Archive for September, 2013

I went out to the greenhouse yesterday.  My goal was to clear off the work bench for the winter.  I went out there early before the heat of the day.  I took a dying pumpkin down to the chickens and moved my garden wheelbarrow over to the greenhouse door.  Then I got busy.

This year’s compost delivery was a disappointment in that it contained many weed seeds.  I’ve never had such a problem before.  I’ve contacted the compost business to let them know.  They were quite concerned.  I might order from them next year, or I might find somewhere else to get compost.

Anyway, in the greenhouse, I had many 72-slot trays and pots that were overtaken by weeds which killed the plant I actually wanted.  I emptied these out into the wheelbarrow.  They will go into our garden in the spring, or maybe it will just be dumped in the field so we don’t have to worry about weed seeds in the garden which already has too many weeds.

Next, I transplanted young hibiscus and evening primrose into pots for the winter.  I know I could just transplant them outside, but I want to keep them in pots until they have good strong rhisomes.  I did this with rhubarb also.  All will be transplanted outside come Spring.

Once that was done, I gave everything a good watering.  The lettuce, spinach, and kale are coming up in the raised bed.  The swiss chard and peas haven’t come up yet.  The strawberries look great.  I’ve put several runners in pots so they will take root.  They will also be transplanted outside, or maybe in one of the greenhouse’s many gutters.

The entire time I was working, I also caught grasshoppers in a jar.  I took them down to the chickens once I’d done the day’s work.  The chickens had a feast.  I collected eggs, then went inside.  I quit at a good time.  As I was coming up the hill from the chickens, my knee popped and the bones moved in way that bones should not move.  I propped my feet up once I sat down.

I hope your fall garden is doing well.


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Thor had a meeting today with a very nice lady named Paula, who works for the Virginia Health Department.  She was happy to see that Thor is a happy dog who shows no signs or symptoms of rabies.  She petted him and told him what a wonderful dog he was.  She also told me that she was glad that we kept up with his rabies shots.  She was grateful that I’ve been posting about the experience.  She released Thor from confinement.  He is now visiting the neighbor’s house.  I’m sure they missed him, just as he missed them.

I was surprised several days ago by our UPS man.  He was unaware that rabies vaccinations are mandatory for dogs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  He was just as unaware that the vaccination saves dogs lives.  He knows now because I educated him.  I also let him know about rabies clinics that are held in many locations around our area.  He asked if our cats had the shots, and I told him yes.  All our pets do.  I’d much rather be safe than sorry any day.

Looking at Thor, I’m so glad he had up-to-date vaccinations.  That fact saved his life.  Please see to it that your furry friends have their rabies vaccines.  It stands to save their lives just as it did with our Thor.

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One more day to go on Thor’s confinement period.  He’s doing great!  No signs of rabies, yay!

So, this morning I took Thor for a walk on his leash, of course.  We started down the driveway before heading into the old, goat field.  He rolled in the grass and listened for deer before doing his business.  He explored the entire field.  After he was satisfied, we walked by the chickens.  Then we went to his cable behind the house.  After making breakfast, I sat where he could look in the window and see me.  He looked into the woods many times.  I’m sure he heard some deer, but I never saw them.  Callie, our female cat, came up to Thor for his grooming expertise.  She licked him while he groomed her.  When she had had enough, she walked away.  Shortly after she left, Salem came up for his grooming time.  Puff was groomed for the longest period of time.  He wanted to be groomed on both sides from head to tail tip.  Thor thoroughly enjoyed being their groomer.

Tomorrow, the Health Department will either call or come by or both to check on Thor.  A decision will be made at that time as to whether the confinement period is over or needs to continue.  I believe that it will be over tomorrow.  I’ll let you know either way.


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This  butterfly was in our fallow field on some thistle.

This butterfly was in our fallow field on some thistle.


I was walking Thor while carrying my camera.  We paused so I could take this photo.  The butterfly was busy collecting nectar from the flower.  Thistle is a host plant for some butterfly species.  We did eventually mow this one down, but we left the other two acres of fallow fields alone.  We have been increasing our butterfly population by keeping both host and food flowering plants for butterflies.  Another good example of a host plant, one that butterflies lay eggs on, is milk weed.  It’s a good idea to research host and food plants for the beneficial and pretty insects you want in your yard or garden.

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Today started off with no alarm clock, which almost made my son late for his ride to college.  Fortunately, he and I both awoke about twenty minutes before he had to leave.  Thor was on the foot of my bed.  He didn’t even look up when I called out to my son to see if he was awake.  Joshua caught his ride.  Thor and I went back to sleep.

About an hour or so later, I got up for the day.  Thor, as usual, continued to doze until I was ready to take him for a walk.  Out the door we went.  He checked out the porch before heading out to the cars.  He’s always hopeful that he’ll get to go for a ride.  This morning, like most mornings, was just a walk.

We headed down the driveway.  He started sniffing the ground at the path that leads to the neighbors.  He looked down the path hopefully.  Once he realized I wasn’t going that way, he continued down the driveway.  He sniffed the tall grass with loud snorts.  Once back up the driveway, we turned in front of the goat barn.  The tall grass was wet with dew and my shoes became slippery.  I walked carefully while he explored the smells that appeared overnight.  He was very interested in the tall grass and pines in the lower field.  Maybe some deer were there.

We walked by the chickens as the rooster paid attention to a hen.  He crowed his delight afterward.  (He has a strange crow.)  We continued on to the tall grass and back to the house where Thor gladly stepped up to the cable.  I attached it to his collar and gave him a hug.  Breakfast and coffee.  Time on the computer.  A chat with a friend.  Now, hours later, Thor wants to walk some more.

Thor on his cable-chain

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The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

published by Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-220729-6



Iolanthe Seabourne is an elemental mage who is born in a region controlled by Atlantis. She conjured lightning to repair a light elixir that she had made for a wedding. She did not realize that it would draw the attention of Prince Titus VII, or that he would come to protect her from those who sought to harness her power for themselves. Titus tells her of his plans to protect her and to kill the Bane, the person who most wants to harness her abilities. He asks that she work with him toward this goal. She reluctantly agrees.

In order to protect Iolanthe, Titus hides her at boarding school for boys. She is given the name Archer Fairfax and makes a convincing boy. She makes friends quickly, especially after showing her prowess on the cricket field. Meanwhile, Titus and she use a book called the Crucible to strengthen her magic powers. They enter the Crucible and participate in fairy tales. Each teaches different abilities and presents different obstacles. For example, in Sleeping Beauty they must get past wyverns.

The biggest obstacle Iolanthe has to overcome is her own doubt. Before she meets Prince Titus, she knows she is gifted with fire, water, and earth. Her guardian, Master Horatio Haywood, convinced her that she had no ability when it came to the element of air.

Titus faces the real obstacle of the Inquisitor, who is a mind mage. He must also convince Iolanthe that she can manipulate air, that she is the most power elemental mage of their generation. He also has to hide Iolanthe from the agents of Atlantis.

Personally, I understand Master Haywood going to great lengths to protect Iolanthe. I would do that with any of my sons. I also understand Iolanthe’s reluctance to believe in her own abilities, especially after being told for so long that she had no ability to manipulate air. I do not like the Inquisitor. Her abilities have brutal results.

I like The Burning Sky for its storyline. My favorite parts is the adventures they main characters have while in the Crucible. The only thing that would make this book better would be to increase the depth of the characters, perhaps by adding more of their background stories. I would recommend this book to middle grade and adults who enjoy these books. I think girls will find the book most interesting.

I won an advance reader’s edition of The Burning Sky on Goodreads.com.

Michele Rice Carpenter

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Thor and the Raccoon – Day 25

Well, we are more than half way through Thor’s 45 day confinement period.  He is his usual puppy self.  He loves to go for walks, often….which is fine.  After all, it’s exercise for us too.  He’s been loosing weight because he’s not getting so many treats from the neighbors.  Thor didn’t come home once.  We put out fliers and put up posters.  We drove around to ask neighbors if they’d seen him.  We had no luck until he was discovered under a neighbor’s back deck.  He’d been hit by a car and went there.  We immediately took him to the vet.  He had a broken metacarpal which healed nicely with a splint and some down time.

Anyway, while talking with our neighbor’s during Thor’s missing time, we discovered the Secret Life of Thor.  At one house, he is given daily treats including cheese stuffed hotdog and other similar foods.  At another house, he loves to watch the cows.  The landowner doesn’t mind because Thor doesn’t chase them.  At another neighbor’s, he loves to ride on their ATVs with them.  Who ever would have guessed that he’d have so many friends and so many secrets?  It’s nice to know that our neighbors love him, too.

So, here’s another photo of Thor.  I hope your pets and farm animals are doing well.

Thor Rolling

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