MULCHING THE GARDENS AND THE MOWER SHED

taken before I got started…got a lot to do

Mulching the gardens

getting started

It’s going to take me some time to get the mulching done! I’m feeling under the weather today…sick last night and not feeling up to par today. It’s kinda drizzly today, and I was supposed to work today, so I wouldn’t have gotten much done anyway.

putting mulch in the garden

Working by myself is long and tedious. But, on the other hand, if my boyfriend had been home I may not have gotten as much done as I did in the amount of time I did. In two hours I got four loads spread out in one garden.

It is very relaxing for me to do this kind of stuff. As long as I don’t feel rushed.

I used the tarp to help me spread the mulch. I initially only intended to use it in the wagon. Upon getting the mulch down to the garden, I thought it would be a lot easier to pull the tarp out and kind of roll it into the garden, rather than using the shovel to transfer it. I probably got it done in about half the time.

I’m about half way done in one garden. Got two more to go, plus some of my holly trees. My boyfriend suggested we do the trees as well. It would look nice to have mulch around the trees…I have, I think, 6 along the driveway. It would be nice, at least, until the trees fill out.

About half done with this garden

You can’t really tell it here, but there’s more garden to the left of the picture. It’s kind of in an “L” shape. As I get more accomplished, I will post more pictures.

This garden has azalia, iris, peony, daffodils, wildflowers, ornamental grass, and a cedar tree. Some animal or bird brought the grass and cedar tree. When I was spreading the mulch around I noticed a tiger lily. There’s also supposed to be gladiola, I think I need to dig it up.

The Mower Shed

Oh, the mower shed!

When we moved into this house, my dad put up a temporary shed. This was in 1990. It lasted til 2015…kind of.

It had a tin roof and had rusted through. In order to get the mower into the shed, you had to lean over to the side. If you bumped it, stuff would come crumbling down.

(I know I’ve got pictures of the shed before it was torn down. I’m getting a new external hard drive delivered tomorrow. My son is using the one I have now for his xbox 1, and I don’t have the energy to deal with it right now. When I get it, I will get all my stuff off of it and let him have the old one.)

dad working on the shed

When dad started working on this in 2015, I had just had surgery done and wasn’t allowed to do any heavy lifting, mowing, driving …pretty much nothing. I had my ovary removed and was cut for the second time from my bellybutton to my pelvic bone. Details of that is for another story. He knew I couldn’t really do anything to help.

You also have to know, he was legally blind! He could see, but not much and colors were off (what would be green to me or you would be purple to him). At this point, I don’t know who took him to get the supplies he needed. I don’t remember. It wasn’t me because I couldn’t drive. Maybe we got the supplies before my surgery, so it was there when he decided to start. (That seems plausible.)

The play house needs to be torn down at some point. It’s not really safe to go up there. I’m hoping the shed can be saved – since it only a couple years old.

It took him a little longer to finish the project than it normally would have and I worried about him the whole time he was doing it. (He used the table saw while legally blind – he’s been doing this stuff since he was a kid. He knew what he was doing – no major injuries! Wait til I tell you about cutting trees after the ice storm in 2014!!) Near the end, I was able to help him a little bit. Not as much as I would’ve liked to but some. It was at this time I almost sat on the snake I mentioned in one of my earlier posts. (BLACK SNAKES)

the reason I take my camera with me EVERYWHERE

If you haven’t read the post, I almost sat on it when taking a break. I heard some commotion behind me (I was almost sitting down), stood back up and looked and there was a snake!

That’s the finished shed. It now has a tarp on it that can be rolled up and a TON of tools. My boyfriend brought a bunch of tools when he came here. It’s almost overcrowded in there. Actually, it would be if I hadn’t moved stuff to the other side. The building used to be a playhouse. Now it’s storage…my boyfriend and I are renting a dumpster this summer or fall and getting rid of a lot of stuff. I moved some of the tools under the playhouse just to get them out of the way. (There’s really no room under there either.)

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” – Aubrey Hepburn

NEW CAMERA

I was going to make today’s post about azalias. I got a new camera on Sunday and it took me way too long to download the pictures to the computer.

Way too long!!

For what ever reason, my computer wouldn’t recognize my new camera. I finally had to go into the controls and add the camera that way. I was really getting frustrated, but I finally got it done. I couldn’t add the photos like I used to with my old camera, or even my boyfriend’s. Totally different!

Oh, well… at least I figured it out.

baby pine cones and needles

All the pictures included in this post are from my new camera. I still need to play with it and get used to it. It’s a canon eos rebel t6 – what I had before was a rebel xs. The rebel xs gave up the ghost and it was cheaper to buy a new one than to have my old one fixed.

Sometimes images like this work, sometimes they don’t. It all depends on who is looking at it. One thing I learned at Shepherd University is that not everyone is going to like all your photos all the time.

My next purchase is going to be a macro lens or fisheye lens. I can get a lot closer to my subject, with a sharper image. I like the photo above, very abstracted. With the macro lens, it would be sharper. (The wind yesterday could have had something to do with my images not being as sharp as I’d like them to be.) Kind of mysterious…

I think I actually will get grapes this year!!! When I took this picture, I didn’t realize there was a bug as well. I have no idea what kind of bug it is, but I had to include it.

purple tulip tip
peony with ants on it
strawberry blooms

My next post will be about the azalias. They’re absolutely beautiful this year! Last year we got too much rain.

Sorry this is another short post, gotta go get laundry done so I can get to work on my flower gardens!!

-if you have face book, check out Holly’sWorld (If you haven’t already). I post pictures and updates there.

see you next time!

SHORT AND SWEET

At least I think it’s going to be short and sweet. I have a blog I’m working on, but I think I’m going to save it for tomorrow.

C and O Canal

It’s been such a busy weekend, and I really didn’t get anything accomplished (in reality, I’m always busy). I think I’m dealing with caregiver burnout. I know I am. My first thought when I woke up this morning was “I have to work tomorrow.” Not a good sign. I’ve cut back on my hours (was working 20-30 hours a week, now 22 – just picked up 8). My Sunday client is in rehab, so I’m back down to 17. I honestly think it’s time for me to focus fully on my photography and writing, or move on to something else. I know I can do it (photography), it’s what I went to school for. Photography is my thing, and so is writing…usually. I know I’ll get through this, I just need some time.

Dreaming

So, What is caregiver burnout?

Some common signs and symptoms are:

-having much less energy than normal

-seems like you catch every cold, bout, or flu that’s going around

-you’re constantly exhausted, even after taking a nap, break, or sleeping

-you neglect your own needs, either because you’re too busy or you don’t care anymore

-your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction

-you have trouble relaxing

-increasingly impatient and irritable

-feel helpless and hopeless

I’ve been dealing with most of this for a while (a couple of months), that’s why I decided to cut my hours back and start focusing on my photography. I probably shouldn’t have agreed to pick up the extra hours. But I did.

I went to school and got my BA in photography.

Harpers Ferry, WVA

I love what I do as a photographer!! I’ve been passionate about it (and art) since I was a teenager. Maybe even since I was a child.

Frederick MD watershed

I’m going to end this here, hopefully on a positive note.

I really just wanted to let you know that I have been working on a post, just won’t be posting it til tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow.

“Let’s save tomorrow’s troubles for tomorrow.” – Patricia Briggs, Raven’s Shadow


MULCH, ROCK, AND TELEPHONE POLES

Mulch

It’s been a busy weekend and I’m glad I have today (SUNDAY) off! My Sunday client is in rehab, so I have Sundays off for a couple of weeks. On Friday – during the tornado threat, thunderstorms, and just overall bad weather – my boyfriend and I went to the county landfill and got a load of free mulch. Every Friday during the month of April, they give away free mulch. I typically prefer river rock, but there are a couple of gardens that I would mulch.

I wasn’t really planning on getting any mulch. It should be replaced every year. I don’t, it is just a pain. It does help in moisture and weed control. Rock does the same thing, and it doesn’t need to be replaced every year. In fact, rock also helps with erosion. Which is why I prefer rock.

It’s raining right now (Sat), so I’m not sure how much outside/yard work will get done. That’s mother nature for you!

Load of mulch

At the landfill, they load up a front loader and dump it in the back of the truck or trailer, which ever you have. We saw people there with shovels, loading it in the back of their minivans. I guess that’s always an option. If I had done that with my little Chevy Aveo, I would’ve had to go every weekend during the month. And then, I probably wouldn’t have had enough.

My boyfriend unloaded the truck on Sunday. It didn’t take very long. I would’ve helped, but I had already taken my shower. Before he even got started, I ran to WalMart and got myself a new camera! My old one bit the dust. These pictures were taken with my cell phone. I love having options!

Telephone Poles and Rock

Telephone poles as a border

The telephone poles will be sunk in the ground and used as a sort of border. They’re pretty much where they’re supposed to be, maybe a little closer to the rock.

My dad used old telephone poles for the dog pens for as long as I can remember. Last summer, my boyfriend cut them off (stumps are still in the ground) and we propped them up against the camper – which is currently being used as storage. One of the posts we’re going to put close to the property line with a no trespassing sign. That leaves two more to do something with. I might put them up close the the driveway at the end of the rock footpath. Who knows!!

The telephone poles will – hopefully – help keep grass from growing into the footpath. I could’ve gone to the railroad station and gotten some railroad ties for pretty cheap, but I already have the poles. They’ll last forever!!! These poles have been in the ground since we moved into the house in 1990, and before that at the old house.

The grass in the backyard isn’t as bad as the grass in front. I’ve complained about it for years! Ever since I started doing the gardening when mom couldn’t anymore. The gardens in the back are pretty clean compared to the gardens out front.

My dad told me it’s wire grass (the people who built this house planted it). I’ve looked it up but can’t find that specific grass – but it’s horrible! It grows under sidewalks and as far down as you can dig, its roots are there. I don’t know how I’m going to totally get rid of it, but I’m determined to.

I’ll leave you with this for today…

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul”

– Alfred Austin

“I’m a dirty girl in the garden”

I saw this on a tshirt in a magazine – I love it!!! (Did you know that dirt/mud helps to keep mosquitoes and bugs away? Just slather it on exposed skin, anywhere you want…no more bugs!!!!)

Looking Back

Looking back on my life, I wander how in the world I did it. I guess it was one day at a time. When my son started kindergarten in 2003, I decided to go back to school. I was working at the Ground Round Restaurant, full time, pretty much around the clock. At least, it seemed like it.

Shortly after I started school, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia brought on by aplastic anemia. It was a rough time.

My major was art. When I graduated from high school, that’s what I wanted to do. I was planning on going out to the Denver Institute of Art. The day I was to graduate I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. They wanted to operate that day, but mom said no, she is going to walk across that stage. I was supposed to go out to Colorado to tour the facility and all that good stuff before I graduated, but with all the doctor’s appointments and everything else going on, it got postponed. When we found out I had cancer, it was cancelled all together.

high school prom,1995
high school graduation, 1995

My mom didn’t want me to go to prom or any of the parties. She reluctantly let me go, with a little begging from me and reassurance from parents that they would keep an eye on me. I was operated on five days after graduation. I went through chemo that summer and tried to go to the community college that fall. After one semester I dropped out. It was too much. This was in 1995. The doctors told me I probably would never be able to have babies without help.

1995 or 96 – with Luna

We’ve always had a thing for black cats…Samantha was our first black cat. We had Gato (he was a grey white and black cat with a little bit of brown. I’m sure I’ll be including him at some point) – one of her kittens, then we got Luna. After Luna passed away we got Kalimba.

The picture above was taken while I was still going through chemo. I’m not normally that pale. Even during the winter I have a little bit of a tan.

1997

In January 1998, I found out I was pregnant. Or the cancer had come back and it was everywhere. My cancer doctor called and broke the news to me. Imagine my shock!!! I didn’t think I could get pregnant! He had scheduled a sonogram for the next day. The tests they do for this particular cancer is a sort of pregnancy blood test. But instead of checking for pregnancy, they check for cancer. My doctor talked to me a couple of minutes, I hung up the phone and laid back down. What in the world am I going to do?

My mom wanted to know why the cancer doctor had called. I told her “no reason” and rolled over in bed. Her response? “Bull #@*&! He didn’t call for no reason. Why did he call?” “He thinks I’m pregnant or the cancer’s come back and it’s everywhere.” After a slight pause, she said “Let’s hope you’re pregnant.” She went with me to the sonogram. When I was finished, I greeted her as “Grandma!” She didn’t go in with me, she sat in the waiting room. Even though I had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, she was ecstatic.

me and my new born baby boy!

Sept 3, 1998

He was the best thing to ever happen to me. Still is, the joy of my life.

4 generations

So, I did what I had to do. I raised him as a single parent. His dad wasn’t involved at all. That’s why, when he started kindergarten I decided to go back to school. I knew I couldn’t live and survive working at a restaurant.

On the weekends, I went out with a friend of mines band – NOXIT. I didn’t go out every weekend, but some. We had fun and didn’t get into trouble. Or at least we didn’t get caught!

my son, around three years old

2001

So, I’m working part time (nights), going to school part time (days), raising my son and helping my dad out around the house while mom is in the hospital. She was at NIH (National Institute of Health) in Rockville (?), Md. Dad was also working part time, doing what he had to do to get by. Mom eventually succumbed to the cancer in 2007. She struggled from 1993 when she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia (I was 15 1/2, learned to drive going up and down 270 to visit her – my dad taught me to drive) to 2007 when leukemia took her. In 2006 I graduated from the community college with an AA in art. About 6 months after mom passed away my braces came off.

The whole time is a blur to me now and I’m sure in 10 years or so I’ll still be saying “How in the world did I do it?”

ARTWORK FROM HIGH SCHOOL

Pencil drawing

I got an A on this, even though it wasn’t finished. The teacher thought it was. I ran out of time and had to hand it in, as is.

This was done completely with sharpie dots. The teacher even checked the back to make sure we didn’t cheat.

Ink

It’s faded a little bit, and has some discoloration but (in my humble opinion) it’s worth being framed.

ART WORK FROM THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Ink, oil and watercolor
Charcoal
Pencil and sharpie

In one of my classes we had to make a drawing using circles…it’s my name abstracted.

Black & white photography, 1st place
Black & white photography, 2nd place

The 2nd place black and white photo was the first one I entered at the community college. When I won 1st place the following year, I knew I should probably get into photography. Even my teachers said I had a good eye.

This is just an example of my artwork and start of photography, and a glimpse of my life when my son (and I) was younger. It wasn’t until my son and I moved back here the second time that I realized that this is probably where I was meant to be. (Before my son started kindergarten we had moved out and back home two times!) These details are a story for another time.

It certainly does not feel like it’s been 24 years since I graduated from high school! My son will be 21 in Sept!

Time sure does fly.

And I will leave you with this… “How did it get so late so soon?” Dr. Seuss

Picking up sticks and my parents 50th wedding anniversary

I was going to make today’s post about my parents 50th wedding anniversary, but I’m not feeling well today. My parents were married April 26, 1969. The first part is pictures of them through the years, the second part is about the yard work we did yesterday.

My Parents

Here are some pictures of my parents. My mom passed away in 2007, my dad in 2017. They were awesome parents.

My mom was in the navy before she met my dad.

My mom has the yellow sweater drapped over her shoulders ( on the right side of the picture). My dad is standing beside her. Some kind of family gathering, I think.

My mom through the years
My mom as a baby and high school graduation
Wedding picture
My dad fishing at Cape Hatteras
My dad hunting

Yesterday was a busy day. It was supposed to rain so my boyfriend was home. He’s a roofer so when it rains he doesn’t work.

My dad’s graduation and baby pictures

Yesterday’s Yardwork

I started out going around the back of the property picking up branches that had come down in storms. While doing this, I was keeping an eye out for logs to put around the pink dogwood.

It didn’t take us too long to get this done. We did have to get the chainsaw out and cut some wood, but that’s okay! We didn’t need to6cut too much. Maybe a wogonload.

We’re using pine for the garden edging. This is because it’s not really a good idea to burn pine in the woodstove. You can, but it has to be super seasoned. All the sap in pine causes more creosote than other seasoned wood.

Below are pictures I took throughout the morning.

Dead blue jay

Don’t know how it died…makes me sad, but it is nature after all. Survival of the fittest!

Mushroom growing on a maple tree

Looks like a huge slug!

Plant growing through the ashes

Wood Ash is good for the yard. You shouldn’t put too much on it at a time, but here it’s ok. We have a berm going across probably about 2/3 of the property. A berm is elevated ground. This helps deter rushing water from washing out the lane and around the house. A berm could probably be made of rock, we use dirt I dig up from any of my gardens. I also pile branches on top, then more dirt as I dug. This dirt would be really rich if I need to use it again for anything else.

I’ve started dumping ash on the berm, I really have nowhere else to dump it. Only wood ash is good for lawn care. If you burn trash, the only good way to dispose of it is to dump it down groundhog holes. (For the most part, we send nothing to the dump. Reduce, reuse, recycle… We are renting a dumpster to get rid of junk soon. I’m sure I’ll be posting about that when the time comes!)

Unknown plant

I need to get a better picture of this. When you touch it, it’s sticky on the underside of the leaves.

Sorry this is short and sweet. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day! I do have the weekend off, so maybe I can get back to my old self by Monday. (I do plan on posting over the weekend.)

Where Things Grow

A crack in the sidewalk

When walking about the property, I never know what I will find. Some things grow in the most peculiar places. Sometimes, I don’t need to go very far! I’ve seen mint grow through a crack like the picture above. But, this is an ordinary weed. It’s a strong thing – and persistent! I got home from work yesterday and saw it. I’m not leaving it there, but I wanted to get a picture of it before I pulled it.

mint growing on concrete

I know you can’t really tell because of the leaves, but this mint plant is growing on concrete.

Holly tree in rose bush

I really need to get this holly out of the rose bush before it gets any bigger. It’s big enough as it is and I hope I can get enough of the root system to transplant it. I know the birds had something to do with it growing where it is.

I have a bunch of babies growing on the property, most of which I have transplanted. I’m starting to have difficulty in transplanting, I’m running out of room.

Oh, the babies!! Did you know that holly trees are male or female? And in order to have babies you need one of each growing near each other. The female is the one that gets the berries. The male gets flowers, but no berries. Robins are the only bird/animal that I have found that eat holly berries. They go crazy for them in the dead of winter. Deer might go after the holly tree, but it needs to be a really rough winter. The leaves and berries are too tough and/or poisonous.

old log growth

I know things will grow on old logs and stumps, especially rotten ones. There’s so much nutrients in the rotting wood, it gives life to new plants. The plants that grow on them makes for interesting photography! (The same with concrete, textures draw me in!)

pine stump with plant growth

If the photograph is cropped in right, it could look like a cave or cavern or something. I left it like it is so you can tell it’s a stump.

I have plants that I didn’t plant or buy. I wouldn’t have bought it! Sage and ornamental grass are two such plants.

sage

This is bee balm sage, I do believe. When I was working in the garden a couple years back, I noticed it. It came from nowhere!!! Squirrels, birds, or deer are to blame. At first, I had no idea what it was, so I clipped it and took it to a local nursery. The guy said it was Russian Sage. When I got home, I looked it up…it’s not Russian sage. I believe it’s Bee Balm. Russian Sage gets a purple flower. This ones blooms start out white and then turn yellow. I’ve got two of them now, and bees absolutely love it.

I will dry the leaves and burn it when I’m feeling stressed and need to relax. The Native Americans did this, but they used a different sage with broader leaves and is more of a small bush. What I have is more like a tree.

ornamental grass

This is the only picture of ornamental grass I have at the moment. Where it’s growing, I wouldn’t have planted it. I didn’t even buy the thing – deer, squirrels or birds brought it in. It’s growing in a garden with a cedar tree, daffodils, and iris’.

mushroom and stick growing in a tree

I know, mushrooms grow where it’s moist! This one grew around the stick, not sure where the stem is…it’s just attached. Kind of looks like a pancake, stuck in a tree.

a different angle
Cunningham State Park, Thurmont, MD

I’ll leave you with this for today. Where ever plants can find the right amount of nutrients and sunlight, they will grow!

Fecthworth State Park, New York

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

SUNRISE and SUNSET

Very pretty sunrise this morning, thought I’d share!

I’ve kissed the sun good morning or good night plenty of throughout my life. Don’t know which I like better. Mornings are a fresh start, evening is hope for tomorrow.

I didn’t know this but there is a song called “Kissing the Sun” by The Young Gods. It’s a single on their 1995 album ONLY HEAVEN. Don’t know anything about it… I googled “kissing the Sun” and that popped up.

Mornings at the beach are the best, but mountain sunrises are pretty close. Don’t really know which I prefer.

Do you know what makes the sunrise or sunset so pretty? Natural and man made pollution causes the colorful sunrises and sunsets. Water molecules and dust are also to blame. During the day, the effect is minimal due to the amount of atmosphere the sunlight has to travel through.

sunrise in Ocean City, MD
Sunrise in Ocean City, Md
Sunrise on the farm
Sunrise on a snowy day

I have more photos of sunsets than I do sunrises.

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”

-Jo Walton

I love this quote and it’s absolutely true!

SUNSETS

Red sky at night, sailors delight

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.

I think just about everyone has heard this saying. I think it’s true. It means that if the sky is red in the morning it’s going to be a bad day to sail. But if the sky is red at night, it’s going to be good weather.

Photoshop sunset
moon rise over Shawnee Lake, PA (Shawnee State Park)
sunset in Colorado, USA
sunset on the farm
sunset in D.C.
Black Friday, somewhere in MD

“The sky, at sunset, looked like a carnivorous flower.” – Roberto Bolano

“A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.” – Crystal Woods

Gardening and Spiders

gardening

I’ve been really busy working in my gardens lately. I got a bunch of flowers from a friend (she just wants a crepe myrtle in return) plus I ordered about 40 bulbs. What was I thinking?!? I’ve been wanting to expand my garden out front, so all is ok! I also put some rock down for my walkway. I can only do a little at a time, but I will get it done!!

Getting started

The rock walkway is to help deter water from pooling at the bottom of the deck steps. For the most part it’s working.I started with the brick alongside the house and at the bottom of the steps. This was, initially, to help with mowing. I soon realized I needed more. The mower kept moving the brick. I added some garden rock and a yucca. The yucca died! It was a transplant, so no big loss!

The whole area to the right of the stone and yucca is eventually going to be filled in. I am slowly but surely working on it. My hope is to have it complete before winter sets in. After all, I have been working on it since 2016.

The plant in the white pot is a grape vine. I’m not sure if it’s alive, but it will be a cool Halloween decoration if it’s not.

It wasn’t doing anything where it was planted along my grape arbor. So I bought another one, dug this one up and put the new one in. If this one is alive, I’ll plant it somewhere near the property line. (I have my doubts!)

strawberries, flowers and stone walkway

I’m also working on the front of the house. I’m kinda surprised the strawberries are blooming, but happy! I will have strawberries!!!! I just transplanted them from a different part of the yard. They weren’t doing too well where they were. (the strawberries are right in front) The bell post is to the left, if you’ve read any of my other posts. Again, the area to the right is going to be filled in with flowers and a stepping stone/pebble walkway. It will be to the right of the strawberries and connect to the walkway near and around the bird feeder (top of picture, almost center).

Logs around the dogwood

I decided to put logs around the dogwood flower patch. Last year, my boyfriend kept mowing some of them down. His defense was that I have plenty of flowers and they will grow back. Well, he mowed over them enough times that they didn’t come back this year. I’m not too happy, but what can I do?

I had gone to Home Depot (I prefer Lowe’s, but didn’t feel like going to the other side of town) today to get some stone for the deck walkway, and looked at different kind of edging. They didn’t really have anything I liked, and everything was way too expensive so I paid for my rock and came home. I would figure out something. As you can tell, I did. Hopefully, it stays there. My boyfriend says it’s nice, so we will see.

something pretty before the ugly stuff

Thought I’d add a picture of some tulips I planted this spring. The rest of the post is about spiders.

spiders

Spiders really aren’t bad creatures. For the most part, like snakes, they just want to survive and be left alone. The only spiders I kill are ones that look like they could be black widows. Those I don’t like, for obvious reasons.

Most spiders eat bugs that we don’t like.

Even ones inside the house I try not to kill. I’ve seen them kill stink bugs, which we had a severe problem with a couple of years ago. (Praying mantis’ and wrens eat stink bugs as well.) So, in my book spiders are good!

Jumping spiders have really good eye sight. The males put on a really good song and dance for the lady spiders. I’ve never heard them sing, or make any kind of noise. I guess humans can’t hear them.

Wolf spiders live in the ground, hunt at night. They don’t spin a web. I couldn’t tell you how many I have dug up when working in one of my gardens. I’ve had them scurry across my hand. This one (above) was about the size of my hand. I know it looks huge, it’s the way I cropped it.

uncropped wolf spider

Female wolf spiders are maternal, from what I’ve read. They will carry the egg sak on their backs and even the babies until they are old enough to hunt on their own.

** I’ve picked up some more hours at my day job, so you may not see as many posts, maybe two or three a week.

BLACK SNAKES

1st black snake of 2019

Yesterday we saw our first black snake this year! We probably wouldn’t have seen it if we didn’t need to run to the store. I love black snakes – don’t know why ( my favorite animal is the wolf). In Chinese astrology I was born in the year of the snake. Maybe that’s why.

This black snake eventually went into the woodpile.

For the most part, they just want to be left alone. One of the best things about black snakes is they eat mice. So, we don’t really have a mouse problem around here. (My cat eats them too, but that’s another story!)

Going after baby birds

They also eat baby birds and eggs. It upset me when I heard the momma bird squawking, but there was nothing I could do! Survival of the fittest, right!? I did take pictures, so it didn’t upset me too much.

Baby snake in the house

This is a small one, probably only about 18 inches long. It wasn’t too hard to get out of the house…it slithered into the vent cover, which I had closed. I threw it and the snake outside.

One night, late last summer, my son woke my boyfriend and I up saying there was a snake in the house! I thought he was joking…he wasn’t. It was right outside my bedroom! Another baby, about a foot long! My boyfriend grabbed a clamp and threw it outside. Later, we found some skin hanging from the basement storm door. He probably fell off, landing on the inside, and slithered into the house when the door was opened.

We had a couple of black snakes living under the front stoop! I concreted up the holes, making sure they weren’t under the stoop when I completely sealed it. I did NOT want dead snakes under there! I did one side, made sure they weren’t under the concrete then sealed the other side!

Took me a couple of days, but there are no more snakes under the stoop or sidewalk. There were a couple other places I concreted up, one in the mint garden and another along the driveway.

I almost sat on this snake!

My dad and I had been working on rebuilding the mower shed. I couldn’t do much because I had just had major surgery, but I helped a little when I could. I decided to take a break and went to sut down in the door of the camper. I heard a little commotion behind me. I stood up (I hadn’t sat down completely) , looked, and there was a snake slithering away from me. A couple seconds later here comes a mouse with her babies still hanging out! (She was giving birth when the snake disturbed her!)

Some facts about black snakes:

Non venomous, constrictor

Can grow up to 8 feet long, usually around 4

Have been known to nest with copperheads

Lay up to 30 eggs, babies are 12 inches long, incubation period is 60 days, adults mate in spring

Lay their eggs in rotten logs, manure, , wood piles, manmade structuresh

Hunt during the day in spring and fall, at night during the summer

Will rattle their tail to make predator think it’s poisonous. Also produce a musk and will bite (story about that in another post)

Odds and ends

I am working on a post about the Morris’…hopefully I’ll have it posted by tonight. In the meantime, here are some photos to enjoy.

Sorry I didn’t post anything yesterday. Life kinda got in the way!

Morris

Morris plaid

Just wanted to provide some information about my Morris ancestry. It took me forever to find this information…my dad had a ton of information on the Shaffer’s (his mother’s side) but next to nothing about his dads. I had as far back as Oliver Morris, my great great grandfather. After searching for what seemed forever (months?) I finally found a census from Oliver which stated that his father came from Wales and his mother came from Germany. Her name was Leah. The 1854 census for Oliver states the following: born 1854, male, 66 years old; widowed; head of house hold, owns property; father’s birth place South Wales (NOT New South Wales), mother’s birth place Germany.

I haven’t been able to find anything on Leah’s side of the family.

I was very excited to find this! Until I realized Morris was a popular name in Wales. Oh the searching that took place. I didn’t have any other info to go on. So, I keep searching, looking for someone that might fit the criteria. I found Isaac Morris! The 1880 Bush Creek, Fulton, PA census for him is as follows: age 56, farmer, male, household members: Isaac age 56, Leah age 57. He was baptised March 7, 1824 in Cilycwm, Carmarthenshire, Wales. The 1841 census (Wales) is as follows: (this is in Egremont, Carmarthenshire, Wales) Birth year, 1822-1826, birth place Carmarthenshire; parish, Egremont; county, Carmarthenshire; house hold members, Thomas 60-64, Carmarthenshire; Mary 55-59, Carmarthenshire; Isaac 15-19, Carmarthenshire; Mary James 15-19, Carmarthenshire. I also found a document that stated Isaac’s father as Thomas Morris 1779- (?), and his mother was Mary Edmonds 1783-1843 and he had a brother named Theophilus 1839- (?). This all seems to add up to me. When I found all this, I did the math. It seemed to fit!. I finally had something and I went with it.

Thomas’ father was William Morris, and was apparently very famous. He was a botanist, antiquary, letter writer. If you search his name wallpaper comes up. He married Mary Ann Reynolds who was heiress of a branch of Williamses (formerly Boleyns) of Breconshire (Blaen-nant, Clanheugan, Brecknock(?)). Not sure if I have that last part spelled right…I copied everything from the computer by hand.

The Morris’/Morys are descended from ancient family of Bulk’eley

After this is speculative, but I find it interesting. I couldn’t find any concrete information the names keep changing…Williams father was Lewis Morris/Morys. His father was Morys ap Richard Morys. The son took the fathers last name as his first name (Morys ap Richard Morys litteraly means Morys son of Richard Morys as far as I have found). The daughter was kind of the same but they got fetch or verch (as in (Elsbeth fetch John or Elizabeth verch Madog). Those names are actual ancestors I pulled to give examples. Once I found that Lewis Morris/Morys had a son William and the dates seemed to line up, I found a lot of info. There are a lot of kings, princes and lords in the tree. Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd is the last I have on the direct line of the Morris’. He was probably born around 1300. He married Mawd Clement.

Through the wives I have lineage all the way back to Charlemagne and beyond. I stopped with his line when they noted that after this point it is speculative. I should’ve done this earlier, but I was going to count how many generations back Charlemagne is but I haven’t marked it yet. I’m sure it’s something like 30+ generations. Some of the lines go so far back that it starts to turn into mythology or legends. For example, Raum “the old” Norsson, King of Alfheim (Norway). I was going to try to include more than what I have in this post, but I think I’ve included enough information. At least enough to keep you interested. There is so much to write about, I have to break it down. There’s just no way around it.


Morris crest and motto

My next post on the Morris’ will be on some of the other information I found related to Morris. I will also, at some point, do posts on Charlemagne and the other kings, lords, knights and legends that are supposedly in my tree.

I will leave you with this: Morys ap Richard (Morris Richard) married Margaret Owen. Her father did not like him, they eloped one night in her fathers yard – she climbed down from her bedroom, said “I do” and went back to bed. It came out later that they were married…he had gone on a trip and she learned of the ships fate that she thought he was on. (For some reason he wasn’t on it.) She was a nervous wreck. Morys ap Richard would be my 7th great grandfather.

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