My Epic Book Length Post With Photos A Plenty

Chapter 1: It’s A Grasshopper Invasion and The Havoc They Have Caused!

Remember last post I mentioned grasshoppers towards the end, well they are still around. I walk around to do my watering and they scurry, hop, jump or fly in front of me. I will be turning on the water faucet for the hose and there are at least 6 beady little eyes watching and staring at me. They just creep me out. Oh, would you like to see me throw an hysterical, jumping, dancing around fit? Just let one of those creepy hoppers land on me. I can’t stand their grabby pokey legs gripping onto me. No, grasshoppers do NOT fall into my cute, cool creepy crawlers column!

 

They Just creep me out!

 

 

They caused lots of damage to the vegetation. I didn’t think any of my peppers would survive the onslaught. David’s okra didn’t fair much better. The irises in the southeast corner of the shed bed were chewed to the ground. There was a bachelor button and a couple of other flowers in the same corner that didn’t even get to bloom before they were turned into leafless sticks. That flowery plant that I thought was a carrot plant gone wild ( I pulled it early in September expecting a mutated jumbo carrot. There was just a regular type root. I was bummed, I wanted a giant mutated carrot! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) was stripped down to a clump of sticks. My gladiolus had trouble with the wet spring so only about eight came up. One was swelling to produce a cane but the hoppers ate it before it even got above the leaves. Even the marigolds were nibbled upon. They are usually a big bushy leafy plant with lots of blooms.

 

This was eventually eaten down to the ground.

 

 

All flowers were not doomed to be eaten. If they were low to the ground or hidden among the grass and weeds they got a chance to bloom.

Light Pink Poppy

 

 

Well by the end of August the hoppers seemed to have run their course. The peppers and the okras still had a few leaves so they started to make a come back. They put on new leaves and began to flower. The okra even started to produce fruit. So all through September we kept them watered and hoped the weather would stay nice a little longer.

I didn’t realize Okra had such pretty flowers.

 

 

September also had a few surprise late bloomers that waited for the hoppers to be gone. The zinnias were planted a couple of years ago but didn’t come up. I could have raked them closer to the surface this year. The hollyhocks were a total surprise. They must have been in the box of wildflower seeds that were suppose to be suited for humming birds that I planted this year.

Finally a marigold bloomed. You can see how sparse the foliage is.

 

 

Alas it was not meant to be. We had a freezing night on October 7th that put an end to any hope of peppers or okra.

 

The more tender flowers like the cosmos did not make it through the freeze either. A couple of petunias, the marigolds, a bachelor button, the zinnias, and the hollyhocks, and the johnny jump-up all made it for a couple more weeks until we had several freezing nights in a row. The little Johnny- Jump up was a little trooper, he just grew like crazy and was not bothered by those pesky hoppers or a freezing night or two.

Chapter 2: Crawly Critters and Cute Cats

The summer was just not for grasshoppers other crawly things could be found among the flowers and grass.
I was walking down the back steps when I saw this funnel web in the grass glimmering in the morning sunshine. It was there for several days. One day I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the spider who made this awesome web.

 

Mid September I was weeding the flower bed on the west end of the house, when I came across this praying mantis. I was about to start pulling the weeds in that area when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. I took several pics as she crawled on the weeds that I was wanting to pull. I picked her up with my outdoor walking stick and moved here to the bushes in the back yard. Then I got back to pulling the weeds.

David came in, on the afternoon of October 7th and placed this caterpillar by me as I was doing things on my laptop. Some of you may call these woolly bears. There are a couple of ole wives tales that these little fuzzy fellows can predict the weather. The one that comes to my mind is, the direction you find them crawling will predict the coming of winter. Well David just told me he was crawling in the grass by BOB. That very night we had our first night below freezing. I wonder now, what direction he was crawling?

The next afternoon when it had warmed back up to near 70 degrees. I found this praying mantis hanging out on the deck upright. She was a good size and her tummy looked pretty full. I don’t know if it was the same one I let loose in the backyard in September. They do have wings to fly so it could have been.

The other bugs will never see me coming.

 

I was able to bring Sully out quite a bit over the summer. He really enjoys the sunshine. He likes to eat grass. When he is not eating grass he is snuggling up any patch of catnip he can find.

*sniff slobber sniff drool* I just love catnip on a sunny day!

 

When I am not outside I have Little Kitty to keep me company. She perches on the DVD case and gives me the cuteness while I am doing stuff on my laptop at the kitchen table.

Even when I am outside she manages to give me the cuteness. I was doing a walk around the house to take photos. I passed her bedroom window to see her watching me. I think these photos are cool because of the reflections. That is why I called them Reflections of Little Kitty.

Chapter 3: Bathing and Covering BOB for Winter and One More Renovation Started

David decide to use one of the last nice days to work on BOB. He and Nick started on the roof applying that waterproof flex tape (As SEEN ON TV) to the cracked vent covers. David worked on sealing the leak on the outside of the loft on the passenger side. He had removed the weather stripping and sprayed foam into the gap. Then replaced the stripping after he let it dry for a few hours. He also caulked any gaps he found doing a walk around and any gaps on the roof around vents and such. Nick was put to work finishing up the bath that was started in the spring. This time he did the front of the loft and the hood of the cab. David parked the Ranger in close to BOB so Nick would have a platform to stand on because David was using the ladder to caulk the gaps on the roof.

Can you see the blackness above the window of the loft?

 

The next afternoon was spent tying down a 24 x 12 foot tarp to cover BOB’s roof for the winter. We should have been doing this every winter then maybe BOB would not have gotten so many leaks in his roof.

 

Before the weather got to cold David decided to go ahead and tear out the bathroom sink/vanity. He wants to put a large sink with more shelving under it. He wants the larger sink for cleaning fish.

Chapter 4: Old Things Become New

We had this old ratty brass chair. It was in need of a new covering. I had this old flowery flannel fitted sheet that was thin in the middle but the edges were still in good shape. I thought it would make a good cover for the chair. I removed the back from the brass bars. I didn’t remove the old cover because the back was made from cardboard that seemed like it was broken. I cut a piece of the sheet to fit around the back. I used a staple gun to fix the sheet to the back. I left one end open. I stuffed the curve of the back with polyester fiber from an old sleeping bag that had worn thin. I stapled the opening then screwed the back on to the brass bars again.
The seat of the chair became a family project. I was going to do the same with it as the back. When I got the seat removed from the brass bars I saw that it was made of particle board the was rotten and falling apart. I would not be able to put screws back in it to attach it to the bars as it was the seat was only being held in place by three screws. This is where the boys come in on the project. I needed a new seat. David does not like it when I use a hammer let alone a skill saw. So we searched the wood scrap pile and found a suitable board to cut down to size for a seat. David and Nick worked together doing that and drilling starter holes for the screws. I cut a piece of sheet to fit the new seat. The old foam cushion was rotting and becoming dust so I used polyester fiber from the sleeping bag again to cushion the seat. Nick helped keep the sheet tight over the new seat while I stapled it to the board. David was looking in the hardware coffee cans for new suitable screws while we did the stapling. David and Nick worked together holding the seat to the brass bars and screwing it back together. TA DA! We have a new chair!

 

The next old thing that became new was not as much work. A friend, of my son-in-law Justin, asked him if he knew anyone that needed a loveseat and couch. Justin said that he probably could use them. He and Kay had been looking for a loveseat for awhile. If Justin came over and hauled them away he could have them for free. So he did just that. They were able to get the loveseat into their house. The couch was to big and bulky to make it through their small awkward porch/entryway into the living room. David stopped by their house the next day, Kay asked if we would like that couch outside. David didn’t even see it when he came in. So he went back outside to take a look. He said sure, our current couch’s cushions had seen better days. So when Justin got off work that evening he brought it out. TA DA! We have a new couch!

The new couch.

 

Chapter 5: Slowly Crocheting Through Summer

I did crochet some this summer. It was another thing I just didn’t feel like doing. The heat really had nothing to do with it. I could have crocheted small things that would not be laying across my lap making me overheat.
I spent most of my time crocheting granny squares. They were finally seamed together in August to become my Psychedelic Granny Square Sweater. I got the idea to make myself one when I was making the baby sweaters. I wanted mine to be a bit longer more like a jacket. I think it turned out pretty good. A little story about my sweater jacket. I was traveling back east with my oldest brother. We stopped at a convenience store for a bathroom break and to get snacks. I was walking back to the car when a gentleman said he really liked my jacket. I said thanks I made it myself. He said his wife would like one. I said I was not local. He said neither was he. I really wished then that I had some business cards made up. I could have given him one and he could have contacted me with info to make his wife one. Then after I had been home for a few days a thought just popped into my head. I could have just sold mine to him right off my back.

 

I worked on this “Making and Joining Squares Project Afghan”. I joined larger squares, smaller squares, and triangles, to form rectangles. One section is just one large rectangle. The last section is four small rectangles to form a large rectangle. I am running short on yarn so I had to put this project in hibernation.

I had a bit of skein and another full skein of this Herrshcners “baby yarn” variegated yarn. It is on its way to becoming a baby blanket with some pink and purple thrown into the mix. I started with two granny squares that I seamed together to form the rectangle. I am now playing with adding some more squares at each end then continuing in the rectangle.

 

I was finally getting tired of crocheting squares and rectangles so I decided to make some different things. I have a bunch of Christmas sparkley yarn so I crocheted a chevron beanie. I am also doing a chevron scarf using the Christmas yarns. I had bit of scrap Caron “simply soft” yarn so this double crochet beanie was done up in no time.

 

 

I had some pink Herrshcners “kid’s brite ” 3ply yarn just sitting there along with some pink Caron “simply soft” yarn. I don’t have a pink beanie so I made myself this simple hat.

 

I have started another beanie with the above yarns using the leaping blocks and stripes pattern.

I think that covers the crocheting chapter.

 

Chapter 6: Plans They Keep A Changin’

The reason we have been working on BOB so much this year was so we could do some long term traveling.
Plan 1- Head to the gulf coast of Texas in November.
Reasons for abandoning this plan were BOB was not going to be ready to go, funds were getting low, and while researching destinations in Texas, David saw that there has been an increase in violent crimes in the state.

Plan 2Go to Washington where you can get paid to fish in April of 2020.
David was wondering if there was anywhere you could get paid to fish without being a commercial fisherman with a boat. So he Googled it. You can get paid in Washington State to catch one species of fish called the pike minnow. They pay you to catch them because the fish is eating all the baby salmon before they can swim up river back to the ocean.
Reasons for abandoning this plan were no one seemed to be really thrilled with the idea, since David wanted to be gone for 6 to 8 months. He also got to thinking that maybe we are not in quite good enough health yet for a long trip into the boonies of Washington.

Plan 3Travel around Nebraska from April 2020 – October 2020
This plan seems like it will stick. We are familiar with our home state. We know the roads. We have people we can visit. If some kind of emergency comes up we are closer to home.
We are planning to travel from fishing spot to fishing spot. Some will be familiar to us some will be new. I have lived most of my life in Nebraska, but there are things I have not seen. We think we will head south first then head east. When we have gone as far east as we want we well head back west. Then do a little jaunt near the northern border. Then finally back south to the old homestead. Of course none of this is set in stone. We will probably play a lot of it by ear, taking it at a relaxing pace.

Flowers, Weeding, BOB, and Sully Too

 

As the summer progresses more flowers have started to show their colorful faces. Although this year they are a bit on the short side. All the cool, cloudy, wet days have slowed their roll. The ones that do bloom are cute and pretty.

This was the first little petunia this year. It was hidden a bit by the weed grass.

 

This small white cosmos was in the same area.

 

This was an orange California poppy.

This small common poppy.

 

Several different colored cosmos.

 

The Bachelor Buttons will not be out done.

 

Two Pretty in Pink Poppies
It always seem that when the poppies bloom they look there best on a windy day.
I have to hold them but that still didn’t keep the petals from swaying in the wind.

 

The first golden tickseed.
It was already starting to fade from being wind blown.

 

The second little petunia after that bed was weeded.

 

This flower is one that was a late bloomer last year. Also it may have been late because when things were first sprouting I thought it was a weed. Once the weeds got taller I did not see it. So a lone field larkspur plant with purple flowers survived last year.

 

This year I again sprinkled this same wildflower mixture. I again was pulling this plant as a weed when things were first sprouting. Somehow this guy hid himself away amongst the taller weeds from my grabby little fingers this year.
I again have a lone forking, rocket, or field larkspur plant but this year the flowers are pink. I was also able to get better photos as he is right along the edge next to the railroad tie border.

 

My final flower is not an on purpose flower. It is actually that carrot I let go wild.

It has gotten quite tall and has several branches with many flower heads.
It has many insect visitors including this busy bumble bee.
I had a heck of a time just getting the three shots of her.

 

Now on to the weeding.
I weeded the west side of the deck bed. That is why I was able to find the second petunia a few days later.

 

I got the south bedroom window bed weeded too.

 

The can peppers and the south side of the shed were weed also.

 

 

 

 

David decided to take the water heater out of BOB. He said once he got to looking at it, that he thinks this was a replacement heater. He doesn’t think it was properly hooked back up as there were wires that were not even hooked in to the heater at all. (see photo below for wires)

The water heater removed and some of the copper tubing.

 

David eventually wants to put one of those electric tankless water heaters in BOB. We don’t really need hot water at this point. We don’t need it for showers since we took out the tub/shower and will be taking those at campsites and RV parks that provide showers. We can just boil water on the portable camp stove for doing dishes for now.
He also removed all the extra copper tubing (as you can see it is laying on the ground in the above photo of the water heater) for the propane that went to it ,the furnace and the refrigerator. Those have also been removed in previous remodels. After he got the tubing out he was able to find some end caps at ACE hardware to seal off the ends.
Now that all the extra propane lines were capped off, David wanted to make sure the propane tank worked properly and still provided gas to the stove and oven in BOB. The propane system is in proper working order. David was afraid that he may have to remove the tank and figure out a different propane system for the stove and oven.
Wooooo Hoooo! I don’t need to use the camp stove for boiling water or cooking. I also now have a working oven to cook in. Nick was glad that the oven works too. He wants me to be able to make my cheesy rice dish.

 

I was able to get BOB’s bedroom back in order.

 

I will finish off this post with Sully pouncing on one of the bijillion grasshoppers we have this year.

 

 

Wacky Weather and Other Stuff

Or What’s Been Going On The Last Couple of Months

 

The weather in May was quite crazy. We had a snow storm that started on the evening of theย  21st and continued into the morning of the 22nd. That is the latest snow I can recall in a long time. Now if we lived in the mountains that would not seem so unusual, but I live in the ridges and grasslands of Nebraska.

 

Three days later we were back to normal May weather with temperatures back where they should be in the 75 to 80 degrees range. So I spent the day mowing the “back forty” and turning soil over by the shed. I also put the rocks back in place under the downspout of the gutter for the shed. The little johnny jump-up flower is still doing well.

 

May 26th was spent celebrating Connor’s 1st Birthday(my second grandson). I can hardly believe it has been that long. He is such a cute little fella. He has lots of personality with a bit of orneryness thrown in.

 

The last day of May was just gorgeous. So Sully joined me outside, while I puttered around the yard doing things.

 

Just hanging on the step.

 

 

I transplanted my 4 sweet pepper plants in front of the shed by the steps. Last years flowers around the deck seeded well. I sprinkled a new box to fill in the bare spots. I decided to check choke cherry bushes in the backyard. I had been smelling the flowers on the breeze. I took these photos of said flowers. That done I called an end to my puttering.

 

June started out nice. I decided to give the grass around the water spout a trim this day. I can’t get the mower in close enough. So with scissors in hand I gave that grass a nice buzz cut.

 

I also loosened the soil in the flower bed under the bedroom window. I sprinkled a box of wildflowers here. That is when I noticed that the stray irises were putting on canes this year. This is the first year they will bloom after they got left behind when I cleaned the rest of them out back in July of 2015.

Blooming yellow irises.

 

The weather continued to be wacky, out of the four sweet pepper plants only one survived to mid June. The green bell pepper plants were finally ready to go outside. I planted three in the old sweet pepper spots then two more beside those. I decided to put the only two wall o’ waters we had around the last sweet pepper and one of the green bell plants. At the end o f June we got lots of rain again. I lost the two plants in the wall ‘ o waters when they collapsed on the plants. So I will have no sweet peppers. I still have the four unprotected green peppers on this side of the shed. If you look in the left hand corner of this photo you see a bushy little plant. That is a stray carrot from last fall. I just left him to grow just to see what he would do.

Two wall o’ waters and four unprotected green bell peppers.

 

The rest of the green bells were planted on the east side of the shed. These seedlings were grown in cardboard egg crates. Each cup had two seeds in most of them both seeds sprouted. I cut them into individual cups and planted them that way. I found six old coffee cans to go around them.

Six coffee can peppers.

 

I also got more flowers seeds sprinkled during this time and got the gladiolus bulbs in the ground. Wouldn’t you know we started another wet spell. I was hoping that they would not get saturated and rot like last year.

We are now in mid July and every thing is growing nicely. Remember that carrot I mentioned earlier in the post?
This is what he is doing. He has several flower heads. I think I will have some carrot seeds pretty soon. Once he seeds out I will pull or dig him out to see what the bottom half did. The four remaining peppers are doing well in this area.

 

The peppers in the coffee cans are just starting to peek over the tops of the cans.

Peek a Boo! We see you!

 

The flowers have started blooming in the deck beds. The baby’s breath was first. A couple of small white cosmos and a pink centered white bachelor button. This purple button was in the middle of the bed. On the corner of the deck the gladiolus did not rot out. The west end has catnip, cosmos, and lots of petunias.

 

The south window bed is not doing so well. Most of the wildflowers I sprinkled here were washed away by rain. A couple of marigolds from last year manage to sprout once the weather stayed warmer. There maybe one or two flowers from the wildflower mix on the west end. Next yardening day I need to weed it to find out for sure.

Weed Me, Arlene! Weed Me Now!

 

The west window bed is just getting started sprouting. I sprinkled a wildflower mix here too. This time I went ahead and lightly covered it with soil, so they didn’t get washed away. The Johnny jump-up in the south corner is just going wild this year.

 

And finally in plant related news…
Our neighbor had the second tree on the south side of the driveway felled. I think this wacky weather took its toll on the poor thing. It may have got infested with something and the weather didn’t help matters. This was our Wednesday evening entertainment.

 

 

The kitties have been just doing kitty things. Sully likes to sleep. Little Kitty likes to sit and stare at me. When they weren’t doing those things they would both assist with crochet photo shoots.

 

With all this rain this spring and early summer the shed roof has been leaking. David had Nick get on the roof to put sealant in the leaky spot. With that done David decided that the shed needed to be aired and dried out. So Milly the Shed Kitty got to come in so that the door could be left open to do just that.
She is now living up to the second meaning of Shed. Nick and I have been brushing her like crazy. She jumped on my tv tray by the kitchen table. I brushed for twenty minutes and removed the fur from the brush four times. I think there is a good sized tribble in the trash can now. ๐Ÿ˜€

A Little Bit Of This and That

 

I have been spending a lot of my time this month getting my music library organized on my laptop. The weather still doesn’t know what it is going to do so it was a thing I could do inside when I was not in the mood to crochet. When I was in the mood to crochet I worked on the bathroom floor rug. I had a little help on one of the last days before I finished it. Little Kitty thought she needed to hold it down while I was taking a break. She is just so stinking cute I could not ask her to move. So I went back to organizing my music.

 

 

That’s what I did on May 5th before David got up.

When he got up he decided he had a spring cleaning bug.

He wanted to clean up the pantry shelves, so we could put all the canned goods from the spare bedroom back in the pantry.

The Pantry is now fully stocked and organized.

 

 

Then he started pulling out everything else from the spare room. He wanted to reorganize it so he could move all his urban prospecting inventory and tools back in it. Little Kitty was happy with the newly organized spare room too.

 

This would give me back my living room. We toddler proof it for my younger grandson. The grandboys would have more room to play. We got all but a few smaller items moved over the first two days. David moved them over the course of the rest of the week. We got it all back together just in time for a good Mother’s Day Weekend.

Yippee! It’s a living room again!

 

My daughter, son-in-law, and the grandboys came over on Saturday. My daughter made a big dish of lagsana. It was yummy! I played with the grandboys until they wore out this grandma. This is what they gave me for Mother’s Day. It is a cute little hedgehog planter with a calandiva plant.

I will just squeeze in between these two plants.

 

 

 

Monday (May 13th) was actually a very nice day so everyone went outside to do some work. I tackled the leaf pile I made behind BOB. David wanted it moved so the grass could continue to spread into the bare spots and crowd out the weeds. I first had to put some air in the wheel of the wheelbarrow. I used my new little rake and the big leaf rake like salad tongs to place the leaves in the wheelbarrow. It took me six loads to move it over to the compost pile along the south fence.

 

While I was busy doing this, David and Nick were busy painting roof coating on BOB.

 

This is only one of the projects that will be done on BOB over the summer. We are getting him ready for the drive down to the Texas coast. We are planning on staying the winter of 2019 there. This was another reason the spare room was reorganized. So that things we need in BOB for the trip were readily accessible when it was time to pack up and hit the road.

 

Tuesday I first went out to feed and water Milly.
She was more interested in me giving her some pets.
So I obliged her After a couple of quick photos.

 

Then I went out to do some mowing. I did the section directly in front of the house between the deck and the back stairs. Later in the day, David moved BOB into this area. This will make it easier to continue his repairs. I took the photos the next morning before starting my next section of mowing.

 

I also happened upon the johnny jump-up in the west flower bed. This just goes to show you how cool and wet this spring has been. These little guys like it shady and wet. They usually have not jumped-up until I have begun regularly watering the beds.

Look at me! I am an early jumper!

 

 

Wednesdays section was rather large. I started at the west tree over to the east end tree that holds the clothesline. I finished that then just kept on going east until I reached the fence. I worked my way back towards the north over and around the wood pile, the burn barrel, and in front of the shed.

 

 

I paid for doing such a large section, on Thursday morning my hips were pretty stiff and sore. I go to hang with my daughter and grandboys on Thursdays, so no yardwork was done that day. I was starting to feel fairly good by the afternoon. Then my granddog, Buck was doing his zoomies around the yard. I just happened to be standing in one of his zoom paths. He came zooming by and crashed into my butt knocking me to the ground onto my bad left hip.

My daughter yelled at him because she thought he jumped up on me and knocked me down. After I calmed down and got myself off the ground I explained that he was doing his zoomies and did not do it on purpuse it was an accident.

I spent most of Friday lazing about in bed resting up from my dog collision. I would not have been going outside anyway as the weather decided to get cold and wet again. It was a cold, cloudy, foggy, misty, drizzly day. A perfect day to spend in bed watching dvds. The day’s show to watch was Criminal Minds Season 1.

Saturday was like Friday but not as wet, so I spent the morining playing games on the computer. My daughter’s family came over in the afternoon. We got to see their new family vehicle. It is a 2001 Dodge Durango. They have been needing a new one. Their old car was a Audi sedan. It had two car seats cramped in the backseat with a bit a room for the dog. Now the dog has the whole back section to himself and the carseats are not crowded together.

 

And here we are on Sunday morning typing more to this post.

 

 

Happy May Day!

 

I told you we were going to get snow yesterday and today.

We did and both days but it was gone before dark.

Yesterday it was melting as fast as it snowed, so no photos that day.

Today I woke up to about an inch and it was snowing pretty good.

It snowed until just afternoon then the melting began.