August 4-10th with Piper and Olivia

This was Piper’s 3rd time and Olivia’s first time at the farm. Piper is 6 and Olivia is 4 years old. We pulled a full 6’x12′ U-Haul trailer with Mary’s art, blank canvases, paper and 5 lbs of carrots to feed the horses and mules.

We played with the girls a lot and hence, did not get any large jobs done. It was very hot days after mid-70’s mornings and late evenings. The humidity ranged from about 60% in mid day to 75% in the mornings. Hot, sticky days with thunderstorms always in the area and somedays raining hard.

Robbie and subs made progress in the house and it is very close. It passed the final for plumbing and fuel but failed twice for electrical. Signed the contract and made the initial payment to Mike Caldwell of SpringHill Landscaping for the side and back patios. The patios are expected to be complete by 9/14/2018.


To Do:

  • Move hydrangea plant at kitchen door in preparation for the patio by Mike Chadwell.
  • After the next bloom move azalea rootings to the front corner
  • Mow weeds along the pond ditch and spray with 2-4-D and Glyphosate
  • Buy pole to replace the rotten one in the barn
  • Burn pile in Driskell field
  • Search for cypress log to support oak tree
  • Find 4 lug wheels for disc
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July 11, 2018 Week’s Progress

Good progress this trip despite it being very hot by 10 AM until 5 PM. Mid 90’s with high humidity.

Wednesday, 7/11/2018 – With a UHaul 6×12 cargo trailer loaded down we drove nine hours to the farm. Arrived on a very hot, humid afternoon. Unloaded the trailer stuff and got the AC going. Still, do not have the inside refer as the fan has not arrived. The trailer is full of the benches, radial arm saw, drill press, sander, and other stuff. The truck has all of Mary’s studio art stuff. Managed to almost run over the weed eater; only broke the cowling and plug.

Thursday – Unloaded the grain bin to make room for the new 2-racks of LAN Shelves. Unloaded the UHaul into the bin and barn and returned it a day early. Unloaded Mary’s art boxes at Airport Storage. Mainstreet Flooring began installing the new floor. Very tired and sore by the end of the day. AC in the house will not run so Robbie had Estes out and he found control wires were shorted in the attic or wall. Temp wire is running across the hall wall and out the window in the master bathroom to the control panel outside.

Friday – Floor crew made good progress and can finish tomorrow. We worked in the yard. Trimmed oak tree, weeded beds,

The First Dinner Party

Saturday – Floor installer foreman worked alone and finished by 3 pm. Sprayed the tall weeds in the ditch with 2-4-D/Glyphosate. Sprayed small brush and vines at the barn and azalea bushes with the Ortho Poison Ivey Killer. Had lunch at Bozo’s in Pascagoula for the first time and that was an experience. Bought their Shrimp Galore steamed dinner pack to serve tonight to Peg and Frank at the card table on the new floor. Our first dinner party!!! Trimmed out more dead limbs from the old oak tree.

Sunday – Spread 13-13-13 under the old oak and around the young oaks in the barnyard and the wisteria. Used Fergie to pull the dead azalea from the east side of the walkthrough to the barnyard. That was quite a struggle. Trimmed small sucker limbs from pecan trees in the orchard. Rained hard in the late afternoon.

Monday, 7/16/2018 – Picked up limbs and hauled to burn pile. Century Link out to fix connection and found cable bad in various locations. Will bury a new service in 5-7 days. Now there is an orange cable laying along the line of the locate flags. Ford Lumber delivered Hester’s door in its new frame. Cut 4×4’ws f4omn Houston to fit under the table legs and put them there with Mary’s help. Grilled a T-bone steak on Jeff’s little kettle: 3 min on each side the 2 minutes on each side and it was perfect.

Put benches on blocks in the barn and covered with the green tarp. Called patio installers. Edged walk and drive.

TuesdayPut up, cleaned up and weeded. Washed travel trailer. Put HVAC Metal tape of the split in the roof of the grain bin near the ladder. Open Door Ministries picked up the washer, dryer, mini blind and hat tree. Raymond LaConsay of Alabama Power (251-533-4485) Line Crew Foreman showed up and wants to convert the power to underground tomorrow AM early before the rain. By the end of the day after texts and phone calls with Robbie Faith Electric and APCO are set for early tomorrow.

APCO overhead service is gone


Met Mike Chadwell (251-209-3593) of Springhill Landscaping at 2 pm and talked about the patios. He will send us a quote likely Friday.  Bill Baff (251-366-1780) of Baff Landscaping came about 4 pm and we talked about the patios. He will come back maybe Saturday to measure and wants us to copy and mail him the plans as lightning hit his computer the day I emailed them to him.

Wednesday – Sprayed fence lines. Mary cut the grass.

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Black Fly Control

Sweet pickle fly trap!

Thank you to Regina of Leap of Faith farm for the solution to our summer fly problems!
Step 1: Buy sweet pickles. 
Step 2: Eat the pickles, save the juice.
Step 3: Use a Philips head screwdriver and a hammer to tap 4 holes on the top, big enough for flies to get in.
Step 4: Wait two days for results like these, even with the ridiculous amounts of rain we’ve had.

No, Dill pickles won’t work. Has to be sweet to attract the flies.

Cut the top off a soft-drink or water bottle, put a little piece of meat in the bottom, add some water, put the top on upside down so that it’s like a funnel pointing down and hang it in a tree. The flies love it, but they can’t get out.

This one is very similar to the one that we have seen above, with the only difference that, it is more robust and can be reused.

To make this housefly trap we need following items:

  • An empty plastic bottle (soda bottle or water bottle)
  • A sharp knife
  • Cellophane Tape
  • Sugar Syrup

After you have collected all the items, take the knife and cut the plastic bottle as shown in the below image.

Cut the bottle

Next, drill a 1 cm hole in the cap of the bottle.


After this, pore the syrup in the lower part of the bottle and place the upper part upside down as shown.

join the bottle

Apply the cellophane tape on the edges to fix them properly.


A tip for increasing the effectiveness of any trap: flies naturally move towards light. If you paint the underside of the trap entrance black and the top a bright color. Also put a black cover over top of the trap with a 2-3cm gap by using dowels, sticks etc. with a bright color on the top. The cover can be cloth, cardboard, plastic, etc. so long as the underside is black. Now when the flies enter the trap, and look for bright spots, they won’t head back towards the trap entrance and possibly escape. It significantly increased the fly count when compared to an identical trap without the black right beside it.


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June 2018

Tuesday – Arrived after driving through the steady rain from Gulfport. It had slowed to a drizzle when we arrived and so got the TT hooked up and everything works. The rain made it much cooler so that was great.


  • Jeff the trim guy and helper arrived at 7:30 AM. Mary and I talked with him about how to build the shelves in the various closets. We did not bring the dimension for the dresser to go into the master closet. Decided to not leave a place for it but instead build a double rod hanger wall.
  • With Robbie’s help and the trim carpenters, we unloaded the vanity boxes.
  • They put Mary’s door on Ford Lumber’s truck who will build the frame.
  • We took the boxes and art to the storage and then returned the trailer. A thunderstorm went by about 2 pm and we got some rain.
  • Bought a quart of trim color and a quart of the wall color. Painted patches in five places and two pieces of scrap trim.


  • Unloaded the grain bin enough to put up one set of LAN shelves. Put things on it and have more access.
  • A turkey walked across the cotton field from west to east.
    Added second coat of test paint to the trim and walls. Decided the wall color is way to dark.
  • Used the 4-cycle line trimmer to cut down the wildflowers that had gone to seed.
    Rained again today starting about 2:30 PM.

Friday the 15th

  • Bought a lighter color wall paint at Sherwin-Williams to try. The final colors used are below.
  • Deepened the bed in front of the office to remove the high grassed mound.
  • Went to Blair’s and bought two Popcorn Drift white roses by Star Roses & Plants and a Limelight Hydrangea to put there. The roses came from Flowerwood Nursery, Inc.
  • Moved the daylilies that were in the way and needed to be separated to the three gaps between the crepe myrtles along the road fence.


  • Tilled the spaces at the rose bushes between three crepes and moved eight clumps of daylilies there.
  • Planted the new hydrangea and two roses in the wider bed outside the office window.
  • Moved two daylily clumps closer to the new edge and away from the existing knockout roses.
  • Ted arrived about 10 to mow and it began to drizzle but he kept going and it did not rain hard until he was done.

Sunday: Did less work but got some done. Trimmed the camellia outside the MBR closet window so Mary can see from her makeup table when that time arrives. Decided what furniture fits where and made a MSPublisher plan showing the layout.

Monday, the second week:

  • Painters arrived and caulked.
  • Robbie was out and told him about the door and talked about the added can light in the study.
  • Line trimmed around the barn, bin, and equipment. Rained all around but not here.


  • The day started with Lady finding a skunk and getting partially sprayed. She tried to get it off in the dirt and so was a big mess. Washer her before 6 AM.
  • Spread 50 lbs. of granulated Gypsum on the old barn site where the grass was struggling to grow
  • Sprayed 24D on the dollar weeds and purple weed there and under the pecan tree.
  • Bought a hose timer by Obit and soaker hose and set it up to water the new plants in the expanded bed.
  • Sprayed the few Nettles and briars in the pond field. Ted mowed it Friday.
  • Bought 2 scopes of crushed pine bark mulch at Dawes turf farm but the scoop was smaller than at Koehners. Put it on the extended bed in front of the office Wednesday.
  • Ted moved the cows back to this side of the road and to eat down the grass in the areas around the house next to the road. Five new ones made for happy watching for Mary.


  • Bought a sack each of cottonseed meal, 34-0-0 and 13-13-13. Put the cottonseed meal on the new plants in the expanded bed and everywhere else including the citrus trees.
  • Put mulch around the 4 citrus trees and the three purple crepes along the driveway after the cottonseed meal.
  • Three turkeys walk across the north field near the back from east to west.
  • Spread the 34-0-0 on the azaleas per the soil test report recommendations.
  • Painters spraying and painting molding.
  • Welborn cabinets delivered and installation began. See emails with Robin about the shallow drawers in the island we deepened to regain space lost when the island what shortened.

Thursday, June 21 

  • Before 7 am, we spread the 2 scopes (1 CY) of mulch bought at Kroehners late yesterday when we picked pavers for the two patios.
  • Put it on the two sections of new beds between the crepes at the roses and around the roses in front of the gate.
  • Geroge Raines/Cabinet maker came by at Robbie’s request, to talk about a cabinet below the TV. We also talked about one in the Vanity Room across from the vanity. — 251-661-2464
  • Bought two more scopes of mulch at Koehners and spread on the linear bed at the driveway and, at 7 PM distributed mulch on the linear bed along the driveway. About 7:45 Mary was not to be outdone so she spread it.
  • The day ended 13 hours after it started mulching flower beds.


  • 6 AM – Tilled remaining beds between crepes at the road. Moved daylilies into the spaces either side of the roses like we did the other day.
  • Jack K. emailed us aerials taken with his drone.


  • Cut grass with the JD
  • Sprayed Glyphosate around the citrus trees outside the new mulch
  • Driskells plowed cotton and left all three gates open
  • Finally took some of the old oil to O’Rieley’s

Sunday – Our last day before returning to Houston

  • Sprayed Ferti-Lome fungicide on the Iron Plants and all the roses. This was the second treatment in a week.
  • Mary cut the grass in the pecan orchard and I line trimmed.
  • Hauled limbs to the burn pile
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May 2018 – Retirement Begins

Retirement Begins At The Farm

This was a great trip as we stayed 2 weeks–the first weeks of my retirement. Work on the house was transitioning from demo to rough in. We selected light fixtures, ceilinbg fans, granite slab for the kitchen counters, molding, doors, even toilets. We sprayed many weeds, trimmed 2 feet off the azaleas behind the house, and had to water the flower beds as it was dry at the start and did not rain for the entire 2 weeks. This was also the first time we stayed in the new travel trailer…many memories and good times. Continue reading

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April 2018 Renovation Begins

March 30th, Signed the contract and sent with keys to Robbie Mullins of Robert Mullins Builders, Inc.

4/6&7/2017 – Demo began and made a lot of progress. Photos compliments of Peggy Knippenberg of Blue Moon Farms.


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March 11, 2018 Taking Angel & Prep’ing for Renovation

Sunday, March 12, 2018 – The truck and camper were loaded, the running lights worked but then went out. The brakes and turns worked and the running lights on the truck worked so it must be a wire came loose in the new 6-pin connector. The sun was almost up so we left Houston at 7:30 AM on the maiden voyage to the farm in Mobile, AL.

About Beaumont the drizzle to easy rains began and continued almost to Lafayette. In one place two car-haulers running close past us and I was too close the dashed white between us. They started Angel to swaying just a little and she would not stop but the magnitude was small–like she was being restrained. Gently applied the brakes and she tracked straight. No other sway incidents and I stayed on the far side of my lane when an 18-wheeler past us.

The truck did well without any fluctuation in the engine or trans temps. In OD it is slow to gain speed and any incline prevents speeding up as well as 1-2 MPH loss kicked it out of OD. Learned to judge the incline that would cause speed to drop when going over a bridge and then turn off the cruise control letting the speed drop but stay in OD. Then, on the downhill side get back to the set speed and reset the cruise control.

Target speed was 62-63 MPH when the road was wet. In east LA and across MS it is very flat with fewer overpasses and was dry so 65 MPH was easy to maintain.

Arrived at the farm and she squeezed through the driveway gate at 5:00 PM. We had three re-filling stops as I heeded the advice to begin looking for a station when at 1/2 tank so the fillups were usually about 15 gallons. We also stopped for about 30 minutes total at Atchafalaya Welcome Center to eat the sandwiches we had bought at Kroger yesterday. Total trip time including the stops was 9.5 hours.

Monday – Tried to charge the JD battery but problem with electrical supply. Went to Home Depot bought more boxes and paper to pack stuff. Met with Robbie and walked house to finalize scope. He will have final quote Thursday. Ted cut the grass until his mower would not start. Wildflower seed in the front bed is not blooming but there are strange looking plants plus known weeds so maybe it will bloom. Scattered crimson clover blooms on back of ditch.

Tuesday – Packed boxes for the Open Door charity and to store during the renovation. Assembled the LAN shelves in the grain bin to the right of the entry. Moved boxes out there as well as hung inside the bin wreathes and the angel on wires from Houston in black plastic bags. Pulled grass from the wildflower bed between the white crepes. Removed more of the magnolia Frascati to thin it out and remove rubs.

Wednesday -This was a busy day as: met with Robin about the kitchen design;, Open Door hauled away furniture; Century Link installed new modem; and lastly Blossman Gas added 75 gallons to the tank and showed me that the plastic gauge we have should have the zero facing south. Ted and Dennis got his mower to run and then helped me load the big tube TV to haul to Best Buy for recycling.

Thursday – Leased a 10×5′ climate-controlled room at the new Airport Storage; Unit 454. Took a load of art and stuff to the unit in the afternoon. Took the big tube TV to Best Buy. Bought at Sessions Vegetable Market an Owari Satsuma tree (grown by Turner Farms) and a Blood Orange tree (grown by Star Nursery). Planted them along the west side of the driveway opposite the purple Crepe Myrtles.

Friday – Packed and loaded art, telescope and more and took to storage. Met with Robin and worked on the kitchen and utility room cabinets. Moved chrome shelves into carport storage and loaded more stuff as well as moved more to the grain bin. Took down curtains. Began loading kitchen stuff and more into TT; aka Angel.

Saturday – Continued packing and moving into the grain bin, storage closet off carport and into the rented storage unit. By the end of the day, we were exhausted but Mary had to weed the bed east of the front door. Decided there is no way to be done by early tomorrow AM.

Sunday – Finished packing and storing. Leveled the TT) and made ready for future our next trip.

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Vanity for Master Bathroom

2/8/2018 from Houzz
Order 1591-8370-0249-2831 Delivered by February 15 – February 25
Shipping Method: Curbside

Price  $1,899.00

Deborah 80″ Double Vanity, White, White Carrera Marble, Undermount

Sold by: Modern Bathroom HMS Stores LLC
Deborah 80" Double Vanity, White, White Carrera Marble, Undermount
Shop bathroom vanities on Houzz – Click image to see other views and detail below.
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Animal Trapping Ideas

How to Make a Garbage Can and Ramp Trap

What you’ll need:
30 gallon (113.6 L) metal garbage can
A long, sturdy piece of wood (preferably a 2×4)

1. Just before dark, place the garbage can upright where you want to trap the skunk. Have it against something strong, such as a wall, so that the skunk cannot tip it over. Bait it with cat food, peanut butter, canned sardines, cat food, or other strong-smelling foods. Set it near the skunk’s den or its route of access to your property.

2. Get a long, sturdy piece of wood (it must be thick and heavy enough to hold a skunk, maybe a 2 x 4). Use it as a ramp to allow the skunk to get from the ground to inside the garbage can.

3. The skunk will not be able to get out of the garbage can. If handled carefully, it will hopefully not spray.

4. After the skunk is inside, put the lid on the garbage can. Put it in your truck and carry the skunk away to a wooded area. Release by tying (or clamping) a twenty foot or longer cord to the lid handle. This will allow you to take off the lid and letting the skunk make its own way back into nature without danger of getting sprayed.

Extracted from


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January Hard Freezes to Kickoff 2018

After a cold wet week between Christmas 2017 and New Year’s Eve, New Year’s day began with 10-20 MPH winds whistling through the pecan trees and frozen pipes and no heat in the house. The pond had a thin ice layer when we left at 9 AM.

January 2, 2018, saw a low temp that morning of 21 and a high temperature during the day of 40.

3rd – In the morning it only got down to 31. Blossman Gas checked the tank, found it empty even though the gauge said 50%. Added 50 gallons, checked for leaks and found none but he and Peg could not get it to light. Peg went back after Mandy picked up TS and adjusted the thermostat to 60 from 50–it came on.

4th – At 5:30 AM temp is 25 degrees. At 1:30 pm it is 45° for the day’s high.

5th, Friday – At 6:30 Am the temp is 27°. The high was 50°.

Sunday morning, 1/14/18, began the next cold spell when the morning temps fell into the mid 20s today, Monday and Tuesday. The full arctic cold front rolled in on Wednesday, 1/17/18, and the temps fell to 18° at sunrise. This was the storm that dropped a solid layer of sleet on Houston during our last winter there with freeways closed throughout the city.

Thursday morning- Temps fell to 19°. Houston was in the low 20s.

Friday morning – 25°. Houston 39, like is forecast for Mobile tomorrow morning.

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