"If you have a garden and a library, then you have everything you need" - Cicero

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Prick Inside of Us.

I awoke at a predetermined time.  It wasn't my idea.  I didn't want to be awake.  My body has grown accustomed to waking at a certain hour and it does that, day in and day out, regardless of how many hours it has rested.  Unfortunately, this exact time, horrible as it may seem to some, is 4:30 am.

It doesn't matter how many beers it has ingested or how much work was done the day prior nor does it care if it is sick with a cold or flu.  It does what it has been trained to do.  So now I am awake.

The first thing I notice is a slight headache.  Too many beers?  Perhaps.  I lay in bed staring at the ceiling or where the ceiling should be.  It is dark afterall.  I count them backwards, the beers that is.  One beer when I came in the house because it started to sprinkle outside.  A beer before that while sitting at the campfire, well...I did sit at the fire for some time so I'll group that count, let's see...1,2,3,4.  Yeah I think it was 4.  Oh and don't forget the almost foot long cigar.  So that makes 5 beers so far.

"Is that all?" I wonder and the voice in my head magically appears as he always does when things have skewed beyond normality.

"No, remember you had one while filling up the wood bin next to the fire pit before lighting the fire?"

"Yep, your right, six it is."

"Didn't you have one right after you finished mowing the lawn too?"

I'm starting to think this was a bad idea, this counting of beers.  My mouth has a bitter taste to go along with the traditional morning after cotton mouth.  I roll my tongue around attempting to create some sort of moisture.  Nothing.

"Oh, hey, you still there?"  I probably shouldn't have started this conversation.

"Yes, aren't you done yet?", I answer him...myself...it.

He chuckles and the throb in my head quickens as my pulse rises.  This prick doesn't know when to quit. Then I laugh because he is a direct reflection of me.

"You forgot about the one you had while you were checking the oil and gassing up the mower.  Remember?  It was the one you stuck in the freezer as soon as you got home from work?"

I close my eyes, I can't tell if they're closed.  I open them again and try and discern any difference between the two blacks.  Yep, there is a slight difference.  One of the blacks has a bit of green in it.  Must be the numbers on the alarm clock.

I hear the dogs getting restless on the floor.  I slide my hand over until it slips off the edge of the bed and immediately a wet nose and a warm muzzle greet it.  I scratch it behind the ears and listen to the groan of pleasure as I wiggle my finger behind his ear.  He likes that!

I slide out of bed.  As I stand the slight headache begins to fade.

The clock is now showing 5:30.  I have managed to lay in bed counting beers and thinking about random stuff for an hour now.  Time to get up.  I want to see the sunrise and I like to have my coffee out on the deck so I can watch the birds.

"Hey dumb, dumb."  He's back.  I thought standing up would make him lay down but I guess I was wrong.

"What now?" I bark at him.

"You forgot the one while you were watering the garden."  He laughs, loud and a bit out of control.  Almost like he's forcing it.  I can tell it is his last hurrah for now.

"If you don't shut up I'm gonna drown you in a couple more later on, now go back to sleep you annoying little cuss."

With that he disappears back into the chasms of my mind.  I don't really know where he goes but for now he is gone.  Most people I know have a voice in their head too.  It tells them right from wrong and for the most part discourages the wrong.
Not Mine!  He waits until I have already done it and then comes out of his hidey hole and laughs his ass off at me.  Prick!

I think a lot.  I think I may think more than most people think.  I think sometimes that drives me nuts.
I know what you're thinking but the thinking that I'm doing is not just the 'I think I'll have another' type of thinking.  It's the deep thinking.  The what ifs and the could it be type of thinking.  I think that is another reason I don't sleep for very long.  Too much stuff to think about.  If you say the word 'think' too many times it kinda loses its gusto.  After that paragraph all I can picture is a kid with a lisp trying to say 'sink'.

I am about 15,000 words or around 60 pages into the novel I am writing.  It may be good or it may be bad.  I'm leaning to the latter but I don't really care so long as I finish it.  That seems to be the current problem.  finishing it.  I have the story line laid out in my head and it seems plausible.  It is within reach.  I just can't seem to sit down and type it out.  I don't know why.  It's not writer's block for sure.  I think (there I go again) I get distracted too easy.
It's either that or I just use being tired from work as my excuse.
I must say though after waking up at 4:30 every morning, working ten hours in the shop (sometimes blistering hot shop) I usually just come home and hit that zombie state of mind.  I'm there but my eyes are kinda glassed over.  Little bit of drool sliding down and out of the corner of my mouth as I stare at the TV which isn't even turned on.
You know the state of mind I'm talking about.

If I pick up the current book I'm reading I fall asleep within 3 pages and it's not the books fault either!  Although some I have read, it is.  Take right now for instance.  I could have been directing these words at a bigger and better cause than some menial blog post.
I don't know...need to find the mark again.
I think I'll turn the spare bedroom downstairs into my writers den.  Someplace I can go where it is safe to imagine.  Safe to think (without the prick) and a place to let it all hang out,  metaphorically speaking of course...or am I?

Enough rambling.  Just felt wordy this morning.  I have birds to watch.  Busy, busy, busy!

-Later
Prick Bushman








Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just lounging around on a weekend.

It wouldn't be a Sunday without a blog post now would it?
Mid July and things can get a little slow around here, which I might add, is kinda nice.
I didn't do much this weekend.  Putzed around the yard mostly.  Drank a lot of icy cold beer too!

The garden is starting to pay off as I have been harvesting some vegetables.  This morning I picked  a bushel of yellow wax beans along with some summer squash and zucchini.



I froze a few quart bags of the beans and the rest I gave away to the neighbors.  I did save some fresh ones for dinner though.  I made them one of my favorite ways.  

First, cut and wash about 1 -1/2 pounds of beans and put them in a stock pot.  Next add in 2 cups of broth, chicken or beef.  I used beef this time.  Then 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer.  In a fry pan cook up 4 slices of bacon, remove from pan and chop into one inch squares, toss them in the pot with the beans.  Next saute a small  chopped onion (vidalia is my preference) in the bacon fat.  When onions are halfway done add in a clove of chopped garlic.  Once onions are translucent add to beans.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  I use low sodium broth so I add a pinch of salt afterwards.  You can always add it but you can't take it out!  Sometimes store bought broth can be pretty salty.


I served these with a grilled New York strip steak and some macaroni salad that I had made earlier.  A perfect summer dinner!

Tomorrow I will pick the green beans.  I will have about another half bushel or so of those.  I plan on spending the evening freezing them and turning them into Dilly Beans.  If you haven't had them they are great.  Spicy pickled green beans.  Yumm!!!!

The summer squash and zucchini I will have for dinner tomorrow.  I will slice them up and saute them with asparagus, onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil.  Toss in a little fresh basil out of the garden at the end.  I also want to try making zucchini sticks.  
I haven't made them before but I guess you slice them into 'fingers' and then cover them in parmesan cheese and a few other things and bake them in the oven.  I will let you know how they turn out. 

Photo courtesy of Aggies Kitchen


The cabbage I have been turning into coleslaw.  I love good coleslaw but I haven't found a coleslaw dressing at the store that I like, so I just made my own.  

We had fish tacos for dinner on Saturday night and I use shredded cabbage instead of lettuce.  Gives it a nice crunch.  I shred it up thin and then cut up some tomatoes, green onions/scallions and cilantro and toss it all in a bowl.  Then I drizzle olive oil over top and I sprinkle either taco or fajita seasoning and some kosher salt on top of that.  Mix well. (if it sits too long the salt will draw the water out of the veggies and you will have to drain it off so use it quick or make it right before serving)  
I fried up some cod, lightly dusted in flour and then fried some corn tortillas.  Place a piece of fish in the shell and a heaping scoop of the cabbage mix, and then dust with shredded cheese.  Then I squirt my avocado sauce on top of that which is nothing more than avocadoes, mayo, milk, cilantro and mexican seasonings (like chili powder and cumin).  Blend until creamy and pour into a squirt bottle.  I also fried up some homemade tortilla chips to dip into the leftover avocado sauce.  The fried corn and fish isn't the healthiest but it is offset by the vegetables...right?

On Friday I sprayed the entire back and side yard for weeds.  The lawn was getting overrun by clover, dandelions and chickweed.  I purchased the concentrate weed spray some time ago but with all of the rain I haven't had a good opportunity to spray it. You mix one ounce of concentrate for every gallon of water.  I used my 2 gallon handheld pump sprayer.  It took about three hours to walk back and forth spraying the entire lawn.  The weeds are already starting to die.  I will do the front yard next weekend.

Friday evening I went to visit some friends and played in a poolside euchre tournament.  It was fun and I got to visit with some old friends.  After that we headed home and we ate dinner by the campfire.  I fried up chicken wings and tenders along with chicken gizzards and hearts and then some french fries.  Washed it all down with cold beer.



On Saturday I decided I had better get going on building the structure that will cover the camper.  I have always just tarped it with one of those ugly blue tarps and it is rather unsightly.  It doesn't really work that well anyways as it traps moisture under it.  I want to keep the rain and snow off of it as much as possible so I'm building a carport of sorts.  A camperport I suppose.

I started with 4 posts and and a set of post hole diggers.
Then I attached the upper boards that connect the 4 corners.  These will also support the roof.
In order to get it square I used the 3,4,5 method.
Set your first two posts in line with each other and then run a string around the poles and secure it to a batten board.  The batten board allows you to move your string, side to side, until you hit the right measurement.
I measured down one side of the string and made a mark at 3 foot.  Then I measured down the other string and marked it at 4 foot.  Then I measure in between the two marks diagonally.  I adjust the string side to side on the batten board until the tape measure reads 5 foot from mark to mark.  After that I measure down the long line and wherever I want the post to be I drive a stake in the ground and dig my hole there.


All I need to do now is put in a few more roof joists and then I will install green sheet metal roofing on top of that.  I have one side about an inch higher than the other side so the rain will run off.



That should keep the camper nice and dry.  I could eventually sheet metal the sides if I wanted to and enclose it all the way.

I have a new tenant living under my deck.  A house wren.  I have been listening to her song all weekend.  He and She are quite the pair.  Singing and dancing on the clothesline.  They are fun to watch.
You can't see her very well but you can hear her!

  video


Last weekend I made a new feeder station to try and entice the Orioles around here to come in for a visit.
I used a bunch of yellow solo cups and some orange halves.  So far I have only seen one.  


The cups on top are full of grape jelly.  I guess they really like that as well as oranges.  
I've been watching the birds quite a bit lately.  My steady visitors are cardinals, blue jays, finches, woodpeckers, doves, red wing blackbirds and another type of finch I haven't identified yet.  I downloaded a bird ID app on my phone today so next time I see it I will look it up.  I also see a lot of Robins and bluebirds along with my wrens.  Lots of bugs around for the insect eaters.

Other than mowing the lawn and cleaning out the shed I haven't done much of anything else.  Kind of a slow weekend.

Stay tuned for Dilly Beans!
Cheers
-Bushman

Friday, July 18, 2014

Who am I? A questionnaire.

My dear friend Pearson posted a Proust questionnaire and urged her readers to take it for themselves.

At first I didn't relish the idea.  Seemed a little silly to me.  Why should I answer questions about myself...to myself.  So I brushed it off until today.  I'm not sure why I thought of it again this morning, perhaps the scrolling of the blog list while looking for new posts spurred it but whatever the cause I suddenly have an urge to take the test, the questionnaire, the survey....the thing!

If you're wondering what a Proust is the click HERE for a brief description.

Maybe this will lead me to a greater understanding of who I am and what I aspire to in life.  Probably not but sometimes when you put your thoughts into words they have a tendency to come to life.  To grow and breathe and become creatures of their own.  There is a hero and a boogeyman in all of us!

Here they are!
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#1.  What is your idea of perfect happiness?
        A cozy cabin in the middle of the woods.Inside a fire crackles on the hearth and the faint smell of woodsmoke and strong coffee floats in the sir.  Outside the leaves are turning colors and the crisp fall air tickles my nose.  My family lives nearby and I see them often as they visit to roam my several hundred acres.

#2  What is your greatest fear?
       That something bad will happen to my family.  I don't even like writing that down.  Knocking on wood like crazy now!

#3  What is a trait you most deplore in yourself?
       I am impatient.  Not so much like 'waiting in line' impatient but more like 'I want it now' impatient when it comes to goals, dreams and projects.

#4  What is a trait you most deplore in others?
       Laziness.  Nuff said!

#5  Which living person do you most admire?
       Tom Orr from the TV series Mountain Men.  He lives in the mountains of Montana.  A simple life of hunting and trapping.  He lives with his wife and dog and they are close to nature and each other.  I would love to be in his shoes (or snowshoes) but be my age!

#6  What is your greatest extravagance?
       Having a wife who understands my quirks and lets me do almost anything I want.  She understands my spirit and what it takes to keep it alive!  Not many people have that.

#7  What is your current state of mind?
     Busy!  I am project oriented.  Always looking to tackle the next thing.  (some call it ADD)

#8  What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
      By definition a virtue is a quality or practice of moral excellence.  I suppose as long as your morals are in the right place then it is hard to be overrated.  I tend to think people take religion too far and then not back it up.

#9  On what occasion do you lie?
      Only when I'm alone or with somebody.  LOL.  I don't lie.  That's asking for trouble.  If I have to lie then I'm in trouble.

#10  What do you most dislike about your appearance?
         I'm ok with most of it.  It is me ya know!  I do have a discolored tooth that was damaged as a kid when I smashed it on the concrete coping of a swimming pool.  It is kinda grey and keeps me from a full smile.  I'm just too cheap to get it fixed!

#11  Which living person do you most despise?
        I despise the lowlife, lazy people who would rather sit at home and collect welfare then go out and get a job.  Surviving off the government on purpose not because they are down on their luck.  Those programs are meant to help people who need it.  Not to give to lazy folks who won't get off their ass.

#12  What is the quality you most like in a man?
        Responsible

#13  What is the quality you most like in a woman?
        Self sufficient

#14  Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
        Not really sure on that one.  I'm sure it's an adverb of sort but this question would be better answered by someone else!  I'm sure my wife could tell you!

#15  What or who is the greatest love of your life?
         That would be my wife.  There's a connection we have unlike no other.  Only we can see it!  It's magic.

#16  When and where were you the happiest?
         I've been happy many times.  Too many to count, which makes me pretty lucky.  I would say my favorite place to be is up at deer camp.

#17  Which talent would you most like to have?
         I wish I could sing.  I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.

#18  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
        I would have went to college after high school and I wouldn't have run over that bees nest in the ground with the lawnmower!

#19  What do you consider your greatest achievement?
         Still working on that one!  I haven't really done anything that great...yet!

#20  If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?
        If it were up to me I would like to come back as a bird.  Soaring high and free.
If it was dependent on my life then I would probably come back as the guy who scrapes gum off the bottom of the park benches and eats it.

#21  Where would you most like to live?
         In the forested mountains

#22  What is your most treasured possession?
         Inanimate-House and property
Animate-My dogs!

#23  What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
         Losing my two children.

#24  What is your favorite occupation?
         That I have done?  Landscaping/Owner
That I would like?  Writer

#25  What is your most marked characteristic?
         My quirkiness.  I make people laugh.

#26  What do you most value in your friends?
         Honesty.  I like you for who you are not who you think you need to be.

#27  Who are your favorite writers?
         Stephen King and Robert McCammon

#28  Who is your hero of fiction?
         Forest Gump.  Was there ever a character with a purer heart?

#29  Which historical figure do you most identify with?
         John Muir

#30  Who are your heroes in real life?
         All the people who get up everyday and bust their butts to make a better life for themselves and those who raise their children to be the best they can be.  It is a dwindling lot, sadly.

#31  What are your favorite names?
         Corwin and Isabella

#32  What is it that you most dislike?
         Racoons when they get into my sweetcorn!!!!!!!

#33  How would you like to die?
         Seriously is this a real question?  I don't want to die!  If I had to choose then I would want to die just as I pulled the trigger on the biggest buck of a lifetime.

#34  What is your motto?
        You can sleep when you're dead!
   

Whew!  That's a lot of questions.  Now if you plug these all into the magic machine on Facebook it will tell you that........
I am an introvert similar to the uni-bomber who has a natural tendency to run naked through the woods hollering "Save the trees".  I should not talk to people in public and I am not in favor of the Democratic party.  My life would be better spent in a buddhist monastery high in the mountains of Nepal.  Oh, and I like dogs!

My Chinese food fortune cookie would say #7.  Oh wait I have to flip it over.  There we go.  It says," You are very lucky to be alive, quit being an idiot".

My horoscope would read:
Today is the day you sit on the couch typing nonsense for three hours before attempting to do your chores which after two hours you will become bored and inevitably start searching for the beer cooler.
Look towards the dog for happiness and stay away from the rooster because he is being cocky today!

Do you dare fill out the Proust yourself?  Self discovery can be fun and disappointing at the same time!

I'm gonna go paint my tooth,
-Bushman




Saturday, July 12, 2014

War Torn and Weary

Thick impenetrable brush filled the edge of the forest.  A jumble of dead limbs and branches lay strewn everywhere, snared by entwining vines they were choked to death and lay hapless among half rotten, moss covered logs.   Sunlight, a rare commodity on the forest floor, graced the outside edges and any seed that fell grew voraciously in the dank leaf litter that, over the years, rotted and worked its way into the soil creating a rich layer of humus.  Poison ivy grew tall and thick in this zone.  The ivy, warden of the interior, created a barrier of toxic resins that would leave any trespasser miserable for days on end.  Three steps past the ivy was a tangled wall of brambles and wild blackberries.  Their razor sharp thorns, hungry for blood, slashed and cut without prejudice.  They held the beauty of the interior for ransom and the price was blood.

The interior was dark and soft.  Emerald mosses covered the boulders that lay half buried in the ground, their tops emerging from the mosses as if to sip the cool, earthy air.  Small fungi dotted the floor, their whiteness a sharp contrast to the dark soil and the black rotting logs.  Graceful ferns swayed in the gentle breeze that filtered through occasionally and little white flowers peeked from in between the fronds as they danced.
The tranquility was serene, the silence was loud.

This was his favorite spot.  Braving the guardians at the edge he would slip past.  The admission price was usually the same, a few scratches from the brambles, sometimes a few spots of poison ivy.  One time, a bout of nasty stings as a nest of yellow jackets had burrowed into the ground just past the poison ivy.  They were relentless in their attack and by the time he had made it out he was covered in little red welts and the thorns from the brambles were stuck deep into into his legs.  Each one, removed with tweezers, created a drop of dark crimson blood..  The poison ivy arrived the next day sending him into an itching frenzy.

It was the interior of the woods he desired to replicate.  So one day he took out his tools and he went to work.  He slashed and cut with a fury at the villians. Their defenses were strong but his weapons were much more technologically advanced.  The war was long and arduous and it seemed as though they might end up in a stalemate when he finally broke through.

Sweat trickled into his eyes blurring his vision as he surveyed the war torn battleground.  The casualties lay in heaps, scattered everywhere.  He piled the remains and burned them, careful to stay out of the hazardous smoke.  It was done.  He had won.  Now he could begin the rebuilding.  With the enemies annihilated the forest could once more be enjoyed as it was meant to be.  A wonderland of  ferns and moss.  Of  fungi and leaf litter.  A serene place to sit and contemplate the world.   A place from long ago before man had created the snarled edges with his plow.
-----------------

And that is just what I did.  I'm a little sore and beat up this morning but I feel like I actually won an important battle.  Over the last few years I have been working at cleaning up the edges of my property.  I had one particular spot left.  It was thick and nasty.  Last year I couldn't even get into it because of all the mosquitoes.  It was awful.  This year is different.

So yesterday after getting home from work at noon I grabbed the pruners, the weed whip and the chainsaw and went to work.  I began clearing out all of the obnoxious plants that live on the edge of this little strip of woods.  Once that was clean I went through and removed all of the tree debris that had fallen over the last few years from the storms and a few trees dying.  Then I began to selectively cut down some of the trees from the interior.  Mostly small ones that were doing nothing but cluttering up the strip.  I cut down some dead trees and also a bunch of saplings.  All of this I piled on a stump and lit on fire.  I worked until 8:00 pm last night.  It looks pretty good.  I still have a lot to do but I was running out of time (and I was purdy whipped).  Here are a couple pics.

I had imagined this corner of the yard as a shade garden built into the edge of the woods.  A place to sit quietly and read or write or just relax.  It has been an immense task cleaning it up.  When I moved in you couldn't even see through the trees to the meadow behind it.  There was a giant pile of concrete hiding in all the brush that I made a little wall out of.  It is currently being overrun by moss and in a few years you won't even know it is concrete.  The table and chairs I put in 2 years ago after an initial attempt at cleaning the first edge of it.

This view is sitting at the table looking out towards my garden


This view is along the south side which I cleaned out 2 years ago.  There are giant boulders everywhere.  They will be great focal points in the new shade gardens.


This is the treed area I cleaned out.  Before you couldn't see through it.



The moss covered wall


Burning the casualties of war


A shot from my deck





I dug through the old files from a about 200 blogs ago and found these old pics of the before.





That's all for now.  I'll see ya soon!
-Bushman


Saturday, July 5, 2014

What came first the chicken or the vegetable?



I never had any other desire so strong and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden. -Abraham Cowley, The Garden,1666.

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So it is written, so shall it be true.
Long were the times I spent in thought of spaces in which to exercise my dreams. Hoping for a chance to dig my hands into the rich soil and feel the warmth of late spring day on my back.
Not just any soil but soil that was attached to my name by legal papers.

Too many years went by tending the gardens of others.  As I tediously pulled weed from earth I jealously scowled.  Although the labor was good for the heart it was sour on the soul.  The joy was lost in the creation when I walked away.  Most likely never to return or worse yet,  return to an ill kept site staring in wonder at the hard work that was so easily swept to the side in light of other worldly ventures.

It was ne'er in vain as all those years cumilated and an expansive growth of botanical knowledge found it's way into my core.  In perfection there must be practice.  Soon enough the pen would grace the paper and I would acquire one such acre to practice all my practicing on.  It is here where I sit and watch the bees light on the flowers.  It is here I smell the sweet roses and laugh at the bouncing daylilies.  Marvelling at how the soil puts forth such an abundance if just cared for a little.  It is akin to a child who upon the slightest bit of love can grow into a strong and vibrant character.

So quick they are to grow, the vegetables in the garden.  No site is more endeared to  a gardener than the first of the cucurbits or that first red, ripe tomato.  And only a gardener will understand when you say that growing can be more fun than eating.

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So with my antiquated prose I will also share some pictures of my gardens this morning.
Happy Independence day America!!

(As it is this post took two days to compose as I had to quit yesterday because I ran out of time as we were meeting the in laws for breakfast and I never made it back to the computer.  LOL)

Yesterday was a busy day.  After breakfast we went to the home improvement store for some new bricks to put around the fire pit and as luck would have it the clearance section on plants was fully loaded.

They have an area in the back of the nursery department where they put all of the stressed/dying plants and mark them way down.  Not just a little but close to 75-80% off.  I buy them up and bring them home, plant them and nurse them back to health.  It takes time and patience but in the end it's worth it.

We picked up 18 new blocks for the fire pit, ($27)
2 Blanket flowers (Perennial) $6
2 Tiger Lillies (Perennial) $2
3 Salvia (Perennial) $9
3 Japanese Pieris (evergreen shrub sort of like an Azalea) $9
3 big pots of Begonias (Annual) $3
5 Petunias  (Annual in a 4" pot) $5
2 Other annuals in large pots that I don't remember the name of) $2

Had we bought the plants at regular prices it would have been around $103 instead of $36.  It pays to have a green thumb!

Some garden shots

                                                     Tomato surrounded by Marigolds

                                                                Tomato with Carrots


Tomato with Petunias



Cauliflower


Tomato with green onions


Cabbages Red and Green


Fresh picked radishes


Tomato with Spinach


Tomato with Basil


Here are some shots of my flower beds around the house.

Moonbeam Coreopsis with Russian Sage behind and Trumpet vine on the lattice.


Stella D'Oro Daylily


A purple coneflower just starting


Dragon's Blood Sedum in full bloom


Here is the front bed where I planted most of the new plants.
A friend from work needed to get rid of some huge boulders so I told him to drop them off at my house and I put them inside this bed.  They weigh between 300-400lbs.  They are half buried in the bed to give you an idea of how big they are.


A better shot of the blanket flowers (Gaillardia Arizona Sun)


The fire pit had taken a beating with all of the massive fires I had burning up all the tree trimmings from the dead trees as well as last years storm damage.  The old blocks were hollow and cracked under the intense heat of the fire so I replaced them with solid blocks in hopes they will hold out a bit better.
Looks like the dogs are trying to take credit for the work though!


After a long day of yard chores I settled in at the fire pit with a cold beer and awaited the arrival of my wife who had to work.  When she got home we roasted hot dogs over the fire, had a few drinks and I even roasted a few marshmallows.  Yumm!!!!
Of course I had a visitor while I was relaxing.  She wanted to see what was going on and hopped up in my lap to enjoy the fire...I think.  I never know what she's thinking and although she is quite vocal I don't speak fowl so I have no clue!  I think she's just friendly!




That's it for now.  Hope you enjoyed this gardening adventure!
Cheers,
Bushman










Friday, June 27, 2014

June...it's a marathon.

Well here it is, the end of June.
Summer has officially started.  I am officially ready for fall. 
Yep, I don't much care for the heat of Summer.  I like to be cool, not just in nature but temperature wise too! 
Probably because I'm fat.
I don't mind being fat so long as it's cool outside.
"Get to the point Bushman,"  the voice inside my head barks.

"Fine, fine," I answer aloud.  This causes the chocolate colored dog laying on the floor next to the couch to glance up.  He knows there is no one else awake in the house so I must be talking to him. 
He eyeballs me for a minute, then flops his head back down on the soft carpet.  Within 30 seconds his tongue pokes out of his mouth and he begins to snore softly.

Point being is we are headed off on another adventure this weekend.  heading to the west side of the state to the great lake of Michigan, AKA, Lake Michigan. 
We have booked into a campground for three days and our main objective is a soccer tournament.  Not an ordinary soccer tournament where you stand around for hours watching someone try to score.  (Heck if I wanted to do that I would take my old friend to the bar). 
This one is a soccer in the sand tournament.  The fields are on the beach, they are much shorter and the goals are smaller as well.  Each game lasts around 30 minutes.
Kait and Joe are playing on the same team and Kate is also playing on an all girls team.

"So the point is.....?"  I smack myself upside the head to shut him up.

We will be camping in the pop up camper (mostly used for deer camp at an average of 25-30 degrees) and the temperatures will be hovering around 85 degrees.  Now for some of you that may be just perfect.  For guys like me?  UGH!

Good thing the campground has a pool!.  I just hope our spot is shady!
Actually I'm looking forward to it.  I don't get to spend much time with the kids or my wife lately so here's hoping it turns out nice.

Looking back at my blog I must apologize for my lack of blogging commitment this month.  I have been busy elsewhere.  My time (writing time) is almost exclusively reserved for mornings.
I awake each day at 4:20 AM to go to work.  When I get home (after a 10 hour shift) I am pretty much spent.  Any creativity that I had, has been washed away by the stress of work.  When it is hot it just adds to the oppression. 

June has been incredibly busy.  If I wasn't working overtime than I was preparing for Kait's open house, travelling up north to see my folks and attend Grandma Jan's memorial service or getting ready for a soccer/camping weekend. 

Now I did get a few hours here and there but I spent those precious minutes writing other things.  I have finished a few short stories and have also started another new novel.  I am 50 pages into that as of right now and hope to continue soon.  I don't like leaving characters out in the sun to wilt anymore than I like being there myself.

Next weekend is our Independence day weekend and I don't have anything planned.  I do have to catch up on some yard work but that will be during the day.  I will have three glorious mornings to myself.

The garden is doing well in spite of the continued rainy weather and a few cool days.
On a sad note our female duck LuLu has disappeared.  I can only imagine the poor girls plight as she could not fly being a farm duck and not a wild one.  She was a nice duck and she will be missed.  I will also miss her eggs.  She was an egg laying machine.

I leave you with this picture.  It seems as though my yellow dog has a liking for Grisham novels.


Take care,
Bushman

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Friendly Chickens and Flowers

Hello and how do you do?
Just a quick drop to tell you I am fine. (you wouldn't think otherwise would you?)
A busy weekend it was and is.  It is still not over with as I will be leaving the house shortly for the family birthday party of mt step daughter.  The beautiful and talented Miss Kaitlin!  They are off on an adventure tonight after we eat dinner and have cake and ice cream.  She will be headed to the casino with her Mother, Step Mother, brother, boyfriend Jake and boyfriend's mom.  (Tootie who is not from State Farm)
At midnight my daughter will be corrupted into giving the sly indian tribal nation of the Great State of Michigan her birthday money.  Not only will she be 18 and legal to gamble but she will also be able to legally buy a pack of cigarettes of which she will not need to do as the gratuitous casino offers free second hand smoke to all who get within 20 feet of the front door   Once her eyes are sufficiently burned and stained yellow with nicotine they will head back into town where Monday morning will greet them with a personal massage.  After the massage it will be a trip to a fancy fish market restaurant I forget the name of.
Of this I am jealous because I have a love affair with any seafood that has sacrificed its life to attain its final destiny of ending up in my ravenous stomach.
I have to work. :(
I hope she has a good time (except at the casino that way she never wants to go back) and I wish her a great birthday.

Yesterday I spent the day with my wife and surprisingly both of us are still alive and contain the same amount of blood we did the day before.  It was nice spending time with her and even though she had to endure my walk about at the landscape yard and I sat through her browsings of the thrift store we managed to have a nice day.  Upon our return to our acre we planted flowers and put fresh mulch in the planting beds.  A frosty beer alongside a crackling fire finished out the night and we roasted viennas over the fire and gobbled them up on fire toasted buns with just a dab of mustard.  Heaven you ask?  Almost!

Today we visited a graduation open house, went grocery shopping and when I returned I whipped up a batch of venison snack stix and tossed them in the smoker in anticipation of my Father's arrival this coming weekend.  All this after I ripped out a 4800 word short story this morning.  I just finished editing it and sent it out for critique.  I need to go check on the stix in the smoker shortly.

Here are a few pics of the beds.







Here is me with Boo on my shoulder.  Such a friendly chicken!


Garden is doing great and I will update with some pics soon.
Gotta run, have a great evening!
-Bushman