Category Archives: Family

I Shot Myself ——In The Foot!

I have shot myself in the foot ‘again’.
I can’t lay blame on anyone else(damn-it).
I’m lucky enough to have a NWS(National Weather Service) MESONET site located only 4 miles south of my tiny garden. That site records all kinds of useful information like high/low daily temperatures, rain fall, soil temperatures and much more. All of which I can access via my computer.

In my usual hast to plant what I know is warm long growing season garden seed. Last weekend I planted my black eye pea patch. As of to day nothing has sprouted.
I took by best soup spoon from the kitchen, went into my tiny garden and dug up a few seeds. My heart sank in disgust. The seeds have started to decompose, the soil is to damp and cold to germinate black eyed peas.

When all else fails, read the instructions. I checked the MESONET site and my soil temperature is still holding steady at about 60 degrees. 10 to 15 degrees to cold for things like black eyed peas, okra, tomato’s and summer squash to germinate.

In another 10 or 15 days I will Re-plant my peas, plant my okra and put out my tomato seedlings. By that time I ‘should’ have my drip irrigation line staked and plumbed with the correct hose attachment connectors.

Grin … On the delicious side I have invited the largest of the rooster chicks to be my guest of honor at Sunday dinner. He will dress about the size to those high priced supermarket Cornish game hens. Just the right size for an old guys dinner.

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Peter Piper Picked A Pepper

Something to think about: The U.S. tax code contains 4,000,000 that right 4 million words.
The us tax code has changed 4,600 time in the past 12 years.
Crap, that’s 7 changes to the tax code every week for the past 12 years.
I’ll bet there’s not on person in the IRS that knows and understands The American Tax Code(law/regulations).

Growing peppers

It’s all about soil temperature.

The hardest thing about growing peppers is to get your pepper seed to germinate. Optimum soil temperature for ‘most’ pepper seed germination is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. At the optimum temperature, pepper seeds germinate and sprout in 7 to 10 days.

Sweet pepper types like bell pepper will germinate well at temperatures as low as 70 or 75 degrees.
Hot and Very hot pepper varies do best at soil temperatures as high as 95 degrees and may take as long as 21 or more days to germinate if planted in cool soils.

Peppers will grow in almost any soil, but, they seem to do best in heaver well drained soils. If your soil is a heavy clay type incorporate large quantities of compost or other other organic matter before planting. Peppers require at least 6 hours of full sun, if in hot dry areas after noon shade may be helpful.

In many cases it will be better to buy seedling that are 3 or 4 inches tall rather than starting your own from seed.
A family of 4 will generally need 4 hot pepper plants and abou 8 sweet(mild) pepper plants.
Plant new seedlings about 18 to 24 inches apart to allow for good air flow around your plants.
Hint Do Not allow your pepper plants to become dry stressed.

Fertilizing your peppers. Sprinkle about 1 table spoon of NPK 10-20-10 or 5-10-5 fertilizer around each plant at 2 or 3 week intervals.

Harvest your peppers at any size. Hot peppers will get hotter the longer they are allowed to mature on the plant before harvesting.
For best quality, eat or pickle your harvest within 3 days.

Control insect pest:
Flea beetle, Sevin dust or spray.
Leaf miner, Dacsure or Disureigsure
Aphids, Diazinon

Hint: Follow application directions carefully.

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Cucumbers – Quick And Easy To Grow

Cucumbers seem to do best planted in a sandy loam soil. However they will grow and produce more than most families will eat planted in any well drained soil.

Cucumbers are a warm weather crop and will not tolerate frost no matter how light the frost may be. Plant seeds 2 or even 3 feet apart. Vines can spread as much as 3 or 4 feet from the stalk.
Cucumbers are easy to train to grow on a trellis, saving a lot of vaulable garden space.
Plant seeds 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Keep seed bed damp, not wet through out the growing season. Seeds will germinate in 7 to 10 days.

Cucumbers are heavy users of both water and fertilizer. Apply about 1 table spoon per plant of an all purpose NPK 10-10-10, 10-20-10 fertilizer about every 2 weeks during the growing season.

Cucumbers require full sun. They are deep rooted and benefit being grown well away from grassy areas, trees and shrubs that will compete for nutrients and moisture.

Cucumbers are generally classified as Slicing or as Pickling. No matter what variety you grow they can be eaten fresh(slicing) or can be pickled. However no matter what variety you plant, harvest them while still on the smallish side. No more than about one(1) inch in diameter. If they are to be pickled, smaller sizes may be best.

Harvest ‘Before’ they begin to turn yellow or the bottoms turn white. This is an indication they are ‘over’ ripe and will often have a strong unpleasant flavor.

Insect pest:
Banded or Spotted Cucumber beetles. Treat with a Pyrethrin based spray.
Squash bugs. Treat with Sevin spray or dust.

What ever treatment you use. Follow Application Directions very carefully.

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Rain Water 100 % Better Than Tap Water

Two days of 50 and 60 degree weather and almost 2 inches of rain. Radishes seem to double in size and onions have shot up by at least 2 inches or more in the past 2 days. Grin … that’s a good thing. Tomato’s seedlings have stalled out and are waiting for warmer weather to resume growing.

With this nice rain, soil is wet enough that I will plant a short row of Detroit beets and another row of Turnips. I’m not a big fan of turnip roots but I do like young tender beet and turnip greens.

Today is a good day to empty, clean and refill my hummingbird feeders.

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Mud On My Feet Is Better Than Sand In My Eyes

Weather man must have been asleep at his computer terminal. We are getting a un-forecast rain. Since 2:15AM I have received 1.15 inches of rain. Well it’s not me most rain I have ever had, but, it’s the most I have had in a very long time.

I had to construct a new blade for my old horse drawn road grader(built around 1905). I finely have taken time to design the mounting brackets, welded the brackets to the back side of the blade and have it bolted to the blade table. That’s the part that allows me to rotate the blade left to right as well as tilt the blade.

I think all I still need to do is to build and mount a tongue so the road grader can be pulled behind a tractor or pick-up truck. A good paint job and it will make a Grin … an interesting yard ornament.
The horse drawn Lister re-build has been finished and it is still waiting a paint job. After they are painted I will post pictures of both.

In the garden, Sunday I pulled enough container grown Radishes and Green Onions to top off a nice dinner salad. Beets are still a bit to small to harvest.
I have 6 pots with grape tomato seedlings and 2 pots of better girl tomato’s about 3/4 inch tall. I will plant then in the garden after they have set their first ‘true’ leafs.

During the winter I constructed a 50 foot long drip watering line. Emitters are spaced about every 2 feet. This summers garden experiment I will plant tomato’s every 4 feet and plant cucumbers, yellow squash or zucchini between each tomato vine. I think mostly cucumbers and tomato’s.

In a week or so the soil temperature will be warm enough to direct garden plant my warm weather plants, cucumbers, squash and okra.

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Sweet Corn And Black Eyed Peas

Sweet Corn on the cob with a big dab of ‘real’ butter, Black Eyed Peas cooked with a slice or 2 of course chopped bacon and corn bread. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

My first planting of sweet corn is about 3 or 4 inches tall. I got a poor germination rate from my first planting. It looks like I have about 25 or maybe 30 plants. Grin … that will be between 40 and 60 ears of corn. The problem is they will mostly all be ready for harvesting the same day. Look out deep freezer, here comes the corn.

Delaying sweet corn harvest by 1 or 2 days will effect the quality. The longer it sets unharvested, the more the sugars are lost and the corn will start becoming tough and starchy.
The same rule apples to cooking and eating sweet corn. Sweet corn to be at it’s best must be consumed the day of harvest or in a worst case the day after harvesting.

Today I made my second corn planting. I will make a third planting about the first day of May. Hopefully this will space out my corn harvest for at least 1 or maybe 1 1/2 months time.
With luck I will have 100 to 150 ears I can bag and put in my freezer. Having home grown corn on the cob at Thanksgiving is a real treat.

Black Eyed peas were planted today as well. I had enough seed to plant 6 rows about 10 feet long.
I like planting several short rows side by side. The plants seem to pollinate better and produce a heavier crop that way.

I planted cucumber seed in two of my large unused patio pots. This is a test run to see how well they produce compared to garden planted cucumbers.

I have a almost completed patio pot drip watering system on my front porch. I must finish that project to make caring for container grown vegetable plants easier and hopefully prevent dry stressing my plants during the dry hot days of summer.

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New Project -14 By 21 Foot Storage Building (Work Shop Add On)

Son-N-Law(SNL) has completed pouring a 2 inch thick concrete cap over a very ruff, un-level old existing concrete slab in side his 24X24 foot work shop. However after he moved all his tools and shop equipment into his shop, he has decided that he needs more storage space. Hence we are designing and building a 14X21 foot attached storage building. Why 14X21 foot? Well that’s because that’s the size of the existing concrete slab where we will erect this building.

SNL has located a number of old sign post that can be had really cheap. The post are 2 1/4 inch square 14 gauge galvanized tubing. The tubing will be used for the upright post and in the roof bar-joist. Stringers, doors and door framing will be constructed using 2X2X1/8 angle iron.

The building will be skinned and flashed with 24 gauge U-grove sheet metal and the flashing will be 24 gauge galvanized sheet metal. Sheet metal will be attached using self drilling/tapping screws that have a rubber covered water seal washer.

On another note, SNL stopped by Tractor Supply(Farm equipment/accessories) store. I needed a few repair parts for my Hobart 175 MIG( Metal Inert Gas) welding machine. He picked up a new Gas Shield Nozzle and a new Contact Tip Adapter. This part holds the 0.030 wire feed tip and the gas shield nozzle.

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Water and your Cash Flow

In the west and southwest US a widespread drought have city and state officials struggling to finish large water projects while their populations continue growing. Drinking water resources are dwindling.

The federal government (U.S. tax payers) are responsible for paying about $3 billion to complete several rural water projects around the country. The amount is expected to grow by the time the work is done. This represents a fraction of the more than $600 billion needed to address the nation’s water and waste water processing cost over the next 20 years.

The real truth is cities, counties and states nation wide Are Not taking real tangible actions to conserve treated drinking water.

I have seen estimates that as much as 50 percent of Americas safe drinking water is wasted on watering home and commercial(business) lawns and landscaping. In many cases lawns and landscape plants are over watered and over fertilized. Home and business owners often over use or incorrectly use herbicides and pesticides.

One solution, maybe the best solution is to take a look back to a time when much of America did not have access to government funded, government subsidized water sources.
A time when home owners, renters and business owners relied on native plantings that required little or no water supplied by man.

The terms Zeroscape or Xeroscape™ are nothing more than relearning what our grand parents knew. Drinking Water is a limited and costly resource that is not to wasted.

I suspect that all those people that never lived in the country or in an area that did not have access to city water supplies will continue to use and waste billions of gallons of water until the day arrives when they turn the tap nothing comes out.

The bottom line is the water users, not U.S. taxpayers should and must pay the cost incurred to provide safe drinking water.

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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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