Sunday, July 10, 2011

You just have to love Kentucky!

I know I have been remiss in posting lately, been a little bit busy but things are settling down for the moment.  I will try to do better!
We have a rather large amount of Amish folks here, see them all the time in town in the stores, etc.  This is a really neat culture and I've done some reading on it.  They want no connection with the "English" (meaning us) yet sell goods on the side of the road to us, buy items from us, etc.  I see a definite change going on with them. For example, you can have a phone in a box on a pole outside of your home and can talk on it BUT it can't be in the house because that allows a tie with the English into your home.  You can't own a car or drive it but you can hire the English to take you around (we are called Drivers) where you need to go.  There are differences in the different sects of the Amish, too.  Some women use straight pins to fasten their clothing.  I'd be real good at that, either sticking myself, jumping up and saying something very un-Amish and very English (particularly the Anglo-Saxon language) or being in a high wind and losing something important because it wasn't pinned right.  
Wayne the Hay Guy has some men who work for him, and they delight in grabbing his cell phone which he leaves in the truck and answering it for him.  "Hello?  Hello?  Who is this?"  It's a real toy and a delight to them that you can talk on this little device.  I had a couple of ladies come into the store one day and ask me where I got the paper bags from.  I had to restrain myself from saying "just google paper bags and you can find a source".  :)  And then there was the Amish man who whipped out a checkbook to pay for his purchases.  We take driver's license numbers.  Um...not....just take the check, thank you so much!  :)  I didn't even know they could have checking accounts but like I said, it appears that some things are being allowed, or at least not disallowed.
So this week I observed a young man trying on sunglasses and looking at himself in the little mirror above the rack.  These were not plain old black Foster Grants, either, these were yellow iridescent ones.  He tried on half a dozen pairs.  Jerry says he sees them all the time at the Sonic restaurant, with their giant cokes, or riding down the road, clutching them.  I had three ladies run me down in Lowe's to ask about the Knockout roses I had in my cart. They were thrilled with them and asked how much they were and where they were in the store.  Also, many are allowed to use chain saws and propane refrigerators (which I am actually glad about, I can't imagine trying to keep things cool and unspoiled without a fridge).
Welcome to the new century, Amish folks!  I must say the delight that they look at things with is so refreshing!
And then this week, Beth took a photo of a buggy at a recreational area next to a lake.  No Amish were harmed during this photographic session.  In case you don't know what that means, they are very shy about cameras, it has to do with becoming a graven image and that is not allowed.  But nothing in the rules says we can't take photos of their buggies.  And so, with the stories above and this photo, I give you the New Age Amish sect:
The boat looks to be a kayak of some sort, and if you look carefully, you can see the reels of the fishing poles towards the back of the buggy. There is a very bright yellow, very un-Amish fishing lure hanging down in the front, too.   I'm guessing the horses were tied out somewhere to eat and relax.
So I hope we can learn things from the Amish and that they can learn things from us!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gardening and Flowers and Stuff

We have been able to garden for months here but I just haven't gotten around to it. We had some rainy weather that turned the clay to gunk and no hope at all of getting a tiller through that!  So let's start with some photos of what IS here.  First, we have a Tulip Tree (magnolia type) that has decided to bloom AGAIN here at the beginning of July. Go figure.  Maybe it got so much rain it was happy and just had to bloom.
There are some hostas out front hat are doing just fine and so they are staying there.  Once the corgis start to hide behind them or lay on them, then I will move them. For now, though, they are fine and healthy looking:
Please ignore that ugly green stuff Jerry put up, we used the front porch as a temporary place for one of the boys to go until we had the front yard fenced.  It's coming down soon!
The previous owner had a lot of gravel around the house and some big stepping stones that she put big pots on.  The front side of the house gets a lot of sun and heat in the afternoon.  So although I previously planted nasturtium seeds, which did fine in "heat and sun" in Michigan, apparently "heat and sun" is... um...well, a little hotter and more intense down here.  Heat and sun here just kills off plants, except for weeds, though, I guess.  They always seem to thrive. So after two months of coddling the nasturtiums, I gave them all the death penalty and yanked them up and planted zinnias, which do like heat and sun.  I do have to water them every day, though, because the sun dries the pots out so bad.  There are about a dozen or so pots out front and all are  planted with Zinnias except I did find a few that had volunteer petunias and rose moss coming up.  They like heat and sun, too, so they lived and now the pots don't all match.  No matter, if it blooms and it isn't a weed, it is welcome to live here!

The ones I'm showing are the lilliput variety, the ones I planted at the back of the house are the giants and already setting buds on them.  I only planted them about a month ago.
Kathy planted a small garden with some peppers and tomatoes in them.  I have to tie them to the fence today, they are growing like gangbusters!

Next is the vegetable garden which is doing ok.  The radishes have not come up and neither have the carrots but the vining things like the watermelon, cantelope and gourds are coming up fast and big. Also I planted some beans, some blue lake green beans and some lima beans.  We started with a long garden that Jerry tilled up:
I like the fence in the middle that you can grow things up on.  I'm going to train the gourds and the cucumbers up that.  And I think I planted some squashes.  I should have made a list of what I did plant but figured that when things started to grow, I could figure it all out.  Here are the beans:
These have gotten a lot bigger, too, in the past ten days since I took this photo.  There are some gorgeous gardens around but I was just late getting things in.  We should still be able to harvest a few nice things, though, the growing season is so long down here.  No lettuce, though, until fall because it likes cooler weather.
The flower gardens were more of a challenge.  We had to get rid of the weeds, dig it all up and then plant.  The first project was the flower garden between us and the road.  It is 6 sided and about 16 or 18 feet across.   It is set in concete blocks to keep the grass out but the weeds moved in.  It took us over two hours to till, rake and get all the roots and stuff out of there.  Then I planted Knockout Roses, Stella D'Oro lillies and hostas.  Some of the hostas came from the back yard where they were being picked off one by one by the dogs, either they were lying on them, peeing on them or just destroying them.  These were nice big ones, hard to dig out of the gravel and it does look at little bit bare back there, now.  But they look great out front!
I put down landscape cloth which is so awkward to work with, then a couple of soaker hoses.  I found out you cannot hook these together, so if you ever decide to put one in, get a long one so you don't have to have two ends sticking out of the garden!  Then I put down some red mulch.  Except for the tilling, I did this by myself and am very proud of it.  And little to no maintenence except to put a stray weed or two, water it and maybe cut some back if necessary.

I forgot to tell you that I also found that scalloped concrete border out by one of the old buildings and there was exactly enough to go around the garden.  I'm guessing this is what Rose, the former owner, had in mind for the garden.
This garden should grow fast and well where it is located and in another year, will be lush and beautiful!  The plants are bigger than it looks, though.  It took over a week to do this and I was working on it a couple of hours a day.
The same thing is going on right now in the garden next to the kitchen door, but instead of hostas, I put in Monkey Grass.  I don't know the real name for it, it's an ornamental grass that gets about the size of a basketball.  It's what we used to call this in Florida when I was a kid. They also came out of the backyard and for the same reasons.  I had to search to find a couple of extra plants for the garden but they are all in now.  I've started the landscape cloth but will leave that for a half hour project each night when I get home as I'm working on another project right now.
And I can't forget the apple trees!  We planted three of them, a Fugi, and a Honey Crisp, and one that I have forgotten the name of but am thinking Ida Red.  I have to go look at the tags.

We got some nifty rubber tree rings for the bottoms of them so don't have to mulch.  The white rock you see is actually molten glass that the break apart into "rocks". These were in the front and the backyards but I thought some would look good around the trees.
Last of all, a treat!  I was able to film a bit of the Hummingbird Fever that goes on around here. We have several feeders and they know they can always come here for a drink!  Enjoy!