Friday, August 19, 2011

The 5 and DIME - Sunflower Trivia

I have a question for you but it is a bit detailed so stay with me please. If you have a patio area that overlooks a flower bed to the east of the patio, would you be wise to plant sunflowers in that bed to enjoy the beauty of the flowers while sitting outside?

Take a look at these pictures and see if you can find your answer.

A look at the flowers on the opposite side of the patio in the morning.

A look at the flowers from the patio in the morning.

Noticing these flowers while sitting on the patio at TAF I began to wonder why the heck they looked as though their backs were facing me. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun had moved far to the west yet their faces were still pointing east. I had thought all flowers tracked the sun but I was mistaken - mostly.

After researching the topic I discovered they were "heliotropic" (help us QGG to understand that word would you please) for a short time during their growth. That is to say, they do track the sun UNTIL they become mature at which time the faces are locked east.

So, the next time you plant sunflowers be sure to keep this in mind if you desire to study the faces rather than the behinds of these beautiful plants.

A look at the sunflowers from the patio late in the afternoon.

A look at the sunflowers across from the patio late in the afternoon.

Hummm, so we have to move off the patio and head out into the yard to see the sunny, bright faces of these flowers regardless of the time of day. Who would have ever known this? Certainly not me, atleast until now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The 5 and DIME - Our Afternoon Walk at TAF

Every afternoon at TAF we always take a walk in the woods so the poochies can stretch their legs, use the bathroom and scare up deer. It is usually a fun time for animals and humans except I have to admit the heat this summer has worn hard on us.

Here is a pix of Menard after having scared up his own deer without help from the others. Can you find him?

These are our scouts. The blonde one stays close to us humans and waits on us while the black guy hunts so far out that we rarely see him until we get home.

Here I ask you, "Where is Waldo? Oops or I should say Menardo? He is in this pix as well. Looking at this can make a human wonder whatelse is in the woods that we never see.
Along our numerous paths in the woods my sisters and I have marked or named different sites to help keep us on track of where we are going. It becomes rather difficult on some of our trails as they are easily mistaken with the myriad of deer trails that crisscross the mountainside. This site is what we call Water Bowl. I think it is apparent how it got its name.

Here is Upheavel, another landmark along one trail.

This is Calendar Tree. Whenever one of my sisters passes this tree she puts a stick in the bow of the trees.
We can never walk too far for too long while we are here on the farm but these short ventures offer us some respite. Come visit us and we will share our wonderful outdoors with you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The 5 and DIME - The Basement @ TAF

First let me explain that "TAF" stands for Tag Along Farm which is what Kenny and Carl named their farm in Clifton Forge.

In June we had another farm summit where we all worked our fingers and backs to the bone. We accomplished unbelieveable amounts of work even during those very oppressively hot, humid days. This is the time when the phrase "Many hands make light work" is truly seen in full force and by the end of each day my sisters, our husbands and children all came in totally exhausted and filthy dirty but completely satisfied and fulfilled by the accomplishments of all.

During one of the shifts while 2 of my sisters were doing work detail at the farm they tackled the basement in the house. Now I am here to tell you NO ONE likes to go down there, it is a spooky, moldy, loathsome hole in the ground so this was quite
nervy of those girls to go by themselves. They stayed hard at the job for the entire day wondering if it was too big for them but sister Chipley persevered all the while dragging Mitzy back down to help her.

They did the most amazing job and when I arrived and had to go to the basement to put salt in the softener I was shocked at what they had accomplished. I was also grateful because now it is much less scarey for me to go down there. Now don't get me wrong, I still don't treasure the thoughts of spending much time there but I can go now without as much trepidation.

After all the work was completed and Chipley returned back home to CO she sent me this poem she had written in a matter of minutes as she was thinking back on her visit to the farm. I thought it was so cleaver and funny, I wanted to share it with you. (FYI - Syd is my nickname.)

The Basement @ TAF

Yes, 'tis truth, shant be denied
She is the bravest, never horrified.

Spiders, centipedes, and mold she braves,
Be bold, be strong, is what she craves.

Into the dank, dark, dungeony place,
She bravely walks with a courageous face.

Leaving there quaking in her shadow above,
Her three sissy sisters who she truly loves.

And because they are sissy, and never dare,
To step in that place that raises their hair.

She shows how she orders all bugs, "Get the hid!"
While the three sissy sisters yell, "GO GET 'EM SYD!"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The 5 and DIME - Whoopie

Here is a picture of the newest kid on the block or perhaps I should say farm. Whoopie! You have met her once or twice already. If you remember she was the one helping Kenny to do outdoor sweeping. Well meet her again as she asks for someone inside the house to come and let her in to join them. No words are spoken, only a look in the window to see who is in there to open the door. What a funny little character.

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The 5 and DIME - Meet the FAM

Yesterday lots of the family (Fam) got together to celebrate a birthday and the birth of a new Fam member. We also had the wonderful opportunity to meet new and old friends, eat loads of yummy food and catch up on the comings and goings of our loved ones. It was a perfectly beautiful day and we could not have asked for anything better except perhaps that a few more of our loved ones could have been with us to join in on the celebration.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The 5 and DIME - Once an adult, twice a child

Yesterday Kenny and I went to the store to purchase a birthday gift for her 2 year old great granddaughter, Charis Gilbert. We are heading to Harrisonburg this morning not only to celebrate this special birthday but also to meet another great grandchild of Kenny's. Her name is Hannah Gilbert, the newest addition to the Gilbert family.

Gift shopping is such fun and we were ready for the opportunity to get off the farm. A colorful, whimsical outfit seemed appropriate for the newborn but the 2 year old gift created a tougher search. After considerable deliberation we chose a "Funlight". This is a plastic puppy and by squeezing his tail, his mouth opens and the flashlight comes on. Am I making myself clear???

Once we returned home and began wrapping the gifts Kenny was enthralled with the puppy yet again. It suddenly became evident that the both of them were buddies. Well we did finally finish the task at hand and then placed our packages into the car for the trip.

At bedtime last night as I was heading upstairs Kenny was sitting on the top step with a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face as big as Texas. She was holding her puppy that was placed under her pillow to be discovered at bedtime. She regaled me about the sweetness of this lil fella before we could head to bed and tears came to my eyes as I listened and looked at that lil girl so thrilled with this plastic puppy. So today Kenny wants to take her pup to the birthday party to meet Charis's birthday puppy.

Life is full of changes; some good, some bad but ultimately they are only what we chose to make of them. Today will be a terrific day when the poochies become great friends and then realize they are related. Child, adult, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, child.

Friday, July 15, 2011

OUR BIG GAREN - organic or agent orange???

I have nearly given up the cause for organic grown veggies. I have a myriad of reasons why I am making such a statment but let me leave it to say at the moment I am dealing only with squash bugs.

My sisters and I have managed to grow a beautiful garden while on our TOD (Tour of Duty) where we each live independently, for 10 days caring for our mother. We have been feasting on lettuces, kale, peas,cukes, swiss chard, beets and green beans but rarely have we savored the taste of summer squash. This is entirely due to something called a squash bug.

We have managed to grow some of the most gorgeous, picturesque squash plants to be found in Alleghany County I believe however these pests are ruining our once thriving plants. Our constitution of "au Naturel" is failing FAST!!!

We women profess and promote organic, natural childbirth. We love our mushroom friends and agree that a shower and hair washing once a week is extravagant to say the least. We raise and eat free range chicken eggs, use only whole grains in our breads; no white, unbleached flour to be found in our homes and we love falafel, humus and only an occasional McDonald's hamburger. But I am here to tell you I am a proponent of agent orange (whatever that is - but I think it is "real" poison).

Our "natural" friends profess "Organscide" and even Dawn detergent to prevent the pests from total ruination of the garden. They even say a board or newspaper laid down to catch the hungry varmites will work but that was a negative.

Please look at the pixs below to see how successful (?) we were with our organic cures.

In the golden ages this was called fornication and from that many children (squash babies) were born. Of course in our family twins are prevalent so it could be construed as squash babies. (See pix to far right)