The main garden looks great, as we can water it easily from our well. All around the north edge is a band of spreading dogbane. Although it toxic to humans (and dogs), it is very bitter so nobody would eat it, including our very picky dogs. But boy-oh-boy do the pollinators come to it! We have about every type of flying critter known to man on them — tiny wasps, flies, bees, and tons of various butterflies. The most common one is the Great Spangled Fritillary. There are literally hundreds of them on those flowers all day! A wonderful sight, indeed.

The dogbane is alive with pollinators all day.

A welcome break came on Sunday when Bill and the grandkids came up for a visit. Ava was missing her pony. Besides, Bill had volunteered to see if he can fix our LP refrigerator. Will gave it a try but no dice. And as Bill is a RV gas technician among other valuable talents, I’ll bet he can get it fixed. We sure miss that double door fridge. You should see our little fridge with stuff stacked high just so it will fit. We have to be very careful opening the door!

Ava had her first ride on Whinny Sunday after this first tryout while Whinny was having a snack on horse feed.

As we weren’t sure just how broke Ava’s pony was, we went really slow before sitting Ava on her back. First, I held her and Bill boosted Ava up to lay across her back. Whinny never even wiggled an ear. So we went further; he picked her up and set her on Whinny’s bare back. Still no reaction at all. Great! Then Bill led Whinny around the pasture while I walked beside Ava, just in case something got wild and crazy. Nothing. All went perfect and Ava got her first ride on her sweet POA. Bill bought a saddle on Craigslist but the stirrups wouldn’t go up high enough for Ava, so we ordered a saddle package that comes with a western saddle, bridle, and saddle blanket. I’ve been trying Whinny out a bit and found out she neck reins, so someone has been riding her. Meanwhile, Bill has a lead on some used power poles so he can use them for gate and corner posts for the new fence he’ll be building for Whinny.

Here’s David’s water hole he dug out last year with Bill’s Bobcat skid steer. Although water has always stayed in it throughout the drought, we’re hoping it will quickly refill.

Our drought keeps smacking us in the face. While we can water the bulk of our gardens, the Wolf garden, on mostly sand, is suffering. Will ran 1¼-inch black poly water line out to the garden from David’s water hole, where eventually a well will be sunk. Today I bought 300 feet more so he can coil up the second 500-foot piece to save for other uses. So, while I write this, he’s out hooking up our pump, the lines, and fittings so we can run a couple of sprinklers out there. We are just hoping that the water hole will re-fill rapidly. Or at all … (Please God!) — Jackie


  1. I loved the picture of Ava and her pony, what a happy little girl! We are in the midst of a drought here too. Its weird the places that normally get rain, aren’t and the places that are usually pretty dry are being swamped!

    You were right about my potted Rubarb plant Jackie. I put the pot where it was mostly shady after all the leaves died. I was hoping it would come back and a couple of days ago tiny leaves started popping out! Now I just need to find a bigger pot lol. Aftwr my sunchokes get done and I harvest those I will switch it to that one.

    I hope David’s pond stays full for you guys so you can use it for your garden. How is his cabin coming? I miss the updates.

    Take care

    • With David working full time at a very physical job (repairing huge mine equipment) and having a baby, he hasn’t gotten much done this summer yet. I’m glad your rhubarb plant didn’t die!
      Ava sure loves her pony and can’t wait until her saddle and bridle arrive so she can try out those too.

  2. Sure wish we could send some of the rain we are having here in Ohio! Has not stopped for days. Good luck getting your garden watered, and love the pictures of Ava!

    • She sure uses that cute smile a lot! Yep, I’d sure be grateful for all the rain you could send our way. None in sight yet and the ground is cracking it’s so dry.

  3. Looks like Ava is having a blast on Whinny! So sorry to hear about still no rain for you. We are having the opposite problem and my garden is yellowing from all the rain. Weeds are winning too because I can’t get in to weed because of mud. Sigh, that’s gardening isn’t it, lol. Hope you get rain soon.

  4. Sorry that you’re having no rain! No drought here in our part of Michigan. On the contrary, there has been so much rain that everything is unusually green for this time of summer, and I’m hoping that my many tomato plants will make it through this. Some are very spindly. Love Ava’s adventure on the new pony. She looks like a very happy young lady! Prayers for you guys that the weather brings you some much needed watering!

    • We’d sure love some of your rain! Nothing at all in the week’s forecast though so we’re watering like mad where we can. Whew!!

  5. We like you are in a horrible drought no measurable rain since March. Fires all around us so very dry. The forest is closed to wood cutting so we’re glad we got ours in early. I think all of us here in the west are saying our prayers for rain. Our raspberry plants have produced but not like normal they actually are getting sunburned along with many other plants.

    • We have thick smoke here from Canadian forest fires and a few to the northeast of us, with no rain in sight, even on the long term forecast. Even our lilac bushes are suffering with curled up leaves!

  6. We’re in drought too here in NW Iowa. Last week we had rain so things greened up again. We have received enough rain to keep the garden alive but not enough for it to really thrive. The forecast is for rain again tomorrow so we live in hope. I hope that you’ll also get rain.

  7. Found this on Facebook. Thought you might want to comment.

    USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning (Pg. 38)
    “38 Cleaning up the area: Contact with botulinum toxin can be fatal whether it is ingested or enters through the skin. Take care to avoid contact with suspect foods or liquids. Wear rubber or heavy plastic gloves when handling suspect foods or cleaning up contaminated work surfaces and equipment. A fresh solution of 1 part unscented liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) to 5 parts clean water should be used to treat work surfaces, equipment, or other items, including can openers and clothing, that may have come in contact with suspect foods or liquids. Spray or wet contaminated surfaces with the bleach solution and let stand for 30 minutes. Wearing gloves, wipe up treated spills with paper towels being careful to minimize the spread of contamination. Dispose of these paper towels by placing them in a plastic bag before putting them in the trash. Next, apply the bleach solution to all surfaces and equipment again, and let stand for 30 minutes and rinse. As a last step, thoroughly wash all detoxified counters, containers, equipment, clothing, etc. Discard gloves when cleaning process is complete. (Note: Bleach is an irritant itself and should not be inhaled or allowed to come in contact with the skin.)”

    • I’m assuming they are meaning if you have a spill of spoiled food from a failed lid on a jar? A little overkill, I’m thinking. What about those Botox commercials on TV? They inject it to remove wrinkles? I do know it works in some more serious problems. Dad had achalasia throat spasms that were severe and about once a year, the doctor would inject Botox down his throat to relieve it. And it really helped drastically!
      When I have a bad jar with a failed seal, I just dump the contents in a hole in the ground so the animals don’t get into it, fill in the hole, then wash the jar out with hot, soapy water, rinse well and air dry for many weeks. I don’t get the Hazmat suit out or anything. But then, all spoiled food from canning is NOT caused by botulism. Yes, some could be but most often, not.

      • Thanks for your voice of reason and common sense, Jackie, instead of hysteria and overreaching fear. How’s your arm healing up (where the spot was deeply removed), and the sun burn from the antibiotic? God Bless you! from far north California.

        • You said the magic words “common sense”. Is in very short supply these days so I’m not surprised what you found is overkill to those with common sense and a lifesaver to those who lack common sense.

          • I agree; common sense seems to have taken a leave. It borders on folks becoming functioning-stupid. And as Dad used to say, “You can’t fix stupid….”.

        • Thanks Elizabeth. My arm is totally healed and the hands, nearly so. I still use aloe on the hands as I’m still peeling a little here and there. But MUCH better!

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