Living A Simplified Life!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trip to Farmers Market

A beautiful sunny Saturday and a great way to get out of the house for awhile and go exploring. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Norman has the Farmers Market up at the County Fairgrounds. The problem is it is only open until noon on Wednesdays and till 12:30 on Saturdays. If I work late at night, it leaves me little time to get up there. I was bound and determined I was going to get there today because I needed some tomato starts before it gets too late to start planting them. I managed to get there about noon and wandered through just a few of the booths. Some were set up outside in the parking lot and then there is a huge building filled with vendors. I parked the car up by the livestock barn and walked to the market area. As I did, I heard the loudspeaker from the barn saying "one of the things I look at when ..........." Oh dear, keep walking! I know that I am a sucker when it comes to animals, no matter what kind they are. I was on a mission and the vegetables came first!

Many of the vendors outside had vegetables from different states and some from outside of the United States. I wanted to find locally grown products so I kept searching. It didn't take me long, just inside the building and the first booth to the left was a local vendor with a table filled with a nice assortment of beautiful plants. Being the first time gardener that I am, I asked for some advice not only on the actual planting but which varieties to purchase. Next week, I will probably be going back and grab some of their patio tomatoes as well.

They also had a lilac bush and since it was close to closing time, they not only discounted my tomato plants but the lilac bush as well. She said that the lilac plant was already two years old and should produce some blooms later on for me this year. I am so anxious to see some beautiful fragrant lilacs growing in my yard.

After putting my purchases into my car, of course I had to go check out what was going on in the livestock barn. They were having a goat show! Since I've been reading up on goats, what a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with some. I got a chance to visit with some of the gals that were showing their goats. It was lunch time for the kids and it was fun to watch, the nannies so patient with their babies, as they nursed. I swear, they were fast little critters, took them no time at all to totally empty mama out!

I came home and got some more of the weeds pulled and the ground raked so that I could start turning some earth. I guess there are some advantages to having a yard full of weeds, underneath there isn't any grass! So I was able to get my beautiful lilac and tomatoes planted with ease.

My little climbing rose bush out front had a profusion of red/pink/white peppermint blooms this year. I was so afraid that when the workmen were here earlier this year and they helped me clear all the ivy out of the flower beds around the front of the house, that they had killed the rose bush because someone cut it way way back. Of all the things that I've planted, that has done so well. I did transplant some jonquils a couple of years ago into the front beds but the ivy overtook them and it wasn't until all the ivy was removed that they began to flourish. I do need some other plants in there since those jonquils only bloom for such a short period of time and the beds look naked!

Think I'll head to bed and have dreams of beautiful fragrant lilac blossoms and fresh red tomatoes!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weeds, Weeds Everywhere Weeds!

Oh boy, do I have a problem! These recent rains have created an abundance of growth of nothing but weeds in my back yard! I don't see this many weeds in any of my neighbors yards..... I think they all decided to grow in mine.

I went out and started pulling them by hand. Now mind you, I have a large corner back yard so I'm looking at probably 1/4th to 1/2 an acre of land back there! Once I began this chore, I came to a horrible conclusion. By the time I get all the weeds pulled, I am going to have nothing but big patches of bare dirt back there. That's a good thing in some respects because I want to add more garden space and some pretty wild flower areas, paths, but little did I know that Mother Nature was going to help me along the way so well!

I hate pesticides with all their chemicals so I guess I am going to renting a rototiller and just plow up the entire yard and start with a clean slate.

Guess it is time to go browse through some books with gardening ideas. I've been wanting to turn my yard into a nice cottage garden retreat and now it looks like I'm going to get the chance to do so all at once.

I love P. Allen Smith's gardening techniques so I better be looking at some of his gardening books as well. I like this one about container gardens, that way I can move things around and follow the sun and bring them inside in the winter and put them under grow lights if necessary.

Time to go get those fingers dirty again!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Massive Damage In Oklahoma

Today, we were hit with numerous tornadoes across Oklahoma. I have only seen and heard about the damage on the television, I haven't ventured out yet to see first hand the damage that has been done in my city.

What is surprising is that they are saying there was quite a bit of damage done here in Norman, but I haven't seen any in the few blocks close to my house in the Central north part of the city. Yet, about 2 miles away, where the National Weather Service building is located, they are saying that they lost many windows. I am not sure if it was from an actual tornado or just the 100+ mph straight line winds or outflow winds that were created which caused the damage. I'll have to venture out tomorrow and see what I can see.

So far, most of the damage I've seen on the television has been south and west of us down off I-35 and Hwy 9 and also north and east of us out towards Lake Thunderbird.

Luckily I have an underground shelter, which my neighbor and I went to as the sirens began going off. It was interesting in that I was watching television and they were talking about a storm forming down to the south and west of us and then almost instantaneously they stated a tornado warning issued for Norman and the next thing our sirens were going off. It was a good thing that I had already gotten my animals into their carriers and taken down to the shelter because once the sirens went off, it was just minutes to get us humans down into the shelter and safety.

We listened to the weather radio, that I had taken down with us, as the wind and rain pelted the door of the shelter. I kept listening for the "sound of a train" that everyone says you usually hear as a tornado roars through, but I didn't hear any sounds like that. But of course with the continual sound of the siren along with the wind driven rain it made it difficult to hear anything that might have sounded like a train going through.

Finally there was silence, no more sirens, no more rain and no more wind. I listened to the radio to see if they would announce that we were now in the clear but they were too busy announcing warnings for other areas. We continued to stay in the shelter for awhile longer and then I ventured out and went and checked the television to see if I could determine if we were now in the clear. It appeared that we were so I had my neighbor come on up out of the shelter and I started making us some ice tea. Before I could even get the tea made, our sirens went off again. We looked at the television and weren't able to tell if they had another sighting or if perhaps that siren was the "all clear" siren. We decided not to take any chances after having seen some of the video of the recent destruction in our area. So back down to the shelter we went again. This time we were down there about 30 minutes before I once again ventured out to check the situation. The weatherman was saying that all of Central Oklahoma was now clear and the storms were moving East into Arkansas traveling at about 60 mph and would be totally out of the state soon.

This was the first storm of the season and they are saying there were somewhere between 25-35 tornadoes that touched down in many communities in Oklahoma. This is more than we normally have in an entire tornado season per year. There are massive power outages, with the big metal towers down as well as telephone poles which have been snapped off at their bases. First estimates are that most of the twisters were between F3 & F4 strengths as they uprooted trees, flipped large tractor trailer rigs, destroyed homes and snuffed out five lives.

We are due to have more storms come Wednesday and Thursday. Please say some prayers as we begin the massive cleanup ahead of us and those who lost loved ones are able to lay them to rest and have some time to grieve.