All posts by ruthsoaper

Monthly Inspiration

Hello and welcome! I’m having a hard time believing it’s March already, but all of my sources, (phone, computer, wall calendar) assure me that today is March 1st.

So, without further ado our monthly inspiration.

From my 2023 wall calendar.

This morning when I saw the cardinals on the calendar I was reminded of a post I wrote in 2016. Since I have a lot of new followers since that time I will share the link to that post here. I really do think it’s worth reading.

Thanks for visiting.

This Makes Me Smile

Last year we waited too long and in April when my husband made a phone call to the greenhouse where he worked in 2019, to see if they had pansies for sale, they told him they were all sold out. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

He called them yesterday morning but only got the answering machine. He left a message asking when they would have pansies for sale and received a call back in the afternoon. They had pansies ready, and we could come out and pick some up.

I wish I would have taken my camera along. The green house was enormous and filled with pansies. There were pansies in round pots, pansies in square pots and pansies in flats. There were sections that had flats of all yellow pansies, and all purple, and all red, and all orange, and all white and there were sections that had flats of mixed colors. It was a sight to behold. We selected two flats of mixed colors. Each flat had 18 pansies in it.

We went back to the farm where my husband brought out some flowerpots and opened a bag of potting soil.

I put three flowers in each pot and ended up with 12 pots. You only see 10 in the picture because I took one to my next-door neighbor and the other on would not fit on this table.

Pansies thrive in cooler temperatures, between 40 and 60F but can survive temperatures well below freezing as long as the soil does not freeze. I am eager to put them outside to adorn the flower bed beside our deck but have decided to keep them indoors for a while, at least until after the ice storm that is due to arrive tomorrow.

Getting my hands in the dirt and potting up these cheery flowers certainly made me smile. I hope this picture makes you smile too. 🙂

Thanks for visiting.

A Walk at the Farm

With temperatures near or at 50 degrees Tuesday I decided it was a good day to get out to the farm for a couple of hours. I grabbed my camera as I headed out with my husband and the kids dogs.

These first three photos were taken two weeks ago as our biggest snowstorm of the season (so far) blanketed our world with 7 inches of snow.

That snow was mostly melted by Tuesday. Looking at our forecast for the next week it seems as if Woody the Woodchuck, Puxatony Phil’s Michigan counterpart, was correct when she predicted an early Spring.

When we arrived at the farm I noticed most of the chickens just inside the barn. Since it was nice outside, I thought this a bit odd until I realized that they were dust bathing. The ground outside was still frozen so the limestone floor of the barn was their best option for dusting themselves.

Ranger went right to work. His mission – to find a bunny.

While Ruby found a ball (or two).

My husband has had several winter projects that he’s worked on at the farm this winter.

The first one is building up our firewood supply. Some of the trees he harvested were on our property while other were dead trees that had fallen on neighbors’ properties. Not everyone in our area burns firewood so fallen trees are often left to rot. Several of the neighbors were happy to let my husband come in and remove the dead trees.

These oak logs on the trailer were from a live tree that was cut by the power company. Again, these neighbors were happy to have my husband remove the logs from their yard. These logs will need to season for a year or more before they are ready to burn.

He has built some piles of tree branches in the woods. These piles serve as wildlife habitat and eventually we might cut some of the dead sticks to use as kindling when we start our fires.

While some of the branches in those piles are from trees he cut down some are from another project. He spent hours picking up fallen branches in the woods. For most of the winter there was no snow on the ground so it was possible for him to go into the woods and pick up fallen branches and sticks – something that I’ve always thought should be done but has never been a priority.

This makes walking through the woods so much easier.

The third project that he spent a lot of time on and I greatly appreciate is mulching the trails.

In previous years this trail was either flooded over or muck and mud this time of year and we just avoided that area until things dried up.

The electric company has had crews trimming trees in our area for the last few months. My husband stopped and asked the workmen if they would drop off some of the mulch at the farm. I think we ended up having 4 or 5 loads of free mulch delivered. One time my husband let the crew park one of their large trucks at the farm for the weekend in exchange for the mulch. It was a win-win.

If it wasn’t for the free mulch the trail through the woods would remain impassable for several months.

While Ranger was still off looking for bunnies,

Ruby spent most of her time hanging out with my husband and I, bringing us a ball and then retrieving it once one of us threw it.

The garden looks so barren and the warm weather has us itchin’ to grow things.

Since we generally don’t start planting in the ground until May it’s even a bit soon to start seeds indoors.

The pond level is extremely low. The 7-inch snowfall brought it up some, but we need a lot more precipitation to bring it up to where it should be.

We did get some of that much needed rain yesterday.

Despite the warmer temperature we didn’t see any bee activity.

That is a bit disheartening, but we are not totally sure that the bees didn’t make it yet.

Little birds like to hang out near the chicken yard where there tends to be food available.

They normally scatter when we approach but I was able to get a couple pictures using my zoom.

The one squirrel nest that we have on our property is nestled in this tree high above the chicken yard. I’m not certain if anyone is home.

Ruby is a master a retrieving the ball but sometimes she doesn’t like to give it up. LOL!

I had to shoo the chickens out of the barn so my husband could put the tractor in.

They seemed very happy when they discovered green grass in front of the barn.

Spotting these green shoots emerging from the ground made me happy.

Daffodils! 🙂 I think this is the earliest I have ever seen them coming up.

Also, in the foreground of this picture are some Iris shoots beginning to sprout up.

I’m fairly certain winter weather will return before spring is here to stay, but if Woody’s prediction is correct, I would be one happy camper gardener.

Thanks for joining me> i hope you enjoyed our walk. Are you seeing signs of spring in your area?

Dog Quilts

Our dogs might just be a little bit spoiled (I hope you read a bit of sarcasm into that sentence,) and after writing this post I can no longer blame that solely on my husband. Each dog not only has his or her own bed, but they also have a blanket to go on their bed. Over the years our dogs have worn through many old blankets we have given them. The main problem with giving people blankets to dogs is that rather than covering up with a blanket like people would, dogs walk on the blanket, then lie on the blanket, and some, like our Ranger, might even feel it necessary to walk in a few small circles on the blanket in order to create a nest to lie in. These blankets can wear out quickly. They need something sturdier.

I decided to make the dog quilts when I realized that our old living room curtains would make a durable quilt backing and perhaps hold up better than the blankets that we had been giving the dogs.

I used two layers of flannel then added the curtain, that is a heavy woven fabric, for the backing and binding. I finished the first one Tuesday evening and after showing it to my husband we presented it to the dogs.

When we placed it on the dog bed my husband coaxed Ruby on it so I could take a picture.

Shortly after Ruby got up Ranger staked his claim.

The next thing I noticed was Ruby hiding in the corner. I think she was pouting.

I guess I should have waited until I had both quilts finished before I presented them to the dogs – what was I thinking? 🤦‍♀️

Since Ruby made me feel guilty that Ranger got a blanket and she didn’t, Wednesday became a quilt making marathon for me. I had the second one finished by Wednesday evening.

I did have a nice even pattern planned for this quilt with the same color blocks connecting on the diagonal. After sewing the first two rows together I realized I had sewn the second row of blocks on upside down and messed up the pattern. I decided not the rip out all the stitching and redo it because the dogs wouldn’t care about the pattern of the blocks.

We (Ranger, Ruby, my husband and I) all love the way the quilts turned and as a bonus they add a warm and cozy feeling to our living room.

Thanks for reading.

Do you have a spoiled pet in your life?