Spring Photos

How about some spring photos?

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Baby pears! The tree is loaded this year. It’s a long wait, they won’t be ready to eat until mid to late September, but they’re worth it.

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I normally prefer bright, showy flowers, but there is something to be said for subtle colors as well.

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Hostas! These guys have been thriving in the cool, wet spring we’ve had so far.

DSCF3719.JPGDSCF3728.JPGWe have several different varieties and colors of iris here, and they’re doing really well this spring as well. They’re just on the verge of popping open. They should be in full flower in the next day or two

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I’ve always been fascinated with these guys. I have no idea how they keep growing. They’re basically growing in nothing but rock, areas where nothing else can survive.

Let’s wrap things up with this one, one of the brighter, more showy flowers we have going at the moment.

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That’s it for this time!

Get out there and play in the dirt!

 

Milk Again

Some of you are probably getting tired of me talking about the dairy industry and the

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Cow is angry.

problems it faces, but I ran across an editorial over at Wisconsin Agriculturalist that was really well written and well thought out that talks about the situation the dairy industry is facing. Go give it a look if you have a few minutes.

The writer brings up a lot of points that I’ve talked about myself, or have at least thought about. I wanted to pass some of that along with my own thoughts on the subject. So if you’re sick of me babbling about dairy farming, feel free to skip this one. I won’t blame you at all if you do.

As the author points out, blaming Canada for our overproduction problems down here is just plain stupid. He doesn’t use that word. He’s more polite than I am.

Blaming Canada for our problems and Grassland cutting off some 75 or so farmers from a market for their milk is stupid. Demanding that the government “do something” to change Canada’s milk production and marketing system because of our problems down here is sort of like a kid demanding his parents take away his friend’s Playstation because he doesn’t have one himself.

Canada has a milk production/marketing system that works fairly well. Dairy farmers enjoy relatively stable prices that let them make a reasonable profit. But the price they pay for this is that their production is strictly limited. They have a system in place that permits them to only produce a specific amount of milk. If they want to expand their operation, the only way they can do it is by acquiring the quota of a different farm that is shrinking or going out of business.

This also means that Canada has to put in place import restrictions that prevent outsiders from dumping their surplus product onto Canadian markets at cut-throat prices and destabilizing their whole system.

This, some claim, is “unfair”. Canada, they claim, should simply allow the US to dump it’s surpluses on the Canadian markets so the US can continue to ramp up milk production to make even more product that no one wants and wrecking the Canadian dairy industry just as badly as we’ve wrecked the US markets.

They want a “free market”. But only a market that’s “free” for them, and not for anyone else, it seems. They want a market where they are free to dump their excess on everyone else, but at the same time they want the US to protect them from other countries doing the same thing to us. Hence all of the rhetoric coming out of DC about tariffs on imports, claims that China and Mexican products are “destabilizing” our markets by dumping cheap products on us.

But we should be able to do it to them?

Could the government here ever develop a marketing system that actually works? Sure it could. But it won’t. It can’t.

The problem is that the government is no longer in the hands of elected leaders who represent us. Instead politicians have sold their souls (and ours) for the almighty dollar. Their actions are being influenced not by the voters who elect them, but by a handful of well financed special interest groups that are largely funded by a tiny handful of wealthy individuals and corporations and which pump hundreds of millions of dollars into election campaigns.

The author of the editorial wants farmers to join up with one marketing board or farmers’ organization or other to try to work with the government to get changes made. It’s highly unlikely that will work. It certainly hasn’t worked in the past. Farmers’ organizations attempting to change the system have come and gone by the dozens, and almost none of them have had any real positive influence on things. In some cases, they’ve made things worse.

What’s the solution? The government isn’t going to be any help. That system is largely broken. The government no longer responds to the needs of the people it’s supposed to represent, but only responds to those who can write out six figure checks or own a high priced and well funded lobbyist in DC.

I wish I had an answer. I don’t.

 

 

Farm Catch Up

Ah, it’s about that time again, so here’s some of the agricultural news for the past week

 

Budget Pain

Well, I think we all knew that the new administration’s budget was going to be painful, and it is. Well, unless you’re a defense contractor, run a private prison, etc. You people will do pretty good. The rest of us? Not so much.

If you’re a farmer or involved in agriculture in any way, the budget is indeed going to be painful. There are huge cuts to USDA, cuts in the crop insurance program, new fees for inspectors, cuts in research… The list is too long to put here.

In addition to that, there would be massive cuts to the SNAP food assistance program, cuts to the WIC program, cuts to the school lunch program and school nutrition services, all of which would have long term consequences for the agricultural sector.  And even worse consequences for the people who depend on those programs. Even the venerable and highly praised meals on wheels system would be hit hard.

You can read a brief article about the agricultural implications of this over at AgWeb here, and if you spend a couple of minutes on Google you can find out more quite quickly.

Hay Crop almost Total Loss

Here in Calumet County, in neighboring Manitowoc and in other counties nearby we’ve seen nearly a total loss of the hay crop. Inadequate snow cover, coupled with February temperatures that spiked as high as 70 degrees during the day, then plunging into the 20s at night, coupled with extremely wet and cold weather this spring, have decimated the hay crop around here.

To make things worse, the almost nonstop rains we’ve had this spring are making it difficult to get into the fields and do anything. A lot of farmers will try to put in peas and oats to try to get some kind of forage crop off the fields, but it’s going to be a rough year.

Pigs Take Over World

Feral pigs are becoming a major problem in the US and even in Europe. It isn’t a huge problem here in Wisconsin, but the population is growing and becoming a concern. The DNR is putting bulletins into it’s hunting publications about what to do if you find one (basically shoot it). In other parts of the country it’s such a big problem that it’s become a public health issue and they are causing massive amounts of damage to farms.

Feral pigs are very aggressive, smart, reproduce quickly with the average sow producing two litters per year with 6-12 piglets per litter, and they’ll eat anything. If it has any kind of nutritional value at all, and they can eat it, they will. They cause huge amounts of damage to crops and property, kill and eat small animals, and yes, they are physically dangerous towards people. Boars can get to be several hundred pounds, with tusks like razors. And they carry a host of diseases and parasites and spread them over a wide area. Most states have adopted an aggressive policy towards pigs in the wild. A lot of states advise hunters to shoot them on sight.

Ah, well, yummy free pork, then? I wouldn’t eat one. Some states are advising hunters that if they do shoot one, let it lay there. They can carry some very nasty diseases and parasites, many of which can be transmitted to people.

New Herbicide Mix Not So Hot

There was a lot of hype surrounding Monsanto’s introduction of seed varieties that were resistant to both Roundup and dicamba in an effort to control weeds that were becoming resistant to Roundup alone. The biggest problem is pigweed, where a Roundup resistant variety has been spreading widely.

But the new systems don’t seem to be working all that well according to early reports. Early indications are that multiple sprayings are going to be required, and perhaps even resorting to additional types of chemicals. The manufacturer recommends pigweed be no more than 4 inches tall, but since pigweed grows at up to 3 inches per day, trying to time things right is almost completely impossible.

I’m not going to get into debates about the health safety of GM crops. But I will point out that GM plants seem to be, ultimately, a complete failure. At least in their current form. The only commercially successful GM plants right now are those that have been engineered to resist herbicides or insects. And that resistance is rapidly becoming worthless as weeds and insects become resistant to the herbicides or the traits that resisted the corn root worm. These GM plants really have no other desirable traits except that. They do not increase yield, aren’t nutritionally superior. So in the long run, these commercially available GM plants are a failure.

Politics Rears Its Ugly Head

The administrations proposed budget could have widespread and devastating effects on the entire agricultural sector, and cause ripples through the whole economy. There would be big changes to the crop insurance program which could hit some farmers pretty hard. Everyone has probably heard about the cuts to the funding for the Meals on Wheels programs that serve the elderly and disabled. It looks like USDA itself would be hit hard. If I’m reading things right USDA would be looking at losing about a full third of it’s funding.

There would be huge changes to the SNAP program, i.e. “food stamps”. In addition to large cuts in funding, states would have to contribute more money to the program themselves, and would be given more control over how the programs work, who gets help, etc. It would also allow states to institute work requirements.

I don’t really understand the work requirement thing. The vast majority of people in the SNAP program can’t work. They are disabled, the elderly, or children. About two thirds of the people who get assistance through the program fall into one of those three categories. Of the remainder, most of them already do work, but make so little money they qualify for help through the program.

It’s Hard To Be Small If You Raise Meat

The big trend these days is the whole “farm to table” thing where people try to connect directly to farmers to buy food rather than rely on the big commercial processors and distributers. I’m very much in favor of these ideas. Connecting with your local farmers to buy food is generally a good thing for many reasons.

But it isn’t easy to be a small farmer. Agriculture in general doesn’t seem to like small farmers. At all. It’s hard to buy equipment designed for small farms, difficult to find ways to market your products. And if you raise meat animals, well, it’s even more difficult because it’s almost impossible to find a government inspected, licensed slaughter facility to deal with the animals. Bloomberg has an interesting article on the issue, and it’s one that’s turning up all over the country. (Warning, Bloomberg has one of the most bloody awful websites around, loaded with auto-play videos you can’t get rid of that have nothing to do with the story you’re trying to read, along with other annoyances.)

The US market has become such a monopoly that only four companies supply 90% of the meat sold in the country, and the independent meat processors that used to dot the countryside are long gone.

So while the demand for organic, free range and local meat has increased dramatically over the last few years, places where farmers can get that meat processed have become almost impossible to find in many areas of the country. Some are forced to truck their cattle for three, four hours or even more to get them to a processor.

And the government doesn’t want to make things easier. Inspection rules, processor rules and regulations are all geared to the huge meat packing facilities, not the small processors.

Some people in congress are trying to get the rules changed to make it easier for small farmers to deal with this situation, but it’s being fought hard by the big processors, as you might expect.

A Nice Gesture But…

An organization called Dairy Pricing Association put out a PR piece the other day about how they bought and donated 42,000 pounds of cheese to the Hunger Task Force. It’s a nice, feel good kind of item. DPA makes itself sound like it’s doing farmers a favor and that the buy will help push up milk prices. And certainly the Hunger Task Force can use the help. They have over 85,000 people using it’s food pantries and other forms of assistance in Milwaukee county every month.

I hate to sit here and frown at people who are trying to do something, but it’s PR fluff, really. The people at DPA are helping people who badly need food, yes. And that is a good thing. But claiming this is somehow going to help the milk price as some of the statements imply is just silly. It won’t.

That 42,000 pounds sounds impressive until you learn that is half of a single truck load of cheese. Go down to the Sargento plant about 20 miles from here and they crank out dozens of truckloads of product every single day. From one plant.

They removed “23 tanker loads of milk from the market” in 2016. That sounds like a lot until you do the math. Let’s say a tanker holds, oh, 8,000 gallons of milk. That’s 184,000 gallons of milk. A lot, right? Well, no. A 5,000 cow mega-farm puts out up to 30,000 or more gallons a day. So that 23 tankers of milk is only 6 days of production from a single farm.

It’s a nice PR piece, sounds good, and certainly it helps feed people. But boost milk prices? No. Not even a blip.

Farm Catch Up

Catching up with the week’s farm news

Local Alfalfa Die Off

The weather this spring has caused significant damage to the hay crop around here. I’ve been seeing large areas of stunted and even bare ground in a lot of the hayfields here in this county and in Manitowoc county when driving around. But you know it’s really bad when it makes the AP news. According to one report Manitowoc County has lost 10,000 acres of alfalfa, well over half of it’s hay crop due to the weather. From what I’ve seen around here I wouldn’t be surprised if we were almost that bad in this county. The main culprit was February daytime temps climbing into the mid 60s, then plunging down to the low 20s at night.

Addendum: After writing the above new info has been coming out that indicate the losses are as high as 80% here in Calumet County and in neighboring Manitowoc Cty. When you add everything up; increased labor costs, poor milk prices, and now a severe hay shortage, it doesn’t look good for the dairy industry around here, alas.

Manure, Manure everywhere and not a drop to drink

Kewaunee County is trying desperately to find a fix for it’s well contamination problem. Dumping massive amounts of manure from CAFOs (mega-farms) has polluted almost half of the wells in the county. The geology of the county is such that contaminants quickly flush through the soil, through the cracked bedrock, and into the groundwater in the area.

The county is proposing a new ordinance that could change how the farms are allowed to spread manure. Right now they can dump manure only in the spring and fall.

Some have been using high-pressure irrigation systems to spread manure, basically something similar to giant lawn sprinklers. There has been a huge stink about this. Literally, because this stuff doesn’t exactly smell all that appealing. There are also health concerns about the practice because the locals are afraid the vaporized cow poo could also be causing pathogens to get into the air as well.

The county is thinking of changing regulations. The new rules would forbid using high pressure irrigation type spraying of manure, but allow low pressure spraying, under the canopy of plants. It would also allow spreading manure over a 6 month period of time rather than restricting it to just spring and fall.

Will this do any good? Well, maybe??? If farms can spread out the application of manure over six months rather than having to dump all of it in just a few weeks, it might help.

In the long run though, no. It won’t. The problem is too much manure in one area.

When you have grazing cattle on pasture, the situation is entirely different. When a cow drops a pile on grass, it doesn’t just sink into the ground. It sits there on the surface. Insects lay eggs in it, insect larvae burrow through it. Birds and small mammals dig through it to eat the larvae, scattering the manure over a wider area. It naturally rots and decays and it gradually gets absorbed by the soil to be taken up by plants. It takes many days to go through this process, and almost none of the material ends up in the ground water.

But the process CAFOs use? The manure from thousands of cows is dumped into pits, liquified, churned up, allowed to bubble and ferment and cook for months, and then all of that muck is dumped on fields, at one time, tens of thousands of gallons of it dumped in just a day or two… It isn’t surprising we have problems. What’s surprising is that the situation isn’t far, far worse.

US Regains Beef Export to China

In 2003 China banned the import of US beef because of a case of BSE. It didn’t import US beef even after the ban was lifted a year ago. But a new trade deal may change that. In exchange for being allowed to ship cooked chicken to the US, China is going to allow the import of US beef, apparently starting in July.

China has seen a large increase in the consumption of beef in the last decade or so, but most of it’s beef imports have been coming from South America and Australia.

While the beef industry in the US is delighted, exactly how much China will import from the US remains to be seen. China, like the EU, bans the import of meat that was raised with the use of hormones and other growth promoters, a practice that is widespread in the US. It is unlikely China will change this requirement and, at the moment anyway, the production of hormone free beef in the US is very limited and it’s unlikely that will change very  much.

Donkeys? Really???

In the WTF department, I ran across this item over at AgWeb reprinted from Bloomberg. Donkeys are really popular in China. Not as pets or work animals or even for food, but for something called e’jiao. They take the skin of the donkey and render it down into a gelatin that some believe will enhance… Oh, come on, really? That? They think it does that?

Yeah, they do. “Libido enhancers” as the article delicately puts it. Or as those of us who are a lot less delicate would put it, dick pills.

Apparently the demand is so strong that it’s decimating the donkey population in some parts of the world.

I have two basic questions:

First of all, what idiot first said “Hey I’m going to rip the skin off that cute little donkey and boil it down and eat it and I bet it’ll turn me into one of those porn star dudes.”?

And second, who the hell is dumb enough to actually believe that first idiot up there?

Well, apparently a lot of people do believe, to the point where it’s having serious economic impacts on some communities in Africa where work animals are being sold off to be boiled down to make dick pills for impotent rich.

Anyway, if you want to know more click the link up there and read the article over at AgWeb.

What the hell is the matter with people? I mean, really? Boiling down donkeys, killing rhinos for their horns, cutting out bear gall bladders and I don’t know what all else, just so some fat, balding, aging jerk with an overinflated ego can…

No, I won’t go on or I will descend into vulgarity.

Got Milk? Increasingly the Answer is No

Sales of liquid milk for drinking have been falling for years now despite heavy advertising and marketing by the dairy industry. A brief but informative article over at NPR’s The Salt goes into the history of milk in the US and it’s worth clicking the link and taking a couple of minutes to read it.

Milk, as a beverage, has been falling out of favor for decades now. In the 1970s, as the article says, average consumption was about 30 gallons a year. Today it’s about half of that. If you go into the history of milk marketing in the US, it’s fascinating how the dairy industry turned a product that no one really needs, into an “essential source of nutrients”. And it is. If you’re a calf. Yes, milk does provide necessary nutrients, but it doesn’t offer anything that you couldn’t get from other foods.

The problem is that often milk is being replaced by stuff that’s a hell of a lot worse; soft drinks, juices, stuff that looks like juice but is really a blend of sugar water and fruit flavorings. Or with expensive and useless products like water fortified with vitamins you don’t need or herbal concoctions that have never actually been tested for safety.

Probably a more accurate slogan for marketing milk would be something like “Milk: It probably won’t kill you, but some of the other crap your drinking could.”

NAFTA

It’s official. The administration has formally announced it is going to renegotiate NAFTA. But before you get all giddy with anticipation, or full of dread or whatever your opinion is on the subject, don’t hold your breath waiting. From what I’ve been seeing going on in DC I get the feeling that this administration doesn’t have a clue as to how government actually works, doesn’t know what it itself is doing most of the time, and doesn’t understand how treaties like this actually work. Perdue’s earlier claim that the administration would completely renegotiate NAFTA in just a couple of weeks is especially troubling, giving more indications that they don’t know what they’re doing over there in DC.

 

 

Hey, Grouchy, Whatcha Watchin’?

Seriously? You want to know? You don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for, do you? Well, you’ll find out. You’ve been warned. Here’s what I’ve been watching of late and brief, sometimes not so brief, reviews/impressions.

Oh, and yes, there will be spoilers. Well, not that there’s much to spoil for most of these since the writers, directors and actors have already pretty much spoiled ’em.

OA – Oh, dear lord… Okay, OA created a lot of buzz when it popped up. People started reading all kinds of things into it’s surreal atmosphere and searching for some kind of hidden meaning.

And failed because there isn’t anything there to find.

Here’s the basic plot: Obviously mentally ill young woman has been missing for 7 years, reappears jumping off a bridge. Over the course of the series she gathers together a group of equally disturbed teens and one very odd adult in a house that’s under construction late at night and spins an even more odd tale about being the daughter of a Russian oligarch, going blind for no apparent reason after her school bus fell into a lake, ending up in the US adopted by a very strange and possibly abusive couple, being kidnapped, repeatedly tortured to death by drowning, and learning how to hallucinate through the magic of interpretive dance. And I wish I was making up that last part, but I’m not. The story says it’s some kind of interdimensional thing, but, well, no. I’m sorry, just no. Lots of people die in the end and by that time I really didn’t care any more. Actually I stopped caring about twenty minutes into the first show and just wished they’d get some therapy for that poor girl.

And for the writers.

Iron Fist – Son of a rich company owner disappears where he learns all kind of weird ninja and martial arts stuff, comes back to find his company taken over by evil people and his city being swept by corruption…

Hey, wait a minute, you say, isn’t that the plot from The Arrow? Yeah, it is. Only without The Arrow’s production values and, judging from the horrible sets and costumes, without its budget, either. Certainly without its acting talent.

It’s called Iron Fist because the hero, if you can call him that, has fists that glow in the dark when he’s really, really mad. You can tell when he’s really really mad because he looks like he has mild indigestion. And his fists glow in the dark.

Glow in the dark fists? Really? Let me guess, Marvel has finally run out of super powers. “Let’s see, we have a guy who turns green, we have a guy who thinks he’s a spider, we have a guy who bursts into flame, a guy who wears a robot suit, a guy who thinks he’s a god with a big hammer. I know, we haven’t done a guy who’s fists glow in the dark yet! Let’s try that!”

Luke Cage – One of the very, very few good shows I’ve seen, and pretty much the only one where the cast is almost entirely black and hispanic, with a lot of genuinely good actors. Yeah, how Cage gets his superpowers is pretty silly, but so is how Wolverine got his stabby things that shoot out of his knuckles and nobody seems to mind that. And yeah, the writing and acting is over the top at times. But still, it can be riveting and touching and genuinely hopeful. I’m looking forward to this one continuing in the future. Luke Cage believes that there is hope, that things can be better no matter how bad they may seem sometimes. And that kind of hope is contagious.

The Flash – I grew up in the 1960s and went through comic books like crazy. I occasionally picked up The Flash, but to be honest I wasn’t that much of a fan. A guy in red long underwear who runs really fast? Yeah, right…

When DC brought Flash to television, I wasn’t even going to bother. The previews I saw were not that good. But I gave it a shot and for some reason I got hooked on the damned thing, despite the fact I hate the character who plays Barry Allen/Flash. I hate him to the point where I won’t even allow myself to find out what his name is. I hate him even more than I hate Tom Hanks. Who cast this guy? He looks like he’s, what, about fourteen years old? I know sixth graders who look more mature (and act more mature) than he does.

But I keep watching the damned thing because some of the supporting characters are genuinely good.

And because of the writing. Not because the writing is any good. It isn’t. I just keep wondering how the hell the writers are going to get out of the corners they write themselves into on a regular basis. The answer to that is that they pretty much don’t. When they get themselves into a mess they can’t get out of, they send Flash back into the past to fiddle with something and do a sort of mini reboot. Only the reboot always seems to make things worse instead of better.

At this point I keep watching not so much because I enjoy the show but because I can’t wait to see how badly the writers mess things up.

Supergirl – Oh dear lord, what have they done to Supergirl??? Let’s, said the writers, take an intelligent, moral, strong, confidant young woman, stick her in a short skirt, crank her IQ down a few points and turn her into a giddy, relationship obsessed adolescent who can’t do anything right without a lot of help from men because, well, she’s a girl and girls can’t do anything right without help from men…

Oh, let’s make her sister a lesbian while we’re at it. And a spy or super cop or something.

And let’s put Jimmy Olson in a robot suit that isn’t at all a rip off of Iron Man.

Oh, let’s throw in some Martians, too.

Hey, let’s make her and Lex Luthor’s sister BFFs while we’re at it.

Oh, brother…

Covert Affairs – A series about a young, female CIA agent that is, well, it’s actually not horrible. It’s totally ridiculous, true, with technology straight out of the pages of a science fiction magazine, they haven’t a clue as to how computers actually work, 90% of what they do is totally illegal, and thanks largely to Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham, who play Annie Walker, the star, and her “handler” at the CIA, Auggie, I didn’t care. I just enjoyed it. Perabo is good, making Annie Walker a character I really cared about. And Gorham as Auggie, a former soldier who was blinded by an IED in Iraq, was just as good, if not better.

Garden Stuff

It’s been a ridiculously pleasant day, warm, sunny. But we have thunderstorms moving in now so I have a chance to get caught up here.

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The falling petals from the pear flowers almost make it look like it’s been snowing in the backyard. We’ve had better flower coverage last year, but the tree seems to go in two year cycles, a year of ridiculous overabundance, with it being a bit less ridiculously loaded with fruit the next year. Doesn’t matter. Even in a poor year we generally have more fruit than we know what to do with and end up giving away buckets of them in September when they come ripe.

We still haven’t done anything with the raised beds, but that will be coming as soon as this rainy spell passes. It was in the 70s today and it’s supposed to hit the mid-80s tomorrow. That’s only going to be for one day and then they claim it’s going to get back to more normal temperatures.

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I wasn’t sure the lilac was going to blossom this year. We hacked it back almost to the ground because it was so badly overgrown, but it’s a good four feet tall now, most of it new growth, and it’s covered with budding flowers. And the smell is absolutely amazing. I love the smell of lilac.  It seems just about everyone had a lilac lurking somewhere in their yard because when I walk through town I smell them almost everywhere I go.

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I’m not sure how Mr. Spiny manages to survive the winter, but he somehow manages. He needs a good wash, I think, but he did not get the name Mr. Spiny for nothing. You can’t really see them in the photo, but the spines on this guy are absolutely vicious. Maybe use the carwash brush on him? And volunteer poppies are coming up all over back there, too. I frankly don’t know how anything grows back there. The soil is horrible, it gets very little moisture because it’s under the eaves of the house.

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One lonely tulip popped up amidst the daffodils. I’d forgotten it was even in there until a single yellow flower popped up the other day. Probably should move him. He’s never going to make it in there.

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My wife’s sister gave us some raspberry plants a couple of years ago. We decided to move them last fall, dug them up and planted them in the garden behind the garage. I didn’t think they’d make it. My wife says you couldn’t kill these with a gallon of RoundUp and a flamethrower, and it seems she’s right. Not only did all of them survive they seem to be thriving back there with tons of new growth. I love raspberries, but I have ‘issues’ as they say; diverticulitis. I’m not supposed to eat anything with seeds, nuts, anything with chunks that could get caught in the plumbing, so to speak. But when a fresh raspberry is sitting there all red and juicy… who can resist?

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My neighbor’s crazy old apple tree is in full blossom. It needs to be pruned badly but we seem to keep forgetting to do it. Not that the tree seems to mind. It’s loaded with fruit every year.

One of the neat things about this town is that there are fruit trees all over. Walk around a corner and Bam! There’s another burst of white or pink or red color with an apple or pear in full bloom. What a beautiful time of year! May is absolutely amazing.

And speaking of amazing, May is also our wedding anniversary. They said it would never last, and maybe they’re right? It’s only been thirty-seven years now, so we’re still pretty much newlyweds, right?