Update From The Country

Friday, June 30

Some of you will get a long weekend coming up. If you don’t, then your boss is a tightass. If’n you work for the government, then you’ll probably get a four day weekend. If’n you’re in the private sector, then consider yourself fortunate if you get Monday off.

The first job I had, I had to work on the 4th. It was a small, but popular rental shop. Folks would ask about an all day rental, and I’d tell them just to bring it back at 7:30 the next morning.

“You’re open on the 4th?” accompanied by looks of astonishment.

I nodded sadly, “yep”.


Moving on.

I girded up my loins and kept my mouth shut (ceptin’ for this post) on Wednesday, and pulled weeds from the strawberry garden. Many of the weeds were much taller than the strawberry plants themselves.

The strawberries are now putting out runners in every direction, and the runners put down roots too. It was these new rootings that caused the most grief as pulling a giant weed connected to a runner severely damages the runner, if not kill it altogether.

Many of the leaves were yellowish, and many were green. A couple of plants had  blooms on them. I will let these mature as the strawberry crop was nothing but a dream this year.

Pulling out all the weed, and their rootings tossed on the garden aisle floor, added to the already ugly weed population growing on the aisles of the garden.

Thursday, I got out the Rangerpro (for all practical purposes, it is Roundup), filled the hose sprayer and attacked the floor of the garden…again.

I bought some granulated corn gluten for the sole purpose of  using it as a pre-emergent herbicide for the corn field, but never got a round tuit. So, I grabbed a 3 lb coffee can full, and spread it over the strawberry garden. BTW, the shop where I keep the corn gluten, now reeks of critter urine….black squirrel I think. So, the corn gluten got all over the leaves of the strawberry plants.

After that. I filled another hose sprayer with a concentrated version of Miracle Gro (2 C  dissolved in a 2 liter bottle) and fertilized the strawberry garden, making special effort to rinse corn gluten off the leaves.

You see, I had really counted on the composted horse  manure to break down enough to give all kinds of good nutrients to these gardens..not so. A little disappointing. The rest of the tomatoes and such are green…so far.

I then watered in the fertilizer with the water wand, keeping in  mind to rinse the corn gluten off the leaves. I don’t think the corn gluten will burn the leaves, but…

Last night, I was up late watching Stargate Atlantis season one, and went into the kitchen to refill my drink, when I noticed something shiny moving outside the kitchen window.

You may recall, that I have had to trap and kill three raccoons recently for jumping on the bird feeders and emptying them. In addition to that, the galvanized trash can where I keep the birdseed, has had its lid pushed off several times this week.

Now you know that those cans have a pretty tight fitting lid. I had no idea what was pushing it off, so I put a bungi cord through the side hoops, and the lid loop. The critter still is able to push it aside.

Today, I put two big bricks on it.

Back to last night, I grabbed the flashlight and turned off the kitchen light, and walked to the window sticking my Mag Lite against the glass….there ’twas; ‘nuther coon, standing on the bird feeder platform, leaning over with the hanging bird feeder in his claws. He saw me and left the scene after emptying said hanging feeder.

Looks like I’ll have to set up the have a heart trap again this evening.

Killing a caged animal, watching the death twitch, and hauling the body out to the brush line for the buzzards is  not my idea of pleasant early Saturday morning chore.

Uncle Leo’s first big role…

The wife is still out in Ft Worth, recovering from cataract surgery. She may be back here at the ranch late next week. Her summer vacation ends at the end of July. Yep, back to school for teachers in the first week of August.

We had 2 1/4 inches of rain in the past seven days, which is excellent timing.

Too bad it was after the grass fire the idiot neighbor started last Sunday. My across the street neighbor called me around 2:30 saying there was a grass fire next door to him and if the wind kept up, it would blow across the road onto my property.

I went from a total sleep stupor to wide awake and outside in about 30 seconds.

If you can imagine, my back faces the narrow road between the properties. This prick started burning brush on the other side of his property in a moderately brisk north wind (I am facing N NW) it “got away from him” and spread quickly the breadth of his property.

This shot is taken to the right of the first one. The wind died down, plus the local volunteer fire department showed up with a couple of self contained pumper trucks and hosed down the perimeter and hot spots. Folks who burn without permission, and supposed to get fined $2500 if the fire department is called.

If this would have jumped the road, it would have caught the western part of my property on fire, and it’s mostly undeveloped with oak, scrub mesquite, and brush.

I am seriously considering ordering another 55 water barrel. If necessary, I’ll just leave it in the shed, and it something like that happens again, I’ll put it in the Ranger, fill it, and pop one of the bungs, and drive slowly in front of the fire, and wet the ground…better than standing around watching.

I know, I know. 55 gallons off water weighs over 456 lbs; plus the weight of the barrel.


4 thoughts on “Update From The Country

  1. For your 55gal water drum. Build a stand for it that is the same height as the Ranger’s tailgate. There are designs that will allow you to lay it over with minimal effort.

  2. Raccoons will get past just about anything. You pretty much have to put padlock hasps on both sides of the can and lid, and clip a carabiner into each one of them. They’ll laugh at whatever springs, strings, or bungies you use.

    Keep the corn gluten, bird seed, chicken feed, and whatever else in steel trashcans. Those damned rodents will chew right through anything else to get at what’s inside. They do just about as much damage staying alive as we do!

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