How Does Your Garden Grow?

Patty got home from her vacation Tuesday night and woke up full of energy Wednesday morning so we started setting up my gardens. We got the potting soil, mulch and a bird bath.
We started by pulling out the cherry tree that was moved when we put in the shed and that killed it.
This is as far as we got it. This was a big tree and heavy so we need to get a saw and cut it up to put it out by the curb to be picked up with the other yard waste.
Then we planted my little oak tree in that spot. Back when I came back to Florida Joe and Holly sent me a living seed, an acorn with the directions to grow it and now it is about ten inches and hasn’t been growing for a couple weeks so I knew it needed to be transplanted out of the small pot I had it in.
. Then we realized if Bullet, a pit bull came over to play with Otis he could run right over it and kill it without even knowing it was there so we put up the bird feeding station right next to it to protect it. This is just the bottom of the station but you can see how it does protect the little tree. And then we set up the bird bath and put the solar fountain in to it. . The fountain keeps water moving so the mosquitoes Can’t breed in the water.
Then we went to work putting together my grow boxes and filling them. What a job! We ran out of dirt just about the time we ran out of steam and we both went in for lunch and a nap.
This morning we started again. We went to Home Depot and got ten more bags of soil and some plants and came home and filled more boxes We set them up on cinder blocks so I don’t have to bend down so low to plant them. Then we put them along the fence and around the house to give the plants some support when they get bigger.
Then I planted the plants I had just bought. Four tomatoes, two egg plants, 15 strawberry plants and four pepper plants. And I transplanted some squash I had started as seeds.
these are really the strawberries but because they are just bare roots you can’t see the strawberries yet but will in a day or two. The covering you see on the box is special to these boxes, it contains the fertilizer the plants need and keeps the weeds and bugs out.
While I planted Patty put together my tower.

That took a lot of soil to fill that and it will hold all my herbs plus other small plants. I planted basil, parsley, oregano and chives plus the five straw berry plants I could not fit into the grow box and I haven’t mad a dent in all the spots I have to fill. I do have seeds to plant in there tomorrow and I have plants and seeds to plant in the other grow boxes.
So now I have my work cut out for me to make sure every thing is happy and grows fast. I will have to talk to them every day and check the water level. I am putting flowers in one box and a blackberry bush in one box for Gina.
Have a good day. I’m going to bed, I’m tired.

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Busy Day

I have so many irons in the fire right now it makes for a very busy day. I stayed in bed and wrote my letters until Everyone got off to School or work. That way I stay out of their way and don’t interrupt their routine.There is a lot to get three little kids off to Schoo that early in the morning. We all used to go to school to a school that we could walk to. A few kids had to walk two miles and thought it was awful to live that far away now we have two little first graders and they get on a bus at 7:30 in the morning. It takes almost an hour to get to their school and they don’t get home at the end of the day until 4pm. That is an awfully long day for a 7 year old. Progress ??
Anyways as soon as Otis and I had breakfast we went out and cut grass. I won’t let the lawn service cut the grass around the sea grapes because I don’t want that wire slicing at the stocks of the sea grapes so I have to taken my electric grass cutters and trim around the grapes. I did ten. yesterday and hoped to get the last 14 done this morning but my back just couldn’t take it so I got ten more done today. I’ll do the last four and the five blueberries tomorrow morning. I have to do that kind of work in the morning as the afternoons are much to hot to work outside and besides by afternoon my back aches. After we rested a short time we then went to the cottage to work on my Swartz family tree. I have finally gotten to the place where the two lines I have been working on finally meet and I can put it all together onto one tree. But something was wrong and I couldn’t get onto Ancertry.com so instead of just spinning my wheels there Otis and I went over to Becca’s and chopped the onions and peppers for the spaghetti sauce that I needed to make in the afternoon.
After lunch I took the information I have found on the Swartz family tree and put the information on my blog. If you want to see it go to Swartz Family page at the top of this blog. I found seven generations in Germany so now I have the line complete from 1440 to the present with the mothers and fathers. I am still working on the cousins looking for Wilson Swartz but so far I haven’t found him.
At 3 I went back to Becca’s and made the sauce and then Otis as I came home for supper. I tried turning off my Mac and that cured the problem with getting onto Ancestry.com so we went back to the cottage and got everything lined up again so I knew where I am and we did a few more cousins before I got too tired to do any more today. At least I know where I am and tomorrow I can get to work without any problems.
Inbetween these major tasks I made several trips to the cottage with all my new planting things. There are ten grow boxes, perlite, watering cans etc. I found a couple things I forgot to get so ordered those and then found a couple flowers I want to grow. Tomorrow my seeds should be here and the peat pots so I can start some seeds to put in as soon as Patty gets home and we can get the potting soil. I had to order more perlite to lighten up the potting soil for my grow boxes and herb tower. Now I am ready for an early bed and a good night’s sleep. Get rested up and be ready to start all over again tomorrow. Have a good night.

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In Heaven Again

A farm may not be heaven to everyone but to me it is the nearest thing to heaven on earth that I know of.
A school teacher without a class room to teach is happy all summer but when Labor Day comes and she still has no class room she is the most miserable person and will take any job offered to her. The same is true of a farmer, comes spring and you have no garden to plow or plant and life isn’t worth living. Two weeks ago that was me!! Then I got this ad. It came in my order from Omaha Steaks. . It isn’t this: . But it looked good and got me thinking. I can’t have a garden here because Norman is not here to till up the soil and help me plant but maybe with these grow boxes I can still have a garden. I talked about it with Patty and she said she would help me get the potting soil and help me fill the boxes so I ordered ten of them.
Today they arrived!! FedX delivered them in two big boxes. I could not carry those so I asked the man who delivered them if he would Please bring them into the house and wait for me to get him a tip. He wasn’t smiling when I got back, he had just setting down the second box and was leaving. He was smiling when he left a few seconds later. I stopped him, thanked him and gave him a $5 bill. He was surprised and pleased and asked what was in the boxes that made me so happy. I told him and he laughed and wished me luck. I think everyone should tip anyone who brings you packages but most of the time they come and leave the boxes before I can get a dollar bill to give them. It really means a lot to people to get a tip and a thank you once in a while. You don’t miss the dollar and if everyone did the it would make delivering things so much nicer for the poor guy that has to lug all those boxes for people.
Anyways I opened them and wanted to start right away but Patty will not be home for another ten days so I have to wait for her. Then I got to dreaming and decided I don’t have to wait at all and I don’t have to buy plants to put in my boxes, I can get seeds now and start them so they will be ready to go into the boxes when we get them ready and I won’t be pushing Patty so much to get them going the minute she gets home.
So I ordered the seeds from Amazon, I got the peat pots and starter soil and when they come on Wednesday I will start my seeds. I will be able to grow all my own vegetable and even have some for the family. I will have James help me, he loves working outside and growing things so I think he will have a ball and I will have someone to talk to as I work.
Last week I ordered a few things I needed to make farming easier, I got a large watering can and a small one for my tower of herbs, I got the herb spikes, the tomato blossom end rot spray and a couple other little things like that and that all came today too so I am ready to farm!! Oh, one of my boxes will be for strawberries and I have ordered a blackberry bush as the advertisement said you can grow bushes or small trees in these boxes and I know Gina loves blackberries think of the fun she will have if she can go out and pick her own blackberries in her own back yard!
This morning I used my power grass clippers and trimmed around ten of the sea grapes. That is hard work and I could only do ten this morning so will do another ten tomorrow and finish those up on Thursday. Then on Thursday or Friday I’ll trim around the blueberries. Those are all doing well. The birds love the blueberries and I even get a few. I really planted them for the birds so don’t mind a bit when they come in for breakfast. I will put out some seeds for the birds now that Otis has decided he like to chase the squirrels. It will give him expercise that he really needs and will keep the squirrels up on the phone lines instead of on our lawn or under my cottage.
Our neighbors both have cats but they don’t bother the birds as Otis love to run after them and they run as soon as they see him coming. Some days they try to sneak past our yard but Otis sees them and run after them. He could not catch them because there is a fence around our yard and he can’t get out and they can’t get in with him here so they are in no danger of getting hurt. I don’t think Otis would hurt them if he did catch one, he just like to see them run and he has no one to play with.
As I get the garden going I’ll keep you all posted on it’s progress. They may turn out to be the most expensive vegetables but I know they will be the best tasting ones. There is nothing better than fresh vegetable right out of the garden.
Have a great day.

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Off To See The World.

Patty left this morning for her trip to Paris. She should be there later tonight but of course it will be tomorrow morning there so I hope she gets a lot of sleep on the plane. We have all been busy here this last week getting us all in line and ready to carry on without the captain of the ship. She will meet Celina there in Paris and even if Celina will be working all day they will have time evenings to sight see together. Celina has been there before so she wants to show Patty around and Patty has been reading up on Paris so has a list of things she wants to see and hopes she can fit it all in as she will be there only one week. One of her side trips is to Normandy and that will take a couple days but I think well worth the time. Then the next week she will get to visit Norway. I would love that too but my travel days are done, her’s are just beginning.
I have been crocheting again. Each month I make some fridges for the kids to bring to school to say thank you for all they do for the kids, so they bring one to each teacher, each bus driver and sometimes an aid who has been special that month. Then Patty takes them to her nurses and co-workers and gives out as many as I can get done. Some months everyone gets one but not every month as that takes about 30 of them and I don’t always get that many done. This month it was flowers and next month it is animals. Here is a couple pictures to show you what I am working on now. These are the pig, the lady bugs, the fish and my newest one the beaver.
Here we have the sea horse, lamb, cow, cat, pig and the dog. There are 26 different animals in all so I have quite a few more to do and then I will go back and make second or third ones of the ones I like to make the best. some are very easy and others not quite so. Some I have the correct color of yarn and others I have to just take the color I have so I like to make one of each and then spend the rest of my time doing the ones that are fun to make. I am sure I will make more dogs, and beavers. I bet I do extras of the owls but I haven’t done those yet.
I haven’t found patterns for July yet so have to keep my eyes open for that. The kids go to summer school so I’ll need to find something. Maybe I could do fruits and vegetables. I have tried the flags but they take too long to try and make 30 or 40 of those for the 4th of July but maybe I can find fire works or some such thing. Aug will be a challenge too but I have a long time to think about that one.
Have a good day. I should be able to write again each day for a while. Each day is so much like the next that I find it hard to find things to write about. I hope to start a garden soon and that will give me lots of things to write about.

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Help in The Kitchen

Very busy today but didn’t get much done. Day started early for me when James didn’t feel good and needed to stay home from school sick. Patty wasn’t sure if he really was sick but he didn’t look good and felt like he was going to throw up. His mother was already at work so Nana had to decide. It is a long day for a first grader like James. The bus leaves here at 7:30 am and he doesn’t get back home on the bus until 4 in the after noon. That is a long day for a little guy and if he is sick at school they call his mother at work to came get him and the school is so far away it takes her longer than a hour to go get him and bring him to me to sit with until she gets out of work. So Mana decided to let James stay home today.
Otis and I had our breakfast and James felt a little better so he had some breakfast too. Then I had to start the spaghetti sauce, today was Wednesday and that means spaghetti. James loves to cook so he wanted to help chop the peppers for the sauce. I gave in and let him help do that but put him right back in bed. By this time he wasn’t sick any more and didn’t want to stay in bed. NOT with this old lady, if you are too sick to go to school you are too sick to play or run around and for a 7 year old staying in bed all day is worse than having to go to school. So he was glad to see his mother come home at 12:30.
After lunch I got to water the plants and started on the new crochet projects. Each month I send into the school for the teachers and the bus driver and Patty’s nurses some small item. Like this month everyone got either a bunny or a chick magnet or pin for Easter. I didn’t know what to make for May and today decided I would make snow flakes. They hang in your window and look so pretty in the sun. They had a good meaning in New Hampshire because there was always a late spring snow storm and these would be the only one we really wanted. Here they are just pretty so I started making those today. I got 8 done and have three weeks to get the rest done before May. I also found something to make for June.
Tomorrow I want to get back to my genealogy and my puzzle and will do both a short time so I can do more snow flakes tomorrow also. So nothing exciting happening here so no one needs to worry about me. Have a good day.

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Bits and Pieces

Nothing earth shaking was done today. I spent the morning finishing up several projects and then spent the after noon crying over the fire in Paris. Just one more proof that the world is going crazy and we will never be the same again when something that just always was is no more. I do hope they can rebuild Notre Dame it is not only a symbol for France but it will be a symbol for Americans too. If they can rebuild Notre Dame, we should be able to rebuild America again after or four years of the fire that has almost destroyed our democracy. Amen.
I finished my puzzle finally. This puzzle was one of those new one called Bits and Pieces. At first I thought it would be a fun one to do but I will never make another of this kind. It is no relaxing at all and I like to make puzzles because it is a good mental exercise but this was just stressful, not fun, not relaxing so I will have no regret about putting this puzzle in the box tomorrow and taping the box shut for good. Tomorrow I will start a new puzzle.
Then I finished Elisa Swartz’s family and that was no small task. He had 14 children so I had to not only look up each one but also all their children and grand children as well. Now I will research and record Elisa’s thirteen siblings. I am looking through the cousins looking for a Wilson Swartz. Wilson was born in 1853 in the same general area that my Swartz ancestors lived for many years. It seems as if I should find him hanging there on my tree if I look long enough. With all those children and cousins. At least this is a fun task. I can only work on it for about two hours, then I get going in circles and my head gets so full of names and lines and just have to stop and clear my head for a while. That is when I like to work on a puzzle for a while but not on Bits and Pieces puzzles.
Time to recharge the old machine with a good night’s sleep. Have a good night.

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The Story of the Mulch

We got all our work done early today so thought I’d write my blog before I go to bed instead of first thing in the morning. Yesterday when Patty got home from her vacation and cleaned up the truck and camper, she drove over and got a truck load of mulch. When she got home with it she said she was afraid she got too much this year. Every year she and Jen spreads mulch on Patty’s plants and trees and then they go to Jen’s house and does the same. This year they also have all the sea grapes and trees on this house. So Patty got the Big Dipper full and that was about twice as much as in past years. When we got up this morning Patty said she was glad she got the Big Dipper full as someone had stolen some mulch out of the truck that was in the drive. They didn’t take it all but they took enough to know some had been taken. Unbelievable, Patty said if they had asked she would have let them take a bagful.
Jen came over at 8am and Patty and Jen started in on the pineapples in the front yard along with the trees there. Then about 9:30 they came to this yard and started on the sea grapes. We had planned to kill the grass around the sea grapes before mulching but I was afraid we could not keep Otis away from the poison so we decided to must mulch and I would get some grass clippers and just cut the grass. We could not use a weed walker because of the damage they do to the young sea grapes. I did the blueberries yesterday because they needed peat moss for their mulch as they need the acidity that the peat moss gives them so when we finished mulching the grapes and the trees Patty and Jen headed for Jen’s house with the rest of the mulch and I watered down the mulch around the grapes, trees and blueberries. By then it was past lunch and I was tired so I had lunch and Otis and I took a nap. Otis was out for the rest of the day. He had supervised the work all morning and that was more work than he had done for a month so he only got up for supper and is now back to sleep. I don’t expect to see him until tomorrow morning. He loves having people outside but most days it is just too hot.
Now my new plants are all set and I will need to water only ever other day for the next week. I did get to do a little work on the Swartz family tree and got a few more pieces into my puzzle.
Shirley sent me some new puzzles so I need to finish up the one I am working on and try one of these new ones.
Have a good day.

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Last Day

This is the last day of Patty’s break and my last day to do just as I please. It has been a nice week. Otis and I have no duties or obligations to anyone else. The kids have come over every day to visit and make sure we are still here and being good. Otis gets to sleep most of the day but does keep tabs on me and he makes sure I am never out of his sight. It is nice to have a silent partner and very comforting to have him around.
Yesterday he went for a pretty good walk before breakfast so this morning I thought we should go again before breakfast, before it started to get hot but what I think and what he thinks is often two different things and he is tricker or more stubborn than I am. So when I told Otis he had to get up so we could go out for our. walk before I’d give him any breakfast, he just looked at me as if I had two heads. I went to the kitchen and got ready to go and called Otis. He came out limping. This time it was his left FRONT leg he claimed was not working. He came out with that leg up in the air and claimed he could not put any weight on his leg. I believed him so said he could sleep and I would work on my genealogy. I went to the cottage and Otis followed me when he saw I was going into the cottage all of a sudden he was better and walking on all four legs. I worked on the Swartz family tree for a couple hours and then came back to have a little breakfast.
I tried again after breakfast to take a walk and Otis would not leave the yard. He walked to the end of the drive way and then just stood there and refused to move. I gave up and put him out the back door and made him stay out and tried to get him to run around a bit. I did a lot more running than he did before I gave up.
I didn’t do much else today, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to do much. I don’t know how I ever worked, where did I find the time. You would think with how little I do each day how I can sleep at night but I do. Come nine and I am ready for bed. I try to stay up another hour and listen to the news but there isn’t much there either- What a mess this country is in!! Do you think we will ever get this mess untangled? I am really glad I am going not coming.
Have a good night, sleep well and wake up early to fight the good fight, love your neighbor.

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A Penny Saved

I am getting good at this, giving my family an update daily when I don’t do anything to report on. However today I do have something to tell you about.
Back when I got my first dog, Serna Sky, I got an insurance policy for her right away. I had watched Shirley with her dogs and the amount she had to pay to vets to keep her dogs healthy and safe. I had not had a dog for more than fifty years and back then you didn’t take a dog to a vet for anything, things are different today so I decided I needed to have some insurance to help me pay any big bills. Serna Sky had heart worms when I got her and she was under the care of he vet for the human society and that would not be covered by the insurance but I got it any ways. I got the 24 Pet Watch- Pet insurance program. It cost $35 a month and covered any accident or major illness except the heart worms. It did not cover any shots but she already had those and it did not cover any wellness tests or check ups. It did cover any costs in finding my dog if she ran away or was stolen. It just gave me a sense of being covered if anything big happened to her. As you know she only lived 6 weeks before she died from the heart worms because no one knew how long she had them. I got to pay just one $35 payment before she died. Then I got Otis and still had not finished with Sky’s insurance. I had paid a vet bill of $597.25 which I thought was very reasonable for all they did to make her passing peaceful and for her cremation and where she died of a precondition that was not covered by this insurance I had not made a claim but when I called to cancel the insurance I was advised to make a claim anyways. Let the company decided if I had a claim or not. So I did and they awarded me $200 toward that bill. I was surprised and thankful. With that I decided I would get the same policy for Otis but this time I wanted to know how much it would be for the Wellness policy also. I thought that would really push up the monthly premium but when they told me instead of $35 dallars a month it would be $35.85 cents I signed up for both on the spot. Now they would help with every time I had to take him to the vets. Not all of it but every little bit would help since I was prepared to do what was right for my new dog so he never suffered as Sky had. When I got him they said he was all up to date with all his shots and that he was healthy but they didn’t give me any of his medical records. I took him to the vets to be sure he was all set medically and the vet tried to get his medical records too but could not so I had to pay to have the heart worm test again before I could get the pills he needed to take every month to prevent it and they trimmed his nails which were way to long and gave him a good check up and advised me on his care. The bill was for $134.90. Oh this exam was a requirement of the policy and the vet could not get any record from the animal shelter even though they said he had a full exam so I had to paid for that to be done again and to have him chipped. I was advised by the company to file a claim on that visit and every one I made even if none of it seemed to be covered so I did. One this claim I was given $15. Not much but more than I thought I would get having read the policy. Then he had to go back for all of his other shots because we still could not get any record from the center that he had really had any of them. I took him in and the bill this time was for $112.66 cents. This time when I read the policy I figured I would get back $30 so I put in the claim and it was just settled and I am getting back $70. Boy do I like that company. I have never had any insurance that is so easy to deal with and so good and fast about settling a claim. If it had been left up to me I never would have even put in a claim for these two visits. So anyone who gets a new pet I think they should get the insurance. Otis hurt his leg when he jumped off the bed and I was afraid I would have to take him to the vet. They advised me to just watch him for a day or two and see if it would take care of itself. Shanti told me of her friend who had a dog like mine and hers did the same thing and it was the ACL and hers had to have an operation that cost $4000. I waited and by the end of the day he was walking again but with a limp and within two days even the limp was gone. The vet was right and I didn’t have to decide about having the operation. If I had my insurance would have covered 80% of it which would have made it possible for me. So between a good vet and good insurance it was a none event. I bought a set of doggy stairs so Otis doesn’t jump off the bed anymore. My floor is tiled and he does have long nails so when he jumps his feet slide on these floors. Now he is covered and we are both happy.
I hope this story helps someone else that has a dog and big vet bills. $35.85 a month is little enough to avoid the big bills that can come with a small pet. Have a good day.

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Still Adjusting

Not much to report today. Otis and I had a quiet day yesterday. We were glad to see Gina in the morning. She aways comes over to say good bye when she heads for the bus. It is a nice way for us to start the day. I worked most of the morning on my genealogy. I have reorganized the way I am recording the families so it includes all the children and follows into the cousins and all blood relations. I have the direct lines of just mothers and fathers but that isn’t what most of the kids are interested in. After about five generations they don’t understand the connection. they want to know where they fit in with people they know in the world or past. For example Gina is far more interested in knowing King John of England is hanging on her family tree than she is in knowing the Otis Whitney hangs there and he fought in the revolutionary war, or that her great great great Uncle Gus died in the Andersonville prison camp. She had never heard of them and they mean nothing to her. In like manner Celina found it a lot more fun to find her lab partner was her seventh cousin than that she is a direct descendent fo John Alden. So now I am organizing my information that I have collected over the years so that when I get an inquiry as I did this month I can find a connection or not much easier. I have a person ask if I could find out who Wilson Swartz is. They found him on their family tree and can’t find out anything about him and since I have a Swartz on my tree and they are from the same area of the country how do they connect? That is the one I am working on now.
Otis sleeps all day and just waits for the kids to get home from school. Yesterday Gina came over for help on her home work but didn’t want to do it so left much too soon for Otis. He got so mad at me because I would not go over and bother Becca while she was getting supper for her family. Otis likes being an active part of a large family and now that we are alone all day and Patty isn’t coming home at 5, Otis is not happy. So today I am going to stop what I am doing and make him go for a walk. He has gotten so he doesn’t want to walk out on the side walk. He is afraid of the dogs that bark in the houses we go by, he is afraid of the cars that fly by as we walk, and he is afraid of the people who pass on the sidewalk, he seems to feel no one else has a right to be on his side walk. So we don’t walk very far before he insists on running home. So today I will walk him as far as he will go and then go out often. Depending on how far he will go I may have to go out every hour for a short walk. He needs that exercise and just running across the back yard to bark at the neighbors cats isn’t enough. He also does not like his diet. He has to lose some weight for his health and just cutting down on his food has not worked and makes him hungry all the time. So I’ll increase his exercise and keep the food leave down where the vet said it should be and see if that can bring his weight down.
My plants are all looking good and I am still watering those each day but I think now I can change that to an every other day routine. Nothing else to report. Life isn’t very interesting but this lets you all know I am still here and doing fine. Have a great day. Love to all.

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