Summer Happenings in the Country

Summer time in the country

Summer is on the downward side. Funny how you don’t really notice how late the sun goes down… in general, but as we reach the summer solstice, you notice the days getting shorter and the need for indoor lighting earlier and earlier. A couple of weeks ago, we had some early fall-like weather. The daytime temperatures were in the mid-70-degree range and there was a breeze out of the north. And then Summer came roaring back with ’90s and humidity.

Garden in July
Hits and misses in the garden production


Production from the garden has been hit or miss. What we discovered this first summer were the bugs. We had all of them, squash beetles, aphids, striped potato bugs, cucumber beetles, and a few others. The worst one destroys zucchini, and fast! We have more zucchini planted and a spray to keep the vine borer away. It is our third planting. The cucumbers were very slow to start and then came on strong! We planted 2 varieties. Our favorite variety, mostly known on the west coast called a Lemon Cucumber-round and yellow, and the other was a green long straight one. Also delicious. As usual, the green beans did well. Bugs don’t seem to like them that much. Watermelon and cantaloupes a miss and a hit. I think the corn was the most successful. Sweet and tender. I am from Ohio, in the summer we would head to farm stalls for corn. Ostensibly to buy some for dinner. But the real reason was lunch. We would have it right there, right out of the bag. So tender and sweet it didn’t even need cooking, butter, or salt. What we grew this summer reminded me of it so much. The tomatoes are going strong!

Having drip irrigation has been the best thing since sliced bread. It hs really helped to keep the soil moist and the plants fed. The hose that we connect from the hydrant to the garden has not fared so well. The lawnmower… has done a number on it… may need to get a pipe feed for the water.

The Cow Summer Fun

Last Saturday the neighbor with the tractor came by and offered to mow the field March lives in down. He just hasn’t been eating it fast enough. Well, that tractor came in and started to mow, and Mr. March came out of the loafing shed, where he spends nearly all day, to see about the interloper. March challenged that tractor several times and then went back to the shed until it was done. In the middle picture, March looks like a bull in the arena staring down a Matador.

Doings at the Pig Pen

The pigs are almost too big to be cute. At feeding they are pushy and during the day they just lay about in the shade. The mud still offers some comfort and protection from the flies and hot summer sun. They love the garden spoils and greens. I am estimating that Iggy weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 to 200 pounds. He is a big fellow and Piggie a bit less in weight and shorter in both height and length. Getting pictures of them is difficult now. They think every time we enter the barn, it means food!

Big Pigs

Chicken Happenings

In the spring we decided that the old chicken coop (former playhouse for children), was too hard on a human. The porch roof is very low as is the doorway. We also did not like having the chicken yard behind the little house. How much fun is that? So we built a new coop in the spring and finished building the yard in the summer. We will turn the playhouse into the food storage location and house some Guinea fowl next spring. The new location is where the family that built the playhouse had the swing set and sandbox. All beautifully framed with railroad ties and filled with sand and polished pea gravel. Since we have more chicken room, we’ve added 4 more girls. They are the same variety as the older birds, Cream Legbar. They are only about 3 months old, so it will be a bit before they lay eggs… sometime around December. The new chickens will live in the playhouse for a few weeks before we mix the girls.

Warning Slithery Doings- you might want to skip this last bit

In the evenings it is my turn to feed the cow and the pigs. On Tuesday evening I spied a snake in the garden on my way back to the house by way of the compost bin. It was a harmless to humans variety, (a Southern Black Racer), so I took a picture and moved on. What I didn’t realize is that it was caught up in the blueberry netting. So the next morning, I got a text from the DH asking me to come to the garden to help him with the snake. This is very unusual! He intensely dislikes the creatures. So I hurried out there. Between us, we cut it free and watched it run off to hide in the burn pile. Copperhead or water moccasin, I would not have let it live. We are currently in copperhead season, where the babies are hatching. So we are on the lookout. Hoping I never have to deal with one, big or little!

Black Racer Snake

The black racer was not the only snake this summer. This was the first snake DH encountered earlier in the summer. He was working on pulling the reeds out of the pond, he was surprised by a rather large watersnake. Again harmless, but a big surprise.

Water snake

I don’t know where all the time goes… although… the garden and the kitchen seem to eat up plenty of time as does procrastination. Why do we do it?

As always more later- Beth

More from the Country

Things are mooooving along out here in the country. While the virus rages, we seem to find plenty to keep us busy and therefore at home most of the time. I find myself looking at the sky more often than I did in town. This reflection of the clouds in the sky caught my eye one day in late spring. I love the puffy clouds sailing across the sky in the midwest.

spring pond with clouds in the sky
Reflections on the pond

Growing things in the country

We planted a garden. By we, I mean the husband. We had a small one in town, but this place came with a large area already set up for gardening. We planted and it started to grow. A friend gave us a bunch of leftover drip irrigation parts and we put it to good use and just in time too. The temperatures in KY have soared in July. It was reasonable through June and boom sun and humidity increasing temperatures to very uncomfortable! We’ve also had some rain, about 8 inches. 6 inches of it in just 2 rainstorms. The zucchini have suffered a bug (squash vine borer) and had to be pulled out, but not before we had a few squash to eat. The tomatoes have set fruit, but are taking forever to ripen. We are picking when they have a hint of red because there is a raccoon that is tasting them. Onions are doing really well and I am using the tops to make sweet and sour cucumber salad. The lettuce bolted, so the pigs enjoyed most of it. Cantaloupes, watermelon, and lemon cucumbers are coming along slowly. We stuck some potatoes in for grins, but the bugs they bring with them… make them so much more work. We also planted some tomatillos for fun.

Friends and Visitors -no pictures!!!

Last week, while in town, I met with a neighbor from the other house. She is a quilter too. We met at a local park under a Pavillion roof, to avoid the sun and a threat of rain in the air. We enjoyed a lunch of takeout from Panera. Since moving we have talked on the phone a couple of times. We enjoyed more than an hour of lunch and chatter and then off to the rest of the in-town errands for me.

Saturday, we had more visitors. One of “Mr. C’s” sisters and her partner stopped in for the night. I haven’t seen “Mrs. M” since 2016. I fixed a meal for all, (they are vegan so substitutions were made), and visiting, then dessert down at the pond, until dark. They opted for a hotel, since they had a dog with them, and it would have been difficult with our pups and a strange dog too.

Updating a couple of country critters

Mr. March, the cow is becoming more friendly or at least less afraid of people, and less afraid of me for certain. He does not know his name in any sort of way, but he seems to be responding to ‘hey, cow’. I have sort of encouraged his fearlessness, by hand feeding him treats every evening, the ends of the carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers from the salad preparation. There are some apple cores from lunch too. He is gaining weight!!! I guesstimate he has added about 200 pounds so far. He weighed about 600 pounds when he arrived here on May 30th.

Country Cow getting treats

And Pigs

The pigs, “Piggie Ann and Iggy Piggy” are doing very very well. We started leaving the door to the outside open all the time and it wasn’t long before they had all the dirt turned-by snout, and every little bit of green gone. July coming on with lots of heat, they discovered how much more fun life was with mud and the wallow. I tried several times to show them how much fun water from the hose was, but it took a week of days in the upper 90’s with a feels like temperature over 105° for them to really get it!!! We took a video of them having some fun… it will make you giggle!

And there you have it… the country life and what keeps me busy and laughing all the time. Does watching the pigs play make you laugh too? Tell me in the comments…


The Course of Life- a road with twists and turns

The course of Life is full of twists and turns! What makes travel down one road fun might create difficulties on the next!!! Or conversely what was a problem is now FUN!!!

the for sale sign put up
Putting the house up for sale

The Big Twist- the last move

For the last few weeks, we keep reminiscing about where we were a year ago!!! It’s only been a year since we changed course unexpectedly and it happened way more rapidly than we ever anticipated. Next week we will mark the sale of the house in town and the purchase of our little acreage of paradise. And the move a couple of weeks later.

Farm Road toward home
The road we live on has twits and turns too

The Fourth of July was a good turn

Fourth of July Fireworks
These are all we saw on the Fourth of July this year

The turn of moving from town to the country was a good move! In a state where ‘fireworks’ are legal and sold in mega tents in every shopping center parking lot for weeks before the holiday is a good reason to leave town life. The unexpected discharges detonations happened at all hours of the day and into the late evening hours. Then on the 3rd and 4th, it becomes a free for all well before dark and after the supposed curfew of midnight. Out in the country, it was quiet. With the exception of 2 planned, local area displays. The noise was done by 11, and better yet we didn’t hear a single test fire or early playing at all!!! Nope -don’t miss close neighbors!

Fireworks Parking lot sales tent
Parking lot fireworks sales tent

Visitors from the Road

A little twist last week, we had guests stop by. My nephew, “Mr. C” and his daughter “Little A” stopped by on their way from Pennsylvania to Missouri. It was only for a night, but I haven’t seen Mr. C since 2016 and “Little A” I can’t remember… when. Originally, they were going to return by a different route, but enjoyed the visit on the way to MO, enough to change course and come back on the way home! We enjoyed the visits too. “Little A” loves cats, so having 7 put us at the top of the list. None of ours allowed her close enough to pet, but she wanted to know the name… of each cat. The cow and pigs were a treat too. She is a city girl, and therefore declined to pet any of them. She was also intrigued by the garden and the foods it was producing. Seeing them in the garden enticed her to try them at the table.

Pigs and Little A
Feeding the pigs with “Little A”

Born Fabric Petter

“Little A” is 10. When she discovered I have a sewing space in the basement, she insisted that I show it to her. Of course, I said yes!!! The “Creative Space” is still in the process of unpacking, but I do have the fabric on the shelves. While we were talking, she was petting the fabrics and pointing to ones that she liked. If she comes back for more than a night at a time, we’ll have to play with some fabric!

And with all that said… it is back to the regular channel… chores, and gardening (which fill up most of the day) until its too hot to be outside… Take good care of yourself in the meantime by washing your hands and wearing a mask! Beth