Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend and Updates

Labor Day weekend is like the official end of summer weekend. Summer doesn't technically end until around September 22 or so, and we still can have hot and humid days. But it is back to school time and children are swarming the store with their parents buying back to school items. It is also the last time for many families to have an outing, go camping or be with friends and family for a while. Memorial Day weekend starts off the summer season, and Labor Day winds things down.

I don't know about you, but I am happy for this transition time. It is very hectic and busy in our household with back to school, and county wide events in our town that draw in thousands of people over the weekend. My sister-in-law and her family are coming to visit, a rare occasion, and we are going to have a nice visit, hang around the house and go to events and activities in town.

My garden is going ballistic all of a sudden. We had a week of warm (80-90 degrees) weather, and suddenly the weeds and our crops are growing like crazy! I have never even had butternut squash, but I planted 3 of them and they have grown so long, and now there are baby squashes growing all along the vines. My tomatoes are loaded, and potatoes are coming coming along as well. Does anyone need some rhubarb? I planted it last year and I have made rhubarb bread, rhubarb pudding, strawberry-rhubarb jam, and frozen some rhubarb. I still have stalk after stalk of this plant growing. I have even given some away to my rhubarb lover friends. It is like zucchini. It just keeps on coming. You always know who doesn't have any friends when you go to the grocery store in August and September and see someone actually paying money to buy zucchini. Really?

A friend offered for me to pick some plums at her house and I have made some plum jam. It is very light and refreshing as jams go. Don't you just love it when friends share their bounty? I am so blessed to have friends like that. Last year a friend gave me a bunch of strawberry starts that were creeping all over her garden. This year, I had enough strawberries to have some fresh for eating, making strawberry jam, and I have 4 quarts in the freezer. Give and it will be given back to you.

Creature update: Well, we haven't heard any noises in the garage, and we didn't trap anything but ants, so .. not sure what it was. But, today while I was watering our garden, Cooper, our golden retriever was chasing something all over the place. I didn't think much about it because he is a great mouser and is always catching mice, voles, and birds. Sometimes cute bunnies and he even caught and killed a marmot on Mother's Day this year. After watering I walked up to the front porch and there on the walkway was a weasel. Yikes! My husband has seen them in the shop on rare occasions, and we have seen one or two dead ones over the years, but we have never had Cooper catch one. Now, weasels are not a rodent (are they considered rodents?) you want around. Well, they are good at keeping the mouse population under control, but they are notorious for getting into things and can be very destructive. You don't want them taking up residence in or near your house. Our shop has not seen any destruction (that we have found up to this point), but my thought came back to our garage. I know we have had mice in there before because we have found them, but I do not want a weasel in my house! Has anyone dealt with weasels before?

Chickens: Our Barred Rock is as arrogant as ever. We isolated the one hen he kept servicing to the point that she wasn't laying and was bald on her back. She finally laid an egg today and I put her back in with the rest of the flock. Mistake. He didn't give her a break and she promptly went up on a roost out of his reach. The Buff Orpington is not being bothered by the rooster and continues to sow his oats. We got 3 "new" eggs this week from our pullets. One was in a box and two were on the ground. We haven't found any since. Cooper,though, did bring 3 eggs up to the front porch that he helped himself to. The shells were cracked so not usable. I'm not sure how to break him of this habit. He is just doing what retrievers do. I keep saying I'm going to stew that rooster but we just haven't got to it yet. I will let you know when his day has come.

That's about all that's going on here. I love my new job and hope to have a great year. Have a safe and fun weekend, my friends.


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