Recent Entries to this Blog Annual Christmas letter response
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Small town hair salons
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We're magnets for the weird
Posted: 25 Mar 2018
Third world living
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Exercise machine
Posted: 03 Jan 2017

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marlingardener's Blog

Farm living and laughing


Meet and Greet in the Coop

Category: Farm Doings | Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:29 pm



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A Day on the Farm

Category: Farm Doings | Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:08 pm



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Unsupervised Shopping

Category: Serendipity | Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:33 pm



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Children's Names

Category: Serendipity | Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:08 pm



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Why I went to college

Category: Farm Doings | Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:47 pm



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Using what you have--and harvested!

Category: Vegetable gardens | Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:44 pm



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In today's mail

Category: Serendipity | Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:05 pm

In today's mail we received three letters, and obviously someone knows something we don't!
First, we got a letter from The Neptune Society, offering to cremate our remains and dump an urn containing same into the Florida Keys. We used to go to the Caribbean to vacation and snorkel, and enjoyed seeing the marine life and corals. We didn't go to see an urn laying on the sand, containing Aunt Myrtle's remains. Sanibel Island is famous for shells, not for the shells of the departed.
Then our second piece of mail was from the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) offering us life insurance "so we wouldn't leave a burden for our loved ones." Believe me, I don't care! Society hates the sight of a rotting corpse, so someone is going to see that I go underground. I don't need "additional insurance to relieve the burden on my loved ones." I'll take grief any way I can get it--financial or emotional, somebody is going to care that I'm gone!
The final piece of mail was from our local water supplier, telling us that the arsenic level in our water was above acceptable levels. We were assured that "THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY" and we didn't need to go to an alternative water supply. If you have "health concerns" it may cause increased chance of cancer, skin damage, or problems with the circulatory system. Well, that about covers it. Fortunately we filter drinking and cooking water and the hens drink rainwater. We also don't bathe that often . . . .
So, if you don't hear from me for a while, contact the Neptune Society to see if I'm laying on the bottom of the Florida Keys, the AARP to see if I've opted out of "providing for my loved ones", and the local water supply to see if arsenic poisoning did me in.

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Lessons learned since husband retired

Category: Serendipity | Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:17 pm

Lesson #1: I have retired, he has changed jobs. Each morning he makes a list of tasks for the day and usually accomplishes all of them. Meanwhile, I no longer dust (he's an engineer and dusts very, very thoroughly); once or twice a week he provides a sub sandwich for lunch or takes me out to the new Italian restaurant in town; and he is remodeling a bathroom. Meanwhile I doodle around in the garden, commune with the hens, and bake.
Lesson #2: We should have invested in the local hardware store's stock. There are at least two, and usually more, trips to the hardware store each week.
Lesson #3: Going to the hardware store also involves stopping by at least two more stores, and coming home with jelly beans, peanuts, and a handy gadget for the kitchen that he can't imagine I have lived without for so long. I am still trying to figure out what the last two gadgets are, but one (I think) is to pull skin off fish. I don't fish!
Lesson #4:"I'm going out to the workshop for a few minutes" results in all sorts of nice things--candle holders, canes, cutting boards, and a lot of shavings for the ladies' nest boxes. He is examining plans for a mantle clock. Fortunately we have a mantle, or he'd build one.
Lesson #5: For forty-some years I have been setting the dining room table for dinner. That is no longer my job. However, I like my napkin on the left, he puts it on the right. We will work this out . . . .
Lesson #6: And this is the best of all--having him home all the time (except for those trips to the hardware store) is pure joy! He is funny, considerate, and the cat is in seventh heaven with an available lap at almost any time of the day. I no longer worry about him driving home in bad weather and we no longer spend all weekend trying to catch up on chores and projects. We have all the time in the world, together!

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A Day in the Kitchen

Category: Farm Doings | Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:03 pm



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Old Dogs and New Tricks

Category: Farm Doings | Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:10 pm

The other night we were talking about all the great and glorious plans we had when we first moved here to the farm. We were "old dogs" in book knowledge of nature but we learned a lot of new tricks by just living here, watching what happens with no human intervention, and with a LOT of help from our neighbors (who look upon us as a source of entertainment!).
First, we were going to put a barbecue, picnic table, and chairs down by the pond so we could "picnic" there, and do some bird watching. We soon learned that we could sit at our dining room table, eat in comfort without hauling stuff across two acres, and bird watch anyway!
Then, I had the brilliant idea(?) to plant a big flower garden in front of the house--kind of an "I have arrived" statement. I had never encountered Bermuda grass before. That stuff has roots based in Beijing and spreads faster than the flu in a kindergarden class! Five years later I have a lovely flower garden with a Bermuda grass ground cover (I'm still fighting it, but losing the battle).
I wasn't the only one that was naive. My husband thought that a walk-behind shredder would do fine for our seven acres of scrub. Wrong! That poor man would struggle while cutting down sapling mesquites, going over fire ant mounds that put some comdominiums to shame, and finding all the little bundles of barbed wire, old tires, and other detrius that previous owners had tossed out in the field. We now have an sturdy All Terrain Vehicle with a tow-behind shredder, and I still have my husband.
Armadilloes are cute--slow, armored, and very Texan. I was thrilled to see one waddling through the back yard. I wasn't so thrilled when I stepped in a hole the darned critter had dug and spent two days limping. I have been told armadilloes also have very vicious front claws (for digging traps for unsuspecting folk) and can claw you badly. I have no plans to get close enough to one to get mauled. I have a gun.
Neighbors in the country aren't like neighbors in town. For example, when was the last time a town neighbor showed up on his tractor? When we moved here we had had enough of people. We were going to hunker down, not speak to anyone, and become hermits. Well, that didn't last. Before we got unpacked neighbors from three, four miles away were showing up with casseroles, offers of help, and of course, tractors.
So, these two old dogs have learned some new tricks, and enjoyed every minute of it (except for the armadillo hole incident).

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