Tag Archives: Hostas

Homestead Update 5/7/2017

7 May


I have been working around the yard this week planting new shrubs and perennials. I received another order from Hostas Direct and they came in perfect condition. It is hard to believe I can open the shipping box and find 8 perfect specimens like this. I also bought some hostas and other plants from the FFA chapter of a local high school and they were really nice. I planted some tomatoes and peppers in the new raised bed I made last month and they seem to be doing well despite the 6 inches of rain we received last week.


Sweet Thing has been working on some crafts so she made this picture frame. I cut the wood and sanded it down then she white washed it, added the twine to hold the picture, and added some decorative accents. She is going to donate several of these to our local Bee Keepers club to auction off at our yearly fund raiser.



She made some vinyl letters and designs to stick onto these drink glasses. One of those machines I showed you in her sewing room printed these on vinyl and cut them out. Don’t ask me how. I may think of some ideas she can do for me with that machine!


I was in my shop last week making 3 more swarm traps to put out and Oreo and Kensey came in to help me. I have 22 traps out now and 4 of them have bees in them but I haven’t brought them in yet. I might get one or two tonight and bring them in and transfer them in the morning. The past two days have been sunny but the wind was blowing 30 MPH gusting to 40 MPH. Not good conditions for working bees, that wind puts them in a really BAD mood! I don’t like the wind either. I’ll keep you updated on events around here. Until then, keep prepping everyone!


Homestead Update 4/2/2017

2 Apr

Just a quick update, my phone and computer are not communicating properly so I couldn’t upload any new pictures.


I do have this picture I haven’t used yet. Two weeks ago when we had the below freezing cold snap, I covered my Hostas with a blanket. And I literally mean a blanket. This is an old reject I use for hauling furniture and such so I didn’t figure it would be a big loss if it was ruined. The next day was cold but sunny so I just laid it out across the hood of my truck and it dried just fine. I’m glad I covered them up. I missed one and the freeze bit it back to the ground.

swarm trap

I also managed to put out 15 swarm traps in the last 2 weeks. I still have 10 more to go. If the weather will cooperate I hope to put them out next week. Hopefully I will get my computer issues corrected, until then, I’ll let you know how it goes. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 6/25/16

26 Jun


It has been so long since I posted anything I hardly know where to start. The picture above is what a good garden should look like, unfortunately it is not mine. I just grabbed one from the net to show what I hope to obtain someday. I do have my one raised bed that is looking very good, but now is the time of year to determine whether the raised bed gardening method is do-able. It is becoming very hot and dry so I will have to see how the bed holds up with the amount of irrigation I can apply to it.

IMG_20160426_074800060 IMG_20160426_075212477

My longtime readers know I am a fan of Hostas. I recently received these Hostas in the mail. I was real leery of the condition these Hostas would arrive in, but they looked great! I ordered them from Hostasdirect.com and I have received one other order from them and it arrived perfectly as well.


I planted them in pots and placed them under a tree. You might notice the two pots on the right seem to be empty. That is because they ARE empty! These pots are sitting on an 18 inch tall table, so the only thing I can figure is a squirrel got up there and ate them. Well, if it’s not slugs or Voles it is going to be squirrels. Just another reason to hate those filthy treerats!


I’ve had another bad experience with my honeybees. I ended up with 7 swarms captured, but through my own neglect I lost one of them. I went out late one evening and picked up the trap then placed it atop the new hive where I intended to transfer it to. When I went out at 7:30 am to do the transfer, there was a passing, brief, pop-up thundershower occurring. I needed to go to work so I left, planning to be back by 10:00. It turned out to be 1:30 and when I opened the trap I was sick. Those bees were dead, suffocated from heat. I killed those bees plain and simple. Well, I will chalk it up to  a lesson learned. You can’t leave the traps out in the direct sun when the temperature is 85 degrees. That is making me wonder about my other hives sitting there in the full sun. I am definitely going to construct some wire vents to put on some of them when it really gets hot to check if they do better than the conventional hives.


Two weeks ago, I developed a case of shingles. I had these red sores under my arm and running down my ribcage. I went to the doctor and got some medication for the problem. About one week after I started this round of medicine, I had a severe (and I do mean severe) allergic reaction to the drugs. The rash started out as whelps on my stomach and back and it has steadily gotten worse.


Now I am covered with this rash, front and back, from my neck down to my knees. As you read this, I will be checked into the hospital receiving treatment, so I will update you on how this works out. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 4/2/2016

3 Apr


I managed to put out some more swarm traps this week for a total of 16. As you can see this one is about 15 feet in the air. I think I have them all positioned from 9-15 feet high. It’s not easy to haul them up that high pulling on a 1/4 inch rope thrown over a limb, let me tell you!


I went on YouTube and copied this idea for a table saw sled to cut hand holds in bee hives.


It makes hand holds almost as good as factory made. I couldn’t cut them on my saw nearly as fast as the videos showed. I don’t know if my saw was underpowered or maybe I was using the wrong blade. In the videos, it takes 5-10 seconds to cut this out. On my table it takes 60 seconds because I have to “hop” the sled on the blade instead of just using a steady cut. Never the less, it got the job done.


Spring seems to be in full force now and my hostas are coming up. Take a look at the bright yellow leaves on this specimen. I forgot the name of it, but it sure is pretty in the early Spring.


I noticed a row of these trees blooming at a park. I walked under them to look and sure enough, the bees were working like crazy.


I’m not sure what it is. Probably a sort of Japanese Cherry if I had to guess. Anybody out there have any ideas?


I also came into possession of this aluminum up-right scaffold/ladder. It doesn’t look too safe does it? It has a platform that extends from 9 feet to 14 1/2 feet. I had one of my employees climb up at 9 feet like you see here. He said “this is not too bad.” We raised it up to 14 1/2 feet and he said “Uh-Uh, I don’t like this!”


It is called a Tallescope and they are used extensively in the UK, particularly in the Theater business. I couldn’t find any information about this item in the US which leads me to believe OSHA probably has banned their use. There are supposed to be 2-4 outrigger legs on the sides which this one is missing. I think I can buy some that will fit so that will make it much more stable.


This is one in use in a theater and those outrigger legs do indeed make it look much more stable.


We were visiting another couple last week and we got to meet Albert. The owner whipped out a bottle of Visine and put drops in his eyes and I said “what in the world is that about?’ She said he had some surgery for a condition called “Cherry Eye” and it messed up his tear glands, therefore the eye drops. She said they spend more on his Doctor bills than they do on themselves. I know the feeling! Until next week, keep prepping everyone!

Spring Flowers

26 Apr

The calendar says it is Spring and the trees are leafing out and the flowers are blooming but it sure is COLD!



This is a bush Peony I planted at our old house.



I forget the name of this plant but it is one of the few that will thrive in the shade.


This is not a bloom on this Hosta , but look at that color! I bought this last year and it had just 4 little leaves but it was enough to give me a glimpse of that vivid yellow color. This really gives a splash of color in the deep shade garden.




The crimson clover in the deer food plot is blooming.


This is the turnip patch I planted last fall, it is blooming and going to seed. I may not have to plant any next fall, I may have enough volunteers to make enough to pick. But even with all these blooms, we had a frost advisory 2 nights ago. Oh well, maybe it will warm up soon.

Monkey Grass

10 Apr

I have been busy working at my job the last few days and I have missed a few days posting. I doubt if I will keep up posting everyday now that our house is finished and I am back at work. I will be too busy working at my job to do much around the homestead for the next few months, but if I see something of interest I will certainly let you know.


My sister-in-law stopped by and dropped off these plastic drums and buckets from a local carwash. They contained soap and wax so they should be ok for holding rainwater for plants and flushing toilets.


Our neighbor has a ring of Monkey Grass completely around her house and she wanted to thin it out. We helped her dig it out and piled it on my trailer to plant around our driveway and sidewalks. If you buy this at the local nursery, it will cost from .49 to .79 cents for a small plug so I think I have about $5000 worth of grass in exchange for 2 hours of work to dig it up. HAHA! I would say that was a good barter for both of us. She has some Hostas she wants me to have but I didn’t dig them today because we are expecting a big rain tonight. It will be too muddy to replant them tomorrow but the Monkey Grass can sit on the trailer until the weekend and it will be fine. Well, I need to go now and check my batteries and get prepared for the approaching storm front. Be Prepared!

Plant Propagation

30 Mar

I wanted to try to propagate some cuttings from some of our plants here in town to move out to the homestead. First I wanted some Forsythia, Corkscrew Willow, Japanese Maple, and another bush I don’t have the name of.


This is the Corkscrew willow, it has twisty, crooked branches that make good decorations in flower arrangements. I know this can be done with this tree because this one came from some cuttings off of a tree at my parents house. My Mom can root anything. She will just cut off a bit of limb, shove it in the dirt and come back in 2 months, dig it up and transplant it. But I, on the other hand, can take a high-dollar premium potted plant from a nursery, plant it and in a month it will be dead!


This is a Japanese Maple. The red leaves were grafted onto root-stock with green leaves. The green leaves are sprouting out and need to be removed, so I thought I’ll just try to root them. I don’t hope to have success with the Maple, if it was that easy the nursery would be doing this instead of grafting onto root-stock. But the shoots needed to be cut anyway so I’m giving it a shot!


I took a pot of potting soil and drilled some planting holes with this high-tech tool…


A wooden stick.


I used this bottle of rooting hormone.


I dipped the ends of the cuttings in the hormone and carefully placed them in the holes, then pressed the soil around the cuttings.



They don’t look too bad in this picture, but now all I can say is MAMA!


They don’t look good at all today, I need help! I need my Mama!

My neighbor came over and said he was getting rid of a 36 inch clump of Hosta if I wanted it.


We dug it up in 4 big chunks of soil. I took my home-made machete and cut it up into smaller clumps before potting it. This machete was made by my Grandfather over 50 years ago. He used an old sawmill blade for the blade and whittled the handle out of a cypress board. I don’t use it much, it is a family heirloom and I don’t want to ruin it.



I ended up with 7 pots of Hostas and I think they will survive OK, it is just the cuttings I have my doubts about. I’ll let you know what happens.