Our Neck of the Woods

August 30 – This will be another blog about what’s going on in “our neck of the woods.” Just happened to think of that phrase as I typed it out and found myself wondering how often anyone uses it any more. Just had to check an on-line dictionary to find out how the phrase was used and by whom. Learning really is fun, you know!


[ Our neck of the woods ]

So, “neck of the woods” means a region or neighborhood. The early colonists had had enough of typically British ideas, and after they had been here for awhile, they thought it would be good to use “neck” in a different way, not for a narrow strip of land or water, but to a narrow strip of woods. Because this country was almost covered with woods, “your neck of the woods” became the words used when describing your home or neighborhood. When I was much younger, I often heard that phrase, but not very often lately.

So by now you know that I plan to write more about our land, where we are “happy as a lark” to use another well-known phrase. Did you know that some birds sing just in the early morning, and in the evening? Larks take over though and sing all day. I am trying to think how I will write about all of the pleasure and happiness we find on our eighteen acres. That’s more land than we have ever owned before. We do have neighbors close enough to be friendly and kind, but far enough away that they aren’t sitting on our doorstep every day!

I have been writing this after coming in after checking out several areas that are having a problem with the occasional heat and not enough water to change from hard and dry areas. In order to save the garden, Dale has occasionally used buckets this summer that he dips in the rain barrel, or the long hose that comes down from the faucet just behind the house. Good thing we have enough hoses because he uses another long one in front of the house. If we stop to wave at someone driving by on that road, we keep hoping that the wind is blowing from the west. Talk about a dusty road! At least it hasn’t been as hot as many of the summers we have live here.


[ Blackberries from the patch ]

I checked out our blackberry patch too; sad to say, Dale is thinking we may finally cut it down due to the low yields. He has a problem chewing up or swallowing blackberries because of the seeds, but I just take a small handful, open my mouth, toss in the berries, and down they go! So tasty and good for you.

When we first planted those berries years ago, they immediately began to give us luscious black fruit, but for awhile we had to cover the patch with netting to keep the birds from eating them all. One hot day this summer I was especially glad for the patch. After I had mowed a good bit of our trails by hand, and had just finished the area, I was pretty well “done in” and wondered if I would make it back to the house without incident. Thankfully the berry patch came into my thoughts, and I hurried as fast as I could, pushing the mower. I untied the rope that holds the mower and let the motor stop. Quickly I picked the blackberries by the handfuls and popped them into my mouth. What a relief as I sat down under a nearby tree and enjoyed those berries feeling that I was going to live after all!

Near the blackberries are two huge mulberry trees which we don’t use. Nice to have them in the area though, as the birds enjoy the berries so much. I’m not sure of their condition as I never really checked to find out if they are full of worms as I was told years ago. Just the thought of chomping down on a bunch of worms is too much for me!


[ Dale preparing the soil ]

We have had a hard time in the garden this year. Lots of work, but very little produce. Way back when the weather allowed us to plant onions, cabbage, peppers, and tomatoes, we worked hard to catch up as the continual rains drowned out the plants. Just a few lines will tell the story.

Tomatoes were harder to plant because they were so tall when we finally could plant them that we had to double over the stem from the roots. A few of them didn’t make it but died leaving an empty hole. The cabbages looked good, everyone tucked into the newly tilled soil, and standing as tall as they could even if they were pretty short.


[ Peppers from LAST year! ]

A few peppers were planted at the end of one of the two rows of big onions (well, when they were planted, they were pretty small and insignificant but they grew fast and were soon healthy). Dale also planted lima beans by one of the fences and cucumbers on the other (which we are currently enjoying).

However, there will not be even one head of cabbage or any peppers at all. Why? A couple rabbits had a good time chomping on our vegetables just about a week or so after they were planted. We don’t mind sharing with other creatures, but to lose so much that we worked so hard to plant, well, that’s a bit much! We haven’t had even one spoonful of coleslaw or a bite of those green peppers! – CHRIS



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