Thursday, January 30, 2014


I still hate the place but I have to give credit where credit is due.

My granddaughter who does not know what she wants to be when she grows up works nights at Walmart.  When the bridges began to ice over during our freeze the road department closed them.  Many employees couldn't get home,  my granddaughter being one of them.  Walmart had them all to pick out a change of clothes, pajamas and toiletries and put them up in a motel overnight.

I know Walmart has the bucks to do this and not hurt their profits one bit but the thing is they didn't have to.

"Florberia" is thawing

This morning, the sound of water dripping from the eaves, trees and plants is not from a rain shower but of the ice finally melting.  We were in a deep freeze in the 20's for almost 36 hours.  We had freezing rain but never did see sleet or snow.  Just pelleted by the ice falling.
When I stepped out on the porch yesterday morning it was still dark and I kept hearing something cracking and popping.  I finally saw it was Papa Bears distress flag frozen into a solid sheet.  Every time the wind blew it would snap, crackle and pop...he's going to need a new flag.

The plants on the railing outside of the Marine's bedroom had icicles.

My poor Azalea shrubs have never been so cold!

Palm trees and icicles are not two words that belong together!

Our old golf cart we use to distribute hay and feed was decorated with ice.

The bird baths was frozen solid and the umbrella has icicles.

The wheelchair ramp was covered in ice pellets.  Every time I went down it I expected to land on my butt!

The wheelchair ramp going to the pool was frozen.  When I talked to grandson he told me he could slide all the way down the ramp into the pool!

My kitchen window had a solid sheet of ice on the outside.

The hood of Mom's Bronco

My poor strawberries

The little cabbage froze but will probably be OK

Wonder what all of our little southern birds thought of the ice on their feeders?

Yeti decided he had enough of the cold and came inside for a nap.

Sometimes during the night he decided he needed a trashy Hollywood magazine my granddaughter left here to read or maybe he just thought it wasn't worth reading!

We wanted Sloppy Joes for supper but was out of buns in the freezer so I made a batch of fresh sesame seed buns.  The Sloppy Joe mix was some I had canned a couple of years ago.  They were yummeh.

I am most thankful to God that we did not lose our electric power as we are total electric.  We do have back up generators, grills and a small solar system for the Marines medical equpment but it would have just made things more difficult than what they were.  Papa Bear hauled water and hay to the critters most of the day trying to keep them warm and hydrated.  Temps are climbing into the 50's today and will be in the 70's in a few more days.  I hope the Polar Vortex is through with us.  We have a barn to build!
Stay warm everyone!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Just shoot me.....

Was looking at the extended weather forecast so I could somewhat plan my outdoor chores for next week.  I saw this for next Wednesday.  Are you kidding me?!


Jan 29

Snow and sleet possible 36°Lo 24°

Yes....I live in Florida...... 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Growing Potatoes (Part Two)

got 'em in the ground today. 

You can catch up by reading Part One

So my handy dandy chart of What to Plant Now tells me in my area to plant potatoes around mid February on through April.  I am already disobeying.  An old gardening book I have reads I can plant potatoes anytime I am at least 3 weeks from being 28 degrees which I am pretty sure I am unless we have another Polar Vortex.  In that case I have a plan.  I will cover everything with hay until the crisis passes.

This morning I raked, piled and burned a 41 x 32 area where I grew weeds black eyed peas and lima beans last year.  We had so much rain during the spring and summer that weeds totally took over this area.  Didn't get enough produce out of it to talk about.  I turned the Chickens out into it to clean it up. They ate, scratched and pooped here for about 4 months.  I hope they have ate a lot of weed seeds and insect eggs while they were at it.

Next came some deep tilling.  I tried to start the tiller but couldn't and had to call Papa Bear away from his barn building.  Two pulls and he had it started.  I told him I could till but after two swipes I was struggling.  The URI has whipped my butt and I am still rather weak.  Papa Bear took over and had it tilled up in about 30 minutes.

Next I measured out my rows by pounding some pieces of PVC three feet apart on each end of the rows.  I strung string between the pieces to mark my rows.  I am going to be able to get in four rows with the 20 pounds of seed potatoes I purchased.

I opened up some three layered feed sacks and laid them at the end of the row. Newspapers or cardboard would have worked as well.  I threw some scrap cypress boards over them to temporarily hold them down until I can get some wood chips in there.  I am bound and determined to stop some of the weeds this year.  It's not pretty but I don't have any neighbors to complain!

Next I made my trenches underneath the rows I have marked.

Just tilted my hoe and used the corner to make a four inch trench.

Potatoes have been sitting a day and a half since I cut them into chunks so they are turning dark as potatoes do when cut.

I placed my box between two rows and planted two rows at once working back and forth placing the seed potatoes 12 inches apart.

When all the seed potatoes were in the trenches I covered them with dirt.  Here they are all tucked in for their dirt nap.  

In the next few days I will work on getting more paper down and topping it with goat poop and hay.  If all goes well we should see some green in two or three weeks.

The ground was a little damp when I planted so I did not water at this time. I may use a little commercial fertilizer on the potatoes as the soil is still poor in this area and we want taters....lots and lots of taters!

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What to Plant Now

Here is a neat calendar from Mother Earth News  What to Plant Now
Once you go to the website, click on View Planting dates, put in your email and zip code and you will have a printable calendar of 30 different crops and planting dates.  Mother Earth news will also email you when it is time to plant something in your area.  If the emails become bothersome you can always unsubscribe.

Growing Potatoes (Part one)

Monday, when we went to the feed store,  I picked up my Pontiac seed potatoes.  I bought two 10 pound bags at .60 cents a pound.   I want to document my journey this time to see what my garden actually produces.  Some folks say they get an average of 50 pounds for every 2 pounds planted and some say 50 pounds for every 5 pounds planted.  If I get the high end of the deal I will not have to plant potatoes next year unless it is a necessity.   I have been researching many ways for preserving my harvest other than just canning.  I do not have a root cellar.

Most of the potatoes were a medium sized potato and a few large ones I would have used for baking should I have been cooking them.

There was only six of this size that I left whole.

The remainder of the potatoes I cut into chunks leaving 3 or more eyes.  Some web sites I visited said to cut them into at least 2 ounce pieces.  I'm not weighing potato seeds.  Some web sites said to cut them into at least the size of a large ice cube and some said to cut them the size of a large egg.  I cut some of mine larger than this and a few smaller.  I looked at the potato and simply cut chunks that left several eyes on each piece.

I have all different sizes. 

Some web sites says to cut them a few days before planting to let them scar over.  Some web sites did not do this at all.  I don't know if there is a right or wrong way of doing this.  I cut mine so I could get an idea of how many rows I need as I plan to plant mine about a foot apart in rows spaced about three feet apart.   If it warms enough today I will start laying out my rows and plant.  If not they will wait another day.  I have a few days to work with root crops by the Almanac.

As you see everyone has an opinion on planting potatoes.  You need to find what works for you in your area.  Web sites said the more eyes, the more stems produced and more potatoes but they would be small.  Some said the seed potatoes with fewer eyes yields fewer but larger potatoes.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Made it out of my deathbed but.....

...I keep relapsing

So many people has this upper respiratory infection thing going on.  My problem was I did not take a day or two to rest and finally I got so bad it put me to bed for 4 days.

Prior to trying to get the bed off of my back we did get some work done on the pole barn.  I helped Papa Bear with this wall framing and that was it.  He has another wall up on the opposite side which I don't have a picture of yet.  He wanted that one wall built to help stiffen things up.

We are going to have to go ahead and start on the second floor framing in order to be able to reach the top or else build some very tall scaffolding.

He got one side ready for the siding.  We will get that wall framed in after the siding goes up here. 

What a blessing this was.  This entire load of wood was free!  Stepson is painting some new homes being built at the golf course.  They were throwing away all of this lumber left over from the job so we took the trailer out and loaded up.  It was about as much lumber as we had ordered and paid for!  It is no wonder houses are so overpriced.  We were told there was about 3 times this much but others had claimed it before we got there.

About 10 days ago I started giving the puppies some food soaked in warm water.  They dug into it like little pigs!

This is a photo I took yesterday.  They have gotten much bigger.  They are so fun to watch as they are running around and playing now.  Papa Bear has taken a liking to one of the little black ones so I imagine she may be staying.  He calls her Mean Girl cause she barks and growls...hahahaha so I named her know as in Lindsay Lohan from Mean Girls.  Hope I haven't scarred her for life!  So I will probably only have to find a home for 2 of them. Two of the little white ones are already spoken for by family members so I will get to see those two grow up!

Almost all of my little seedlings died in the greenhouse.  I forgot to ask Papa Bear to keep an eye on them for water needs.  I am waiting for the next almanac planting day for above ground crops to restart more.  The almanac says the 22nd and 23rd are for root crops.  If I am able I may start on the potatoes tomorrow.   I crawled around in the Eden garden today and plucked weeds that had sprung up from the hay I had spread.  I can't wait until it is a foot deep in wood chips!  I hope all of you who are sick with this mess is feeling better soon.  I'm praying that it passes quickly.  I have a lot to do!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


is going to keep me in trouble!

Yesterday, my niece sends me a text of a copy of an ad on Craigslist.  A 2 year old Great Pyrenees that is free to a good home.  Late this morning I called, the lady still has her after numerous calls but someone is supposed to come and look at her tomorrow.  After talking for some length on the phone I told her I would be there with-in the hour.  The reason they were having a problem re-homing her was there is one condition to adopting her.  She comes with 5 of these!

They are 3 weeks old.  Yep...We loaded them all up and brought them home.


one boy and 4 girls.  Three solid whites and two black and whites.  The lady we got her from did not know who the father was.

This is Ella, their Mom.  She is in dire need of a bath and brushing.  She also needs to gain some weight.  Looks like the pups have taken a lot out of her.

She is a sweetheart and a good Mom.

The lady we got her from is moving to Nebraska to care for her Mom who has been diagnosed with cancer.

I don't think I will have any problems re-homing the pups when they are old enough.

Yeti wanted to play with them and spent some time in the birthing shed with them.  When he decided to get in Ella's food bowl she was giving some warning growls so I thought it best for him to be on the outside looking in.

Brownie jumped up on the fence to get a better look at what was going on.

Life should get real interesting the next few weeks!

Surviving Florberia

Our deep freeze has finally broken although we had about ten minutes of a snow flurry this morning!   This time we had over 24 hours of freezing temperatures which was a first for us.    I have only been this cold twice in my lifetime.  Once in Wyoming in 1992 and Tennessee in 1993.  I hate cold weather!

Monday my almanac said it was a good day for planting so I worked in the greenhouse planting seeds of tomato, peppers and eggplants.  All of these seed need to be started about 8 to 10 weeks before you plan on planting them in your garden.  Most years we can start planting our gardens in late March.   

After I got the seeds planted, I covered them with plastic and put them on one of our propagation mats set at 80 degrees.  The seeds I have planted need warm soil to germinate. 

I had some nice tomatoes growing inside the greenhouse. Notice I said "had".

I picked one that was ripe and ate half of it and Yeti ate the other half which I thought was pretty cool.  We used to have a Bichon Frise that loved tomatoes.  He would go in the garden and pick him a ripe one from time to time by biting it off of the vine.

Papa Bear was still not feeling his best but worked on the wood-stove to try to save the few plants we had in the greenhouse. 

He finally got it put together and got a fire going in it about 9:30 PM but it was not early enough to get ahead of the freezing temperatures that was already on us.  With all of his efforts of up and down all night long to keep wood burning, our greenhouse was at 32 degrees the next morning.  It was 18 outside the greenhouse with a real feel of 6 degrees..

The tomatoes took a big hit.  This was taken the morning after the freeze.  They look even worse now.  I picked all of the large green tomatoes to fry.

The bananas froze.  I don't know how bad yet but the leaves are gonners for sure.

I don't know about the pineapple yet.  It will probably be several more days before I know if they made it or not.

What really surprised me were the bell peppers.  Just a few of the top leaves looked frostbit but the peppers and all of the blooms on the plants look fine.

I had pinched off some suckers from the tomato plants and planted them to start more tomato plants.  They are still standing up like little soldiers but they were also on the heat mat.  Guess it was just enough heat to protect them.  One little stem broke from a pepper and I planted that to see if it will root like tomato stems do.

Don't forget this summer when you pinch off the suckers to plant them.  You can usually get a second crop of tomatoes before winter hits.  They are free plants and grow much faster than those started from seed.

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