Buggy Issues

Have you ever noticed that listening to the crickets chirping outside your open window at night is a beautiful symphony of fall that will lull you to sleep?

But one cricket chirping incessantly under the freezer in the basement is so annoying it drives one almost to insanity?

10363853_10204754165637991_3338193488871808662_nAnd leads to extreme methods of extermination.

Or that a few fruit flies enjoying the ripening tomatoes on the counter can easily be ignored.

But if left unchecked – those few fruit flies can become an militant army in the midst of a covert invasion almost overnight.

IMG_20140917_131721_498Which leaves you fighting a losing battle armed with several fruit fly traps and massive amounts of apple cider vinegar.

But sometimes the most annoying bugs are the ones you don’t see – the ankle biters.

These are the seemingly invisible ones that attack you in the grass and the yard.

You don’t even know were there until the next morning when you when you discover your ankles and feet are covered with tiny little itchy bites.

These – my friends – are the pressing issues that bug me today.

Planting Trees

It’s been a tough a year for trees around here.

We lost one in a storm last fall; then 5 more to nasty pine beetles.

Now that Jan and the boys have finally gotten them cleaned up – it was time to replant.

tree stumps

Since we lost a total of six trees, we ordered 500 trees to replace them.

Yes – 500. That is not a typo.

I was half asleep the night Jan placed the order.

I vaguely remember the conversation.

Jan – How about white oaks.

Me – I like oaks.

Jan – How about red oaks?

Me – I like oaks. (yawn)

Jan – How about pin oaks?

Me – I like (massive yawn) oaks.

I must have been asleep when he asked about the chestnuts and hazel nuts.

I was, however, wide awake when the UPS man started delivering trees – hundreds of trees.

And by trees I mean short twigs with long roots.

My heart sunk as I thought of the time and work it would take to plant those things. We’re talking days, weeks, even months, to get 500 trees in the ground!

But I didn’t need to worry – they make a machine for that.
DSC_0040

A handy-dandy tree planting wonder.

And – our county owns one.

And – we could use it for free.

And it was available right then.

Would you believe that in less than 6 hours Jan and Pedro had all 500 trees in the ground?
DSC_0043All of them.

We now have a hard wood windbreak started to replace the rotting silver maples on the north, and east. We have some beautiful oaks planted around the ravines to add some fall color.

And we planted several oaks in the yard, because they’re my favorite.

And because we need a new swing tree – although it will be many years before these twigs will support a swing! But that’s okay – there’s something hopeful about planting¬† a tree.

Grow little twigs! Grow!

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~Martin Luther

 

 

Well – that’s a problem

Well -that's a problemWe lost our water on Friday.

Pedro was in the shower in the middle of washing his hair when the water pressure dropped and then quit.

This did not make him happy.

As soon as Buddy and I walked in the door after running some errands – he told us.

This did not make us happy.

And since we are not on rural water – but have our own well – there was nobody to call to come fix the problem.

Except for Jan.

So I did.

That did not make him happy, either.

The only one that was unaffected by this earth shaking news was Dagmar – who was on her long shift at the hospital all weekend and could actually shower, wash her hands and flush the toilet.

Jan climbed into the well house when he got home and discovered a blown switch.

Just a blown switch.

Both Jan and I were scared that the well had gone dry. It has been a seriously dry two years. People around us have had it happen. The possibility was very real.

But it was just a switch. This time.

Thankfully we had a spare and by evening the water was back on.

And everyone was happy.

But we’re cutting back on water consumption – just in case.

And praying hard for rain.

Photo by Angelsharum

Unskilled Labor

Three of my kids were in Des Moines this week attending Teen Pact.

Which meant my house was really quiet, dishes were limited and whenever Jan needed help outside there was only one option – me. Poor guy, he had definitely reached the bottom of the barrel.

After all – I am definitely unskilled labor.

I can carry water to the pigs – 4 trips to Jan’s one.

I can feed the chickens and gather eggs.

And I’m getting pretty good at chasing the calves back in their pen – if I can catch them before they head down the road.

But this was a week to expand my horizons and increase my limited skill set!

I can now open and close gates for Jan while he feeds a bale to the cows.

I have learned how to walk the fence line and check the wires to figure out why the fence is shorting out and the calves are in my yard again.

I learned that screaming loudly and swinging a big stick will remove the cows from the hay bales – but that it is wisest to leave the bull just where he is until my husband comes home.

And – are you ready for this – I even drove the tractor!

Yep. I did.

White knuckled, without a bale, in low gear. But I drove it. Five times even.

And I parked it in the shed – by myself – and didn’t hit anything.

Although Jan still laughs when I let off the clutch too quickly and give myself whiplash. (Wait – that is called the clutch – right?)

I have even progressed to the point that I can switch gears without assistance.

Yep. I definitely expanded my horizons this week!

And – as exciting as it was – I’m quite ready for the kiddos to come home!

They can go back to the chores they do so well and I’ll head back to my house and garden.

Washing dishes never looked so good!

Flying Pigs

While most people would consider this a season of flying reindeer – around here we are more burdened with flying pigs.

Yes, you saw that correctly. Flying piggies.

We discovered this amazing feat quite by accident. The electric fence was down one day last week and the entire herd of pigs took advantage of this oversight on our part, rooting up my yard, making it look like a bomb crater.

This is not pretty. Nor will it be fun to mow next summer.

As soon as the fence was fixed, most of the pigs stayed in the pen – except for four little piglets. These little varmints have been out every day expanding the mess in my yard.

I declared war, sending Pedro out to lower the fence, expecting them to get a good zap when they tried to get under it.

It didn’t work because they didn’t go under it – they went over it.

when pigs flyYes, my friends, pigs can fly. They jumped that electric fence with such form and grace it would make Bambi proud.

I saw them myself.

I do not lie.

They took a running start and flew right over that fence.

I told you these pigs were amazing.

Since they are so intelligent, maybe we should train them to pull a sleigh? I wonder if we could attach reindeer antlers? Think of the marketing potential!

Move over Rudolph – meet the flying porkers!

Maybe if I post a video on YouTube Santa will see it and want these amazing piglets with him at the North Pole!

Anything to get them out of my yard.