Tag Archives: Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: A RE-Purposeful Life

Trailer of trash
We try to limit deliveries to the landfill to once every seven years.

Our pile of junk had been sitting in the pasture for seven years.  It was a mixture of plastic, metal, and old wooden posts from a variety of sources around the ranch.  It had evolved over time.  If we needed a certain material for a project, the junk pile would be our first place to look to see what we could use out of it. Once I found an old door that we installed on the goat shed when we created a room addition for our new baby goats.  I still remember the thumbs up my father-in-law gave me when I propped it up for him to see.  Unfortunately,  I noticed the goats and horses spending a lot of time close to the pile, and I worried that one of them would get tangled up in something and hurt.  It was time to take this pile of treasure to the landfill.

We hooked up the trailer and started loading the accumulation of seven years of destruction.  Mixed into the pieces of roofing, gutters, batteries, and brass candlesticks were landscape timbers that had been used for a small round pen built by my father-in-law in 1997.  Hmmmm. Why had he used landscape timbers for a fence instead of fence posts?  Had they been left by someone else?  I was intrigued.  Even though it was time consuming, I removed only the staples that held the remaining fence in place, put the old fence on the trailer, and set the wood aside.  It took quite a bit of time and effort, but I loved the idea of salvaging one last repurposed item from the pile. Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: A RE-Purposeful Life

Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: We’re Growing More Than Tomatoes

Cherokee Purple
This indeterminate tomato variety was said to have originated from the Cherokee over 100 years ago.

Springtime has a way of promoting growth in so many ways.  We see the results of growth in plants as our surroundings turn from brown to green, and we see the growth in people as they try new things.  My friend and co-worker Shannon came to me one day and told me she wanted to plant tomatoes, but she had never grown anything….ever.  I had just found out that our Master Gardener speaker for April was a man known for his fabulous tomatoes.  We made a plan to attend together.

Our speaker, Sputt Garnett of Yum Yum, TN, explained everything we ever wanted to know about tomatoes.  I never really understood the difference between determinate and indeterminate, and I had certainly never seen tomato varieties like Black Prince.  We were especially enthralled with the idea of the heirloom variety tomato, so we each purchased one Cherokee Purple tomato plant at the end of the workshop.

I explained to Shannon that I only had one growing season of tomatoes under my belt.  I had planted them from seed last year during my first garden experience and had good success.  Our excitement over tomatoes surpassed our need for dessert, so we headed next door to Wal-Mart to look at some plants.  We explored the varieties but left the store with a $5.00 purchase: one envelope of Rutgers tomato seeds and one Jiffy Seed Starter Greenhouse. Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: We’re Growing More Than Tomatoes

Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: The Mother of All Garden Tools

Garden Tool
This little tool saves hours in the garden, so I can spend hours away from it.

It’s been said that the right tool makes every job easier.  I say, that, my friend, is a fact.

I spent many hours on Mother’s Day relocating my last year’s garden.  I discovered that mowing around it was a problem, so this year we decided to make a few adjustments.  Creating a new garden is easy enough, however, filling in the former garden spot with grass (not weeds) can be tough.  I had been working diligently relocating Bermuda grass when I remembered a garden tool I bought a couple of summers ago.

My husband calls this the “Weed Twister.”  It was purchased  because I refused to use weed killer in my yard.  We had finally begun to see some grass growing on our property, but it was accompanied by a monster weed that was virtually impossible to dig up.  I was spending ten or fifteen minutes digging up each weed.  I was not getting very far.  This tool helps get the job done.  The key is the claw at the bottom.  The claw is attached to a long pole so the gardener does not have to continuously bend over.  Simply stand over the weed, pound the tool into the ground over the weed, and twist. Do it again.  That should loosen it enough to get even the toughest weed out of the ground. Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: The Mother of All Garden Tools

Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: Sunny and Share

See! I told you there was a LOT!

This spring the rain has been abundant and the sun intermittent, but many of my hardy plants have come back from last year in multiples.  I am happy to share them with friends.

Last week I overheard my friend Anna say that she’d like to plant some Lemon Verbena.  Lucky for her, I have tons.  Her only job was to provide me a list of its uses.  I am going to try it as a tea.

I gave my friend Deauna a bunch of oregano that came back from last year.  She is a great cook, so I know it’s something she will use.  I kept a little for myself.  I will try to cook something with it…but no promises as to how it will come out.  The good thing is that I have plenty to use in my culinary experiments.

herb garden
My herbs are planted in a wagon wheel-six herb plants fit perfectly!

Continue reading Meanwhile, Back at The Ranch: Sunny and Share

Meanwhile Back at The Ranch: Life is TWO Good

If you asked me if I liked even or odd numbers, I would say “odd.”  There is something about the numbers one, three, and five that intrigue me.  You would never know this fact based on what’s going on out here at the ranch.

Cats: When we moved to the country in 2004 we brought along our two cats.  Of course, back then we were “city” people, and I won’t even begin to tell you the exorbitant amount of money that was spent on each of them.  A third cat eventually joined the group but died of an unknown illness.  Really, I insisted on an autopsy…of a cat…and the findings were indeterminate.  We were left with two.

Horses: Our Mustang, Jet, came to live with us because our neighbors had one too many horses.  We were clueless new horse owners, but our friends are very experienced and have followed through on their promise to guide us in the right direction.  “The right direction” included buying a horse friend for Jet.  Roxy came to live with us just a few months after Jet’s arrival.  It was great fun watching them get to know each other while they lived in the midst of all the goats.

Cats….again: Last summer my husband brought home two three week old kittens who had lost their mother.  He claimed we needed barn cats.  Here’s a little secret….we didn’t have a barn.  We nursed them along and let them stay in the garage with a heat lamp during this cold winter.  They are our outside cats.  They enjoy bird watching and hopping in my car when I am late for work. Continue reading Meanwhile Back at The Ranch: Life is TWO Good