Category Archives: Summer

Embracing Summer and This Week’s Idiom

Hello and welcome!

Our idiom of the week is hold one’s feet to the fire.

The free dictionary.com tells us that to hold one’s feet to the fire means:

To put pressure on one to do, say, or consent to something or To pressure (someone) to consent to or undertake something.

while weird facts.com says it means:

To hold one accountable for a commitment, make good on a promise.

They also tell us that the origin of the phrase pertains to torture used during the Crusade’s. As a method for extracting confession for heresy, non-believers were positioned in a manner that allowed the inquisitor to apply flames to the feet of the accused. This was done until the accused confessed or died.

As ridiculous as that method of obtaining a confession seems by today’s standards, consider a modern parallel – plea bargaining. The accused is offered the choice between a reduced sentence in exchange for a confession, or prosecution with the risk of more severe penalty (possibly death).

I choose this phrase because I feel like my husband has been “holding my feet to the fire”. Ever since my last post where I vowed to embrace the good weather while we have it, he has been reminding me and encouraging me to take some time off each day to do the things I really enjoy: ride the 4-wheeler, spending time with the kids and grandkids and fishing.

It is easy for me to get caught up in the work that needs to be done. Things like staining the deck and power washing the house are also activities that need to be done when the weather is nice, so I am thankful for his subtle reminders: “go ride your bike” or “put that away for today, let’s go fishing.”

We hadn’t done any fishing this summer until last week. However the pair of green herons that spend summers at the farm arrived in sometime in July, as they do every year, and had been enjoying daily meals at the pond. They are largely camouflaged along the ponds edge, as you can see in the photo below, but they make their presence known when they squawk and fly up into one of the surrounding trees as someone approaches the pond. They seem a bit disgruntled over the interruption.

It was about two weeks ago that my husband asked me to help him store the boat for the winter. I agreed but suggested that we needed to do some fishing first. A couple days later my husband came home with a few dozen worms and said “lets go fishing”. πŸ™‚

While our green herons may be eating a lot of the small fry that swim up near shore my husband and I have caught some real whoppers. I’m sorry I don’t have any fish photos but I have decided that taking my camera in the boat is not really a good idea. You’ll just have to decide for yourself if this is a fish tale (bonus idiom) or I’m telling the truth (I am).

We have spent several evenings over the last week out in our little paddle boat baiting our hooks and casting them into the pond and to date the fish we have caught include a 18 inch (45.72cm) walleye, another large walleye that we did not get a chance to measure, a 17 inch (43.18 cm) pike and an 11 inch (27.94 cm) perch (who has been caught several times). We have also caught some 6 and 7 inch perch and lots of small fry (2-4 inch), which we always take as a good sign because if there are little ones that means the big ones are reproducing.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day!

Have you ever had anyone hold your feet to the fire?

Summer Fun

Long time readers might remember this post from 2018 when I shared the things I enjoy most about summer.

Summer 2021 is quickly waning so we spent last weekend doing some of my favorite things.

This is how our beach should look. πŸ™‚

Saturday we hosted a picnic for family and friends. Many who were invited could not make it but we enjoyed spending time with those who did.

The weather was hot and humid – the dog days of summer – but the breeze was heaven sent and coupled with the shade of the large oak tree or a dip in the pond and a cold bottle of water to keep hydrated, the day seemed perfect. I personally enjoyed visiting with everyone so much that I never even noticed how hot it was. πŸ™‚

Sunday was a day to relax. The weather was a repeat of the day before and my husband and I made time for an afternoon nap in our recliners. After dinner we went to the farm to play. I started by spending about 30 or 40 minutes paddling around the pond on my swim ring. The water was most refreshing. After that I spent another 45 minutes or so riding the 4 wheeler. πŸ™‚

Summer is not over, and like I do each year at this time I am vowing to embrace the good weather that remains. Since the weather has cooled a touch I will find myself in the kitchen for several days this week canning tomato juice but being thankful for the wonderful staycation we had this past weekend.

What is the best thing you have done this summer?

Flowers, Pollinators, Fungus and Breakfast With the Chickens

Flowers and Pollinators

The hibiscus bushes are blossoming.

There are three bushes in a row. The two on the ends have the deep red blossoms. The one is the middle has light pink/white blossoms.

This year we have an interesting phenomenon. One of the end bushes has both the red blossoms and the pink blossoms. This has never happened before.

The only explanation I can come up with is that these bushes drop seeds every year and small plants sprout each summer. I end up pulling them so I don’t know how long it would take for one to mature. Perhaps a seed from the pink bush grew up amongst the red bush and has become mature enough to produce flowers. So this is actually two bushes that have commingled.

Many of the plants are suffering from too much rain. The oregano leaves are turning yellow and orange. I have been tempted to cut them way down.

But the bees are enjoying the flowers

as are the butterflies, so I will leave them until they are done blossoming.

Dragonflies are not really pollinators but I do love having them around, especially since they eat things like gnats and MOSQUITOS. (Bring on the dragonflies!!!) This one was resting on an Agastache Kudos Mandarin plant, AKA Hummingbird Mint, that we planted this year.

The honey bees were foraging in the anise hyssop.

This patch of wild flowers attracts a lot of pollinators.

Look closely – how many bees do you see on the Mountain Mint in this photo? I see at least 3.

How about this one? (two?)

Honey bees aren’t the only pollinators enjoying these plants. The blue mud dauber wasps like them as well. This is the first year I have seen this type of wasp.

Honey bees like the cone flowers,

and I even spotted some foraging the purple loosestrife. That is something that we haven’t seen in the past.

It took a while but this beauty finally posed for a picture on a marshmallow plant.

Telling it to “hold still” did absolutely no good so I just had to be patient. I think this butterfly is called a Red Spotted Purple.

Fungus

When I did my mushroom post I had forgot about these puff ball mushrooms that grow every year on the hill where we someday hope to build a root cellar. They are well hidden beneath other weeds that grow up around them so we usually don’t even know they are there until late fall or winter when all the foliage dies. By that time they are just large dust balls.

When I first noticed these, a week or so ago, they were bright white. I didn’t have my camera with me at that time and as you can see they have since turned various shades of brown.

Each of these fungi is between 12 and 20 inches across.

Breakfast With the Chickens

Sunday morning I went to open up the chicken coop. When I do this my routine is to first fill their water dish. I then spread some chicken scratch on the ground in piles around the chicken yard, then I fill their feed dish before I open the coop to let them out. I do this because I know that the first thing they want to do when they come out is eat (except the rooster but we won’t talk about what he wants). If I were to let them out first I would likely have the whole flock following me to the feed can, then I would be tripping over them as I tried to the scatter scratch.

As I was filling their feed dish I noticed a deer approaching the chicken yard. She noticed me as well and we stopped for a minute and stared at each other. I then finished what I was doing while she moseyed over to the pile of chicken scratch that was about twenty feet from the coop and began eating. I opened up the coop and the chickens scattered around the area some of them joining her.

I decided to get my camera to see if I could get a picture of this breakfast club. It was still pretty dark in the chicken yard as it is in a grove of large hickory trees so i wasn’t sure how the picture would turn out.

It wasn’t until I got home and viewed the photo on my computer that I realized

that I had experienced an alien encounter. (Where’s Will Smith when you need him???)

Even when she got out in the light her eyes glowed.

Meanwhile the chickens went on their way,

cluelessly searching for worms or grasshoppers and enjoying their worry-free life.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great week!

Taking Time Out To Play

Last Monday was the perfect summer day for doing anything outdoors. I started my outdoor tasks mid morning by mowing our lawn at the house. Our weather had been so dry in recent weeks that it had been about three weeks since we had to mow the lawn. Then after lunch, while my husband went to the farm to work in the garden, I returned to the yard to work on trimming and weeding.

I had been working for less than an hour when my husband called. ” Are you married to doing that yard work today or do you want to come out and play?” he asked.

I hesitated briefly because I had weeds and branches laying around the yard that need to be picked up, but I quickly decided they could wait until later. I left my garden tools and gloves on the deck, slipped my bathing suit on then put shorts and shirt over top. I grabbed a couple of cold beverages and my husband was there in about 10 minutes to pick up me and the boys.

When we got to the farm my first order of business play was riding the four wheeler. Last summer I didn’t get to ride at all and I really missed it. This year my husband committed to getting it running for me, so with some help from my son-in-law, he got the carburetor cleaned. He then replaced the air filter and it’s running again. (THANK YOU SWEETIE!) For about 45 minutes I zipped around the back field and down the winding paths that run through the woods on the 4- wheeler. So much fun! πŸ™‚

When I had my fill of riding I decided to go for a dip in the pond. I stopped by the garden, where my husband was having his own fun caring for the plants, to let him know I would be in the pond. I grabbed my innertube, took off my shorts and top and waded into the refreshing water. I spent the next 45 minutes or so floating and paddling around the pond on my innertube. Since the pond is not visible from the garden where my husband was working playing, every once in a while he would yell “Marco” to which I had to yell “Polo” in reply (otherwise I’m sure he would have executed search and rescue operations).

After my refreshing time in the pond it was time to go home and make dinner. When we arrived back at the house my husband said “don’t worry if you don’t get the weeds and clippings picked up tonight. They will still be there in the morning… unless” “somebody steals them,” I quickly chimed in. He laughed and then said “or the Yard Clipping Fairy shows up.” We both laughed at that.

The next morning I found out that I apparently haven’t been good enough the deserve a visit from the Yard Clippings Fairy, but thankfully the weather again was pleasant enough for me to finish the job. πŸ™‚

What recreational activities do you enjoy in summer?

Have you made time to play lately?

Dog Days Of Summer

According to almanac.com the dog days of summer run from July 3 through August 11 which is normally the hottest and most humid time of year in the northern hemisphere. Around here every day is a dog day. Just ask Ranger and Trooper. But, yes, the HEAT IS ON and it is accompanied by a dry spell so keeping the gardens watered has been the main focus for the past week or so. If you are curious about how we manage that on our off-grid farm you can check out our off-grid irrigation system here.

In the mean time I put together a collection of pictures that I’ve taken over about the past few weeks to share with you.

This is how Ranger cools off on these hot days. (Did you know beagles can swim?)

and Trooper enjoys laying on the beach after a swim in the pond.

The grandbabies love the water as much as the dogs do.

Dragonflies are yet another creature that appreciate the pond.

This one is drinking water from the sand. Check out the honey bee (on the left) that photo bombed this shot. She too was coming to the beach for a drink of water.

This beauty hung out with us on the beach, for a couple of hour yesterday evening, fluttering about and pausing now and then to rest or perhaps get a sip of water.

One last pond picture because we can never have too much cuteness. LOL.

Speaking of cuteness, here is a double dose – twins.

The lavender is gorgeous this year and the bees and butterflies are all over it.

We have transitioned from strawberry season to blueberry season. On the same day that my husband, and (daughter) Kara, picked the last of the strawberries, I took (daughter) Tina, and Jackson and Addy into the blueberry patch to pick the first ripe berries. While Kara took her 3/4 of a basket of strawberries home. Addy couldn’t wait, so she ate all of the blueberries we picked while they were still at the farm.

Start them off young – that’s my motto. They posed for a group photo then dad took Jackson and Addy, one at a time, for a ride on the tractor.

The garden is flourishing. I have harvested basil and calendula flowers twice so far.

We have green tomatoes, peppers starting to develop, blossoms on the eggplant,

blossoms on the green beans and the corn is knee high.

We cut garlic scapes (check out this post to learn more about scapes) about two weeks ago and will be digging garlic soon.

It seems that every summer our back field is dominated by different plants. This year it is full of clover and birdsfoot trefoil and I think it is just gorgeous. It’s also great bee food.

I’ll leave you with one last photo of this pair who stopped by our deck for a short visit last week. They were kind enough to stay so I could get a photo then they hurried on their way.

Thanks for visiting and remember – stay hydrated, breathe deep and stay well.

Are you having a heat wave?