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Monday, June 2, 2014

Busy As A Bee, Watermelon Pickles, Weed Killer, Sheryl's Scarf

Dear lovely and faithful followers, it is high time that I make time to write a bit to stop myself from feeling guilty of neglect. With the warmer weather comes more work and I am just barely keeping my head above water. I know you all understand. I know this for the simple reason that so many of you are also feeling the work load in your own little corner of the world.


I start first by sharing a recipe for Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles that I found here on Pinterest. Betty Souders shared this sweet recipe. You can also google for other varieties or go to Pinterest like I did. There are plenty recipes to chose from but Betty's just struck me right off the bat. Now as a girl growing up in a family of 6 children (me the only girl, and 5 younger brothers) there was only one bread winner. There was no waste, no turning up noses. My step-grandmother had a recipe for pickled watermelon rinds and I recall a big Dutch oven pot simmering on the stove during the summer months. I have that recipe that mom used, but it makes the pickles so spicy and dark. Maybe that is because there is no exact measurement for the spices. I am sure mom dumped in a whole box of whole allspice and the entire box of whole cloves into the pot. Sometimes it was a box of mixed pickling spices. I am sure she used whatever was on hand back in the day. My brothers didn't care, they emptied the pot and I'm sure they would have licked it clean in the process. But look how pretty my jars of pickles are. Just 2 cinnamon stick, 6 allspice and 6 whole cloves per jar of pickles. I made 5 pints and opened the first jar when my brother John came to help put my new composter together. He said they tasted great and I sent an unopened jar home with him. My opened jar went into the fridge.

 

Here is what the rinds look like when you are cooking them to get tender. If you are interested click on the above link for Betty's recipe.


I mentioned my new composter Well, here it is in all it's glory. I do not know what possessed me to buy this giant, only that my other one had seen better days and the make shift lid Rog had made for the old one was falling apart. I thought it was neat that the bin can be turned to help the breaking down process go faster. It sat in the box unopened since last summer. I about flipped out when I opened it all up and there seemed to be hundreds of screws and instructions on drilling the holes. I have composted for years. I still have to figure out where to put it permanently. It is too wide for the spot the old one sits in unless I transplant the peony bushes that have been there for ages


As you can see the old bin is about done for and it is full. I will need to get the wheel barrel out and the shovel to empty it and transfer the stuff to the new bin, but I can't do that till I figure out where to put the new one.


Remember those hostas I worried myself over, the ones I thought would possibly not come up where the contractors had trampled the ground, oh look at them now, how pretty, full and green they are. They look so nice on this side of the building and I know they can be separated and thinned out some day soon as the timing is right. I like the ferns, but not so sure I want them spreading into the hostas.


The ferns have thrived well beneath the downspout. We use to have a real wooden barrel there to catch the rain water, and I have a new one (yes, still in the box in the garage). Right now I am catching rain waterin an old bucket. From this angle you can't see the hostas.


 The Day Lilies are starting to bloom. I guess I love them because they will bloom all summer and they are such an easy plant as far as maintenance goes. I would really like to have some more in different colors.


I got back to my weed ridden chain link fence. Those of you who follow me may recall that I started this job last summer. My husband always managed this job and he kept it pretty tidy. It just got way out of control for me with all that was going on. I got the entire front section on the right side of the house and the entire right side going way to the back of the property completed last year. Now I have started on the entire back length. I have posted some pictures as you can see my progress.



It may not look so bad from where you are sitting, but believe me it was a mess. We have always tried hard to keep our property neat. It involved my husband doing the weed control with the sprayer and Roundup Weed Control Solution, like what you buy at the garden centers. If you have ever bought the stuff you know how terribly expensive it is. It has a list of Precautions on the label to choke a horse....poison, harmful to humans, animals which means pets too of course. You can't get it in your face, have to apply it when the wind is calm. You gotta wash your hands before you drink, eat, smoke or use the bathroom. I am sure it tells you to wear long sleeves, long pants and maybe protective glasses. The list goes on, you have to take special care when rinsing out the sprayer or the receptacle. NO MORE OF THAT!!!!!!!!!! Have I told you I love Pinterest, sure I have and look at that above picture. That wasn't Roundup that I sprayed where I started to clean out the weeds in the fence. It was a home made solution for a weed killer that is NOT TOXIC and so very cheap. My daughter Rachael made some and showed me where she had sprayed it. On Saturday after I had enough of the pulling, and clipping down the growth beneath the fence, I made up a batch and put it in the garden sprayer. I did this at about 4:30pm and when I went back out at noon the next day this is what it looked like, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! I was thrilled. No more handling poison and using harmful stuff.

WEED BE GONE

1 gallon of white vinegar (my daughter used cider vinegar, you can buy the cheaper store brand of these vinegars)
2 cups of Epsom Salts (I used canning/pickling salt)
1/4 cup Original Dawn Dish Soap (the Ultra Dawn worked okay for me)

Mix them all together and put in a spray bottle to do small areas or a garden sprayer for larger spaces.

Now I do not know how long before you need to reapply this stuff, but I do know that there was not a green speck on any of the vegetation I sprayed. I will keep an eye on it every week when I mow. I know that the stuff cost me way under $5, and Roundup usually runs about $30+ a container. My only sad moment was when spraying I accidentally sprayed a toad, and I felt so bad. The poor thing kept blinking his eyes and I knew the solution had to be hurting him, so I had a half bottle of water in my pocket and I went as fast as I could around the fence and when I found him I poured the water over him. Maybe I should have caught him and given him a good washing with the hose. It is so rare any more to see a frog or a toad in the yard. I have a huge yard, and see maybe 2 a summer. When I was a kid we always found them almost daily. Things have changed, kids don't know what they are missing.


I have to show you Ella, she is dressed like she is packed for a short trip to some cold climates, lol.


She is loaded down with 4 winter scarves. Now forgive me if I have shown her to you before with the 3 on the bottom, but the magenta, furry one is a new addition, finished last evening. It is for a friend Sheryl. Sheryl brought me the yarn last week, said there was no hurry.....ahhh, she does not know how crazy we get when there is new yarn within reach. There were 3 skeins that she had picked up at a store in Sandusky. The yarn is RH Boutique Fun Sure. The color is 9226 Magenta. It is a size 6 super bulky and nothing that you can crochet unless you want to go nuts and rip your hair out. Nope, ya gotta make sure you can see the stitches and so knitting needles are a must. I used a size 8 circular needle. For some reason I am not fond of straight knitting needles and find the circular needle more to my liking. I started by casting on 18 stitches and was that ever NOT going to work. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough yarn to get a good length on the scarf, so I frogged it all and started again this time casting on 13 stitches and that worked out fine. It took me bout 2 and a half days to get this done. I could have gotten it done sooner but there is always something else needing attention when you would rather be working the needles.


This scarf is not your whimpy, skimpy scarf. It is soft and thick, and heavy, but oh you will have the warmest neck in the state if we have another winter like the last one. If you are a good friend of mine you buy the yarn and I make your first scarf for free, no ifs, ands or buts. Not everything has to have a dollar attached to it, sometimes you need to have the feel good feeling of random acts of kindness. People deserve a break once in awhile and hopefully as time goes by they will pay it forward.

Well, it is late and I need to get to bed. I babysit for my little guy tomorrow and 6am rolls around pretty fast. Love you all, until next time, take care, keep the faith. Love God for all He has done for you. We are blessed in so many ways. You are all a blessing to me ♥

7 comments:

  1. Susanne, you hit the nail on the head. With the warmer weather, comes more work!!!! But I like the work!
    Love your flowers! Been thinking about you. Glad you are well.
    xo Kris

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  2. So much work, but it's worth it - your yard is looking beautiful. Poor little toad - good thing you had water to rinse over him, and it's very good that it wasn't the toxic poison. Thanks for posting the recipe for the weed be gone - I'm definitely going to try it. The scarves look lovely - I especially like the magenta furry one for your friend. Have a great day Susanne. :)

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  3. You are a busy, busy girl and put me to shame! That composting bin is amazing! How nice that you will have that now. Love all those hostas and ferns. They look so healthy and pretty. I will have to look for some of those day lilies. They look great, and if they are low maintenance, my kind of plant! Wouldn't you know that hubby just bought some Weed Be Gone yesterday? I've printed your recipe to give to him. Looks like it works like a charm. Love all the scarves, especially the white one! It looks so thick and soft! Carry on, girlfriend! Nice to hear from you! XOXO

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  4. You poor thing, you sound exhausted. I have been trying to weed a bit in the evenings when it is cooler, it is blazing hot right now here in Florida. I have used that weed solution and it does work. You do need to reapply but that does not take long. I also use straight up baking soda. It works for a bit but not that long, and is not great for animals so I watch Max when it is out in the yard.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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  5. Hi Susanne,

    Wow, I've never seen watermelon pickles, but it makes sense to use that part up. I have chickens so my rinds go to them. Your yard is looking magnificent! I also love all your scarf making. I'm just glad I'm done with my silly lamb and it's in Ohio now. Enjoy your summer! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  6. Glad to see you again after a while. No wonder you're a busy bee, particularly in the warm summer days, garden works and sorts of house works occupy you energy. I've not seen watermelon pickles. It looks tasty.

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  7. Gosh you really are keeping busy! I've never heard of watermelon rind pickle, it sounds and looks wonderful. I know gardens are a lot of work but it pays off when it looks as lovely as yours. Peonies are my favourite flower but they don't grow here so it's wonderful to see big clumps of them. Thanks for the weed spray recipe. I've got some corners of the garden that could do with dose. I'll watch out for frogs though.

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