Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.

It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Fun Finds & a Great Weekend

Fridays mail brought a few new books I ordered. I love old-time cookbooks.  The recipes are usually simple tasty, nourishing fare.  They each have a few quirks but my favorite are those recipes from one home…for example one books recipes were all written with measurements like… a handful of flour…which might be a full fist or, just enough to cover the palm.  I have large hands so it makes a difference!  Generally after using a few recipes I get the rhythm of the writer’s ways if they are heavy handed with the seasonings, if the baked goods they made were light and fluffy.

Harder to find are those with recipes for venison, squirrel & rabbit because those little cute fluffy critters find their way to my freezer.

Amid the recipes this one is full of household tips and newspaper article’s which give a glimpse into the lives of home makers of the time. It talks about the introduction of electricity to the homes and the changes it brought about.

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Since I’m pretty confident with canning and dehydrating (it goes without saying you can always lean more) I’d like to lean more about fermenting as a way of preserving the garden goodies.  Since Mr.Fix-It literally gags and chokes at the smell of sauerkraut cooking, I’m not sure how successful this will be.I’ve no idea if all fermented foods have the same smell

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Soooooo, the book may be up as a give away if that’s the case!

We had a great weekend, nice weather,Larry got the tractor fixed and the mower deck working so he got the field mowed and it looks great.  Hmm, not much better scent than that wonderful smell of fresh cut grass.  We had the kids (big and little) over for a family BBQ to celebrate Erika’s birthday.  I love the fact we are so blessed to have 4 generations gathered around to share in these celebrations.  

The beautiful weekend weather carried over to this morning.  I got a few hours of weeding & tidying in the garden before the humidity shot up.  This afternoon my plans are to catch up with some laundry, a bit of knitting and sewing.

What are your plans for the day?

Have a wonderful Monday


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Saturday, July 28, 2012


Overwhelmed it putting it lightly.
We built this wonderful addition which included a work
room/studio space for me.  However, when the holidays hit everything was crammed in here BEFORE the storage units were ready.  It wasn’t to bad but I added to the mess with more wool, fabrics…and then it became the catch all room with odd items and outgrown kids clothes.

Everyday I try to spend 10-15 minutes sorting and organizing but, with out the storage units it’s basically shifting piles.  The only thing safe right now is customer’s wool in their individual bags.

OK, No Judging now!

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The wall to the left you can’t see is lined with bins and 3 drawer units

Digging through wool bins for the Ravellenics projects I trashed it even more. Well, in reality just shifted the piles around…and created a few avalanches.

It’s embarrassing & overwhelming but unless I empty it and start over with shelving, there really is not a solution.  I can only knit and sew so fast…if I can get to the sewing machine!

Last week I found some temporary help.  I’ve seen these in Target for about $20. but didn’t want to spend the money.

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I’d popped in the local Aldi’s and found one for $9. Score!

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I had lost numerous bags of fabric in this room and as I find and unpack them the shelf is filling up. 

This is all wool I just unpacked from various shipments I’ve received but couldn’t put away properly…because I couldn’t get to it!

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Larry has found a shelving unit that will fit perfectly on this wall and hold all 12 of the these 38 qt containers & I can store the un-dyed on top.  Right now I have to move 3 exploding bins to get one on the bottom..which is why all the small bits are on top.

The room 005 - Copy

Obviously organization is not my forte but, I should never have moved anything in till the storage was in place…for now I’m working on it. Walking in there it’s overwhelming so I’ve started with 15- minute time blocks to help with that. I’ve set my own deadline to have it useable by 12 August…shelving or no shelving!  I’ve been at it an hour now and am giving 15 more minutes before I stop for the afternoon.  So, this post is for accountability!

The break is over….off to sort some more

What is your challenging space to organize?


Katie who is posting beforeichickenout

Catching up and keeping busy

Just a quick catch up here.  We’ve had RAIN!! 3 evenings of a good pouring.  The rain barrel is full again and the moisture is really showing in the garden. 

Beans are finally starting to come on.  They aren’t really ready to pick but I had to munch on a few I was so excited.

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Miss Evie was pretty excited to see the tomato’s and peppers turning color.  She can’t’ see them from above so she squats and looks up in each plant.

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An I was thrilled to find pumpkin taking off…if you can call 2 pumpkins taking off & at this point I am.

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Right now I think I’m growing more weeds than I am vegies. The humidity is down and It’s a good morning to get out there and take care of that. In fact it’s nice enough I turned the AC off and opened up the house for a few hours.  LOVE the fresh breeze blowing through.

The strawberries are doing well with the transplanting.  Those I transferred to individual pots have nearly doubled what they were and look really healthy

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Those that we transferred to the bed have set and established well.  No droopers or poopers.

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No poopers makes me happy.

To date peaches in the area have been so high I’ve not bought any but, I found/heard of a sale for .69lb. so I’m off to check that out this morning to pick up a few bushels.  Other than peppers, a few quarts of berries & the carrots & the corn there has been nothing put up this year. Looking through the past years posts it was marathon canning by now.  Just a tad bit worrysome!  

I’ve Thyme and oregano to share if anyone would like some…shoot me an e mail.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Carrots Coming Out My Ears & A Giveaway To Tell You About!

but not from the garden.

I stopped at the local grocers this weekend and found 2 lb. bags of organic carrots for 25 cents.  They had received a double order and needed to move them quickly.  Being the upstanding penny pinching gardener who’s carrots did not grow this year, I felt it was my duty to help them out.

I got a few looks when I asked the stock guy (who was blocking the display) if he could hand me a few bags….then a few more, and a few more. He would only let me take 10 bags the carrot miser!

I almost felt guilty checking out as that price was a steal!

Right now those carrots are chopped and sliced and the dehydrator is happily humming

They are going to so good in soups and stew this winter.

I’m not sure what I like best, the rhythm of the pressure cooker rumbling, the bubbling of the canner or the hum of the dehydrator.  I believe it’s a 3 way tie.

Which is your favorite sound?

Be sure and visit my friend Sandy over at Oklahoma Transient.It’s a blog I’ve recently found and really enjoy.  I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks from her pages.  But, this week she is sponsoring a giveaway!  Be sure and pop over, say hi and enter. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time to move the babies

They are wanting to have babies of their own (but I said no) you need to be a bit older, grow a bit more and become firmly established in your new home first.  Plants or kids, some things never change.  They grow up so fast.003

so I know its past time.  I’ve been hoping for cooler temps before I transplanted but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  They need time to establish in the new bed before winter comes


Those I transplanted to single pots are doing really well, & the tiny starts are just getting there.  I may transplant from those tiny containers to the single pots for a while, as I’m not sure they would survive the heat out in the main bed.

The main bed we are picking blooms to let the shoots develop.

As soon as the starts get about 4 inches I’m moving them around in the bed & so far all but 1 has taken the move well. 

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More shoots will need to be moved around once a bit larger

Last year when we put this bed in we planted 25-30 plants, and were left with less than 10 this spring.  Those that survived were great producers.

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Looks like most of the mulch washed away in last weeks rain & needs replaced.

In a way I’m kinda glad the others did not survive because I’ve learned a lot re-establishing the bed this summer.  It’s simple strawberries I know but,  there’s a stronger sense of ownership/pride (whatever you want to call it) tending to the babies and watching them grow knowing what juicy goodness they will provide next spring.

I hope we never loose that feeling and sense of wonder. 

Just remind me I said that when I’m moaning next summer about the heat and needing to pick berries ok?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bulk Storage Using What You Have

We are rice eaters. When we realized a 50 lb. bag was pretty close to the price of 2 –2lb  bags well I was all over that.  But only when when we opened that BIG bag did I remember we’d have to store the remainder.

**********Now, let me throw out a disclaimer here about plastic and what is or, may not be proper storage….I was using what I had on hand and it’s worked for years for us.

Popcorn tins.  You know the holiday tins you never know what to do with once they are empty…but don’t want to throw away cause I might need them for something?

Well, your something has arrived in a 50 lb. bag! 

Wash and thoroughly dry your tins.  I let mine air for a few hours after this as the metal always retains a touch of moisture & you don’t want the damp or the rust that will develop if that moisture is left behind.  Take my word for it, it happens.

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Let’s pretend that spill on the side of the can isn’t there ok?

I line my dry tins with *****Note disclaimer above******** a small trash bag. Fill the bag with rice, twist the top and cover with the lid. We’ve stored rice this way for over 10 years and it’s worked well for us.   It takes just over 3 large popcorn tins to store a 50lb bag, It works out perfect with the bit left over in a container accessible in my panty.  when my container is low I just refill it from one of the tins.

A few facts we learned about rice I thought I’d share.

1.  You will spill a bit when opening a 50 lb. bag…. no matter how careful you try to be.

2.  Rice on bare feet hurts

3.  When sweeping up spills, a few of those suckers will hide very well and you will find them later…with bare feet

4.  Rice loves carpet.  It digs deep and hangs on.

Have a great tomorrow


Saturday, July 21, 2012

A few inches of rain

And cooler temps sure make a difference in the garden! The melons are taking off.  This photo was taken on the 18th and has grown half again its size here…with about 10 more growing between the 2 plantsGarden & WIPs 001

Isaiah’s excited as all get out, his green beans are coming up great.  This is 5 days after planting…nearly instant gratification!  All 3 rows are taking off with only a few bare spots but, I suspect it had a little bit to do with seed placement!

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The pumpkin are all doing great, plenty of blooms but no fruit has set yet.  I’m hoping the cooler temps will help with that.  I’m out of pumpkin in the pantry and need to stock up

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The sad state of my blueberry bushes is so frustrating!  We’re keeping the soil ph correct but I think I’m going to move them away from the blackberries

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We are looking to move them off by themselves in a semi raised bed back to the left of the tomato garden.  Right now I’m ignoring them because babying them hasn’t helped. The grass needs cleared out and pine needles need to be mulched in.  I think I’m going to just wait to do that till we move them in a few weeks.  It may not be the best time to move them but, at this rate they will be dead by spring and this way they may have a chance to revive if not be replaced….I just hate to give up on them GAH!

Harvesting some chives for the freezer.  I never know if I’m doing “it” right but nothing says (that I’ve read) when and how much to trim off the plant.  So, generally once a week I take half the growth.  The plants had reached a  size and quit growing.  Once I trimmed it spurted up 3-4 more inches.  So we’ve been playing give and take, it gives me a few inches and I take it!  I’ve nearly a LB tucked away in the freezer.  Not bad for a potted plant!


OK and some opinions please,,,

Last year I harvested my potato buckets to early and had 4 quarter sized spuds..now I’m not sure when to do it.


They are in  various stages of droopyness (darn spell check, droopyness is a word if I want it to be)

What do you think?  Do I dump the first bucket?

I think next year I’m going to suck it up and put potato’s in the garden.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When was the last time

you ran and played like a child


As adults we often are to cautious and wait to see what happens in life


as if joy and happiness are limited and we’re afraid to use it up


I think joy begets joy


So take a few minutes every day


Don’t think about who may be watching or what others may think


Play like the children did yesterday &

Laughed with carefree abandon

Where did you find joy today?


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Canning Out Doors

Over the weekend we blanched, cut off the cob and froze over a bushel of corn.

We’d had it in the cool basement while I procrastinated processing it.  With the temps over 100 I just couldn’t bring myself to fire up the canner in the house. The AC has been working overtime and I’m emptying the dehumidifier 1-2 times a day.  Over a gallon of water each time.  The last thing I want to do is create more humidity or heat inside!

  We’d been discussing a way to set up an outside canning center & I was worried our old Coleman camp stove could hold up under the canning kettle weight.   So, Mr. Fix-It came up with this from the back of his (Mary Poppins) truck.  It seems he’d done a job for a customer & for some reason felt led not to charge him.  After refusing payment a few times the gentleman finally left and then came back and gave him this burner.  (the bottle and kettle are ours) I has a huge wok bowl we’ve already used and I love it!  

He set this up and while the water was heating we shucked the corn and had it ready to go.  Once the corn was shucked it only took an hour to process the entire bushel. 

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We set at the tables with large cutting boards and went to work cutting and bagging. 

Freezing corn

For some reason this photo is locked and won’t let me turn it.

 Some of the finished corn cooling before being laid flat in the freezer.   He’s helped me in past years switch jars in the canner or wipe the jars rims before setting lids but, generally I’ve tried to be done or nearly done when he gets home.  This was the first time we’d worked together start to finish. It was nice and so much quicker working together. And even better…the compost pile is about 50 feet away!  Really makes me wish I knew someone local to can with.

So, since this process worked out so well we’re trying to figure a way to create a canning set up out side now.  We have the camp stove I can cook on and the canner will fit on the burner above.  I think if I set a board on the ground in front of the stone wall (for the jars as a smooth surface)

Stuff 001 it (the wall) will block breezes and allow finished jars to cool properly. 

Think it will work or am I looking at cracked jars?


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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Butchering the Bush

Remember this post about my neighbors bushes?

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Well, the trimming has begun.  2 were pruned last week, they still need a bit more work but I had to take a break it was so darn hot.

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I need to thin it out a bit and shape the bottom more but, it’s a giant leap from what it was.

We’ve more rain (THANK GOD!) in the forecast for the next few days so it may be Wednesday afternoon or Thursday before I can get to the next one.

Little bits at a time


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Feeling Fall

Maybe a fools fall?  This drought has effected all the trees and the stress to them is starting to show. As much yellow and orange are showing as there is green.  The other night we were eating supper outside and heard this rustling sound.  Both of us looked over to the wooded area to see what critter would be coming through the under brush but, what soon realized we had heard was falling leaves…. so dry they were making a crackling sound as they fell and brushed against each other.  In my mind ( and maybe out loud) I was shouting NO NO NO!  Not yet!  I’m not ready.

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I’ve 3 peppers and 3 cherry tomato’s harvested from the garden so far!  The garden went in a month  (at least) later than normal and compounded by the heat its just hanging on and starting to show. We’ve been watering with the hose but this weekends rain has really made a difference.

The melons just are starting to develop.  In the past we’ve eaten one for 4th of July and been eating canalope daily by now.

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I’m hoping for a bumper crop, I want to make watermelon jelly and try my hand at pickling the rinds

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This melon is 6 inches & was the same size as the one starting in the photo above 3 days ago. A good soaking rain is wonderful!

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Mulching tomato’s and peppers, not as many planted this year

Larry mowed yesterday for the first time in 4 weeks.  It was so dry he hadn’t needed to but, yesterdays mowing gave me more grass trimmings to mulch in the garden pathways

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Combined with the cardboard or news paper under the grass It’s saved hours of additional weeding.

My 4 lonely beets.  This was a row of carrots & beets.  No carrots germinated and only 4 beets in a 20 foot row. It was my first time planting beets so I was kinda bummed by the showing.  They are about 1/2 above the soil line so I think they are ready to harvest.  I need to check on that.  When we were in Poland we were served some wonderful cold beet dishes and I’m trying to find the recipes. 

So how is your garden growing?


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Friday, July 13, 2012

Weeds & Seeds with the Compost Boy

Yeah~ That’s right the weeds lost this round.  I spent about an hour weeding yesterday morning with the little man helper ‘compost boy’.  He was ready & willing for the first 10 minutes then the novelty wore off…so to take his mind off the work we started singing silly songs, country songs & patriotic songs.  Which lead to a few political discussions (yes, he’s 9).  We/he planted 3 more rows of green beans we chatted about seeds & how precious good seeds are.

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I explained the differences between GMO, heirloom & organic.  Which in turn led to questions like “Why would people be dumb enough to buy junk GMO seeds!?”

Leave it to a 9 year old to not sugar coat a question! 

We chatted about organic gardening, using no poisons to kill the weeds we were pulling…”poison! We want to eat this stuff why would we put poison on it”!

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We talked about taking care of the soil like we do our bodies.  We work & play using up energy, and need to eat good healthy food to keep our body working properly.

As we mulched the existing bean plants and newly planted rows with fresh rabbit poo,

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we discussed how the plants “eat” the soils vitamins and minerals, so it’s important to feed the soil & give it snacks by adding things like the rabbit poo & compost to keep it fresh and strong like he is.

As we were finishing up & gathering our tools I was feeing pretty good about the work done.  Thrilled with our conversation & all the questions he’d had knowing more than just green bean seeds were planted… till he got this look on his face…you know, the light bulb moment?

“Oh….so that’s what the compost is for~”  *Palm to face*  As ‘compost boy’ He understood the basic process of composting but I didn’t realize he until then he hadn’t understand what it was for! 

He’d not been at the house when we used it.  He thought it was just a way of getting rid of garbage!!

As we sat on the patio later taking a break,  he bit in to a fresh peach and said ‘you know what’s nice about being a boy and not a plant in the garden?' My snack is healthy & doesn’t smell like rabbit poo’








Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I’ll be all hopped up

If I drink my Birthday presents!

I laughed so hard, Danielle & Justin had picked up a few bags of my favorite coffees at Whole foods,  Larry picked up the M&M’s and coffee..I ended up with 7 different bags & none knew what the other was planning other than the last gift…

Birthday coffee

Hey I was a happy camper thinking I’m stocked for a month!  Then I opened the envelope from them all and found



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My Hubby & Kids ROCK!!

I was planning on a Kindle Fire or an I pad after the the Nexus was released as I figured the prices would come wwwwwwwwwwwway down. 

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Took a lazy day

Yesterday was such a sleepy lazy day.  We’d spent the evening before at a family (belated) 4th of July celebration.  We’re a bunch of pyro’s at heart I have to admit.  Tents, fans and misting hoses kept us from being to hot in the 97% humidity and 104 heat…until the power went out about 7 pm.  First brown out I’ve known in the 20 years we’ve lived here.  It was back on by a bit after 11pm but we were home by then.

Yesterday (Sunday) I couldn’t focus on a thing.  I think it was a cumulative of to many

days of outdoor activity in the heat.   Good news is the temps have cooled, thank God!

Today was planned as a day for weeding,  I know with last nights rain the weeds in the garden will have grown a foot & I have a good size load of rabbit poo waiting to be mulched in the garden. But, I think this heat has really zapped me cause I never left the house.  I puttered around the house & had energy for changing bedding, a bit of laundry and meals but that was it.

Tomorrow, is a day to tackle a bit of weeding…I think I need to double up on my vitamins for a few days to get them all.  So how about my blogger family out there, anyone visited by the rain clouds?  I will admit I did a little 2-step in the rain

Aaaaand This photo is for Mama Pea

These used be pretty good sized nice, thick and full. I kept finding all these little black dots on the counter & window ledge..couldn’t figure it out till I really looked at the plants and found………

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An Army worm on each plant!! I could see them chewing away and a blade fell off as I was watching Can you say gross! On a house plant!!! Now I really need to go check the others.  Who’da thunk…house plants   EWwwwww!

kinda creeped out now


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Can you smell it?

The scent on of damp earth in the wind.  We were smelling it for hours, heard the lightening and were celebrating the cool breeze, The clouds were rolling & building like huge gray pillows  I poured rain!  Every where but here.

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In the first few hours this is the result of our first rain storm.

Mother Nature can be such a tease.

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An hour or so later when we decided to eat outside on the patio it started drizzling, a nice soft steady rain which soaked in immediately. I’m not sure how much we got but it may have been an inch at most.  Some areas around us received 3-6 inches.  As nice as it sounds that much rain falling on dry soil just runs off and created a lot of damage.

As much as I wanted to dance in the rain I had my chocolate birthday cake inside & celebrated the gift of another year as well as the rain

Hope you had a wonderful day!


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Friday, July 6, 2012

We have neighbors

Who live behind us. 

We never hear them and only see them when they use our shared driveway.   I take that back, they walk a dog 2 times in the evening.  Our property & theirs were family owned and the property split when we purchased the house from the son.  The second smaller house was home to the 90 yr old father who passed away about 10 yrs ago….. and then the grand daughter moved in.  Still with me?  Were on the 3rd generation neighbor living behind us….

Anyway,  It’s like we don’t have neighbors….we actually forget they are there. They don’t come outside…..at all.  They don’t care about outside. And we can tell.  If I’m in the side yard…in the pool area or back behind the garage this is the view

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Notice the shrubs?

Here’s a better view

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Yes, there are windows back there and a porch! 

I couldn’t take it any more and the other night waited for her in the drive way.

The conversation was pretty one sided and went something like this “*L*” I’m going to trim your shrubs for you.  Would you prefer them just trimmed and shaped or, would you like to use your windows?”  Yes, she would like to use her windows.

I was nice & smiling as I spoke to her but I think she understood It was gonna happen. Actually,  I think I kinda scared her.

  I did explain it really was not the greatest time of the year for pruning & taking them that far back to widow ledge may kill the bushes, they would for a few months be ugly brown sticks that would fill in etc….her response was a meek “ that’s fine”.

Yesterday I started on the first Holly kinda tree/bush and it’s partially done in the photo.  Today off and on I worked on the bush by the door. It was so darn hot but I was afraid if I didn’t get one done she might change her mind. I’d work on it for about 30 minutes at a time and then go stand in front of the fan.  

That sucker was at least 8 ft wide and ate half the porch.  Now, it’s 4 ft wide and ugly brown sticks…. minus a hornets nest.

Did you know if you run out of hornet and wasp spray…a spray can of starter fluid works just as well?  I know, not the greatest thing to do but they didn’t take well to the evection notice & Hey, it was them or me.

Those bushes were comin down

I get to finish tomorrow


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