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Showing posts from October, 2015

Duck Eggs Daily: Raising Happy Healthy Ducks ... Naturally

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This book, Duck Eggs Daily: Raising Happy Healthy Ducks, is a fun read even though we can't possibly raise ducks here.

Lisa Steele's first book, Fresh Eggs Daily, gave readers an equally informative view of raising chickens. The duck book though, is one of a kind. Steele's YouTube channel has 43 cute, cuter, cutest video clips of their feathered friends.

Ducks are a different breed of bird, and, while Steele assumed that they could be raised together, she found that they were better if given their own individual space. Most notably because ducks play in the chickens' water dishes!

Chapter Four: "A day in a life with ducks" explains the ducks' need for routine and how to be sure they are comfortable if you have to be away from home.

What fascinated me is their nutritional needs. In addition to feed, ducks should get grit, egg shells, oats, probiotic powder, seaweed/kelp, brewers' yeast, garlic, dried herbs (fennel, marjoram, nasturtium, parsley, bee ba…

Mites are Biting

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It's mite season, ladies and gentlemen, and they are causing wide spread itching. There are two types that are causing the most trouble: 1) straw itch mites and 2) oak mites.

Don't ignore the symptoms, the Australian Dept. of Agriculture and Food points out, "In severe cases of mite attack, victims have reported headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhoea and joint pains."

Prevent oak mite bites If you see brown and crusty edges on oak tree leaves, be aware that mite activity is possible. Don’t sit under oak trees or on nearby lawns. Illinois Dept of Public Health.

Prevent straw mite bites by avoiding straw bales
1. Straw itch mites are the topic of this week's entomology pest alert from Oklahoma State Univeristy.. Here's the link -  http://entoplp.okstate.edu/pddl/2015/PA14-43.pdf

"These mites are associated with stored commodities including hay and have been commonly found in wheat straw hay. Recently, a sample of wheat straw hay was submitted to the…

Excellent Landscaping Tips

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Love the plants that love you back and demonstrate their love by thriving in your climate, soil and garden, says David Culp. Skip the garden designs invented by Europeans and find your own American style, using the colors that please your eye.

If you go to the effort of making a plan for the garden, start by installing the hardscape such as patio, walkways and walls since the plant selections themselves will change as you learn what works and dies over the years. The hardscape is there to stay.
According to Culp, no single garden style is exactly right or appropriate so use other gardeners’ ideas and adapt them to suit your situation. When it comes to color combinations, take risks and use the palette that you prefer, planting them in varying heights and forms.
Even color-themed gardens benefit from a variety of accent colors. For example a white garden changes character if it is accented with blue and purple, silver and grey, bronze and yellow or pink and red. Just avoid accenting a…

Purple Flowers of Fall

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Our garden is always loaded with shades of lavender and purple in October.

Purple Reullia is my blog's header photo.

Here is a photo essay of  more of the flowers blooming in blue and purple today.








"Building Soils for a Secure Future" Jan 8-9 2016 Save the Date

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The Horticulture Industries Show 2016 will be in Tulsa Jan 2016 Early Bird Registration begins end of Oct. Deadline December 22
"Building Soils for a Secure Future" Tulsa Community College, NE Campus 3727 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK
Keynote Speaker is Jeff Moyer, Interim Executive Director, Rodale Institute

Information http://www.hortla.okstate.edu/research-and-outreach/programs/HISPhone 405.744.5414

Mums are Chrysanthemum, Dendrantha and Dendranthemum

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Cooling, fall, temperatures make us seek out mums and their incredible colors that stand out on the season's misty days.

 These new beauties from Blooms of Bressingham are cold hardy in zones 5 to 9. This first year in our garden they are blooming in October but evidently next year when they return they will bloom closer to August-September.


Pumpkin Igloo hardy mum is jaw dropping gorgeous in our flower bed.

On the B of B website they look more orange-rust colored.

They tolerate most soils but will fail if they are left to dry out.

Evidently the Igloo series has many colors. Click over to the link to see them all and choose some for your containers or flower beds.

Ruellia - Mexican Petunia - Fall Flowers!

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One of the flowers blooming now is Mexican Petunia. While the two-to-three foot tall variety with lavender-purple blooms is the one we commonly see, there are several others in the Ruellia family that are native to the US.
Ruellia seeds are easy to start, and, a few years after they are successfully started they will form small colonies of plants, adding cheerful color to fall flower beds and feeding migrating butterflies and skippers. Ruellias are free of insect and disease problems
The seed-grown plants in our garden came from AZ where seedlings come up even when it is 115-degrees F.
If you are building a butterfly habitat, Ruellias are important not only as reliable fall nectar for adult butterflies but also as caterpillar food for several butterflies and moths. One of them, the Common Buckeye, is a beautiful and unique sight with several large false eyes on the wings. The caterpillars are black, white and orange with soft black spikes.
There are several Ruellia varieties, heights and …

Our Fall Vegetable Garden 2015

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Hawthorn Tree's Fall beauty

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Last June I wrote an article about the beauty and sustainable value of Hawthorn trees, Crataegus.

Now it's October and our largest tree, which we received free with a membership to the Audubon Society 15 years ago, is decked out in its red-orange splendor.

They are related to roses, of all things. But, when you think about it, those berries look a bit like rose hips.

The berries are called haws.



I've read that people make Haw Jam out of the berries but we usually have enough jam without harvesting our Hawthorn berries or our Elderberries for that matter.

Plus, the haws can cause digestive upset in humans.


 The berries aren't ripe yet so the birds will leave them alone for a while. The birds that favor haws include: chickadee, mockingbirds,  robins, thrushes, and waxwings will be all over them.

What Is This Plant?

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A friend is looking for a plant identification. So far the guesses have been crabapple and cherry.
Take a look at the photos and tell me what you think.