Friday, June 5, 2009

Things are stirring on Oak Hill

What a beautiful day today! Dry, breezy, mid-70s, beautiful sun shine; does it get any better?

We're getting company this weekend. Sheri is driving down from Willard. Since she'll be bringing Jasmine and Ziggy with her, we had to get the grass cut so those two little Yorkies don't get lost! Russ is putting a new tile floor in their kitchen and wisely decided it would be easier without questions to answer and two little dogs running around.

As I said, it was breezy today so the smell of fresh cut grass was stirred into the mixture of honeysuckle and wild rose already in the air. Wild flowers are in bloom everywhere and their perfume scents every breath.

The dogs and I went for a walk down the new path Keith mowed through the north meadow. About half way through our walk we spooked a young deer out of the tall grass and I thought the dogs were going to drag me to kingdom come. Fortunately I managed to hang on to them and convince them they couldn't jump the fence like the deer did. We also discovered one of the big oaks on the property line lost yet another huge branch. Many of the oaks are more than 100-years old; massive trees. It is sad, somehow, to see one crippled this way. This same tree has two other large scars where branches have fallen before.

I've draped some netting over our little apple tree and the magnolia bush. Something has eaten nearly every leaf on the apple, and last year the Japanese Beetles stripped the Magnolia bare. I want to be ready for them this time around.

It's fun to see the vegetable garden mature. I have white onions, three kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, green peppers, broccoli, spinach, sweet basil, parsley, lettuce, cucumbers, green, yellow and pole beans, canteloupe and honey dew melons.
There's still a little space for overflow but so far, things are under control.

Poison Ivy, ticks, tornadoes and all, I really love it here!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time flies!

I'm always surprised when the time approaches to turn the page on the calendar that hangs on the side of my kitchen cabinet. Memorial Day came so early, I keep thinking it surely must be June already.

I'm feeling a little sad because a dear friend is moving away. I met Pat last year at an exercise class. She's originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but she and her husband came to West Plains, Missouri, via Arizona. Last fall, her husband died and she's been struggling with the upkeep of their house and the memories that are haunting her there. She put the house on the market and it sold in less than a week. It is a darling house, nicely decorated and updated and has a beautiful back yard. It looks like she'll head back to the Phoenix area as she doesn't like our cold winters, short as they are. I will miss her very much.

The boys (dogs) recently had their annual physicals and while Trouble is in perfect condition, Will has been declared overweight. Poor guy - he is such a picky eater, I guess I've been putting too much "good stuff" on his food to get him to eat. And I must confess, my going to the gym doesn't help them get the exercise they need. So, the gym is on hold for the summer and the dogs and are are walking about a mile and a half, twice a day. Early mornings, and early evening works best, temperature wise. I drive the car up to the Pomona Cafe and park in their lot. Then we walk up to the airport road and back. It's 3/4 of a mile one way so works out perfectly. I'm going to add in a trek down to the airport itself, about a quarter mile, so we'll be doing 2 miles, twice a day by the end of this week. It's good for Will and me, and will help Trouble build muscle since he doesn't have any weight to loose.

I recently moved my office furniture and computer out of our third upstairs bedroom and into the north end of the family room downstairs. The window in the bedroom faces west and the sun got so intense in the afternoon, I couldn't see the screen on the monitors after 2:30, and by 3:00 it got hot in there. It's great in the winter, but I'll have to look into a sun-blocking shade.

Keith has been having a ball on his John Deere tractor. I still haven't learned how to run it, and that's just fine with me. I've got my small garden tractor to mow around the house. We just bought a small hand-tiller, like a garden mantis but made by Craftsman. It's turned out to be a very handy tool. It's not too big for me to handle and not so small that it is useless.

Some photos from my garden

My lowly veggie garden. Onions, tomatoes, cabbage, zuccini can be seen. Not in the picture are parsley, lettuce, basil, spinach and three kinds of beans; green, yellow-wax and brown pole. All are doing well.

Hosta seems to love the shady northeast corner of our house. There are several varities but my sister would be better able to tell you what they are. The two toward the top of the first picture have a blue cast. The ones in front of it have smaller leaves, more yellow green with white edges. The largest, in the foreground, once belonged to her. It has lived in three gardens in the past five years! I wanted to compare the size of this Hosta to the planter with the tomato plant. The hosta is huge.

The hybrid lily below is also on the east side of the house. The picture doesn't do them justice. They are gorgeous.

This hydrangea is new to my garden and already 18" tall. The blooms are a very pretty rose color.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring is BACK!!!!

We've been enjoyed some glorious weather with temperatures between 60 and 80 since last Thursday. Of course, it makes my thoughts turn to the garden.

Yesterday we went to the Home and Garden Show at the West Plains Civic Center. It was a good show but I thought there were a lot fewer exhibitors there than last year. I was looking for the fellow who sold hand-forged rakes and other garden tools, the woman with the wonderful honeys and a few other crafters but they were not there.

We did pick up more information from the Missouri Department of Conservation which is always good reading.

On Saturday, we packed the dogs in the car and took a drive into Shannon County to find and photograph Alley Springs Mill. What a pretty site. All of these spring sites along the Missouri River Ways are not only scenic but each offers picnic and camping opportunities, too.

Nearby Eminence was also interesting to visit. The economy of the town centers around the Jack's Fork river with rental cottages, float trips and canoe rental places lining the main street. Since it's only March one would expect things to be fairly quiet but the beautiful weather brought out lots of lookers just like us. Too bad so many of the seasonal stores were't open. They would have had a banner day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just Another Sunday

Keith was right - the sun is shining today and the snow is starting to melt. There's still about a one-foot drift running through the dog's yard but lots of bare patches, too.

I think I'm coming down with something. I feel achy and am coughing. I haven't had even a cold since we moved down here so hope this doesn't turn into an inconvenience. I DID get to bed early but watched some back episodes of "Lie to Me" and "Medium" on Hulu. At one point I got up and when I came back in the bedroom, the dogs had taken over my side of the bed. I wound up sleeping in the downstairs bedroom which was very chilly. Covered up with a couple of quilts and pretty soon my "bed warmers" had joined me downstairs.

This afternoon we made a trip out to Walgreen and WalMart. We were out of "Chicken Tenders" and they are about 50% less expensive at Walgreens than at WalMart. The only problem is, they run out of them very quickly. The store manager told me they would have a delivery on Saturday afternoon. I bought six bags. That ought to last us a while.

Word on the street is that the city of West Plains and Lowes have come to an agreement on a TIF and CID. Construction of the Lowes is supposed to begin this summer with an opening in December. Folks here have been driving the 40 miles to Mountain Home, Arkansas to shop in the Lowes store there.

Having a Lowes store is a big deal in the podunk town. It will mean 20 or 30 jobs, even if they aren't great jobs. It will also mean the local stores will loose their monopoly on appliances and other home products. The closest thing we have now is a True Value store in Willow Springs. We are regular customers there.

It's left over chili for dinner tonight. I'm still feeling rocky and look forward to getting back in bed.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Aaaacccckkkkk! What is this, a joke???

So much for spring! The snow started falling before dawn and it's still falling. Visibility is poor and roads are slick. We're not going anywhere. Keith spent a few minutes shoveling out the driveway but soon decided to wait and let the sun take care of things tomorrow. By Wednesday and Thursday temperatures are expected back in the mid-70s.

Well, I found my steam mop but was a little disappointed when I saw the size of the water reservoir and the length of the cord. I tried it out on my kitchen and hallway tile floors and it worked like a charm. It turned out the small reservoir was enough to complete the job but I did have to plug and unplug the cord a few times to reach everywhere. It did a wonderful job, floors got very clean and there were no streaks to be seen.

I'm going to wait to tackle the floors downstairs until this snow melts. No point in doing it now as the dogs love playing in the little drifts and will be going in and out a dozen times in the next day or two. I will have to attach an extension cord as just the family room is 25 feet long, not to mention the long hall, the family room and the foyer.

Hauled the sewing machine out this afternoon and did some mending, shortened a pair of pants for Keith and finally hemmed the drape on one of the bedroom windows. It's only been a year - don't know why I was in such a rush.

Looks like a night of television for us but there doesn't seem to be a lot offered. Maybe I'll curl up with my book. I AM going to bed early - something I didn't do last night. I'm paying the price today.

Friday, February 27, 2009

So much for spring

Hard to believe that the weather here can be just as capricious as it was back in Wisconsin. A cold front came through and we had a 30 degree temperature drop overnight. It's nearly time for the sun to go down and it's finally poked it's head through the cloud cover.

This week has spun by so quickly. We're getting ready to head out to a nearby Catholic parish for a Lenten fish fry and then I'm off in search of a Bissle Steam Mop. Keeping the 1000 square feet of laminate and tile floors clean is proving to be a difficult job. Every time the dogs come in from outside, there are paw prints all over the place. I've tried just about everything I can think of to clean them without leaving streaks but so far, no luck.

Such big problems, eh? Compared to what's going on in the world, a few streaks on the floors is no big deal.