The Prairie

*This post inspired by Teacher As Transformer post I read today

I needed passion, beauty, and ‘idling’ while I pretended to learn new things, today.

I’ve spent too long on the ‘work I learned long ago how to do/improve upon’ in databases, websites, clean-up of outdated data…… compilation of reports, checklists, etc., to aide my partners in ‘creating’ in ‘simple lists to work’ each year/reminder sheets to hang over their desk….

All things, that, while necessary, tend to, at some point…. after marathons of ‘aye…yup! This needs a thorough clean-up!’ activities…. rather…..

Dulls my mind and soul….

Even WHEN I take short breaks to stand in awe, gazing upon, ‘the world immediately outside my front door’ throughout the day and night… 🙂

And so, while trying to get better at ‘sharing’ a compilation of images AND quotes/prose/poetry – (via tutorials and ‘trying yet again, to put into practice what I’ve supposedly ‘learned’ – :D. )

I played in software tools today, applying tips/tricks learned from I really can’t tell ya, how many years of free tutorials….

I’m not an artist – thus, feels like 1,000 years…..

TA-DA (for now..)!

Just in case you thought the only thing I ever talk or think about regarding Prairies are the challenges….

Nope – and perhaps, it was high time I shared more than just the ‘purdy flowers’ in areas that take a lot of ‘work’ from me to ‘make it so’ –

Instead of Challenges Let Me Focus Upon….

The Beauty .

I am sharing with you via photos and words, the Prairie I know and love, that is always there, in all its’ rampant beauty’.

Without me doing a single thing, but gazing upon it, snapping a photo, and finding the ‘perfect photo’ of my own loves, to go with a ‘new to me quote/poem/prose’ I stumbled across while going off on a ‘tangent of surfing the net’, that I’m prone to do when I’m struggling with burnout….

(I did share one quote with a photo taken by a client who lives here, works on the prairie – and are my fave, three generations of family folks to ‘walk the pasture with’ – :D.

And I got permission to do so…..(trust is important, doncha know?)

You can learn more about these fine folks at Third River Ranch.com)

Enjoy!

P.S.

You didn’t really think I’d write less than 500 words, did you?

DID YOU???? 😀

PERISH the thought!

Just saying – the WordPress.org framework I work with for ‘biz’ and the one I get here, WordPress.com, in free blog land?

Two horses of different colors and….

I had some thoughts on the matter, while posting this blog entry, (the cursing has been removed, paraphrased for simple info….)

“fine! I’ll upgrade! JUST because I wouldn’t have to work this hard if I self-hosted my own site with the WordPress framework. But my bloggy pals are here and I am building a separate Biz website and Lord Knows, WordPress.com, you’ve hounded me long enough about getting some ‘in the next 48 hours savings’ if only I would just UPGRADE my free blog…”

I get it – Server space doesn’t come free – nor does R&D for providing ‘have your free blogging voice’ operations AND keeping those options rather updated, as cyberland changes – –

I get it – Any tech company that provides something to me for ‘free’ is making their money elsewhere (adds, information, etc.) OR They will DIE out because they just can’t keep the bills paid on what they thought, long ago, would be wonderful and give ‘voice’ to all us everyday folks!!!

I argued a few days ago with a long ago friend, I recently reconnected with – he was assuring me ‘They say there is no free lunch, but this is a free offer to you…”

And I, being me, and because he is male and long, long ago, we were once engaged for about 3 months… I replied,

“Ahh… now….seriously! You KNOW better! There is never, ever, a Free Lunch – there is grace, unexpected blessings and gifts, but there is, in the end, no free lunch….”

Me – being cynical and dashing the hopes/dreams of others.

so, once again, while I was trying to POST this??

I am not certain how it will look, to you, or is viewable by you – or readable – but I must get ‘back to work’ and don’t have time to do a full blog redesign via free theme(s), just now –

And in the end – if I’m going to ‘practice something’ might as well practice it on myself…. 😀

500 Words or less… instead of Pictures?

From heat wave, dry days to cool, cloudy, got some rain without hail, massive damaging wind or tornadoes, here at Bally Bin, I’ve been working as I can outside on various areas, and inside on the computer for long hours and well –

Just now? The thunder that start rolling in the distance has moved closer and I no longer have to step outside to ‘confirm’ what that rumble is….

The cool season grasses in areas not mowed, trimmed or cut back to ‘make it look like I care more about nice/neat than I do about soil health/drought’ are in seed, and turning from green-gold, to gold.

Areas of bindweed still left to (racklefrackle $#@!) rip out. Feels like a never ending process as I TRY hard to now focus on the areas with the distinctive white blossoms, and rip those (foul-filth-flairn-suckers) out, as deep into the roots as I can, instead of hoping I can keep up with every green head poking itself out of the ground (as I try to do in spring)

The Wild Mustard (purple, water suckin hog, stinkweed) wasn’t too bad this year – Hopefully I ripped a lot of those areas out BEFORE it had chance to set seed for next year/millennium.

My poor, poor poplars and some Siberian Elm trees – – they suffered mightily during the 2019-20 drought growing year and winter moisture – and last year, I was informed by the local conservation district to NOT prune back what ‘looked dead” IF there were still seedlings coming up from the base.

Alas, much of the main growths HAVE died and I have so much pruning/cut back to do what appeared dead (but was still ‘springy’ to touch), last year, is, in fact dead (breaks off at slightest pressure).

And yet – – in some places, for some trees I find new baby trees & seedlings have pushed forth in hope and promise.

Thus, such ‘nursery areas’, must be weeded around, protected by barrier to avoid mowing/weed whipping activities by ‘oops!’ by those who help me on the place and said areas mulched heavily, in hopes, I do my part in ‘caring for them’

So much STILL to do this year – just to try and ‘catch up’, ‘build for future’, seed for future, try to be a good neighbor BUT also build a Garden of Eden oasis in my little ‘area of land in my charge.

And so, that’s my update – as I prepare to hit the ‘publish button’, the pitter patter of rain plays it’s own, unique tune on my roof/windows. And I think, once more, how grateful I am for no tornadoes, hail etc., right here, this year. Around me by not many miles? Yup. But not here – or I slept through it –

And I’m very, very grateful for the blessings and the ‘let us train TamrahJo to expect better!’ grace I’ve been gifted by Mother Nature, this June!

Happy Spring!

No matter what the calendar/astronomy/astrology or the cosmos says, I rarely ‘celebrate spring’ just when I’m ‘supposed to’.

Spring is Heralded at Bally Bin when….

The rhubarb and irises poke their heads out to do their ‘own’ thing.

Easter and Mother’s Day are heralded by the lilac bush putting on buds, and/or getting nipped in the bud – at which point, I cry and think…’maybe next year!’

Tomorrow?

I’ll be outside walking the place and looking carefully at mulched areas and eagerly hoping for any SMALL sign from perennial plants that Spring as actually arrived –

For today?

After seeing so many other posts sharing Spring Heralds, Well Wishes and Celebrations of Spring – well – I just had to post what dreams I have and remember, as I yearn for spring.

Some years, the dreams show up – some years, I miss the moment they arrived and others? I spend Spring and Summer, hoping my neglect in supplemental watering or keeping bindweed at bay in some areas, hasn’t ‘killed the dream’ of what could be.

Below then, are past photos of spring and summer.

A reminder to myself of what Spring flora so often deliver on, all while, overall, my memory of them in my heart and brain, keeps m ‘dreaming, yearning, hoping’ year round.

No matter what the calendar, temperature, forecast says or when it says so, for my locale – the beauty of past springs and summers whispers to me to “Remember!” –

To lose my faith even those times when both my internal and external worlds, feel ‘stuck’ in the perpetual dormancy of winter.

Hope this finds you and yours well.

Baby Rhubarb – Far from ‘home’

As another Spring unfolds since the 7 years ago Spring I first was ‘here’ at the homeplace, yet another ‘seeded myself without any help from you’ rhubarb shows up –

In Fall of 2013, I moved the rhubarb crowns from under the propane tank of my new ‘home’ to a dry garden bed with rescued from mowing operations, Irises

In Summer of 2015, I quit harvesting from the first transplant who put up a seed stalk…

In Summer of 2016, I did the same on another transplant that put forth a seed stalk –

In Summer of 2019, I had one baby rhubarb, about 2 feet away from the 2015 stalk

This spring, of 2020?

Another Baby Rhubarb, about 4 feet from the 2016 stalk and 5 feet away from the 2015 one…

Moral of the story?

Mother Nature cares not about my understanding of distance, time or clumsy operations – She finds the way forth!

Spring Gardeners! Start Your Engines!

The last couple of weeks have been rather ‘surreal’ as I play out seeing delayed, maybe never delivered orders placed around first of March hang up in limbo – all while the ‘forecasted blizzards/snow’ just really haven’t panned out, here, AND a graze of green growing prairie grasses have really just taken off in the past two weeks and I realize – if we don’t get a few more spring storms – alas, I’m already behind the curve/8-ball, if you will – – thinking I was ‘playing it safe’ by not diving in on gardening purchases/activities during our usual “Fake Spring” weather – –

I drove 100 miles round trip today, to stop at 3 places, to pick up supplies, for those who let me order online, pay and pick up OR those who never stop with emails telling me ‘to order now!” then announce ‘delivery/order online & pickup options” changes their website some Sunday afternoon and the order I spent hours… no, days…to get infrastructure in place items, as I looked at what I could afford, played out in face of runs on stores, hoarding, transportation/inventory delays, whatever –

I missed the ‘buying boat’ on some things, and ‘caught the boat on others’ by showing up – but seriously? Switching to ‘in-store’ only purchases instead of just saying, “out of stock, sorry Charlie’ had me grousing yesterday afternoon – what, they gonna check my ID to see if I’m a local or what?

This is for TOP SOIL in bag size I can throw around by me self to load/unload/put in place – mind you –

Sigh –

And so, I rather got ‘er done today, via online, visit another store that doesn’t have online/pick up in store, but was on the way and WALLA! Scored without wiping out stock for others, and one more stop to ‘pick up online’ order that had one only, instead of the 2 I was allowed to get, or smaller size/higher price substitution, of same thing, for those little luxuries that haven’t run out completely yet – like cheese, baking soda, milk, raisins and mustard…to name a few…

Guess I can let go of my A1 steak sauce preference –

Since couldn’t find where I stopped (limit stops, just get what you really need, or think ya need…) I will learn to either make homemade that I like, or go without – seriously, I’ve been told for years given the good meat I get from local ranchers, that putting A1 on it is just a crying shame and I should be flogged over the blasphemy – and yet, I can’t quite just work myself up to take a swig of it straight from the bottle when the ‘craving hits’ – so – there ya go –

I’ve learned how to live without Mike & Ikes, on purpose, I can do this, out of necessity, me thinks – 🙂

Did I get everything I wanted?

Nope, but that’s okay – I got what I really wanted to build for future local food operations – like right out my kitchen door….

Did I leave some ‘luxuries’ in the shopping cart, while assessing budget needs? Yup –

I bought 1 box of generic Ginger Snaps and 1 pack of Oreos – one for me, one for the man-child, as…yup, I’m rather busy wanting to do other things, have never really gotten the hang of baking cookies in the toaster oven (long ago, I had a full range and one day every 3 months or more was given over to ‘cooking baking, freezing for future desires/school thingees no one let me know about until 11 pm the night before operations…).

I didn’t hoard, I didn’t buy bulk, I paid more for the substituted smaller size, and yet, still spent less money because the time between putting in the cart, placing the order, and then going to actually pick it up meant quite a few things were substituted and/or no longer available –

Okey dokey – but I got what I needed – top soil to mix with stuff I already have, to build new garden beds –

So in my world, it’s the top soil, responsibly made, near crisis of Spring 2020. Or perhaps the baking powder/cream of tartar crisis? Who knows – but – alas, I needed to restart and maintain a sourdough starter anyhoo – so there ya go – 🙂

Now for the FUN stuff!

Spring has Sprung in the past two weeks –

I arrived home with a few t-posts, a small roll of garden area fencing, and top soil to mix with compost/local offerings, hoarded supplies of cardboard that no one else wanted anyhoo, so I can get ‘going’ on finishing out the south side ‘cottage garden’ area – –

As I walked around to assess stockpiles of straw bales, wood mulch (local), cardboard that has weathered in the destroyed ‘insta-shed’ that had a ‘big hunk of dead tree removal fall on it a couple of years ago….), I found myself walking right back into the house to grab my camera – because a fellow blogger, Green Bench Ramblings, sparked my ‘oh, why don’t I do that more regularly’ creative spirit with his post sharing his garden journal/how he does it.

And so, I give you, the Colorado End of March, 2020, Journal….

The Bad

First injury of the garden fiscal year was incurred today – was busy loading/bucking bales/sacks of top soil to mix with local compost stuff to build new beds over cardboard sheet mulching (instead of fighting durable, deep rooted prairie grasses for seasons to come) and promptly ripped off a ‘too long for summer time’ nail about 1/2 into the quick –

Alas, this kind of stuff is like paper cuts to me, as in my shock over how it happens, when I notice it happened AND the level of blood and/or pain that occurs on such little things – sigh – –

Here’s the photo montage of winter nail growth while I’ve worked in computer land/not spent as much time in essential oil concoctions and how bad I am at doing manicures on me self – scroll on by, if you wish, cuz, yes, given the before, injury, after pictures for getting ready to spring, as I resized them for upload across slower rural internet, I was rather shocked to see how awful my cuticles, callouses, and skin condition was overall-

Ahh well – still not bad enough for me to want to carve out hours of time and/or $ for supplies/professional to do regular ‘manicures’, that could be better spent on other things I notice everyday – not stuff I notice once every 5 years when I actually take a picture of how I’ve injured me working hands – AGAIN!

Winter Growth of Nails with no babying/support from me, cuz, um, yeah, I don’t think about it until taking pics to ‘report’ – sigh – –

And, I promptly managed to injure myself just ‘getting supplies’ –

I arrived home with an aching finger, blood on the left leg of my old ‘going to town to load supplies’ jeans and ahhh…..to little douses of straight Lavender oil later? Much, Much better……better than those papercuts from office work/filling – who knew papercuts were so painful? When they slice your dry, unkempt cuticles? (Yup, I’ve lived this way for years!

That long ‘ring finger nail’ got ripped right in half, bled like a stuck pig,

Ta-Da! Nails now prepared for Spring/Summer Operations and not sticking out like something that is just waiting, WAITING I tell ya, to stick out like a ‘sore thumb’ –

Nails clipped short – no I didn’t do manicure or file them, they were clipped over trashcan in bathroom and I moved on to more important/interesting things – – 🙂

The Good

Ahh…what a difference two-weeks AND no spring blizzards/severe cold fronts make – all around me, stuff poking it’s head out to ‘greet spring temps/gear up for summer’ – – Puhlease, Mother Nature, deal with these babies and elders as kindly as you can, will ya?

(Yes, I mulch in place by not cleaning up in the fall – this spring stuff keeps holding on and the forecast declares “winter really, rather over” I’ll clear out and either mulch in place or put in the compost bin those too tall/didn’t fall over to the ground by themselves, thingees, to clear the ‘sky’ for new babies – just not yet – those same things rather blunt the brunt of cold winds, blowing snow, etc., and new ‘garden babies’ for this year just seem to survive better if they have last year’s elders standing guard around them – –

That said, yes, you are free to call me out on my lazy gardening ways – I confess it and you might as well have the satisfaction of saying it outloud…too! 😀

The Spring Line-Up

Poplar

Poplar on West side of house that I’ve trimmed back, but not ‘trained/pruned’ to be a mighty truck with sky high branches – nope, it provides more west winds coverage if I just let it do it’s own thing – the buds are on the branch –

Lilac

Grandmama Lilac that’s probably been growing for over 50+ years and provides babies to dig up and transplant to other areas on the place in need of winter gales protection for…um…lest strong of character, thingees (so many vegetables sold in the store are really, rather a pain in the arse to get to maturation/harvest, here without waiting on them hand and foot like they were divas or superstars…..). Buds here too – how I love lilacs – don’t preserve them, nothing – just greet with joy their beautiful leaves, and, if Mother Nature kind that spring, their short-lived but oh so fragrant blossoms – –

Sedum

The long ago ‘free, take it, it will die’ clearance table sedum offering is still going strong – should I go back to store to pay the $1.75 I saved by boldly plucking it up and taking it through checkout with me? Nah – too much book work for them is what I was told one short year after I called to say, “It’s still Living and doing well!”

Elm Volunteers Growing

The volunteer elms around the place are budding out – how many of them have grown to provide shade/heat/drying wind protection now they aren’t getting mowed down 2-3 times a month – Alas, a neighbor opined they are siberian elms, not chinese ones, and also told me in the first (drought year) I lived here, to cut all of them down – how glad I didn’t, for they have become beloved entities that protect, and carry on, if just given a chance, and don’t whine if I cut them back here and there –

Transplanted from Mama Lilac, to north side, Lilac babies

Onion? Big Butt Garlic never harvested? Who knows – certainly not I, just now….

Yup, have no clue, but suspect this year, as I did last year…maybe the year before, too, this is a ‘never harvest, always meant to dig up/split/confirm what it is’ for the past two years – – given it’s leaves/size, I suspect it is one of the many, many ‘perennial onion’ varieties I tried planting in with the garlic roses bed on the South side of house, that never did take off – meh – it goes along doing it’s own thing, and maybe, maybe I’ll remember to ‘investigate this next fall’ –

Yup, I KNOW, this one is garlic! LOL

Nestled in between the wild roses on the west side, is the first peeps of prairie grasses/some hard weeds that poke through 3 layers of mulch – sigh – but this? The garlic I planted in fall of 2018 and haven’t ever harvested yet (except when I oopise, pull up a small one while doing spring weeding operations – – maybe this year they will be populated enough to start harvesting here and there….

Vinca Minor

Vinca minor gifted to me in August of 2013 just trucks right along with no help from me – at all – and on the North side of the house (shade, cold, etc.) Yet to appear in this ‘chillier than other places” area is the white tulip that rather got dug up and gifted to me, too, with the vinca transplant…..

Thin-leaf Yucca and Tulips

Tulips on the south side of the house are up and raring to go – no rabbits have hit yet, we shall see, however – check out the now pretty and healthier yucca plant! Yup, dug up the yellow, dying, behemoth 1 or 2 falls ago, knowing durn well I wouldn’t get it all – but probably good I didn’t try to – – Dish soap seems in short supply nowadays at stores, and well – don’t ya know, yucca roots have..um..what’s the technical term? Saponins? –

Whateves – you can mash young roots, mix with water and wash stuff with it – so glad to see it going fresh and strong once the dead stuff got dug out – 🙂

And last, but by no means least – the dry bed with no watering, no protection, etc., and home to prairie grasses, weeds blown in from miles away, etc., but don’t ya know?

The Rhubarb poking it’s head out, along with it’s neighbor irises, although they aren’t as high as the irises on the more protected, right next to the house, east side of the place – but still – Rhubarb and Irises have made their appearance!!!

Rhubarb and prairie grass native

Rhubarb and native cool-season grass – think it’s a ‘brome’ family type? On the place and unless it grows grain, all I care about is ‘it it friend or foe” and try not to get too hepped up over ripping it out, unless absolutely necessary – Prairie grasses have spent millenia figuring out how to survive drought and have long root systems – thus, I don’t worry about wiping all of it out, as long as it is playing nice with it’s neighbors that were ‘rescued from mowing’ too – 🙂

Rhubarb, first Iris of the Southern Dry bed this year…..

Another Rhubarb (one of 5 plants here) surrounded by irises – alas, despite careful searching, this western, no protection at all, dry bed, revealed only one iris feeling the need to pop out to greet the spring…

My check in update complete – hope you, your loved ones and, if you garden, your garden doing well –

Catch ya on the flip side!

P.S. – ALMOST forgot to include the pic of the rose hips (1st year of abundant fruit in 2019!)

Last fall, I harvested some for me, but also, I left about 2/3 of harvest for the birds, for winter, since I don’t spend money on birdseed, and even if I thought about it, would talk myself out of it, for I do not wish to ‘man’ the feeders when it’s winter….for the squirrels to raid….Plus, birds a plenty show up here, if I ever choose to take up birdwatching and trying to do better at remembering their names than I do plants… 🙂

Hmmm… I guess, thus far, it’s been a bountiful winter for the birds – – they haven’t gotten desperate enough for food to come pluck the berries off the the bushes I left for them – ah well – – I may try to make sun tea with the non-eaten berries and/or just let them do their own thing and see what happens – haven’t decided, just yet ….. 🙂

Whether this is do to mild winter after not as severe of drought summer OR the fact that many of my neighbors man the bird feeders, I don’t claim to know – but check out those pretty red wild rose canes with dried berries on ’em – 🙂