Abomination — Sweetgum and Pines

While visiting a local home improvement store today, I took a look at the garden section to see what grotesqueries the plant wholesalers have cooked up lately. They did not disappoint. I am, by now, inured to things like paper flowers glued to cacti or Phalaenopsis orchids with dyed blooms–If you desperately need a cheap […]

via Abomination — Sweetgum and Pines

Mulching The Canna Bed, Etc.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. Today was a good day to start mulching the Maple leaves in the “other yard” (across the driveway) and cut down the Cannas.

I had planned to go to the Farmer’s Co-op to pick up a friend’s feed for his cows since he was out of town. Someone else comes to feed his cows and would be at his house at 3:30. After that, I was scheduled to meet with someone else at 4. The plan was to work on the leaves and the Canna bed between picking up the feed and before and after my other appointment. Well, it didn’t happen that way…

When I went to pick up the feed at 1:00 I was told to come back at 4. His feed gets mixed and put in a hopper on the back of his truck and they were to busy when I went. SO, I went back home and called him and explained what had happened. He then texted the other guy so he would know the feed would be late. Then I called the other person I was supposed to meet with at 4 and told him we could go ahead with our meeting ahead of time. But, he and his wife had to go somewhere else first and he said he would just come over when they were finished. He didn’t make it until after 3 and stayed until I had to go back to Farmer’s Co-op. Then, when I get there, they told me they still weren’t ready and would be at least another 30 minutes. So, I went to my friend’s farm and met up with the guy who was there to feed his cows. When he was finished with some of the feeding he told me he would go get the feed himself because he needed to tell them he needed more for tomorrow. I don’t know how he will do that since they apparently don’t mix feed on Saturday.

Anyway, while I was waiting, I decided to go ahead and start on the leaves.

I usually run over the leaves and suck them up in the mower’s grass bags. That always proves frustrating because the tube keeps getting clogged. Then I have to turn off the mower, take the tube off, and shake out the leaves. I have tried different things to prevent that but it still happens. Last fall, on the south side of the house, I just ran over the leaves and blew them toward the south bed where I ultimately wanted them. It worked much better with no frustration. So, this time I ran around the leaves in “the other yard” in a circle blowing them toward the center. I know that means some of the leaves get chopped up over and over, but the whole point is to get them mulched. So, it worked out pretty good.

After a while, the mower started having some difficulty because the leaves were getting too deep. The bigger mower would have probably handled it fine, but one of the belt pulleys broke the last time I mowed. Good thing it was the last mowing of the season…

The goal was to get the leaves mulched and into somewhat of a pile so I could put them in the trash can and take them to the Canna bed.


It’s amazing how plants that were 10′ or so tall a few weeks ago could look so pitiful now. After a few “F’s”, two snows, wind, and very cold temps they look like a disaster.

After I finished mulching the leaves I started cutting down the Cannas. Remember, there used to only be 10-12′ of Cannas along the garage but I spread them out the entire length this past spring. After cutting down about 1/3 I decided I needed to stop and cover them up before my company came and I couldn’t finish. I didn’t want the rhizomes exposed to the cold air with nothing. I will try and work more on them Saturday, but I am not sure how much time I will have. We are supposed to have a “wintry mix” move in Saturday evening… 😦


There are plenty of leaves from the Maples trees on the south side of the house. Their leaves are 99% on the ground. Dad said these were Jefferson Maples…


The two Maple trees in front of the house are a different story. These are the last to change color and they hang on longer. Dad said these two trees are Sunset Masples…


The northeast corner bed doesn’t look so amazing now… Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’ still has some dull green…


The Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’ doesn’t seem to mind the snow. It’s not the snow that kills plants (well… I guess that depends on the plants and how cold it gets, huh?). When it gets really cold, there won’t be a trace of this Creeping Jenny. Then, like a miracle, they start popping up off and on in the spring to check the temperature. It’s kind of funny actually…


The Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) can take pretty cold temperatures. There have been winters they have remained green the whole time. Still growing after about 35 years.


The Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) I brought with me from Mississippi doesn’t mind a few “F’s”, snow, or cooler temps. Well, to a certain point… It thought last January was a bit much and I agreed…


Ummm… The south bed… The Salvia‘s and Elephant Garlic are pretty much all that is green. That is beside the grass and weeds… The Iris are growing again which is always a good sign.


OH, poor Phlomis! Every winter as soon as there is a forecast for an “F” I cover the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’ with the big flower pot. The pot that is behind it as a matter of fact. I really like this plant so I am very protective of it when it comes it getting ZAPPED. This time I had other things on my mind and completely neglected this plant. I guess we know now it is fairly “F” tolerant and can withstand temps down to 12° F. Thank goodness! I now have a sticky note on the wall that says “PHLOMIS” to remind me to cover.


The Sempervivum ‘Killer’ seems to be enjoying the cooler temps. It flowered like crazy starting late in the summer. I had never seen a Sempervivum flower before, so it was quite a treat. The sad thing is that Semps are monocarpic which means the plants that flower will die. The good thing is there are plenty of new offsets.


Yep, I always laugh when I look at the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). Not because it is a funny plant, but because it always looks different from one time to the next. It always smiles at me but I dare not give it a hug and you can definitely forget about a kiss! It always asks me if its name has changed and I always tell it no. I am trying to keep it a secret that there are two subspecies of this plant and one variety (plus 12 synonyms). I do tell it that is a bit short because it is actually a succulent sub-shrub that grows 3-6′ tall. It seems to like spreading outward instead of growing upward which is one reason I always laugh. I can hardly wait until it flowers, which could take a few more years…

I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and the cashier said he heard we were supposed to have a “five-year winter.” I have no idea what that means and I am not that anxious to find out. Umm… I am not going to look it up on the internet either because I don’t want to know… Five years ago is when I moved back to the farm and we did have plenty of snow… Now my sister can say, “See the persimmon seeds were right.” GEEZ!

Well, that is it for now. The post would have been longer but I ran out of photos. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, don’t fall down the steps, don’t burn yourself cooking, don’t stick yourself while sewing. When you get aggravated try some breathing exercises to relax. Life has its ups and downs but it is actually a miracle in itself and we are truly amazing creatures. I know eventually, our bodies get old and we may become bald, fat, and wrinkly. Some of us have worse health problems than others. We still have a lot to be thankful for even though we may not feel like it sometimes. Sometimes when we aren’t doing so good just knowing that others love and care about us makes us feel much better. Sometimes we may need a change of environment, take a vacation to get away for a while (or permanently). Maybe all we need is to take a walk with someone we are close to. Maybe we need some time to ourselves to be alone with the Universe, with God, or whoever you choose to call him (or her). I have come up with this neat little exercise that always makes me smile.

Well, I better stop for now. Take care always and GET DIRTY if you can!

Second Snow…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and warm. I realize that some of you are in warmer climates and are in the spring season. Here, as you can see, it is not warm and there are no spring flowers blooming…

The forecast yesterday said it was going to snow, so throughout the night, I kept looking out the sliding door to check. Eventually, I did go to sleep. Then, this morning when I got out of bed…

The cows were eating hay, which they were glad to have available. I had also put a second bale in the small lot by the barn in reserve.


It didn’t get below freezing so I didn’t have to go cut ice on the pond. That’s good!


Susie and The Barn Cat aren’t very enthused about the snow. The other three cats had eaten and probably went to the barn by the time I took this photo. The Barn Cat (in the box) was given her name by my parents because she seemed to always stay in the barn. She has spent most of her time on the back porch this past year so maybe a name change is in order. Susie is the only cat that comes inside the house when she can sneak in. She makes her rounds and when she is satisfied she attempts to stay in longer. She tells me she will be OK in the house and won’t bother anything… One evening I let her stay in to see what she would do. Next thing I knew she was on the bed getting ready to take a nap…


Winter… Snow… Cold… No plants on the front porch.


Just a dreary cold wind and still snowing.


Seasons come and go and I know winter will eventually lead to spring. For many years we didn’t have any snow before the first of the year. I hope this isn’t a sign we will have a very snowy winter.

I can just hear it now… “Well, the persimmon seeds had a spoon inside. That means we will get a lot of snow.” I left the snow shovel on the side porch from the last time. Does that mean I was asking for more? I certainly did not ask.

I have been making some good progress updating the plant pages on the right. I have A LOT more to add but I wanted to get the pages that are already published updated with recent photos, proper links, and make sure their scientific names are still correct. I am also trying to discipline myself to keep current with your posts as well. Once I get started reading I get sleepy. I try to make a comment but sometimes I don’t know what to say and just click on “like”. I do read your posts, though, so if I just “like” I have read it. I haven’t really started promoting my blog yet so I only have 87 followers on WordPress. Some days I have well over 100 visits to the pages on the right but very few readers leave “likes” or make comments. Maybe no one can leave a “like” or make a comment unless they have a WordPress account, have signed up to follow (even by email), or something. I don’t know. I do enjoy reading your posts and I am thankful for all who make comments here.

I thoroughly enjoy the WordPress community and being able to share photos and experiences here. I have a great appreciation for bloggers who take time to do the same and I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. My first blog was The Mystical Mansion and Garden which I started in 2009 from when I was living in Mississippi. I had a lot of pages and information about porcelain companies and Japanese Kutani and Satsuma, Televera, etc. Of course, most of my posts and pages were about plants and gardening. I received A LOT of comments from people asking questions about antiques. I started my first Belmont Rooster blog in 2013 when I moved back to the family farm here in mid-Missouri. This is my third Belmont Rooster blog and hopefully it will remain for many years to come… Many bloggers that I used to follow, and were followers, have stopped blogging. I feel like I missed something when I was in between blogging. Where did they go? What happened to them… Blogging does take time and many people who have families have to juggle between jobs, family, and blogging. I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I haven’t been on my Twitter accounts for a very long time, though. I just can’t get into Twitter… I guess I have a Twitter block. 🙂

I follow a few blogs that I followed since 2013 and some haven’t posted for a few years. I used to have close to 500 followers and climbing. I would spend hours promoting the blog, following, and making comments and looking for more. We went through this “award” phase which I am glad has settled down. I don’t remember how many blogging awards I had in 2013, but there were many. For me, I think I like quality and not quantity. I am not here to set records, be awarded, or even claim to be a great gardener or blogger. I just enjoy growing plants, gardening and sharing my experience that may be helpful to others. I also enjoy the relationship with my fellow bloggers in the WordPress community. I am also on another journey which I may share at a later time…

Well, I guess I better stop writing and get a few other things done for the day. It has finally stopped snowing for now but I doubt I will be making a snowman. 🙂

Until next time… Be safe, stay positive, healthy… You know the drill. Try and GET DIRTY when you can! Even if you have to stick your finger in a pot.

Ummm… First Snow of 2018

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well and keeping warm. The weather forecast has been predicting snow for today. By this afternoon we hadn’t had any, so I did a little work in the yard. I was hoping it would not happen. Then I took a nap and got up about five. I looked out the sliding door in the dining room and what did I see? It was snowing…

The car was outside because I hadn’t cleaned up the sawdust in the garage from a few projects I had finished. So, I cleaned up the garage, swept the snow off the car then moved it into the garage.

Needless to say, sometimes I can be a bit of a procrastinator. I put off digging the bigger Colocasia esculenta rhizomes until yesterday (one is the largest I have ever seen). I haven’t raked any leaves yet because I am waiting for them all to fall off and dry. My “higher self” kept telling me that it may be a good idea to rake the leaves anyway because of the weather. How will the leaves dry when they are wet? Did I listen? Nope…

When I was going to take the cows to the back pasture today they weren’t around. They were probably in the north hayfield grazing in the back so I just left them alone. Once again, my “higher self” reminded me I should take a bale of hay out in case it snows. Well, it wasn’t snowing, so I started cleaning the Martin House out instead.

It was pretty chilly and my hands got cold, so after I cleaned out the top tier, I went inside. Normally, I clean out the birdhouse after the Martins leave. This time the sparrows moved in and my sister, who was visiting earlier, suggested I just let the sparrows have it. So, maybe I can blame her for persuading me not to clean it out at the time. I didn’t see a single sparrow this afternoon when I was cleaning out the birdhouse but almost EVERY nest compartment is FULL of their nests.

During the heat of the summer, many things were put off until it got cooler. Now it is cooler but it has been rainy. When it wasn’t raining, I found other things to do and always tell myself there will be plenty of nice, warmer days it can be done…

That’s the good thing about not having a “to-do” list anymore.

So, tell me… What have you been putting off?

Until next time, stay positive, stay well, be safe… GET DIRTY! I can always get dirty because right now there is plenty of dirt in the house (with all the plants inside).

Crazy Cow and No Camera…

Hello folks! I hope this post finds everyone well. A couple of strange things happened this evening. If I take the cows to the back pasture I go back and get them before it gets dark. Normally when I call them they come but sometimes I have to whack a stick on a tree limb. This evening that did not happen. One of the cows was next to the back fence but most of them were by the gate they were supposed to go through. Instead of the other cow coming to the gate, the rest of the cows where she was. Then they started walking the fence in the wrong direction. So, I tagged along in case they knew something I didn’t. Well, you never know.

As it turned out they were just being weird. Once I got them turned around, instead of going toward the gate they went to the north end of the pasture. So, I went around the back side of the pond to get them headed in the right direction.

Well, when I got to the cows they could apparently sense I was a little perturbed by their behavior. One of the cows, I think maybe Fatty, was 3-4 feet from me and she looked at me and said, “WAIT!” She reached down and picked up an Osage Orange ball. Well, here we call them hedge apples… Anyway, I thought she lost her mind! It was huge and she was acting like a dog wanting to play fetch or something. Well, it fell out of her mouth and she picked it up again. It fell out of her mouth again and it landed at my feet. She picked up another one and it also fell out. She didn’t give up, though, and found one that was smaller. This one went all the way to the back part of her mouth.

Now, although I was anxious to get the cows to the front pasture because it was getting dark, I was kind of concerned about this cow with a hedge ball in the back of her mouth. She just stood there looking at me, trying to chew this big ball in her mouth. She stood there, slobber running out of her mouth, attempting to chew this thing up. I began to wonder if she was choking… What if she did choke? How in the world would I perform a Heimlich maneuver on a HUGE cow?

FINALLY, she made progress and the hedge apple started breaking up. I stood there and watched this crazy cow eat a hedge apple until I knew she was going to be OK.

For the most part, cows seem to be pretty particular about what they eat and a cow as old as this one should have plenty of experience. I wasn’t too worried about it being harmful but I checked online anyway. Apparently, cows and other livestock have died from Osage Orange. Not because it is toxic, but because it can lodge in their digestive track if they try to swallow it whole…

Cows, like us, use their molars to chew, so she had to have the fruit in the back of her mouth. With all their slimy saliva, it could have easily slipped down her throat…

After that experience, I wished I had the camera with me so I could have taken a video. Almost always when I don’t take the camera I see something I would have liked to have a photo or video of. In all my years around cows, I have never seen one eat an Osage Orange fruit. I have seen them pick them up but they always spit it out.

This experience reminds me of one of the Old English Game hens that got the front of its top bill stuck inside of its lower bill. She came out of the chicken house and walked up to me like she was saying, “Ummm….” I could tell she looked a little off, but in a few seconds, I didn’t get a good look at her. She ran off and I had to chase her down. I picked her up and saw her predicament. I took her to the back porch and sat down with her trying to figure how I was going to get her beak unstuck. Then she shook her head and it popped out. Again, it would have made a very interesting and memorable photo… One of those YouTube moments that no one would ever believe could happen.

How many photos have you missed?

Here I am wondering what to post about this winter. You just never know…

Until next time… Stay positive, be safe, stay warm (or cool), and GET DIRTY!

Malva sylvestris Fall Show

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. For the past few weeks, the Malva sylvestris in front of the church I attend has been going crazy. Apparently, it likes the cooler temps and moisture fall brings. They don’t seem to do well during the heat of the summer, but now it is strutting its stuff.

Malva, Mallow, French Hollyhock, Etc.

Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’ ?

MAL-vuh  sil-VESS-triss

Malva sylvestris L. was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

The genus, Malva Tourn. ex L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. It was first named and described by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, but I am not sure what the complete name was or when he named it. I read the pages online but I can’t make sense out of it. 🙂

Carl Linnaeus published two volumes of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. The second edition was published in 1762-1763 and the third in 1764. Other volumes were published after his death by other authors.

Plants of the World Online by Kew currently lists 53 accepted species in the genus Malva. They grow in various parts of the world and may be annual, biennial, or perennial. I’m not 100% sure if they are perennial in this bed or if they come up every spring from seed (even though I clean out the bed every spring). Some species that are annual in some places are perennial in others. Several species have become popular as garden plants and many species are also edible. Some species are also considered an invasive weed…


A few of the plants in the right side of the bed have grown very large leaves.

Malva species have been mentioned as far back as the third century when Diphilus of Siphnus, a physician, wrote that mallow juice lubricates the windpipe, nourishes, and is easily digested.


Almost as large as my hands…

Lord Monboddo wrote that Malva was planted upon the graves of the ancients, stemming from the belief that the dead could feed on such perfect plants.


The flowers are a purpleish-pinkish color with darker stripes. This may be the cultivar ‘Zebrina’ but I am not sure.


After trying to figure out the different species of wildflowers on the farm, it has become a habit to look at the backside of the flowers…


The Organic Facts website states Malva sylvestris speeds up wound healing, protects against infection, reduces inflammation, reduces signs of aging, improves respiratory health, optimizes digestive function, improves sleep, and is used for the treatment of headaches. Malva sylvestris is powerful, so if you take prescription drugs you should consult a physician before using because of the possibility of drug interactions.


I have wanted to do something with the bed in front of the steps at the church but I haven’t decided what would look good. No one really takes care of it except for when I do occasional weeding. The bed is long but not too deep… I have some ideas, though. The Gomphrena globosa ‘Gnome White’ I grew in the northeast bed is a good candidate, but it just depends on what is available at the local greenhouses.

The temperatures have taken a drop today and the forecast says we have a chance of snow maybe on Thursday. After the “F” a few weeks ago, it warmed up so I put some of the potted plants back on the front porch for a while longer. I moved them back in earlier Tuesday evening… The leaves on a few of the maple trees are almost all on the ground now, but the two in the front yard and hanging on… Almost time for Fall cleanup.

Well, that’s it for this post. Stay well, stay positive, be safe, and GET DIRTY!


Three Very Good Plant Documentaries

Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I watch a lot of documentaries on YouTube about various topics and stumbled upon Botany: A Blooming History Part 1 of 3. It was AWESOME! So, I had to search for the other three parts.

They are REALLY good and I know they answered a lot of questions. I always wondered how Carl Linnaeus named so many plant species. I always thought, even though his abbreviation was used, maybe he didn’t actually name them all but was the first to write about them. In this first part, I found out that before Linnaeus “re-named” plants, they had VERY long names. Besides genus and species, the rest of the name had to do with plant features and characteristics. So, Linnaeus shortened their names to just genus and species, sometimes completely renaming them or reclassifying them. Of course, over the years, many plants have been renamed and reclassified several times.

The narrator does a very good job talking about the earlier botanists whos work shaped the way we classify plants today.


Botany: A Blooming History Part 2 of 3 Photosynthesis.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that photosynthesis was figured out. In history, a physician/botanist that opened his mouth to say that plants had healing properties was arrested. To think plants could heal was blasphemy toward God. He was put on house arrest. Until one of his research projects, people thought plants ate soil. So, he set out to see if it were true. He took a few fig trees, weighed the plant and the dry soil and waited. After five years, he re-weighed the trees and the soil. Although the trees had grown the soil weighed almost the same that it did five years earlier. His conclusion? Plants drink water…

They didn’t get the picture and even 17th-century botanists didn’t know much about how plants grow. They had been so busy identifying and classifying plants, writing books and making a name for themselves (and arguing among themselves) that little attention was given to what makes a plant tick.

I could say more but I think if you are interested you would like to watch the documentary for yourself. In one part, though, “the man” who figured out what plants do with carbon dioxide was “let go” from “a” university and later his boss was given the Nobel Prize… Thirty years later, he wrote a book telling about his “teams” work and never mentioned the name of “the man” who actually figured it out. Well, in the beginning, “the man” and his boss were working on the same question but they were in disagreement. Actually, “the boss” didn’t realize “the man” didn’t agree with him because “the man” was working on his own experiment behind his bosses back… As a result, “the bosses” theory was proven wrong and “the man’s” theory was correct… Well, there is a little more to the story, but you get the idea.


Botany: A Blooming History Part 3 of 3: Hidden World

Part 3 takes a closer look at plant breeding and inheritance. It’s amazing how the early botanists and researchers did such hands-on experimenting all without the use of modern science. Much like we would do in our own garden and flower beds.

YouTube has a lot of very good documentaries in just about every niche you can think of. Since December 2016 I have become interested in ancient civilizations. As a kid, history wasn’t one of my favorite subjects but lately, it just fascinates me what has been discovered in recent years. From YouTube, I also subscribed to gaia.com. Some of the videos on gaia.com are somewhat out of date because I have watched newer videos that contradict or improve on the older ones. Well, many people have their own opinions, too.

OK, now I will stop so I can continue. Until next time, have an enjoyable weekend. Be safe, stay positive, embrace life around you, and just go outside and take a deep breath. Of course, as always, GET DIRTY!