Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's a Snapping Turtle. Yikes!

(Photo by Jackie Nelson)
We have a walk path along our creek and just by chance one day, I saw a shimmer in the water and realized it was more than just a ripple.  Seeing such a large turtle is rare so I called my neighbors and ran to get the camera.  After this photo was taken the turtle "dug in" the mud.  We left it alone and have not seen it since.  If you take the time to observe your surroundings, it is amazing how many of nature's little surprises are right in front of you to enjoy - you just need to take the time.
Talking about taking a look...check out the toenails on the back right foot.  Oucch!!!


You can hear my crazed thrill over finding a turtle - it's the little things in life, you know?  This may all be boring to you but frankly, I'd rather spend time filming this turtle than with some people I know.  Are you with me on this?  You miss so much when you don't take the time to "just be".



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bleeding Hearts: A Pretty Spring Perrenial

(Source:  Photo by Jackie Nelson)

(Source:  Photo by Jackie Nelson)

(Source:  Photo by Jackie Nelson)
Are these cute, or what?  I planted this Bleeding Heart in my shade garden along side my hosta plants.  When in full bloom, Bleeding Heart plants are just lovely.  The flowers are delicate, don't you think?  The photos I took show a few rain drops from an early morning shower.  It is May 23rd, the plant is in full bloom, and today I have the furnace running because it is so blasted cold and damp.  Add insult to injury - we expect rain all week.  That is spring Wisconsin weather for you. 

If you don't have any Bleeding Hearts in your garden, know that the plants stems are quite delicate.  They do not hold up very well if you drag your hose over them.  I know that sounds obvious but I am so-o-o-o annoyed at myself when I break off a stem in full bloom.  This plant is similar to the daffodils.  Eventually the plant yellows and dies back leaving a gap in the garden.  Oh well.  That is why I buy extra fail-safe impatiens to fill in the space.

Happy gardening, y'all.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Planting my Raised Garden

Today I made a trip to Burr Oak Greenhouses in Somers, Wisconsin.  The Birchell family, one of the early pioneer families of our township, has a wonderful selection of vegetables and flowers.  I restrained myself, buying only herbs and vegetables.  As if I didn't buy enough, I stopped at Stein Garden Center too, just in case I missed something.  And I was right.  I needed carrot seed. :)

Ta Da!!!! My new vegetable and herb garden has been planted.  Success!

Well........the day is over and it is time for dinner.  Hope you like my little video.

Until next time......see ya later alligator!

Winter Wheat in Wisconsin

Winter Wheat.  June 9, 2013
So far, the wheat looks good.  The green stalks are solid green, free of any spotted disease areas.  The heads and wheat berries are also uniform in size, shape and color.  The stalks are sturdy, upright and currently about 24" high.
(Source:  Photo by Jackie Nelson.  Copyright 2013.  All Rights Reserved)

Winter Wheat, June 9, 2013
Wheat developing nice size and shape heads and berries.
(Source:  Photo by Jackie Nelson.  Copyright 2013.  All Rights Reserved)

Winter Wheat, Somers Township, Wisconsin, May 2013
(Photo: Jackie Nelson)

Jackie's Farm Report of the Day
Amber Waves of Grain

For those of you who are "city folk" I'll share a few tidbits about winter wheat.

If you have ever taken a drive in the country in late fall or very early spring and gazed at a field that looks like a lawn, you are looking at winter wheat.

On our farm, winter wheat is grown as a cash crop, or a cereal crop.  It is usually planted by Thanksgiving and by the time the snow flies in December, the wheat has grown to about 2 inches and the field is a pretty blanket of green.  It remains this way throughout the winter.

Winter wheat is also a fabulous soil builder.  As in the case on our farm, winter wheat has been planted behind a soy bean and corn crop that were not tilled.  The winter wheat is the third crop in soil rotation management.  Why?  The straw, stems and root system that remain after harvest are an excellent source of organic matter and microorganisms.  After harvest, the land will be tilled this fall to prepare the soil for the next series of crop rotation.  In the spring, the soil will be enriched with organic nutrients.  And, in case you didn't know, farmers today do not till after every crop like they did in the old days.

Winter wheat also has other uses.  Because of its excellent root system, it is commonly mixed with grass seed to plant in landscape hilly areas to prevent erosion. 

Well...........that ends our farm report and agriculture lesson for today.

Until next time, enjoy the outdoors.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Assembling a Raised Garden


Getting ready to plant vegetables and herbs

This year I am going to raise my own vegetables, but I have no garden for vegetables - just flowers.  I have a bright idea that was inspired by a dinner we had last fall.

Our friend has an incredible raised garden.  Before dinner we took a basket and a pair of scissors, opened the gate and entered a cute little raised garden inside a white picket fence.  We proceeded to pick our salad:  tomatoes, lettuce, carrot, cukes and some fresh herbs for home-made salad dressing.  You know what?  The salad was heavenly and now I want a little place to raise my own salad.

No matter what, I must have a picket fence with a gate. 

While shopping at Sam's Club I saw raised garden bed kits.  Instead of tilling up the grass, I decided this was easier and faster than trying to kill the grass, tilling the dead grass and raking out the dead grass.  That appears to be too much work, don't you think?

The Sam's club bed kits were easy to assemble.  No tools.  Just snap in place.  To fill, they require a lot of dirt - too expensive to buy single bags.  I used dirt from our field but if you don't have a field, I would buy a truck load.  Give the landscaper the measurements of your beds and he'll know how much to deliver.

So far, so good. 

Today, I am going to buy my plants and seeds.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Umbrellas and Lightning

It's me under this umbrella.  With today's thunderstorm came a nice warm front.  To those of us here in Wisconsin, a nice spring warm front means 40 degrees with no wind.  I could not wait to go for a walk.   After all, it is the beginning of April.

Walk.  Walk.  Walk.  Here I am, just enjoying myself, drinking in the smell of a new fresh spring rain.  I am about a mile from the back door and the heavens opened up with a downpour and more.  Thunder.  Then lightning. 

Below is a photo of the flooded golf course located next to the walking path in our neighborhood.  After a bolt of lightning flashed in the sky in front of me I wondered how many people died of lightning bolts a year on a golf course - on a walking path??????   H-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m.   Perhaps walking with an umbrella isn't such a good idea.  I know I will leave this earth someday but I am not ready to leave it from a lightning bolt.

Needless to say, I stepped it up a bit, got the old heart rate going, and when I was safe inside the garage thought "walking with an umbrella during a lightning storm isn't such a good idea."

Time for a cup of hot chocolate.  Until later.........

Yes, it's me under this umbrella.
(Source:  Jackie Nelson photos)

Kenosha Country Club, April 2013
Rain Storm April 2013
(Source:  Jackie Nelson photos)

My backyard.
Yes, there is a creek down there.......somewhere.
(Source:  Jackie Nelson photos)

Our New Bridge
Every hour I look out the window to see if the bridge is still in place.  Thankfully, it did not move an inch!  This bridge is heavy and I shutter to think of it floating down to the neighbors.  Wouldn't that be a job getting it back?  Oh boy.  We dodged a bullet here!!!  Shortly after the water receded, steel rods were installed in all four corners and attached to the frame so the bridge is now anchored and reinforced.