African Violets – Put Down A Leaf

Garden Dreams.....Flower Visions


Wow! that’s a lot of leaves

When the African Violet bug bites, the virus really catches hold,, the Newbie finds herself drawn to advertising that offers collections of leaves for a ‘can not resist’ price.  Little does she realize each leaf can produce six or more babies.

Each Mommy leaf probably comes with a name tag attached.  Things become personal, now!                             ???

The bonding process, that is so much a part of the African Violet culture, begins to manifest itself, from this beginning.  Suddenly, this is not a leaf!  This is my precious ” Adera”  who is going to make me a  Mommy soon!.

You seasoned growers know exactly what I am talking about.  If you are not smitten with the virus you are thinking this is the most stupid thing I ever read.   I smile  ..I…

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Go Ahead Grandpa, You Can Chuckle

Gardening, Creatures and Life In A Small Town

My grandfather was a one-mule dirt farmer.

He grew an acre of corn and was allotted two acres to grow cotton. His garden was enormous, with rows that seemed to go on forever, when I was sentenced to hoe them.

Plants growing in pots were strictly a diversion the women messed with. No self-respecting man put plants in a pot (named thusly because the women usually used discarded chamber pots).

Now, three generations down the road, a friend and I are actually admitting we use containers (can not find chamber pots anymore) to plant, of all things, vegetables in!!

Huh! Huh! (Grandpa did not actually laugh at such foolishness he just made low kind of “huh! huh! huh!” and you could see his belly bounce under his overalls).

“The young fools growed up on a farm and they didn’t learn a darn thing.”


Container gardening has become the rage for…

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Gran’ma Daisy – gave me a dahlia root

My world-simple thoughts of a simple man

It all started with Gran’ma Daisy

Five generations from Germany, she was a hardworking mother and farmer’s wife. She did not have a lot of spare time, but she made time for her plants. They were gorgeous and one of the few things I remember about her.

The back porch, always used as the entrance was a veritable jungle of greenery, planted in miscellaneous large discarded enamel kitchen pots. Huge ferns dominated the entrance along with a star flower plant that every year had the largest bloom I have ever seen.

In the cold winter she would put these plants in the unheated dark hall that ran down the center of the old house. They always survived to live another year on the back porch.

Her outdoor love was her dahlias! I remember them as tall, lush and topped with dinner plate sized colorful blooms.
To me they seemed exceptionally…

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Our pets are our children. Amazingly human in actions, they let my wife and me know when they are unhappy. Gray Tabby was very unhappy about this situation!

My world-simple thoughts of a simple man

My Guest author,  Gray Tabby  has been a part of our household for 15 years.  She has experienced and lost great loves in  her long life.  She has been uncomplaining and usually cooperative, except for one long lasting episode.

Now  her life has taken a drastic turn.

“I just don’t understand this whole situation,” she explains, ” have I not given  my all, have I not put up with my people in order to maintain  a peaceful home.   Now I wonder, what, after 15 long years has gone wrong?”

Ms. Tabby explained to me as we spoke, “I am going to speak my mind!  It is just not fair. I want no misunderstanding in this matter.”

Here is her unedited statement of the situation as  she sees it.


Gray Tabby

In 1995 I was borne into a litter of kittens that resulted from…

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Gardening – Extend the Pleasure

Garden Dreams.....Flower Visions


Every January it’s the same!  An unconscious response to  additional seconds of daylight triggers that urge to rush the growing season!   Anticipation wraps me in its warm embrace.   Dreams of gardening activities fill my head.

next doorIt’s too early.  I will not sow any seeds for at least two months, I swear on a stack of seed catalogs and a folder of internet nursery sites!

 I lie!

By mid-February, like an addict, satisfying his cravings, I have “just a few” seedlings reaching toward the lights.  Oh, what satisfaction this defiant early start gives, even with the problems it creates!


Here in zone 8, despite  a few setbacks, gardening activities are humming by mid-March, at the very latest.Spring bulbs put on a dazzling show, followed by flowering shrubs and

Memories are made of  this Memories are made of


First rainbows of bearded iris, then  dazzling displays of day lilies  carry us through April – May.

I used a simple photoshop with this I used a simple photoshop…

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Creatures In My Garden

 Two Worlds Collide

With one exception, I encourage critters in my garden. Creeping, jumping, slithering or flying — they are all welcomed!

You see, I am the intruder into their world where life, wonder, grace, purpose and  beauty abound.   Sure, there is struggle, even fierce conflict and death, but not senseless destruction, we humans accept as part of ours.

Yes, I experience conflicting emotions.   From youth my thinking has been guided toward  “If it is small, exceptionally large, or extraordinary, destroy it.”

IMG_0101The rationalization is this annihilation is done in the name of science ( study it), our protection and preservation (it might do harm ),  maybe boastful pride ( a trophy).

In my garden, I can be different.  There is no need to destroy simply because it is here;  the beauty of co-existence brings appreciation for the little things.    There is no need for two worlds to collide.

Incubator Extraordinaire

Unnie    9 days

Unnie 9 days

A tiny yellow puff of fuzz, darting about, insisting on her share of feed off the floor, she was one of four tiny chicks who had  arrive at last.

Finally here, after four months and one mis shipment from the hatchery, Unnie, was destined to show I had spent a lot  of  unnecessary time, frustration, and money in five years attempting to increase my flock using artificial incubation.

Unnie is a white silkie bantam.   She was the only female of the four.  A  little under two pounds of white furry growth, wearing heavy white stockings, she is one productive, good looking girl!

But I am getting ahead in my story

Five years ago, I ordered fifteen chicks from a commercial hatchery.   Included in the peep were four tiny silkies.    All I knew about silkies was they were cute.  Those little creatures stole my heart and were the beginning of a love affair.

Incubation seemed a logical way to maintain my flock.

The parade of incubators followed

First came the styrofoam unit.    Quail, chickens, even ducks successfully hatched in this setup.    While the hatch percentage was good, could I build a unit that was sturdier, less labor intensive, I wondered.

That’s how the square pine box, complete with egg turner came about.

Folks, I could have bought a ready made unit for less money, but, hey, I would  not have bragging rights to “I made it myself, and it works!”  I was moderately successful, but after a few tries with parcel post shipped eggs, all incubators became a put away toy.

Unnie provided a perfect excuse

Then came Unnie!  My standard flock is hens, no roos.   img_1887 With the silkies I now have two roosters, and Unnie.   Unnie is productive, almost an egg a day, until she has laid  a dozen or so eggs, she becomes broody.

I wonder?

Now, more chicks is the last thing I need, but chicken folks are not the most disciplined creatures on God’s green earth.

In early June, Unnie began to cluck.  I left eight eggs for  her to hatch.

The wait was on.

In  about three  weeks Unnie was the proud Mama of four little black balls.  Maybe I was mistaken about the partridge, but I swear, I know I heard him crowe!  She raised three black young’uns in the warmth of summer, with no help from me, except feed and water

In September, Unnie was laying again, she was partnered with the partridge roo.  Sixteen eggs this go around, I left them all in the nest.

???????????On October 16 her clutch was complete, fourteen patridge colored chicks!

An early freeze—could she care for them?

Freezing weather came early this year.  Less than a week after the hatch,  temps dropped to freezing several nights in succession; temps remained abnormally low. Could this tiny hen, weighing less than two pounds, successfully care for fourteen chicks under adverse conditions without my oversight?   I provided normal shelter, feed and water.

Now, six weeks of age, twelve of these chicks are balls of partridge fluff, each about half the volume of the white, ??????????????????????????????????????????diminutive, Unnie.

My lesson

While fairly successful using artificial incubation, I was also spending a lot of money and time caring for the hatch during the 21+ day incubation period; with this tiny hen I can hatch all the chicks I need for a season with little effort or frustration.  Unnie has shown that Mama can care for a family.

Postscript: December 9, 2013    When we went out to feed Unnie this morning, we found an animal had come into her coop during the night and killed her.     Only the brain had been eaten.     All twelve of her chicks survived the attack.