fields with residues at their maximum levels. This model indicated that no adverse health effects would be expected under such conditions.

The European Commission’s review of the data conducted in 2002 concluded equivocal evidence existed of a relationship between glyphosate exposure during pregnancy and cardiovascular malformations, however, a review published in 2013 found the evidence “fails to support a potential risk for increased cardiovascular defects as a result of glyphosate exposure during pregnancy.”

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Farm Produce – Field To Fork

In the past few day I saw this website highlighted on a national agriculture TV show. It seems to be fairly new site but, it will be a real useable source of knowledge to consumers as more producers sign up and add their farm information to this farm to table database. Trace Produce

We the Consumers must demand that all crop producers get on board and post information about their farming operations. In the end this will be a Consumer driven information sharing project.
Call, email, write all fresh, frozen and canned produce sellers and demand there produce source(farm the produce was grown) is identified on their packaging containers.

This was taken from Trace Produce About Page.

Trace Produce is an account-based website that allows growers and shippers to market the traceable aspects of their produce to consumers, while maintaining their existing in-house labeling and software systems. Codes found on produce packages can be typed into search boxes at the website, which allows consumers to discover exactly where their produce came from. Traceable produce helps to build consumer confidence, providing a benefit to all members of the produce supply chain – from the farmer to the end-consumer.

Trace Produce provides the simplest solution for growers and shippers to link information to produce packages. No special hardware, labels, or proprietary coding system required. The account-based format allows retailers, food service, buyers, and terminal market members to gain secure information and documentation about purchased produce based off of the code found on the unit or case.

I hope you find this website useful and will publicly demand all producers get on board to make this site truly a top notch consumer driven information service.

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Petition Obama’s White House To Abolish Day Light Saving Time For Ever

Help me and many others to Stop this Craziness of pushing our clocks forward the back every year.
Sign a White House Petition To abolish Day Light Saving Time For Ever.

Purple Martins Are A Gardeners Best Friend – Updated re-post from 2013

Click Photo’s to Zoom-In purple-martin-house A good reference source Purple Martin Conservation Association

  • Do start saving your nickles and dimes to buy or build a Purple Martin House.
  • Do a sight survey to determine the best location to erect your new Purple Martin House(s).
  • Do make plans to lower your house once a week to evict unwanted Sparrows and Starlings.
  • Do keep good records of Martin egg counts, hatch and survival rates.
  • Do plan to have your New Purple Martin House erected at least one week before the expected arrival of early season ‘scout’ birds.
  • Do have a plan to protect your Purple Martins nest site from predators.
  • Do clean and serlize nest using sop/bleach water after your Martins migrate south for the winter.
  • Do Enjoy watching your gardens best friends.
  • Don’t erect your new Purple Martin House near tall trees or your home.
  • Don’t attach guy wires to your Purple Martin House push up pole.
  • Don’t allow other birds to build nest in your Purple Martin House.
  • Don’t use pesticides in nests or nest boxes.
  • Don’t give up if your New Martin House is slow to attract breeding pairs of Purple Martins.

Generally Purple Martins over winter in South America and breed and nest in North America. Purple Martins are the largest member of the swallow family in North America, measuring 7 1/2 inches (19 cm) long and weighing 1.9 ounces (55 grams). East of the Rocky Mountains Purple Martins are totally dependent on human supplied housing. West of the Rockies and in the deserts they largely nest in their ancestral ways, in abandoned woodpecker nest cavities.

A bonded pair of the Purple Martin are monogamous. The male and female cooperate equally in building the nest out of mud, grass and twigs. The female lays two to seven white eggs at a rate of one egg per day. The female incubates the clutch for approximately fifteen days, then the young hatch.

The parents both feed the young continuously for a period of 26-32 days until the young fledge. The young continue to be dependent on their parents for food and training for an additional one to two weeks after fledging.

Purple Martins, like all swallows, are aerial insectivores. They eat only flying insects, which they catch in flight. Their diet is diverse, including dragonflies, damselflies, flies, midges, mayflies, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, June bugs, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, cicadas, bees, wasps, flying ants, and ballooning spiders. Martins are not, however, prodigious consumers of mosquitoes. (Mosquitoes are out during hours of darkness.
Purple Martins are daytime feeders.)
Hint A bat house is the best way to control mosquitoes.

The major reason people fail to attract Purple Martins is that they place their martin housing incorrectly, or their site is inappropriate Martin habitat to begin with. Martins have very specific aerial space requirements.

Housing should be placed in the center of the most open spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing. There should be no trees taller than the Martin house within 40 feet, preferably 60 feet.

Generally, the farther the housing is placed from trees, the better.
In the southern half of their breeding range, Martins are less particular about house placement. Southern landlords can sometimes place housing within 15-20 feet of trees and still attract martins. Height of the housing can be anywhere from 10-20 feet (14 to 16 feet seems to work best for my location.).
Keep tall bushes, shrubs and vines away from the pole.

Do not attach wires to a martin house.
If your yard has too many trees near the martin housing, relocate the housing to a more open area, mount the housing higher, or prune (or remove) trees to create a more open site. If you have a wooded lot, but live near a body of water, boat docks make ideal locations for mounting a Purple Martin house or gourd rack. SREHdiagram

This diagram shows the dimensions of a starling resistant entrance hole (SREH). This entrance hole will exclude most starlings (and all Screech Owls.) The height dimension (1 & 3/16″) is extremely critical. If made a hair too big, starlings will get in, if made a hair too small, Martins won’t be able enter the nest area.

Hint The hole placement is very important, the bottom of the entrance hole should be no more than 1/2″ above the porch, and is most effective in excluding starlings when the nest hole is placed flush with the porch and compartment floor.

This hole will also work on gourds, both natural and plastic, as well as aluminum houses. When cutting this hole in wood houses or plastic/natural gourds, use a jigsaw, and cut it slightly small, then file or sand it to the proper height.

Estimated arrival date of Purple Martins in North America. purple-martin-arrival-date-map

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This is a collection of Hummingbirs post made in the summer of 2011 and spring of 2012. They have been edited and update.

Spring 2012
Here it is March (2015) and I’m hopping I have had my last really cold blast.
Many places in the south are seeing the first wave of hummingbirds and purple martins migrating north to their spring/summer feeding and breeding areas.
Hint: Planting long neck flowers like morning glory’s and 4 o’clocks will attract and feed hummingbirds in your flower garden.

Having been called a tight wad, is not all bad. I have been putting out a small amount of hen scratch and corn chops for the welfare free loading birds as of late. Few of the migratory birds have arrived so far this year. Mostly I have a lot of black birds, redwing black birds, starlings and grackles hanging around. They should be moving north to their spring/summer breeding areas soon and then I should start seeing the arrival of hummingbirds, purple martins, house finch and of course the ever present english sparrows at my feeders.

If you don’t have one or more hummingbird feeders consider getting at least one. Not only do hummingbirds serve as pollinators for some flowers, they also eat a great number of small flying insects. Besides everything else they are a fun project and are fun and enjoyable to watch as they come to your feeders.

Contrary to popular belief, red colored sugar water is not needed to attract hummingbirds to your feeders. Make your own cheap and easy hummingbird feeder solution by mixing 1 party sugar to 4 parts water, heat until water reaches boiling temperature, remove from heat, stir until all sugar had dissolved. Cool and fill your feeders. Store any left over in an air tight container.

Empty feeders every 2 or 3 days wash with warm soap water refill with fresh sugar water. DO NOT use honey in your feeders. Honey will cause a bacterial infection on hummingbirds beaks and will kill them.
Hint: Grin … If it makes you feel better do add red food dye to your feeders until you achieve your desired color.

Summer 20011
Temperatures at my Tiny Farm and Tiny Garden are cooling off just a bit, about 80% at 6 a.m and 103% at 3 p.m. may not sound like any kind of relief but a 5% or 6% drop in temperature is a big relief.

My new hummingbird feeder problem is that after 24 to 36 hours with 10 to 20 percent humidity levels and 100+ degree days, my feed water is turning to Syrup! Water is evaporating form the sugar water mixture and leaving a thick syrup in my feeders. This has caused me to dump, wash and refill feeders every 24 to 36 hours.

I think I have solved my yellow jacket problem at the feeders. I still haven’t found their nest, but, using my trusty 99 cent, dollar store fly swatter I have been killing yellow jackets one at a time as they come to visit my hummingbird feeders. This morning No Wasp have been seen at my feeders.

Whine, Whine, that’s right I’m still suffering from our ‘normal’ 50 year drought. It has been 54 consecutive days with no measurable rainfall and my Tiny Weather station is recording daily temperatures ranging from 105% to 115% for the past 10 days. My weather guy said it is hotter and dryer now than it was during 1930’s dust bowl years and is forecasting more of the same until at least the last of September.
Note: If you care, it is now 2015 and my area is still classified as being in an extreme drought.

My area of Oklahoma has been classified as a D4 – extreme drought which it the most severe drought condition rating condition issued by NOAA, Nation Weather Service. Many if not all counties, cities and towns are now issuing water rationing alerts for both home owners and businesses. Even with our sever weather conditions, I’m thankful that {so far} I have not faced grass fires like those in the West/Southwest and I’m not under 4 feet of water like many places in the Midwest U.S.

Chicken in my big old cook pot. One day last week I found one of my best bantam hens near death from the 112% temperature. Grinning, in an attempt to save her, I brought her in the house and ran cool tap water on her for about 10 minutes, this seemed to help. However, she was not recovering very well so I dug out my largest cook pot filled it about 3 inches deep with water added a lot of ice cubes and put her on the pot and covered the pot in case she tried to get out of the ‘Cold’ water. {Grin, I should have taken pictures.}

After 10 minutes in a cook pot of ice water she was ready to be toweled off and returned to her chicken coop. Still not knowing if she would survive, I could only wait and see how she was the next day. It worked! Next morning she was up and around ready for her morning feeding. Sometime I get lucky!

For reasons unknown to me, during the worst of the summer my visiting hummingbirds stopped visiting.
Hummingbirds have returned. I have 4 pair of hummingbirds they are again visiting my feeders. Two pair of Ruby-throat Hummingbirds and two pair of Black-chinned Hummingbirds. Many more were here in April and May but as temperatures have risen and native flowers started blooming most stopped visiting my feeders. Now that most native flowers are no longer in bloom and temperatures have returned to more normal levels hummingbirds are returning to my feeders.

Hint Keep your feeders clean. If your hummingbirds have not consumed all the sugar water within a few days, dump it out, wash feeders well and refill them.

Photos are from google image search, photographer(s) are unknown.

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