A sweet gift – honey from Grandpas farm.

Can you believe the color in this thirty-year old jar of honey?

Dad came to visit last week and brought two jars of honey that grandpa jarred for the family.  They are still beautiful.  It’s probable that they are the last from grandpas bee gums.  He’s been gone many years and I assumed all the honey was eaten long gone also. Sometimes I want to open the honey and eat it a dozen ways, and other times I feel like I should put it on a shelf and keep it forever.

Maybe eat one and save one?

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Bye bye, bluebirds.

Over the last week the young bluebirds have been much more curious about what lies outside of the birdhouse.  Even as we sat on the deck, within 6 or so feet of the box, they would hang their heads out of the box to check us out. Today they seemed more interested in the cardinals, catbirds, and other birds eating suet nearby, and before long one was standing in the entrance, thinking about flying off.

All three ended up leaving within a few hours. The first two I watched, but the last one was shy (leading to the nickname Shy-a la Bird,  which is probably not funny to anyone other than me), so I set up the camera and left him alone.

The video quality impressed me as it was zoomed to the max and resting against a dirty window about 8′ from the bird house.

Good luck blue birds!

 

Old tools: What’s a corn shucking peg?

Today’s post is about an old wooden corn peg that my dad gave me a few years back. His good friend, an old man in Abraham, WV gave him to him before he passed away. He used the peg to shuck corn from the field next to his house. Grandpa Collins also had a cornfield. As a kid I remember seeing his truck parked next to busy roads selling bushels of corn to people driving by. The peg has become one of my favorites because it connect memories of dad, grandpa and the old man in Abraham. (The gentleman in Abraham had a name, but I honestly don’t remember it – I only remember hearing him referred to as “the old man”.)

Back to the corn peg, the peg is basically a pointed piece of wood with a strap on it that would go around your middle finger. The sharp end would be used to pierce the husk on a ripe ear of corn, allowing you to more easily pull the corn from the stalk. While researching, I came across this article on Catherine’s Corner website that was interesting.  Once of the family stories is of the harvest and using corn pegs.

Another new development for this post – VIDEO!  This is my first video, so don’t judge too harshly. You can tell I haven’t shucked corn since moving to Georgia, but you get the point. Hope you all enjoy.

 

 

Monday’s garden haul.

 

I’ve been lazy and haven’t maintained the garden like I should. It’s a good thing some people farm without weeding, so there’s a convenient excuse I can use if anyone sees the mess in the backyard.

This week the jalapenos, banana peppers and cherry tomatoes were producing most. Cabbage and brussels sprouts are looking horrible, so they will be removed to make way for more peppers and tomatoes that dad bought for his garden, but forgot here. (Thanks dad!)

It’s worth pointing out that many of the tomatoes in the photo above are from the plant mentioned in my “the little tomato that could” post from back in the winter. It came up late in the fall, lived in my bedroom over the winter, and was planted in the garden in spring.  Read more – The little tomato that could.

Hopefully later today I will pick beans and bring in some more garlic and onions to dry. I’m researching the best ways to do this, so if you have ideas let me know in comments.

Be good!

 

 

A tale of two kitties.

Folks in the neighborhood know that I am a sucker for an animal in need, and this week, due to my friend/petsitter/enabler, I ended up taking care of a tiny black kitten. It was found sitting in the middle of the road, covered with mud and cold from the nights rain. It was covered with pests, and was very weak. The petsitter cleaned her up and named her Mazey, and started to look for a foster to take her in.  None was found, so she came to our house for a few days. I’m allergic to cats, so I reluctantly agreed.  Mazey came over, got settled and the next day we ventured to the friends vet for an exam.

As I sat there, unemployed, and now with a kitten, a woman walked into the clinic. She was holding a small kitten away from her body as if she was scared of it. I overheard her tell the receptionist that it was found in the road near the clinic, and had been hit by a car. Both of its back legs were twisted.

The clinic advised her that they are not allowed to take drop offs. They provided the number to animal control, and the woman asked “Should I just put it back outside in the rain?”.  She laid the kitten down on the ground as I called another vet to see if they had advise. The cat crawled past me, fairly quickly, and that’s when I realized the legs were not broken, they were misshapen, but didn’t hinder the cat’s mobility.

Of course I offered to deal with the kitten. Now I found myself unemployed and with two sick kittens to handle.

Little Mazey, the black stray that was found in the road, unfortunately didn’t make it. She was so weak and scrawny. Despite glucose, fluids and antibiotics she didn’t make it. Her little body had been through too much before we got to her. She loved curling up in an old winter hat (see pic below). After feeding her, she sat with me and purred, then shortly after she passed.

Little Murphy, (see the headline photo) though dehydrated, has been doing well.  He is eating well, is very mouthy and is very loving. He scoots around the house and is very curious. Most websites refer to his condition as twisted leg syndrome or Flexural Tendon Contracture. At this state, it really doesn’t seem to affect him. He has always been this way, so I guess he does not realize he is different. He “walks” on the knee area of his leg, and amazingly has learned to balance his weight on his front legs. It’s amazing to me that he can do this at 3ish weeks old. He starts by walking, speeds up, then his rear end will rise up over as he walks on his front legs. Its adorable.

There are many animals that get this syndrome. They can live very happy lives, but there are treatments such as exercises and splints that can help correct the position of the legs. For now, the little guy has gone to live with a friend in the neighborhood that fosters cats. He is retired and instantly fell in love with Murphy.

I wont lie – I grew attached to Murphy, but as is sit here with puffy eyes and an odd rash on my side, I am thankful that he has found someone who can help him get the care he needs.

If you would like to know more about twisted leg syndrome, this article published by the Animal Medical Center of Southern California. 

 

Where have all the summer squash leaves gone?

Today I bravely fought the mosquitoes and got a few things done in the backyard. Twice I watered the newly planted grass, a mixture of Kentucky Fescue and Rye, that was sown in the bald patches the yard has developed. I’ll admit that I don’t care for growing or mowing grass, and as long as the yard is green I couldn’t care less if its fescue or dandelions. The problem is that the yard has developed bald spots, which led me to reseed the entire yard.

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The vegetable garden is starting to produce  – tomorrow swiss chard, jalapeño peppers and banana peppers will be picked. The peppers will go to the freezer, the chard into salads and soup. (Can you freeze chard? I need to research this…)

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While mulching and checking on the garlic, i noticed an issue with the squash plants that were put in the ground a few weeks ago. Every leaf is gone. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration – there is one leaf left.  My first thought is that worms ate the leaves, but with no remains its hard to judge that. There is another pest that lays eggs inside the stem, which leads to the leaves drying and falling up, but the stems look fine. I looked for signs of rot, but found none. The plants look great other than the leaves are gone. This leads me to think that a critter ate them (mice, possums, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons are common) but no other plants were touched. There are loads of green tomatoes, strawberries and beans within feet of the squash. Why would they pass those up?

I’ll continue to research, but at this point I think it was an insect that left and quickly as it came, or my dog, who is adorable, but who ran directly to the squash this morning when I opened the gate. Why would she eat the squash leaves? No clue, but I have caught her chewing on nails and a lightbulb before I’ll admit its possible.

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Rest in Peace, Uncle Joe.

The garden is doing well, and there are cabbage plants waiting to be put in the ground, but this post will be about my uncle, who passed away yesterday.

We are a stubborn group, and for over 10 years our families didn’t really speak.  At another uncles funeral a year or two ago, we started chatting.  Surprisingly, neither of us acted odd, or really seemed to acknowledge that things had been off. My dad ended up speaking with him, and they continued to speak and build up their relationship. They went in the woods together, talked about hunting together and traded gardening tips. Dad and I would send him deer bait and cool flashlights we found on the internet.  I hadn’t talked to him in person since the funeral, but we grew closer via dad, and exchanged items from the garden. My canned peppers and beans went to him in West Virginia and his venison and fresh sausage came to me in Georgia.  Even though we didn’t speak often, he became my closest relative on my dad’s side.  I am grateful that he and dad reconciled their differences, and even became good friends again – in fact, I doubt that dad is closer to anyone else in his family now.

Our family is no stranger to death, and at some time I hardened myself against it, but this one feels like a two-day punch in the gut.  As I get older, I try to be more spiritual and live with less negativity. Instead of being angry at the man that took his life in order to steal his car, I’m praying for his murderer, who is now gone also, the families of both men, and whatever situation led up to yesterday’s events. That’s pretty much all I know to do at this point.

 

About the photo: The mountainous area in West Virginia where the family is from. The flat area is part of the coal mine that most of the men in the family worked at.