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Lucky's Farm Blog

My name is Lucky DeMilia and this is my blog about life on my farm just outside Bunn, North Carolina. Being a Black Lab and Dalmation mix pup, let's just say I'll be giving you the black and white of things. I've also been tasked with barking the alerts for you about all those fuzzies, blotches, blights, and brownings of the plants around me. Kind of an unusual job for a pup, I know, but it keeps me from chasing my tail all day. Besides, nothing beats a dog for tracking down a pest...not only can I see them, but I can smell them!

My First Blog (2013 June 19)

First, let me explain how I found myself in this predicament. Earlier today I was a pup lying around in my cage at the pound and wishing for one of those two-legged Yappers to break me out and give me a home. In comes this lady Yapper making all sorts of commotion while visiting some Gray Lab down the row. She was yapping about some other Yapper abandoning him at the park and wanting to take him home, but there was some issue with the other Yapper yapping about still coming to pick up the Gray Lab. Blah, blah, blah...time to take a snooze. All of a sudden, she is standing in front of me with a neck cord and I'm being led out of the slammer into this big blue Ram. After seemingly running really fast for really long while I was just sitting still, we start slowly bumping along and I'm seeing a long row of those tall needle trees. Suddenly I realize my new home is a small farm and I'm surrounded by this family of Yappers: the lady who says she is leaving to go swimming before I even got in the door, a squealing wild girl with messed up hair, a boy with a rocket in his hand that buzzes my head, and a guy who climbs down from a giant green bucket with wheels. Wild Girl take my neck rope and walks me around squealing and yapping about the mousies in her room and the dozens in the walls, the fishy tank, the bunnies and chickens, the little house where the play things are kept, the rubber platform where she goes jumpy, the hot hut where the seedlings are sprouting, the small backyard garden of plants with fuzzies, the big dirt field getting ready for veggies, the baby grass field where the trees were knocked down that will be planted with hundreds of fruit trees when the pumpkins are ready for carving, the garden in the woods for plants with no sun tan lotion, the rocks where the waterfall and butterfly garden will go, the pipes sticking out of the lawn where the lemonade stand and barn and the big plant house and the non-doggie Lab will be, the inside solar non-doggie Lab where the tomatoes hang upside down and the lettuce floats, and the path through the woods with trees that lose their leaves and trees that don't lose their needles where I can chase squirrels, and the pizza slice shaped area that will make for a barnyard after the new water comes in and the new sink waste tank is put under it and side fences are put up using the big hole digger. Something like that, she was yapping too fast for me to follow it all. Finally we come to my new favorite place, the green chicken and blue rabbit coops where I chase a white and black bunny and the four hens who make us eggs for breakfast. Swimmer, who just left, comes back asking about where she left her talkie, finds it, then drives off again. After I finished walking the Yappers, I did a quick run through my new home then settled on the couch. Rocket Boy pushes a button on a stick and suddenly in front of me is a window to a whole other world of tiny Yappers where there is tiny dog who yaps like the Yappers and has a blog. I think to myself that if such a tiny dog could do that then so can I. I go into the room with all these humming metal boxes, jump into the chair and start pawing this pad with letters. Plant Doc comes in laughing and asks if I'm going to help him with his plant disease research. An affirmative bark is what I gave him and that's how I started my farm blog and became a plant disease tracking dog.

Blog History

2017 December 2

Plant Doc submitted his small grant proposal.

2017 December 1

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 30

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 29

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 28

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 27

Yeah, I know. Not much going on at the farm in the winter.

2017 November 26

Ditto.

2017 November 25

Ditto.

2017 November 24

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 23

I SMELL TURKEY!

2017 November 22

Ditto.

2017 November 21

Ditto.

2017 November 20

Ditto.

2017 November 19

Ditto.

2017 November 18

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 17

Plant Doc finally got a new job. Just in time, I was starting to run out of dog food and Rocket Boy has holes in his shoes.

2017 November 16

Plant Doc was really angry that his large grant proposal was rejected simply there was problems with the website yesterday and he missed the deadline. Oh well, try again next year or maybe he'll be able to use it for another grant.

2017 November 15

Plant Doc finished his large grant proposal, but when he went to submit it there was problems with the website and he missed the deadline!

2017 November 14

Plant Doc continued to work on his large grant proposal and pulled an all nighter for the first time in years.

2017 November 13

Plant Doc worked on a large grant proposal. For the first time in about 20 years, he reviewed the methods used in his Ph.D. dissertation work. He combined that with the polyculture farming with the plant disease forecasting model software work with the insecticide organic vs. synthetic work with the herbicide work. It was a smorgasbord!

2017 November 12

Henrietta was released from the isolation ward. Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 11

Plant Doc toured the crop fields to see where things after the big freeze last night. Another freeze tonight. The cotton plants were dead and the seven foot tall tomatoes that grew from seeds fell on the ground in the hothouse were killed before they produced any fruit. On the positive side, the mystery weeds died and the mess in the field just melted away.

2017 November 10

Feel bad for the cotton. Said my goodbyes. They were trying so hard to produce a final round before the first frost and some of the buds even managed to pull it off because of the warm fall. Plant Doc toured the crop fields to see where things were before the big freeze tonight. Time to bring the pineapple plant, grown from the crown of a supermarket fruit, inside for the winter.

2017 November 9

Henrietta is feeling much better and will be released from isolation soon. The kids had their first science olympics team meeting. Plant Doc didn't go this time, but after they came home with the events he figured out which ones he was going to coach.

2017 November 8

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals. Comet has been hanging out with Alice and Henrietta on the metal shelf outside the coop at night. He puts up quite the fight when Plant Doc grabs him to put him in the coop.

2017 November 7

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 6

Poor Henrietta is back in the isolation ward with the zombie virus (respiratory illness where they gurgle like on TWD) that killed Phoenix a few months ago. Hopefully, the whole crew doesn’t get it again

2017 November 5

Plant Doc finished planting the annuals field. He replanted the overwintering crops and herbs, plus seeded the cool season turf and forage grasses in the perennials field.

2017 November 4

Plant Doc continued planting the annuals field.

2017 November 3

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 November 2

Rather late in the year, but Plant Doc decided to plant the recently tilled section of the annuals field.

2017 November 1

Plant Doc cultivated the previously planted annuals and perennials fields.

2017 October 31

Plant Doc finished one of his small grant proposals and sent it out with 1 minute to spare before the midnight deadline. Rocket Boy scared me when he came at me with a fake knife. He almost got himself bit since I didn't recognize him in the scary black hood. I though Wild Girl needed to go to the hospital, but fortunately it was fake blood all over her arm.

2017 October 30

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 October 29

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 October 28

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 October 27

Plant Doc finished plotting out the annuals and perennials fields.

2017 October 26

Plant Doc had all sorts of farm visitors today. The beekeeper checked on the hives and dropped off some more honey...yummy, can't wait to get some goodies from his new bakery in town! The county ag extension head came by for a farm tour and to see if he could figure out the mystery weed taking over the annuals field. No luck, he's never seen it before either. He took seed samples to send to the weed scientists at the university.

2017 October 25

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 October 24

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals. He also scouted the fields and collected seeds from the mystery weed.

2017 October 23

Plant Doc finished using the frisbee discs and tilled the annuals field.

2017 October 22

Plant Doc finished plowing and used the frisbee discs on the annuals field.

2017 October 21

Plant Doc went to a meeting about using solar power on farms. He learned a lot about what was needed for his future portable weather stations for studying microclimate. He was rather disappointed that the greedy electric company probably wouldn't let him set up an array of a quarter acre of solar panels hooked up to the power base to offset the electric bill and as a backup if the power went out. At least not yet, anyway, things hopefully are changing soon because of climate change carbon emission reductions and new battery technology for electric cars. He'll look into it again in a few years. After he got home, he continued to plow the annuals field.

2017 October 20

Plant Doc went to a farmers luncheon. Rocket Boy was playing in the marching band for the first time at a foot ball where they mostly use their hands game. Plant Doc wanted to stay till the end of the game, but everyone else insisted at leaving half way through.

2017 October 19

Plant Doc continued to plow the annuals field.

2017 October 18

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 October 17

Plant Doc continued to work on small grant proposals.

2017 October 16

Plant Doc worked on some small grant proposals.

2017 October 15

Plant Doc harvested some tomatoes, field peas, and green beans. There were even a few small watermelon that survived the die off. He continued plowing the annuals field.

2017 October 14

Plant Doc and Wild Girl were dealing with all sorts of computer, iPad, and iPhone issues while Swimmer took Rocket Boy to his water polo tournament.

2017 October 13

Plant Doc and the family went to the state fair while I got stuck on the lawn and they didn't even bring me back any cotton candy.

2017 October 12

Another farm tragedy! Ember was killed by a hawk.

2017 October 11

Plant Doc continued to work on his learning new database application.

2017 October 10

Plant Doc continued to work on his learning new database application.

2017 October 9

Another partly rainy day so Plant Doc worked on his learning new database application.

2017 October 8

Rainy day and Plant Doc took a day off. He did at least vacuum seal the green beans for the freezer.

2017 October 7

Plant Doc started plowing the rest of the annuals field. He worked on installing and configuring a new database application till late after midnight.

2017 October 6

Not sure what was worse for Plant Doc while mowing the lawn for hopefully the last time this year: the gray clouds of smoke containing fire ants from when he ran over the mounds, the black puffs of mushroom spores that lingered in the air for several minutes when he ran them over, our daredevil chicken following him around, whether the dozen new bee hives we just got last night were calmed down enough for him to mow right in front of them, or having to worry about the tire hanging on by a thread finally falling off.

2017 October 5

Plant Doc finally harvested the sweet potatoes.

2017 October 4

Plant Doc brushed up on his computer programming language to prepare for being grilled with quizzes.

2017 October 3

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer searching for programming work.

2017 October 2

Plant Doc commiserated via e-mail with his former co-workers that had been layed off with him and searched for new programming project work. He was so busy that he forgot to get outside and direct the chickens to the boys and girls coops. So he had 2 hens in with 2 roosters in one coop and had to move everybody around. Not an easy thing to do since they are hard to reach on the roost and rather ornery when grabbed.

2017 October 1

The family went to Rocket Boy's swim meet while I got stuck on the lawn. Plant Doc finished harvested the soybeans. Daredevil (stares down moving tractor, chases truck tires, follows lawn mower to get clippings blown on her) hen Star decided to spend the night in the coop with the 3 roosters. Plant Doc to fight her to get her out.

2017 September 30

Plant Doc worked on his weather data then went to a foot ball game.

2017 September 29

Plant Doc had his last day at his daytime programming job and he was rather upset about it. The company did across the board contract programmer cuts in his department, so it didn't matter that he had been doing a great job for years and many co-workers relied upon him heavily. At the end of his last day, he finished harvesting the string beans. There's been a little bit of ruckus going on among the roosters at bed time. Plant Doc is monitoring the situation and doesn't want to give any of them away. There doesn't seem to be any problems in the middle of the day when the flock is spread out around the farm digging for worms. So he is hoping that if he can keep the roosters in their own coop at night (or at least 2 of them) with no hens, then we can avoid any fights. He needs to get a fence up over the next few months so that we can get a dozen girl chicks in the spring so that by this time next year we have enough hens to accommodate 3 roosters without fighting. We'll see what happens!

2017 September 28

Plant Doc worked on his weather data. Banana decided to spend the night with the hens, though, he chased away Ember and Henrietta so Plant Doc put them in with the other 2 roosters.

2017 September 27

Plant Doc continued harvesting the string beans. It's official, Comet and Nova are definitely roosters along with Banana. They just started crowing.

2017 September 26

Plant Doc started harvesting the string beans. See, it doesn't take long for refugees to get settled, integrated into the flock, and busy working if you just give them a chance. Banana and Comet have joined the hens. Nova still isn't venturing from the barn area.

2017 September 25

Plant Doc had a hard time focusing on work today, but struggled through it.

2017 September 24

Plant Doc was harvesting lima beans and almost collapsed in the fields when he got some devasting news about the death of his cousin.

2017 September 23

Plant Doc worked on his weather data.

2017 September 22

Plant Doc finished harvesting the southern peas.

2017 September 21

Plant Doc worked on his weather data.

2017 September 20

Plant Doc finished harvesting the sunflowers and started harvesting the beans.

2017 September 19

Plant Doc harvested the sunflowers.

2017 September 18

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 September 17

Plant Doc continued planting the annuals field. He also planted the garden and the long season crops and herbs in the perennials field.

2017 September 16

Plant Doc continued planting the annuals field.

2017 September 15

Plant Doc started planting the annuals field.

2017 September 14

Plant Doc plotted out the center of the annuals and perennials fields with the little flags and the circus is back in town. Muggy day out in the crop fields and the bugs are driving Plant Doc insane. Times like these I bet he wished he had a tail like me! People losing their ape tail it was a really dumb evolutionary move. People don't go outdoors as much because of the bugs and the heat, so they get fat and die early. Explain that one Darwin!

2017 September 13

Plant Doc plotted out the borders of the annuals field and adjusted the placement of the erosion mats. He prepared for a split field for next year. Instead of trying to do three rotations on the full annuals field, he is going to plant the spring and fall crops in the front of the field and the summer crops in the back of the field. Trying to do all the rotations has been just too tight and the summer and fall crops keep getting planted too late.

2017 September 12

So the big hurricane turned out to be a bust. Just got drizzles.

2017 September 11

Plant Doc tilled the annuals and perennials fields. He rolled out the erosion mats.

2017 September 10

Plant Doc ran picked up erosion mats in preparation for the hurricane. He went to a foot ball game afterwards.

2017 September 9

Plant Doc frisbee disced the annuals and perennials fields.

2017 September 8

Plant Doc harvested the winter squash and continued to plow the annuals field.

2017 September 7

Plant Doc continued to plow the annuals field.

2017 September 6

Plant Doc plowed part of the annuals field.

2017 September 5

Plant Doc is still rather upset about losing Phoenix and continued to inject antibiotics under the skin above the neck of the hens once a day. He started plowing some new sections of the annuals field. The mystery weed is completely out of control so it was much harder than usual. He first filled in the erosion spot and hopes it doesn't all wash away before he can get some erosion mats down.

2017 September 4

Plant Doc harvested the cucumbers, sweet basil, okra, and some field peas. He was keeping a watchful eye for snakes as he worked his way through the thick mystery weed and crop brush. At the end of the day, he was devastated to find that Phoenix had died from the respiratory ailment. Only Sarah Junior is not sick among the hens, though, Plant Doc has been giving her medicine just in case. The refugess white chickens are all okay. While it's possible that they were the source of this disease, most likely that is not the case since their interaction with the hens have been limited to a few seconds only a few times.

2017 September 3

Ember is sick now. Plant Doc, Swimmer, and Rocket Boy tried catching her in the middle of the day with no luck. Plant Doc had a fun surprise mowing the lawn when a snake comes out of nowhere. It may have been a copperhead; hopefully was just a corn snake. He ran it over from behind with the zero point mower twice but apparently didn't hurt it. Ember almost tried to take it on but he was able to chase her away in time.

2017 September 2

Plant Doc almost had a nice relaxing day...until he saw that Star and Phoenix have the gurgling cold and he had to clean up the playhouse cage, give them an injection, and let them join Alice and Henrietta.

2017 September 1

Swimmer took the truck for an oil change and repair. One problem with brake fluid level was definitely fixed and the brakes were checked out as okay; which is good because stopping is generally a good idea. Only there still is a clunking and gurgling noise going on when the truck starts moving from a stop and the dashboard lights are kicking in around sharp turns. So after some searching, they are thinking it might be suspension sway bar links that are bad.

2017 August 31

Wild Girl went to the eye doctor and there was still sand stuck in her eye and she scratched it a little. Uh, oh, Swimmer may have driven another vehicle into the ground and this time it's Plant Doc's truck that was supposed to last him twenty years or more. Something is going on with the antilock braking system dashboard lights.

2017 August 30

Plant Doc went onsite for his computer job since his boss was in the state. He picked up some stronger antibiotics for Alice and Henrietta. He had to inject the stuff under the skin at the back of their necks. Wild Girl went to softball practice as soon as he got home. She got sand in her eye and was screaming in pain for a few hours while Swimmer and Plant Doc tried to talk her through getting the sand out using the eye wash kit. She seemed to get it all out, though, she said it was still hurting her a little. Plant Doc figured her eye was just scratched a little at the point.

2017 August 29

Plant Doc harvested some squash, zucchini, and basil to bribe his boss and virtual co-workers tomorrow. Rocket Boy realized that Henrietta was sick with some kind of respiratory issue where she was wheezing like crazy and had mucus pouring out of ther nose. Plant Doc was wondering earlier why Alice was just lying on the ground outside more than usual, but didn't catch until after seeing Henrietta that she was sick also. The two girls were setup back in the playhouse for isolation and medical treatment with antibiotics.

2017 August 28

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 August 27

First day of school!...for the kids, not me, I just slept on the couch.

2017 August 26

Plant Doc slept in till mid-day and could barely move; even his pinky toes hurt and were cramping up. He couldn't get the Big Green Bucket to start so that wasn't good. He ran some errands and finished off the school shopping to give it a rest. He tried again and it finally started after about thirty tries. Definitely something going wrong with the starter again. Nova and Comet got to spend the afternoon out of the coop and mix it up with the hens. There was some chasing going on, but it wasn't too bad. Banana was crowing like crazy from the coop during it all.

2017 August 25

Swimmer took the kids school shopping. Plant Doc tried to get one of his older sprayers working since the hose broken on his herbicide sprayer, but no luck so he had to borrow one from one of the insecticide sprayers. He sprayed grass herbicide on the melons, tomatoes, strawberries, and cotton. He then sprayed his insecticide treatments till way after midnight on most of the annuals field, as well as the strawberries and cotton. He definitely over did it and could barely walk afterwards.

2017 August 24

Plant Doc harvested some southern peas, green beans, and okra; not that the deer left much. He also ate the candy-like blue borage flowers and gave the buds to Rex. Plant Doc let one of the white hens(?) out and fortunately there was no fighting except a peck by Sarah Junior. Rocket Boy named her (the one with the bent comb) Nova and the other one Comet.

2017 August 23

Plant Doc figured out his upcoming pesticide sprays. Rainy late afternoon! Plant Doc let our refugeee white rooster out to meet the hens and he just started attacking them, so that wasn't a good start. So the name Banana was appropriate after all.

2017 August 22

Henrietta is alive! She was hiding somewhere in the garage over night! After the good news, Plant Doc had a nice relaxing day with not many problems at work. He even took a break to read a book for a short period. All Hell broke loose after his boss called, he had all sorts of last minute work emergencies to deal with, the neighbor with the goats needed help with a chain saw only she was trying to cut down a huge tree and it was too much for even his chain saw, then Swimmer and the kids came back from the beach and Plant Doc had to spend 4 hours cleaning up the mess they made in the truck and putting everything a way for them while Swimmer went to sleep.

2017 August 21

Swimmer and kids drove to the other Carolina to see the sun go out. Not sure why since it happens every night! Plant Doc was smart and just watched it right in the backyard with his telescope pin hole sun viewer. He unloaded some squash on the neighbors. He was rather upset after dark when Henrietta was lost and presumed dead.

2017 August 20

Plant Doc built portable solar eclipse pin hole viewers out of cereal boxes for the family and a telescope one for himself. He also harvested squash, zucchini, and cucumbers.

2017 August 19

Plant Doc went to a foot ball game. On the way home, he ran a whole bunch of errands and stopped at a depot for homes to figure out what fencing materials he was going to need this fall.

2017 August 18

Plant Doc had a long computer day despite having a half day off like he was supposed to...last minute emergencies.

2017 August 17

Plant Doc mowed the lawn....at least until a thunderstorm storm hit.

2017 August 16

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 August 15

It's raining hens and roosters out there! Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 August 14

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 August 13

Plant Doc has been trying to figure out whether two of our refugee chickens are roosters or hens. The other is definitely a rooster. The other rooster in the driveway seems to be gone. Hopefully, he just moved on into the woods and wasn't attacked. Plant Doc started loading the weather data updates.

2017 August 12

Plant Doc took Rocket Boy to his water polo practice (while Wild Girl slept on a pool chair) then to the ice skating rink sports complex open house (I was wondering what the long pants where all about). Darn that sport! Rocket Boy was walking me tonight and I managed to slip out of the harness. I was just about to get a chicken dinner when his water polo reflex kicked in and he was able to grab Alice before I was able to get her!

2017 August 11

I got stuck on the lawn while the family took Swimmer to get a cut on her foot. I could have bit her on the foot for much cheaper right at home, but of course, nobody bothers to ask me!

2017 August 10

Swimmer and the kids cleaned up the new chickens and goats with Dawn dishwashing liquid. Plant Doc is still trying to confirm that the ones we caught are 2 hens and a rooster, if so we can keep them all to join our flock of hens (we've recently confirmed that our Phoenix was a hen after all). Amazingly, the goat Swimmer didn't catch must have searched out the neighbor's goats and ended up inside their fence this morning. The family reunited him with his brother today. Swimmer still hasn't been able to catch the injured rooster with a missing tail. Wild Girl named the goat, Fern.

2017 August 9

4 chickens and 2 goats were apparently abandoned (not owned by any immediate neighbors) and were wandering the driveway and woods on the farm today. They were covered in some kind of oil that makes them look yellow. It was like a zoo escape since some guy came around looking for another goat, but not one of these. Plant Doc and our neighbors who have goats tried to help us catch them for a while before giving up. Swimmer was able to catch 3 of them and a goat so far after dark when they were sleepy. She and Wild Girl were coated in oil.

2017 August 8

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 August 7

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 August 6

Plant Doc continued plowing the perennials field and the garden.

2017 August 5

Plant Doc seemed to be really busy but he didn't seem to accomplish much other than harvesting some cucumbers and squash after dark.

2017 August 4

Plant Doc continued plowing 2 sections of the annuals field. He also filled in the erosion spot with more dirt.

2017 August 3

Plant Doc tried to get on the Big Green Bucket, but just had another long computer day.

2017 August 2

Plant Doc had another long computer day.

2017 August 1

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 July 31

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 July 30

Another fall day and even better, I smell turkey! Rocket Boy played wet polo without the horse again. The beekeeper put out some more hives and gave us some honey...yum! Plant Doc sprayed his insecticide treatments.

2017 July 29

Feels like fall! Wild Girl went horsey riding and to a birthday party while Swimmer went to the pool and Rocket Boy played wet polo without the horse. Plant Doc tried to plow the perennials field, but it was too wet still. He hand weeded the annuals field for the big weeds, as well as weeded around the house. He also harvested some cucumbers and squash.

2017 July 28

Plant Doc had another computer day since it was raining heavy all day. He continued to update the stinky windows or doors or something operating system virtual machines for virus protection.

2017 July 27

Plant Doc continued to weed the strawberries after a computer day. He updated the stinky windows or doors or something operating system virtual machines for virus protection.

2017 July 26

Plant Doc weeded the strawberries after a computer day. He updated the stinky windows or doors or something operating system laptop for virus protection so that Swimmer could use it.

2017 July 25

Plant Doc went to a pesticide class at the county extension office at the end of the day. He forgot to put the unknown weed sample in the truck after he collected it then got distracted by a computer thing.

2017 July 24

Plant Doc gave a farm tour and explained his research to a group of scientists from Bayer crop science. I think he appreciated being able to discuss things with others who understood how hard it is to grow so many different crops (polyculture) on the scale (too big for gardening techniques, too small for large automated equipment) that he is doing it at. They took a sample of the mystery (Asteracea) weed that has been overtaking the annuals field back to the labs for identification. They came in to say hello to me, but for some reason Plant Doc didn't let me greet them properly with my usual tackle hugs. Later in the day, Plant Doc hand weeded the large weeds in the crop fields, particularly the strawberries. It would have been nice to have had them looking better before guests arrived, but it was a lot more effective to just pull them after the inch and a half of rain last night, then it would have to just chop them (and have them grow back from the roots) like he was going to do yesterday.

2017 July 23

Plant Doc got the farm signs ready. He was about to go out and weed the strawberries, but a thunderstorm kicked in.

2017 July 22

Plant Doc plowed the grains, herbs, and long season crops in the perennials field, as well as the carrots and potatoes in the annuals field, plus the garden.

2017 July 21

Plant Doc harvested the carrots. He also pulled up the white flags where he needs to plow. He removed the wood stakes with the deer prevention soap/garlic bags from the perennials field to get them out of the way for plowing. The twine was definitely a failed experiment and the long wood stakes get in the way of Big Green Bucket operations, so he'll put the little bags back using shorter wood stakes and skip the twine rolls.

2017 July 20

Instead of going in the cage, the raccoon tried to get the bait eggs from the outside and managed to tear the back door open, bending some of the cage pieces. Plant Doc escaped the heatwave with a long computer day.

2017 July 19

Plant Doc mowed the lawn.

2017 July 18

Plant Doc finally finished rounding up and shooting weeds with his pistol sprayer, but at the end he broke his pistol and had to improvise.

2017 July 17

After computer work, Plant Doc suited up to finish rounding up and shooting weeds with his pistol sprayer, but an unexpected rainstorm came through and he had to abort. He dug up some sage for replanting in the garden and cultivated the annuals field instead.

2017 July 16

Not a good day for Plant Doc. Rocket Boy flew his rubber band powered airplane and got it caught in a tree. He moved the tractor underneath it even though he told Swimmer it was way too high up. Swimmer was messing around for hours trying to tape together poles to reach it while Plant Doc was yelling that someone was going to break their neck trying to get the plane down. He slammed the inside garage door in frustration and broke it. So he had to knock it open and then replace the handles and lock then rekey it. Fortunately, he had a spare lock set. After that, he remembered the pole saw and that was just tall enough for getting the plane down while standing on the tractor seat. He finally started spraying herbicide in the crop fields, but after the first row the nozzle got jammed. He ended up accidentally spraying herbicide on his face while messing with the thing. Fortunately, he is not a weed or he would be dead. He ended up switching for a larger volume nozzle which didn't clog so easily. He sprayed a few more rows and then the rain that he has been waiting a week for finally came, so he had to call it quits.

2017 July 15

Swimmer took the kids on a long drive to Rocket Boy's rubber band powered model airplane club. They went to hike and climb some big rock and took the raft to float down a river. Plant Doc was a bum until the end of the day when he set things up for his herbicide spray tomorrow. The appliance guy bee keeper set up boards and cinder blocks for the hives.

2017 July 14

Hottest day of the year so far again. Plant Doc took it easy all day then killed himself trying to weed the crop fields by hand. The ground is bone dry so it wasn't easy and he had to wait till sunset so by the time he finished one row 2 hours later he was exhausted. After having bugs go in his eyes, nose, ears, and mouth, he decided that this wasn't just going to work for the 50 rows still left to do and he had to figure out a way to spray herbicide without killing the crop.

2017 July 13

Hottest day of the year so far again. Plant Doc took it easy after working on the computer till the middle of the night.

2017 July 12

Hottest day of the year so far so Plant Doc put off some farm chores and made it a computer day.

2017 July 11

Another late night computer day for Plant Doc.

2017 July 10

The darn raccoon pulled back a board and broke through the chicken coop defenses in its favorite spot. Plant Doc reinforced it with another cinder block and needs to staple the wire to the board on the inside. The other spots of attack on Fort Chicken held up. At the end of the day and late into the night, Plant Doc sprayed his insecticide treatments on the annuals field and the strawberries and cotton.

2017 July 9

Plant Doc worked on Fort Chicken. He was sawing and digging and it looked like a construction site. He also rebagged the soda bottles where the sun melted the garbage bags.

2017 July 8

Plant Doc started to fortify the chicken coups using wood boards and cinder blocks. Originally he was going to use just cinder blocks, then just wood, then decided on a combination. He was rather frustrated that his old battery powered circular saw wasn't up to the task, so he was just able to get the project started. Rocket Boy helped him catch the chickens during a thunderstorm and put them in the playhouse. He had to pull Ember off the roost in the hen house when she went to bed early because of the storm.

2017 July 7

Swimmer was feeling even older today and took the kids to some space place. Plant Doc ended his computer day with another round of chicken chasing.

2017 July 6

Plant Doc observed that the raccoon found its way back into the coop by digging into the dirt and then pushing the wire mesh back below the hen house. Plant Doc ended his computer day with some more hand weeding while Swimmer caught the chickens for the night. She didn't listen to Plant Doc's urging to catch the chickens still running around the property first rather than the ones sitting on the shelf outside the coop. It got dark quickly and the entire family had to search the property in the dark for more than an hour with flashlights looking for Alice. She was finally found by Rocket Boy hidden in a corner of a hothouse. Plant Doc looked in them several times, but wasn't able to spot her.

2017 July 5

Swimmer patched the mesh on the chicken coops and Plant Doc covered the edges of it with more silt from the crop field. Plant Doc ended his computer day with a harvest of the potatoes. Unfortunately, the yield was not very good. The carrots still need more time. He did some more hand weeding while Swimmer and Rocket Boy caught the chickens for the night. They played with some of the sparklers left over from the war against the cats.

2017 July 4

It appears that a snake (or mouse) entered one of the coops overnight and our killer raccoon tried to get back in the other one. Plant Doc patched the wire on the bottom of one of the coops where the raccoon widened a hole. After dark, the sound of explosives was deafening. So it's finally started...I hear the battle raging presumably from a war against the cats. I wish Plant Doc would let me out and join the battle.

2017 July 3

Plant Doc took a break from the computer to add dirt and silt from the crop fields to fortify the chicken coops. He also put mesh on the gate that wasn't originally Rex ready (there's some buried mesh way down there somewhere). Based upon the tracks in the sand that was put down last night, it appears our chicken killer is a raccoon. Plant Doc tried to catch the chickens and put them in the playhouse early, but only could catch half of them despite considerable attempts. Phoenix and Alice were nowhere to be found at sunset and he got concerned. Rocket Boy found them perching up in a bush way over his head.

2017 July 2

We have a disappearing chicken mystery. 2 weeks in a row we had a adult hen killed in the coop probably while laying an egg during the day when the coop was open since they were out free ranging. 2 days ago one went missing in the morning after we let them out. No sign of attack. We didn't let them out yesterday. Plant Doc checked on them last night at 9pm and all there. This morning at 9am Swimmer let them out and Andromeda was missing. No sign of attack other than a few feathers. There's some small gaps at the edges of the coop where the chickens have dug holes for dust baths. The coop is inside a horse stall with a metal gate and we also have a child's gate across the opening where the gate doesn't cover to lock them in at night. So either a person is taking our chickens or a very small animal that could get in a 1 inch hole underneath and get out after eating a whole chicken (that definitely could not fit through the hole itself). And it's only taking one chicken at a time. A weasel would go on a killing spree. We have had snakes go in but they go after the eggs and never touch the adult hens. We live down a half mile long rock driveway and it's very rare that someone drives down it (the barn is halfway) without me barking like crazy. We are down to 6 chickens. Had 18 a year and a half ago. Can't take all these attacks.Plant Doc strategied on how to secure the coop better. Swimmer and Rocket Boy put sand around the coops and gates to see what animal tracks appeared. The hens are staying in the playhouse tonight.

2017 July 1

So close. Plant Doc almost was a bum for an entire day for the first time this year (and last?). At the end of the day, he looked at the weeds the my crop fields, felt guilty, hand weeded for 2 hours till dark.

2017 June 30

Come home Lucy, come home. Come home Lucy, come home. We miss you Lucy. We loved you Lucy. Please just come home, Lucy, come home. She is missing and presumed dead. Plant Doc and Swimmer searched the farm for hours. Rocket Boy waited for her outside the coop at the end of the day hoping for a miracle. Just too many of my chicken pals have been killed. I just can't take it anymore.

2017 June 29

Plant Doc had a computer day. I was stuck on the lawn for a while, but it was worth the wait since they cooked a turkey!

2017 June 28

Plant Doc mowed the lawn. Another devastating day on the farm, our oldest pet family member, Junior, was killed in the hen house by an unknown animal.

2017 June 27

Plant Doc got the wheel fixed on the mower...sort of. He had quite the time trying to get the rested lug nuts off and accidentally broke one of the bolt ends in the process. He used washers to cover the ripped open bolt holes. He wasn't able to quite match the lug nuts at the hardware store so he had to go with regular nuts. He couldn't get the one with the broken bolt end on completely, but at least he was able to get it on partially with the use of a vise wrench. He picked up a lug wrench and that made things quite a bit easier. He's just going to have to keep tightening the 3 bolts and hope it holds for the season and then get the wheel replaced and the bolts repaired over the winter. He did learn that the problem with the wheel was probably that he put the lug nuts on backwards.

2017 June 26

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 June 25

Plant Doc is getting more efficient at spraying the crop fields, so is it getting easier? Of course not, that just means he tries to do more at a time. 200L of herbicide sprayed with a hand sprayer over 3 acres walking 6 miles for 8 hours (plus 2 hours setup and cleanup) in the heat.

2017 June 24

Swimmer drove Wild Girl before sunrise to leave for her girl scouts field trip. Don't know why she drove all the way home a few days ago only to go halfway back. Plant Doc cultivated the annuals and perennials field; finishing just as the thunderstorms started. He was already wet, so he decided to get his spray bottles ready for tomorrow. He used 56-2L soda bottles and that didn't even use up all of Swimmer's recent soda still in the garage.

2017 June 23

Plant Doc had another long computer day. After dark, he egged the deer repellant stakes.

2017 June 22

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 June 21

I did not enjoy sleeping on the lawn on a rainy night. At least I got to bark at the appliance guy when he came to talk to Plant Doc about putting bee hives on the farm. The family came home just after sunset. Plant Doc was up late cleaning the house, unpacking, and taking care of neglected chores on the farm.

2017 June 20

Oh come on! Swimmer went to meet Plant Doc and the kids in the nation's capitol and I'm stuck on the lawn. At least the neighbor's kid came to visit me and check on my water.

2017 June 19

Plant Doc and the kids are still gone. Sad day on the farm. Moonlight, who has been walking very slow and never fully recovered from her recent illness, was attacked in the coop and killed. I'm glad the kids weren't around to see it.

2017 June 18

Plant Doc and the kids are still gone and Swimmer is not keeping me entertained.

2017 June 17

Plant Doc and the kids are still gone and it's raining a lot.

2017 June 16

Plant Doc and the kids are still gone so I'm bored.

2017 June 15

Plant Doc and the kids went to visit grandma and grandpa. I wish I could have gone since I'm sure they want to see their grandpup.

2017 June 14

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 June 13

Plant Doc had a long computer day. He did take a short break to put the bars of soap in the little mesh bags for the deer prevention stakes. He went out for a bit after dark to put them out.

2017 June 12

Plant Doc had a long computer day. He prepared a few more twine sticks late at night.

2017 June 11

Plant Doc spinned the music and the kids swam with Olympians at Swimmer's cancer charity event. I just got stuck on the lawn.

2017 June 10

Plant Doc hand seeded the squash, then he finished mowing the lawn. Swimmer dragged the kids from pool to pool to pool.

2017 June 9

First day of summer vacation for the kids! Plant Doc got sweet potato slips donated by the Jones Farms and planted them. He is just hoping the forecast doesn't hold and we get some rain in the next few days. He also planted the beans, peas, field corn, and sunflowers then covered the seeds up better using the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket.

2017 June 8

Wild Girl graduated elementary school today. She and Rocket Boy both got straight A's again, whatever that means. Summertime! Plant Doc frisbee disced, tilled, and replotted the next section of the annuals field. He realized that he got a bit wobbly when he measured out the far end of the field when he did it in the spring and was off by a foot in the middle of it, so he fixed the line and replaced the location of the deer barrier. Swimmer started mowing the lawn and Plant Doc was pleased to see much less zigzag. She did just miss chopping up the garden hose by an inch./

2017 June 7

Plant Doc finally was able to finish plowing the next section of the annuals field. He still almost got the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud again. He continued creating the deer barrier wood stakes with twine.

2017 June 6

Plant Doc tried plowing the next section of the annuals field, but it was so wet he almost got the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud again. So he started putting up the deer barrier wood stakes with twine.

2017 June 5

It's raining like crazy. Plant Doc worked on a solution to the deer problem. His idea is putting up wood stakes every 25 feet around the fields, hanging little mesh bags filled with deodorant soap bars and garlic cloves on them, and stringing a low (so as not to interfere with Big Green Bucket operations) twine string with fluorescent tape every few feet between the stakes that are clipped on and easily removed for Big Green Bucket passage to serve as a psychological barrier (hoping they think it's electric fencing just like the neighbors). We have plenty of eggs from the chickens so he's going to smash an egg on the base of each stake every few months. Also planting a border of onions (which they don't like) in the center of the existing clover (which they do like) border around the fields where the white farm logo treatment flags are that mark the rows. Not sure it's all going to work but it's worth a shot and doesn't cost much especially since we already have the stakes and most of the other materials.

2017 June 4

Plant Doc started plowing the next section of the annuals field.

2017 June 3

Plant Doc harvested the lettuce, beets, chard, turnips, rutabaga, and radishes. He determined after closer examination that the biggest problem we have in the crop fields is not the insects, diseases, or weeds...but rather the deer. Up to now, thought it was more random, but so far this year every single lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and pea plant was nipped in half. He's looking into options other than fences around 7 acres (which cost aside is not really feasible since it would create massive problems with Big Green Buket maneuvering along the edges of all our woods). He's not a hunter, plus I doubt that will even stop them considering how much target shooting shot gun firing is coming from the neighbors. I certainly am not spending the night outside. Plant Doc was told by a local trapper that predator repellents don't work and he suggested setting motion sensor triggered sprinklers around the crop field borders. Can't do that until we finally get irrigation (which also solves our #1 problem, the crazy weather).

2017 June 2

Plant Doc finished seeding the hothouse flats.

2017 June 1

Plant Doc synced the NOAA weather files. He also continued to seed the hothouse flats.

2017 May 31

Plant Doc synced the NOAA weather files. He also finally put out the crop field markers.

2017 May 30

Plant Doc synced the NOAA weather files. Plant Doc worked on the little popsicle stick markers for the hothouse flats and did some reseeding.

2017 May 29

Plant Doc was on a hunting mission for wasp nests in the garage and around the house. He got rid of quite a few and killed many wasps. They were on a rampage, though, with one successful sting. Ember has been a broody chicken the last few days, so Plant Doc locked her out of the coop and took the dozen or so eggs she was laying on. Plant Doc worked on the little popsicle stick markers for the hothouse flats and did some reseeding.

2017 May 28

Plant Doc needed a break and just took care of a few odds and ends. He also continued to seed the hothouse flats. At least he got his development website working again after the server upgrade.

2017 May 27

Today was that fun day of each year where Plant Doc had the pleasure of spraying an acres worth of poison ivy and thorn brush. He spent hours knee high in the stuff while the thorns were ripping at him through his spray suit. Afterwards he took a Tecnu hose bath. Round 2 next month, though, shouldn't be quite so bad if this works. He also tried out his hooded sprayer to get the broadleaf weeds in the potatoes, carrots, onions, and strawberries.

2017 May 26

Rocket Boy came home early sick, but at least he got through his end-of-year testing. The rain stopped and the lawn which had been let go to produce seed was now out of control. Swimmer agreed to start the mowing while Plant Doc was finishing up other work. Instead of mowing sections at a time in a counter-clockwise pattern, she was zig-zagging like a blind drunk driver. Plant Doc hurriedly finished his other stuff and kicked her off the mower. He had to go a bit crazy himself to make up for the late start and lost time, but he managed to get it done just before it was too dark.

2017 May 25

It was a rainy day so Plant Doc continued upgrading the server computer till the middle of the night.

2017 May 24

It was a rainy day so Plant Doc continued upgrading the server computer.

2017 May 23

It was a rainy day so Plant Doc continued upgrading the server computer and laminated the field row markers.

2017 May 22

Plant Doc started reseeding the hothouses. He also started upgrading the applications on the server computer to prepare for the new version of the OS.

2017 May 21

Plant Doc was glad to see we got a little bit of rain last night so that he could plant the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and herbs. He also reseeded red clover around the field borders and crimson clover in the erosion areas.

2017 May 20

The kids went with Swimmer to an air show. Plant Doc was STILL hurting from other night's insecticide spraying. He overseeded by hand the onions, leeks, cotton, tobacco, artichokes, and asparagus to fill in the stand. Not ideal since the seed didn't get incorporated into the soil. He didn't want to have to till up the clover and weeds, hence, wiping out the plants that were already growing. He was pleased to see that his 2 big leftover artichokes from last season were staring to form globes.

2017 May 19

Plant Doc looked like he was still hurting from last night's insecticide spraying. No rest for the weary. He was back at it planting the cucumbers, melons, and watermelon.

2017 May 18

Plant Doc finished tilling and plotting the annuals field, then swapped the Big Green Bucket from the tiller to the cultivator. He spent the evening spraying soil and foliage insecticide treatments. He looked like he could barely walk when he dragged himself in at 1am.

2017 May 17

Rocket Boy went back to school so I was lonely. Plant Doc continued tilling the annuals field. He re-plotted the missing flags in the perennials field. He plotted the borders of the annuals field.

2017 May 16

Rocket Boy was still home sick and wasn't able to do his school band concert due to a lack of wind power. Plant Doc frisbee disced half the annuals field and perennial herbs. He then swapped out the discs for the tiller and started tilling them.

2017 May 15

Plant Doc never realized how heavy the garage door was until he had to take it off the hinges and reset it since it was dragging on the floor. Rocket Boy was home sick while Wild Girl went back to school. Plant Doc did a deeper plowing of the half the annuals field and perennial herbs.

2017 May 14

The family spent much of the day searching for Wild Girl's new glasses without success. We went to the dog park after the search and I was rather upset to find that Plant Doc had grilled burgers while we were gone and I didn't get any. Unfortunately, Rocket Boy's cold got much worse and he had a fever. Plant Doc transplanted the salvaged Brassicas from the annuals field into the garden. He tilled half the annuals field plus most of the herbs in the perennials field.

2017 May 13

Plant Doc put the wheels back on the mower. He swapped out the cultivator for the plow on the Big Green Bucket. He harvested what little greens he could salvage from 4 blocks of the annuals field and dug up the few Brassicas that grew big enough for transplanting to the garden. After dark, he spent two hours searching for Alice and assumed she was dead. His last place to look was the playhouse and she was sitting on the floor waiting for someone to find her. Not sure who let her in there, but sure am glad she is alive.

2017 May 12

It just won't stop drizzling, so I'm spending the day on the couch comforting sick Wild Girl. Plant Doc decided on which crop rows he was going to call it a bust and plow up for the summer crop. He also searched for a hand held sprayer with a hood attachment so that he could get the broadleaf weeds under control without killing the broadleaf crops. Swimmer picked up the mower wheels from the gas station.

2017 May 11

Plant Doc had a computer day. Wild Girl was home sick so I spent the day with her on the couch.

2017 May 10

Plant Doc did repairs around the farm. He spread fire ant bait. He patched the misting system for the herbs hothouse. It was quite the fight, but he was able to get the bolts loose and take off the 2 flat tires on the mower and later dropped them at the gas station for repair. He removed the rocks from the waterfall pond and cleaned the pump. He was hoping to find an obvious reason why the water level got so low, but he couldn't find any holes in the liner at the level of the water. He filled the bucket on the Big Green Bucket with water and after a few trips got the pond refilled. Hopefully, the water level holds.

2017 May 9

Cold and raining out. What month is it anyway?

2017 May 8

Plant Doc harvested the red radishes. Starting to see a pattern here. December we had February weather, January we had November weather, February we had April weather, March we had January weather, April we had June weather, now May we have March weather. So if June is August weather, July is May weather, August is October weather, September is July weather, etc. then we've got something to work with. Climate change causing weather fluctations that go extreme in one direction and then rebound over compensating in the other direction...Global See-Sawing?

2017 May 7

The Big Green Bucket started on the first try, so Plant Doc was pleased and is hoping he doesn't need a starter repair after all. He spent 8 hours and finally cultivated the crop fields that were starting to get out of control with weeds.

2017 May 6

Plant Doc got the Big Green Bucket started after several tries. He's wonder if there is a problem with the starter. Apparently, there have lots of problems with this model and John Deere expects you to pay a lot of money for the entire starter kit, when it's only the inexpensive starter solenoid that's the problem. He's just not sure if he is enough of a mechanic to pull off the repair job.

2017 May 5

Plant Doc went to start the Big Green Bucket and it wouldn't after many tries. So much for cultivating the crop fields.

2017 May 4

Plant Doc tried to figure out what to do about colorado potato beetle control without spending a fortune on spinosad which is one of the few insecticides that he hasn't been able to get free samples of.

2017 May 3

Plant Doc rehilled the potatoes and strawberries then switched the Big Green Bucket to the broken frisbee discs. He loosened some of the bolts and oiled the frisbee discs and started getting the stuck one rolling again. He was very relieved that it no longer seems to be a bent axle.

2017 May 2

Plant Doc is still recovering from the weekend trip and his lingering cold. He even ended his computer work before dark and did some reading.

2017 May 1

Plant Doc seems to still be recovering from the weekend trip and his lingering cold. He apparently had a rough day on the computer.

2017 April 30

Can't believe that they left me on the lawn all night! I am outraged, even though the neighbor keeps coming by to give me treats and fix my water bowl! The family got home just before dark and none of them was in a particularly good mood after all that driving. I was just happy to get back to my couch in the cool house.

2017 April 29

The family went on Rocket Boy's band trip to an amusement park in Virginia. They spent most of the day waiting in lines to ride roller coasters, which apparently is a bit like driving on the Gator with Swimmer. The neighbor with the treats rode by every few hours to check on me, so that was fun.

2017 April 28

The neighbor came over and wanted to pet me. I was showing him whose boss, but then he gave me some treats so I caved.

2017 April 27

Plant Doc is sick and feeling horrible, but he still needed to finish mowing the lawn. The mower had a flat tire, so he had to keep pumping it up with the bike pump every twenty minutes then mow a patch. The lawn has a lot of streaks in it and bare spots where the mower deck dug into the ground when the tire got too low.

2017 April 26

Plant Doc finished pushing the strawberry bare roots into the muddy rows. He also started mowing the lawn and got the bumpy ride through the orchard done.

2017 April 25

After waiting 5 days for rain so he could plant the strawberry bare roots, the got way more than he wished for...6 inches! At least he was able to plant them the proper way, pushing them into the ground instead of digging a hole. Though, it wasn't great that they had already sprouted in the fridge a few days ago. He was only able to plant half the row for each variety since the other half was flooded.

2017 April 24

Swimmer started a short term job and didn't go to the pool, but somehow still came home wet. The rain was heavy all day and the grass and fields were flooded. Without the truck, Plant Doc had to pick the kids up from the bus using the Gator and they got soaked because they didn't have their umbrellas with them and had to use the spare busted one that Plant Doc brought along. Plant Doc finally picked up his new glasses, the first pair he ever had that wasn't made by his Dad, and wished that they had come with automatic wipers since he was getting pelted from the rain. Ember picked the wrong day to decide to become a broody chicken and Plant Doc was in no mood for it and kicked her off the dozen eggs she started laying on.

2017 April 23

Plant Doc's cold has gotten worse and he has a fever today. He still had to clean up the mess the family left in the kitchen at night and battle the ant invasion. He soaked the strawberry bare roots again and was not pleased to see that the shoots were already sprouting. It's going to be at least another two days before the rainy weather stops and he can plant them. Let's hope they survive this.

2017 April 22

Plant Doc marched for science and had a booth at the science fair titled, "Plant Disease Forecasting in the Age of Global Storming". He was the first one to set up a table, but picked the wrong spot. So he was totally right about the weather becoming unpredictable lately and he got sunburned instead of rained on. His favorite sports team, the women's professional soccer team NC Courage was back after having lost the team more than a decade ago, so he went to the team's inaugural game...again.

2017 April 21

Plant Doc had one of those crazy computer days where he never even had the chance to brush his teeth in the morning till after dinner. Moonlight is back with the flock and no longer residing in the playhouse at night.

2017 April 20

Plant Doc weeded the grass in the strawberries and looked pretty exhausted from hacking at them with a scuffle hoe. Even after that, there still was a lot of plant debris from the dying clover so he is hoping that doesn't cause a problem. He planted the first of five strawberry varieties. The ground was much drier than he expected and the plant debris got in the way so he had to use a trowel to cut a slice into the soil in preparation for pushing each bare root into the dirt using a wood splint. He decided to stop and wait for some rain before he did the rest since was concerned about them wilting and dying even with the use of the transplant gel for retaining moisture around the roots. Of course, waiting too long is no good either, so he misted the bare root bags to give them a little more moisture.

2017 April 19

His strawberry plants came in, so Plant Doc hilled the strawberry rows to cover most of the herbicide sprayed dying clover. He was up till the middle of the night preparing his presentation materials about his plant disease forecasting research. Moonlight is feeling much better and starting to tour the farm with the rest of the flock.

2017 April 18

Plant Doc continued reseeding the hothouse flats with poor stand. He seeded the warm season grasses and the peppermint in the perennials field. He also reseeded some bare spots in the grass around the farm.

2017 April 17

Happy Birthday Rocket Boy! I'm loving these celebrations lately! Today they struck up the grill! Plant Doc started reseeding the hothouse flats with poor stand.

2017 April 16

Happy Rabbit's Giving Out Boiled Chicken Eggs Day! Not sure I understand. Don't care since I got turkey. Swimmer spent hours setting up a tent so that Wild Girl could sleep out on the lawn. Plant Doc got her set up with portable lights and walkie talkies. He wasn't expecting her to last the night, but he sure didn't expect her to come back in before anyone even started going to bed. The setup took way longer than she was out there. I understand that it was a busy day for Rex, but nobody saw him all day until he showed his face at midnight.

2017 April 15

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to a model airplane festival. Plant Doc saw that the clover in the strawberries was starting to die off and there was a clear difference to the beautiful looking crimson clover flowering next to it. The crimson clover was taking over the perennials field and might cause some problems, but it will die off soon and increase the nitrogen content in the field.

2017 April 14

Swimmer took Wild Girl for a hike in a state park and they were gone all day. Don't understand why they had to drive so far to just walk around. I always have to bark for 20 minutes to get them to take me for a walk on the farm! Swimmer was limping worse than Plant Doc does after spending hours spraying pesticides in a respirator. Plant Doc looked just as tired working till the middle of the night after a hard week both on the farm and at work. He almost lost Moonlight after he let our sick chicken spend a few hours outside with the flock. At the end of the day, the girls went back to the barn, but Moonlight was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, after a long search, Plant Doc found her hiding in the corner of a hothouse.

2017 April 13

Happy Birthday Wild Girl! Plant Doc never thought I'd pull off the 3 weeks of dodging the question, "Where's my iPad?!" after he traded in her messed up one and hid the new one till she got home from school today. She almost broke him with just a few hours to go with "Why isn't it showing up under my Apple ID anymore? I can't track it. Did Mom lose it?!" Fortunately, he saved that one with a "She must have left it at the pool and the battery ran out". I distracted her after that by barking at her to help him out.

2017 April 12

Plant Doc let sick Moonlight outside some today to lift her spirits. She was walking like an old hen and just lay on the ground most of the time, but at least she got to spend some time with the flock.

2017 April 11

Plant Doc mowed the rest of the lawn, particularly the bucking bronco ride future orchard. He had to spend some time to get the spots near the house missed by Swimmer's zig-zag, but at least it saved him 2 hours of mowing time.

2017 April 10

Yuck! Maggots are coming out of Moonlight's butt. Swimmer cleaned her up and Plant Doc gave her worm medicine. Sure hope she gets better soon. Swimmer decided she wanted to try using the zero turn mower, so Plant Doc taught her. He tried to get her to do counter-clockwise patterns, but had to settle for zig-zag instead. He was rather concerned about the chickens, particularly our mower chasing Star. She must have really been having fun since she was at it for more than two hours and saved Plant Doc time off his usual 7 hours tomorrow. I knew better not to risk my tail and stayed inside on the couch.

2017 April 9

Plant Doc wore a respirator for 8 hours and sprayed 38 gallons of herbicide over 3.5 miles (plus a few miles of walking back and forth) with his hand sprayer. He put down clover killer, grass killer, and pre-emergent herbicide in preparation for the strawberry roots that are being shipped next week. He also sprayed grass killer on the annuals field.

2017 April 8

Moonlight is looking much better today in the playhouse and hopefully is out of the woods. Plant Doc replaced the sun worn and torn trash bags of Swimmer's soda bottles that he uses for spraying pesticides. He got a trash bag full of them, filled them with water, and labeled them with pesticide warnings to get ready for tomorrow's herbicide sprays. He also put the replacement fender panel on the Gator. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to Legofest.

2017 April 7

Happy Birthday Plant Doc!! He worked till just before midnight last night so he could take the full day off (next time will probably be Xmas day). He picked up Wild Girls glasses, chatted farm equipment parts at the John Deere dealer, picked up some crop seed, and went to a sci-fi movie. At least until he put the chickens away for the night. Moonlight is sick and probably dying. Plant Doc cleaned up her butt and set her up in the playhouse with antibiotics and other medicine, but she is not looking good.

2017 April 6

Plant Doc had a crazy busy computer day so he never got the chance to spray his herbicides. It was made even crazier by the thunderstorm that came through in the morning followed by the 2 hour power outage.

2017 April 5

Plant Doc had another crazy busy computer day. After that, until the middle of the night, he worked on his herbicide rates since he might try to spray tomorrow.

2017 April 4

Plant Doc had a crazy busy computer day.

2017 April 3

Plant Doc took Wild Girl to get new glasses. He had to actually pay for glasses for the first time in his life now that his Dad's optical store. At least he's got a drawer full of frames to cover the family for life, so it's just the lenses, except when he uses the vision plan benefit like today for getting his fancy new pesticide spraying safety glasses.

2017 April 2

Plant Doc is so relieved to have the oil changes and yearly maintenance done for the farm equipment. He even took a chance on starting the mower and that hose with no attached other end had a little bit of vaccuumn to it so he is pretty sure it's just an air intake and supposed to be that way...will call the dealer tomorrow just to be sure. Just when he had gotten through it all without any mistakes, he forgot to lift the hiller attached to the Big Green Bucket before starting to drive off. He realized it almost immediately so no major grass damage, but the mistake was enough to dislodge a 3-point pin hitch. So he went driving away with one of the hiller frisbees bouncing along the ground creating divets in the grass every few yards. He drove halfway around annuals field before he realized what happened. Doh!

2017 April 1

Wild Girl played an April Fools joke on Plant Doc and filled an oreo with toothpaste in the middle. Plant Doc is playing mechanic this weekend and not having fun, as expected. He got through the JD Gator oil change and other maintenance okay. The JD Z425 zero turn mower is fighting him big time. He replaced the battery and was doing an oil change when he had a battle with the oil filter trying to get that off for hours. Finally got it off, but he's concerned there may have been a casualty. After he finally get the fuel filter off, he saw that there's another hose that goes into the fuel tank (or thereabouts, hard to tell exactly where it goes) other than the fuel line hose (which the fuel filter is hooked up to). This other hose is not connected to anything on the other end. So before he dares start the mowever again, he needs to determine if it is some kind of air or fuel vent hose that is open on one end or if he accidentally disconnected something.

2017 March 31

Plant Doc replaced the failed RAID hard drive without messing something else up. More tests.

2017 March 30

Plant Doc worked on his pesticide plans while the computers carried away with their hard drive surface tests.

2017 March 29

Plant Doc installed a new wireless base station and by accident wiped out our other wireless network rather than the one he was trying to update. Took him forever to get everything back up and add all the allowed devices back. Wild Girl was not happy that she had to put down the iPad for a little while.

2017 March 28

Plant Doc tried begging again for some free pesticides....not much luck. He surveyed the status of germination in the crop fields and hothouses. Same as last time in the crop fields and the newly reseeded rows are not starting to germinate yet. Hothouses are starting to spring into action at least.

2017 March 27

Plant Doc spent all day trying to get MySQL SSL connections to work before writing up a detailed question and posting it to the MySQL community forum. Only to do a search in the forum afterwards and discovering he asked the EXACT same question a year ago and got no responses! He has got to stop this late night computer work since he is cutting into my beauty sleep.

2017 March 26

Plant Doc has got a failing 20TB RAID that he already got a replacement internal SATA and he copied the data over to a new RAID. So it's at the stage where he's doing a backup of the new RAID before he erase the old one and swap drives. He had used RAID 0...last time hees do that. Last night he discovered that after moving some folders around that the folder sizes didn't update properly and he miscalculated how much space it would require to backup certain folders. So our Mac Time Machine backup that has been running for 3 days was about to run out of space. He's using a bunch of older smaller RAIDs (all Lacie) to create an expandable concatenated disk RAID. So he needed to hot add an extra drive to the array. He's got a spare but the power supply is bad. So at 2am he was scrambling to find a replacement. He found 2 Lacie power supplies from past dead RAIDs. The output D.C. voltage is 12 volt for all. The one he's replacing is 7 amps. I first found a 3 amp that he tried and it went into a kernel panic so he immediately shut it down. Unfortunately it messed up the backup that had been running for 3 days. An hour later he found a 4.6 amp one and it tested fine. He was able to run it overnight and run a bunch of drive utility checks on it. So finally to the point. If this 4.6 amp power supply is working fine then can he go with it or is he likely to run into problems down the line? If the latter then he's going to have to find a replacement power supply for this exact RAID model on eBay or something. He had previously called LaCie and they couldn't help. Our farm electrician seems to think we will be okay with it.

2017 March 25

Plant Doc planted the potatoes after Swimmer finally finished chopping them.

2017 March 24

Plant Doc went to the tractor store and got all sorts of oils and parts for the Big Green Bucket, gator, and mower. I think he is deluding himself into thinking he can be a mechanic.

2017 March 23

Plant Doc was sick again and had a hard time struggling through his computer work.

2017 March 22

Plant Doc inally figured out how to backup our large external computer hard drives and increase my blogging storage at a fraction of the cost. He can take the existing SATA drives out of the RAID enclosures, use them for backup, and replace them with larger capacity drives. Get a SATA drive dock for only a few bucks, backup files to the SATA drives removed from RAID, and store them elsewhere.

2017 March 21

Plant Doc went to the farmers market meeting and they set the date for the opening strawberry festival. The big strawberry farm owner goes, "Yeah, we'll see about that! 60 years doing this and never seen weather even remotely like this so far this year!".

2017 March 20

Plant Doc finished replanting the annuals field, as well as the long season crops and herbs in the perennials field. The crops that germinated well and survived the freezes were endive, peas, radishes, turnips, rutabaga, arugula, pac choi, and artichokes. Others were alive with poorer stands so it's hard to say whether they had poor germination or were killed by the freezes. Clearly some crops like the red lettuce had a decent stand, but were killed off.

2017 March 19

It looks like a lot of the seedlings were killed by the multiple hard freezes lately, so Plant Doc started replanting the annuals field. He waited for some heavy rain so that he could go straight into the mud without retilling the clay.

2017 March 18

Swimmer and Plant Doc were coaches at Rocket Boy's science olympics. It rained quite a bit so I'm glad they didn't stick me on the lawn all day.

2017 March 17

Plant Doc was still home sick and worked on a last minute science olympics project that he was given since he wasn't going to be going to school.

2017 March 16

Plant Doc went to Rocket Boy's science olympics meeting to coach before the big event even though Rocket Boy was home sick. The last of the string of really cold nights and it appears that most of the crop seedlings have made it through alive.

2017 March 15

Plant Doc was on the computer till the middle of the night. When he took me outside before finally going to bed, I wanted to bite him after I realized how cold it was. He surveyed the crop fields and it seems the seedlings survived the hard frost. Round 2 tonight. The kids came home early and Rocket Boy was sick with a fever again....ding, ding, ding...Round 10.

2017 March 14

Plant Doc seems to be stuck to the computer chair. He got his new hard drive for storing all his data and started testing it before copying over the data from the failing drive. It's really cold outside, I'm not leaving my couch!

2017 March 13

It's a rainy cold day. Plant Doc adopted a new strategy for plant disease predictive modeling research data warehousing strategy for an expert system knowledge base. Don't classify! All attempts to organize living beings will ultimately fail. Instead...describe, observe, relate, and try to understand. If you focus on storing pieces of knowledge about something rather than fitting it into a schema, perhaps you may even be able to make predictions about it.

2017 March 12

It snowed a bit after all this morning then it all melted. Plant Doc cleaned up the sidewalks with the leaf blower trimmer attachment. Not sure why he bothered since the chicken's will just cover them with dirt tomorrow. He toured the crop fields and was pleased to see that, after finally getting some rain two weeks ago since planting a month ago, the seedlings for most of the crops were beginning to emerge.

2017 March 11

The family was at Swimmer's cancer charity water polo tournament and I got stuck on the lawn all day. Fortunately, the forecast was for snow tonight and she had to make it a one-day instead of all weekend event. Plant Doc was the music DJ for 11 hours and also did the goal horn. His t-shirt was even used as an American flag during the national athem. I've really got to stop intentionally knocking over my water bowl. Sure it's fun to do, but then if they don't come home soon you get awefully thirsty.

2017 March 10

Plant Doc had an insane day on the computer, while Swimmer got things set up for her cancer charity water polo tournament.

2017 March 9

Everyone is recovered from the flu except Rocket Boy. Plant Doc finally got his energy back and finished seeding the hothouses.

2017 March 8

Wild Girl and Rocket Boy stayed home from school again. Plant Doc worked on his crop databases.2017 March 7

Oh come on! Plant Doc, Swimmer, Wild Girl, and Rocket Boy are all sick. Plant Doc and Swimmer at least are almost recovered. Plant Doc worked on his crop databases.

2017 March 6

Plant Doc, Swimmer, and Wild Girl are all still sick. Plant Doc contacted pesticide companies asking for free samples so that he could save some money on his treatments.

2017 March 5

Plant Doc and Swimmer are still both sick and now Wild Girl caught it. Plant Doc worked onto his pesticide plans.

2017 March 4

Plant Doc and Swimmer are still both sick. Plant Doc continues to struggle through trying to do work.

2017 March 3

Plant Doc and Swimmer are still both sick. Plant Doc checked on the status of the germinating seedlings since we are supposed to have a frost tonight.

2017 March 2

Plant Doc and Swimmer are both sick and the kids are keeping their distance. Plant Doc still is working, of course.

2017 March 1

Plant Doc continued seeding the hothouses and is almost done with it. He replaced one of the hoses and spray wands then watered everything for the first time. A big thunder storm moved through after dark and it was scary.

2017 February 28

Plant Doc seeded the carrots and herbs in the hothouses. He also started getting the crop row marker cards ready for lamination.

2017 February 27

Plant Doc was relieved to see the first germinating seedlings appearing in the annuals field. Based upon how dry the dirt is you would think that it was mid-summer. Swimmer spotted a pile of chicken feathers that prompted a worried chicken count with everyone running around trying to find them. Fortunately, no dead chickens this time.

2017 February 26

Plant Doc seeded the brassicas in the hothouses.

2017 February 25

Plant Doc seeded the lettuce and spinach in the hothouses.

2017 February 24

Plant Doc patched plastic on one of the hothouses. It's going to need replacement by the end of the year.

2017 February 23

The chickens have finally combined into a single flock and are spending their days worm hunting by the house.

2017 February 22

Plant Doc weeded the peppermint pots to get ready for planting. Unfortunately, these normally sturdy plants didn't survive the crazy weather conditions of last summer without irrigation during the drought periods so he is starting over with seed. There was some water in the bucket of the Big Green Bucket and the crop fields showed signs that we got a little bit of localized rain last night even though the weather apps say that we didn't. Good thing because Plant Doc is starting to worry that his attempt at an early planting was a complete bust. Still no emerged seedlings.

2017 February 21

Rocket Boy was home sick today so I had some company while I spent the day sleeping on the couch. Plant Doc went a small grain growers meeting.

2017 February 20

A beautiful day, but Plant Doc got stuck on the computer.

2017 February 19

Plant Doc got the hothouses ready for seeding.

2017 February 18

Plant Doc finally got off the computer and outside on this warm day, though, he's getting a late start after working past midnight. He reseeded the small grains and cold season turf. He planted garlic cloves in the gaps between the existing plants.

2017 February 17

Plant Doc is getting off the computer....ooops, no, cancel that, he's just going to the printer.

2017 February 16

Plant Doc is starting to sleep on the computer he has been there so long.

2017 February 15

Plant Doc is still stuck on the computer.

2017 February 14

Plant Doc still seems to be unable to move from the computer chair. Hey, Swimmer, why didn't I get any valentine's cupcakes?!

2017 February 13

Plant Doc seems to be unable to move from the computer chair.

2017 February 12

Plant Doc covered the randomly thrown seeds in the garden using the cultivator then spelled out the kids names in carrot seeds to finish off the job. He planted the herbs and long season vegetables in the perennials field. He also planted the peas and covered them with the cultivator. Wild Girl started eating Plant Doc's garlic cloves that he still needs to plant....her breath sure stinks!!

2017 February 11

Plant Doc finished off planting the annuals field with the exception of the peas and potatoes. He swapped out the tiller with the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket in preparation for covering the peas. Back to a warm day.

2017 February 10

It's still cold. Computer day for Plant Doc.

2017 February 9

It's cold again now and it rained a bit last night. Rocket Boy came home early from school because of a cold. In an unusual twist, Plant Doc went to the Science Olympics meeting at Rocket Boy's school while he and Swimmer stayed home.

2017 February 8

Plant Doc bought a 3 ft long 3 in diameter PVC pipe ran a chain through it and created a seed roller for surface spread seed. He retilled the perennials field since the clover was starting to come back. He also tilled the garden and planted it using his random distribution method; that is throwing handfuls of seed in the air and yelling "Wheeee!". Another really warm day.

2017 February 7

Plant Doc took a bit of a computer break and planted the Brassicas. Another warm day.

2017 February 6

To plant it is! Plant Doc took a bit of a computer break and planted the lettuce. Such a warm day.

2017 February 5

It's rather early in the year, but it's been warm and the ground for once is neither too wet nor too dry. Soil conditions without irrigation has been Plant Doc's biggest headache. Cold hardy crops can handle a light frost, it's whether we get hit with a hard frost after next week is the risk. Daylight hours might still be a problem also. To plant, or not to plant, that is the question.

2017 February 4

Plant Doc finished figuring out his crop list and started plotting out the fields with the white and yellow circus flags.

2017 February 3

Hey, I thought spring was here...why is it cold out again?

2017 February 2

Plant Doc finished tilling the crop fields.

2017 February 1

Swimmer spent the morning searching for her truck keys again; she even made me open my mouth to look. Another warm day, so Plant Doc continued tilling the crop fields. At least this time there were no bolt break disasters.

2017 January 31

It was a warm day, so Plant Doc started tilling the crop fields. He was happy that there was no ice or heavy mud to deal with like usually happens this time of year. He decided to skip the plow since it always creates such a muddy mess in the wet clay soil. Unfortunately, the disc harrow was still out of commission after he got it buried in the dust last summer and damaged an axis trying to get it off the Big Green Bucket and out of the field. Unfortunately, a similar occurence happened today when a bolt snapped on the tiller and sent the other half flying up high. He brought it back to the driveway and spent hours trying to figure out how to release a ton of pressure off the remaining bolts so that he could relase the tiller from the Big Green Bucket before fixing it and putting it back on. He also had to duct tape the muffler back on the Gator. He came back in the house to find that Wild Girl had slipped on the floor and chipped a tooth.

2017 January 30

Plant Doc oiled up the tiller and got it ready for starting to get the crop fields ready for planting. After years of warnings from Plant Doc, Wild Girl finally caught poison ivy playing in the woods. She was quiet itchy so I showed her how to scratch properly. After dark, the family went to see her science fair project. Somehow she managed to get second for her grade, despite only working on it for about an hour.

2017 January 29

Plant Doc got the Windows virtual computer fixed, loaded up the tax software, and started his yearly nightmare.

2017 January 28

Plant Doc booted up his Windows virtual computer on his Mac for the first time in a year so he could get started on taxes. He was rather dismayed that something was corrupted with it and he had to restore from a backup and mess around for hours getting it back up to date.

2017 January 27

Plant Doc spend the day at a growers pesticide meeting this morning and they mention EPA cutbacks and de-regulation. He was expecting this group of predominantly tobacco and soybean growers and landscapers to be happy about less oversight. Nope! They are stressed about fewer pesticides in development pipeline, as well as timely local use special needs approvals of existing ones. There was much talk about rotating existing products to prevent resistance since we can no longer depend upon new products. Afterwards, he picked up his buskets and produce boxes at the farmer's container store. He stopped at the John Deere store to get some new bolts for the Gator muffler. After he got home, he only put one of them in as a test to see if it would come loose again...probably since the threads are clearly worn.

2017 January 26

Plant Doc negotiated with the farmer's container store about exchanging his plastic buskets (bucket/basket). He bought them more than 2 years ago, but he got an inferior test batch where the handles break if you put any weight in them at all. He discovered last year at the farm show that he should have been sold much better ones with metal handles. Fortunately, they were agreeable to an exchange. After that, he was working on the computer till the middle of the night. It wasn't a good idea since he has to get up early to go to a pesticide meeting. It was getting really late so he skipped dinner and settling in front of the TV.

2017 January 25

Plant Doc continued to clear the area for the christmas trees.

2017 January 24

Plant Doc worked on his crop rotations for herbicide enigma...still not solved. He got some advice from the college and the county extension office about how to get rid of clover in the strawberries so that he does not have to till it up and risk getting the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud again; not to mention stress the plants that are still alive. Unfortunately, he could spot only about a third of his planting last year that survived. That's the second planting to take hold. The biggest problem is the deer nipping them so he still has to find a solution for that...probably pee. I offered to take care of that, but he said the deer are just not afraid of me enough. I growled and bit him, but he wasn't convinced. So he has to pay for expensive wolf pee whenever we get the money.

2017 January 23

Plant Doc had a long computer day.

2017 January 22

Plant Doc continued to clear the area for the christmas trees. Swimmer was not happy about having to drag the clothes to the laundromat.

2017 January 21

Plant Doc is so not happy that the clothes washer died. The appliance curse continues!

2017 January 20

Plant Doc worked on his crop rotations. Start of a rainy weekend and he is hoping it doesn't get too wet in the fields since it will delay planting.

2017 January 19

Plant Doc got the crop fields ready for planting by removing the flags in the center and picking up large rocks. He used the cultivator to remove the large debris from the cotton and tomatillo rows.

2017 January 18

Plant Doc continued to clear the area for the christmas trees.

2017 January 17

Computer day for Plant Doc.

2017 January 16

The Gator has been very loud today, and Plant Doc saw that the muffler disconnected from the tailpipe. He figured out what he needed to do, but he has to buy some bolts for it.

2017 January 15

Plant Doc figured out what seeds he needs to order before planting time. He was not happy that the washing machine died.

2017 January 14

Plant Doc and the family went to the science museum for Rocket Boy's olympic test run. Plant Doc helped the kids with invasive species and raspberry pi. The pi sounded tasty, but apparently it was just a type of computer building kit. Wild Girl was creating sprites on it and Plant Doc said it reminded him of the Commodore 64 he had as a kid.

2017 January 13

Plant Doc took advantage of the warm weather and spend the afternoon clearing trees where the christmas trees are going to go.

2017 January 12

Feels like spring! The plumber came and fixed the leaks. Kids are finally back at school.

2017 January 11

Everything is melted, but the kids are still off school.

2017 January 10

We are starting to defrost here and the hot water heater line defrosted, though, it's still leaking and Plant Doc noticed a leak under the house also. Kids are still off school.

2017 January 9

Another crazy cold day and night. Kids got the day off school since the roads are a sheet of ice. Wild Girl went sledding with her friends. Plant Doc had another cold shower while the rest of the family took another bird bath. Well that's a relief, thought my old Mac for blogging was dying. It started making the weirdest high pitch squealing and clucking noises I've ever heard from a computer and it was driving me crazy. Plant Doc cleaned up the insides with dusting sprayers and that didn't work. He couldn't figure out the source so he took a stab at removing the extra hard drive that stopped working properly about 2 years ago and solved the problem.

2017 January 8

The electricity went off at midnight last night and I sure am cold!!! There was no heat or water until the afternoon and it is the coldest day outside of my entire life. There was a bird stuck in the garage until the power came back on. After killing off way too many of Rocket Boy's tetra fish over the last few years, it appears Swimmer's survival of the fittest inadvertent strategy has finally paid off. Both of them have survived the half day without electricity and 25 degree drop then rise in water temperature over the past 24 hours. Plant Doc took a really cold shower since the hot water line is frozen. Glad for the chickens that it's going be 9F instead of -1F tonight. Plant Doc's idea of using snow as backup water fpr them worked great and solved the ice problem. Only issue is Henrietta who never fights for a spot on the roost. Plant Doc put Wild Girl's old jacket on her last night and tonight. She was very fashionable.

2017 January 7

The snowstorm was kind of a bust and the kids aren't happy. It was raining and sleeting most of the night, so we only got a half inch starting in the morning. Sledding didn't quite work. It sure is cold out and getting colder. Plant Doc was not pleased to see that the hot water heater was leaking at the intake pipe.

2017 January 6

The kids came home early in preparation for the big snowstorm. Plant Doc got things ready for it around the farm.

2017 January 5

Plant Doc had computer work and went with Swimmer to Rocket Boy's science olympics meeting. He is helping out the kids with the invasive species.

2017 January 4

Plant Doc continued clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted.

2017 January 3

Another rainy day. I'm sad that the kids went back to school. Guess I'm just going to have to sleep all day.

2017 January 2

Another rainy day. Plant Doc worked on his crop databases.

2017 January 1

The new year has started with a cloudy rainy week....not a good start.

2016 December 31

Plant Doc can take a little saw dust in his face and a few thorns while using the chainsaw on the thicker brush; just part of the game. However, a mouth full of saw dust because he was screaming over a thorn bush branch flying into his leg was just so not fair.

2016 December 30

Plant Doc continued clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted. Unfortunately, the sharpened chain just didn't cut it very well and he has to wait for the new ones he ordered. More sticky business.

2016 December 29

Swimmer brought Plant Doc's chainsaw chain to the hardware store to be sharpened. He went back to cutting down small trees after.

2016 December 28

Ever since Rosie died, the other chickens are not wandering around the farm and are staying close to the barn. Considering how many prior animal attacks we've had and that Rosie was always kind of a loner instead of a leader, it's kind of strange. Plant Doc attacked some more thorns and the thorns won.

2016 December 27

Plant Doc was cutting down high brush with thorn bushes mixed in using a trimmer brush cutter pole. He discovered the best time to do it is around sunset. He said that while the thorns inevitably get you either way, it can be done with considerably less fear when you can't quite see. Sticky business.

2016 December 26

Plant Doc continued clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted.

2016 December 25

I got bones and turkey today; now that's what I call a holiday! Plant Doc was having fun playing with Rocket Boy's drone as he flew it over his crop field. That thing scared me so I kept my distance.

2016 December 24

Plant Doc and the family went to see a movie about some war in the sky. Hardly seems in the holiday spirit, but they seem to have liked it. The chickens weren't happy about being stuck in the coop all day, but at least I got to stay in the house.

2016 December 23

Plant Doc celebrated his new favorite holiday (now that he is paying for all the Christmas presents), Festivus. He had plenty of grievances to air and I bit him a few times to express a few of mine. As a show of strength, he tossed some more trees back in the woods while I knocked him down when he came back in the house. Unfortunately, he didn't let me have any of his meatballs (doesn't like meatloaf) on a bed of lettuce. While clearing the area for Christmas trees, he hit a tough patch of thorn bushes which went for a slow and painful going. It's looking like he needs a new chainsaw chain since it was having trouble cutting through a foot wider. He also could use a spare battery since he had to use the axe when it was getting down to the end. He wasn't very accurate with the axe so his hinge cut was rather off and he was sure exactly how that big tree was going to fall. Fortunately, it went close to the direction he was expecting since he tripped while running away when it finally fell.

2016 December 22

Plant Doc was not happy when his nice warm day was messed up all because he tried making eggs for lunch. The wire came loose on the burner again and he spent 2 hours fixing it. At least that opened up some time for a game of feet ball with Wild Girl and I.

2016 December 21

Plant Doc continued clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted.

2016 December 20

Plant Doc used the tractor to move a pile of branches and trees where the christmas trees are going to go to the main pile. As he was putting away the chickens for the night, he was missing two. Sarah Junior was hiding under the garage steps then he was devastated to find our crazy chicken Rosie dead under a bush after another attack. Sure going to miss her "quark"!

2016 December 19

Plant Doc worked on his plant crop database.

2016 December 18

Feels like spring. Plant Doc prepared repeat germination tests for the crops that doing do so well the first time.

2016 December 17

Plant Doc continued clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted.

2016 December 16

Plant Doc worked on his plant crop database.

2016 December 15

I was bugging him, so Plant Doc told Wild Girl to play with me. She had something quite different in mind and she took at the Dogopoly game. The little cheat beat me and then went on to beat Plant Doc!

2016 December 14

Swimmer lost her phone again while I was running alongside the gator. This time the battery was run down and the ringer was turned off, so Plant Doc wasn't able to track it. She searched for hours raking leaves aside until she finally found it.

2016 December 13

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 December 12

Rocket Boy did some last minute flute practice before his big concert. I was really upset that they didn't let me go.

2016 December 11

Plant Doc solved a work problem while lying in bed in the morning and worked on it using his phone for hours. When he finally came downstairs it was already dark. He downloaded his soil test results from NC State and figured out his fertilizer and lime requirements for next year. Hopefully, unlike last year, he actually has the money for them.

2016 December 10

It's really cold out there! Plant Doc and Rocket Boy went to see Wild Girl and Swimmer march with the Girl Scouts in the Christmas parade. Plant Doc had some computer work to do and then spent the evening reading his fantasy book.

2016 December 9

It's cold out there! Plant Doc counted the germinated seeds in the sandwich bags after 6 days. The results were rather good and he got at least 50% germination on about 3/4 of his seeds. He is going to retest the rest over a longer period.

2016 December 8

Plant Doc harvested a few bushels of pac choi before the hard frost. There are still many small ones left out in the field and hopefully they survive.

2016 December 7

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 December 6

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 December 5

Plant Doc cut down a few trees that broke in the future orchard. The kids helped clear some of the brush and Wild Girl tried using the chain saw briefly.

2016 December 4

Swimmer and the kids put up the Christmas tree, in the dining room this time so I can destroy it. Plant Doc and the family went to a ice puck game. We finally got a decent rainfall for the first time since we got the 10 inches 2 months ago.

2016 December 3

Plant Doc went through all of his crop seed and prepared germination tests for all of his crops. He counted ten seeds each (except the really really small ones) of each variety, put in on wet papertowels that he folded and put in sandwich bags.

2016 December 2

Plant Doc did some odds and ends cleanup on the farm after a computer day.

2016 December 1

Plant Doc had more cleanup to do after Wild Girl continued work on her landscape scene project. The outdoor hose nozzle will forever be blue and sparkly.

2016 November 30

Plant Doc continued clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted. Wild Girl was busy creating christmas decorations. She built a landscape scene out of a styrofoam cooler lid using extras from when Plant Doc created the train set in the playhouse. She carved out a lake and Plant Doc forgot to check for leaks before pouring the fake water in it. His hands were glazed like a donut by the time he got it cleaned up. She covered up the lake with shrubs and tried again with a river...this time no leaks.

2016 November 29

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day. Wild Girl was busy creating christmas decorations...the playhouse floor is all sparkly now.

2016 November 28

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 November 27

Plant Doc tried to find a solution to the pre-emergent herbicide for rotational crops problem....still no luck.

2016 November 26

Plant Doc started clearing the small deciduous trees where the christmas trees are going to be planted using his battery powered chain saw.

2016 November 25

Turkey leftovers just never get old. It's a warm day so everyone is back in shorts and short sleeves. Plant Doc took a look at what remained of the fall crop.

2016 November 24

Woke up to the smell of turkey. Such a wonderful way to start the day. Plant Doc prepared paper towels and sandwich bags for seed germination tests.

2016 November 23

The kids were off school today, but were gone most of the day with Swimmer. Plant Doc took a break from the computer to take a joy ride with the tractor. One of the chickens laid an egg that looked like it had been dyed like an Easter egg....she clearly got the holidays mixed up.

2016 November 22

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day. Ember finally stopped sitting on her eggs all day, so Wild Girl collected them figuring that they would have hatched by now if Phoenix was going to be a Daddy. Plant Doc and I had them for lunch.

2016 November 21

Plant Doc was not pleased when the computer drive that stores all his research files starting showing major errors. He is keeping it mostly off until he can afford a replacement.

2016 November 20

Another sad day on the farm. Sarah was attacked and had her head bit off by some animal, not sure what. I will never forget when she was just a baby and Rocket Boy was teaching her to fly so he threw her up in the air and she flew to the roof of the barn so Plant Doc had to "borrow" a tall enough ladder to get her down. Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day again.

2016 November 19

It sure is windy out and the temperature dropped dramatically after dark. Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 November 18

It's feeling like summer again. Plant Doc was still stuck on the computer.

2016 November 17

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer, but at least Ember took a break from sitting on her eggs for the first time in a while.

2016 November 16

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 November 15

Plant Doc ran some errands and dropped off his soil samples in Raleigh before heading to work meetings in Durham.

2016 November 14

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 November 13

Plant Doc collected soil samples into little cardboard boxes. I grabbed one thinking it was chinese food and just got a mouth full of dirt.

2016 November 12

Plant Doc harvested chinese cabbage, pac choi, and cotton. It's supposed to get really cold tonight.

2016 November 11

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 November 10

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2016 November 9

Plant Doc is pretty upset today and started planning what he needs to do on the farm for doomsday.

2016 November 8

Plant Doc seems pretty stressed today and was kind of freaking out at night.

2016 November 7

More weeding for Plant Doc.

2016 November 6

Swimmer and Wild Girl took me to the dog park and I ran the obstacle course until I could no longer. More weeding for Plant Doc.

2016 November 5

Plant Doc did some more weeding and got the little boxes ready for his soil samples.

2016 November 4

Plant Doc was about to spend the day working outside on the farm when he got an urgent call from work. At least he got some weeding done. Rocket Boy got sick at school so we hung out on the couch.

2016 November 3

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day and late again. He did get a little weeding done.

2016 November 2

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day and late into the night.

2016 November 1

It's the day of the dead and I'm hiding on the couch. Wild Girl went to visit some cows and play with her friends after school. Ember has been trying to hatch an egg and won't move from her spot underneath the coop. Plant Doc set her up with her own food and water the other day, so at least now she is not eating the eggs from the other chickens after they lay them next to her.

2016 October 31

Happy birthday celebration to me! After my party, the kids went trick or treating. Rocket Boy went for the tricks. Wild Girl went for the treats.

2016 October 30

Plant Doc cleaned up the cotton he harvested last week and did more weeding.

2016 October 29

The kids had a Halloween party and once again I was stuck on the lawn.

2016 October 28

Plant Doc harvested the tomatillos.

2016 October 27

Plant Doc got some hand weeding done after a day of work on the computer.

2016 October 26

Plant Doc got stuck on the computer again. Rocket Boy got sick at school so we hung out on the couch.

2016 October 25

Plant Doc got some hand weeding done after a day of work on the computer.

2016 October 24

Plant Doc was in rare form not moving from the computer all day till the middle of the night. I tried biting him to get him out of his chair, but that didn't work.

2016 October 23

Plant Doc replaced the rip bags of Swimmer's hundreds of used soda bottles that he uses for spraying pesticides. He also cleaned up the waterfall pond before going back to weeding the annuals field.

2016 October 22

Plant Doc planted the grains and then covered them up using the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket. Afterwards, more weeding of the annuals field by hand and well as with the scuffle hoe. Rocket Boy build a cardboard box fort and used it for hiding chicken eggs.

2016 October 21

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields until it started to rain. He was not at all happy with the stand of seedlings. He decided he is going to have to do some germination tests on all of his seed. Most likely, though, it is many different issues in the field itself. Perhaps they are germinating and dying because of either the clay soil be too wet with damping off fungi or too dry since he doesn't irrigation.

2016 October 20

Plant Doc spent another day and late night on the computer.

2016 October 19

It sure doesn't feel like mid October...maybe the whole daylight savings time change changes are messing with the calendar? I was rather upset with Plant Doc when he swatted 2 wasps in the house and he didn't let me eat them. Tried to dig it out of the garbage, but no luck.

2016 October 18

Another long day and late night on the computer for Plant Doc.

2016 October 17

Another long day and late night on the computer for Plant Doc. He did go outside to see the rocket launch going into space after Swimmer's cousin pushed the launch button or something hundreds of miles away. It looked like a firefly in the distance flying up above the trees; I tried to jump and eat it, but couldn't quite catch it.

2016 October 16

Plant Doc swerved around the farm on the Gator like Swimmer usually does when she is driving while staring at her phone. He at least was intentionally doing it to find the fire ant hills and put down bait. He also used the less effective fire ant bait on the mounds within the crop fields since it was the only one labeled for edible crops. Afterwards, he weeded the perennials field by hand.

2016 October 15

Swimmer took the kids to the fair while Plant Doc played with his little white circus flags.

2016 October 14

Another sad day on the farm, Wild Girl found Claudine dead under the bushes near the house. There was no sign of attack or sickness, so we are not sure what happened. That's a half dozen hens lost this year and Plant Doc is getting real tired of having to bury them.

2016 October 13

Plant Doc spread the dirt out where he filled in the erosion ditch. He proceeded weed the annuals field by hand and it sure look like is was going to take days, maybe weeks.

2016 October 12

Kids are back at school, which is a good thing since Swimmer is sick. Plant Doc took a break for a few hours in the middle of his long day and late night session on the computer to fill in the erosion ditch that formed in his crop field with dirt. He still needs to spread it out, but is hesitant to drive the Big Green Bucket in the field yet.

2016 October 11

Plant Doc was still hurting from the prior nights mowing session, so he did a long day and late night session on the computer. The kids were off school since electricity was still out all over town. Fortunately, it appears that we might be on the same sub-station as the county prison, if so getting, our electricity back on is high priority and that might explain why we rarely lose power for long. Swimmer couldn't take not swimming for a few days so she went despite being sick.

2016 October 10

The kids were off school since there was still a lot of roads closed due to flooding and electricity is out in town. Plant Doc mowed the lawn for the first time since August. Unlike last week when he tried charging the battery some, he wasn't able to jump start the mower with the Gator and after wasting an hour, he had to use the truck. He was relieved that despite it being really tall, the grass wasn't too thick since the height was mostly due to seed heads...which he intentionally wanted since he didn't have any money for grass seed this fall. There were quite a few mushrooms which released a puff of white or black smoke when he ran over them, in addition to the fire ant hills which released a dangerous puff of gray smoke when he ran over them. His after dark mowing skills were not quite as good as last time, but there weren't too many missed spots.

2016 October 9

The flood waters have receded and things are drying up pretty quickly, though, it's a bit soggy out there. Plant Doc and Swimmer surveyed the damage and it was pretty minimal. The kids started playing in the newly formed ditch in Plant Doc's crop field.

2016 October 8

We got more rain today from this hurricane than we have the last 2 months. Plant Doc watched his patchup job of the Big Green Bucket tire indents along the side of the annuals field turn into a two foot deep stream. I guess that clover seed has washed away.

2016 October 7

A hurricane is coming and the rains are starting. Computer day for Plant Doc.

2016 October 6

Plant Doc seeded the cool season turfgrasses and small grains that he had in stock. He edged the crop fields where the flags are with red clover. He decided to go with just crimson clover as a cover crop for the annuals field, as well as the long season crops and herbs in the perennials field. The radishes, turnips, mustard, and other cover crops do great, but they are becoming a regular weed problem during the rest of the year. At least the crimson clover is an annual that dies off after it flowers late spring. It reseeds itself, but it's easier to keep under control with cultivation than the others, including red clover. Plant Doc also harvested the rest of the cotton.

2016 October 5

Plant Doc finally planting the peas, turnips, radishes, and rutabaga. Alice continues to wonder which is a bit of a worry considering Swimmer found fox poop on the driveway as confirmed by my delicate sense of smell and a social media posting. And she complains about Plant Doc posting shit on social media!

2016 October 4

Swimmer came running to the house screaming for Plant Doc about a snake in the chicken coop. Of course, she didn't think it through and it was gone by the time he got there with a few mouse sticky traps. He couldn't find Alice after that and Swimmer searched for an hour. Eventually she showed up out of the woods...it was unusual to break from the chick flock for that long. Plant Doc got everything ready for finally planting the peas, turnips, radishes, and rutabaga when he noticed a programming problem that he really really wanted to ignore, but couldn't. At least he managed to squeeze in plotting out those rows real quick while his program was running.

2016 October 3

Spraying herbicide without the need for a respirator on a nice fall early evening sure beats what Plant Doc had to do every other week on summer nights with his insecticide treatments. He is still not looking forward to hand weeding the five miles of 6 inch crop row, but at least he narrowed it down another 18 inches tonight after getting as close as he could with the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket.

2016 October 2

Plant Doc was pretty burned out so he took half the day off. He almost blew up the Gator when he accidentally crossed the leads trying to jump start the mower and disconnected it real quick when the battery started smoking. He also did a few hours of hand weeding and pretty much got nowhere.

2016 October 1

Plant Doc was stuck doing programming work half the day after doing a few rounds of nerf pistol duel with Wild Girl. Later in the day, Wild Girl was feeding the neighbor's mini-horse out of a bag while Plant Doc did a few odds and end chores around the farm while programs were running. He tried to charge and jump start the mower, but no such luck.

2016 September 30

Spotty rain. The internet service guy came and fixed things, so I'm just going to have to bite that wire again to get Plant Doc off the computer and Swimmer to take me outside and stop looking at her phone. Two of the neighbor's goats got their head stuck in their new wire fence and another of them started butting one of them up in the air. Fortunately Swimmer spotted what was happening or it might have been killed. By the time Plant Doc and the neighbors got there only one of them was still stuck. Plant Doc used a wire cutter to free it.

2016 September 29

Ditto.

2016 September 28

Rainy day. Plant Doc was working on the computer till late night.

2016 September 27

The rains were running late, so Plant Doc was able to plow the corn and sweet potato rows. So the only crop still left from the summer rotation in the annuals field is the tomatillos, which are producing another round of fruit. He quickly cleaned up the plow and swapped it out with the tiller on the Big Green Bucket, oiled it up, and tilled the just plowed rows without the usual waiting for the leftover debris to dry up. Unfortunately, the frisbee disc harrow needs repair, so it was rather choppy going over the mounds of debris and things are not very even. However, he is just planting peas, turnips, radishes, and rutabaga, all of which are not very picky. He spent a while after dark cutting off all the grass and weeds tangled tight around the tiller rotor blades, washed it up, and swapped the Big Green Bucket back to the cultivator.

2016 September 26

Plant Doc put the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket to clean up the weeds in both crop fields. He was more than a little concerned about getting stuck in the mud in certain spots and was able to keep the tire trenches to a minimum. The chicks apparently learned the game of chicken from Star, though, they weren't quite as brave as she is. Afterwards, he switched the Big Green Bucket to the plow in the hopes of squeezing that in tomorrow before the endless rains come again.

2016 September 25

Plant Doc used the hiller frisbees on the Big Green Bucket to fix the strawberry hills. He then used the carrot undercutter to dig up and harvest the sweet potatoes. They were rather small and he was rather disappointed with the results. The deer just kept chopping at them too much.

2016 September 24

Plant Doc cleaned up and replaced the broken peppermint pots and put them back in the field. Swimmer finished breaking up the garlic cloves so he planted them. He used the hiller frisbees on the Big Green Bucket to cover up the garlic and the peppermint pots. He was going to use it to fix the strawberry hills, but decided to push it off another day rather than risk getting the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud. Good thing he didn't try it yesterday.

2016 September 23

Plant Doc was about to harvest the sweet potatoes, but after digging a few up he saw that they were tiny. Looks like the deer constantly nipping at them took it's toll. So instead of carefully digging them up by hand, he decided he will just plow the rows and salvage what he can. He was debating all day whether it was safe to drive the Big Green Bucket in the field and was just about to risk getting it stuck in the mud, when an co-worker needed help with an urgent computer programming issue. So he was at that till rather late and dodged a bullet. At least he was able to get Swimmer started on separating the garlic cloves for planting. Wild Girl keeps stealing them for eating and her breath sure stinks.

2016 September 22

Plant Doc was on the phone all day again and I was not happy about having to keep quiet! Rainy day again. Wild Girl was home sick (a little bit anyway, she was playing it up in the morning) again. Plant Doc discovered that the sunflower seed trash bins must have not had the lids on perfectly since they were infested with worms so he cleaned them up. From someone who loves pungent things, this was all just a bit too stinky even for me and it's a good thing Plant Doc didn't do this just after lunch or he would have lost it. He also finished up putting the little markers in the hothouse flats.

2016 September 21

Plant Doc ran some errands in Raleigh and then had meetings for the day. Swimmer kept running me alongside the Gator in the rain to control her driving addiction. Wild Girl caught the family cold and was home sick.

2016 September 20

Plant Doc was on the phone all day and I was not happy about having to keep quiet! Rainy day, so the seedlings are happy.

2016 September 19

Plant Doc was pleased to finally get some decent rainfall for his seedlings. Plus, he has been waiting for some wet weather so that he can finally dig up the sweet potatoes without breaking his back.

2016 September 18

Off and on rain, so Plant Doc worked on changing his hothouse flat rotations.

2016 September 17

While the girls (excluding the hens) were roughing it at camp, the boys enjoyed having the house to themselves. Rocket Boy was still recovering from his cold while Rex and I were able to sleep all day in the absence of all the usual turbulence. After re-spraying the chickens that he could catch with poultry protector, Plant Doc actually took a few hours off to relax and read a sci fi novel. Rocket Boy collected some oak acorns so I stole a few out of curiosity over why they are such a craze among the squirrels. Plant Doc filled up a flat of tall tree starting flat inserts with his potting mix for Rocket Boy to plant them in. After it was all ready, I accidentally knocked it over trying to chase the chickens in the garden when Plant Doc took me for a walk. So Plant Doc found himself cleaning up the driveway, walks, and patio with the leaf blower. Rocket Boy collected a few replacement acorns while Plant Doc cleaned things up and they put the flat in the hothouse for overwintering.

2016 September 16

Plant Doc worked on the computer all day. Rocket Boy is home from school again today, so we are just hangin'. After school, Swimmer took Wild Girl to her weekend girl scouts camp.

2016 September 15

Plant Doc took care of a few odds and ends chores on the farm. Rocket Boy was home sick and I spent the day stealing his tissues. Some of the chickens are looking a bit skelotonized, so Swimmer sprayed the poultry protector on them.

2016 September 14

Plant Doc harvested the broom corn sorghum for Wild Girl to make a witches broom out of. He also harvested some of the cotton and she started planning on how to use it in her costume. The only consolation to being swarmed by red fire ants over regular black ants while he is touching plants in the crop fields is at least he can see them easier on his black jersey gloves and brown boots. Same goes for my black and white fur!

2016 September 13

Plant Doc actually took a few hours off to relax and read a sci fi novel after his computer work is done...I haven't seen him do that since...well never...so long before I was born.

2016 September 12

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer till late night.

2016 September 11

Plant Doc finished mixing his peat and perlite hothouse flat potting mix and the hothouses are ready for seed.

2016 September 10

Plant Doc pondered the future of humanity while mixing his peat and perlite hothouse flat potting mix. Apparently, the stores now are all displaying large Zika virus signs next to the mosquito repellents. Just capitalism off fears at this point. Though, it makes you wonder if nature isn't starting to consider humanity as an out of control pest that needs some serious population control. The sci-fi apocalypse writers and doom-and-gloom crowd tend to go with the usual theories that their species extinction will come quickly as a result of either humanity's own doing via climate change, a bioengineered virus, terrorism, or an idiot world leader unleashing nuclear weapons, or some extraterrestrial cause like a meteor crash, biblical event, or an alien invasion. Perhaps instead, nature is methodically working out a solution to this serious pest problem via the slow and steady trial and error of evolution. I certainly hope not, since, though I certainly wouldn't mind being free of my leash, I sure don't want to have to hunt for my own survival and much prefer sleeping all day on the couch in air conditioning.

2016 September 9

Plant Doc took a break from field work and spent the day on the computer. The chickens were rather upset with him since he didn't let them out till the afternoon after being stuck in the coop all day yesterday.

2016 September 8

After a crazy day on the computer, Plant Doc sprayed pesticides till almost midnight. He walked several miles back and forth across the farm rounding up and shooting weeds with his pistol. He then sprayed the onions with pre-emergent herbicide. He also sprayed pre-emergent herbicide over the strawberry plants and round up and killed the weeds around them. After that, he sprayed one of insecticides on the last remaining summer crops of tomatillos, corn, and sweet potatoes, then as a soil pre-emergent insecticide treatment on the lettuce, spinach, greens, mustards, and brassicas....oops he forgot to do the cabbage.

2016 September 7

Plant Doc weeded the strawberries. He finally heard the pack of coyotes down the street that everyone has been talking about and decided he better get the chickens in the coop a little early.

2016 September 6

Plant Doc planted the herbs and long season overwintering crops in the perennials field.

2016 September 5

Plant Doc finished planting the annuals field, as well as the garden with extra seeds.

2016 September 4

Plant Doc gave the rows of white flags and blocks of yellow flags their name cards for the circus. He planted the lettuce and greens in the annuals field. He attempted to hill the carrots, but it was too muddy and clumpy so he decided to run the half row that he started on over with the Big Green Bucket tires which slid in the mud and didn't make things a whole lot better.

2016 September 3

Plant Doc took advantage of the wet ground and transplanted the remaining asparagus ferns, cotton, and a few tobacco to the perennials field. He also fixed the flags that had fallen on the edge of the crop fields.

2016 September 2

Plant Doc was happy that the hurricane started to fizzle out by the time it reached us. We did still get about 3 inches of rain in a day, which is about what we lacked in August. Better late than never.

2016 September 1

Plant Doc finished plotting out the perennials field with the white flags just before the rains started. His rain dance last week seems to finally have worked, though, leaving the Safety Dance portion out may have been a bad idea since a hurricane is heading our way.

2016 August 31

Plant Doc finally got outside at the end of the day and started to plot out the perennials field with the white flags.

2016 August 30

Plant Doc got stuck on the computer again.

2016 August 29

The kids started school today and everyone was sad...except Swimmer. Plant Doc got stuck on the computer all day and into the middle of the night.

2016 August 28

Plant Doc did some odds and ends errands around the farm, but was looking pretty tired today and a bit of a bum compared to usual.

2016 August 27

Plant Doc mowed the lawn for the first time in a month. It was mostly dormant from the lack of rain for a month, but it was getting high in spots so he decided to get it done.

2016 August 26

Plant Doc plotted out the annuals field with the white flags and the farm is looking like a circus again. Not sure how he can plot a straight line late at night in the dark, but it seems to have worked.

2016 August 25

Plant Doc tilled the perennials field then spent forever cutting off all the grass tangled around the tines before switching the Big Green Bucket to the toolbar with the mid-buster.

2016 August 24

It's been a bad week! Sagittarius has been killed. Feathers all over the place by the barn, but no sign of her. Plant Doc was really really sad as he tilled the annuals field.

2016 August 23

Plant Doc tried to finishing frisbee discing the fields when he discovered that one of the axles wasn't spinning and it was jamming things up. He spent an hour cutting off the grass tangled around the frisbees, but that didn't fix the problem. He tried releasing the bolts and moving the axle an inch so it wasn't rubbing against the axle next to it, but that didn't fix the problem. So it looks like he is going to have to take it for repair this winter. He cleaned it up and switch the Big Green Bucket to the tiller and hoped the perennials field wasn't too bumpy for it without having been disced.

2016 August 22

Plant Doc did a final plow of the annuals field and the garden before he cleaned it up and switched the Big Green Bucket to the frisbee discs. Everything was going fine and he was just about to finish the job just before midnight, when the frisbee discs got jammed and he dug himself a deep hole in the dust and couldn't get the Big Green Bucket out. After about an hour, he managed to release the frisbee discs which were hanging a bit in the air using a rubber hammer on the connecting pins. He then was able to drive the Big Green Bucket out of the hole and used a chain to pull the frisbee discs out of the field and rehook it up on the grass.

2016 August 21

Plant Doc was up almost all night watching sports and continued to do so through the day. When he finally went to go outside to work on the farm it started to rain.

2016 August 20

It's a really sad day on the farm, Flash has died! Plant Doc checked on her in the middle of the night to give her cold medicine and water. A few hours later, Swimmer brought her into the house in Rex's travel cage and ran to the store to get antibiotics for her. An hour after giving her the antibiotics, Plant Doc heard a few last clucks from her and then she was gone. After he buried her, he did a bunch of chores on the farm and plowed the annuals field some more.

2016 August 19

Plant Doc harvested the sunflowers (a little early) in the bean and southern peas rows for the chickens. He got some lima beans, but otherwise the beans and southern peas were wiped out. The ants and other bugs were definitely the culprit for the beans. However, he hasn't been able to figure out what has been chopping off the tops of the pea shoots everything they started to produce pods, most likely deer. He then plowed parts of the annuals field till late in the night. Flash was acting lethargic and looking sick, so he is very concerned.

2016 August 18

Plant Doc harvested the last of the melons and one lone surviving watermelon, then plowed parts of the annuals field till late in the night.

2016 August 17

Plant Doc plowed parts of the annuals field till late in the night.

2016 August 16

Plant Doc re-plowed parts of the annuals field till late in the night.

2016 August 15

Plant Doc re-plowed parts of the annuals field till late in the night. He was not happy when he finally got settled to watch his sports only to find that they didn't record.

2016 August 14

Plant Doc was a hermit watching sports all day. He harvested the last of the okra, as well as the leftover sunflowers from the spring crop.

2016 August 13

Plant Doc plowed the summer squash, cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes, and eggplant rows till late in the night.

2016 August 12

Plant Doc plowed the winter squash rows till late in the night.

2016 August 11

Plant Doc searched for the last of the cucumbers beneath the now out of control weeds. He also harvested the last of the winter squash and quite a few melons that were ready. The losses for the melons were quite heavy, but at least it wasn't as bad as the watermelon was almost a complete loss.

2016 August 10

Plant Doc watered the tomato and eggplant transplants and transplanted a few small summer squash to get things ready for the Fall crop.

2016 August 9

Plant Doc transplanted the few tomatoes and even fewer eggplant that were left into the same row as the banana peppers to make a full row of peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. He definitely needs to figure out a better way to get the transplants going in the spring.

2016 August 8

Plant Doc was going to take a long from watching sports, but it started to thunderstorm. He did take photos and checked the progress of things in the annuals field.

2016 August 7

Plant Doc was a took a break from watching sports all day and half the night to plow the perennials field again.

2016 August 6

Plant Doc was a hermit watching sports all day.

2016 August 5

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day and just when he was about to get out in the field it started to thunderstorm.

2016 August 4

Plant Doc needed to clean up the row of banana peppers which were buried in weeds and decided to do so the dangerous way using the plow immediately next to the plants. He uprooted a few plants, but otherwise it worked pretty good. At dusk he started spraying his insecticide treatments on the annuals field with the exception of a few rows. He finished with the cotton and the strawberries at midnight.

2016 August 3

Plant Doc finished harvesting the basil. He was too late for the borage leaves and most of the flowers, but he did get a few open petal flowers for eating and the rest of the dead flowers he harvested for Rex. Those little blue flowers sure taste like candy...if only he had a cake to put them on. He also found a few tender okra. After harvesting another bed of carrots from the garden for Rex, he did a second round of plowing parts of the perennials field.

2016 August 2

Plant Doc went to the Franklin County Farmers Market for the first time this year....not much luck selling. At least he got the tire patched.

2016 August 1

Swimmer took the kids to run a few errands and go to the movies....not sure why because watching them at home is all they seem to do. Plant Doc was not pleased when a few hours later she was screaming that the car had a flat tire. He harvested a few things for the farmers market after the towing place came to swap it for the spare.

2016 July 31

Plant Doc got his farm signs ready for putting at the end of the driveway. He also harvested a few things for a friend.

2016 July 30

Plant Doc started plowing the perennials field except for the turf and the strawberries, and skipping the row of cotton plus a few artichoke plants.

2016 July 29

Plant Doc harvested a few more cucumbers and made 6 gallons of pickles. Fortunately, there were a few leftover dill plants from the failed spring planting and Wild Girl hasn't eaten all the garlic cloves. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to a water polo tournament after his science camp and they were gone the entire day.

2016 July 28

Squash madness has begin...and I'm not talking about the Olympics for racquet sports. Feel free to bombard Swimmer with easy recipes. When I say easy, I mean stick it in a microwave and press a few buttons EASY. It's been a battle to get her to cut a few into pieces and grill them. At least she likes making spaghetti out of that one type of squash, so she has been cooking those every morning in the convection oven. Plant Doc also harvested some cucumbers for pickling.

2016 July 27

Plant Doc was going crazy on the computer and got a very late start to mowing the lawn....he was at it till midnight in the dark with his head light! He was relieved that he didn't run out of gas because he was practically running on fumes at the end. Star was relentless with chasing the mower and almost became shredded chicken several times. The other hens also joined in their game of chicken with him.

2016 July 26

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer most of the day and when he finally got the chance to go work outside a thunderstorm came through....at least the plants got some relief from the heat.

2016 July 25

Plant Doc finally planted the pumpkins. It was a month late due to the delay in being able to till up the potatoes block. He already plants a month later than most of the growers since he is not using disease control measures yet and they kept needing to be harvested by September. I sure hope they are ready by my birthday celebration on that holiday where the kids always dress scary. Wild Girl has been complaining all day about Swimmer eating the last piece of watermelon, so Plant Doc harvested a Sugar Baby one to see whether they are ready. It was a tiny bit early, but the problem is the wasps and other bugs that were not killed by the insecticide treatment are smelling it and digging into them. Much of the crop has already been destroyed.

2016 July 24

I am seriously regretting having broken another retractable leash, because now I'm stuck on this short little thing until a new one arrives. Gotta say, though, it is kind of fun whipping Swimmer around like a rag doll. Plant Doc finally tilled the block in the annuals field where the potatoes were skeletonized by beetles and didn't grow much. The tiller has been sitting on the Big Green Bucket for a month waiting to do just that. It was unusually wet for July and he was afraid it would get stuck in the mud and he really didn't want to be embarrassed by having to ask someone to tow it out. He also has been waiting for the weeds to die after he roundup and shot them with his pistol. There still was quite a bit of grass wound up on the tiller tines, so Plant Doc had to get down under it and cut it all off with his long toothed knife before he could clean it up with the pressure washer. Star was up to his usual antics getting in the way when he tried to put away the tiller and swap it out with the cultivator so it was almost dark before he could start cultivating the annuals field. Fortunately, he only had about a half acre to cultivate since most of the plants were either too tall or vines growing all over the place for him to safely get in between the rows.

2016 July 23

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields. It's looking like the diseases are starting to hit the squash, zucchini, and cucumbers hard, so the bigger plants probably won't produce much more. The little plants that he planted a month later to improve the stand are still coming along, though. He was pleased to see that only a few more melons and watermelons were destroyed by bugs, so his insecticide application did the trick. Unfortunately, he took some heavy losses before realizing what was happening and getting that last spray done. They are looking really big, so they just need to hang on a little longer. Plant Doc always get a surprise when he takes the peppermint plant pots out of the field once a year for cleanup. 2014 it was spiders on his arms, last year fire ants swarming his feet, this time it was a wasps nest in a pot. Never thought he could run that fast carrying a 5 gallon pot. They still got him a few times.

2016 July 22

Super Dog! Broke my leash again to have a run around the neighborhood. Wasn't thrilled when Swimmer switched me to this short non-retractable thing. Plant Doc ended his long day on the computer by relaxing with a little light weeding....yes, you read that correctly.

2016 July 21

Plant Doc sprayed his insecticide treatments on the Curcurbita, tasseling corn, sweet potatoes, strawberries, cotton, and artichokes. He is keeping it simple and dividing the annuals field into just 4 blocks of a single treatment, but he kept the full randomization scheme for the strawberries intact since they won't be replaced next year. He didn't get started until after it started to cool off outside so he didn't die in the heat and he was done on the computer, so he was at it till after midnight.

2016 July 20

Plant Doc hand weeded the Curcibita for large broadleaves to take a short break from the computer. While he was at it, he saw that a lot of the melons were being destroyed by bugs, so it was time to spray them. When Swimmer got home from the pool, he was taking me for a walk and attempted to do a hand off of my leash to her. However, I ran around him, gave him a rope burn on his hand, and got free to do a run around the neighborhood. Plant Doc ran to get the chickens in the coup, but I just wanted to run and didn't bother with them.

2016 July 19

Plant Doc went with Swimmer to the pool for the kids swim meet, while I got left on the lawn in the dark...not cool!

2016 July 18

Plant Doc sprayed the grasses in the herbs in the annuals field and the strawberries. He also used another herbicide to kill that nasty poison ivy around the property. It was a hot day, so he didn't get started until after dark.

2016 July 17

Plant Doc roundup and shot with his spray pistol weeds in the perennials field, as well as the tilled up potato rows. He also killed that nasty poison ivy around the property.

2016 July 16

Plant Doc noticed that Ember's feathers were getting skelotonized from mites. She had tried to take a dust bath, but there was only mud. So he gave her a bath and sprayed her with the poultry protector. He also dust bombed the coop houses with diametaceous earth then chased around to chicks trying to throw it on them.

2016 July 16

Plant Doc has been re-organizing the mess that Swimmer made of the canning jar cabinet, washing them, and getting things setup up for the next batch of produce. He also cleaned up the little waterfall pond pump and put in new filters on the waterfall. Another round of thunderstorms and we got another inch of rain. The new normal is flood or drought!

2016 July 15

Plant Doc's plans for weeking in the crop fields for the weekend got washed out by about 2 inches of rain in an hour. The entire house was shaking during it. We got a little hail, but fortunately the hothouses didn't get any holes. Rocket Boy was excited to see that the neighbor's pond was overflowing to form a stream next to the perennials field. The chicken coops were flooded and the gator was practically hydroplaning when he drove it. For the second time this week, Swimmer went to the pool only to find the lights out.

2016 July 14

Plant Doc got stuck on the computer doing work till after midnight. He was planning on going to the farmers market in the morning, but considering he was up most of the night, there wasn't much point in him loading up the truck.

2016 July 13

Plant Doc sprayed his grass killing herbicide on the annuals field. He skipped the corn since it would be killed and he avoided the larger sized squash and cucumber plants just in case they produced fruit that couldn't wait to be harvested for two weeks, though, some of the fruit would need to be discarded.

2016 July 12

Plant Doc harvested spaghetti squash, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. He was running way behind schedule, but decided to still spray his insecticide treatments on the annuals field. A thunderstorm came through in the middle of it and he got soaked. After lightning started to strike nearby, he decide to wait it out in the garage, especially since he was carrying an aluminium spray boom in an open field. After dark, he resumed spraying in the dark using his headlight above his respirator. He had quite a hard time seeing in the dark, in the rain, with fogged up glasses, trying to walk through mud.

2016 July 11

Plant Doc mowed the lawn. He was relieved that he didn't need to cut by the future orchard with the usual bucking bronco ride.

2016 July 10

The family Swam Across America today while I got stuck on the lawn. I find in unimaginable that Swimmer could swim that far in a single day so there is no way Plant Doc could have done it so I ripped his t-shirt to display my disgust at him being such a fraud.

2016 July 9

Swimmer went to multiple pools for the day (not sure why one isn't enough) while Plant Doc continued his computer work and I snuggled with the kids on the couch.

2016 July 8

Plant Doc continued his computer work with the quiet house. He was going to spray some pesticides at the end of the day, but it started to torrential downpour with tropical force winds just about as he was going to do so. The chickens were stuck in the coop all day for no reason, so they were pretty angry about that. At last, Swimmer came home with the kids just before bedtime.

2016 July 7

Plant Doc showed me a picture of the kids at the beach swimming so I was relieved they were okay. He could see that I was sad so I got turkey and eggs for lunch.

2016 July 6

Swimmer and the kids were gone for the day and never came home. I'm concerned. Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house to work on the computer.

2016 July 5

Plant Doc was back to programming on the computer. He was going to go back to weeding, but it started to thunderstorm...he was relieved.

2016 July 4

Plant Doc is on his fourth day straight of weeding the crop fields in celebration of the 4th. He said that muscles he didn't even know he had are starting to hurt.

2016 July 3

Plant Doc continued his 4 day 3-acre hand weeding holiday. The rest of you in the Triangle area may not have been happy about the clouds all day, but it was a blessing to him after 2 days of it in the 90s. GOt my new dog leash and I took it for a stroll. Kind of hurts more than the previous one if I get tangled up in it.

2016 July 2

Plant Doc continued weeding between watching olympic running events on the window to the other world of little Yappers.

2016 July 1

Plant Doc got an early start to his holiday weekend of weeding 3 acres. He just didn't know what he was going to do with all that squash that will be coming soon.

2016 June 30

Plant Doc got stuck on the computer and never got the chance to weed.

2016 June 29

Plant Doc sprayed the Curcurbita, beans, peas, cotton, artichokes, and strawberries with their organic insecticide treatments. He looked like he was going to pass out half way through it, but got it done. He even round up and shot the weeds growing in the ditch next to the barn. The chicks are not going to be happy when their afternoon shady patch of weeds die, but it will sure make it easier to find them. All the chickens, particularly the hens, were really angry at Swimmer for not letting them out in the morning and then were even angrier at Plant Doc when he left them in there in the afternoon. I was also pretty angry at Swimmer since she didn't take me to dog park near Wild Girl's science camp.

2016 June 28

Plant Doc was pleased to see a rainy day since he needed a break from working out in the heat. He figured out his herbicide treatments and worked on the computer. The kids had a swim meet, though, I'm not sure how they did that since it was pouring rain.

2016 June 27

Plant Doc mowed the lawn including the other side of the driveway. Wild Girl went to science camp and was not happy about having to do school work. Swimmer keeps staring at her phone and screaming. There seem to be a bunch of little swimmers on it.

2016 June 26

Plant Doc used the carrot undercutter followed by the potato plow to dig up the potatoes and the garlic. He was not happy with the small yield.

2016 June 25

Plant Doc was carrying an antenna around the house and messing the with windows to the world of tiny Yappers. It must have worked because the little Yappers were not skipping so much. He finally trimmed the hedges around the front walk and I can finally use the front door without fighting my way out. He also used a pole chainsaw to trim some of the tree branches along the driveway so the truck antenna stops hitting them and he can drive the tractor down it without wearing a bunch of leaves.

2016 June 24

Plant Doc finished tranplanting the tomatoes, as well as a few peppers and eggplant. He was pleased to see at least one variety of peppers having given a decent stand in the field.

2016 June 23

Plant Doc started to transplant the tomatoes...until it started to thunderstorm.

2016 June 22

Plant Doc surveyed the crops on the farm and didn't look pleased. The reseeded Curcurbita, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and corn had not germinated yet. He decided he needed to do another redo on the onions and herbs in the perennials field. He got rather upset when he saw that Swimmer killed many of the plants in the hothouses and the rest were suffering bad.

2016 June 21

Plant Doc and the kids got home and I was so happy to see them. He was cleaning up messes till after midnight.

2016 June 20

Plant Doc and the kids still gone. Doesn't he need to work? What's the deal?

2016 June 19

Plant Doc isn't here for the big daddy day, so I'm just going to have to bite Swimmer instead.

2016 June 18

Plant Doc and the kids still gone. Swimmer is messing with the misting system on the hothouses, but I don't think that's what she is supposed to be doing.

2016 June 17

I miss Plant Doc and the kids. Swimmer is trying to take care of things on the farm, but seems to be having a hard time.

2016 June 16

Plant Doc took the kids on a long train ride to visit family. Swimmer stayed behind to take care of us.

2016 June 15

Yet another computer day for Plant Doc. He did a tour of the crop fields to check on things.

2016 June 14

Another long computer day for Plant Doc, though, he did take a short break to reseed the Curcurbita...mostly by hand to fill in the spots between plants.

2016 June 13

Computer day for Plant Doc, though, he did take a short break and got his exercise by killing himself finishing up cleaning up the Curcurbita with the mini-tiller.

2016 June 12

Plant Doc came up with the idea of stapling reflective tape on top of the fence posts by the barn to mess up the navigation of predator birds hovering above. So Swimmer cut pieces of it and stapled away. Hottest day of the year so far and Plant Doc decides to spend the entire day working out in the crop fields instead of his usual computer work first. He used his scuffle hoe to weed around the Curcurbita and the corn. He replanted the corn into the broken up dry clay. After that, he continued cleaning up the Curcurbita with the mini-tiller.

2016 June 11

Wild Girl would have been better off if her iPad stayed in the shop, since she was having a hard time sleeping and kept coming downstairs and waking me up. Plant Doc slept on the couch after she ended up falling asleep sideways across his bed. She said that she scared of her dolls after watching a horror movie about ones that came to life. I bit the head off one of them just to be sure it didn't happen. Swimmer picked me up a new leash so I was strutting my stuff today. The baby chicks in the garage have left the garage door opener box. Wasn't fun for Plant Doc cleaning out all the straw without electrocuting himself. Don't know why the garage doesn't have a switch on its breaker like the rest of the house. Plant Doc did some more cultivating on the Big Green Bucket with all sweeps on board so that he could get the alternate rows between the Curcurbita. He removed one of the innermost sweeps and dug up the dirt less than an inch from the growing corn plants. The stand is pretty bad so he needs to reseed deeper after the birds ate most of his corn seeds a few days ago. It's been near record heat so the dry clay soil needed to be broken up to do so. At sunset, Sarah decided that she was going to sleep on the roost in the chicks coop. She caused quite the ruckus pecking at the little ones as they tried to take a spot...she wanted it all for herself. Plant Doc tried to get her down but she wouldn't budge. Eventually, things settled down and it was funny seeing this one big hen the size of all 7 of the little chicks next to her.

2016 June 10

Wild Girl's iPad is in the shop for repair and seems to be having a hard time since she is in withdrawal. My leash is almost broken and I almost caught myself a chicken today. Anyway, Plant Doc just did something really stupid. There was a large turtle on the edge of the crop field and he was like, "You poor thing, you got to be dying from the heat." So Plant Doc picked him up and carried him over to the edge of our little pond waterfall that he made a few years ago to give him a sip. The turtle tries to bite him and he accidentally drops it. The turtle slides down the waterfall and with a loud plunk sinks to the bottom of the pond. So he figure he'd go get the skimmer and scoop out the turtle when it surfaces. No sign of it and he can't find it with the skimmer since the water is thick with algae and the Water Lilly is in the way. The pump died a few weeks ago and Plant Doc been trying to figure out how to replace it with the electrical cord fished through PVC and buried under the waterfall mound. So he raced for a pitch fork to try to find the turtle until the bubbling stops; figuring he had just killed the turtle. Plant Doc doesn't have another pump to work with, the shop vac was too slow, and Swimmer has the truck so he couldn't pick up a sump pump or something. So Plant Doc gave one last shot with cleaning up the dead pump (hanging upside down in the water since it's a tight cord), plugs it in, and hears a hum this time. So he cleans it up some more, gives the rotor blades a few turns with a glasses screwdriver, and it starts working. So Plant Doc dismantles the waterfall and drains the pond. More than an hour later at this point, the turtle is hanging out dug under the Water Lilly and doesn't want to climb out. So Plant Doc scoops him up, puts him in the woods and the turtle walks away like nothing happened. Plant Doc would never have gotten that waterfall up and running again so soon if it wasn't for that turtle.

2016 June 9

Eclipse never turned up...poor little girl. The kids had a scare when they came home and couldn't find any of the chicks, but they were just taking a nap under the weeds in the ditch. Plant Doc used the Big Green Bucket to cultivate the crop fields and things were looking much tidier. He also used the little hand tiller for touch up. Afterwards, he prepared his spray plans for organic treatments on the Curcurbita, Beans, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Cotton, Artichokes, Garlic, and Mint.

2016 June 8

It was the kids last day of school and between the ceremonies and the neighbor's kids coming over for a water fight, I got stuck on the lawn most of the day. Sad news later in the day. Eclipse is missing and presumed dead. There were feathers near the coop and with her being the littlest chick, she likely got snatched up by a hawk.

2016 June 7

Plant Doc mowed the lawn...the whole thing this time.

2016 June 6

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day. The century's worth of hourly weather data from every station in the country data load continued.

2016 June 5

Plant Doc was rather upset with the corn stand so he reseeded them. He also reseeded the tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, tomatillos, okra, new zealand spinach, basil, and borage. It really wasn't necessary for the lemon basil, borage, okra, and tomatillos, but he decided to play it safe since they were small and it was hard to see how good the stand is.

2016 June 4

Some wicked storms whipped through here in the middle of the day so I hid under Plant Doc's chair every time a big bang struck while he was working on the computer.

2016 June 3

Wild Girl finally convinced Plant Doc that Phoenix is rooster, not a hen. I guess we'll need to make sure we collect all those eggs or we'll be getting more baby chicks than we have coop space for in the future. Plant Doc was surprised to see how many seedlings germinated in the flats of the top row of the long hothouse that were moved to the middle row after he put the shade cover on. He had assumed they had germinated and died, but they just never germinated.

2016 June 2

Plant Doc has been trying to figure out where the chirping was coming from in the garage and where the little bird has been delivering worms all day long for the last week. The nest is inside the garage door opener box. He tried to see them to no avail since the hole is too small. Sure hope they don't peck on the wires.

2016 June 1

The chicks were playing in a ditch when a downpour hit and they had quite the bath. Instead of taking cover, they seemed to enjoy getting soaked. Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields between rain storms and saw that most of the cucurbita had finally germinated.

2016 May 31

Plant Doc sprayed his insecticide treatments on the potatoes, beans, field peas, and sweet potatoes. He was a lot more organized, particularly with respect to following his newly designed layout of the randomization order. He even round up and shot some poison ivy with his pistol. Even so, he looked pretty exhausted by the time he was done. I got to watch all the action this time from a distance on the front lawn since Swimmer was gone and he couldn't take me out on the leash once he started.

2016 May 30

It was raining off and on all day. The kids and Swimmer went to multiple pools...you would think one would be enough. Plant Doc worked on formatting his treatment randomization database tables and spreadsheets to make it easier for spraying pesticides.

2016 May 29

Plant Doc was glad that the rains are here for the next few days so that his seedlings survive. He was messing with the grill again trying to reset the regulator since it shuts off whenever he turns all the burners on....no luck. I was rather angry that I didn't get any steak or burgers. He is still downloading and loading weather data....just assume I posted this every day for the next few months, since that's how long it's going to take.

2016 May 28

The kids played under the hose and other water gun games with Swimmer and she would not let me play along. Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields and saw that the beans and peas were going to need an insecticide application this week since the seedlings were getting devoured by little black bugs. The potatoes were pretty much skeletonized, but he figured he'd hit them again also, mostly for the satisfaction of killing all those nasty potato beetles and to see if they would produce new leaves if they could get some relief. The corn was starting to come up in spots, hopefully the stand will fill out. Nothing yet for the Curcurbita, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and herbs. The sweet potato slip transplants were barely hanging on, many clearly dead, and were just starting to produce tiny roots. The artichokes, asparagus, and cotton were doing good in the perennials field, but none of the other seeds had germinated yet. Hopefully the tropical storm coming through tomorrow will change matters. He decided that instead of weeding the crimson clover out of the strawberries, that he was going to leave it tall till winter then use the trimmer to mow it down along with the strawberry leaves. While it didn't look good this way, the crimson clover was dead so it wouldn't steal away any water or nutrients and it only would have added nitrogen to the soil. He is afraid that digging it up would only mess up the pre-emergent herbicide layer that he put down before planting the strawberries and other weeds would just move in. While he is a little concerned about crowding the strawberries, it seems that the deer keep pruning them so that is not going to be an issue. Of course, he needs to figure out a solution to the deer problem. He was debating about what to do with the white clover; leave it as a cover crop till winter or weed it out...probably the former. The grains had a few stray plants, but were clearly out competed by the thick stand of annual upright crimson clover that he planted at the same time. Next time, he is going to have to use the lower growing short lived perennial red clover instead, though, he definitely needs to give the grains a few months head start and not plant the red clover as a cover crop unless the grains are already six inches tall. The crimson clover may still work as a cover between the rows of strawberries, but he is definitely not going to plant it within the rows next time. He also decided that the red clover block in the annuals field needs to go where the potatoes are going to be planted since it is turning out to be a bit of a weed.

2016 May 27

A five day heat wave moved in just as the crop seeds are germinating with no irrigation. Hang in there a few days little guys! A storm's a coming soon. Plant Doc used the untreated control pesticide sprayer to give a little relief to the sweet potato transplants again. He saw that the corn and beans were all germinating to join the southern peas. Plant Doc went to download the last few years of NOAA hourly weather data for every weather station in the country. He was not pleased to see that everything had been updated starting with 2004 data, so he will need to download them and run his SAS programs continously for a few months to parse the files and load the updates. Good thing that he hadn't finished reloading everything or he would have wasted a week or two on it. As is, he only wasted a day or two.

2016 May 26

Plant Doc mowed the lawn...at least half of it. He decided to mow more frequently (usually every 2 weeks) around the house than he has in past years, and only mow the grass in the future orchard and around the perennials field every other time. The sweet potato slip transplants were suffering from the last two days of hot weather, so he used the untreated control pesticide sprayer to quench their thirst a little. The little waterfall on Rocket Boy's pond stopped flowing. Plant Doc tried to clean it up, but it looks like the pump is dead and will need replacement. Not an easy task since the power cord runs under the rocks inside a thin PVC pipe so it's kind of like putting a ship in a bottle.

2016 May 25

Plant Doc's experiment to see if the healthy cabbage seedlings would burn up if he put them on the top shelves of the hothouses was a success...or a failure, depending upon how you look at it. They burnt up alright, despite the special greenhouse plastic that was supposed to prevent it. So he cleaned up the shade cloth and put it over the hothouse.

2016 May 24

Plant Doc continued to re-load more than a century of hourly weather data from every weather station in the country into his new database server.

2016 May 23

Plant Doc re-loaded more than a century of hourly weather data from every weather station in the country into his new database server. The little waterfall on Rocket Boy's pond is down to a slow drip so either the pump is dying or the container housing it is severely clogged.

2016 May 22

Plant Doc worked on getting secure connections working on his database server and was having all sorts of trouble with it. He was pleased that it rained a little more since it was perfect for the sweet potato transplants.

2016 May 21

Plant Doc was dressed in his space suit all day and it was pretty scary. He set up his pesticide mixing station, but he was just getting the hang of his new pipette system and organizing his chemicals so it took forever. He sprayed the potatoes with insecticide treatments, though, it was pretty much too late since most of them were skeletonized by beetles. He didn't have the treatment randomization strings ready so it looked like it was a lot harder to figure out where each treatment needed to be sprayed. He also put down a soil surface application of the orange low level pesticide treatment for the Curcurbita, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. He also round up and shot the leftover weeds in the annuals field, as well as the long season crops in the perennials field, next to the flags. The seedlings hadn't germinated yet, but he was kind of pushing his luck with the Curcurbita since they were planted 5 days earlier.

2016 May 20

Plant Doc got a donation of sweet potato slips from a local farm and I was kind of wondering how he expected them to grow with out any roots. He used the plow attachment on the little tiller to dig trenches and then cover them up after he laid them down like in the trench like they were dead and being buried.

2016 May 19

Plant Doc finished planting the annuals field amidst the occasional light rain. After it let up, he decided to push his luck and re-planted the herbs and long season crops in the perennials field. He figured out how to better block the chicks from escaping the stall so they got to stretch their wings for the day, though, there still were a few escapes. He tried to see if friendly little Lucy would get along with the chicks by putting her in the stall with them for a while. She chased and pecked them, so clearly they are not big enough to be with the rest of the flock yet.

2016 May 18

Plant Doc was sick and had to struggle through the day on the computer.

2016 May 17

Plant Doc was pleased that it rained to water his planted seeds. Computer day! For the first time, all the chicks went up on the roost at night.

2016 May 16

Plant Doc planted the cucurbita, beans, southern peas, and corn in the annuals field. He was not happy with the way the Hoss wheel planter handled itself in the rough. He found himself having to double pass most of the rows and often needed to follow that with a third pass dropping seeds by hand. So he stuck with the less than ideal Jang seeder for anything he could get away with despite it being designed for the smaller seeds. After he was done he drove the Big Green Bucket over the rows to push the seeds on the surface into the loose dusty clay soil. Nothing like coming in from the field late at night after a long day on the computer and a long day outside planting, and seeing that Rocket Girl left her glasses to be repaired again. Plant Doc's hands were already shaking after just getting off the Big Green Bucket and then he had to deal with these teeny tiny screws.

2016 May 15

Plant Doc finished tilling the fields and was relieved that the new bolt held up. He fixed and replaced the flags then put out the new crop cards so that he is ready for planting the summer crop. At least he got one good salad out of the bust of a spring crop and Rex seemed pretty happy with his stash. The chicks were happy to be let out most of the day to run around the stall since he was working outside. There were quite a few escape attempts.

2016 May 14

Plant Doc was tilling the annuals field when one of the bolts holding the tiller to the Big Green Bucket snapped and sent it hanging sideways and almost falling off. He brought it back to the driveway and used cinder blocks and the truck jack to level it off and release the pressure so that he could put in a new bolt. It was quite the task, but eventually he was able to get it done.

2016 May 13

Plant Doc tried to see if he could figure out a way to start the summer crop early without wiping out the spring crop in the annuals field. He tried to see if he could offset the existing rows by a few feet without running them over, but that didn't work. He experimented with just troughing and hilling, but wasn't happy with the results. Eventually he gave up and got the tiller oiled up and ready to go on the Big Green Bucket. He did decide that since he didn't need to plow and disc (both weeds and plants didn't grow much) that he would try to preserve as many of the little white flags in the field as possible by tilling around them. So instead of spending the usual week getting the fields ready for planting, he should be able to do it in a day. He did spot some pea pods ready for harvest in addition to a few small lettuce and cabbage, as well as some nice volunteer raddichio, so he'll have to clear those out first.

2016 May 12

Plant Doc decided to throw in the towel on the spring crop after seeing how poor a stand he got and how small the plants are compared to where they should be at this point. He's not sure whether it's because of the drought during their first month of growth (followed by floods, of course), the mid-April hard freeze night, the flood conditions at the first planting in February, the impenetrable hard clay soil at the re-planting in March, the skipping of a nitrogen fertilizer, or a combination of all of them. Considering that the plants in the shaded garden are larger than the ones in the annuals field when they are usually so much smaller, it most likely was the first one. So he is going to transplant as many of the plants he can from the annuals field to the garden, till everything except the potatoes, and start the summer crop on time rather than delay it a few weeks to let the existing plants grow to completion.

2016 May 11

Plant Doc thought he was just having his usual day after mowing allergy problems, but it turned out he was getting sick and had to struggle through an extra long day on the computer.

2016 May 10

Plant Doc mowed the lawn. With all the rain lately, that has to be a record short time between mows for him. Swimmer didn't use the sweeper on the Gator so it was safe to go outside.

2016 May 9

Plant Doc seemed to be lost trying to do ten different things at once all day. The family appliance curse struck again last night so the appliance repair beekeeper guy came here again to fix the drier. Plant Doc was so distracted he forgot to let me back in the house afterwards and I had to wait for Swimmer to get home.

2016 May 8

Plant Doc finally cultivated the crop fields now that the seedlings are big enough and it finally stopped raining. He still needs to figure out what to do about the weeds in the row. He also noticed that the potato beetles are starting to get bad so he needs to make an insecticide application soon.

2016 May 7

Plant Doc moved the chicks to there coop for the first time. They didn't know what to make of it, but at least they started to use the ramp right away, unlike last year. At sunset they were clumped together by the door so he tried to put them in the coop house. He could only grab one or two at a time so it was quite crazy with some of them trying to go up while the others went down. Eventually, he gave up and put them all on the bottom and they clumped together for their first night outdoors.

2016 May 6

Plant Doc went to the farmers market opening day. It was raining off and on...not that it probably made much of a difference in the turnout.

2016 May 5

Plant Doc got his new office chair...the new leather looks tasty! Plant Doc has been sitting on a tilt so long, he doesn't feel right sitting up straight...might have to tilt his computer monitor for him. Also probably doesn't feel right not having his elbow stick to the chair arm from duct tape. Torrential downpours again.

2016 May 4

Plant Doc let the chicks outside for the day, though, they were still stuck in the cage. He and the kids finally resolved who was who and their varieties. Phoenix is a Madison, Ember is a Buff Orpington, Henrietta is a Leghorn, Eclipse and Andromeda are very similar looking Cuckoo Maran's with Eclipse having a little more black on her beak, Sagitarius is the darkest and is a Barred Plymouth Rock, Alice and Flash are the hardest to tell apart and are ISA Brown's only distinguished by a larger mole on Alice near her beak. Wild Girl got the naming a little off since Ember is clearly the fastest and hardest to catch.

2016 May 3

Plant Doc wishes he hadn't spent so much money getting the roof redone when we first moved here 4 years ago since I already need to get it redone again via homeowners insurance from all the hail storms. He just can't figure out when since it's been hailing on a regular basis lately.

2016 May 2

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer. He chased the chickens into the coop early since it was supposed to hail golf balls, but fortunately the hothouses were spared.

2016 May 1

Plant Doc worked on his long overdue insecticide plans since the bugs are starting to come out.

2016 April 30

Plant Doc seeded a test flat container of all of his crops in the househouse including the summer crops and perrenials. He also started the seeds for his asparagus, tobacco, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, and eggplant transplants. He is about a month overdue on that so hopefully they move along quickly with the new plastic in the hothouse, though, he may have avoided them being all killed by the late hard frost two weeks ago. He also seeded the cotton and rice flats in the hothouses. After dark, he seeded the warm season turfgrasses in the perennials field just in time for the next round of floods. He also used up the rest of his red clover seed on some compacted dirt spots where he hasn't been able to get the grass to grow.

2016 April 29

We got 2 inches of rain last night and fortunately it only hailed for a few seconds so the new plastic on the big hothouse was intact so Plant Doc was relieved. Swimmer picked strawberries out of a local growers field instead of the supermarket shelves. Apparently they got hit pretty bad with hail just down the road.

2016 April 28

Plant Doc noticed that the chicks had a visitor at their door...a little green tree frog hanging on the side that didn't even move when he disturbed it by going inside. It looked tasty, but learned my lesson about trying to eat a frog last year when I was foaming at the mouth afterwards.

2016 April 27

Plant Doc mowed the lawn and was relieved that the thunderstorms held off just long enough to finish the job. Swimmer was on the Gator with the lawn sweeper attached for about 15 minutes before calling it quits. It took Plant Doc more time than that to clean things up. I'd better put down some extra fertilizer on all those spots of clumped grass to help the grass survive till next time.

2016 April 26

Plant Doc finished up at the teeth doctor then went to the county agricultural extension office for a meeting about the farmers market. He seemed disappointed that it will likely be a few years before they find a better location for it, but at least they fed him a good lunch.

2016 April 25

Other than a few minutes letting the chicks go outside, Plant Doc was glued to the computer all day and all night.

2016 April 24

Other than a few odds and ends farm chores and a bit on the computer, Plant Doc actually took most of the day off to play with the kids. Wild Girl asked him to build a fort for her in the woods on the spot without any plans or supplies. He made a temporary one using some spare pieces of wood and it was not very sturdy or big. The neighborhood kids were tearing him apart pretty bad about his fort building skills. Rocket Boy liked it, though, so he and Plant Doc engaged in an fantasy attack on it. The weather was nice so the chicks got to go outside for a little while for the first time supervised by Plant Doc and the kids.

2016 April 23

Plant Doc had a lousy day so I didn't mess with him.

2016 April 22

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day and all night.

2016 April 21

Plant Doc toured the crop fields and was not real pleased. Things were coming along, but rather slow. The past month has had way below normal rainfall and the seedlings seem to be growing slow without any irrigation. He is hoping that he is just being impatient and things will kick into high gear soon. However, seeing tiny pac choi, salad raab, and arugula trying to flower wasn't very encouraging. Even the red radishes which only take a little more than a month to mature were still tiny. He definitely ruled out future mid-February plantings since the seedlings weren't much bigger than the mid-March replanting ones. He wasn't thrilled with the stand of either one with the first planting rows having a poor stand likely due to wet cold weather into muddy soil and the second planting rows having a poor stand likely due to dry widely varying temperatures into hardened clay soil. At least the potatoes seemed to be recovering from having their tips die off from the hard frost a few weeks ago. It was a purple moon and a purple sky making it look like we might get some purple rain tonight.

2016 April 20

Plant Doc was a guinea pig yet again for the dental school and did the truck pool to the pool thing with Swimmer while I was stuck on the lawn. What is the deal? Plant Doc hasn't left the farm this much since we moved here. The neighborhood kids were playing hunger games again. I sure wish they would let me play since I only had dry dog food in my bowl.

2016 April 19

Plant Doc was a guinea pig again for the dental school and did the truck pool to the pool thing with Swimmer while I was stuck on the lawn. He is walking like the old man that he is since his back is hurting him from sitting still in the chair with his mouth open for hours.

2016 April 18

Plant Doc seemed rather frustrated that he was stuck on the computer all day in this warm weather.

2016 April 17

The family went to the zoo for Rocket Boy's birthday while I got stuck on the lawn all day. Didn't seem quite right that the canine and birds right here on the farm had to suffer so they could visit other animals. Sounds like it was a long drive since everybody was grumpy when they got home. Rocket Boy cheered up when he opened his presents, though.

2016 April 16

Plant Doc seemed rather frustrated that he was stuck on the computer all day. He did get outside to continue planting seeds in the hothouses and he was super efficient at getting everything done he needed to fast. The kids played another round of war with their friends and once again I wasn't allowed to play.

2016 April 15

Rocket Boy went on tour with his school band and Swimmer went along as a groupie. Plant Doc finally checked out the baby strawberries, but was still stuck on the computer.

2016 April 14

Wild Girl is quite the singer with her new karaoke machine and we've been singing duets as loud as we can. Plant Doc is stuck on the computer. He didn't even get up to look when Wild Girl told him we were getting baby strawberries out in the field.

2016 April 13

Wild Girl turned something like the equivalent of 70 dog years today. She is looking good for an old lady. I am rather angry that I was left on the front lawn and out of the fun when the other kids came over to celebrate. Swimmer got another present, her super strong phone case, when it wasn't even her birthday. Plant Doc was even angrier that I was when he went to put the case on and saw that she had already broken the screen on her phone! It didn't even last a week!

2016 April 12

Something odd is going on, Plant Doc left with Swimmer and the kids to the bus stop in the morning, while I got left behind. Apparently, he needed to see a Teeth Doc so I let him know that if he only bought us more bones and rawhide then that would be totally unnecessary. It rained all day, so it was a good day to sleep to a quiet house anyway. I bet the chickens were rather angry since they were locked in the coop for a full day after I went for my neighborhood romp yesterday afternoon.

2016 April 11

Wild Girl has got to get her head out of the iPad and watch where she is walking. She hurt her knees walking into a wall and ended up staying home from school since she was having trouble walking in the morning. Plant Doc was stuck on the computer doing work till late night again. I could see that he needed some exercise, so when he went to the bus to get Rocket Boy, I slipped out the back door, chased him down, then visited my pals across the street. Plant Doc was not happy about running after me, especially when I wouldn't let him catch me and he had to wait for Swimmer to come by with a hot dog and the leash. I had taken a bath in the neighbors creek, so after Swimmer hosed me down, he stuck me in the lab for the rest of the day to dry off!

2016 April 10

Plant Doc did some odds and ends repairs around the farm. He ended up working on finally getting secure database connections between computers till the middle of the night. Not sure whether it was a cold or just allergies, but his eyes were all puffy and he seemed to be squinting a lot.

2016 April 9

Plant Doc had hoped the winter break would have been long enough to forget about it, but Star went right back to her lawn mower chasing antics. That chicken just loves having the grass clippings blown at her. Between dodging chickens, avoiding running over baby rabbits burrowing in the tall grass, and the 50 mph Arctic gusts knocking his glasses off, it was quite the task. Swimmer was a menace with the lawn sweeper so I stayed safe inside.

2016 April 8

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer doing work and setting up Swimmer's phone all day. His pressure washer arrived, so he did have fun for a little while setting that up and showing the kids his new toy. It was almost like a fire hose, except there were no firemen to chase.

2016 April 7

Plant Doc turned a half-century old and he was not having an enjoyable day in the slightest, especially after he got an urgent programming job assignment when he had planned to take most of the day off. It hardly seemed fair that Swimmer got a new phone while he had to use half of his presents to buy her a super strong case since you know that sucker will be hitting the driveway rocks hard any day now. At least he got outside for a few hours to plant seeds in the hothouses. It tried to rain on him in the hail-hole ridden hothouse, but he foiled it by switching to the one with new plastic.

2016 April 6

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields to see the damage from the hard frost last night. Most of the potatoes sprouts sticking their heads above the hills were dead, but hopefully the underlying plants will survive. The cotton is dead so he will have to replant that, the tobacco, the herbs, and possibly a few other things in two weeks. Swimmer finally killed her phone for good. She has been trying to completely break that thing for a long time so she could get a new one. I've tried biting it for her, but it hurts my teeth.

2016 April 5

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields to see if he could finally see some seedlings. It was looking a lot more promising than the last time, though, he is still concerned about the stand he is going to get. It's going to be a cold night and everything except perhaps the cotton should handle a light frost fine; if it's a hard frost then he might have a problem. The potatoes just stuck their heads above the hills so hopefully they can take it. The weeds are starting to take over and he is hoping many of them are killed off since the seedlings are still too sensitive for cultivation and too hard to spot for applying herbicides in the row. It's unlikely the lovely flowers around the house will last the night. I particularly like the purple dutch iris.

2016 April 4

Plant Doc is still working on setting up the computer server. The kids went back to school today and Swimmer was gone for the day, so I was sure to give him plenty of attention; not sure why he got mad at me, I thought he like going outside every few minutes.

2016 April 3

Plant Doc is still messing with setting up the computer server. He needs to reload a century of hourly weather data into a updated version of his database and uncompressing the text dump files is exploding the file size by about 100 times. His 20TB hard drive is almost full now. That should go back down after he has loaded the data and deleted the text files. Later in the day, he swapped out busted hoses and connectors so that he could water his hothouse flats. Not sure why he is watering before he planted any seed, especially since the weather is supposed to go below freezing in a few days and he has to be careful not to explode his new hoses.

2016 April 2

Plant Doc seemed to be having another frustrating day at the computer. Just before dark, he got out the bag seeder and touched up the brown spots on the lawn with some grass seed.

2016 April 1

Plant Doc seemed to be having a pretty aweful day dealing with all sorts of non-farm headaches...and that's no joke!

2016 March 31

Plant Doc planted his strawberry roots by stabbing the soil with a knife and pushing the roots in with a wood shim. He looked like Quasimodo afterwards, so I'm assuming it was tough on his back. Now if he can only keep the weeds from getting out of hand and the birds and Wild Girl from eating them before they are ready.

2016 March 30

The family went to the bird zoo in the afternoon to make up for the rain out on Easter. We already have 16 chickens and birds all over the farm, so I don't understand why they bothered. Plant Doc was happy to see that his strawberry plant roots had arrived while they were gone.

2016 March 29

Plant Doc hilled the strawberries. He did a bunch of calculations before he put on his space outfit to spray herbicides to keep the weeds from germinating.

2016 March 28

Plant Doc continued to copy files over to the new hard drive on the computer all day. Swimmer took the kids to play in Raleigh for the day.

2016 March 27

Plant Doc tried patching with tape made by Gorillas and running the dishwasher to clean up the turkey pans and dishes. What a mistake that was! The trickle became a flood and he soaked the kitchen floor. Determined to finish the wash cycle, he was on bucket changing duty until 2am. It's a good thing he never figured out that I bit the hose so that I could go back on dish cleaning duty! Between the rain storms, the kids did an Easter egg hunt both outside and inside.

2016 March 26

Swimmer and Rocket Boy on their way to the pool dropped off Plant Doc and Wild Girl in Bunn so that she could outrun little kids to plastic eggs filled with candy while I was stuck on the lawn. Personally, I prefer the real eggs and candy makes me sick. After an eternity of smelling turkey in the oven and waiting for Plant Doc to carve it up, I finally got some at bedtime. Plant Doc just can't get a break with the appliances. The brand new dishwasher hose started leaking water all over the floor and after hours on the phone with the appliance store, they still haven't gotten his refunds to work so that he can finally get the plumber over here to install the replacement sink upstairs and fix it.

2016 March 25

I guess it's good that it's Friday, but I still don't understand why the kids are off school. Plant Doc's computer hard drive repair tools finished running in the middle of the night after several consecutive days at it. He is finally starting to copy his files over to it from the failing hard drive that has all of his work for the past 30 years on it. He is lucky (like me) that his tax return came before he lost everything, though, apparently he still has a backup of most of his stuff on the non-failing drives, as well as a backup of the older stuff on those little plastic frisbees that he is keeping at Grandma's house. Still, if that drive fails before he finishes copying things, he is sure going to lose a lot of work.

2016 March 24

The kids finally went back to school...for one whole day before getting more than a week off for spring break. Plant Doc finally finished off mixing his potting soil mix and getting the flats ready for planting in the hothouses.

2016 March 23

Plant Doc got Swimmer to finally take Wild Girl to the doctor and get medicine. Rocket Boy is still home sick, though, considering how much he is running around, he can't be too bad. Plant Doc finished off the last of his tax refund shopping and ordered the kids birthday presents and the new sink for his bathroom upstairs...the one that I never get to go to. Don't know why they don't let me visit Rex. I guess my tearing up the rugs the first few days after I was adopted has something to do with it.

2016 March 22

Wild Girl was still home sick and now Rocket Boy has the same thing and went to the doctor to get medicine. Don't know why Swimmer didn't take Wild Girl also. Plant Doc reseeded the grains and the cool season turfgrass. After dark, he round up the clover in the spot where the strawberries are going to soon be planted and shot them with his pistol.

2016 March 21

Wild Girl was home sick with her sore throat just not going away. Normally she would complain like crazy, however, after 2 years and 2 installation refusals by Home Depot, I don't she is going to....Swimmer empty the dishwaher when you get home! And watch out, I am not happy about not cleaning the family dishes anymore! I already bit Plant Doc three times. Swimmer is not happy about Plant Doc tying up all the computers with drive repair tools all day.

2016 March 20

Sure doesn't feel like the first day of spring! The new chicks settled in nice. They had a bit of a cold night and the temperature in the playhouse got about 20F lower than ideal, so Swimmer picked up some grow light bulbs while Plant Doc raised the cage and added another light to get the temperature high enough. Plant Doc also finally updated some of the dates and other information on all the websites. Poor wild girl still has a sore throat.

2016 March 19

The flock has doubled! Wild Girl got new baby chicks Phoenix, Eclipse, Ember, and Flash, while Rocket Boy got Andromeda, Sagitarius, Alice, Henrietta. Their breedes are 2 Cuckoo Maran, 2 ISA Brown, 1 Barred Pllymouth Rock, 1 Leghorn, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Madison, but Plant Doc can't figure out which is which yet. Welcome to the family girls!! Wild Girl wasn't feeling too good, but toughed it out anyway to go pick out her chicks after the pool.

2016 March 18

Plant Doc got his new external hard drive for his computer server and the power cord would not fit through the holes in the shelves over the desk where he put it. He was playing with fire (I could smell the smoke) trying to Dremel and drill his way through the shelf only a quarter inch away from all the power cords for all the computer equipment. Wild Girl got her industrial strength magnets delivered for her science fair project and Plant Doc quickly realized that he overdid it. He tried to separate them only to get them stuck together worse by losing the plastic separator. It was quite the comedy act as he and Swimmer tried to separate them using dental floss for an hour. Plant Doc finally got to plant the garlic cloves after dark.

2016 March 17

Plant Doc was so happy that he got his battery powered string trimmer and battery powered chain saw so he no longer has to deal with finicky 2 cycle engines. Those things scare me.

2016 March 16

Plant Doc still upgrading the computer server. The big hardware store people to deliver our new dishwasher and oven. They refused to install the dishwasher AGAIN because of some technicality after the plumber got everything changed for them; so now Plant Doc has to hire someone to do it. I guess I'm still on dish cleaning duty since I'm so much better at it than Swimmer. They didn't install the oven because they give him the wrong info on the plug type; so they returned that one also.

2016 March 15

Plant Doc upgraded the computer server.

2016 March 14

Plant Doc upgraded the computer server.

2016 March 13

A hailstorm went through and Plant Doc was relieved that the recently re-plastic'd hothouse was not ripped up.

2016 March 12

I don't think I've ever seen Plant Doc up this early. The family left at sunrise to go to Rocket Boy's Olympics for science and didn't get home till sunset. I was not happy spending the whole day on the front lawn and the chickens were even angrier about being stuck in the coop.

2016 March 11

Plant Doc finished reseeding the herbs and long season crops in the perennials field.

2016 March 10

Plant Doc finished reseeding the annuals field. I got stuck on the lawn while the family went to Rocket Boy's Olympics for science meeting. Wild Girl came home from school, put on her pajamas, went back to school, came home, took a shower, put on another pair of pajamas, went to bed...I'm confused.

2016 March 9

Plant Doc spotted a few more germinated seedlings after planting three weeks ago, but was concerned about what kind of stand he was going to have in a few weeks. Not sure whether the seeds are just waiting for warmer soil temperatures, they were killed by damping off fungi from the cold wet clay soil at planting, or the one night of hard frost that we got two weeks ago did them in before they emerged. Anyway, he decided to replant everything except the peas and sunflowers which are larger seeds and starting to germinate. He got half way through it. Spring is definitely in the air and chick season is starting. After months of just getting 2-3 eggs a day from our 8 chickens, we got 8 eggs today.

2016 March 8

Plant Doc planted the potatoes and he just couldn't decide how to do it. In the past he has dug a trench, put the eye pieces in, and then hilled, but at harvest the mid-buster would never be able to dig deep enough into the hard clay soil to dig them up and he had to harvest with a shovel. It was so wet a few weeks ago, that he decided to try just creating the hills and use the flower bulb planter/soil sample collector. After one quarter of one row of potatoes with that, he gave up since it was taking forever to plant. He put the plow attachment on the little tiller and tried to dig a shallow trench into the top of the hills. Unfortunately, the hills were hardened clay by this point and it didn't go so well, perhaps next time he'll try it immediately after creating the hills or just put the eye pieces on level ground and hill them over. Nevertheless, he put the eye pieces on top of the hills and did four passes with the big frisbees on the Big Green Bucket to cover the shallowly. Oh well! Try again next year to finally get it right.

2016 March 7

Plant Doc worked on the computer till the midle of the night.

2016 March 6

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields and spotted a few germinated seedlings. He is hoping things start to kick into high gear the next few days or he will need to start replanting.

2016 March 5

Plant Doc stapled the crop row markers to the flags, so now the field preparations are complete...just need some plants.

2016 March 4

The repair guy came to fix the oven and wasn't able to. Plant Doc and him fought with the manufacturer for a replacement and didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Plant Doc laminated the crop row markers for the fields.

2016 March 3

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields for germination...still nothing. Hopefully, he doesn't need to replant.

2016 March 2

Plant Doc continued to prepare the crop row markers for the fields.

2016 March 1

Plant Doc printed out the little sticky labels showing the crop varieties for each block of his field experiments. He put two sets of them on the tiny little plastic markers that are stuck in the hothouse flats and saved another four sets for use when harvesting the crops. Now that my little buddy eggplant that was growing in my lab in the topsy turvy for two years without being watered is dead, Plant Doc wrapped up that little experiment and cleaned up the topsy turvies for reseeding. He mixed some of his peat perlite potting mix in the garden wagon and topped off the topsy turvies. He also topped off the flats in the hothouses.

2016 February 29

Everyone keeps telling me to leap for some reason today...that's Rex's job, not mine! Plant Doc put the new plastic film on the two hothouses which is now a single double size hothouse. He anchored it down and bordered it with the big rocks. It sure looks spiffy. I did think that he was going to be permanently stuck in the mud, since he was sinking so deep that you couldn't see his boots. They were stinky boots and not because of Plant's Doc's feet. In the winter when the water table is high, the hothouses it's pretty much like the hothouses are build on top of a stinky swamp since it's where the septic drainage field is.

2016 February 28

Plant Doc put clear tape on the top part of all the metal rods for the hothouses that the storm ripped the plastic off. Apparently, the plastic that he is going to put on doesn't like to touch metal. He cleared the rocks down the center and moved the end shelves to the sides at the space between the two hothouses to make one long twenty five foot corrider. He reorganized his flats so that the main transplants will be grown on the top two shelves and the extras for fill in transplants were on the bottom two shelves. He had two extra shelves left from the middle rows, so he pushed them into the grown next to the plant drying trellis that he hangs the bags on to serve as drying racks for plants he puts on flats.

2016 February 27

Plant Doc updated his crop list and worked on the little cards that he staples to the rows to show what he is growing.

2016 February 26

Plant Doc was working on something called taxes. I don't really understand it, and it seemed neither did he since he did not look like he was having fun. I don't know who this Iris person is, but if they try to take any of my milk bones they are going to get bit something fierce!

2016 February 25

Plant Doc disconnected the cables to the boxes hooked up to the little window to the other world. Apparently, the windows aren't working anymore, but they are still sending us videos that Plant Doc could still play from the list using the pointy thing.

2016 February 24

It was a scary day with some really bad thunderstorms, tornado, and hail moving through the area twice. The kids were even let out of school early. Fortunately, we thread the needle and the most severe storms passed on both sides of us. Plant Doc was planning on removing the plastic covering this weekend on two of the hothouses that were damaged by the hail that hit last spring and was being to tear. The replacement plastic was just delivered a few days ago. The wind saved him a few hours of work cutting the plastic off this weekend when it removed the greenhouse plastic for him. Some of the shelves and seedling trays for one of the hothouses were knocked over, but for the other hothouse it was like precision removal.

2016 February 23

The cord for the little window to the world is being cut in two days, so Plant Doc installed the new AppleTV and set it all up.

2016 February 22

Plant Doc spent way too much time trying to figure out if there were any pre-emergent herbicides that he could use in the annuals field that would work with his ridiculous number of crops and three season rotations....he struck out. In fact, so far he has only been able to find a single post-emergent herbicide that would work, fortunately for most of the vegetables, so he immediately called the chemical company that makes it and dug his way through the bureaucracy to get in touch with a rep for some samples. There were a few pre-emergent options in the perennials field, but he decided to hold off on those since the grains and turf were already growing and he didn't have any of the ones for onions or herbs available. He is ready to go with the herbicide for the strawberries after he rounds up and shoots the clover cover crop. Anyway, by the time he settled to the fact that he just wasn't going to be able to spray anything today as a pre-emergent herbicide for the crop he just planted, it was time to get the kids at the school bus. As he was driving Rocket Boy back to the house, he freaked out when it started raining four hours earlier than it was supposed to and he still had to plant the onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, tobacco, cotton, and herbs in the perennials (and long season's crop) field. So he high tailed it out to the field and planted a third of them while it was just drizzling. He continued to plant a few more as the rain started getting heavy so he had to halt the planting. He dried everything off and got things ready for the next round while he waited out the heavy rain in the garage. Now keep in mind that it's not just getting himself soaked that he had to prevent, it's not just the mess involved with pushing the precision planter through the mud, it's not just the problem with keeping the inside of the seed chamber dried so that the seeds don't just stick to the side, but it's also a pretty risky venture that he could get the inside of his seed packets wet and destroy all of his seed for the future. So while waiting out the rain in the garage, he worked out how he was going to finish the job that he started a week ago when he got this dry weather clearing that he was determined to finish before the current three days of rain moved in and he had to wait another two weeks...all while keeping the planter and especially the seed packs as dry as possible. Of course, by the time it stopped downpouring, it was dark out, just to make things even more fun. So out went Plant Doc, with a fresh battery in his headlamp and an array of garbage bags to keep things dry in the back of the Gator, to seed a row back and a row forth with quick seed change while he was hovering over the seed chamber with his back to the wind to block the rain, followed by a mad dash back to the barn where he dried things up and changed his seeder roller for the next two crop rows. This went on for three hours. By the time he was done, he was a soaked muddy mess and so was the planter, but with the exception of a packet of cilantro that accidentally got wet and fell apart in his pocket, he managed to keep the seed packets dry. Of course, he still had another another hour of clean up and drying everything in the garage afterwards so his expected two hour easy planting wrap up project turned into a six hour ordeal.

2016 February 21

Plant Doc sent Swimmer to pick up a second AppleTV before the satellite service is turned off in a few days. She had to go near the puppy park, so I finally got to see my pals again and run rings around Wild Girl. Plant Doc used the Hoss seeder to plant sunflowers in the pea rows to serve as growing support poles. He had a really hard time pushing it through the muddy clay with it set at the inch and a half depth setting. The six inch deep tractor tire cross rows from tilling the muddy clay soil a few weeks ago made quite the challenge, and he had to keep lifting the seeder over the ruts. He looked like he was in agony by the end of it and decided that next time he was going to user the edger attachment on the trimmer to break up the soil first. The second pass through with the peas was a little easier, though, still tough especially since he was exhausted. He decided to do a second pass since the Hoss was using only a fraction of the pea seeds that the Jang seeder usually does and he was concerned about getting a good stand. It took half the day for him to plant just the 5 rows of peas. He planted a border around the garden with sunflowers for good measure before he packed it up. Just as he finished cleaning the Hoss up and was ready to take a short break, it started to rain. He bolted to the Big Green Bucket, swapped out the mid-buster which he never used, and hooked up the big frisbees to hill the potato rows. He must have been tired since he had trouble counting to five and had to go back to do the last one after he parked the Big Green Bucket. He normally would hill the rows for the carrots, but the hills were looking so lumpy from the muddy clay so he decided to try planting the carrots without hilling. After the rain stop, a thoroughly soaked Plant Doc also planted spinach, herbs, radishes, turnips, rutabaga, and carrots to finish off the annuals field with the exception of the potatoes. He was singing that song about gardening at night as he continued to plant for hours after dark. It was a good thing there was a full, though, cloudy moon since the battery ran out on his headlight lamp before long. Now I'm getting why he is almost entirely using white flags instead of all the colors that he used to.

2016 February 20

Plant Doc planted lettuce, endive, celery, broccoli, cabbage, chinese cabbage, kale, collards, brussel sprouts, raab, kohlrabhi, beets, and chard in the annuals field. Throughout, he was throwing the extras left in the planter for some of the crops he has alot of into the woods as food for the deer and other wild animals on the farm in the hope that they go for that instead of walking into his crop fields. He also threw some in the drainage ditch along the driveway near the barn for the chickens where he had previously round up and shot the weeds with his pistol and the chickens helped keep new weeds from taking hold. In the garden, he spelled out his, Swimmer's, and the kids names using lettuce and carrots. He randomly threw seeds from a variety of other crops around the names. It will be interesting to see the names grow with the picture developing over time. He is hoping the overseeding of the garden with other crops will finallly stop the grass from growing there and suppress the weeds. After dark, he cleaned and modified the Hoss wheel weeder to turn it into a Hoss precision planter. He is going to try using the Hoss instead of the Jang planter for the larger seeds like peas, beans, corn, sunflower, and Curcurbita since the Jang has a harder time with them and doesn't plant deep enough. He did a few test runs in the garden and it was tough pushing it through the mud with the depth guage set to the max. He is hoping to avoid having to run the tractor through the wet field for the peas with the midbuster, which annoying needs to be reset every few feet because it has a hard time in clay soil, used as a shallow trencher followed by covering the seed using the cultivator sweeps. He is looking to have cleaner rows just using a straight planter without all that hullaballoo.

2016 February 19

I just love the circus! Plant Doc finished plotting out the annuals field with the little white flags. At dusk, he used the mini tiller to fill in the erosion spots in the perennials field from the heavy rains we got the day after he tilled it. He wished he had filled the gas tank since he had to carry it back to the house after it ran out. After everyone went to bed, he finished his crop rotation plans. Time to plant and he only has a 2 day window before it rains again.

2016 February 18

The circus is back in town! Plant Doc plotted out the perennials field and half the annuals field with the little white flags. After everyone went to bed, he continued his crop rotation plans.

2016 February 17

Plant Doc worked on crop rotation plans. He better hurry up since he needs to do all his planting this weekend.

2016 February 16

Plant Doc agin was glued to the computer chair till the middle of the night.

2016 February 15

Plant Doc was glued to the computer chair till the middle of the night.

2016 February 14

What a sappy holiday that was probably invented by some chick at the greeting card company. Plant Doc and I are trying our best to ignore the whole thing. At least Swimmer and the kids went to the pool. Plant Doc worked on taxes and was not in a good mood at all.

2016 February 13

It's really cold out here. Plant Doc worked on his crop rotations.

2016 February 12

The kids got off school for a "snow" day even though there was only a 40% chance for only an hour at the end of the day. At least it flurried for a few minutes. They were glad to get the day off, but they aren't going to be happy that their summer vacation is going to be a day shorter.

2016 February 11

Plant Doc went with Swimmer to Rocket Boy's non-athletic Olympiad meeting and helped one of his classmates with the invasive species category. You would think it would just be about plants, but there were insects, rodents, birds, fish, fungi, snakes, and even pigs that were considered invasive. Plant Doc needs to see if he could find samples of them to bring next time. House mice would sure be an easy one, but I don't think they would like him bringing one into the school. I certainly hope he isn't considering trying to capture a pig, a snake, or even a bird.

2016 February 10

Plant Doc wanted to start plotting out the fields, but the ground was frozen so he continued his computer work. Swimmer got a few more randomization strings done.

2016 February 9

Plant Doc is swamped with computer work so he got Swimmer to start working on the initial preparation of his treatment randomization strings and she was not happy about it. She got a few done...only a few hundred to go.

2016 February 8

Plant Doc, Wild Girl, and I played basket ball. I was Wild Girl's defensedog and really enjoyed biting Plant Doc whenever he got the ball. Needless to say, my team won this time.

2016 February 7

Plant Doc worked on his crop plans, even while watching the big foot ball game that they almost entirely use their hands for and really should be called hand and foot ball. I was bummed that my team lost, especially since one of his school mates who was a former player was coaching the team and one of his former Hip Hop dance class mates was performing during the half-time show.

2016 February 6

Plant Doc was on the computer till the middle of the night and had a late start. He figured the day was already wasted so he started on taxes. He was talking to the kids about the metric system and how resistant this country is to adopting it. It totally makes sense to divide units into tenths. It got him thinking, though, that when they came up with it, how much smarter it would have been to use the most common unit of distance measurement at the time, the foot, as the starting point for division and multiplication by ten instead of a rather arbitrary unit, the meter. I mean, just how is one supposed to fathom the concept behind one ten-millionth of the length of the meridian through Paris from pole to the equator? 1 decifoot equals 1.2 inches; pretty close to what everyone was used to. 1 centifoot is virtually indistinguishable from the commonly used 1/8 inch (0.01042 ft). The 100 yard dash would have become the 300 footer. Instead of the mile (5280 ft), runners could save a few steps and do the 5K (a distance they currently love). Speaking of the metric 5K (16404.2 ft), it could just be tweaked to have everyone run the 15K. The marathon distance (26.21875 miles, 138435 ft) could have been increased to the 150K; after you've run that far do you really know the difference anyway?; plus I seriously doubt the Greek soldier ran a perfectly straight line so you've got some historical wiggle room there.

2016 February 5

Plant Doc is glued to the computer.

2016 February 4

It's still raining like crazy and the fields are soaked again. Looks like it's going to be a while before Plant Doc can plant.

2016 February 3

Plant Doc went to the farm show in Raleigh, get some pesticide application recertification points, figured out what kind of box blade and mower deck he needs for the Big Green Bucket, and checked out some other farm equipment. He also worked on his crop rotation plans during the less interesting parts of the talks. He picked up seed and some supplies from the wholesale seed company afterwards. After he got home, he looked at some of the farm equipment he was interested in online including an irrigation gun, a drone for taking aerial photography of crop plots, and a flame thrower for burning weeds. He thought the single row potato harvester was really cool, but a bit too expensive for just a few rows.

2016 February 2

Plant Doc worked on his crop rotation plans and looked like he was having a lot of trouble resolving all the issues with putting compatible crops next to each other with the available herbicide and insecticide label restrictions while still managing to allow enough time for them. It sure isn't easy trying to manage the requirements for growing more than a hundred different crop varieties in a small area. He also spent a ridiculous amount of time on the phone with the wholesale seed company figuring out his order.

2016 February 1

Plant Doc finished tilling the fields and got things ready for planting.

2016 January 31

It was a sad day for Rocket Boy, since his fish Lucky Charm didn't make it through the night. Plant Doc used the big frisbees on the Big Green Bucket in the fields and the garden. The warm weather and wind really made all the difference or those frisbees would have got the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud for sure. He even was able to get the tiller oiled up and got more than half of the annuals field tilled before he started to get stuck in the shady part of the field.

2016 January 30

Plant Doc plowed the fields and was relieved he didn't get the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud again. Some spots the tire tracks were deeper then the plow went. Rocket Boy's fish and my namesake, Lucky Charm, who survived nitrate, ammonia, temperature, and all sorts of other fishtank apocalypses is lying at the bottom of the tank and doesn't look like he'll make it through the night. Plant Doc did all the tests on the little pieces of paper and could find nothing wrong. He stuck his arm in the tank and tried feeding him directly, but it's not looking good for the little guy.

2016 January 29

Plant Doc harvested the last of the onions in preparation for plowing tomorrow. He had a sh*tty afternoon fixing a broken toilet seat where the screws rusted on.

2016 January 28

Plant Doc worked on the computer. After school, the family went to see Wild Girl sing at her school talent show.

2016 January 27

The kid's had a delayed opening even though the ice was completely melted and the temperature stayed above freezing last night. I don't think they are going to be happy about the cancelled day off next month because of the silly snow day yesterday. The tractor mechanic returned the mower and fixed the transmission fluid leak with a little O-ring. Guess those little things are important on all sorts of machinery, especially space craft.

2016 January 26

The kid's had off school again even though the ice was almost completely melted and it's kind of warm out. Plant Doc worked on his crop databases.

2016 January 25

I slipped out the door and almost caught myself a chicken breakfast before Swimmer grabbed me. Meltdown! The kid's had off school even though the ice was mostly melted. The kids went sledding in the shardy areas of the perennials field where there was still ice. The neighbors joined them and then came over for a movie. I was really upset that Plant Doc locked me in the lab since I wanted to play with them. I did give the little boy a warm tackle hug when Rocket Boy let me loose for a minute before Plant Doc could catch me.

2016 January 24

Meltdown! It's dangerous outside with all the ice falling from the trees and the house. Most of the ice melted by the end of the day, but the shady spots were still icy. Plant Doc tiptoed through the mud and ice to harvest some cilantro, mustard, and onions for his homemade turnip soup that he worked on all afternoon.

2016 January 23

Swimmer is having trouble walking on ice and keeps hurting herself. I tried to get Plant Doc to skate on the ice by pulling hard on the leash when he was on the driveway. Wild Girl tried sledding, but the ice just wasn't thick enough for that. The trees are like glass and I'm having fun knocking off branches. The electricity fixing truck was parked at the end of the driveway fixing things for the neighbors. It was Lucky that the power didn't go out for us.

2016 January 22

Ice. Ice everywhere. The trees look like glass. The driveway is a skating rink. A touch of snow on top.

2016 January 21

Ditto.

2016 January 20

Still cold out there. Plant Doc spent the day on the computer.

2016 January 19

It's really, really, cold out there! The turnips are the coldy hardy champs by a long shot! The onions, mustard, and cabbage were suffering bad, but still surviving. All the other annual vegetables are dead after a night of temperatures in the teens.

2016 January 18

It's cold out there! Enough said.

2016 January 17

Rain, rain, go away. Can you do this in July? Okay? Anybody know the opposite of a rain dance? Plant Doc's Safety Dance didn't quite do what he expected and white fluffy stuff started falling from the sky. I'm starting to look like a cold dalmation.

2016 January 16

Plant Doc created the scarecrows for the perennials field. Don't know if they will keep the crows away, but they sure scared me; particularly the ones doing hand stands. Plant Doc walked through the pine woods cleared by the lumber company to get a rough measurement of how big of an area it was. I thought he was going to trip and hurt himself the way he was climbing over those downed trees. His field walking matched the GIS mapping on the computer and he estimates he can fit 40 trees each (2 trees each for 4 reps of 5 treatments) of 10 different christmas tree varieties. He is also debating about planting a block of flowers in the annuals field since he will be moving the onions to the perennials field to give them more growing time.

2016 January 15

Plant Doc worked on loading crop information into databases.

2016 January 14

Plant Doc worked on loading crop information into databases.

2016 January 13

Plant Doc worked on the computer all day.

2016 January 12

The amazing eggplant in a Topsy Turvy filled with coconut coir in my lab finally died after 2 years without being watered. Poor little guy fought for his life more than any plant I've ever known. After dark, the family went to a ice stick game while I got put to bed early.

2016 January 11

The dealer repair guy came to do oil changes and repairs on the Big Green Bucket and the Gator. He drove off with the mower to work on back at the shop. Plant Doc wasn't happy about what it was doing to his bank account, but at least he caught some issues that he wouldn't have, like a hydraulic oil leak. Mostly, he was glad not to have to keep jump starting the Gator every day.

2016 January 10

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields to assess how well they stood up to the cold. THe growth rate of all the fall and perennial crops was dramatically slower than during the spring, despite the unusually warm winter and spring like temperatures. Usually it's hard to distinguish between the effects of day length (around 10 hrs the important cutoff for most) and temperature on plant growth. The unusually warm November and December really showed how almost all the fall vegetable crops except turnips, radishes, mustard, chinese cabbage, and arugula had very little growth despite the warm temperatures and plenty of rain. All the fall and perennial vegetables handled multiple light frosts and even a few hard frosts of only an hour. Once we had a hard frost of several hours, most of the fall vegetables went down for the count, several (lettuce, endive, chard, arugula, chinese cabbage, pac choi, carrots, radishes) survived with considerable damage, while only a few winter hardy vegetables (turnips, kale, cabbage, onions, garlic, and mustard) handled it like champs. Plant Doc harvested turnips and removed the white flags from the inner parts of the annuals field.

2016 January 9

Plant Doc worked on his crop databases while I snuggled on the couch with Wild Girl. Swimmer actually didn't go to the pool and took Rocket Boy to some expo about science Olympics. I thought they ran around, jumped, lifted heavy stuff, did cart wheels, and played ball games during the Olympics, so I don't quite get it. Rocket Boy came home with a new tetra fish, Marida, and our lone survivor, lucky charm, was so excited to have a new tank buddy.

2016 January 8

Warmer rainy day, but my block of ice is still holding on. The entire family went to the Zebulonian planetary community center to see an animated movie about emotions. Sounds like a chick flick to me, so I don't know why Plant Doc went with them.

2016 January 7

After school, Plant Doc dumped the frozen blocks of ice that formed in the Big Green Bucket into the backyard for Rocket Boy and I to play with. I finally got rid of that annoying shrub next to the patio that my leash was getting stuck on every time Swimmer let me out the back door. Wrapped my leash around it good and pulled so hard I decapitated it. Plant Doc isn't the only one that knows how to kill plants!

2016 January 6

Another cold day! I'm also really angry that my favorite show about the blogging dog has been cancelled! I think I'm going to bite Plant Doc to get out my frustration. At least we found Wild Girl's glasses.

2016 January 5

Another really cold day and Plant Doc had to use a hair dryer to jump start the Gator. Good thing he got it started because Swimmer took off with the truck just before the kids got home. When Plant Doc put the chickens away for the night, Wild Girl ran out after him to try to find his hidden location for candy and cookies. Unfortunately, she lost her glasses in the process so Plant Doc spent an hour searching after dark in the cold for them using a head lamp to no avail. I'll look for them in the morning.

2016 January 4

Do I smell turkey? Kids went back to school, but at least I got to smell that wonderful turkey cooking all day. Do I see snow? A thin band of flurries passed right through here and it finally felt like Christmas.

2016 January 3

Plant Doc continues to work on his website database table editor.

2016 January 2

The rhododendrons are probably regretting that they started to flower now that winter decided to show up! The neighbors kids came over and ran around the yard taunting me. At least Wild Girl finally got outside some, though, I don't understand why she didn't do it when it a few days ago when it was so much warmer. Plant Doc saw from the weather forecast that there are some very cold nights coming up soon, so he harvested the chinese cabbage and pac choi.

2016 January 1

First day of the year. I don't feel any older. The rhododendrons are all confused from the warm weather lately and started to flower. Plant Doc worked on his website database table editor since he needs to start moving his crop and pesticide plans into databases.

2015 December 31

Last day of the year so of course it rained. Good riddance 2015!

2015 December 30

Really really heavy rain! Plant Doc worked on the computer.

2015 December 29

Rain! Plant Doc worked on the computer.

2015 December 28

Rain! Plant Doc worked on the computer.

2015 December 27

Instead of relieving it, the chain saw angered Plant Doc, particularly when his new trimmer head broke already. He called to find out about returning it and decided to give up on these frustrating 2-cycle gas small engines and go with battery electric ones instead.

2015 December 26

Plant Doc relieved his anger issues with a chain saw. Swimmer finally stopped coughing so much went to the pool for the first time in more than a week...it has to be some kind of lifetime record.

2015 December 25

Merry Christmas! Not sure what it's all about, but I love this holiday! I got a whole box of bones and turkey for dinner! Plant Doc worked on cleaning up the waterfall pond. Rocket Boy worked on building a spaceship out of Legos all day. Swimmer played with Rocket Boy's soda bottle rocket launcher.

2015 December 24

The family awoke to go to some space movie when I got stuck on the front lawn and the chickens were stuck in the coops.

2015 December 23

It's starting to feel a bit like Easter. Plant Doc celebrated a holiday called Festivus and sure was complaining a lot today.

2015 December 22

Back to wet and warm weather. Plant Doc doing another marathon day on the computer.

2015 December 21

Plant Doc is still sick and struggling to work a 12 hour day on the computer.

2015 December 20

Since when do we get cold weather? It's starting to feel a bit like Christmas.

2015 December 19

Plant Doc is still sick and need a recovery day. So we switched roles and he slept half the day while I worked on the computer.

2015 December 18

R.I.P. Cleo. I tried barking to warn Swimmer and Plant Doc, but they thought it was a truck down the street. She had a bite only on the beak so most likely a hawk. For more than an hour we could only find one other chicken since they went hiding, so we thought we had lost the entire flock for a while there. Plant Doc and Swimmer looked like they were going to pass out, running around the farm for 2 hours sick. Such a sad day.

2015 December 17

Plant Doc is sick and struggling through getting work done.

2015 December 16

Plant Doc caught Swimmer and Rocket Boy's cold and he is not happy.

2015 December 15

Plant Doc had to cancel the servicing of the Gator, tractor, and mowing today. I guess I won't be getting very many Gator runs this month. Try again next month. He is not in a good mood. Neither is Swimmer since she seems to have gotten the flu or something.

2015 December 14

Plant Doc is spending his days on the computer, despite the warm weather. The air conditioning has been running all day. Sure doesn't feel like XMas.

2015 December 13

Swimmer and the kids went to a book sale and the pool. I'm staying inside since Plant Doc is yielding a chainsaw and angrily chopping down small trees that were beheaded by the lumber company. He didn't get very far, though, since he had to stop when the chainsaw started leaking gas...not a good thing with all those sparks flying.

2015 December 12

It's getting so warm out that I'm surprised Plant Doc hasn't switched back to shorts yet. Plant Doc was acting like a crazed lunatic over in cleared pine woods using the brush cutter attachment on the trimmer. After about 5 hours at it, his hands were so shaky he couldn't hold the trimmer anymore, he was having trouble walking a straight line, and despite wearing ear plugs he couldn't hear very well afterwards.

2015 December 11

Plant Doc was relieved to get the Gator started, then scheduled an annual tune up for it, the mower, and the Big Green Bucket. It looks like my days of Swimmer taking me for a mile run alongside the Gator every few hours are over....HALLELUJAH! Plant Doc told her to stop driving the Gator into the ground like her truck. All the plants that Plant Doc are growing on the farm, just don't make up for her carbon emissions. He took photos of the crop rows while Wild Girl played with the neighbors while I barked at them.

2015 December 10

Swimmer lost her truck keys then flooded the Gator so bad that it would not start the rest of the night...Plant Doc is not in a good mood! After searching for them for 5 hours, Swimmer found her keys on the driveway. It probably would be a good idea for her to stop randomly throwing them whenever she steps in the house.

2015 December 9

Nice warm day. I just do not understand this weather and it seems that some of the flower bulbs are all mixed up. They sure are going to be surprised when we get snow.

2015 December 8

Rocket Boy is back at school, so I'm just sleeping on the couch and eating all the fluffy white stuffing in it. Plant Doc is spending all his time on the computer and cleaning up fluffy white stuffing.

2015 December 7

Rocket Boy is sick again so Swimmer pulled him out of school early to go to the doctor again. After a few hours rest, the family went to his first band concert where he had to play the flute with a cough and an ear infection. Oooh, that's what the shirt search was all about. After they got home, Plant Doc employed both his computer skills and deejay experience to get Wild Girl set up for her first talent show contest singing rehearsal after school tomorrow.

2015 December 6

Swimmer took Rocket Boy on a day long search for a shirt, which I don't quite understand since he has so many of them and I thought they sold those things all over the place. Plant Doc worked on his website database apps.

2015 December 5

So with a month to go we've already hit a record for rainfall this year and that's with a late spring and summer drought with far below normal rainfall. We've even surpassed Seattle for the year. It's been pure insanity for farmers.

2015 December 4

Rocket Boy finally went back to school so I had to settle with sleeping on the couch alone.

2015 December 3

Ditto minus rain.

2015 December 2

Ditto.

2015 December 1

Rocket Boy still sick...still raining...still sleeping all day on couch...Plant Doc still on computer.

2015 November 30

Rocket Boy and Wild Girl were both home sick today. It was a rainy day so I just slept on the couch. Plant Doc worked on the computer.

2015 November 29

Rocket Boy had a fever today so I spent the day with him on the couch. Plant Doc continued clearing the mess the lumber company made when they thinned out an acre of our pine woods. He wishes he had one of those ridiculously expensive grappling buckets on the Big Green Bucket since it is not easy doing it without one. He couldn't get the chain saw to start and Swimmer had the truck so he couldn't try getting fresh gas so he got creative with hatchet and a chain. I heard him screaming while taking a Tecnu (used to be lots of poison ivy back there) hose bath on a November night.

2015 November 28

Plant Doc re-cleared the path through the pine woods by hand and started knocking down the small deciduous trees that were de-capitated by the lumber company earlier this year.

2015 November 27

Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house while Swimmer and the kids were at the pool and worked on his crops database.

2015 November 26

Went to the dog park this morning to run off some weight in preparation for turkey dinner. Plant Doc said he stepped on his bathroom scale and it read "Fatty", until he put his glasses on and realized the battery needed replacing. The hens sure are thankful that the wild chickens were too fast for the Pilgrims. In the garden, Wild Girl's name in carrots is starting to develop. Rocket Boy's in onions is going to require a much longer exposure. Plant Doc re-did his scarecrows and they freaked me out the first time I saw them...I thought we were under attack. He rebuilt the scarecrow of himself in the garden, only a little thinner this time since he had lost a lot of weight after the first year of living here. He built one of Rocket Boy in the garden, looking up and pointing his figure into the sky. In the annuals field, he created a bug-like native Zebulonian, which are rare these days and their dwindling population is the reason for the increase in the local mosquito population. He added a black bandana to the existing scarecrow next to the last remaining silt fence, also known as Rocket Boy's sandbox, to make it a dancing pirate. He replaced the head and shirt on another existing scarecrow to turn it into a Land Gnome. The most realistic one he created was of Wild Girl doing a handstand.

2015 November 25

Swimmer is killing me with all this cooking and I'm stuck eating dry dog food. At least Plant Doc has been slipping me some scraps.

2015 November 24

Like it or not, we are beholden to the seed companies. It went down to 28F for a few hours last night. The sunflowers planted as poles for the peas look like they have a hangover and still hanging on, the volunteers from prior crop seed heads that were otherwise indistinguishable until now are down for the count. Plant Doc finally figured out a way to get Swummer to finally eat the cabbage she steamed a year and a half ago and empty the produce freezer. He split the food list into 4 separate trips and she got 8 cheap turkeys. Hopefully by turkey number 3 or 4 she'll finally learn how to cook it right in time for Xmas. I love this holiday!

2015 November 23

Of the last remaining warm season crops, the beans and potatoes were killed from last night's light freeze, but the sunflowers fought through it. Farm Fresh U-Pick in November! If you want any radishes, arugula, mustard, or Chinese cabbage for your Thanksgiving table, they are ready for harvest. Having one-third of the annuals field shaded by the pine trees along the driveway is kind of working out. Plant Doc was rather frustrated with the stand after planting into partially frozen soil in March, but the shade saved the day for some of the crops planted during the heat and drought in mid-September since the seedlings in the full sun just died after germination.

2015 November 22

Plant Doc continued installing software on the air gap computer....again. Getting a bit brisk outside, wonder if any of the leftover warm season crops are going to die tonight. Just short of 2 years now since the last time our amazing eggplant seedling in a Topsy Turvy containing coconut coir media was last watered. Plant Doc needs to alter the planting mix to reduce water drip, but he is letting it ride.

2015 November 21

The chickens are no longer content with laying their eggs in easy locations and I'm fairly certain that they are laughing at Plant Doc as they watch him crawl on his hands and knees to the back corners of the coops while trying to avoid land mines. I offered to go, but he declined.

2015 November 20

Plant Doc continued installing software on the air gap computer, but at least he spent a few hours outside checking on his crops.

2015 November 19

Raining hard and Plant Doc continued installing software on the air gap computer, as well reorganizing files on the other ones. Wild Girl got her glasses that grandpa made for her and she looked so smart.

2015 November 18

Plant Doc continued installing software on the air gap computer then went off hipping and hopping. Wild Girl was happy to finally get to play her zoo game while he was gone.

2015 November 17

Swimmer spent the day in Raleigh, so Plant Doc got her to finally take his phone camera in for recall so no more blurry pictures! Plant Doc was messing around with getting the old computer working as a secure air gap computer and for the kids to play games on...as if they don't spend enough time playing games on the iPad.

2015 November 16

Rocket Boy battled Swimmer over going to school early this morning so I took advantage of the commotion to slip out the house and run around the neighborhood. Unfortunately the chickens weren't out yet since I hadn't eaten breakfast yet. Swimmer risked my life again leaving me in the truck with the windows closed for an hour while she went food shopping and the worst part is she didn't even get anything for me. While Plant Doc screamed at her for doing that again, I tried to steal the frozen turkey she left out. Plant Doc spent the rest of the day on the computer. Swimmer took the kids to the eye doctor and Wild Girl needs glasses like Plant Doc. Grandpa used to own an optical store so he is going to make them for her in his basement.

2015 November 15

Plant Doc tried to knock another hanging branch of a tree on the front lawn using the Big Green Bucket bucket. It was hanging on too good so he got out the pole saw and stood on top of the Big Green Bucket seat to reach the vine that was holding it. He took a walk through the annuals and perennials fields to check things out. In the perennials field, the cotton was dying off and the tobacco never germinated, the cabbage and onions were doing fine, the leeks were a bit sparse, and the fennel and garlic were the only herbs visibly growing. In the annuals field, the only visible herb growing was dill, the beans were flowering, the okra was dying from the light freeze last night, the tomatoes and Curcurbita had died off previously from the last light freeze, the carrots were doing excellent, the lettuce were getting sparser with the smaller plants visibly dying most likely as a result damping off fungi from the excessive rain this month, the peas with sunflower supports were doing good except two rows that had sparse germination, the spinach either died off or simply was not visible among the weeds, the cauliflower was doing great, the broccoli was extremely sparse, the chinese cabbage and red cabbage were doing great, the savoy cabbage were sparse, all except one row of beets and chard had a decent stand, the kohlrabhi was a bit sparse, the brussel sprouts and collards seem to have not germinated, the endive and cress were doing great, the celery was not visibly germinated, the radicchio was good, the onions were sparse, the mustard and arugula were taking over, the turnips both planted and volunteer were doing great, and the radishes were being harvested for Rex and I every day for the last week.

2015 November 14

Starting to get chilly outside, but still a nice day. Plant Doc planted his orchard seed grass, alfalfa, and naked oat seed that he got earlier in the week. He also tried again with rice that he soaked in a bucket of water overnight and re-seeded timothy hay and rye since they were looking kind of sparse. Just before dark, he drove around the farm with the Gator looking for fire ant mounts to put bait on. afterwards, he spent the evening starting to figure out Christmas tree seedling varieties.

2015 November 13

The other two new fish died and Plant Doc worked frantically in the middle of the night to replace the water and detoxify the ammonia in Rocket Boy's aquarium. Lucky Charm was lying on the bottom of the tank hanging on for dear life and fortunately Plant Doc's efforts saved his life and by the middle of the day he was happily swimming around with the tank to himself again. Swimmer took the dead fish back to the pet store for a refund and Rocket Boy picked up a new water plant. Unfortunately, Swimmer didn't understand the concept of a semi-aquatic plant, so that needs to be returned. He is just going to have to wait till next month for the first replacement fish since they need to take it slower next time and let the bacteria build.

2015 November 12

Nice warm day with no rain so I got some snooze time under my tree. Plant Doc took photos of the crop rows. Wild Girl finally went back to school and afterwards played over at the neighbors until just after dark. Unfortunately, I missed the chance to bark at them when Plant Doc gave the kids a Gator ride. One of the Phoenician twins and Wild Girl's first fish that the kids got yesterday died and Rocket Boy was very upset. Plant Doc called the pet store trying to figure out what happened and found out that the one thing that his little water test strips did not check for was ammonia...the usual culprit when you get too many fish at once and their isn't enough time for the bacteria levels to build. So they gave the poor little fishies a toilet flush burial and Plant Doc ordered stuff for checking and reducing ammonia in the tank. Rocket Boy is paranoid that the rest will die in the interim, but hopefully that won't happen. Plant Doc said they will have to wait a month for one replacement fish and another month for a second replacement fish to reduce the risk of that happening again.

2015 November 11

Another one of Rocket Boy's fish died. Plant Doc thought it was because of the lousy job Swimmer has been doing cleaning the tank, but when he stuck his hand in the water to sstick in a little test strip, the water was cold. He looked at the thermometer and checked the heater to see that it had stopped working. While Swimmer took Rocket Boy to the school and then the pet store to get a new heater, Plant Doc took out some of the water and removed almost all of the gravel with his hand then fixed the bottom filters and put in some warm water. It was quite a harrowing experience for the last surviving fish. Rocket Boy came home with three new fish for himself and one for Wild Girl and they put the new heater in. Rocket Boy named his 2 purple tetra, the Phoenician twins, Swift and Scooter, his yellow-orange tetra Sun, and he renamed his yellow-green tetra that survived to Lucky Charm.

2015 November 10

After 22 years straight of taking a weekly modern dance class, Plant Doc was unable to find a local class without a really long drive when we moved to the farm. Which is quite the contrast to Swimmer who complains when Plant Doc stops her from driving more than 50 miles a day just to go swimming and joy riding. They recently started a Zebulonian adult hip hop class so Plant Doc gave it a shot and came home with a sore butt from trying to shake something that just shouldn't be shook. The kids and I were overjoyed that he will be going right near our favorite pizza shop every week. Plant Doc rarely leaves the farm and needs to get out once in a while so he doesn't completely lose his mind and write some kind of manifesto; heck, I go to the dog park more often. I guess I just can't say I have a hometown. Not Bunn, not Dunn Township, not Daddysville, and now the Zebulonian Community Center says that Plant Doc was not considered a resident. I think I'm just going to have to call it Luckytown.

2015 November 9

It rained hard all day, so the crop fields have gone from drenched to flooded. Plant Doc had to deal with a problem with the window to the other world of tiny Yappers and must have walked back and forth between rooms a few hundred times with that pointer control thing in his hand. Just after dark, he went to lock up the coops only to find a dog wandering around looking for a chicken dinner. He thought it was my pal from next door, but it turned out to be a stranger that had been wandering the neighborhood. The letter and package lady told Swimmer about it, but she failed to pass on the danger alert to Plant Doc. Fortunately, the chickens had already gone into their roosts for the night, hence, a slaughter was narrowly averted.

2015 November 8

Fall decided to show up for more than a few days and we got a one day reprieve between the floods. Plant Doc has been wearing shorts since February, but it looks like he is going to have to switch to the long pants. Plant Doc had fun almost losing his head. A 20+ ft long, 100+ lbs pine tree branch was broken free and dangling over the driveway. He couldn't reach it with the Big Green Bucket, so he got creative with the folded up produce stand tent standing it up on the tip of the bucket and using it to push up and twist the branch until it came crashing down a few feet away from his head.

2015 November 7

Crop fields are quicksand once again. Hopefully Plant Doc won't need to pull any kids out with a long rope attached to a plastic snow sled this round. See now that's the problem with looking at historical weather using averages. If you look at the rainfall numbers you would think we were having a bumper crop year; even most of the individual months. In reality, though, it's been nothing but flood or drought. Plant Doc said he is going to have to start looking at something like running 7 day precipitation totals for his plant disease forecasting software in development.

2015 November 6

Still waiting for the big yellow ball in the sky to come back even though Plant Doc turned the air conditioning back on. Rocket Boy finally made it through a full day of school. Wild Girl had Swimmer take her temperature about 50 times until she finally got the mild fever result that she wanted to get out of going to school. I think she may have done a few laps around the annuals field and drank hot chocolate in between readings to spike it up a few degrees.

2015 November 5

Seriously, what month is it? It's like summer again. Clouds, but no rain today. Wild Girl and Rocket Boy were both home sick again today. Swimmer decided to go to school for them for half the day instead.

2015 November 4

Clouds, but at least not continous rain today. Wild Girl is so happy that she has a mild fever and didn't have to go to school but doesn't feel sick like Rocket Boy. Swimmer tried to send Rocket Boy back to school today but he only lasted an hour.

2015 November 3

Another rainy day. Ditto. Rocket Boy is still sick so we hung out on the couch all day.

2015 November 2

Another rainy day, so I had to really nag Swimmer to let me outside at all. Plant Doc worked on his website scripts. Even the chickens barely ventured around the farm. Rocket Boy caught Swimmer's cold.

2015 November 1

I wish that Plant Doc would stop messing with the clock, since it is affecting my sleep schedule! Rainy day, so Plant Doc worked on his website scripts.

2015 October 31

Halloween is my favorite holiday since it's when the family celebrates my birthday! Wild Girl is dressed like a cat and Rocket Boy is dressed like a Ninja, so Rocket Boy is chasing me and I'm chasing Wild Girl. The kids had their annual Halloween party so I spent the day on the front lawn barking at strangers especially since the families came in shifts instead of all at once. At least that princess and her ninja brother brought me some chicken for my birthday! Come to think of it, there were quite a few ninja's here today...I thought I was at an anime conference.

2015 October 30

Plant Doc and Swimmer got things ready for the Halloween and my birthday party tomorrow. Swimmer has been working on cleaning things up for weeks, while Plant Doc just spent the day on it. Why does it look like Plant Doc accomplished more in just the day? He even cleaned up the garage!

2015 October 29

Plant Doc asked Swimmer to clear my stuff off the front lawn and get rid of the fallen branches while he started mowing the lawn for the last time this year. Instead, she proceeded to put up Halloween decorations on the lawn so that they would get in his way. After a few hours at it, Plant Doc was feeling guilty about tricking the chickens into the coop in the middle of the day, so he let them out after he finished around the house and the barnyard and was heading over to the other side of the driveway where they rarely graze. Only to have our daredevil chicken, Star, chase him down and follow him around since she likes having the grass cuttings blown on her as the mower passes by. Plant Doc did not enjoy having to finish mowing the lawn in the dark and the rain after having been stung by a wasp, particularly while trying to avoid the black spore mushroom cloud kicked up into the air every time he ran over a mushroom.

2015 October 28

Rainy day again, so Plant Doc just worked on the computer.

2015 October 27

Rainy day and the crops were happy. Though, Plant Doc looked like he was not having a fun day...at least until we did a round of chase with Wild Girl and he got to get his frustrations out by battling me...I won, of course.

2015 October 26

Plant Doc worked on his website scripts. At night, the family went to see Rocket Boy play his flute at his school band concert. He certainly is improving and I'm starting to like it. It sure hurt my ears the first week he was blowing into that pipe.

2015 October 25

Plant Doc worked on his website scripts while Swimmer and the kids were at the pool. Afterwards, he scouted his crop fields and took photos of each row.

2015 October 24

Plant Doc took out his pistol, roundup the poison ivy, thorn bushes, and other brush that wanted to get rid of, and shot them. He is definitely on to something here. Repeated RoundUp applications alone: poison ivy dieback that re-establishes after a few months. Chicken "weeding" from daily worm hunting alone: No poison ivy control; chicken feet you don't want to touch. Repeated RoundUp applications plus Chicken "weeding" from daily worm hunting: Complete poison ivy control; safe chicken feet. Conclusion: Need more chickens. We went from 3 (out of 14) acres heavily infested with poison ivy down to less than a half an acre with any poison ivy in a year. Timber guys who thinned (and trashed) 3/4 acre of heavy pine woods also helped (at least with the poison ivy).

2015 October 23

At the end of the day yesterday, Plant Doc took out his pistol, roundup the brush that took over in the corner of the woods where the loggers had cut down the tall dying pine trees, and shot them. I thought he was going to be swallowed alive in there since they only thing you could see above the brush was his spray boom. It's a miracle he didn't trip over all the wood debris, knock himself unconscious, only to be discovered days later from the smell of his decomposing body.

2015 October 22

As winter approaches, the days get shorter, and the cover crops prohibit Plant Doc's usual time consuming cultivation regime, I figure I'll need to blog about something other than, "Plant Doc didn't move his butt off the computer chair all day." I think I'll call it "Musings of a Farm Dog". To get things started..."Is it better to suspect that snakes are visiting your coop and futility try to stop it, or to simply convince yourself that fewer eggs have been laid?", "How much safer would the world be if everyone's shit were odorless and cleanly packaged as rabbit pellets?...both metaphorically and physically.", "As any parent knows, just a single sleepless night often leads to endless sleepless nights.", and Plant Doc's favorite classic, "It's so tiring to fall asleep when you are wide awake."

2015 October 21

Plant Doc put screens on the sides of the entrances to the last two hothouses to keep the bugs out...at least for next spring anyway. After that cold spell, we are looking at some beautiful weather the next few days and Plant Doc is back in shorts.

2015 October 20

Plant Doc worked on his website scripts some more.

2015 October 19

Plant Doc worked on his website scripts some more.

2015 October 18

Plant Doc worked on his website scripts.

2015 October 17

Plant Doc and Wild Girl planted flower bulbs in the shrub gardens around the house. Wild Girl was getting better at throwing the bulb into the holes that he dug using the soil sampler tube. Rocket Boy helped him plant the pine seedlings that they got at the State Fair along the woods near my tree on the front lawn. He checked on the small tree that has grown from the pine seedling from the Fair that he originally planted years ago at the family's old apartment in Raleigh and transplanted when they moved here. Rocket Boy also had fun throwing wildflower and perennial seeds in the air in the same areas where the bulbs were planted. Plant Doc would normally rake the mulch to cover that up, but no need for that anymore since the chickens will do a much better job of that in the course of their daily worm digging. Afterwards, Plant Doc cleaned up the waterfall pond and gave it another dose of chemicals.

2015 October 16

The family went to the State Fair and left me on the front lawn for the day again. Rosie is going to be one angry chicken tomorrow morning after being stuck in the coop all day again.

2015 October 15

Plant Doc worked on his grow guide databases.

2015 October 14

Plant Doc took a computer break to walk through the crop fields and the crops were looking better than he expected considering the two weeks of drought followed by two weeks of continous rain that they went through just after planting. Still don't believe in climate change after the weather we have had the last two years? Get out of your windowless air conditioned cubicle. Turn off the political talking heads. Step outside for more than a few minutes a day and plant some local variety non-GMO seeds in your garden according to the written recommendations for your area and the time of year. Lay off the garden hose, fertilizer, and pesticides. Read up on what should be happening. Do this over multiple seasons and pay close attention. Just watch how the plants are responding to their environment. It will be painfully obvious that things are not right and the conditions that the plants have evolved under and adapted to are not the same. Farmers a hundred years ago could rely more upon the Farmers Almanac than we can on our satellites, radar, computers, and weather apps. Global Storming (not Warming) is a better word for it anyway. After all, Dogs have a innate sense for such things.

2015 October 13

The printer repair guy came and got the big printer in my lab working again. Good thing because he needed to finally print the invites to my birthday party on Halloween. Plant Doc walked through the crop fields to see how the seedlings are coming along. Most of them seem to have a decent, but they are so small it's hard to be certain. They are a few weeks behind because of the 2 weeks of drought after planting.

2015 October 12

Plant Doc worked on his grow guide databases.

2015 October 11

Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields and took photos of each row. He planted the rice in the perennials field that had let soak in the garage in a bucket for way too many days and was starting to stink. Last few times he soaked it only for the recommended day with no luck, so he figured he would give it a few days this time. At the end of the day, he drove around on the Gator like Swimmer does looking for ant hills to put down ant bait. He was rather frustrated that he got the more expensive 5 lb broadcast bag instead the 1 lb shaker bottle when he compared the labels and realized that the latter had 4 times more active ingredient.

2015 October 10

Swimmer organized some cancer water polo fundraser in Raleigh that Rocket Boy played in. Wild Girl and Plant Doc were not happy that she never checked to see if the stereo system worked or not since they were supposed to be the DJ's for the event. Plant Doc had spent last night getting a playlist and song mixing app set up on the iPads and iPhones...all for nothing. I was stuck on the front lawn all day getting rather wet and muddy from the occasional rain showers. To add insult to injury, they wouldn't even let me back on the couch after they got home because Swimmer gave me a hose bath. The chickens were not too happy either, being stuck in the coop all day. I'm glad that Plant Doc rarely leaves the farm since it's not fun when everyone is gone.

2015 October 9

Plant Doc worked on the computer all day so I didn't get the chance to blog.

2015 October 8

Swimmer locked her keys in the truck again while at the gas station. Plant Doc did not looked pleased about having to drive the Gator alongside the highway for a few miles to meet her half way with his set of keys and her bike.

2015 October 7

Plant Doc mowed the lawn for what he is hoping is the last time this year. The only good thing about the 6 month drought, followed by 2 weeks of endless rain, was that he only had mow the lawn more than once a month only 2 months this year. To avoid a repeat of Star getting too close, he kept them in the coop until he finished the lawn around the barn and the house. Just as while, since Swimmer drove around like a maniac on the Gator with the sweeper.

2015 October 6

Ooh, look! What's that big yellow ball up where the clouds are supposed to be? I hear that the other Carolina state has been having biblical rains, so I guess our 4 inches over the last 2 weeks could have been a lot worse. After he picked up Wild Girl from the bus, Plant Doc had to crawl into the back of the chicken coop to stick a mouse sticky trap to a snake sleeping on top of the pile of eggs. He used a broom handle to put the stuck snake in a garbage bag and hung it on a hook on the shed so that the chickens wouldn't mess with it.

2015 October 5

Still raining! Plant Doc was sure the big yellow ball in the sky would finally come back today, but it didn't. He worked on the computer, but he did not look like he was having a good time. He really wasn't having a good time when he went out the garage door and he couldn't get back in. After that, I stood by and watched while he completely dismantled the door handle.

2015 October 4

Still raining! Plant Doc worked on his pesticide plans. At the end of the day, he was able squeeze in using the little spreader to put down a partial bag of grass seed in some bare spots.

2015 October 3

Still raining! Plant Doc worked on his crops database. That Noah's Ark story sure is starting to sound a lot more believable.

2015 October 2

Raining like crazy! Plant Doc looks like he has a major headache from Swimmer driving him crazy so I'm not messing with him.

2015 October 1

Temperature dropped quite a bit, but otherwise the rain continued. Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans. After Plant Doc expressed his concerns about Junior's molting and the loss of her tail feathers, Swimmer gave the chickens another check for mites and sprayed them just to be safe. There seems to be a shift in the flocks as all the chickens except Cleo and Claudine roosted went to the same coop after dark.

2015 September 30

2 weeks of summer drought followed by 2 weeks of continuous rain after Plant Doc planted his fall crop seed. This is going to be an interesting experiment just to see what even germinates and doesn't immediately die off under such conditions.

2015 September 29

Last week's rain dance worked, but Plant Doc can't seem to turn off the nozzle. He tried the safety dance and everything.

2015 September 28

Another rainy day so Plant Doc spent another day on the computer. Star decided to roost with the older chickens for the night.

2015 September 27

Plant Doc finally put the big music cabinet together. Swimmer had cleaned up the components and emptied the box that the mice called home for 3 years last week. He blasted me off the couch with music so I took over the computer and worked on my blog.

2015 September 26

We are getting all of our rainfall for the summer this weekend. Would have preferred it a little more spread over time, but better late than never. At least the historical average will look a little better. Unfortunately Plant Doc hasn't gotten my rice seed yet; they would have loved this, unlike the 100+ other crop varieties that he planted 2 weeks ago and have been waiting for a drink rather than a drowning. In between the rains, Plant Doc surveyed the crop fields and gave encouraging words to the seeds that have been waiting for their day, "Rise Up! Carpe Diem! Go into the light! Be fruitful and multiply! Liberty or Death! Don’t Tread on Me! Be extraordinary! Oorah! Ahuga! Banzai! Do or do not; there is no try! It ain't over till it's over! ... Freedom!", as well as the kids' favorite because it was said by their ancestor, "I have not yet begun to fight!"

2015 September 25

Plant Doc was overjoyed with all the rain. Hopefully, it's not too late for his fall crop seeds which went 2 weeks with no water after planting. Plant Doc came up with a good title for a future paper or even book, "Flood or Famine, Plant Disease Forecasting in the Age of Global Storming". Another good one that he said in his youth was "I'm Planting as Fast as I Can".

2015 September 24

Plant Doc was waiting for rain, but it didn't happen. Should be floods this weekend! Plant Doc is not happy with the new egg laying spot way at the back of the coop where he has to crawl on his hands and knees through chicken poop to get to.

2015 September 23

Plant Doc spend the day programming on the computer. Star is getting creative where she is laying her eggs...behind the hot water heater, on a bag of perlite, in the back of the Gator, anywhere that keeps Plant Doc searching.

2015 September 22

Plant Doc finally transplanted the eggplant, tomatillos, and tomato into the garden that he dug up from the annuals field 2 weeks ago. He also stapled the little crop marker cards onto the flags.

2015 September 21

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer. He did play a round of different sports with Wild Girl and the chickens. No fair, I wanted to join in, but he was afraid I would eat his outfielders.

2015 September 20

Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans while the Swimmer took the kids to a ice stick game festival and swimming. At the end of the day, he pulled his portable pesticide mixing station out to the edge of the woods for the first time since the spring, chased the chickens away with a hose, and mixed up a batch of bug killing potion for the few remaining pumpkins. He also took out the shaker bottle of fire ant bait and spread it around the edge of the annuals field and down the middle of the perennials field, as well as the waterfall pond rock mound and a few spots on the lawn.

2015 September 19

Plant Doc planted the grains and the turf in the perennials field using the little hand spreader. He also put down clover cover crops and along field edges. He used the cultivator to cover the grains.

2015 September 18

Plant Doc took a break from killing himself in the field and worked on the computer all day again. It's driving him nuts that he can't figure out where the younger chickens have been laying their eggs. They have been hanging out around the garage, but he is not spotting them. He is sending the kids on a non-Easter egg hunt.

2015 September 17

Plant Doc took a break from killing himself in the field and worked on the computer all day. He has been searching for the chicken eggs, but he can't figure out where the new spot for the younger chickens is.

2015 September 16

Swimmer and Wild Girl were taking me for a run when Star all of a sudden chased after me. Never had a chicken do that so I froze and didn't know what to make of it....kind of scared me. Plant Doc planted carrots and cucumbers on the hills of the annuals field. He also planted peas and a row of beans in the furrows and put down fertilizer. He also planted sunflowers alongside them to use as poles instead of buying bamboo sticks. He used the little tiller that he finally got back from the repair shop on the existing rows of pumpkins and cotton. For the first time this year, it didn't need to be sent back to the repair shop, though, it did require frequent removal and cleaning of the tines such that Plant Doc did a lot of hand weeding also.

2015 September 15

Swimmer finished breaking up the garlic cloves, but the house didn't smell as bad since Plant Doc opened the windows this time. The younger chickens clearly weren't happy that we took their stash of a dozen eggs behind the fridge in the garage, since they stop laying there and we haven't been able to find their new spot yet. I think Swimmer is driving the Gator into the ground just like the truck that was supposed to last him twenty years and he is hoping it will last at least five at this point. The Gator engine belt seemed to be scraping against the metal frame and was making a racket. Plant Doc messed with it and it wasn't quite so bad, but it looks like he is going to need the mechanic neighbor to take a look at it. Plant Doc dug furrows for the peas, as well as a row of potatoes, onions, beans, peppermint, and garlic using the Big Green Bucket. At sunset, he looked pretty exhausted carrying 60 3-gallon pots of peppermint back into the row after he had cleaned them up and repotted some. The tricky part was covering the pots back up with the hiller since there was only an inch of space on each side and he had to drive a perfectly straight line with the Big Green Bucket to avoid knocking them over with the frisbees. It is hard enough to do when the pots are firmly in the ground and able to take a few side swipes, but with the loose recently tilled soil it took him a long time to get it right. Well after dark, he covered the potatoes up with the hiller frisbees and hilled the rows for carrots in the annuals field and strawberries in the perennials field, as well as a do-over cucumber row. He cleaned up the hiller and swapped it out with the cultivator, removing the outer sweeps and installing the inner most ones. For the first time ever, he was able to cover the onions and garlic with just enough dirt so that it was neither too shallow or too deep with his idea for using the cultivator instead of the hiller or a hand hoe.

2015 September 14

Swimmer picked up garlic cloves from the food store and banged them around between 2 cereal bowls to break them apart for Plant Doc to use for planting. Plant Doc continued planting in the annuals and started on the perennials field, putting in a few more miles pushing the Jang seeder. He got creative in the garden and spelled the kid's names with sunflowers, onions, and carrots. He then used the grass and lawn seed hand held mini-spreader to randomly seed lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, beets, and herbs around the letters. We will see if the picture develops over the next few months. Hopefully, the grass doesn't take over again before the veggies can spread out.

2015 September 13

Plant Doc planted half of the annuals field using the Jang seeder and looked pretty tired after pushing it for 4 miles. It was twice as far as usual since he planted cover crops between the main crop rows.

2015 September 12

Plant Doc found a dozen eggs behind the fridge in the garage where Sarah Junior and likely a few of the other younger chickens started nesting. At least they don't have to fight Rosie for the purple box by the coops. The circus is back in town! Plant Doc plotted out the perennials field with the little flags. He also finished plotting out the annuals field. He is probably ready for the Big Top now, since he accomplished in a little more than a day what used to take him a week. He was on a roll, so after dark he tilled the garden with the Big Green Bucket and then cleaned up the tiller. Not the wised of ideas since the process involves cutting off the plant debris wrapped tightly around the cylinders connecting 48 very sharp tines using an even sharper long blade knife. Even with the lantern, due to the angle he needed to cut, it was basically equivalent to sharpening mower blades with your eyes closed. Plant Doc was relieved to finish the job with only a single cut on his hand. Afterwards he decided to push it even further and swap out the tiller for the tool bar with the hiller frisbees on the Big Green Bucket in the dark.

2015 September 11

After I threw up this morning, Swimmer harrassed Plant Doc while he was trying to sleep until he caved into her taking me to the vet. I was on Plant Doc's side for this argument and barked my disapproval at Swimmer. Plant Doc was wondering why Swimmer has been making me run top speed along side the Gator for a mile every few hours the last few days, including after I threw up this morning, if she thought I was so sick. He had a valid point, but history has shown that her screaming beats his logic every time and my backing Plant Doc's position by biting her did not work either. The medicine from the vet made me drowsy, so I slept the rest of the day, with the exception of a few more mile runs alongside the Gator. After a long day of work programming on the computer, Plant Doc started his other full-time job working on the farm. He made a small adjustment to the angle of the annuals field and plotted out the borders with the circus flags. He didn't have time before sunset to plot out the inside replicates, so he decided to till the perennials field in the dark for several hours.

2015 September 10

Plant Doc is mowing the lawn and our tire chasing daredevil chicken, Star, likes to get real close as he drives by so that the leaf clippings blow all over her. Swimmer is driving like a crazy woman on the Gator with the lawn sweeper attached. I'm staying inside, but the chickens sure are putting their lives in danger. The orchard hasn't been mowed in almost 2 months, so it was getting a bit out of hand. Plant Doc freaked out when the mower all of a sudden stopped and would start, but not engage the mower blades. Fortunately, it was just a piece of wood that got lodged in one of the blades, so it worked again after he whacked it out with a sledge hammer.

2015 September 9

Plant Doc tilled the annuals field. The wait period was over after the chickens had their medicine so we could start eating the eggs again. Just in time, since Cleo and one of the other younger hens, probably Sarah Junior, just started laying their first eggs. Though, I think the kids preferred being able to break them by throwing them at trees.

2015 September 8

Plant Doc finished frisbee disced the annuals field. He was afraid of what Star might do during such a complicated operation, so he swapped out the discs for the tiller on Big Green Bucket after the chickens had gone into the coop for the night.

2015 September 7

Plant Doc finished plowing the annuals field. Along the way, he salvaged a few tomatillo and a tomato for transplant to the garden. He almost got the Big Green Bucket stuck a few times knocking down the corn and while filling in a few low spots in the fields. While he was cleaning up the plow and switching to the big frisbee discs, Star was getting playful and started an impromptu game of chicken with the Big Green Bucket. Plant Doc finished the day frisbeeing the perennials field.

2015 September 6

Plant Doc finished harvesting what little scraps he was able to get from his summer crop in the annuals field and started to plowed it.

2015 September 5

Plant Doc finished plowing the perennials field and didn't even get the Big Green Bucket stuck. He also removed all the mint pots from the field for cleanup, broken plot replacement, and replacement of dead plants with cuttings from good ones.

2015 September 4

Rocket Boy caught Wild Girl's cold so they got a early start to even a longer weekend. Plant Doc was pleased to see the rain, though, we didn't get as much as he had hoped. Plant Doc said he moved to NC 15 yrs ago to get an extra month of spring and an extra month of fall; not to get 2 more months of summer! Enough already, we have a fall crop to plant!

2015 September 3

Wild Girl was home sick so I spent the day trying to make her feel better. Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day.

2015 September 2

Swimmer under-grilled the okra which left it a lot tougher than Plant Doc will eat, which meant that I got to eat almost all of the little okra that he had harvested. Plant Doc started plowing the perennials field and he sure didn't look like he was having his usual fun driving the Big Green Bucket due to the 90F heat and the bugs jumping all over him and sticking to his skin. He ended his day by getting the Big Green Bucket stuck in the dirt and he had to dig under it with a pick to get it out. His truck using the bucket to raise the tires off the ground and then throwing it into gear helped again. This time it was the hay debris from the small grains getting stuck under the center of the Big Green Bucket and not the tires getting buried.

2015 September 1

The chickens were digging up my sleep spot under my tree and I was not happy about it! They are no longer sticking to their original flocks and all over the place now. They are even hanging out in the garage some and leaving surprises on the steps. Plant Doc was dealing with some computer programming issue so he didn't get out and start plowing the perennials field like he had planned. Just as well since he used all his energy trying to remove some rusted bolts on the cultivator. Rocket Boy was wondering what kind of atomic particles comprised the sparks that were flying in Plant Doc's face when he used the Dremmel tool to remove one of them. He managed to get a second off with the wratchet, but he is going to have to ask the neighbor to use his fire stick to cut off a third. He at least was able to get it to where he could swap the cultivator out to the plow on the Big Green Bucket.

2015 August 31

Plant Doc was glad to see a rainy day and worked on the computer. The chickens sure are getting bold after standing down the Big Green Bucket. They chased the truck for quite a distance when Swimmer left to go to the pool. They almost caught the tires and I was quite impressed.

2015 August 30

Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans while Swimmer and the kids were at the pool. Afterwards, he played another round of chicken with the chickens and it this time it was a draw. He only had to get off the Big Green Bucket once to shoo them, particularly Star, away so he could spot cultivate the annuals field. He also knocked down the weed patch which should have been a strawberry patch, as well as the now dead grains in the perennials field.

2015 August 29

Plant Doc took photos of the annuals field and harvested the basil. It was all on the small side, with the lemon basil doing better than the sweet basil. He also harvested a few cotton balls in the perennials field. Rocket Boy had fun playing with the cotton balls and was intrigued by the idea of growing your clothes. Plant Doc surveyed the annuals field and decided to give the crops that were still producing 2 more weeks before he plowed them up. The only thing that will remain for the fall crop will be the pumpkins and he will need to reseed one of the rows completely and the other 2 partially. He was surprised to see that the second seeding of eggplant had a half decent stand despite being planted through heavy weeds which were later roundup and shot with his spray gun. So he will transplant them to the garden in another week or so. There were even a few stray tomato plants that survived and hopefully they are done producing fruit in the next 2 weeks. Plant Doc pulled the flags in the center of the annuals field and half of the perennials field in preparation for the fall crop. He jumped on the Big Green Bucket for some selective cultivating of full rows in the annuals field. The chickens decided to play a game of chicken with him and they were the clear winners. Plant Doc had to keep getting off the Big Green Bucket to shoo them away from catching worms in the freshly upturned dirt. Star was fearless and would stand inches in front of the tire of the running Big Green Bucket and stare up at him, as if to say, "Excuse me! I'm working here! Please move that thing!"

2015 August 28

Swimmer let the chickens out of the coops one at a time and grabbed them to give them another round of poultry protector spray. No more ticks and the stuff seems to be working since she didn't spot any moving mites. Plant Doc's seed germination tests in the hothouse seemed to be going real well, so he suspects that the stand problems in the fields have been due to a lack of irrigation more than anything else. He even got the herbs to all germinate in the hothouses for the first time. Wild Girl had her friends over after school, but unfortunately Swimmer didn't let me play with them and I was on the front lawn barking for an hour. Just before dark, Plant Doc harvested the few okra and lima beans that were out there. Last year, the okra was as tall as Plant Doc, but this year a toddler could have looked down on it. We have been about 2-3 inches a month behind on rainfall this summer and it sure looked bad out there all around. Plant Doc also harvested the last of the field peas and I thought he was doing the Safety Dance, but it turns out he got swarmed with ants again. He probably should try to eat anything straight in the field after sunset, since he ended up with an ant running around in his mouth that he almost swallowed. Don't know what he was complaining about since the chickens and I find them kind of tasty.

2015 August 27

Swimmer caught Sarah and Rosie to give them another round of poultry protector spray. Rosie seemed to be looking better, but Sarah had a lot of ticks on her. Plant Doc worked on the computer all day. He doubled checked the medicines Swimmer had put in the chicken water a few days ago and saw that the wormer specified that they shouldn't eat the eggs for 2 weeks afterwards. So he put aside the eggs in the fridge for the kids to break after school. He wasn't concerned if 1 or 2 slipped by since the chickens had only drunk a fraction of the water so they definitely did not get the full dose of it anyway. Wild Girl and Rocket Boy sure were happy about breaking those eggs. They need to practice their aim, though, since the only hit the target trees with about half of them and the rest of the eggs rolled into the poison ivy unbroken.

2015 August 26

Plant Doc planted seeds in one of the hothouses as backup plants for the fall crop and he also continued his germination test on all the seeds.

2015 August 25

Swimmer went on another shopping spree so I knew to keep my distance from Plant Doc while he worked on the computer.

2015 August 24

First day of school for the kids and I was sad that they were not around. Plant Doc spent the day on the computer. He was glad that it downpoured, though, unfortunately it happened when the kids buses were arriving.

2015 August 23

While Swimmer was yelling at Rocket Boy to be careful about closing the door, I slipped by her and almost got myself a chicken breakfast. There were five of them just outside and if it weren't for Cleo making a quick decision to fly up high to a branch in a bush, I would have had her. Plant Doc did not look pleased about having to jump out of bed and chase me along with Swimmer and Rocket Boy. Got myself tangled up in the branches and they managed to catch me. The ironic thing was Swimmer was on her way out with the kids to the store to get stuff for the chickens dust bath to get rid of the mites. So she almost got other chickens killed trying to save one. Plant Doc worked on insecticide plans while Swimmer and the kids went shopping and to the pool. He spread diatomaceous earth around the coops and in their dirt bath spot in the barns in an effort to scratch those mites to death. The chickens got a poultry protector spray and then were given their dust bath. They were not happy about getting chased by the kids, turned upside down to be sprayed by Plant Doc, and then poke and prodded in the dust bath by Swimmer. Swimmer must have been itchy herself because she covered herself with more of the dust than the chickens. Afterwards, Rocket Boy held a last day of summer vacation party. After a round of mini-golf and break dancing, Plant Doc went on the Big Green Bucket to cultivate between the wilting cucumbers, melons, squash, and pumpkins. He didn't even bother to take the time to move a few of the tiny melons out of the way of the tires since the plants were so small. He also used it to knock down the grass growing in the failed perlite mulch experiment in the garden.

2015 August 22

Has to be some kind of record that the whole family was gone for a third time this week and I got stuck on the front lawn for most of the day. Plant Doc almost never leaves the farm, but he went to his first water polo match since the Atlanta Olympics almost twenty years ago to see Rocket Boy play a match. Swimmer introduced him to a fellow insane Zebulonian plant guy with a landscaping business who does everything different than all the other farmers and they were chatting away throughout the match. Afterwards, Plant Doc went swimming for the first time this year with the kids while Swimmer did her lessons. Apparently he used to go swimming all the time and had a pool in the backyard when he was growing up, but after years of spending all of his weekends and vacations traveling around the country for Swimmer's swim meets, and even swimming in some of them himself, Plant Doc doesn't like to go near a pool anymore. He did like the water slide, though, and the kids couldn't keep up with him on that even though they can now blow him away in the water. After they got home, he spent the rest of the day working on his insecticide plans for the fall crop. Speaking of insecticides, Plant Doc saw that Rosie had open wounds and boned feathers. He first thought that she was attacked, but at closer look it appeared to be mites, or possibly lice or worms. I wonder if Goldie died from the same thing, though, there was nothing obvious on her feathers when Plant Doc examined her closely after she died.

2015 August 21

It's been a very frustrating day since I tried to chase both the electric meter readers and the plumber when they came to the house with no luck. Plant Doc was trying to figure out bills quickly while Swimmer went on a shopping craze. He noticed that one of the roosts in the younger chickens coop had fallen and for the life of him he couldn't figure out how to hammer it back on without completely disassembling the coop house. He settled for wood gluing it back on and it seemed to hold.

2015 August 20

Plant Doc was dealing with getting the kids set up for their firt day of school next week. He also dropped off soil samples at the ag extension office. Swimmer started adding antibiotics to the chicken water just in case the others were affected by whatever killed Goldie.

2015 August 19

Another sad day on the farm. Wild Girl's prettiest chicken Goldie passed away. She didn't seem to have her usual energy the last few days and Plant Doc has been keeping an eye on her, but there were no visible cold symptoms or anything. She was out and about this morning, but when Plant Doc didn't see her with the flock this afternoon he got concerned and went looking for her. She had gone back into the coop house, which she never does during the day, and was found lying there. Swimmer cleaned up the coop and put antibiotics in the chicken waters while Plant Doc buried her./p>

2015 August 18

I thought he was trying to plant Chinese food, but rather Plant Doc took soil samples around the farm into little paper boxes.He also planted seeds in one of the hothouses as backup plants for the fall crop and he also started on his germination test on all the seeds even the ones that are done for the year.

2015 August 17

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer again. After dark, Goldie's flock of 6 younger chickens were squeezed in tight in the coop and he saw that there was just enough room for Moonlight's flock of 4 older chickens on the roost. So early next spring, he is going to start getting them to squeeze in together in a single coop to open up the other one for a new batch of 10 chicks in the spring. He is relieved since putting young chicks in with older chickens is always a bit dangerous since the little ones will get pecked.

2015 August 16

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer.

2015 August 15

Plant Doc had a special event at the Rolesville Farmer's Market, Rocket Boy had a water polo match, and Swimmer went to the pool so for the first time in months the entire family was gone and I spent the morning on the front lawn. He was relieved to hear from other growers just how bad their crops were likewise doing due to the heat and dry spring and summer. Afterwards, Swimmer took her usual nap which always put mine to shame and called it a day, while Plant Doc got to work. He planted seeds in 2 of the hothouses as backup plants for the fall crop and he also started on his germination test on all the seeds even the ones that are done for the year.

2015 August 14

Plant Doc packed up the truck for a special event at the Rolesville Farmer's Market tomorrow. Swimmer took the kids to a birthday party while Plant Doc worked on the computer and I took a nap on the floor next to him trying to slip in some blogging whenever he took a bathroom break. I should have taken a bathroom break myself instead of trying to hold it and Plant Doc was not pleased when I peed on the floor. He must have stood there for 2 minutes while I went and was not happy about having to clean it up. First time I've ever done when someone was home and able to let me get outside. Those darn antibiotics are messing with my system, but at least I'm not sick anymore.

2015 August 13

At least there is one good thing about the hot dry weather since May, Plant Doc has been able to get away with mowing the lawn only every 3 weeks. This time it's been so dry, that he only needed to mow half the lawn today and didn't have to mess with the hard part, the future orchard, which is usually the equivalent to riding a bunking bronco.

2015 August 12

Plant Doc harvested the southern peas and the lemon basil. He was not happy with the size of the plants at all. He started getting a few things ready for the fall crop, since the summer was a bust.

2015 August 11

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer again. I'm feeling better and ready to blog, but was only able to slip in this sentence.

2015 August 10

I am feeling a lot better and went for a run next to Swimmer driving the Gator. Wish she would stop looking at her phone since I'm a little afraid of getting run over. Rocket Boy had orientation at his new school and Wild Girl was very upset about thinking about having to go back to school. Plant Doc spent the day on the computer again, but he sure looked happy that it finally rained. Wild Girl told me about the neighbor's 2 little piggies and I must say that kid sure is a fast runner considering everything...oh wait, she was talking about baby pigs.

2015 August 10

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer again. At least he took a break to watch a movie with the kids about a dragon and a little furry guy with a ring.

2015 August 9

Plant Doc spent all day and night working on the computer again. I'm finally starting to feel better.

2015 August 8

Swimmer got impatient trying to close the little table for the farmers market and busted a leg. Plant Doc tried using a solder to fix it to no avail. Plant Doc pretty much called the summer crop a bust and started getting things ready for the fall crop. He got the flats ready in the hothouses including a new germination test on all of his seeds in a set of display flats for showing all of his crops.

2015 August 7

Swimmer took me to the vet and it looks like I may have pneumonia. I liked the echo of my bark in the waiting room and based upon the reponse so did the other dogs. Plant Doc surveyed the crops and it didn't look good. It's been way too hot and dry since May and the melons, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, and pumpkins have been in a permanent state of wilting since germination with only a few days of relief with a little rain. Many of the seedlings died in June just after germination and his attempt at reseeding in July was a complete disaster with almost all the seedlings dying or no germination at all. The basil has bolted even though the plants are still very small. The tobacco looked pretty raggity and also bolted early. The cotton plants look a little better, but are rather small. The turfgrass is looking pretty dry. The corn leaves are so dry you would think it was late Fall when they normally die off, but at least there was a decent stand. The southern peas had a poor stand, but the ones that grew seem to be handling the heat better than any of the other crops.

2015 August 6

Plant Doc spent another long day on the computer. Rosie is now a true free range chicken and is hanging out with both her old flock and the new chicks both during the day and at night.

2015 August 5

Plant Doc finally booked me a vet appointment for later in the week. He said that he's had enough of the Zebulonian vet's bad and expensive diagnoses, so copied my records and sent them to the newly discovered hidden vet nearby in Bunn. Can't get him off the computer again.

2015 August 4

The neighbors kids came over to play as a change to Wild Girl always just going over there. After a seemlingly frustrating day on the computer, Plant Doc harvested the rye in the perennials field. The birds had already eaten the wheat, oats, barley, and triticale last month before he was able to harvest them, so there wasn't much left of the grains. He tried out the scythe, but he still has to buy a foot pedaled thresher, so he had to cut the grain heads with scissors and it was easier if the plants were still standing up. For threshing, he tried his chains on a rod with a drill in a 5 gallon bucket contraption, but that didn't work very well. So he put the grain heads in a kitchen garbage bag, beat it with a hammer, banged it with a shoe, wacked it against a wall, let the kids hit each other with it, and crush it with his fingers...still didn't work well and most of the grain did not come off the head. After removing the remaining heads with most of the grain still stuck, he put a fan outside and winnowed the grain by pouring it from one bucket to another with a fan blowing on it...this worked pretty good. After he and the kids tried some, he gave the rye to the chickens since Swimmer was not game for trying to make flour and rye bread from it. Probably not a great idea anyway, since he did not use any fungicides and while he didn't spot any ergot black fungal sclerotia, he didn't want to take the chance of anybody hallicinating and screaming from St. Elmos Fire. Swimmer also didn't want to be burned at the stake for being a witch.

2015 August 3

Plant Doc was on the computer all day and all night and I'm still sick...still!

2015 August 2

Plant Doc was on the computer all day and I'm still sick.

2015 August 1

I thought Plant Doc was going to never get off the computer, but at the end of the day he went on the Big Green Bucket and cultivated the annuals and perennials fields. The chicks saw the opportunity for some freshly dug up worms and were getting a bit too close to the Big Green Bucket.

2015 July 31

Swimmer took the kids to Raleigh for the day, so Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and spent the day on the computer. Still sick! Fortunately, Swimmer picked up some cold medicine to ease my symptoms.

2015 July 30

It snowed in the garden! Oh, wait, Plant Doc put down a whole bunch of those tiny little white rocks that he normally mixes into the hothouse flats. The garbage bags they were in have been in the sun for months next to the barn and many of them melted, so he had quite the time getting the perlite out of the bags and into the garden cart. He also put the hundreds of empty soda bottles drunk by Swimmer that were also next to the barn into new garbage bags. He got an additional tarp from the shed and covered them a little better this time. Plant Doc had quite the productive day in the field and also fixed a few broken boards on the fence, finished refilling the flats in the hothouses with potting mix, and put out the little laminated cards with the crop varieties in the first row of the annuals and perennials fields. Swimmer put the garlic cloves she bought from the food store into a plastic bag and beat them senseless. Plant Doc took the individual cloves and planted them into the garlic row in the perennials field. He used the hiller on the Big Green Bucket to cover them a little better. While he was at it, he rehilled the weed ridden strawberry rows and mint pots in the perennials field.

2015 July 29

Still sick and feeling lowsy. Plant Doc still on the computer. I wonder if he slept on his keyboard.

2015 July 28

I have a nasty cold or possibly the flu and feel horrible! I've been coughing and spitting up all day. I don't understand why the kids get all grossed up when I lick it back up. Plant Doc was on the computer all day and evening.

2015 July 27

Plant Doc round up the weeds in the hothouses, around the house, around the fields, in the strawberry, mint, cotton, and tobacco rows of the perennials fields, and between the Cucurbita plants and the high weeds in the annuals field then shot him with his spray gun.

2015 July 26

Plant Doc put in chemicals in the pond and Rocket Boy's fish tank. He transplanted the remaining seedlings in the hothouses to the garden, the perennials field, and flower beds then cleaned up all the flats to get the ready for seeding.

2015 July 25

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer and I spent the day sleeping on the couch with Wild Girl while Swimmer was at a championship swim meet with Rocket Boy.

2015 July 24

Plant Doc spent most the day on the computer, but he still managed to squeeze in planting the lost season crops and herbs in the perennials field. He also planted onions between the tomato rows in the garden and took pictures of each row in the annuals and perennials fields.

2015 July 23

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer after it rained hard.

2015 July 22

Plant Doc mowed the lawn. The zero point mower was sounding rather beat up and he is hoping it will hold up for a few more mows this year and will have it repaired over the winter. Looks like he is going to need to do the same with the lawn sweeper since it was not working well. Swimmer needs to stop driving like a maniac and cut the thing a break. When he went to do his usual cleanup of the mower with the leaf blower pull cord broke, so at that to the list of things that need fixing.

2015 July 21

Plant Doc spent the day on the computer since Swimmer took the kids to a movie and a swim meet. He was not happy when she drove all over the place instead of a straight route on her errands. She did pick up a replacement knob for the bucket control on the Big Green Bucket.

2015 July 20

Plant Doc reseeded the corn by hand and the rest of the annuals field, excluding the cucumbers, squash, zucchini, melons, and pumpkins, using the Jang seeder. He missed his window for planting sweet potato slips so he put in 2 rows of broccoli, which he has been having trouble with the last 2 springs. There were only a few days since the beginning of May where the ground was wet enough for more than a day where he would have had any chance of the sweet potato transplants of surviving and he just wasn't able to pull it off. He also planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and broccoli on hilled rows in the garden since the transplants originally planted in the hothouse in the annuals field mostly died from the heat and it's unlikely that the reseeded plants will mature in time before he needs to plant the fall crop of lettuce.

2015 July 19

It was still rather wet in the fields and rained a little more, so Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans.

2015 July 18

Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans. He also planted the pumpkins and reseeded the winter squash. A thunderstorm came through in the middle of the day and the plants sure did look happy after getting a drenching.

2015 July 17

The poor cucumbers, melons, and squash are wilting badly in the field and many of them have died. Plant Doc does not look happy about the lousy stand either. Next year he is going to have to try the Hoss seeder for those big seeds since the Jang seeder did not work well. It's a little late, but he is reseeding them by hand today anyway.

2015 July 16

Plant Doc fixed the flags where he had used the cultivator to clear the crops in the fields and the weeds had gotten out of control. He used the frisbee discs on the Big Green Bucket to create hills in the perennials field, as well as for the pumpkins in the annuals field. He finished the day hand weeding with his scuffle hoe. I believe he has finally conceded defeat and decided to use herbicides next year. He is still going to use the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket to get 2/3rds of the weeds, but the foot or so directly in the crop row takes just too much work. He just can't take weeding an acre (out of 3 acres) every few weeks using a hoe. It's taking too much of his time. It's going to be quite a challenge this winter figuring out what herbicides he can use for more than a hundred different crops in close proximity with multiple rotations each year.

2015 July 15

Plant Doc spent the day and the evening and the middle of the night working on the computer so no chance to blog.

2015 July 14

Plant Doc was invited by some national organization of plant killers to have dinner with graduate students from around the country and discuss careers in plant killing, especially his rather bizarre computer programming by day farmer by eve story. He also got a behind the scenes tour of one of the chemical and seed companies that he has gotten donations from and also saw their bee research center. He was glad to make new contacts and meet with colleagues, but the thing he bragged about most, after a week of eating nothing but farm eggs and potatoes because Swimmer took all the food in the house to her vacation to the beach, was the expensive steak dinner he got for free.

2015 July 13

Swimmer took the truck to be fixed since it's been stalling a lot. Plant Doc seemed to be having a pretty lousy day all around and was frustrated that he did not accomplish much. He never did get out in the field and he seemed to be having trouble figuring something out on the computer.

2015 July 12

Plant Doc cultivated the annuals field and it was looking a lot better. He also cultivated the perennials field and had to deal with a few rows of out of control weeds.

2015 July 11

Plant Doc dug up the onions, which didn't bulb well and were mostly a loss, and cultivated the out of control weeds. He sure was wishing he had just tilled the 4 rows of seedlings last month instead of letting them, and the tall weeds, go. He looked pretty exhausted dragging piles of weeds out of the field rather than having to plow, disc, and till such a small portion of the field.

2015 July 10

Swimmer learned that the mother of the greenhouse guy down the road was having a yard sale and that the neighbors could sell there also. Don't understand why anyone would sell their yard and keep their house. Plant Doc better make sure that Swimmer doesn't sell our yard! She did only take a few boxes of produce with her, so I guess we are safe. Plant Doc looked like he was going to pass out in the annuals field weeding with the broken tiller attachment for the trimmer. He had a hard time finding the tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings amidst the weed seedlings so he only put a few colored flags in the field as a guide and had to rely upon the original white flags. He was messing with the little tiller trying to get it to start, but didn't have much luck. Plant Doc also harvested the cabbage in the perennials field, though, by the looks of it the bugs beat him to it and most of it is going to the chickens.

2015 July 9

Swimmer and the kids finally got home from their vacation to the beach. Plant Doc finally got off the computer and started weeding right next to the rows in the annuals field using the little tiller. Unfortunately, by the end of the day he was fighting to get it to start again.

2015 July 8

Swimmer and the kids still on vacation to the beach. Plant Doc continued to take advantage of the quiet house on the computer.

2015 July 7

Swimmer enjoyed her day with the kids on a vacation to the beach. Plant Doc continued to take advantage of the quiet house on the computer.

2015 July 6

Swimmer took the kids on a vacation to the beach, so I'm sad that they aren't around. Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and is back on the computer.

2015 July 5

Swimmer went for a long bike ride to the pool and as soon as she left, I asked Plant Doc to finally let me out of the house so I could snooze under my tree. Plant Doc fixed the white flags and re-plotted the perennials field. He used the little push tiller to kill the baby weeds in the annuals field and better mark where the rows of baby seedlings are before he goes in there with the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket.

2015 July 4

The kids keep saying it's the 4th of July, as if I kept asking them the date. Yesterday was the 3rd of July and no one made a big deal about it. It sure got noisy at night and Swimmer lit some sparklers in the garden. Plant Doc finally spent the day out in the field and got off the computer. He transplanted the hothouse tomatoes into the annuals field, event though they were kind of puny looking. He really could use a temperature and light controlled greenhouse instead of dealing with the either too hot or too shaded hothouses. Most of the tomatillos, eggplant, and peppers got fried to a crisp a few months ago before he put the shade covers on, but he did have a few stragglers out left. Fortunately, unlike the tomatoes, he had a decent stand for them in the annuals field, so it wasn't ask big a deal. He is still holding out hope that the tomatoe seeds will germinate or that the seedlings are just to small for him to spot. Plant Doc also thinned the corn, beans, and peas seedlings in the annuals field. He sure takes his, "I kill plants!" motto seriously. He checked out the rest of the seedlings planted 2 weeks ago and took note of what rows needed to have the gaps filled in.

2015 July 3

A work holiday, but Plant Doc is still working on the computer. On and off rain so it wasn't a good day to work in the field.

2015 July 2

Plant Doc still hogging the computer. If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm Lucky to be able to squeeze in a few sentences on the computer lately. Rain tonight again.

2015 July 1

Plant Doc still hogging the computer. At the end of the day, he managed to get the chicks to sit on the roost in the coop by putting them up there one at a time with his hands. He wasn't able to get Claudine and Cleo up there, though. He decided to do that after Goldie kept trying to jump up on the edge of the inside of the coop and kept crashing.

2015 June 30

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 29

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 28

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 27

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 26

Plant Doc still hogging the computer. I broke my collar and had a nice run around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, Plant Doc had already put the chickens away since it looked like heavy rain was coming.

2015 June 25

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 24

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 23

Plant Doc still hogging the computer.

2015 June 22

Plant Doc has some big project he needs to get done on the computer, so he hogged it all day and through the middle of the night. I think he was relieved to not feel like he needed to work out in the heatwave again.

2015 June 21

Plant Doc used the Jang push seedder to spread urea fertilizer as a side dress to the corn, beans, southern peas, and soybeans in the annuals field. I told him I had it covered, but he didn't listen. He then planted the cucumbers, melons, cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, and zucchini on the hills he created yesterday on half of the annuals field. Looks like the Jang seeder has trouble with those large seeds since he was clearly frustrated that he was either getting too few seeds or too many seeds depending upon his roller choice. He did quite a bit of supplemental hand planting and slow filling the hopper and is keeping his paws crossed that the stand is okay. So the only things left to plant in the annuals field for the summer crop are the pumpkins (after the onions are done) and the sweet potatoes (after he gets the slips).

2015 June 20

Plant Doc played musical chairs with the attachments on the Big Green Bucket today. He tilled part of the perennials field and the garden. Cleaned it up and switched it out. He hilled half the annuals field and shallow covered the corn, peas, and beans with the hiller frisbees. Cleaned it up and switched it out. He hooked up the cultivator. The chickens were looking like their heads were spinning with all the activity and fortunately Plant Doc was able to trick the chicks into the coop early to keep them out of harms way. Careful what you wish for. Plant Doc's rain dance has brought 3 inches of rain the last 3 days and it just keeps coming every night. After weeks of dealing with dry dust fields, he had to be extremely careful not to get the tractor stuck in the mud.

2015 June 19

Plant Doc was overjoyed that his rain dance last night worked and the fields were thoroughly soaked, but not too muddy. He planted half of the annuals field with the Jang push seeder and finished just in time for another after dark thunderstorm. This time he is hoping for just some rain since he needs to be able to take the tractor through the fields tomorrow.

2015 June 18

Plant Doc decided to avoid yet another day of unbearable heat given the 100F weather forecast and tilled the annuals field till past midnight. Swimmer and the kids were gone all afternoon so he took advantage of the quiet house to do computer work. He also worked on his treatment marker twine sticks. Just after dark it started to lightning and after nothing materialized yesterday from the same, Plant Doc decided to throw in a bit of good measure and scream to the heavens from the middle of the annuals field, "Do not again bypass this land! Dampen the dust beneath my feet! Bring life to this barren field! Let it rain!!!". Seems to have done the trick, though, I think I may have overdone it and I'm a little concerned about these hail and flood warnings now with the kids not home from the pool yet.

2015 June 17

Another scorcher today, but at least it was 10F cooler than yesterday. Plant Doc sucked down a gallon of iced tea plotting out the annuals field in the afternoon and finished in the dark since he was going at about half his usual pace. It's looking less like a dry barren wasteland and more like the usual circus of flags. Wild Girl had science camp and swim team again, but Rocket Boy hung out with me today.

2015 June 16

Plant Doc decided to avoid another day of unbearable heat on the Big Green Bucket given the 102F weather forecast and tilled the annuals field till past midnight. Swimmer and the kids were gone all afternoon so he took advantage of the quiet house to do computer work. He also worked on his treatment marker twine sticks. I got a hold of one of them and it was quite tasty. Even the angry bird took a break from attacking the house due to the heat.

2015 June 15

Plant Doc is frisbee discing the annuals field and it is another insanely hot day. At least this time the bugs aren't jumping on him. He is going back and forth between the field and working on the computer so that he doesn't get too over heated. He almost had to call the farmer down the road for another Big Green Bucket tow out. The frisbees dug got stuck and he sunk the back wheels of the Big Green Bucket a foot deep. He tried to release the frisbee discs from the hitch, but there was too much pressure on them. He wasn't able to dig himself out and as a last resort used the truck jack to raise the frisbee discs a few inches so that he could disconnect it from the Big Green Bucket. He was then able to drive the Big Green Bucket out of the hole and use the big bucket to fill in the hole and push the frisbee discs higher. It took a little effort to hook it back up since it was off kilter, but he was finally able to do it and get back to discing. Some kids in a golf cart drove through the path in the future orchard where the silt fences used to be and around the perennials field. Plant Doc went to find out who they were and introduce himself, but he scared them off. The neighbor's oldest kid came by a few minutes later and explained that it was just some friends of his, so Plant Doc gave them the all clear. They actually did him a favor by knocking down the grass and making the path through the back to the other neighbor's pond drivable so he gave it a go with the Gator. Plant Doc used some freshly disced turn to fill in the one final large pothole on the edge of the perennials field and fortunately he did not get stuck down there. He also filled in a few erosion spots along the edge of the annuals field. After cleaning up the frisbee discs, he played the chase away a chicken game while switching the Big Green Bucket to the tiller. It was so hot outside that he was actually able to match Swimmers usual daily 6L+ soda intake with iced tea mix.

2015 June 14

Plant Doc is plowing the annuals field, the garden, and part of the the perennials field. Not sure which is worse, the 95F heat or the millions of bugs jumping on him and sticking to his skin. He looks like he is trying to dance sitting on the Big Green Bucket swatting them off. I was so sleepy today on the couch that Wild Girl checked to make sure I wasn't dead. She got bored with me, so Plant Doc took her to play with the neighbor for the entire afternoon. While he was there, Plant Doc saw that the neighbor had a fire torch and asked if he could cut off a bent rusted bolt on the big frisbee discs where it attaches to the hitch on the Big Green Bucket. After she got back from the pool with Rocket Boy, Plant Doc had Swimmer chase chicks away while he switched the Big Green Bucket to the big frisbee discs. It was a little crazy and a bit dangerous moving those blades around while they were scurrying around. He frisbee disced the garden and part of the perennials field. At the end of the day, Plant Doc drove the Big Green Bucket over to the neighbor to cut off that rusted bolt. He had to avoid digging up their grass and scratching up their driveway on the way over since the frisbee discs hang pretty low. It was a tough one to get off and the neighbor had to cut a fraction of an inch into the frisbee discs frame to get it off. After the frame cooled down and the small fire in the grass below stop burning, Plant Doc helped him put on the new bolt.

2015 June 13

Swimmer tried to sell some produce at the Rolesville Farmer's Market after the pool, but didn't have much luck. Plant Doc finished harvesting the potatoes via 3 passes with the potato harvester, then switched the Big Green Bucket to the plow. He got a little plowing done before it was too dark out. It was the first weekend of summer for the kids and it sure did feel like it...it was hot! Sarah Junior looked like she was having a little trouble with the heat, so Plant Doc and her cooled off a little in the play house. Swimmer put frozen water filled soda bottles in the coops to keep the girls cool. It was even too hot for Rosie to stay in her purple box all day.

2015 June 12

Swimmer and the kids went to Raleigh and the pool for the day, so Plant Doc focused on computer work. A little too focused, I'd say, since it started to downpour and it took several minutes for him to remember that I was out in the rain. Soup! I smell soup! Plant Doc prepared a gallon of his vegetable soup broth. It sure smelled and tasted a lot better this year with the addition of the summer savory and dill. Something still missing, though, and it sure isn't Campbell's quality....oh well, maybe next time.

2015 June 11

School's out for summer! Last day of elementary school for Rocket Boy. Seems only yesterday he was waiting for the bus for the first day of kindergarten....oh wait, that was years before I was born...seems like a long time ago he was waiting for the bus for the first day of kindergarten. Plant Doc harvested the rest of the carrots and Rex was pleased at the yield. He has always had trouble with the potato harvester on our clay soil when it was dry so he used the carrot undercutter on them first before switching to the potato harvester doing multiple passes to harvest each row.

2015 June 10

Plant Doc brought bouquets of carrots to the school for the kid's teachers. When he took Wild Girl to play at the neighbors, he tried some of the turnips and rutabaga he gave them pressure cooked and they tasted like sweet potatoes. He continued to harvest the carrots and cut the small ones up for soup. He regretted having undercut a few rows that he didn't have the chance to harvest last night since the tops wilted badly and it made it much harder to harvest. Fortunately, he had missed a row yesterday so it was only half of the carrots that had wilted tops upon harvest.

2015 June 9

Plant Doc used the Big Green Bucket carrot undercutter to harvest the turnips, rutabaga, and the carrots. He still has a way to go on getting the carrots out of the field. He played Santa again and delivered more veggies to the neighbors. He also was able to cut off that stubborn bolt on the toolbar using the Dremel tool. Swimmer took the kids to a swim meet where they mocked each other...seems kind of nasty to me.

2015 June 8

Plant Doc cultivated the perennials field, as well as the last few unharvested rows in the annuals field. He then added the extra sweeps to the cultivator and knocked down most of the weeds and the crops. He switched the Big Green Bucket hitch to use the carrot undercutter for the first time. He never got around to that since he was fighting to remove the rusted bolts on the toolbar for the hiller....the bolts won. Try again tomorrow on the last stubborn one. The new bolts were just a little too big for the holes in the toolbar, so he used the Dremel tool to widen them a little...until he ran out of battery. So in the end, Plant Doc was not too pleased and I heard quite a bit of screaming and cursing in the dark as I waited on the front lawn for Swimmer and the kids to come home from the pool and bring me in.

2015 June 7

Swimmer and Rocket Boy tried selling some veggies at the end of the driveway to get her some swimming gas money. They struck out. Plant Doc tried to finish harvesting the root crops, but the ground was just too dry to get the rutabaga, so he decided he would use the Big Green Bucket potato harvester attachment on them. He donated the veggies to the Zebulonian food bank and sold the hay bale spear so the driveway was busy today. He also picked up all the white flags out of the annuals field so that he could start plowing the field. He won't be knocking down the onions which still have another month to go and can take their time since the pumpkins will follow and Plant Doc doesn't want August pumpkins again this year. After dark, he remembered he had promised Rocket Boy to harvest the few volunteer sunflowers that produce a seed head in time before he needed to plow the field.

2015 June 6

Plant Doc finished harvesting the lettuce and other greens today. He played Santa again delivering some more veggies sampler bags to a few more neighbors. The chicks are starting to be let out for the entire day now. Though, Cleo almost put an end to their recent free ranging when Plant Doc couldn't find her after dark when he went to lock up. She was 9 ft up on the side of the barn. Some Egyptian horse won a crown that hasn't been won since Plant Doc was around Rocket Boy's age.

2015 June 5

Drying out in the fields, so Plant Doc worked on the computer all day. He did take advantage of the muddy ground to pull up the long white radishes that he has been unable to harvest up till now.

2015 June 4

Rain again, so Plant Doc worked on the computer all day and all evening and into the middle of the night and almost to morning.

2015 June 3

Plant Doc went to meetings and delivered the produce he picked for his computer programming co-workers. He also dropped them several more bags off at the airport for the soldiers at the USO. He definitely made a few heads turn when he unloaded garbage bags instead of luggage and gave them to a USO lady with a shopping cart. Everyone was relieved that Rocket Boy got through the last of his final exams at school without getting himself in trouble. I'm so glad they don't have to do any more homework after school! Can't wait till they are out till summer.

2015 June 2

Rain at last! Plant Doc is very pleased and it came on a day when Swimmer is away for the day playing Mrs. Claus in Raleigh so he has a nice quiet house for computer work. It's a good thing the Zebulonian food bank guy never showed up because Plant Doc would have never gotten the opportunity to harvest for his computer programming co-workers. He did squeeze in harvesting a bag of mustard and a bag of Kale for them at dusk. He also got some labels ready for his twine treatment markers.

2015 June 1

Plant Doc harvested another 12 garbage bags full of sampler veggies and Swimmer played Mrs. Claus distributing them to local restaurants, the police, fire department, and the pool. He also harvested another 5 bags of lettuce for a Zebulonian food bank, but the guy never showed up. Good think we have all those empty soda bottles since when frozen they are good for keeping the produce cool that there is no room for in the refrigerators.

2015 May 31

Plant Doc harvested 6 garbage bags full of sampler veggies and gave them to some neighbors and friends. He needs to clear everything except the carrots and onions out by next weekend so that he can plant the summer crop on time. He then harvested another 6 bags full for Swimmer to give to local restaurants, the police, and fire fighters in the morning. Swimmer asked me to add a comment about a tick removal trick she learned using a cotton ball soaked with liquid soap. I refused to post the disgusting picture, though. Haven't seen anything like that since the maggot fly photos.

2015 May 30

Plant Doc harvested some more veggies and let the chicks roam for the first time, though, they didn't go very far. He took lots of photographs of the crops including closeups for disease and insect assessments from the comfort of the office. At dusk he harvested turnips and the kids were excited about the 3 pounder prize turnip.

2015 May 29

Rocket Boy has his big science test today and didn't get in trouble so that was a relief. Plant Doc was still working on the computer till the middle of the night trying to get a project finally finished so that he could mow the lawn today...such a treat and he enjoyed it so much....yes, dogs can be sarcastic. Swimmer did her usual driving the Gator with the sweeper with one hand while staring at the phone with the other. Swimmer took the kids to swim practice and when they got home, Wild Girl told me about how a truck went flying down the road and ran a golf cart full of teenagers off the road right in front of our driveway. The golf cart flipped, but fortunately no one was too badly hurt. Plant Doc had just screamed at Swimmer a few hours earlier for using the middle of the street to turn the Gator around with the kids in it. Hopefully, she's learned something after seeing those teenagers almost get killed.

2015 May 28

Plant Doc was hogging the computer all day.

2015 May 27

Rosie is being a hot head again and they need to keep pulling her out of her egg laying bucket. Plant Doc spent the day working on the computer wondering when the rain was going to happen. It finally downpoured for a few minutes at the end of the day just as he was looking at the weather forecast which showed 0% chance of precipitation.

2015 May 26

Plant Doc took photos of the potatoe plots. Looks like a bunch of skeletons. The neighbors came over and harvested some veggies for themselves while Plant Doc figured out his U-Pick strategy. He also removed the twine markers from the potatoes and carrots.

2015 May 25

The kids are off school from some holiday about remembering or something like that...I can't remember. Swimmer was steaming veggies all day until she forgot to add water to the pot and stank up the kitchen. I sure like that Pak Choi. Plant Doc finished harvesting the spinach. He also harvested lettuce, mustard, cabbage, radishes, kohlrabhi, and lots of Pak Choi. He thinned the onion sets and harvested them as spring onions/

2015 May 24

Plant Doc started the day with Swimmer screaming about a snake in the chicken coop...and then again 15 min after bagging the first one. Those mouse sticky traps sure work well. Plant Doc couldn't even change a light bulb without a break; the bulb separated from the base so he had to go crazy to get the metal part out of the socket without electrocuting himself. At least the vaccuumn sealer trick with the ziplock bags and the sandwich bag end for airflow worked for sealing the freezer bags for the Pak Choi; will save a lot of money from buying the expensive FoodSaver bags. Plant Doc never did get back outside since he was messing around with an iPad app for recording notes and data in the field until he gets the chance to create his own custom app.

2015 May 23

Plant Doc finally updated the website with produce stand information and crops available for U-Pick harvesting. He finished harvesting chinese cabbage and salad raab. He also harvested lettuce, spinach, arugula, mustard, cabbage, and persian cress.

2015 May 22

Plant Doc took the kids to a balloon festival in Zebulon. I thought he meant a few of the little balloons like they have at the birthday party, but it turned out to be giant ones that fly people into the sky. The kids were running up and touching the balloons as they were launching into the air. Holy Zebulonian traffic jams...way too many people at the balloon festival and the buses couldn't even get through to take people from the baseball stadium to the farm that it was being held on. Everybody started walking a mile along the edge of the highway, including Plant Doc and the kids, only they were doing it to get out of there.

2015 May 21

Plant Doc was relieved that we finally got some rain for those thirsty veggies in the field.

2015 May 20

Plant Doc took a break from the crop fields and hogged the computer all day.

2015 May 19

Plant Doc put on his space suit again and finished spraying the potatoes, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and mustard blocks. He also sprayed the one cabbage row in the perennials field. This time, he almost did pass out for real and caught himself at the last minute.

2015 May 18

At Plant Doc's insistence, Swimmer painted white a few more political signs to be used as farm signs to replace the ones she lost. Plant Doc put his colored tape twine sticks out in the field and got things ready for spraying pesticides. He put together the new pump sprayers and got the portable pesticide mixing garden cart cleaned up. He took a long time to do final pesticide calculations and wasn't able to get out there until the kids got home. He only got half way through spraying organic and synthetic pesticide in the potatoes, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and mustard blocks. At least he got everything mixed so finishing up will go faster in the morning. He looked like a space man in his white suit and respirator. Apparently, his endurance for wearing a respirator isn't what it used to be and he looked like he was going to pass out after the first 2 hours.

2015 May 17

Plant Doc took pictures of each crow row rep in the annuals field. He then spent the day measuring off his colored tape twine sticks. Once again, he didn't get very far and has a long way to go. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to the pool for water polo while I snuggled with Wild Girl on the couch.

2015 May 16

Rocket Boy went to the pool with Swimmer, then when they got home they grabbed Wild Girl and went to an air show an hour away the opposite direction. I wonder if Plant Doc will get to use his truck very much before Swimmer drives it into the ground like his last few cars. Plant Doc figured out the legal liabilities for having outside Yappers on the farm for U-Pick veggies, farm tours, kids field scouting, and guided research plot walks. Farmers in the past must have paid off a lot of politicians since they seem to be exempt from a lot of federal and state regulations. He created another street sign for the selling produce on the farm using a painted over political sign and put it at the end of the driveway.

2015 May 15

Plant Doc created a street sign for the selling produce on the farm using a painted over political sign and put it at the end of the driveway. It looked pretty good, though, I'm not sure how easily it can be read by a car driving by.

2015 May 14

Plant Doc harvested some lettuce, spinach, cabbage, chinese cabbage, persian cress, salad raab, and arugula. He gave Rex a lovely bouquet of yellow salad raab flowers. I bit him when he didn't bring me anything. I took Rocket Boy for a walk on the leash around the farm. Unfortunately he put the chickens away before we started.

2015 May 13

While mowing the lawn, Plant Doc concluded that evolution got it wrong and humans need a tail! It sure looks hard driving a zero point mower while swatting relentless May flies. He was driving like Swimmer with the sweeper, who also got attacked and her hand swelled up. They sure don't know what they are missing...I don't even need to put on bug spray. Boy, why does he even bother since the stuff grows back so quickly anyway.

2015 May 12

The plumber came and mostly fixed the leak in the bathroom sink so that Plant Doc doesn't need to keep emptying the water bucket every few hours. Plant Doc was able to unload a bunch of arugula and other veggies on him so it seemed like a fair trade. Plant Doc went back to tranplanting spinach and broccoli seedlings from the hothouses to the annuals field. I got away from Swimmer when she was taking me back into the house from the front lawn and had a nice run around the neighborhood. It was getting dark so I came in on my own and the chickens were already in their coops anyway. I seen a deer frozen in car headlights, but I've never seen a frog frozen in them. Plant Doc was pulling the Gator into the garage after dark and there was a frog by the garage steps that just froze staring at the approaching lights and peed all over the floor.

2015 May 11

The kids found out that their cousin was a character in a new children's book. I wonder if he can do magic or something cool in it like that kid with the funny hat and the wand. After they got home, Plant Doc got off the computer finally and transplanted the rest of the lettuce in the hothouses to the bare spots in the rows of the annuals field. He better quicken the pace on transplanting or he'll be needing to plant the next crop before he gets them in the ground. Late at night after Plant Doc finally finished working, he took me outside one last time and a frog slipped in the door. I learned last year not to bite a frog or you'll end up with a frothing mouth so I kept my distance and just pawed at it. Plant Doc sure looked silly trying to catch a frog on a fly swatter. It kept jumping off and eventually he was able to shoo it out the door.

2015 May 10

Plant Doc was relieved that we finally got some rain. He spent the day wrapping and measuring off twine with a piece of wood with nails on the ends. He would then put colored duct tape pieces after every length and tied a small wooden stake at the end. He is going to use them to mark off the treatment rows within each block and the colors correspond to the treatment randomization for each of the 4 reps of each crop row. He sure has a long a way to go and only got through a fraction of the blocks after an entire day working on it. The kids went with swimmer to the pool and played water polo.

2015 May 9

Plant Doc now has a few potential volunteer programmers for his plant disease predictive software development. When Swimmer and Rocket Boy were at the pool, he wrote up some background information and programming philosophy e-mails for them. Last night's rain didn't pan out and the field's were bone dry, so he had to abandon his attempt to do some more weeding since it was just too hard to do and was disturbing the plants too much. He switched gears and went around the entire farm putting out fire ant bait. Die you nasty bugs! He also cleaned up the waterfall pond and put in another round of chemicals.

2015 May 8

Plant Doc went to sell produce at the farmer's market, but didn't have much luck. He did make a few good contacts and picked up a pesticide storage sign for the shed from the ag extension office. Yet another broken thing in the house. The faucet in the master bedroom is not serviceable and has been leaking on the cold water side for a few weeks. He noticed a wet spot in the ceiling by the front door and it has been raining in the downstairs coat closet. Plant Doc turned off the valve and everyone has just been using the hot water knob, especially since it takes forever to get hot anyway. Today the valve is not completely stopping the water flow and there is a slow steady drip into a garbage pail that Plant Doc needs to empty every few hours.

2015 May 7

Plant Doc's daily warnings to Swimmer for 2 months that she was doing a lousy job cleaning the fish tank, the nitrate levels were toxic, and the fish were going to die soon came true last night. Rocket Boy's blue tetra fish died and he was so upset that he couldn't fall asleep till after midnight. Plant Doc was up way after midnight dealing with it while trying to finish up some work. He scraped up his last few dollars and sent Swimmer to the pet store to get a undergravel filter to supplement the existing one, gravel, and an aquatic plant. When she got back, they put the fish in a bucket of warm water, dumped out the old water and gravel, cleaned up the tank and accessories, washed the new gravel, set it all back up, and put the fish back in in a very short period just before the kids got home. When Plant Doc saw that the undergravel filter needed to be placed at the bottom of the tank before any gravel was put in, he freaked out. It sure wasn't easy trying to get the base in under the gravel and water with the fish swimming around. It was greatly complicated by the fact that Swimmer once again didn't pay attention to his instructions and got a undergravel filter that was too large for the tank. Plant Doc used his Dremmel tool to cut the plastic cylinders to a height that would fit in the tank. He then proceeeded to set up the bubbling rock thingys, raise the pH, and put in the starter chemicals. After all that, it was almost dark when Plant Doc finally got the chance to harvest a box of mustard, arugula, pak choi, chinese cabbage, baby spinach, white and red radishes each for the farmers market. He didn't have time to take yields per plot and decided to divide the total yield for each box across the treatments for the first rep or two of each plot. He figured it was sufficient enough since he hasn't applied any synthetic or organic insecticides yet and they were all essentially untreated controls anyway. He did try to be careful to take roughly even amounts of each crop from each plot. After dark, he printed up his price lists and got things ready to go for the opening day of the Franklin County Farmer's Market in the morning.

2015 May 6

Plant Doc got his free iPad from the USDA farmers market food stamp (and credit card processing) program so is ready to go for the opening of the Franklin County Farmers market opening on Friday. Plant Doc's parents sent him an e-mail complaining about an angry bird continuously attacking her window. I think he must have tried to attack Plant Doc, but had an old address. Wild Girl has been getting good at basket ball and now easily kicks Plant Doc and Swimmer's rear ends in the game despite the height difference. She has been going over to play with the little girl next store and Plant Doc is relieved that she is not just sitting on the iPad in front of the Window to the World of Tiny Yappers.

2015 May 5

Experimental conclusions: you just can't get a chicken to weed where you want. Plant Doc got himself cut up in the thorn bushes after Moonlight ran off into the woods. After that he worked on setting up the circus in the annuals field and put out the white flags down the first row of each block. Plant Doc removed the remaining fuel and showed her again how to tie it down and Swimmer took the tiller back to the repair shop. It's a good thing she didn't blow up the truck kill the kids when she drove home with it the other day with it banging around the back of the cab spilling gasoline. After the kids got home, Plant Doc had them help him put the shade covers on the hothouses. They were lying on the ground in between the hothouses with one end tied down, so he just needed to pull them over the other side and clamp them down. Never saw him water the outside of the hothouses before!

2015 May 4

Plant Doc went to kill weeds in the annuals field with the newly fixed tiller, only to find after he completed the first row that it was badly leaking gas. Swimmer did yesterday what she does best...take a minor problem and turn it into a major one for Plant Doc. She didn't tie the tiller down with the bungee cords in the back of the truck like Plant Doc reminded her ten times to do and the tiller was banging around the back of the cab spilling gas as she drove like a maniac. Plant Doc was back to weeding with his hoe again. The chickens sure are doing a great job weeding around the bushes and shrubs around the house. Plant Doc was never able to keep it anywhere near as nice. He is going to have to see if he can get them to weed his crop rows around the larger plants.

2015 May 3

What a crazy morning! The chicks were moved from the playhouse to their coop. They were enjoying themselves until Rocket Boy decided to throw Lucy up in the air and she flew to the roof of the barn and was afraid to move. Rocket Boy tried hitting her with the PVC pipe that they use to retrieve stuck basket balls. Plant Doc came out screaming at him for doing that after he was told a hundred times not too throw the baby chicks too high and stop playing with them like they were plastic toys. He tried getting her down using the tractor bucket, but she was too scared to go into it. He tried standing on the tractor and using brooms to no avail. Finally he borrowed a house ladder from a neighbor and climbed up to get her down. The tin roof was like an oven on this hot day so it's a good thing that she was okay. Swimmer took the kids to the pool and Plant Doc took a long lunch...at least for him, lunch is usually a sandwich shoved in his mouth while working...before getting to work on transplating the lettuce into the bare spots in the annual field rows.

2015 May 2

Plant Doc already got 2 farm volunteers for the summer from the job ads that he posted on the list named after his brother. Encouraged by the results, he posted additional ads for ag research apprenticeships and harvest crew volunteers. He then spent the rest of the day weeding within the rows of the potatoes, carrots, and lettuce with a hoe. Once again, I can't imagine why anybody would want to do that for some lousy free veggies. Wild Girl went over to the neighbors to play and take care of the horses while Rocket Boy went to the pool with Swimmer. Didn't I say that already?

2015 May 1

Rain again so Plant Doc spent the day on the computer. He posted some job ads on some list named after his brother for volunteer workers for the farm and computer programmer helpers. I can't imagine why anyone would want to drive all the way here and kill themselves all day like Plant Doc for no money. While he is going to give them free veggies, it sure sounds a like easier to go to the grocery store or the farmers market. Wild Girl went over to the neighbors after school to play and take care of the horses while Rocket Boy went to the pool with Swimmer. I was all ready for a big greeting and nobody was around.

2015 April 30

It rained hard this morning so Plant Doc spent the day on the computer. I was taking Swimmer for a walk when I spotted a dying racoon next to the driveway. It was attacked so it may have been rabid, so it's a good thing I couldn't get free from Swimmer and get it. Plant Doc doesn't have a gun so he called animal control to put it out of it's misery.

2015 April 29

Plant Doc called around some more begging for free insecticides from the organic growing companies. He cultivated the annuals and perennials fields using the sweeps on the Big Green Bucket. Afterwards, he scooped up some fresh dirt and filled in the holes that the chickens dug in the coops. He then put down a fresh batch of pine shavings both in and out of the coops.

2015 April 28

Plant Doc called around some more begging for free insecticides from the chemical and organic growing companies. He used the Hoss wheel weeder some more until he couldn't take it anymore and hooked up the old broken tiller attachment to the trimmer to finish the job in the annuals field since the Mantis tiller is out of action. That was, at least until the old tiller stopped working right and he just gave up.

2015 April 27

Plant Doc called around begging for free insecticides from the chemical companies. He saved himself a few hundred dollars so far and is still working on it. His luck ran out when he replaced the fuel filter and spark plugs on the Mantis tiller and adjusted the carburetor, but it still kept stalling on him. He would like to take it to the repair shop and just be done with it, but they are all weeks behind schedule. He vented his frustrations by pushing the Hoss wheel weeder until he couldn't see in the dark.

2015 April 26

Rain again. Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans.

2015 April 25

Rain again. Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans.

2015 April 24

The guy came to fix the air conditioner and it took about 10 seconds. He just hit the reset button and Plant Doc sure felt like a fool. Plant Doc mowed the lawn afterwards as punishment. Swimmer did her usual crazed sweeper driving. She also picked up another one of those mechanic genie bottles and Plant Doc used it on the mower since he has been having to choke the carb to get it started every few weeks. I think he would have more luck if he wasn't so mean to it.

2015 April 23

Plant Doc went to some thing about credit cards and collecting food stamps at farmer's markets at the ag extension office. Apparently he is getting a free iPad out of whatever deal he made. He picked up somekind of genie bottle that was supposed to have a mechanic in it. It must have lost it's magic since the Mantis tiller still wouldn't start after he unleashed the genie. After that he just hogged the computer.

2015 April 22

Plant Doc was stuck on the computer again despite the beautiful weather. It was really windy and the kids were launching the chicks and seeing how far they could fly.

2015 April 21

Plant Doc tried to figure out what was going on with Rosie and learned that she was acting like a broody hen and was determined to hatch an egg, even though we don't have a rooster. He and Swimmer kept grabbing her every hour and put her with the flock. She would hunt for worms for a while before heading back to the bucket. They took away her bucket, but she just used the floor of the middle barn yard stall. Plant Doc was a little worried about her hurting herself on the pitch fork and machete that were nearby so he put the bucket back up. After the kids got home, Plant Doc seeded the warm season grasses and reseeded the bare spots in the cool season grasses and grains. He put down his clover seed, creeping fescue, annual ryegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue mix in the few remaining erosion spots. He also reseeded the 1 foot borders of the annuals and perennials field with the fescue blend with the help of Wild Girl. He went around the entire property and filled in the bare spots in the tall fescue grass. I tasted some when he spread it near my tree, but I'm not big on the vegetarian food.

2015 April 20

Plant Doc reseeded the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tobacco, and flowers in the hothouses that were killed from the late frost a few weeks ago. He also tried again with the herbs. He let the chicks wander around for a few hours while he was working on it. Those chicks sure are getting big. Rosie still sitting in her bucket. The air conditioner downstairs seems to have stopped working and it's just not quite so pleasant sleeping on the couch. Good thing it's not too hot outside.

2015 April 19

Rain again. Plant Doc worked on his insecticide plans. Sounds dangerous. I'm staying clear of the computer. Rosie still sitting in her bucket.

2015 April 18

Plant Doc cleaned up outside some in preparation for the kids birthday party. He got lazy cleaning up the pond and didn't put on the chemical gloves and got a chemical burn on his finger from the pH raising potassium hydroxide. I bet that will teach him a lesson. His brother came from Charlotte with Savannah, or was from Savannah with Charlotte. That cute little french dog avoided me again. She just isn't a farm girl and despite my best efforts, I couldn't persuade her to spend the night. The neighbors and friend's from Raleigh came to the birthday party and the kids looked pretty worn out from all the jumping and the running. Plant Doc made them dizzy and me exhausted from his roller coaster like Gator garden cart ride around the farm. Rosie still sitting in her bucket. At the end of the day, Plant Doc took photos of each row in the annuals field.

2015 April 17

Plant Doc finished cultivating the annuals field in between the drizzles. He also checked out an antique tractor show nearby and was looking for some old time harvesting equipment, but couldn't find any. It was Rocket Boy's birthday and he got more presents. I just get a lousy bone on my birthday, while these kids make out like bandits. Rosie still sitting in her bucket.

2015 April 16

Raining still. Plant Doc still on the computer. Rosie still sitting in her bucket.

2015 April 15

Rain! Sleep! Rosie hasn't been searching for worms like the other chickens. She is just sitting in her plastic bucket on the side of the barn stall all day lately and sometimes she is not even sitting on an egg.

2015 April 14

The weeds in the annuals field were starting to get a bit out of control so Plant Doc went back and forth through the rows with the Hoss wheel weeder. When he started to get tired, he tried to get the Mantis tiller working to use instead, but it kept stalling despite his attempts to clean it up so he went back to pushing it. After he weeded right next to the row and made it easier to spot the small seedlings, he used the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket. It was threatening rain all day and Plant Doc kept going through drizzles and short downpours, but he had to call it quits with only a few rows to go when the torrential downpours started later in the day.

2015 April 13

It's Wild Girl's birthday, but Plant Doc sure wasn't in a good mood for it. I think it had something to do with having to put a basket ball net over the garage. I hear that the original fruit baskets were a lot easier to put up so he probably should have done that. He didn't have a tall enough ladder so he used the tractor instead. He parked a little too close to the garage and when he went to pull it out he scraped off some of the paint on the siding. At first the present was a bust since Wild Girl was crying because the rim was higher than she was used to and she couldn't make a basket. Plant Doc said she would thank him when she a was a few years older that he put it at regulation height instead of kiddie height. She rapidly started to get the hang of it and Plant Doc debated over putting the foot ball net over the garage to challenge her.

2015 April 12

Plant Doc finally mowed the lawn for the first time this year. By the end of the day he was covered with so much pollen that his clothes and legs were yellow. He looked like he was going to pass out by the end of the day, but after his clean up he replaced the hose that runs to the hothouses since it was sprouting quite a few leaks. Before and after she went to the pool, Swimmer drove around like a mad woman on the Gator sweeping up the heavy clippings. I stayed inside and slept, it was dangerous out there.

2015 April 11

Swimmer took the kids to the pool then a science fair so Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and got a lot of work done on the computer. They brought home some tree seedlings that he help them plant.

2015 April 10

In preparation for the 3rd night in a row of severe thunderstorms, Plant Doc walked the kids through emergency procedures for tornadoes and hail. They tried out chaining themselves to the disc harrow which is really big and heavy but has very little surface area for the wind to catch on since it is mostly hollow.

2015 April 9

Plant Doc surveyed the damage from the hailstorm. It looked like the hothouses were the victim of a drive by machine gun shooting. Plant Doc used two rolls of patch tape on all the holes and that wasn't even enough to finish the job. One of the PVC support beams shattered from a bullet shot. Plant Doc also had to repair an outdoor light where the cover was shot off and the lone silt fence at the corner of the annuals field. Swimmer was put to work cleaning up fallen branches and throwing them in the woods.

2015 April 8

Plant Doc was back on the computer again and would not budge. It was a hot humid summer day out so I slept on the couch next to Wild Girl. Just after dark, a hailstorm hit and huge chunks of ice were flying from the sky. Global warming...I believe, I believe.

2015 April 7

It's Plant Doc's birthday and he is finally taking a day off computer work. Rain is looming in the weather forecast so his plans of working outside on the farm all day might not be great. The convection oven feature of the microwave broke with perfect timing and thwarted the certain disaster of Swimmer attempting to make a birthday cake. The weather held off and Plant Doc was able to re-till the herb and overwintered vegetable sections of the perennials field, as well as the garden. He planted the herbs and overwintered crops using the Jang seeder. He then plotted out the garden and seeded peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes in the garden with close spacing as a source of transplants for the annuals field in another month or so in the event that the seedlings in the hothouses don't make good transplants. He was pushing his luck and started on it after dark. It was a night for breaking things...first Plant Doc broke the clip that holds down the seeder chamber, then Wild Girl dropped her iPad and it got a hairline fracture, then Rocket Boy told him that Swimmer had dropped his iPad a few days ago and it got a hairline fracture. Plant Doc experimented with rubber bands and found a solution that worked as a decent replacement for the broken clip on the seeder.

2015 April 6

At the end of the day, Plant Doc re-hilled the strawberries and it worked much better after he loosened up the dirt in between. He still had to fight the semi-busted hiller and cut himself pretty bad fighting with the rusted and bent screw bolts.

2015 April 5

Another Yapper holiday that just doesn't make any sense. Apparently there is some kind of corporate co-venture between bunnies and chickens with the candy companies. I asked Rex and Moonlight about it, but they feigned ignorance, so the conspiracy must be pretty deep. I guess that's why they never seem to have a rather easy lifestyle, while the rest of us work like a dog. Swimmer and the kids took me to the local dog park, but there were no pals to play with due to the silly holiday. Plant Doc jump started the zero point mower using the Gator and gave Wild Girl a spin ride on it while he was trying to build a charge on the battery. Plant Doc tried hilling the strawberries, but didn't have much luck since the hiller got damaged when the Big Green Bucket got stuck in the mud and the dirt was clumpy dried clay mud, which would have been great for pottery, but not so great for planting. He was going to use the little Mantis tiller to finish the job, but he couldn't start it since the gas was apparently bad. I never understand how in the zombie movies, everyone is driving around with gas that is years old. So he switched the Big Green Bucket attachment to the cultivator and loosened up the dirt in between the strawberry hills.

2015 April 4

The kids went to the pool again with Swimmer and went to an Easter egg hunt. Wild Girl was crying about a bunch of balloons popping on her. Plant Doc was stuck on the computer all day again and was looking longingly out the window wishing he had time to work out in the fields. He tried jump starting the mower using a portable charger with no luck.

2015 April 3

The kids had a play date with the neighbors at Swimmer's pool. Don't understand why they all drove 20 miles to play together when they live next door. Plant Doc took a break from the computer and filled in the puddles he made in the strawberry rows when he got the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud twice a few weeks ago. He almost got stuck again in the spot that he filled in despite all the surrounding ground finally being dry.

2015 April 2

Plant Doc was up almost all night working on the computer again. It was another warm day and the kids had a fun field day at school. It was also the science fair so Plant Doc and Swimmer went to go see the projects. I seriously need to bite those judges for not giving the kids and awards when they did such a good job. Wild Girl's project was about balloons in water bottles and Rocket Boy was intent on destroying the universe with a project on black holes. The neighbor's kids came by for a visit with the chicks who got to play outside in the grass again. This time they were over their fear and started digging for worms and running around.

2015 April 1

April Fools! Enough said.

2015 March 31

It was a warm day and the chicks go to play outside in the grass for the first time. The looked a bit scared and barely moved. The kids kept close to protect them from hawks, crows, the older chickens, oh, and a certain dog.

2015 March 30

Plant Doc barely budged from the computer all day and through most of the night. Wild Girl still had the flu and stayed home and cuddled with me on the couch.

2015 March 29

Wild Girl and Rocket Boy worked hard on their science fair projects to get them done on time. Plant Doc surveyed the damage from the hard frost last night and the seedling in the annuals field seemed to have withstood the cold. Six weeks after the angry birds full assault and only a lone warrior remains. His feathers tattered, his beak fractured, his wings weak, he soldiers on, launching himself at the window every few minutes throughout the day. All of his comrades have either fallen or departed home. The supply line disbanded and reserves depleted, he continues his fight until the last slingshot has broken.

2015 March 28

It's cold out again...what happened to spring? Plant Doc walked the annuals field and assessed the status of germinating seedlings before the hard frost tonight. Everything except the potatoes, which is good because they would die, and the herbs seem to be growing good. Rocket Boy finally started on his science fair project.

2015 March 27

Wild Girl is home from school sick and it's raining again...sleep. Plant Doc seems to be dragging quite a bit today.

2015 March 26

Wild Girl stayed home from school with a cold. I wish she would stop coughing since it's interrupting my naps. Plant Doc is working on a self destruct button for the spreadsheet report he is working on for a client and watching Mission Impossible.

2015 March 25

Plant Doc seems to be stuck to the computer chair again.

2015 March 24

Rocket Boy is finally out of trouble at school and everyone is relieved.

2015 March 23

The seedlings in the hot houses sure are starting to take off and some of the ones in the annuals field are starting to germinate also.

2015 March 22

Someone needs to tell Plant Doc that it's the weekend since he was on the computer programming since first thing in the morning till the middle of the night for the second day in a row. The kids went to the pool with Swimmer.

2015 March 21

Plant Doc was on the computer programming since first thing in the morning till the middle of the night.

2015 March 20

The plumber came and repaired the non-leaking water valve that the dishwasher installation guys complained about. He also made an attempt at calking the edge of the kids bathtub to stop it from flooding the ceiling and causing a big stain on the kitchen ceiling. They have been using their parents shower for a few months now. It would help if they actually dried themselves off before stepping out of the tub. I always shake myself dry and finish up by drying myself on the couch. Don't understand why Plant Doc doesn't like the couch smelling like a wet dog...I think it's aromatic. Plant Doc finally took the night off from computer programming and took Wild Girl to a small local circus. Something about lions, and tigers, and bears...Oh No! Actually, Wild Girl got to ride a camel! I know that this whole global warming trend is getting bad, but I didn't think it was so much that they are starting to raise camels in North Carolina. Unfortunately, Rocket Boy came home with a fever and couldn't go to the circus. He was still in trouble at school from the beginning of the week and the teacher just ignored him when he complained about how horrible he felt. I'm going to have to take the school bus with the kids one morning so that I can get to the school and bite that mean teacher!

2015 March 19

The delivery guys came with the new dishwasher, but they refused to install it. Something about a miniscule leak in the water valve that Plant Doc couldn't even see. He was furious and told them to get lost then slammed the cabinet door which shattered. After repairing the cabinet door with glue, Plant Doc went back to work on the computer till past midnight again.

2015 March 18

Plant Doc won't budge from the computer chair and seems to even be holding it in instead of taking bathroom breaks. He hasn't eaten in more than 24 hours either.

2015 March 17

What a warm spring day! Plant Doc is not happy that not only is he swamped with computer work, but he is sick and not up to working outside. Rocket Boy got himself in big trouble at school again so he is not looking real happy either. I think they would have both prefer that today be the rainy day instead of a few days from now.

2015 March 16

Plant Doc was up till the middle of the night working on the computer and kept waking me up. The dryer stopped working the other day and the repair man came to fix it today. He said the reason the heating element burned out again in less than a year was because the vent was clogged. He told Plant Doc to use my leaf blower on it, but nothing came out the other end so it must have been really clogged. It was odd because the whole house had a air duct cleaning less than a year ago. Anyway, Plant Doc sets up another dryer vent cleaning and fortunately the guy was available today instead of having to wait a few weeks like usual. Turns out that the dryer vent hose was disconnected from the outside and stuck straight down a few inches into the mud below the house. Now that's what I call a clog! Plant Doc also ordered the new dishwasher after he got his tax return gift card for Home Depot. Meanwhile, Swimmer went to the tire store after the pool to take care of the last of the repairs for the day.

2015 March 15

The chicks are starting to get adventurous in the playhouse and are jumping out the cage and flying around a bit when it's open. Swimmer took the kids to the pool and Rocket Boy's water polo practice. First she went to the tire place and got the worst tire patched, but they didn't have time to complete the job and take care of the second tire, so she had to keep filling it at the gas station. Plant Doc hogged the computer.

2015 March 14

Swimmer got two flat tires on the truck and Plant Doc was not happy with the way she is driving his truck into the ground. Fortunately, they still held some air when pumped up with the bike pump, so Swimmer had to keep filling the tires at the gas station when she took Rocket Boy to the pool. Rainy day and the fields are a mess again. The kids got new rain boots and tried them out in the mud. Unfortunately, they got a bit overzealous and got stuck in the tire pit from where Plant Doc got the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud twice. It was up to their knees and I thought they were never going to get out of there.

2015 March 13

Plant Doc was busy on the computer till late at night again. At least he went out to play some foot ball with Wild Girl for a little while. He also introduced the chickens one at a time to chicks in the playhouse.

2015 March 12

The next round of Biblical floods were a dud and the fields are still dry so that was a relief. Plant Doc was up till the middle of the night and all day getting caught up on computer programming work. He took the kids to a science fair at Rocket Boy's school next year. They built me a paper light bulb and cardboard fan to eat.

2015 March 11

Plant Doc looks pretty worn out from the last few days of planting and is back to working on the computer. He forgot to cover the onions planted in the garden, so he took care of that and a few other odds and ends before the next round of Biblical floods starts.

2015 March 10

If anyone wants to know the most efficient way of planting large numbers of onion sets without specialized equipment, the answer is to dig a furrow and bowl them. Plant Doc is a 100 point bowler at best yet he still managed to achieve adequate spacing. For efficient planting of garlic on a large scale without specialized equipment, place the entire garlic bulb into your mouth and gently break into individual cloves using your teeth, then spit as you walk down the row. Dogs are particularly well adapted to this. For efficient planting of potatoes on a large scale without specialized equipment, dig a furrow and place in it a small child who is not very good at catching. An older child also works though requires the additional time to drop the thrown potatoes. Cut larger potatoes into smaller pieces around the eyes so as to not render the child unconscious. Swimmer picked up Russett potatoes and garlic at the store on her way home from Raleigh. Plant Doc managed to get her to peel the garlic and separate the cloves without the usual fuss. She learned about a way to put the garlic between two cereal bowls and shake them loose. After successfully hilling to cover the potatoes and onions then filling in some erosion spots at the edge of the annuals field, Plant Doc was getting overconfident with the Big Green Bucket. He tried to fix the giant tire holes in the mud in the strawberry rows, after getting the towed out yesterday, from what he thought was a safe distance. Only to discover that he could not back out and could only go forward. Whereupon, he was stuck right back in the mud again and back in the same mess. Fortunately, he learned a few things from last time and after an hour, on his very last try with Rocket Boy standing by laughing at him, his trick with some big rocks worked and he was able to inch himself out. Good thing his Dad taught him how to fix cars and other machinery with rocks or he would never have thought of it. So despite getting the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud twice, he was able to finish planting the 70 crop rows of the 2 acre annuals field, mostly using his hand push precision planter and by hand. At the end of the day, Plant Doc finally finished plotting out the perennials field after the windy day a month ago where his glasses flew into the field in the dark. He then planted the garlic cloves and covered it up using the hiller on the Big Green Bucket.

2015 March 9

Plant Doc picked up his seed potatoes from the coal and farm supply store (didn't need any coal). He found the perfect variety for Swimmer who has a severe soda addiction (3-2L bottles a day), Red La Soda, and it was even the right flavor since she prefers Diet Cherry Pepsi. He always said he could save a lot of money if he could only grow soda. He also picked up a thermometer and new water base for the chicks and he was right on the money with his guess of the temperature for them, 90F. He tried to find a towing company that would pull his tractor at of the mud, but they all weren't sure if they could do it. Fortunately, the crop services store down the road suggested a tobacco, soybean, and wheat farmer with a thousand acres just down our road and the guy was here within minutes and saved Plant Doc a couple hundred dollars. He is going to repay him with some produce in a few months if the seeds don't all get washed away with the next round of Biblical Floods. He sent a crew over and ironically it was the guy who used to work at the crop services store who last year got a flat and nearly flipped his lime truck on the annuals field. They had a bigger tractor with 6 times the dogpower and pulled the Big Green Bucket out with no problem. After that, Plant Doc cleaned it up and put the mid-buster on the toolbar and dug the furrows for potatoes, peas, and onion sets. He then finally got back to planting and finished up the annuals field, with the exception of the seed potatoes and onion sets.

2015 March 8

Plant Doc got back to planting and almost finished the annuals field. He needed to do some touch up of the perennials field with the tiller on the Big Green Bucket before he cleaned it up and switched it to the toolbar. The neighbor's came over to give Wild Girl a gift and pay for 2 of the chicks after their dog killed Starbright and Chicken Little the other day. Wild Girl went over to feed their mini-ponies and ride bikes after. Meanwhile, Plant Doc used the hiller on the toolbar for the carrot rows. He pushed his luck when he went to hill a few rows in the muddier perennials field. He made a mess of the mint pots because the Big Green Bucket kept sliding in the mud. He pushed it even further and hilled the strawberry rows despite all the problems with the mud. He saw that Rocket Boy spotted a pine tree that had fallen in the future orchard, so he took a break from the hilling and moved it into the woods using the Big Green Bucket. He only had 2 rows of strawberries left when, after more than 2 years of coming close, he finally got the Big Green Bucket stuck in the mud and couldn't get it out. He kept sinking himself deeper and deeper until the bottom was touching the ground. He tried putting boards under the wheels and filling in the mud under the front tires after he lifted them out of the ground by pushing the front bucket down, but he just couldn't get it free. He is going to try one more time in the morning after the mud dries some, but most likely he is going to need to call a tow truck to pull it out.

2015 March 7

Plant Doc set up the lights and chick cage in the playhouse and turned up the heat. After more than a month of waiting, he finally was able to start planting and got half the annuals field done. It was still muddy and partially frozen in spots, but he did it anyway. After Rocket Boy and Swimmer got back from the pool, they picked up our new family members...Star, Lucy, Sarah Junior, Claudine, Goldie, Cleo DeMilia.

2015 March 6

Everyone is still shell shocked from the devastating attack yesterday and loss of Starbright and Chicken Little. Plant Doc visited the survivors and they were skittish. Only Junior ventured from the barnyard. Sarah was still recovering from her wounds. Rocket Boy and him surveyed the fields after the cold rain yesterday. The first 2 replicates of the annuals field was dry enough for planting, one replicate was a muddy mess, and one replicate was frozen.

2015 March 5

My neighbor dog buddy dog got loose and attacked our chickens this morning. We lost the friendliest chicken on the planet, Starbright, as well as Chicken Little. The kids are going to be devastated! Plant Doc is going to miss Starbright doing her 100 yard sprint to get pet by him every day. What a rainy, lousy day! Plant Doc spent the evening putting together a cage for new chicks. He wanted something for the kids to look forward to after such a loss. Rocket Boy created a memoriable for them near the spot Ginger the bunny, as well as hens Wendy and Holly were buried.

2015 March 4

Melt day again! I definitely prefer a 40 degree increase over a 40 degree decrease in temperature. Started cloudy and drizzling, but turned into a really warm spring day by the end. Plant Doc was pleased that it was really windy since it helped dry the fields. He could walk across half of the annuals field without getting stuck. He finished planting seeds in the last hothouse. It was the Italian hothouse with tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and stuff. Swimmer went shopping in Raleigh for the day and spent Plant Doc's paycheck for the week. After the kids got home, Rocket Boy opened the window in the office against Plant Doc's repeated warnings that the screen was falling apart. Anyway, I saw a bunch of chickens in the backyard and made a dive for it through the window. Unfortunately, Rocket Boy closed the window on me before I could make it through and it kind of hurt. Plant Doc was not happy that I broke the screen for good. Afterwards, he played some foot ball with Wild Girl to blow off some steam before he went back out in the field. He put the laminated marker cards on the flags in the annuals field that listed which crop was going to be planted in each row. Straight line 50 degree drop in temperature over the next 36 hours. Plant Doc said he is going to just switch to the Farmer's Almanac instead of the weather channel website since it's stressing him out. 5 weeks and counting since he got the fields ready for planting and still can't do it.

2015 March 3

Cold rain day again! Plant Doc spent the day on the computer. I almost broke free and got a few bites of chicken. Rocket Boy got in trouble at school again and got his iPad taken away for a week so it was not a pleasant evening.

2015 March 2

Melt day again! It was a nice day out and Plant Doc spent the afternoon outside planting the remainder of the early spring crops seeds in 2 of the hothouses.

2015 March 1

More stinking freezing rain to continue to make a mess of everything. Plant Doc is working on the computer all day, though, at least he is not in such a grumpy mood like he was yesterday. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo and swimming at the pool. I snuggled with Wild Girl on the couch for the day.

2015 February 28

Plant Doc is in a really really bad mood today since he is doing taxes. I decided to push his buttons and bark at him for an hour and kept making him take me outside. Kind of backfired on me, though, when he stuck me on the front lawn and I had to lie on the cold snow for the rest of the day instead of on the warm couch. Plant Doc discovered that contractor bags make a decent sled substitute in a crunch. Next time he needs to put a pillow or something in the bag to sit. At 2am, when yearly tax prep day was finally over, he was in a pretty good mood when he saw his refund amount.

2015 February 27

Major melt day! What a mess it is out there. Plant Doc ran an icy spot around the bend of the driveway over a few times with the Big Green Bucket and Gator wheels. He even used the tiller on the Big Green Bucket to break it up and promote melting. Swimmer took the kids to the pool since Wild Girl was starting to go stir crazy from this 2 week snowcation from school. She better take it slow and not drive like she usually does and get them home safe. After they got home, Rocket Boy decided to walk into the annuals field and after a few steps he sunk so deep that he couldn't move. Plant Doc has been saying that the fields are like quicksand and he isn't kidding. He brought the sled out to him and had him sit in it and try to pull his legs out. It was like concrete and it took him several minutes of wiggling his feet before he could break loose. Plant Doc then pulled him out on the sled from the edge of the field. Then Wild Girl tried sledding along the edge of the field and accidentally sled into it. Fortunately she knew better than to step off the sled and pushed her sled out of the quicksand.

2015 February 26

Southern Snowmaggedon was a bit of a dud since we only got about 3 inches of snow and the rest of it was rain. The freezing rain sure makes the trees look pretty, but it can't be good for them or the power lines. Fortunately, the power only kept flicking off few seconds instead of a long period of time. At least this round of snow, Plant Doc only had to go out in the middle of the night twice to keep the seed starting hothouses from collapsing and he didn't wake me up as many times. The kids went sledding with the horse doc neighbor's kids. Apparently, the neighbor's had the short and steep sled course while our future orchard was the long shallower course. My dog pal from next door came over to play and I slipped past Rocket Boy to get outside. Unfortunately, the chickens had already gone into the coop house for the night and Plant Doc locked things up, or I would have invited him over for chicken dinner.

2015 February 25

Melt day again. It was warm enough for the snow to melt quickly, the chickens to go all the way to the front yard to search for worms, and for Plant Doc to work outside. Not sure why since the roads and even the driveway were clear of snow, but the kids had off school again. A big snow storm is supposed to hit overnight so Plant Doc finally took the trimmer sweeper attachment out of the box that was sitting in the garage for a year. He must not have put the gas cap on properly the last time he used it, since it fell off while he was testing it and he got gas all over his pants and the driveway. Good thing there were no sparks from the trimmer or he would have lit himself on fire. After hosing down his clothes and sticking them in the wash, the house was smelling like salad dressing since he added vinegar to the washer. He did a joy ride on the Big Green Bucket and figured out where he would need to set loader for any heavy snow removal without tearing up the rock driveway. He planted seeds in the lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage hothouse using his popsicle stick contraption and the hand seeder. He was looking pretty cold by the end of the day as the snow storm started to get close, especially when he had to water the hothouse flats.

2015 February 24

The kids were home from school again since it was snowing all day. It wasn't even enough snow to sled on despite the long period of snow. Wild Girl tried to make some snowballs and Rocket Boy tried to make a snowman, but to no avail since it was dry snow, not that dry snow makes any sense at all. Plant Doc was on the computer all day to the middle of the night. He doesn't know when to take a break; he didn't even stop to eat, just sucked down a sandwich for lunch while he was working, skipping breakfast and dinner because he was glued to his seat. Swimmer finally unfroze the test bag of arugula from last spring and liked it. After being frozen, it was not nearly as spicy as it the freshly harvested, even after being steamed.

2015 February 23

Raining again. The chickens used to never leave the barn on rainy days, but it's been raining so much they stopped caring. Plant Doc is hogging the computer for the day so I need to make this quick. The angry birds have resumed their attacks, but their forces have severely dwindled as a result of the brutally cold weather. I understand the first president who birthday the school's celebrated had a similar problem and still won the war a long time ago so we'd better not let down our guard.

2015 February 22

Melt day again. What a muddy stinking mess everything is. The chickens loved it, though, and were having a worm smorgasbord. Plant Doc was hoping he could plant the annuals field, but half of it was still icy and the other half was like quicksand. More rain in the forecast and things just won't dry up. Plant Doc mixed up some peat, perlite, and potting mix in the garden cart and prepared the last hothouse full of flats for planting seedlings. He put the little markers and popsicle sticks in the flats for all the hothouses. At the end of the day, he used his homemade popsicle stick seeding board contraption and seeded the peas and beets in one of the hothouses. It worked pretty good even for burying those large pea seeds in the tiny flat trays. I finally got some sunbathing time out on the front lawn while Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo and Wild Girl to the pool.

2015 February 21

Plant Doc forgot to keep the hot water dripping in the sink last night and the line froze up. Good thing it finally started to warm up above freezing so that it started flowing again by the end of the day. The ice melted enough that the chickens finally ventured away from under the barn and visited me in the backyard. I just wish Swimmer would have let me play with them instead of pulling me away. Plant Doc mixed up some peat, perlite, and potting mix in the garden cart and prepared another hothouse full of flats for planting seedlings.

2015 February 20

It is still really cold out there! At least the sun came out and warmed things up a little bit. Plant Doc jump started the Gator again and had fun driving on the ice before he put the chickens away for the night, tarp again. Wild Girl helped him put labels on popsicle sticks to use as hothouse flat markers as part of an experiment to see if they work as good as regular garden labels.

2015 February 19

It is really really cold out there. The kids had another day off school even though the roads were cleared. I spent the day playing with the kids while Plant Doc spent the day programming on the computer. He jump started the Gator again and did a tour of the farm then covered the chicken coop with a tarp for the coldest night recorded here in a really long time.

2015 February 18

Melt day! The ice melted quite a bit, though, some parts of the driveway and shadowy parts of the field were still pretty thick with ice. The kids had another day off school so I played with them between naps. Plant Doc spent another day hogging the computer..can't wait till the weather warms up. After putting the chickens away for the night, he covered the coop with a tarp to keep it a little warmer the next few days during this cold snap. Plant Doc had to jump start the Gator again, though, this time he was able to do it with the battery jumper instead of the truck. There was a brief round of flurries in the early evening so the kids went outside in the dark.

2015 February 17

Sleet day! Plant Doc kept going outside every few hours all night long to knock the ice off the top of the hothouses so they wouldn't collapse. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night and having to walk on ice when you are half asleep. He kept doing that to me and I thought I was going to break a leg. The kids were happy to at least be able to do some bobsledding on ice (not just sledding on snow) in the morning even if they couldn't build a snowman. Plant Doc tried out the bobsled course himself, but the kids weren't happy that he kept beating them to the finish line. He finally got the Gator working by using the truck to jumpstart it. At the end of the day, he finished printing the last of the crop row cards and a set of small labels for the hothouse flat plant markers. Wild Girl helped him put the labels on the markers.

2015 February 16

Another freezing cold day, not fit for man or dog. In between breaks programming on the computer, Plant Doc was trying to get the Gator to start. He tried using a hair blower to warm the engine up and using electric shock therapy on the battery to no avail. Just after dark, we got some snow flurries and the kids were all excited. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before it turned to nasty little pieces of ice and the steps got really slippery. Fortunately, Swimmer picked up Plant Doc's trimmer from the repair shop so that he could use the sweeper attachment on it in the morning. At the end of the day, Plant Doc got the crop row marker cards ready for lamination.

2015 February 15

It is really cold and windy outside, I'm snuggling with Wild Girl on the couch for the day! Plant Doc considered planting the annuals field and putting out the last of the white flags in the perennials field, but the ground was frozen and it was way too windy. Instead, he worked on laminating the crop row markers. At least until he had the rest of the day wasted dealing with a computer attack. He spotted a device on our local network listed with .ztomy.com, and realized we were being hacked. He tried Mac and Windows antivirus software on all the computers and turning off my devices one at a time and was unable to find any malware on any of them. He eventually called the DSL provider and asked them to change the IP addresses to cut off the attack and that did the trick. I think the angry birds must now be using using computer attacks to lower our defenses. I thought I was seeing things when I saw one of them with an iPhone yesterday.

2015 February 14

Fourth day under seige. The attacks are increasing, hopefully as one final last desperate attempt to take the house. I don't understand what this holiday made up by the greeting card companies, but I'll sure take the meat bone! Swimmer took the kids to the pool and to play bingo. Plant Doc created new marker cards for the crop rows and printed them for laminating. He also finished plotting out and putting out the white flags in the annuals fields, at least the block rows which was good enough to allow him to plant. He was determined to also do the perennials field full season and herb plots before the ground froze again and was out there 4 hours after dark. It got so windy that it was really hard to measure so he eventually had to give it up partially done. As he was cleaning up, the wind blew his glasses off his face and he couldn't find them. So he stuck the flashlight in his hand on the ground in the area and went back to the house to get his other pair and a lantern. Fortunately he was able to find them without stepping on them and they were not damaged. Rocket Boy brought home the newest members of our family...5 tetra fish. Still waiting to find out their names. I sure hope no more angry birds get in the house or they are done for.

2015 February 13

Third day under seige and our defenses are still holding. One angry bird broke through only to get caught on a mouse trap. The slingshot launches are coming less frequently so we are hoping it's a sign that they are starting to wear down from their continuous assault. The wind yesterday dried up the fields enough for Plant Doc to fix the rain damage to the planting beds and he started plotting out the white flags. The flags are meant for marking the plot borders, but I'm wondering if the angry birds will see it as a sign of surrender and step up their attacks. As he was putting them out, they started gathering forces on the lawn as a show of force.

2015 February 12

The angry bird attack continued today and Plant Doc started to document to record our saga in the event that we are lost. Rocket Boy came home sick from school, probably from battling with the angry birds in the cold weather. It was a tough loss since he is our most experienced fighter. Plant Doc did final revisions on his crop plans and is ready to plant as soon as the field dries enough.

2015 February 11

Normally I would be on the attack, but I'm a bit afraid to go outside. There is an angry bird that has been crashing into my window every minute for the last 2 hours. I wonder if the lumber company took down his home when they cleared out some of our pines. Rocket Boy is going outside with a toy slingshot ready to play the live version of some game. Still too wet out there for Plant Doc to start planting, so another day on the comptuer.

2015 February 10

Rained way too much last night and Plant Doc's fields are back to a muddy mess. The temperature dropped like 40 degrees and it's back to winter after a couple days of spring. Plant Doc is back on the computer for another long day and I'm just going to spend the day snoozing and dreaming of drier, warmer days.

2015 February 9

Plant Doc just barely finished field preparations between rainy days and ready to plant the early spring crop experiments as soon as it dries up. He came in smelling like a wet chicken after spending the last hour of tilling in the rain. He never would pulled it off it wasn't for the 70 degree weather yesterday since it was a muddy mess two days ago.

2015 February 8

What a gorgeous spring day! I spent the entire day sleeping in the sun on the front lawn. Looks like the neighbor with the chickens wasn't too happy with the lumber company either since they cut down way more pine trees than he gave them permission to. He was looking for seedlings that were growing on the adjacent properties and Plant Doc gave him the okay to take some of his along the driveway that were not growing in the right spot to fill in the border row. He mixed a batch of his magic transplant solution for him in a bucket to dip the pine seedling roots in so they don't get transplant shock. Plant Doc used the big frisbees on the Big Green Bucket to mix up the plowed dirt in the annuals field and overwintered crops and herb sections of the perennials field. Actually, I guess I should start calling them long season crops instead of overwintered because Plant Doc decided to move the brussel sprouts, collards, kale, and mustard to the annuals field and cut the number of onion rows from ten to five. He removed the frisbees and hook up the tiller to the Big Green Bucket and is praying that the rain forecast is wrong since it's already too wet out in the fields for planting.

2015 February 7

Fell asleep at my post and the chickens came right up to my window in the lab without me even noticing. Plant Doc tested the pH levels in Rocket Boy's fish tank and after weeks of it going up and down and up and down, he finally got it right. Plant Doc was moving dirt around in the annuals and perennials field with the Big Green Bucket filling in some of the erosion spots and trying to get some top soil in the silt buildup areas. After two and a half years of fighting erosion in the future orchard, he used a chain on the Big Green Bucket to pull up the last of the silt fences. He even pulled up the ones next to the neighbor's pond.

2015 February 6

Plant Doc was up late last night working on the computer and messing around with the development subdomains that points to the server in the office. He kept waking me up so I was pretty drowsy this morning. He overloaded the truck suspension with a 1 ton pallet of nitrogen urea fertilizer and used the big spreader on the Big Green Bucket to put it down on the crop fields and the grass throughout the farm. I'm not sure why he bothered with the front lawn since I've got that covered. He decided to go with just nitrogen since the -P-K levels were pretty close to where they should be and it saved him from having to get another ton of 10-10-10 N-P-K. He is going to mix cover crops in with the fall crops next winter to get some nutrients from green manure. He just won't be messing with any grasses or grains this time so he doesn't have to go crazy getting rid of them the following spring. He sure did it quickly since Swimmer, who seems to think Plant Doc's truck is now exclusively hers, was continuously nagging him to hurry up since she wanted to go swimming. The way she is running it into the ground, like she did the past 6 vehicles that Plant Doc bought, it sure doesn't look like it's going to last the decade or two that he had expected it to when he bought it.

2015 February 5

Wild Girl woke up last night from a nightmare and looked for Plant Doc and Swimmer in their room. Swimmer fell asleep in the room with Rocket Boy while Plant Doc and I didn't hear her since he had window to the world of little people on loud. Fortunately, bunny Rex went back to her room with her and sat on the bed with her until she fell back asleep. In between computer programming work, Plant Doc prepared the peat, perlite, potting soil seed starting mixture and filled the flats from another one of the hothouses.

2015 February 4

Plant Doc went to the State Fairgrounds for the day to attend a farm show and get some pesticide applicator recertification credits. He said there was all sorts of tractor and farm equipment. He saw the model drone that was flown into the White House and may go with that one eventually for taking aerial photographs of the plant disease experiments on the farm. Cheaper than hiring a local pilot to take the photos. He ran into the owner of the produce container store and found out that the buskets with the plastic handles that keep breaking on him were supposed to be a prototype batch which should never have been sold to him, so he can get them exchanged. He also picked up crop seed and hothouse flat seed starting mix supplies at the seed company headquarters. He finally dropped off the trimmer head for warranty repair so he can use his power paws attachment again, but I've got things covered until then.

2015 February 3

In between computer programming work, Plant Doc prepared the peat, perlite, potting soil seed starting mixture and filled the flats from one of the hothouses. He stopped over at the neighbor's

2015 February 2

Plant Doc spent a ridiculously long day programming on the computer with no breaks so I was not able to work on my blog and just slept on the couch.

2015 February 1

Plant Doc used the Big Green Bucket to clear the debris from the tree that was cut down by the house and then plowed the garden. Rocket Boy tried to get the chickens to go for worms in the fresh dirt instead of under the bushes. I was flippping out during the whole thing, barking at the windows and the doors, yet still no one would let me outside. Plant Doc spent the rest of the day plowing the annuals field, as well as the herbs and overwintered crops blocks of the perennials field.

2015 January 31

Plant Doc harvested the spring (actually winter) onions that he was able. His experiment a few months ago of using the hiller attachment on the Big Green Bucket to cover the bulbs failed and the onions were buried too deep. No bulbs for eating since they were planted too late in the Fall, just the leaves for putting in salads. He surveyed the pine woods mess that the lumber company made again and cleaned up some junk that the previous owner left on the property that he had put in a pile, which was now buried by brush. After such lousy start to the weekend, he decided to have some fun and started plowing the annuals field. Most of it was good to go and the dirt flowed, but about a quarter of the field that always has more shade from the tall pines along the driveway always takes longer to dry out and the water in the very top of the soil froze so the dirt was plowed into big chunks. Even so, he only broke 1 plow bolt after a couple hours of plowing. He only got through a small part of the field before it got dark and way too cold to continue.

2015 January 30

The lumber company made much more of a mess of the pine woods in the corner of the propery than Plant Doc anticipated and he is starting to regret agreeing to it. He is insisting that they come back next week and push it into piles. Personally, I like it this way. It's a low spot so Plant Doc needs to see where the water flows. He is either going to turn it into a pond or, more likely, grow a couple hundred christmas trees for plant disease predictive model experiments. I don't think we can fit the 50 or so Christmas trees that would need to be harvested every year in the house. Why should I be the only one in the house that needs to do my business outside? Though, in addition to mice, we'd be dealing with squirrel and bird infestations and my track record with catching them is pretty lousy.

2015 January 29

Swimmer hid the Lorax DVD from the kids. A lumber company clearing tall pine trees that are diseased on our neighbor's property wants to take down a half-acre of ours. Plant Doc gave them the go ahead. We've already have had a few crash down during bad storms. One of them almost fell on my Plant Doc when he accidentally bumped it with the tractor last year. It's going to be sad to lose those tall trees. Rocket Boy will have to replant them with seedlings.

2015 January 28

Plant Doc had a bunch of phone meetings and kept confusing me into thinking someone was at the garage door for me to attack. When I saw that there wasn't, I bit him instead. He harvested some micro-greens from the annuals field. They weren't supposed to be micro-greens, but the lettuce, spinach, and onions were planted way too late last Fall and didn't grow too much over the winter. He transplanted a few kohlrabhi into a hothouse flat. There were a few full size turnips for soup and Rex is going to be overjoyed with the baby radishes and turnip tops.

2015 January 27

Swimmer was playing Bingo for the whole day so Plant Doc had a nice quiet house for computer programming. I took a nap until the kids got home and we played chase with Plant Doc. I got in a few jumping aerial bites on his arms and legs.

2015 January 26

Plant Doc was back to hogging the computer. He continued working on modifying his crop plans. I took a nap.

2015 January 25

The kids are home!!! Plant Doc looks relieved that Swimmer didn't cause any major disasters in the house and on the farm. Everyone looks really tired since apparently they had to leave for the airport in the middle of the night or else pay a lot of money to come home several days later. Sounds like they might consider trying the train instead of the plane next time. Plant Doc modified his crop plans to include some cover crops to provide some extra erosion protection and green mulch between the crop rows in the late fall.

2015 January 24

I'm really starting to miss the kids. It's raining so I can't even pass the time on my sunbeam. Swimmer finally finished cleaning up the closet in the master bedroom after the clothes racks came crashing down from the walls 6 months ago. Sounds like an extensive project considering how long it took her, though, Plant Doc said it should have only taken a day. Rex wasn't happy about it because he enjoyed chewing on the clothes on the floor. I talked to Wild Girl on the phone at night and she told me about playing with her cousins. Apparently, Plant Doc discovered that he much preferred using a push garden tiller over a snow blower.

2015 January 23

I missed the kids a lot, but at least Swimmer was around for most of the day. I spoke to Rocket Boy on the phone tonight and apparently he had quite an extensive scientific debate with a friend at dinner. Quite possibly have been the most important discussion between up and coming scientific geniuses since Edison and Tesla. Wild Girl was mostly impressed by the fancy restaurant.

2015 January 22

Plant Doc took the kids on an airplane to visit family in NJ. I was wondering where everybody went and was really confused when Wild Girl called me on the phone. I was stuck in the lab and had to go outside really bad all day, especially since Swimmer didn't get home till really late from the pool.

2015 January 21

Another beautiful day and I spent it on the front lawn. Plant Doc removed flags from the middle of the annuals field.

2015 January 20

Another nice day, but Plant Doc was stuck on the computer most of the day. He remeasured and straightened up the flags along the annuals field in preparation for early spring planting next month.

2015 January 19

What a nice warm day! Swimmer and the kids took me to the dog park since there is no bus that I can take there on my own. Plant Doc was messing with the big printer in my lab to no avail. He cleaned the last set of flats in the hothouses without the frozen toes this time. He also cleaned up the waterfall pond filter and hit it with some more chemicals.

2015 January 18

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to a hobby train show. Plant Doc worked on figuring out his insecticide treatments. I slept on the couch next to Wild Girl.

2015 January 17

The chickens were wandering around the backyard and I spent all morning barking at them. Plant Doc cleaned up the flats in one of the hothouses. After a few hours of getting his boots wet, he was barely able to walk due to frozen toes.

2015 January 16

It was a much nicer day out so Plant Doc took advantage of the break in the cold and rainy weather after spending the morning on the computer. He repaired and re-inforced the silt fence in the corner of the annuals field. He fixed the fly netting on the chicken coop. He built a neat contraption for creating the holes for seeds in the hothouse flats out of a wooden stake and popsicle sticks. He made one for each of the 3 flat insert sizes so that he could quickly create 6, 8, or 12 seed holes at a time and then use the other side to even out the potting medium. He decided to try adding some potting soil to the peat and perlite mix to see if he could get better results this spring. The largest size flat inserts were easy enough to mix in the potting soil into the existing media in the newest hothouse. The others will require a re-mixing and the peat and perlite mix was getting old, so he had dumped them out a few months ago and will need to start from scratch. After the kids got home and an hour back on the computer, Plant Doc and Rocket Boy planted the 2-year old apple tree seedling that Rocket Boy grew from a seed in a 3 gallon bucket. I dug a big hole on the front lawn for it, but Plant Doc wasn't happy with the spot. Rocket Boy surrounded it with the tall farm logo flags so that Swimmer doesn't run it over with the Gator when she drives it around like a maniac. We don't want a repeat of the carnage she did to the 2 japanese maple tree seedlings the kids planted after we first moved in. Plant Doc and Wild Girl then did a belated planting of daffodil bulbs in the gardens around the house using the soil probe/bulb planter. Once again, I tried to help and dug up a bunch of little holes on the front lawn, but Plant Doc was not happy with the location.

2015 January 15

What a muddy mess out there! Chickens are loving it and spent the day digging worms in the backyard. I tried digging a few up and they were not tasty at all! Wild Girl has been complaining about the lousy job Swimmer does cleaning the dishes so I've taken over the initial clean. I sure hope we don't get a dishwasher anytime soon.

2015 January 14

Freezing rain! It's slippery out there and I almost took a spin on the sidewalk. The kids are off from school due to something called black ice. I've made some yellow ice before, but I've never seen black ice before. Fortunately, the hothouses didn't go crashing down from the weight of the ice. Plant Doc went out in the freezing rain and shook it off the top of them.

2015 January 13

Saw a story in the online news about a black lab in Seattle that takes the bus to the local dog park on his own. What a great idea! I broke free and took a run down the street to see if I could find a bus stop with no luck. Cold and rainy again, but at least the chickens found a lot of worms to dig up.

2015 January 12

Warm and raining like cats and bunnies today! Plant Doc's last minute silt fence fix at the corner of the annuals field came crashing down since the ground was frozen when he tried to pound in the stakes. The chickens are angry that Swimmer didn't let them out of the coop. It's a good thing Plant Doc put those pine bark chips down next to the coops or it wouldn't have been a real mess.

2015 January 11

Plant Doc spent the morning reading his bug book. He went back out in the field and experimented some more with spreading perlite as a crop mulch. Turns out the only efficient way to do it was to shake it out with a bucket. He went to take me for a walk, but I got the best of him and pulled the leash out of his hand. After I made him do a sprint to the chicken coop and saw that he had already put them away. I took a run around the neighborhood. I went to visit the mini-ponies next door, but unfortunately the neighbor grabbed my leash and I was not able to get free until Plant Doc arrived on the Gator. I tried to break his grip again to no avail on the walk home. The neighbor drove the Gator back to the house and got a ride home on his son's 4x4. While he was over, Plant Doc showed him his perlite experiment and the neighbor commented about how the silt drift from the edge of the annuals field was starting to reach his pond. Plant Doc didn't realize that it was going through an underground drainage pipe to get to the other side of the driveway and into the woods. It's going to rain again tomorrow, so Plant Doc pulled up a few no longer needed silt fences from the future orchard and cornered the silt drift by extending the existing silt fence. The ground was partially frozen so he had a lot of trouble banging them into the ground and one of the stakes he had to leave for a warmer day. Hopefully that's enough to stop it until he can get grass established better in that corner of the annuals field. He should be thaking me for running away since he wouldn't have found out about the silt problem until after the next heavy rain.

2015 January 10

Plant Doc put down a few bags of pine bark nuggets in the barn near the chicken coops where it gets muddy when it rains. Rocket Boy spent the entire day playing with legos and the chickens outside in the cold. A giant block of ice formed in the bucket of the Big Green Bucket. He dumped it in the garden for the kids to play with. Plant Doc experimented with spreading the bags of perlite that he got yesterday. He tried removing the spinner from the hand push fertilizer spreader and nothing came out. He hooked up the big spreader to the Big Green Bucket and even that didn't work. The perlite is just too wet and sticks together like a snowball, plus all the organic matter from the greenhouse cucumbers clogs up the works. Clean dry perlite sold in bags would probably work fine, but it's just too expensive. He searched online for small push manure and compost spreaders to see if anything would work with the stuff.

2015 January 9

Plant Doc went to a local farm where they grow cucumbers in greenhouses. They had a giant hill of used perlite that there were trying to get rid of at a ridiculously price. Plant Doc spent a few hours filling garbage bags with the little white balls. He filled the back of the truck with a 1000 lbs of it. He is going to experiment with how to spread it in the crop fields as a layer of mulch right next to the plants. He also is going to use it in the hothouse flats.

2015 January 8

It's even colder out!!! Plant Doc just hogged the computer again. The chickens found a new worm spot closer to the house than they usually go.

2015 January 7

It's cold out there!! Couldn't even snooze under my tree without getting paw nip. The chicken water bottles froze up like ice. Plant Doc was smart and worked inside on the computer.

2015 January 6

Once again, Plant Doc was busy on the computer trying to meet some project deadline and was again not in the mood for playing. Wild Girl was still home sick with a nasty cough and couldn't play chase anyway.

2015 January 5

Plant Doc was busy on the computer trying to meet some project deadline and was again not in the mood for playing. Just as well, since Wild Girl was home sick with a nasty cough and couldn't play chase anyway.

2015 January 4

Plant Doc was busy on the computer trying to meet some project deadline and was not in the mood for playing. Some crazy thunderstorms went through several times and it was like a rainy spring day. Wild Girl took me for a walk through the mud so Plant Doc hosed me down afterwards.

2015 January 3

Plant Doc had more energy today and played many rounds of chase with the kids. I scored some serious bloodshed points while they played. It was drizzling all day so Plant Doc worked on the computer all day again.

2015 January 2

Some guys came with some crazy phone line burying machine and ran a new line down the driveway. I decided not to attack them since I'm so tired of the slow internet connection when I'm working on my blog. I did, however, try to attack the washer delivery guys when they came later in the day. Everyone except Rocket Boy went to the doctor today hoping to finally get rid of these colds.

2015 January 1

Happy New Year! Can't say I understand why Yappers celebrate the start and end of an artibrary period of time. It would make more sense if they ended the year on the winter equinox or something that made some kind of astronomical sense. Doesn't feel any different from the day before. It's still cold out and everyone in the house still has a cold. Didn't get any presents or anything. What's the point?

2014 December 31

Plant Doc and Swimmer took the kids to Raleigh to celebrate the end of the year while I took a long nap.

2014 December 30

Plant Doc actually had some energy today and was able to get a lot done on the computer. A printer repair guy came to fix the big laser printer in my lab. Rocket Boy and Plant Doc were watching some movie about some hobbit creature that looked awefully tasty while Swimmer took Wild Girl to go figure skating.

2014 December 29

Plant Doc was starting to recover from his cold and was able to spend the day working without falling asleep on his keyboard. He even played a few short rounds of chase with Wild Girl and I.

2014 December 28

Plant Doc spent half the day sleeping away with the cold that just keeps giving. When he was awake he was reading up on bugs.

2014 December 27

Plant Doc is still really sick and pretty much accomplished nothing all day. He did start reading one of his old college bug books. Rocket Boy was building all day with the little bricks again. I just snuggled on the couch with Wild Girl.

2014 December 26

Plant Doc was looking a bit more energetic and in a lot less pain, though, he clearly was still pretty sick as he fought through doing some computer work. Unfortunately, Wild Girl started to get early symptoms of the same cold. Swimmer was relieved that there was an end in sight to the trips to the laundromat when he ordered their washer Christmas present. I got booted from my lab so that Rocket Boy could build some more Legos and Wild Girl could play with Hot Wheels. I really wanted to taste one of the rare purple bricks and chase the little cars, but a nap on the lawn had to suffice.

2014 December 25

For Plant Doc, at least, it was far from a Merry Christmas. He was sick as a cat and could barely sit through the kid's present opening event, which never lasts very long, before needing to take a morning nap. I don't understand why he wouldn't give me his steak dinner since he couldn't enjoy it anyway with his throat on fire all day. I did get a few good treats and toys myself, though. Rocket Boy spent 10 straight hours working on a Lego Star Wars kit and Wild Girl kept buzzing my head with a flying fairy.

2014 December 24

Plant Doc finally got some money in the bank so Swimmer went out early and spent it all on Xmas presents and food. He finally caught the neverending cold that Swimmer has been exposing everybody with for weeks. He woke up with a fever and a massive headache and kept dozing off on the computer as he tried to push through it and get work done. Plant Doc also started working on the plans for an Ark, since the rain the last few days has been biblical. The Xmas dinner steak delivery came at the end of the day and I almost got the package opened before Plant Doc woke up, lifted his head off the computer keyboard, and ran out to stop me. It better stop raining tomorrow so that he can grill them, otherwise we'll be having soup and cereal for Xmas dinner instead. Rocket Boy started tracking Santa on the iPad throughout Xmas Eve. That fat dude sure can move fast!!! I hope he doesn't get too much mouse poop on our presents since they have a fiesta every night in the fireplace.

2014 December 23

Plant Doc spent the whole day on the computer. I snuggled with Wild Girl on the couch and watched the rain.

2014 December 22

Plant Doc had to go to an onsite programming client meeting. They happened to have a kids holiday party on the same day so the family went with him. I just stayed in the lab and watched the rain. Wild Girl came home with her face painted and I almost didn't recognize her. I managed to steal a balloon from Rocket Boy and pop it.

2014 December 21

Shortest day of the year and Plant Doc decides to sleep in late. He missed half the day! He did a farm tour and checked on the barely growing crops that were planted way too late in the Fall. He tried to fire up the mower to recharge the battery, but he couldn't get it to start even when he choked it with carbs; though, it may just need a little more gas. He unhitched the cultivator and took the Big Green Bucket for a ride. He even braved the path through the woods which is a tight squeeze in spots and there is always a risk of crashing into a tree and having the top fall down. The chickens found a fresh spot for worms in the woods along the driveway and Plant Doc was unable to coax them to go back in the coop even with treats. Plan Doc finally figured out a trick to get the tough chick, Rosie, back in the coop by blockading her with a large horse poop shovel left by the previous owner.

2014 December 20

Plant Doc was in computer accessory cleanup mode. He was emptying boxes that hadn't been touched since we moved into the house. There were all sorts cables, wires, power adapters, and even mice that you couldn't eat, though I tried anyway, all over the place. He found some of Rocket Boy's drawings and toys and money inside the big laser printer in my lab and tried to get it working, but it looks like it could use a repair guy. He was moving all sorts of stuff around in the computer room and packing some things away.

2014 December 19

Plant Doc still spent most of the day on the computer, but at least he had time for many chases around the house with Wild Girl. I secured several good bites on him and even got him to scream in pain a few times.

2014 December 18

Plant Doc is glued to the computer. OK, this is getting really boring.

2014 December 17

Plant Doc is glued to the computer.

2014 December 16

Plant Doc is glued to the computer.

2014 December 15

Plant Doc is glued to the computer.

2014 December 14

Plant Doc is glued to the computer. No way to spend the weekend.

2014 December 13

Plant Doc and the kids drove the Gator on back streets all the way to downtown Bunn to represent the farm in the Xmas parade. The kids were afraid of getting arrested for driving the Gator on the roads, so Plant Doc got approval from the police. They were throwing candy, colored flags with the farm logo, and farm brochures at the crowd. Next year they need to fold the brochures into paper airplanes first since they didn't throw very well. I wanted to pretend to be a reindeer and lead them through the parade, but they wouldn't let me.

2014 December 12

Told Plant Doc he should go plant some popsicle sticks for winter harvest. He hasn't done that in a while. The wire flags just aren't as tasty and you can't food dye them.

2014 December 11

Plant Doc is glued to the computer again. Good game of chase, though. I caught his arm in my teeth mid-run and almost ripped his arm off.

2014 December 10

Plant Doc seriously has to get away from the computer once in a while. I am getting no time to blog.

2014 December 9

Nasty cold rain out there today. Rocket Boy stayed home from school with a cold so I snuggled, stole food, snuggled, stole food...

2014 December 8

More deliveries and chasing delivery trucks. Plant Doc is still glued to the computer. I hope someone is bringing him food and water.

2014 December 7

Plant Doc is glued to the computer again. Maybe the kids are starting to get tired of this Christmas stuff since they didn't want to go a parade with Swimmer before she went to the pool.

2014 December 6

Plant Doc is glued to the computer. The kids went to the pool with Swimmer for a Christmas party. Hey, why didn't Santa bring me a toy?!!

2014 December 5

We are getting all sorts of deliveries and I am having so much scaring the drivers. The kids went to the pool with Swimmer after school and to a Christmas light show. I wish they had taken me since I would have loved to rip them all out of the ground. Plant Doc is glued to the computer.

2014 December 4

Plant Doc cleaned some more flats from the hothouse, though, it didn't take long until his fingers were numb. The internet repair guy came and confirmed that the DSL lines were not working quite right even if they aren't completely down. The dual router is keeping us in business by load sharing and switching back and forth between the two partially messed up lines. I was about to attack him, until I realized that if I did then I might not be able to work on my blog. Looks like they will be coming next week or so to run a new phone line down the center of our long rock driveway. Hopefully they don't cut the electrical line that runs across the driveway to the field meter base as revenge for when the phone line was cut installing the electrical line.

2014 December 3

Plant Doc worked on the computer, ordered his new phone, and took care of the last of the flats in the hot houses to be emptied. The kids got out early from school and set up the Christmas tree on the indoor balcony above my lab. I sure hope the auto-timer works properly and shuts all those blinking lights off while I'm trying to sleep.

2014 December 2

Plant Doc is not in a good mood. He dropped his phone and the touch screen is not working right anymore. I tried to fix it for him, but I'm all paws.

2014 December 1

It was a really warm day, but Plant Doc was stuck inside working on the computer. He did get out for a bit to play foot ball with Wild Girl and check on the winter crops.

2014 November 30

Plant Doc worked on washing the emptied flats from one of the hot house. Rocket Boy left the back door open so I straight bolted for the chickens. Unfortunately, Swimmer and Plant Doc got them rounded up and in the coop a little too quickly. I was looking forward to a chicken dinner, but I'm going to just have to settle for stealing some leftover turkey from one of the kids.

2014 November 29

Plant Doc downloaded his soil test reports and figured out his lime and fertilizer requirements for next year. Looks like we won't needing the lime truck to pay a visit this year. Good thing because it always makes a mess of my outdoor toys and water bowl. My sunbeam is finally back so I worked on my tan.

2014 November 28

Lot's of screaming going on in the house and I have a serious headache. I wasn't even to steal any turkey today. Plant Doc worked on cleaning up the flats in the hot house.

2014 November 27

Now this is one holiday I can sink my teeth into! I'm giving thanks for all the turkey. Too bad it was drizzling most of the day and the chickens were in the coop since I would have enjoyed an appetizer.

2014 November 26

Rain! Plant Doc spent all day and all night on the computer. Swimmer took the kids to the museum and a documentary in Raleigh so it was a quiet sleepy day. I did manage to steal a turkey bone!

2014 November 25

Rain! Plant Doc spent all day and all night on the computer. Swimmer started chopping the first turkey into pieces and cooking them in the little microwave convection oven. I was able to steal Rocket Boy's turkey meal.

2014 November 24

Plant Doc had to run some errands and worked on the computer. Too bad since it was a really warm day. The chickens gave us all a scare when they got a little too adventurous and couldn't be found for 2 hours of searching. Swimmer found some feathers so we were worried that an animal got to them. Fortunately, they all turned up eventually. If any animal is going to snack on them, then it better be me!

2014 November 23

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo practice and the pool so it was nice and quiet today. Spent the day snuggling with Wild Girl. Plant Doc was working on the computer all day.

2014 November 22

It was warmer today so Plant Doc finally went outside to work for a few hours. He got back to dumping out the old perlite/peat mix from the house house flats.

2014 November 21

Latest status on our farm appliances...dishwasher: dead; dual wall electric oven: dead; gas range top: rusted with gas on, fire department had to shut it down; washer: dead; kids shower: leaking, ceiling section ready to collapse; hot water heater: reset, take quick shower, overheats, shuts down, reset, take quick shower, overheats, shuts down. Personally, I just use the hose for my bath.

2014 November 20

Swimmer bought a turkey and put it in the cold box to defrost. I'm working on a plan for opening that door to get it. It was much warmer today so Plant Doc finally went outside to work for a few hours. He got back to dumping out the old perlite/peat mix from the house house flats and transplanting the seedlings that were left into the annuals field. It was really windy today so Wild Girl and Rocket Boy flew their kites after school. Unfortunately, Rocket Boy got his kite string all tangled so Plant Doc had to conduct surgery on it.

2014 November 19

To get a big greeting, Plant Doc goes outside to the chicken coop and Starbright does a sprint to him and sits to get pet. Wild Girl just laughs at him, Rocket Boy just ignores him, Swimmer just starts screaming at him, and I just nip him.

2014 November 18

Plant Doc has been hogging the computer room, so I had to slip in this quick blog when he went to get the kids on the bus.

2014 November 17

It suddenly got warm out, but it's supposed to drop in temperature about 50 degrees tonight. Unfortunately it rained most of the day so Plant Doc and I were stuck inside anyway. A reporter came to interview Swimmer and the kids about the cancer charity water polo event. The kids and I were going crazy during it so Swimmer couldn't get a word in edgewise.

2014 November 16

Swimmer took the kids to a water polo tournament so Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and worked on a grant proposal.

2014 November 15

Swimmer and Rocket Boy went to a water polo tournament and were there for a really really long time. I don't know how anyone can swim that long. I hope Rocket Boy doesn't drown. As a break from the computer for Plant Doc, he and Wild Girl played a round of soccer and a very long game of my favorite boardgame...Dogopoly. Wild Girl destroyed him, of course. They also took a farm tour to check on the crops after a really, really cold night last night. The tomatoes in the garden look like they were run over by Swimmer driving the Gator. The potatoes and winter squash in the annuals field and cotton in the perennials field also bit the ice. All the other seedlings that germinated despite the really late planting dates, though, were cold hardy champs. I'm starting to like the cold weather myself and I didn't want to come in from the front lawn chasing animals late after dark.

2014 November 14

Plant Doc worked on the computer till late in the night again. Go outside!

2014 November 13

Plant Doc worked on the computer till late in the night. I was bugging him for attention the whole time, especially when everyone else went to bed.

2014 November 12

Plant Doc took advantage of the last expected warm day of the year and transplanted seedlings from the hothouses to the annuals field as a break from the computer. I was really sleepy when the kids got home and didn't have the energy for my usual greeting. Just gave Wild Girl a high five with my paw and went back to sleep.

2014 November 11

The kids are off school for another one of those holidays where only the government and banks get the day off. Wild Girl wouldn't let me snuggle with her on the couch, though, since she said I was stinky. Good thing it was a warm day since Swimmer gave me a hose bath. Plant Doc took advantage of the warm day and transplanted seedlings from the hothouses to the annuals field. He decided to do most of his computer work after the house was quieter when Swimmer took the kids to dance class and swimming.

2014 November 10

Plant Doc worked on the computer most of the day, but did get outside to finish weeding the annuals field with the Hoss wheel weeder and scuffle hoe. I enjoyed the day on the front lawn.

2014 November 9

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo practice and swimming so Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house to work on a grant proposal. I snuggled with Wild Girl on the couch and took a nap.

2014 November 8

Plant Doc weeded the annuals field with the Hoss wheel weeder and scuffle hoe. I was stuck in the lab most of the day yesterday, so I spent the day on the front lawn exploring and digging holes. I almost caught a snake, but my leash was just a little too short. Wild Girl called for me to catch a mouse in the house later, but I just missed that one too.

2014 November 7

Swimmer had a booth for her swim cancer charity at the ice stick game in Raleigh, so Plant Doc and the kids went to watch the game after school. I didn't go since my paws don't work very good on ice. Plant Doc stopped at the soil test lab on the way and dropped off the samples he collected. During intermission, Swimmer went down to the players bench and was on the big screen to receive a ice stick that the team signed. Unfortunately, I didn't get to taste it since Plant Doc stored it out of reach from the mice and I.

2014 November 6

It was raining much of the day, so Plant Doc hogged the computer again. When Swimmer came home from the pool tonight she found that we had a visitor in my lab...a black rat snake. Fortunately, it was stuck to 2 mouse sticky traps so it was easy for Plant Doc to get rid of it.

2014 November 5

Plant Doc hogged the computer again. Can't wait for the crops to get a little bigger so I can get him out of my hair and do some serious blogging. Playing foot ball with Wild Girl has become a daily thing now that the net is finally out of the garage. I need to get my teeth on that ball and put an end to this madness.

2014 November 4

Plant Doc went around the fields with his hollow pogo stick jumping in the dirt, dumping it out into a bucket, mixing it up, and filling ziplock bags. He even dug some up in the grass on the front lawn. It looked like a lot of fun so I dug up some holes on the front lawn myself.

2014 November 3

Plant Doc hogged the computer all day so I took a snooze on the lawn. I do not like it getting dark so early. I don't understand why they mess with that silly clock, back and forth, back and forth; just pick a time and settle with it. Plant Doc, Wild Girl, and I played foot ball until it got too dark.

2014 November 2

Plant Doc finally got outside after a few days straight on the computer. He cleaned up Rocket Boy's pond and did a few other chores. He checked on how the crop seedlings were doing and said goodbye to the more sensitive ones before tonight's expected first frost. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo practice and swimming. Wild Girl and Plant Doc played bat ball (no bases), foot ball, football, and flew kites, but they wouldn't let me join in except for tag chase. Plant Doc spent the evening working on CO2 backpack sprayer calculations and nozzle selections.

2014 November 1

It's cold and rainy out there so I slept under my sunbeam in the lab. Plant Doc worked on his crop plans for next year.

2014 October 31

Halloween! My favorite day of the year since it's the day we celebrated my second birthday (the shelter only knew what week I was born). I ate my present pretty quick. Plant Doc had a whole bunch of paperwork to take care of for a new programming job and for some reason had to drive all the way to Raleigh to use the bathroom. After he got back and took care of some more paperwork, he took the kids to Trick or Trunk at church in Pilot and then Trick or Treat at the Zebulonian police station.

2014 October 30

Plant Doc spent the day figuring out calibration settings for a future purchase of a CO2 backpack sprayer.

2014 October 29

Plant Doc worked on the computer all day on a grant proposal. I slept. This is getting boring.

2014 October 28

Plant Doc again worked on the computer all day on a grant proposal. I slept.

2014 October 27

Plant Doc worked on the computer all day on a grant proposal. I slept.

2014 October 26

Swimmer set up an inflatable mummy out by the electrical base out in the woods near the orchard and scared me to death when I first saw it. The hair on my back stood up like a scared cat in the cartoons and I was foaming at the mouth barking at it. Plant Doc worked on his seed inventories and got things ready for the kid's Halloween party when Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo practice and went swimming. Several of the kid's schoolmates came over later in the day and they were jumping on the trampoline, playing in the sandbox, playing foot ball, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Plant Doc hooked up the garden cart to the Gator and drove them fast and crazy around the farm just like Swimmer does when she is using the lawn sweeper. He also let them try the tractor controls. Swimmer set up a scavenger hunt, but really overdid it spreading them around the farm. Those poor kids must have ran at least a mile trying to find them all. I really wanted to play with them so bad and was barking on the front lawn for hours.

2014 October 25

After 2 years living on a farm, Swimmer finally learned the first rule of gardening: don't step on a rake since the handle will whack you in the head. Plant Doc cultivated the annuals field using the sweeps on the Big Green Bucket. He also fixed a few fence boards.

2014 October 24

Plant Doc continued working on his crop plans for next year and taking an inventory of his seed supplies. Wild Girl had a bit of a cold so came home early from school after the teacher called Plant Doc. I think she mostly just missed me since she wasn't acting very sick and went to the Zebulonian Trunk or Treat party when Rocket Boy got out of school. Plant Doc reconfigured his sweeps on the Big Green Bucket for centering on the row and cultivated the perennials field using the new setup. He worked on the math of the spacing on the computer afterwards.

2014 October 23

Plant Doc hogged the computer all day working on his crop plans for next year and took an inventory of his seed supplies. Swimmer was gone all day so it was a nice and quiet house for me to sleep.

2014 October 22

Homegrown popcorn with the kernels removed from the cob worked perfect. Just was a pain to get the kernels off with my paws. Plant Doc experimented again with on the cob, but the popcorn button on the microwave wasn't enough to finish the popping and the cobs were starting to look like they were getting close to burning when he gave it an extra minute. Plant Doc finished off spacing and covering the peppermint pots in the annuals field after. He reseeded the field edges where there was some minor erosion from last week's rain. He also cleaned up Rocket Boy's waterfall pond and tried to kill the algae. I was barking at him from the front lawn the entire time.

2014 October 21

The field finally dried enough from last week's rain, so Plant Doc planted carrots, corn, peas, sweet marjoram, dill, summer savory, winter squash, sorghum, onions, and potatoes to finish off the fall planting...ridiculously late, so hopefully we have a very late first frost. The carrots and squash were planted on hilled rows. He covered the potatoes and onion furrows with the hiller like last time only he tried covering them a little deeper this time. He experimented with planting the corn and peas on level ground, then hilling them at a higher level so that they would get buried about 2 inches instead of 4 inches like the potatoes and onions. Plant Doc tried popping on the cob the popcorn that he harvested last month and let dry outside. Started to pop then the cob caught fire in the microwave for one of them. The other didn't pop at all. Apparently the moisture content is critical and either too dry or too moist doesn't work. Experiment #2 tomorrow, he is going to try removing the kernels first. He really stank up the place, even I was holding my nose afterwards. Don't know why the fire alarm didn't go off.

2014 October 20

Plant Doc touched up the edges of the annuals and perennials fields where there was a little erosion from last weeks heavy rain. He used the little digger on the Big Green Bucket to dig a furrow for the onions and potatoes. He swapped out the digger with the hiller on the toolbar and hilled the rows for carrots and winter squash. He also re-hilled the strawberry rows and they look much better now. Swimmer tried to have me run alongside her on the bike until Plant Doc screamed at her for putting me in danger again after I hurt my foot a few days ago.

2014 October 19

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to water polo practice and the pool. I spent the day snuggling with Wild Girl. Plant Doc worked on his crop plans.

2014 October 18

Rocket Boy saw a snake in the house by the garage door. He went screaming and running out of the house without even telling Wild Girl that it was near her. By the time Plant Doc understood what was going on and came downstairs, it was already gone. He did a search to no avail, so it probably went out the garage door. The mice in the house sure were scampering. I was on the front lawn, otherwise I would have saved the day. Plant Doc mowed the lawn for the last time this year. Swimmer drove around on the Gator like a maniac, looking more at her phone then where she was driving.

2014 October 17

Early this morning Swimmer woke me up and started screaming at Plant Doc about how bad my foot was swollen and that I needed to go to the vet immediately. He yelled back that she was full of it and tried to go back to sleep amidst more screaming. I got up and went out for my morning constitutional with only a little bit of limping and she realized that I was fine after all. She took the kids to the State Fair and then the pool, which was good since I really didn't want to go to the vet and I needed to rest it some more. Fortunately, Rocket Boy had no peanut exposure incidents at the State Fair. By the middle of the day, I was walking and running almost normal. Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and worked on a research grant proposal. As it was getting dark, Plant Doc went to check on the chickens and saw that they were almost out of water and that Swimmer didn't tell him that the wire holding one of the hanging water feeders broke. So he had to do a fix in the dark.

2014 October 16

Still wet out there so Plant Doc spent the day working on the computer. I don't know exactly how I did it, but I hurt my foot bad and I spent the afternoon limping. Sure hope it heals soon.

2014 October 15

Heavy rain! Plant Doc looks worried about all his hard work on planting crops and seeding the field borders with grass all getting washed away. He spent the day and late into the evening working on a research grant proposal to distract himself. After the rain finally stopped, he took a soggy farm tour on the Gator. Fortunately, the grass had grown enough in the filled in erosion ditches and, for the first time since the woods were cleared two years ago, streams did not form in the future orchard and we finally have a full stand of grass. There was a tiny bit of erosion in the perennials field where the grains had just started to grow, but nothing that can't be fixed with a shovel. There was considerable more erosion along the edge of the realigned annuals field where the grass seed he just planted hadn't started growing yet. So when things dry up, Plant Doc is going to have to use the Big Green Bucket to fix it and reseed the grass some. Fortunately, it was only a partial loss and most of it was intact. Everything is a muddy mess so it's going to be a few days before he'll be able to do so and finish up planting. Rocket Boy told me that I stunk, so Swimmer and Wild Girl gave me a bath using the hose. I dried myself off on the couch before they pulled me off and now Plant Doc is complaining that it smells like a wet dog.

2014 October 14

Plant Doc and Swimmer spent an hour playing "Where's that Chicken" when Junior took a stroll through the woods to the neighbors and didn't come running for mealworms like the others. I wanted to help since I was hungry, but they wouldn't let me. Plant Doc planted spinach, cabbage, and broccoli in the rain until it started to downpour. Rocket Boy was also got soaked running away from Swimmer in the truck when she tried to drag the kids to the pool to go to dance class and swimming.

2014 October 13

The kids went to school and it was a normal business day except for the mailman and the banker even though it was some sort of holiday about an Italian guy like Plant Doc from long ago who is famous for discovering the land where we live despite the fact that people were already living here and others from far away had already visited before. I didn't get it so I took a nap. Swimmer went swimming. Plant Doc went planting. He cleaned up the tiller and hooked up the little digger shovel to the back of the Big Green Bucket. He then dug a trench for the peppermint plant pots and spaced them along it. He didn't fill in the trench yet though. After school, Rocket Boy took me for a walk to the neighbors house and I almost got to chase a few mini-ponies...so close!

2014 October 12

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to the pool for water polo practice and to go swimming. I snuggled with Wild Girl on the couch. The fields were still too wet to plant so Plant Doc worked on his crop plans on the computer and enjoyed the quiet house. After they got home, it was the usual screaming from Swimmer so he shut the door and hid the rest of the day while Wild Girl and I just got a headache.

2014 October 11

Swimmer and the kids went to a birthday party after she got home from swimming so I took a snooze on the front lawn and on the couch and on the floor and on the office chair. After they got home, Plant Doc and Wild Girl wanted to play chase, but I just wanted to bite them. The fields were too wet from last night's rain to plant so Plant Doc worked on his crop plans on the computer.

2014 October 10

Swimmer let me run next to the gator, but Plant Doc suggested she switch to the bike instead. She is a crazy driver and I was a little afraid of getting run over. It was fun being able to run full out, though, it's a lot more fun off the leash. Plant Doc planted onions, radishes, turnips, and rutabaga in the annuals field. He finished off planting seeds in the hothouses and took inventory on remaining seed supplies so that he knows what to order next year. I slipped off my collar and got in a nice evening run about.

2014 October 9

Those adventurous chickens sure I getting hard to find. Unfortunately, I was not able to do any attacks. Plant Doc planted lettuce, beets, chard, endive, arugula, cress, new zealand spinach, parsley, and kohlrabhi in the annuals field and the hothouses.

2014 October 8

Plant Doc thought for a minute that he was going to have to break bad news to Rocket Boy. He opened up the coop and 3 of the chickens ran out as usual, but Sarah was lying on the ground not moving. Turns out she was just taking a dirt bath and he wacked his head on the coop top when she suddenly reanimated. Plant Doc planted herbs and overwintered crops in the perennials field using the push seeder. Wild Girl and Swimmer took me for a walk and this time Plant Doc's screams for them to turn around was not enough. I pulled Wild Girl to the ground and got loose to attack the chickens. Those chickens are faster than I thought. I only got a few tail feathers from Rosie when Swimmer was able to grab me. Swimmer tried to drag me back to the house, but I pulled the leash out of her hand and launched another attack. Swimmer, Wild Girl, and Rocket Boy were unable to catch me, but by then Plant Doc had gotten there and he tackled me before I could bite another chicken. By that point most of them had fled to the coop so it was harder to find them. So close to a chicken dinner! I think I put Plant Doc in a bad mood after that since he went out and beheaded the tall weeds in the strawberries and by the erosion ditches using the scythe.

2014 October 7

Swimmer was feeling better so I went back to biting and barking at her all day. Plant Doc planted turfgrass and grains in the perennials field. He did it a little differently from last year by spreading the seed along a center band instead of a full plot area. We'll see if it fills in between or not. He then spread a thin band of lower growing tall fescue around the annuals and perennials field outer flag borders. He finished up after dark with usual tall fescue along the re-angled back edge of the annuals field as well as some bald spots in the future orchard./p>

2014 October 6

Swimmer was still sick, so Plant Doc got up unusually early to take the to the bus. He finished getting the annuals and perennials fields ready for planting tomorrow. He was working after dark for hours to get it done. I had a lot more energy today and spent most of the day barking on the front lawn. The age old question has been solved...the chickens are crossing the road to get to the weeds in the drainage ditches. They've been getting adventurous and started wandering through the woods to the neighbors property line. They even went to visit Plant Doc in the perennials field while he was working. They come back quickly, though, when he breaks out the mealworms by the coops! I conned Wild Girl to take me for a walk by the wandering chickens, but Plant Doc caught me in my sneak attack and told her to take me back by the house.

2014 October 5

Swimmer was sick and slept all day. I did the same in support. Plant Doc enjoyed the peace and quiet that rarely occurs when everyone is home. Plant Doc plotted out the borders of the perennials field and put out the flags. He only put out treatment flags on the first row of each block and rep to cut down on the number of flags out there. The mechanic neighbor put the repaired front wheel back on the mower so it's good to go mow one last time this year.

2014 October 4

Plant Doc cleaned up the fields of flags and rocks some more then plotted out the borders of the annuals field. I think he is trying to attract some elephants by making it look like a circus out there again. He said it's not going to be as crazy looking like it was at the beginning of the year when he put out 1500 white flags, 500 yellow, 500 red, 500 orange, 500 blue, and 500 purple flags. He decided that he will put out only the first colored treatment flag of a rep, then put out the rest only when he needs them. So that cuts it down to just the 1500 flags for the annuals and perennials fields. He is planting a lower growing fescue grass 1 ft wide around the edges of the field so that the outer border flags are permanent and he doesn't cultivate between those 400 flags. He also changed things so that the flags are in the crop row not marking the treatment area borders such that he cuts the amount of manual weeding in half. So now instead of having 4000 flags to work around during cultivation, it will only be 1100 flags...still a lot, but quite a bit better.

2014 October 3

Plant Doc tilled the annuals field. Swimmer went to the elementary school to yell at the principal for letting them sell peanuts at their fall festival yesterday. They turned the ball field and playground into a deadly mine field for Rocket Boy. The school nurse was in charge of selling the peanuts. Plant Doc complained at the time, but they ignored him. I've heard of kids falling at playgrounds and getting hurt, but I've never heard of one having to worry about dying from breathing in dust at one. Does anyone have an elephant we can rent? Why is the circus never in town when we need them?!!

2014 October 2

Plant Doc drove the gator around the fields and get jumping off it to pick up flags and rocks. He tilled the perennials field after that. There was a fall festival at the school, so Swimmer dropped him and the kids there while she went to the pool. I got stuck in the lab while they were out. I don't like it when everyone is gone, fortunately it doesn't happen often.

2014 October 1

Plant Doc and I both slept in late after he kept waking me up by working till the middle of the night. He finished frisbeeing the annuals field with the Big Green Bucket then cleaned it up and swapped the frisbees out for the tiller. As he was hooking the tiller up, he realized that something was wrong since the blades were not rotating freely when he moved them by hand. After some investigation, he realized that a few of the little bolts holding the center gear oil chamber were missing and the oil had all leaked out...a familiar theme lately! Oh well, according the service manual it was about due for a change anyway. He scurried to the local hardware store to pick up some gear oil, not the exact grade the manual specified but close enough, and some replacement bolts just a few minutes before they closed. He put the new bolts on the tiller and refilled the gear oil chamber. He tried to check the side gear oil chamber, but he could not get the oil drain bolt out and didn't have a lug wrench big enough. He decided to put a half quart in anyway, just in case. By this point it was pitch black outside and he still had to put 3 sets of rotary blades back on the tiller. I think the mosquitoes won that fight, but I got them back by eating some when Plant Doc took me outside for my evening constitutional after he was done.

2014 September 30

Plant Doc used the Big Green Bucket to disc the perennials field with the big frisbees. He started on the annuals field, but needed to run out for more diesel before Swimmer took the truck to the pool with the kids. He realized that the application deadline date for a agricultural small business research grant he hadn't started on was due in a day, so he worked on that till the middle of the night and got it submitted.

2014 September 29

Plant Doc plowed the fields again, but instead of driving in a pattern like he usually does, he was driving like Swimmer. I went to look for Wild Girl when the kids came home and saw out the window that she was steering the Big Green Bucket and sitting on Plant Doc's lap while he was plowing. She drove a crazy pattern over the bumps and Plant Doc looked like he was going to be sick...kind of like riding a roller coaster for hours straight. Rocket Boy took a turn when Wild Girl was done. It started raining so Plant Doc cleaned up the plow, got the Big Green Bucket reading with frisbees, and called it a day outside.

2014 September 28

Another sad day on the farm as we said goodbye to 4 of my friends...Rocket Boy's fish. Swimmer was apparently too late warning Plant Doc that the filter has not been working very well for the last week or so and didn't tell him till it failed completely. Plant Doc got it fixed last night, but the damage was already done. He used a pond test strip on the water and the pH and other factors were at toxic levels for the poor little guys. After he said his goodbyes, Plant Doc went on the Big Green Bucket and started scooping up plowed dirt in the annuals and perennials field to fill in the erosion areas in the fields and the erosion ditches in the future orchard. The mechanic neighbor came back with the no longer flat back wheels for the mower and changed the oil on it. His son and Wild Girl played with the chickens while he worked and Sarah showed us how she likes to use the horse feed bucket that was left by the previous owner to use as a nesting box for laying her eggs. After the mechanic neighbor left with the flat little front wheel of the mower and Sarah finished her business in the horse feed bucket, Plant Doc went back to scooping dirt. It looked like quite the wild ride with all the freshly plowed dirt hills. He then went out to the future orchard to put down white clover, annual ryegrass, and tall fescue on the filled in erosion ditches just like he has done a dozen times over the past 2 years. This time he tried something different and rolled out 3-hundred foot long brown straw erosion mats on top of the grass seed. Other than being brown instead of red, they looked like the carpets they lay out for the celebrities at the movie premieres. I'm going to have to take a walk down them tomorrow and pretend to accept my oscar for Best Dog in a Motion Picture.

2014 September 27

Plant Doc plowed the annuals field and the grains section of the perennials field. I slept all day!

2014 September 26

Still drizzling a bit and still too wet in the fields, so Plant Doc went to the tractor dealer and got oil change supplies for the mower and the Big Green Bucket. He also went to the seed company headquarters to pick up grass seed and erosion mats. He picked up another sweep for the cultivator sweep and when he got home he spent hours trying to remove a rusted bolt from one of the tines to replace it. Wild Girl was overjoyed that his travels brought him past the ice cream shop as his final stop. I've got to figure out how to open that freezer!

2014 September 25

Still drizzling a bit and very wet in the fields so Plant Doc continued to work on his field plans. We had several good games of chase with Wild Girl. Swimmer bought me a new harness so Wild Girl was able to take me on walks.

2014 September 24

Way too much rain today. Plant Doc hogged the computer and worked on his field plans. He and Wild Girl played chase with me every once and a while. I always won with a few good bites.

2014 September 23

Swimmer asked Plant Doc to set her up for more pea shelling and after he did so he saw that the box of southern peas that she was about to shell was getting pretty fuzzy. He checked the other four boxes and they were the same. Frustrated with Swimmer's shelling progress over the past 2 weeks, he dumped all his hard work from planting, growing, and harvesting them into the woods. To get away and vent for a bit, Plant Doc went to get more diesel to replace the 15 gallons he watered the lawn with from the Big Green Bucket fuel line leak. When he got home, he saw that Swimmer had lined up the pitchers hinting for him to make lemonade and gatorade for the kids, as well as his iced tea. As he begun to recite his new iced tea mix poem, the sink stopped flowing. He checked the breakers and the outside well faucet then screamed in even more frustration than he did about having to throw out all those peas earlier. True to form at the first sight of a problem, Swimmer immediately abandoned ship to leave it for Plant Doc to deal with and took the kids to the pool. She bolted out of the house so quickly that she failed to put me on the front lawn as Plant Doc had asked and he didn't realize I was in the house still since he was busy calling electricians. It was going to be a few hours before he could get help, so Plant Doc took the Big Green Bucket out to dig up the sweet potatoes while I planned my attack. Not in the mood for messing around, Plant Doc dug up the sweet potatoes with the plow that was already on the Big Green Bucket instead of switching to the mid-buster. As he dug them up, it started to drizzle so Plant Doc did a rain dance hoping for a downpour in the event that the well had run dry as a result of too many full days in a row of watering the tomato and tomatillo transplants moved from the annuals field to the garden and praying that this latest house infrastructure failure was not going to cost thousands of dollars. A few hours later, the well electrician arrived and I initiated my planned full scale attack as he and a surprised Plant Doc walked through the door. Unfortunately, Plant Doc caught me by the collar just as I was about to take my biting leap through the air finale upon the visitor. I bit him a few times as he dragged me to the front lawn. Plant Doc was looking worried and clearly had a headache from my barking as the well electrician inspected things at the well and under the house snake pit, but he appeared relieved to learn that it was just a pressure tank switch gone bad. After the fix was done and the well electrician left, Plant Doc put me back in the house and I dried myself off on the couch as he went back to harvesting sweet potatoes until several hours after dark in the rain. It's a good thing that we got water back since he was a muddy mess when he came back inside.

2014 September 22

Plant Doc is finally getting his last summer harvest day done so that he can get the fields ready for the fall planting. He harvested soybeans using the scythe and lima beans using the sickle. He also picked a few more wormy sunflower seed heads for the chickens. Swimmer is redoing the pressure canning of the okra on the outdoor grill and did a little bit more pea shelling. Plant Doc got a little more practice with his scythe when he chopped down the poke berries and other weeds around the barn so that the chickens don't get sick grazing on them. They've been on the loose most of the day the past week and always run towards the Gator when Plant Doc goes by since they want him to give them treats. Don't know why they always run away when I go to play with them. Plant Doc finished the day cleaning up the flags and other junk in the perennials field, so he is all ready to start plowing.

2014 September 21

Not a good day! Went for a walk with Swimmer and I laid down to take a break on a nest of yellow jackets. I got a whole bunch of stings and Swimmer got one also. Swimmer tried to give me allergy medicine, but I was not in a cooperative mood so I bit her hard, upon which Plant Doc punished me to the lab for a few hours. Plant Doc then cleaned up the waterfall pond and added some rock bags to weigh down the pump that had been floating in the water. Swimmer was autoclaving some okra and the gas range dial got jammed. Plant Doc tried to shut it off with a wrench, but it would not budge. He went to turn off the valve underneath and there was none. He looked in the crawl space under the house and couldn't spot one there. He looked under the cover outside where the underground propane tank was and he couldn't find a shutoff there either. Some previous owner made the dumb decision to plant a holly bush over the cover so that and the red ants that were under it did not make it easy to check. Swimmer took the kids to the pool and Plant Doc called the fire department. He told the 911 operator it wasn't an immediate emergency, but they sent 2 fire trucks and an EMS crew anyway. The firemen were likewise dumpfounded why there were no gas shutoffs in or under the house and likewise got ant bites and holly thorns on them while trying to dig up the dirt that covered the outdoor tank shutoff valve. When Plant Doc mentioned that he still wanted to empty that underground propane tank in case it eventually leaks, one fireman made a good suggestion that he should get someone to disconnect the underground propane tank from the house line and hook it up to the outdoor grill. Well at least all the commotion brought the neighbors over and the mechanic who Plant Doc has been waiting for to get oil changes done on the Gator and mower took care of them today. He also took 2 of the mower wheels that had flats to be fixed. After he left, Plant Doc decided to top off the Gator, mower, and Big Green Bucket gas tanks. He went to check the level as he was putting diesel into the Big Green Bucket and was shocked to see that it was empty despite him having put 10 gallons in it just a few days ago and only drove it a few hundred feet since then. He saw that the fuel line was dripping, so he called the mechanic neighbor who fortunately was able to rush back over and repair the line. Now it makes sense why there was a huge dead patch of grass in the orchard after had parked it there 2 weeks ago to see if he could divert the rain water flow a few feet. About fifteen gallons of diesel, leaked into the grass there, so I guess Plant Doc is going to have a heck of a time getting it to grow back. At the end of the day, Plant Doc sprayed the yellow jackets nest hole in the ground and decided to pour the diesel fuel that was left in the oil changing tray down the hole. He did not light it on fire like some websites suggest, especially since the underground propane tank is just a few feet away. He and Swimmer then pondered what to do about no longer having an oven with a display that worked or a rangetop and considering that it would be thousands of dollars cheaper to convert the existing wall oven to counters and range top counter to just a plain counter and putting in a cheap electric oven floor unit with a rangetop. So in the end, if the gas range didn't break then the firetrucks never would have come over and the mechanic neighbor would not have stopped by and done the oil changes and Plant Doc would have been doing his final day of harvesting instead of messing with the Big Green Bucket diesel and he would have gone to plow the fields tomorrow without knowing that he was out of diesel since the gas guage broke 2 years ago when the gas can lid chain got wrapped around the gas tank floater and Plant Doc pulled on it too hard and the Big Green Bucket fuel lines would have been needed to be re-injected and serviced at the John Deere dealer and Plant Doc would not be able to have planted his fall crop without a tractor for a few weeks and he wouldn't have poured diesel fuel down the yellow jackets nest hole. What a long day, I need some sleep!

2014 September 20

Plant Doc is playing Handy Manny today. He went to the hardware store to get supplies then built a wood frame seive for filtering debris from vegetables using 1/2 inch hardware mesh. Wild Girl helped him create a 1/4 hardware mesh attachment for when he needs a finer grain. After looking online at grain threshers that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, he decided to try an ingenious one that only cost a few dollars using a bucket, short chains, and a drill. Unfortunately, it didn't work on beans and peas and kept getting jammed, so Plant Doc will need a real thresher still. It was designed for grains, but we don't have any to test since Plant Doc frisbee'd them down a week ago using the Big Green Bucket. It did do a so so job on removing sunflower seeds from the head and Plant Doc quickly processed a test head with it, used the new sieve to remove large debris and the smaller mesh attachment to remove small debris. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to Raleigh to go kayaking and never told Plant Doc that the chickens were on the loose. At dusk, he went to check on them and saw that Moonlight and Starbright were out, while the other four chickens were in the chicks coop snuggling up on the perch. So he put them all together in the same coop for the night. Hopefully there are no fights, since Chicken Little and Junior still peck at the chicks a bit, even though the chicks are now bigger than them. It will be a good test run since next spring they will be all together in the same coop when we get new chicks. Swimmer also failed to mention that the chick coop ramp was broken, so Plant Doc put on his Handy Manny hat again to do a quick fix in the dark.

2014 September 19

Why is it that the bugs all congregate on a single crop plant and ignore the hundreds the weeds around it? Eat the weeds and Plant Doc won't kill you! I thought evolution was supposed to favor adaptations that increase survival. I think it actually favors pickiness. Plant Doc is cleaning up the flags and the junk in the fields.

2014 September 18

Plant Doc harvested the only veggie that Rocket Boy will eat in abundance...cherry tomatoes. There were only a few plants that survived from the first seeding, but they still yielded a lot. Most of them were green so he put them in buskets and stuck a banana next to them to ripen on the kitchen table under some paper towels. I guess they feed off bananas when they can no longer get nutrition from the tomato plant roots. He was mumbling something about how the dang grocery stores never use paper bags anymore so he had to improvise with the paper towels. He then went out to the annuals field and transplanted the rest of the tomato plants to the garden so he could plant his fall crop. He also did the same with the tomatillos, but first he investigated how to distinguish them from black or common nightshade, which is poisonous when its berries are green like it's scary sister deadly nightshade. Apparently the plant leaves and growth habit of the tomatillo looks very similar to common nightshade and the main distinguishing factor is the fruit and to a lesser extant the flowers. He didn't spot any common nightshade out there, but he wanted to be sure, despite that it was obvious that the plants were all in a straight line and only where he planted the tomatillo seed. He gave Rocket Boy a lecture about not picking any cherry tomatoes for eating himself because he needs to learn how to distinguish them from its poisonous cousins. Larger size tomatoes are apparently not an issue since none of the poisonous ones grow very big. After dark, Plant Doc was singing some old tune about what he was doing, gardening at night. He didn't even transplant all the tomatillo plants since he ran out of space in the garden. He did spot a few eggplant seedlings in the annuals field and he squeezed them in.

2014 September 17

Plant Doc harvested the watermelons. Most of them were small since he planted late and harvested early. He is trying to get everything harvested so that he can reangle the annuals field by five feet and plant the fall crop. He transplanted the tomatoes that were planted from seed very very late from the annuals field to the garden for the same reason. I think I'm a bit okra'd out and decided to leave most of them in the bowl today.

2014 September 16

Plant Doc mowed the lawn in record time...5 hours. Afterwards he let the kids hose him down. I slept on the couch all day since it was dangerous outside with Swimmer driving around that lawn sweeper like a maniac. Swimmer got a magazine in the mail that was named "Swimmer". I didn't realize she was famous. I did a search and Wild Girl also has a magazine named after her. Though, I can see why Plant Doc doesn't let her subscribe to it...though, it looks like something he might be interested in.

2014 September 15

Plant Doc started swimmer off with blanching corn and canning okra. He put some nails in the top of the garden trellis and converted it into a sun drying station for produce and added some tarps that could be folded up during the day and down for coverage at night or when it rains. He hung the seed potatoes that were stinking up the garage, a bag of popcorn, and a bag of basil on it. I just love going out there and taking a whiff of stinky potatoes and basil. Swimmer wouldn't let the leash out enough for me to pee on it. Plant Doc got his scythe outfit after he got the kids from the school bus so he is all set for Grim Reaper duty if called upon...in the meantime he can practice up on grain and lettuce. Can't believe they cut the grass this way a hundred years ago; must have taken forever. Though, I suppose it was still a lot faster than dogs grazing on it. The kids had fun cutting down weeds with the sickle. Plant Doc, with a little help from Wild Girl, went out to the perennials field and dug up the mint 3-gallon pots that were buried in the ground. He decided to just go with peppermint so he got rid of the row of pots for spearmint that never took. Many of those pots were already torn to shreds from getting hit during cultivation of the row. He is clearing things for plowing and is going to move the peppermint over to the edge of the field and align them better so he doesn't wipe so many out with the Big Green Bucket. He put the peppermint pots next to the scarecrows for the time being. Once again, Swimmer wouldn't let the leash out enough for me to pee on them and the scarecrows.

2014 September 14

Okra...yum! Plant Doc has been harvesting it and I've been eating it all day. He also finished off harvesting the rest of the basil that wasn't diseased. Swimmer and Wild Girl dried it on the grill and jarred it. The rain that was supposed to happen yesterday, finally materialized so he took a break from harvesting and prepared some jars for pickling okra. After a game of lasso, tie up, and let me bite Plant Doc, Wild Girl and I cuddled on the couch while Plant Doc went out to finish harvesting the sweet corn. He then harvested the one vegetable that Wild Girl will eat without a fight...popcorn.

2014 September 13

It threatened to rain all day, but it never happened. Plant Doc spent the day programming on the computer. He then took Wild Girl to a foot ball game. Once again, he came home empty handed since they were out of balls for sale.

2014 September 12

Plant Doc salted and grill roasted the sunflower seeds then canned them. He also grilled some more okra and I just couldn't get enough of it. I was barking at him all day to give me more. He harvested the corn and the worms got to the top of the cobs, but the bottoms were good except for the diseased ones. It was a smutty scene and this is a family friendly blog so I won't describe it any further.

2014 September 11

Plant Doc blistered his fingers pulling sunflower seeds off the heads. He experimented with all sorts of tools and the only thing that worked somewhat was the back of a hammer, though, the seeds tended to go flying and missed the bushel basket. Most of the heads that he salvaged turned out to be too wormy after all. Waiting for the melons to produce their sugars proved fruitless since the diseases and worms took over as soon as they were. Plant Doc was able to salvage only a fraction of them. That settled it, he decided that he was going to start spraying insecticides and organic bug treatments for the fall crop. Especially since the fall crop will be almost identical to the early spring crop and he already got an assessment of base levels of insects for those, albeit at at time of the year when insect levels were low. He checked on the southern peas that were never harvested, but at this point that were hardened into seeds. Swimmer still hasn't finished shelling the ones that were already harvested. She did get a little more basil drying done, but still has a long way too go.

2014 September 10

Plant Doc harvested some basil and experimented with ways of drying it. It started smoking in the microwave and the oven is on the fritz, so he tried in on a cookie sheet on the grill under low heat and it worked. While he was at it, he grilled up some okra and we surprisingly like it a lot. Swimmer took over the grilling while Plant Doc went to harvest the sunflowers. Looks like waiting a few extra days for the rains to pass, the heads to dry out, and the seeds to turn black was a bad idea. Tiny worms and disease moved in and destroyed almost all of the heads. Plant Doc was still able to salvage about 30 decent heads and started figuring out how to harvest the seeds early when they weren't completely black and dry. He would have let them dry out in the sun, but was afraid the few worms that were in the ones that he harvested would destroy them. Next year he is definitely going to need to spray for those worms. He gave a few of the so so heads to the chickens to see how they would do with picking out the seeds. He figured at the very least they would love picking out the worms. At night, when Plant Doc finally got to take a break, watch TV and eat dinner, one of his worst nightmares came true. He went to go to the bathroom and was greeted by a snake. Fortunately, it got it's head caught on a mouse sticky trap as it came through the mouse hole, so it was easy for Plant Doc to scoop it up with a rake and bring it out to the woods. These house mice have got to go already!

2014 September 9

Still drizzling a bit and the fields were like quicksand after so much rain yesterday. It was like a hurricane with no wind. Plant Doc worked on his harvest techniques while I dug for worms on the front lawn.

2014 September 8

I think Plant Doc needs to build an arc it's raining so much today. He looked like he was going to cry after he went out in the storm to see that his experiment with diverting water around the filled in drainage ditches failed and the dirt was just washing away. Otherwise, he spent the day working on harvesting plans while I took a nap.

2014 September 7

Plant Doc was up till the middle of the night trying to figure out more efficient ways of harvesting his crops and what tools he needed to do the job faster. He kept waking me up so I'm a bit drowsier today than usual. He spent the entire day on it also. Lot's of different crops with different needs and he doesn't have the harvesting equipment that they use on large monoculture farms so he needs to get inventive mixing old time, modern, research station, and third world equipment on a small scale with a very limited budget. Swimmer took Rocket Boy to his water polo tournament and then to the pool so I spent the day snuggling and playing with Wild Girl. We played a game foot ball using a small pumpkin until it split in half, upon which Plant Doc saved and dried the seeds for eating. He had that pressure canner going all day and it scared me whenever it blew off steam.

2014 September 6

Plant Doc went to the hardware store to get some chicken supplies to prevent a revolt, as well as some other stuff for miscellaneous projects including replacing the bolts on one of the cultivator tines. I was very confused when he brought the kid's plastic snow sleds out to the future orchard since I'm certain it's way too warm for any of that. He put them in front of one of the filled in erosion ditches and put cinder blocks on top of them. He also left the Big Green Bucket out in front of another one of them with the bucket top face down to the ground. Apparently, it's supposed to rain a lot tomorrow and he is experimenting with trying to divert the water a few feet away from the usual drainage path so that his grass seed has a chance to grow in the filled in erosion ditches. Sounds like a longshot to me. After his experiment was set up, he harvested some green beans in the annuals field.

2014 September 5

Plant Doc did not have a good start to the day. He checked his e-mail and the turfgrass professor from NC State he asked about his ideas for field borders where he would not need to mow or weed around the flags told him that it wasn't going to work. He checked his bank account and it was in the negative, which was not an unusual occurence, but this was the first time it was because the bank decided to not give him credit for the cash he deposited yesterday. The tellers must have used it to go shopping after work. He tried to get Swimmer started on shelling peas, but the machine kept jamming and he had to fiddle with the drill that ran it to get it to work. He tried to get Swimmer started on autoclaving the jars of beans from yesterday, but it was leaking boiling water from the release guage, so he had to fiddle with it. He went to put the chickens back in their coop after a few hours of running around, but he was out of mealworm treats so he had a hard time getting them back in their coops and Chicken Little decided to try eating his finger instead. He went out to the future orchard to put down white clover, annual ryegrass, creeping red fescue, and tall fescue on the filled in erosion ditches, but the little rainfalls the previous nights was enough to start washing the dirt away and reforming the ditches. So he had to use the Big Green Bucket to scoop up a bunch of muddy dirt from his freshly tilled perennials field to refill them and then shovel the muddy mess around to even it out. He went to clean off the tiller and had to spend an hour pulling out the wrapped up grass and grain stalks that were tied like knots around the rotary blades. He went to hook up the plow to the Big Green Bucket and nearly knocked it over by accident on his foot. He went to finally put down the turfgrass mix on the newly refilled erosion ditches with the hope that one of the components would establish quickly enough before the dirt washed away again, but he was short on seed. OK, so Plant Doc also did not have a good middle or end to the day either. I did have fun sunbathing on the front lawn watching his frustration!

2014 September 4

Happy Halloween!! You'll have to excuse my earliness since Plant Doc and the kids harvested the pumpkins today. The vines were starting to die from disease and the bugs and worms were starting to eat into the pumpkins so Plant Doc decided to harvest early rather than let them rot. He decided he should plant a few weeks later next year since they were already orange and wouldn't have lasted till October even without the pest problems. He put a whole bunch of the medium sized ones in the garage fridge for saving till the kids annual Halloween party and for pumpkin pies. Hope the kids at the party don't mind a few worm holes. At least next year he will be applying pesticide and organic treatments for controlling the bugs, though, he'll be letting the diseases run rampant again. While Rocket Boy was saving caterpillars lives from Plant Doc's glare, Wild Girl went out into the patch with a baseball bat and smashed the pumpkins that were too infested for harvesting. I was barking at them from the front lawn the entire time, but the coach didn't put me into the game. Meanwhile, Swimmer was in the kitchen complaining about being forced to clean and jar beans, even though Wild Girl did half of the work as a punishment for making them late for the bus in the morning. Plant Doc showed her how to use the pressure cooker and walked her through the first batch, so it looks like that's what she is going to be doing tomorrow. Plant Doc went back out and harvested okra as the sun set and the rain clouds moved in. Perfect timing for another rain storm since it started just as he was cleaning up.

2014 September 3

Plant Doc went to use the tiller on the Big Green Bucket, but the part that spins things just fell off. So he had to get out his little dremmel tool and grind the connections down a bit for it to work. With all the dry weather, the dirt was like dust and after just a few minutes he looked like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown cartoons. He had changed the edges of the annuals field so when he tilled up the grass it made a real mess of the rotary blades that took him an hour to cut off. Likewise when he tilled the grains, though, he didn't get to the cleanup part yet. There was just too much plant debris to be tilled into the soil, so it looks like Plant Doc is going to have to plow it under and then redo the big frisbees and tiller. It finally rained a bit and Plant Doc didn't mind getting drenched.

2014 September 2

While the other chickens are all finicky about being touched, Starbright has discovered the pleasure of a good back rub. That chick now just flies straight to the Gator seat and squats down for a pet. I'm going to have to clue her in on the tummy rub. Plant Doc and Swimmer are on a burger eating binge and I am absolutely furious with them for not sharing. I'm just going to have to take a pound of meat from their legs instead. Perhaps it was a bad idea to steal half the pizza the other day after all. Another scorcer today and the crops are starting to wilt. It's like July and August weather got swapped with September weather. Plant Doc is out preparing the perennials field for the fall planting using the big frisbees on the Big Green Bucket. I wonder if snakes make good fertilizer, there was one in the grains section so he minced it up with the big frisbees. Afterwards, he cleaned up the frisbees and hooked up the big tiller to the Big Green Bucket. He decided to put a foot of rotary blades back on his single row tiller.

2014 September 1

After 2 years of Plant Doc begging her, Swimmer finally cleaned and organized the kitchen cabinets. As it was, whenever you opened a drawer, pots and pans and griddles and glass jars and wooden spoons and silverware and butane lighters and knives came flying at you. The pantry needed to be cleared for canned produce from the summer crop. As it was, it was done too late for harvesting the cucumbers on time so we aren't going to have that many pickles. Plant Doc finally forced her into it by piling the mason jars all over the kitchen table and counters so that there was no longer a place to sit and eat. While the kitchen upheaval was going on, Plant Doc stayed as far away as possible and worked on repairing silt fences, filling in erosion spots in the annuals and perennials fields using the Big Green Bucket, cleaning up the cultivator, and hooking up the big frisbees to the Big Green Bucket for leveling the filled in spots. Now I know why they call it Labor Day, I've never seen so much work done around here in one day! Swimmer even got carried away cooking burgers on the grill when usually she just does McDonalds. Plant Doc asked her to make a few extra for tomorrow, but she ended up grilling 2 dozen extra. Don't know what he's complaining about, that's the perfect number of burgers for me! For a minute there I thought it was my birthday since the only thing better would have been that much bacon! When she didn't give me any, I checked the closets to see if she was hiding other people. I'm working on a scheme for opening the fridge getting up to that top shelve using some chairs, a hook, twine, and a pulley that I found in the garage.

2014 August 31

Wild Girl must have been teaching the chickens to sing, since she left some song lyrics in the barnyard. I finished chewing through my collar and had a nice run around the neighborhood. Swimmer went out and bought a new blue one. Plant Doc is working on his crop plans until he goes with Wild Girl to the baseball game with some friends. Apparently, it's free today for all Zebulonians. Unfortunately, Rocket Boy can't go to baseball games due to all the peanuts, it's just too dangerous for him. As it is, Wild Girl and Rocket Boy are going to have to go through decontamination when they get home.

2014 August 30

Plant Doc spent the day pulling up silt fences in the future orchard that were no longer needed using the Big Green Bucket and a chain. I spent the day chewing on my collar for a future escape.

2014 August 29

Swimmer spent the morning using the pea deshelling machine while Plant Doc ran some errands and came home with a lot more canning jars. Swimmer took the kids straight from the bus to a party at the pool. I escaped the house twice trying to see them before they left, but it didn't work out. I did manage to steal a few slices of pizza during the commotion. Turns out that Plant Doc was a lot more efficient with the canning. He filled an entire case of jars with green beans in just an hour and then used the pressure canner for the first time.

2014 August 28

Swimmer used the pea deshelling machine to put the little buggers in canning jars. It was going way too slow using the hand crank so Plant Doc hooked up the power drill and used a rubber band to keep it going to speed things up. Still took a long time and she only processed half a box. That half a box only filled a 2 jars and she was rather upset with me when I knocked the jar over and ate one of them after it took her an hour to fill it. Plant Doc continued digging up dirt in the perennials field and used it to fill in the ditches/stream formed from erosion in the future orchard using the Big Green Bucket. He looked pretty exhausted from all the digging all day long in the hot sun. He was sweating so much he looked drier after he hosed himself off.

2014 August 27

Plant Doc was working on his crop plans until the mailman came and he got his pea deshelling machine. He and Wild Girl made a real mess trying to figure out how to do it quickly without turning them to mush. He experimented with an electric drill and a blender for spinning it, but the old fashioned hand crank seemed to work best. I had alot of fun chasing down the stray peas that flew across the room. Afterwards, he harvested green beans in the annuals field.

2014 August 26

Plant Doc and Swimmer had to run some errands so I stayed on the front lawn and guarded the house. The kids went to dance class and water polo at the pool with Swimmer after school so Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house to work on his crop plans on the computer. Plant Doc first harvested a small pumpkin for each of the kids. There is a pumpkin plant growing on the sidewalk near the house. I don't think pumpkin seeds have wings so it couldn't have come from the annuals field and must have come from the Halloween display from last year. I think we are on to something here because it would save Plant Doc a whole lot of weeding if he could grow all his plants on concrete.

2014 August 25

First day of school! I missed the kids all day so I was sure to give them a big tackle when they got home. Plant Doc mowed the lawn and left a few billion ants homeless again. I stayed inside when I saw that Swimmer was going to use the lawn sweeper. She scares me when she drives!

2014 August 24

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to his water polo tournament and then to the pool. I spent the day sleeping on the couch next to Wild Girl. I don't want her to go to school tomorrow and apparently neither does she. Plant Doc worked on his crop plans on the computer.

2014 August 23

Plant Doc was digging up dirt in the perennials field and used it to fill in the ditches/stream formed from erosion in the future orchard using the Big Green Bucket. Hopefully that's the last time now that it is a nice field of grass. Glad he finally did that because I was afraid that one of these days I was going accidentally trip on one of those big holes in the field.

2014 August 22

Plant Doc harvested southern peas of all different color eyes, as well as lima beans. Swimmer tried deshelling just one of them and refused to do anymore, so Plant Doc ordered a machine for it. I did a good job deshelling them, but for some reason she wouldn't eat them after I did so. They sure were tasty and fun to eat...kind of like Pez candy.

2014 August 21

Plant Doc ran some errands and took care of a few odds and ends on the farm. He later took the kids to meet their teachers at the open house at the school. Only one more day of summer vacation. I'm sad! Oh, wait, I don't have to go to school! I'm an obedience school dropout and I'm not going back!

2014 August 20

Swimmer was gone all day, so Plant Doc took advantage of the relatively quiet house to spend the day programming on the computer. He helped Wild Girl build a huge paper airplane out of a bunch of pieces of paper taped together. It flew a few times and then I ate it.

2014 August 19

Plant Doc spent another long day and night programming on the computer. The rain faked him out again, but this time he didn't fall for it completely. He cleaned up the rather murky waterfall pond that he build for Rocket Boy and the water is flowing much better now. He ran short on pond chemicals so hopefully the ones he put in were enough. Rocket Boy took a sample of the algae mat to experiment with. That stuff sure is slimy, but when after it dries off in the sun it's almost like a piece of cloth.

2014 August 18

Plant Doc had a late start after programming on the computer till the middle of the night again. Rocket Boy and I were not pleased when he finally did come down and kick us out of the office so he could do some computer work. Other than a few short drizzles, the rainstorms that were supposed to occur didn't pan out until after dark so Plant Doc weeded the annuals field and the strawberries with the Big Green Bucket. So as soon as he went back out, Rocket Boy and I took over the office again.

2014 August 17

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to his water polo match, so I snuggled with Wild Girl on the couch while Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house to work on the computer.

2014 August 16

Plant Doc took his first full day off from the farm and computer programming since Christmas to spend the day in Raleigh with the kids. They went to a birthday party, a movie, and a foot ball game, while I moped around at home looking for someone to play with. I had to suffice with an occasion walk with Swimmer. I was rather upset that Plant Doc didn't bring me a home a new foot ball for me to bite.

2014 August 15

The kids were challenged by some friends to do Plant Doc continued hogging the computer then finally went outside to harvest zucchini, squash, and beans.

2014 August 14

Plant Doc spent the entire day and well into the middle of the night on the computer programming. At least he stepped outside for an hour to check on the chickens and recheck the angles of his re-mapped annuals field. I chilled out on the couch with Wild Girl until Swimmer dragged her to the pool.

2014 August 13

Plant Doc struggled to get his computer programming done amidst the shear chaos of the house today...much of it caused by yours truly. I knew that he was angry when he finally stormed out of the house and went straight for his tractor, but I was panic stricken when a few minutes later I saw a person being hanged around the neck by a chain 5 feet off the ground from the Big Green Bucket. Fortunately, it only turned out to be a scarecrow pulled out of the ground. He moved 2 of them by a few feet since he was re-angling the annuals field so that he could plant grass along a bad erosion spot a few feet from the edge. I'm going to try to get out there tomorrow and pull up the flags that he put down to mark the new edges.

2014 August 12

Swimmer and the kids spent the morning trying to make bread out of zucchini. Oh what a mess they made in the kitchen and I discovered that getting your feet covered with flour and running around the house is just so much fun. Unfortunately, they didn't use too much zucchini, so I repeat, "What are we going to do with all that squash?!" The kids did a good job, but Swimmer displayed her usual lack of cooking ability and the first loaf of zucchini bread was actually zucchini mush. She blamed the microwave convection oven since the regular oven is out of commission due to a broken dashboard light. She got the second one right at least. Plant Doc is on a killing spree. He is rounding up and shooting weeds all over the place including trying to clean up the out of control ones in the rows of strawberries in the perennials field. I couldn't even go for my usual walk on the driveway since he was killing the grass on it. Looks like he needs to get shorter rubber boots for his pesticide spraying since the long ones he had chafed up the back of his legs and after hours of it they were deep cuts. Plant Doc just kept going for hours more even though he winced with every step.

2014 August 11

Plant Doc was on the computer programming till the middle of the night and kept waking me up so I need a nap. After a late start, he seeded the flats in the hothouses. I had the harness on me all day, so Wild Girl kept taking me for short walks.

2014 August 10

Swimmer took Rocket Boy to his first water polo tournament while Wild Girl spent the day with me. Swimmer put the harness on me for the day so that Wild Girl could take me for walks on her own. Plant Doc took advantage of the relatively quiet house to do some more programming. He was messing with the web server settings, so if you briefly saw some bizarre PHP stuff on this page then that was the reason.

2014 August 9

Rainy day so Plant Doc spent the day programming on the computer. I just did not want to stay cooped inside all day and terrorized the family.

2014 August 8

Swimmer went to the Franklin County Farmers Market to try to sell some of the squash. She came home with most of it so I guess she didn't have much luck. I repeat, "What are we going to do with all that squash?". Wild Girl suggested we get out the tennis rackets and play a game of squash with them. After hours of both Rocket Boy and I trying to get him off the computer so that we could use it, Plant Doc went outside to straighten up the cucumber, melon, watermelon, sweet potato and bean vines. Seemed kind of harsh to me...we must have gotten him mad for kicking him out of his office, but there was no reason to take it out on the poor vines. He further took out his frustrations on a rusted bolt that would not come off a cultivator tine point. He was banging on it with a hammer and screaming at it while he worked on it in the garage on his workbench for a good hour. After he resolved that, he got angry again because he didn't have the right size bolts for putting on a replacement sweep. He improvised and finally got out on the Big Green Bucket to do one final cleanup of the weeds in the annuals field before most of the summer crops were harvested or too big to use the cultivator without running them over. He was out in the field for hours after dark due to the late start and the noise from the Big Green made it hard for me to sleep so I jumped on the computer to write this blog entry.

2014 August 7

Plant Doc harvested black zucchini and yellow squash that looked like it slept wrong and needed a neck massage. He gave me one of each to chomp on and I was mystified how to approach it since they were like squishy bones. What are we going to do with all that squash? Swimmer tried steaming it and torturing it in boiling water for freezing. Bread sounds good when she gets to it. Rocket Boy thought that the yellow squash was particularly good for hitting his sister with.

2014 August 6

Plant Doc was programming on the computer, tweaking his crop plans, and preparing the flats in the hothouses. The kids and I were playing Tyrannosaurus Rex attack and I got a nice blood curdling scream out of Swimmer when I got a little too realistic with it.

2014 August 5

Send a prayer for the millions of ants killed and billions left homeless from Plant Doc mowing down ant hills in the future orchard. Actually, I was only upset that he didn't let me dig them up and eat them. I wish dogs weren't allergic to chocolate since chocolate covered ants sounds oh so delicious! The grass was kind of getting out of hand from the unusual amount of rain we've gotten in the past month and it took him all day to mow it. Later in the day, I slipped out the door when Swimmer was dragging the kids out of the house to take them to their first water polo practice. I never realized how fast and quick to change direction that zero point mower was until Plant Doc chased me down with it. It was way harder to out maneuver than when Swimmer chases me down on the Gator even when she is driving like a maniac. I think Plant Doc must be a bit delusional after spending so many hours on the mower, since he is citing poetry to the iced tea mix, "Oh nice new clean sealed container of iced tea mix. Why must you make me stick my dirty fingers so deep into thee to retrieve thy scoop? Or have thy dust spill all over floor and counter only to make me sneeze upon thee if I try spoon or spatula tricks?". He must have breathed in spores from some of those mushrooms that he mowed over.

2014 August 4

Plant Doc was back and forth between programming on the computer and planting seeds in the hothouses. He kept kicking me off my computer chair!

2014 August 3

Yet, another rainy day so Plant Doc spent the day programming on the computer while I slept until the kids got home from the pool.

2014 August 2

Another rainy day so Plant Doc spent the day programming on the computer. He also worked on crop labels for the fall crop. I was rather stir crazy from not being able to spend the day outside and terrorized the family for the day.

2014 August 1

Last day of science camp for the kids. It was raining most of the day so Plant Doc spent the day programming on the computer. I slept until the kids got home and we got to play.

2014 July 31

Swimmer took the kids to science camp and I got to go with them again!!! I played all the morning at the park and was exhausted in the afternoon so I had Swimmer take Wild Girl and I home before Rocket Boy got out of camp. I must be getting older since a few days ago I didn't get tired as quickly. Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and spent most of the day programming on the computer. He spent the latter part of the day weeding the annuals field with the Hoss Wheel hoe.

2014 July 30

Swimmer took the kids to science camp and then to the pool. Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and spent the day programming on the computer. I slept on the couch...the whole day!

2014 July 29

Swimmer took the kids to science camp. Plant Doc again took advantage of the quiet house to do some website registration programming while I took a nap, still having a hangover from the busy day at the park yesterday. When they got home, I insisted that Swimmer take me for multiple walks while Plant Doc finally got outside to do some weeding in the annuals field with his scuffle hoe.

2014 July 28

Swimmer took the kids to their free annual summer science camp. I snuck out the door during the commotion of them getting out of the house and took a quick run through the woods. I didn't like seeing them leave, so I jumped in the truck and wouldn't budge. So I went with them for the day and had a blast running around during my multiple trips to the park. I was absolutely exhausted when we got home and just slept the rest of the day on the couch. I was too tired to even get up off the couch to go to bed. Apparently, Plant Doc took advantage of the extra quiet house to do some website registration programming.

2014 July 27

On and off rain. I got caught in a downpour and got tackled by Plant Doc with a towel to dry me off before I could get to the couch to dry myself off. Plant Doc made soup from his veggies then worked on his crop plans and field labels.

2014 July 26

Plant Doc reseeded crops in the annuals field that didn't take the first round. Better late than never, but it's going to make the Fall crop planting even later than it already is due to the original month delay in the beginning of the year due to the weather. I found my way into a toy bin and had a blast for the day. Swimmer was chopping carrots and other root crops from the stash in the refrigerator that was harvested last month for Plant Doc's soup that he is making tomorrow.

2014 July 25

Plant Doc was on the computer working on his crop plans. I was in a kind of yin-yang mood and alternated between snuggling with the kids and biting Swimmer and Plant Doc.

2014 July 24

Some guys with huge vacuum cleaners were sucking stuff out of the house vents. I wonder if they got any mice while they were doing it. I tried my usual fake attack, but the guy just laughed at me. He said that he has dealt alot with poisonous snakes, so a leashed dog running at him didn't phase him. Plant Doc was working on his crop plans on the computer. Afterwards, Plant Doc did some weed cleanup on the Big Green Bucket. It started raining so he went back to working on his crop plans on the computer.

2014 July 23

Plant Doc was still working on his crop plans in the morning. The electric guy came by to do a meter reading and I greeted him with my customary full scale attack. While I know that my leash will give out and I can't reach him, I'm not sure if he always does. Afterwards, I went back to my nap on the lawn feeling proud of that look of shear panic that I always put on his face. He went to the door to talk to Plant Doc and I thought he was going to complain about me, but instead he was complaining about all the branches from the tree blocking his access to the meter, as well as ticks and snakes. Plant Doc asked if he just saw a snake, but he said that was what happened last month. So Plant Doc got off the computer to cut down some tree branches and before I was able to jump on to work on my blog, Swimmer took it over. After that, Plant Doc went out to weed using the Hoss wheel hoe in the annuals field. The bugs apparently were driving him insane due to the high humidity and his usual double dosing of bug repellant was not sufficient. For a minute, I thought he was having some kind of epileptic fit out there, so I tried to get Swimmer to listen to me that he needed help, but she just screamed at me for all the barking. I went to the keyboard and started typing a message, but she just pulled me off the computer and shut the office door. Fortunately by that point I realized that Plant Doc was just jumping around trying to swipe at the bugs biting him. I think next time there is an emergency I'll grab Wild Girl's iPad and send Swimmer an e-mail, since that's the only type of communication where Plant Doc has any luck getting her to listen to. Anyway, I went back on the front lawn to take a nap and laugh at Plant Doc's bug bite dance. There must be something to the phrase, "Speak of the Devil". When Plant Doc took a break to give the chickens their daily mealworm snack, he had a nice surprise of another black rat snake in the hen house with an egg clearly in it's belly. After yelling at it for eating his breakfast the next day, he tried stabbing it with a pitch fork and missed. This put him in the unfortunate predicament of having to confront it head on in tight quarters by crawling inside the coop on his hands and knees. Fortunately, after a few stabs with the pitch fork, it found a hole to slither out of the coop instead of coming straight at him. Plant Doc was thus able to give it a proper stab with the pitchfork. Both fortunately, since he didn't have to listen to any screaming which allowed him to think straight, and unfortunately, since he had no one to hold down the stake while he went to the shed to get the machete, Swimmer had gone with the kids to the pool. I was leashed to the tree on the front lawn or I would have helped. So he found a way to wedge the pitchfork into the chicken stall gate and hold the snake down while he went to the shed. After a nice and messy snake beheading and disposal, he went back to weeding since it was a lot more pleasant than his last break. After it got too dark to weed, Plant Doc came in for his usual cleanup only to be greeted by a small green and brown snake on the driveway near the garage. His machete and pitchfork were over by the chickens still, so he grabbed a rake and wacked at it. Unlike his earlier battle, this time he got the snake guts in the hair. I didn't give him my usual bite when he came inside since he clearly had a rough afternoon. I suggested that he go back outside and weed in the pitch black since it was the only time he had any peace all day.

2014 July 22

Plant Doc went to the ag extension office so I finally got back on the computer in the morning to work on my blog. Off and on rain again, so he was back to working on his crop plans on the computer till after midnight. He was in the mood for stretching his legs with short sprints, so every once and a while he would run out of the office screaming and start chasing Wild Girl and I around the house.

2014 July 21

There must be a cloud that is stuck over us since the intermittent rain keeps hapenning. I wish it would just spit out all the water and get it over with. I want to sleep on the front lawn. I got soaked in a downpour so Swimmer gave me a bath and I dried myself off on the couch afterwards. During a short break in the rain, he was finally able to finish off weeding the annuals field with the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket.

2014 July 20

It was raining off and on most of the day so Plant Doc spent most of the day working on his crop plans on the computer. Every few hours I went in to bite him to make sure he was still alive. During a break in the rain, he continued weeding the annuals field with the cultivator on the Big Green Bucket.

2014 July 19

Plant Doc spent the day on the Big Green Bucket weeding the annuals and perennials fields with the cultivator. I spent most of the day eating the arm rest off of a computer chair.

2014 July 18

Plant Doc mowed the lawn while Swimmer drove around in circles on the gator with the lawn sweeper like a drunk driver. I guarded the kids and made sure they stayed inside since I was afraid of them getting run over. Afterwards, Plant Doc went and round up and shot some poison ivy plants. At least he finally killed plants that deserved to die.

2014 July 17

Plant Doc filled in the gaps of the cucumbers, squash, zucchini, watermelons, melons, and pumpkins rows with seeds and weeded the annuals field. I spent my day eating the stuffing inside his chair while he was off of it.

2014 July 16

Plant Doc had another full day of dealing with financial headaches and says that his head is ready to explode. I considered biting it off, but thought better of it.

2014 July 15

Plant Doc spent most of the day dealing with financial headaches while I kept coming in the office and biting him. The whole family went to the kids swim meet while it rained like cats and dogs (I'll never understand that saying) and I slept like a dog. When they got home late at night, Plant Doc said that Swimmer ruined it for the kids. He just can't take sitting at swim meets anymore after years and years of traveling around the country and spending every vacation day he had sitting on uncomfortable bleachers for so many long hours at Swimmer's meets. He is just begging for the kids to take up a different sport! Of course, I've been kind of making things hard for that to happen since I usually bite into and deflate the ball whenever they try to play a different sport.

2014 July 14

Plant Doc spent most of the day working on his website scripts. He also did some cleanup of the newly shaded not as hot-houses pulling out the fried seedlings and dead bugs. I got my paws on quite a few of those tasty morsefuls which made a good protein and fiber lunch.

2014 July 13

Swimmer and the kids were at the pool all day, so Plant Doc advantage of the quiet house to work on his website databases while I slept all day.

2014 July 12

Plant Doc was out thinning and transplanting seedlings in the annuals field again. To get through the day, he definitely had a rhythm to it this time. I think he may have doing the "Safety Dance", but substituting the letters with "I kill plants". I was barking at him for hours asking to let me help again, but he refused. I was so angry that I bit him the first chance I got. At the end of the day, Swimmer, who gets dizzy after leaning over just once in the hot sun, asked why he was walking like an old man; though it was obvious since Plant Doc had been doing so every 30 seconds for 9 hours straight. I bit him again when he came inside just to make it clear that leaving me out of the joy that is plant culling was simply unacceptable.

2014 July 11

There is some strange bird or something nesting in the garage and it's making the most unusual chirping sounds I've ever heard. Sounds like a pterodactyl like Rocket Boy is always talking about, but I'm not sure since they won't let me go search for it. Plant Doc was out thinning and transplanting seedlings in the annuals field. I think he has taken his slogan, "I kill plants!" too literally this time. I was apalled by the senseless culling and brutal carnage. At least, until Plant Doc let me give it a try...I loved it!!!! I was so much better and faster at it than Plant Doc. He screamed for me to stop and pulled hard on my leash so I bit him. There were plants and blood flying everywhere. It was wondrous!!

2014 July 10

Off and on rain today so Plant Doc worked on his website databases, though, with lots of interruptions. The replacement hothouse was delivered for the one that broke the day after we got it and kept breaking more and more over the last 6 months. Plant Doc took his chances with the rain and decided to put it up. Fortunately, he got it done just before a massive downpour since it would have been a real mess if that had happened while the shelves of plant flats were exposed. I made Swimmer make up for 3 days of not giving me a walk and took naps in between.

2014 July 9

Plant Doc took care of the chickens and some other chores outside then again advantage of the quiet house and worked on his website databases. Swimmer and the kids came home from the ocean trip at night and I was so excited to see them. After tackling Wild Girl, running circles around Rocket Boy, nipping Swimmer till she screamed, and chewing on the luggage some, I relaxed on the couch and snuggled with Wild Girl.

2014 July 8

Another day at the ocean for the kids, I miss Wild Girl and Rocket Boy. Plant Doc took care of the chickens and some other chores outside. He watered and reseeded the hydroponics in my lab. He then again took advantage of the quiet house and worked on his website databases for the rest of the day. I guarded the front lawn in the morning, then spent the rest of the day sleeping on the couch.

2014 July 7

Swimmer's birthday and she is celebrating with the kids by taking them to the ocean for the first time. Plant Doc took advantage of the quiet house and worked on his website databases until midnight. I snoozed on the couch.

2014 July 6

Plant Doc had a rather frustrating day. He slept in late tired from all the weeding and came down to catch me chewing on his only suit and Swimmer's wedding dress. Swimmer had moved too much stuff to the downstairs jacket closet after the wire clothes organizer crashdown in their bedroom which resulted in a crashdown of the jacket closet pole. I think I would have been in a lot more trouble if he had come down a little later since I had only had the chance to eat the tasty outer plastic covers. So he spent a few hours fixing the mess in the closet...sort of, he needs to reinforce the pole to get it to stay. After a few hours getting nothing particularly useful accomplished on the computer and playing with the kids, he finally got his day started for real. He goes to feed the chickens their worms and discovers another black rat snake snoozing in the coop house. This time he successfully stabs it with a pitch fork and eventually was able to chop it with the hatchet. This was a particulary ornery snake and Plant Doc almost got struck a few times trying to kill it. He was in another bad mood after that so he round up the grass in the strawberries which had gotten way out of control and shot them with his pistol. He finished the day weeding the perennials field with the mini-tiller and by hand.

2014 July 5

Plant Doc has been weeding all day in the annuals field using the Hoss wheel hoe, the scuffle hoe, the mini-tiller, and by hand. I've been doing my part by digging up the grass on the front lawn. After an oh so fun day of weeding, Plant Doc checked the chicken coop for eggs only to find the black rat snake back and taking a snooze. This time he came back prepared with a small hacket since once again it was a tough angle and he needed to get close. After the first wack, it tried to strike at him and slithered down into the coop. Fortunately, it got hung up in the fly netting that was put around the coops a few months ago to prevent any more Bot Fly strikes and lost pets. So Plant Doc wacked at that slithering monster a few more times until finally it stuck its head out of the coop and he was able to chop it. It's a good thing Plant Doc got a haircut earlier in the day since guts were flying and he didn't have as much hair to get it into. Still freaks me out how the head and the body pieces keep going even after the snake has been cut into pieces. That snake must have gotten Plant Doc pretty angry since he went out and round up more grass in the hothouses and shot them with a pistol. Just when I thought everything had settled down, all sorts of things started exploding again. Turns out the neighbors across the street were going to have a fireworks display after all. Rocket Boy was so excited and the family flew off on the gator to check it out. I stayed behind to protect the house.

2014 July 4

I don't understand what all the commotion is about today. All sorts of things exploding and shots firing. Plant Doc was weeding the fields with the Big Green Bucket cultivator and that was quiet compared to the other stuff going on around the neighborhood. Plant Doc took a break from weeding and shot off Rocket Boy's rocket a few times before it went drifting over the tall needle trees and into the neighbor's mini pony pasture. The ponies found the top part of the rocket, but the neighbor never did find the bottome engine part. After dark it got even louder and Rocket Boy was dissapointed that the neighbors across the street did not have a fireworks display again this year...I was relieved! Swimmer dug up the sparklers from last year and Plant Doc swore that they were like trick candles since they took about 5 minutes to light.

2014 July 3

Swimmer's parents came down for a visit and I gave them a big tackle greeting. After Plant Doc gave them an updated farm tour and let them try out the gator and the tractor, he had to run a few errands. He came back with some freestanding pole thingys for hanging clothes and spent the early evening putting them together. A few weeks ago, the wire clothes organizers that were mounted to the walls of the master bedroom, put there by the previous owner of the house, came crashing down. Rex and the house mice have been having fun pooping and chewing on Plant Doc and Swimmer's clothes in the interim. Not that their clothes weren't already old and worn out anyway, but there were a few Olympic memorabilia shirts and jackets that got hit before Plant Doc realized what was happening. Of course, the clothes organizers were just the latest of things to come crashing down off the walls since we moved here. All of drapes and many of the photos that Plant Doc spent so much time anchoring to walls came crashing down last year. The good thing about the design of this house that the crazy NC engineering professor built so long ago is that the inner frame of the house is protected by a 1 inch layer of fire protectant stone. The bad thing is that the builders only left about a quarter inch of sheetrock on the outer walls, such that it's practically impossible to put a screw or nail into the walls. Plant Doc has messed around with all sorts of anchors and stuff that the local home improvement stores swear would do the job, but all eventually failed. At somepoint he is going to have to bring a expert carpenter in to just hang the stinking drapes and photos.

2014 July 2

Plant Doc woke to the sound of Swimmer screaming (a quarter-mile away), "Snake! Snake! Snake in the chicken house!". I tried to tell him, "Let me at 'em Doc! Let me at 'em!", but I think he was too drowsy to understand. He grabbed the machete and walked out to the barnyard wishing he had woken up more and done his stretches first. The machete was too big for getting inside the chicken house, so he tried to get the big black rat snake with a pitchfork. He missed and the snake went down below in the coop. Swimmer was screaming (as I heard a quarter-mile away) for him to go into the coop to get it. However, I don't think he went for the idea of squeezing in there on hands and knees and being cornered by a big snake in a spot where he could barely move if it struck at him. So as he pondered the situation, the snake slipped below the pine straw and out of the barn. I think Plant Doc was relieved about its retreat since the last time he faced a similar situation, he got snake guts all in his hair. Fortunately, Plant Doc had some snake away granules (the eco friendly ones) in the shed, so he spread it around the chicken houses along the edges of the stalls. That stuff really stinks bad...I just love it. Not a fun way to start the day so he figured if it was going to be a lousy day anyway, he might as well spend it mowing the lawn for 7 hours. Swimmer did a little of the lawn sweeping later. The way she was driving the gator in circles around the lawn, she must have been envisioning snakes slithering around and was trying to run them over.

2014 July 1

Plant Doc is being kind of lazy today after spending the last few late nights getting the websites ready for their initial release. He finally started to get going with chores on the farm for a few hours, then got distracted by some big foot ball game. Actually, I love that game when he plays it with Wild Girl on the front lawn. There never seems to be a winner, though, because once the ball gets kicked my way and I get my teeth on it, that's usually the end of the ball. Now that I think about it, that does explain why Plant Doc keeps telling Wild Girl that it's too expensive of a game, despite it's popularity in the poorest countries of the world. After the big foot ball game, Plant Doc put the new big shade cloth over the hothouses to keep the seedlings from shriveling up all the time. He said he also was going to round up some grass on the ground of the hothouses and that he was going to use a pistol on them. I know that he is upset about the nation losing the big foot ball game, but it's no reason for being uncivilized.

2014 June 30

Plant Doc is getting the initial release of our websites done by the end of the day. I got a nice bite of Rocket Boy's lunch and Swimmers finger.

2014 June 29

Plant Doc is working on his website. I was able to get a hold of Rocket Boy's Angry Birds and decided that eating them was more fun than shooting them in the air like he does.

2014 June 28

Plant Doc was working on his website most of the day. In the early evening, he went outside to stretch his legs and was fixing flags in the annuals field. Wild Girl and I played chase until I knocked her down and Plant Doc broke it up. She was fine, just a few scratches.

2014 June 27

Plant Doc is working on his website. I was able to steal Wild Girl's pretzel, then the replacement that Swimmer gave her, then the one after that...this could go on for a while; I'm hungry.

2014 June 26

Plant Doc planted melons, watermelons, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and pumpkins on the hills in annuals field. I've got to work on my agility training endurance since I don't think he is going to be happy if I don't clear all the hills and land on them.

2014 June 25

Plant Doc attached the big frisbees to the Big Green Bucket and made an entire acre of long rows of hills in the annuals field for me to jump over. I can finally do some agility training since Swimmer never takes out the kit for it that I got last Christmas.

2014 June 24

Plant Doc started plotting out the flags in the annuals field. I started removing flags in the annuals field.

2014 June 23

Plant Doc finished tilling the annuals and perennials fields. There is nothing as fun as running through freshly tilled dirt. Of course, Swimmer wasn't too happy about having to clean me up.

2014 June 22

Plant Doc finished harvesting the carrots and cut the seed heads off the mustard. After that, he tilled up the other half of the annuals field, excluding the onions, as well as the overwintered crops and herbs, which never grew, in the perennials field. I learned how to open the office supply organizer drawers so now I can grab whatever I want when I need it. Got some tasty pencils today.

2014 June 21

Plant Doc harvested potatoes which were skeletonized by potato beetles and peas which were overrun by weeds. So he is not real happy with the yield. Still got 3 large sacks worth of potatoes and he hung them to dry on the Bowflex exercise trainer which is still in pieces in the garage from when Swimmer bought it 2 years ago. I finally figured out why those football players on the window to the other world like running into things and tackling them.

2014 June 20

Plant Doc went to a health care festival at the Middle School in Louisburg and joined the Franklin County Cooperative Extension folk at their booth to advertise about the farm. I took the opportunity to change some of his website pages just to see if he will find them.

2014 June 19

It's been exactly one year since I moved in with my new family and started this blog!! It's been a crazy year! Plant Doc was out harvesting carrots from the annuals field.

2014 June 18

Plant Doc was out harvesting the last of the cabbage from the annuals field and spent the night steaming them after it started raining and the kids went to swim practice. He also finished harvesting the cabbage, kale, collards, and mustard in the perennials field. I discovered the joys of ripping out the plastic pieces that hold the base of the refrigerator together.

2014 June 17

Plant Doc spent the entire day mowing the lawn while Swimmer chased him around with a sweeper for a bit. I was rather disappointed that there weren't as many frogs under my tree afterwards.

2014 June 16

Plant Doc planted basil, new zealand spinach, sunflowers, okra, southern peas, soybeans, corn, beans in the annuals field. I discovered that if you run into the snack table really fast then the kid's food flies off and they don't want to eat it anymore.

2014 June 15

Plant Doc planted tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in the annuals field. I needed a long nap and then another and then I went outside to snooze under my tree a bit.

2014 June 14

Plant Doc did one final tilling and fixing of flags in half of the annuals field. I did one final stealing of flags in the annuals field.

2014 June 13

Swimmer went to the Franklin County Farmers Market to sell produce. She didn't listen to Plant Doc and left everything out such that it couldn't be stored long. Plant Doc spent the entire day making 5 gallons of soup out of it. I found out that cabbage tastes pretty good.

2014 June 12

Swimmer got her new steam pot and pressure cooker yesterday and is spending the day steaming in more ways than one. Plant Doc is harvesting produce and fixing flags in the annuals field. The kids are so excited about being on summer vacation. I started running back and forth through the flags just to see how well they were in the ground.

2014 June 11

Last day of school for the kids! Plant Doc harvested for the Rolesville Farmers Market before it started raining hard. I took a long nap before tearing apart the toy bin in the lab.

2014 June 10

Plant Doc is working on variety labels for the annuals and perennials fields. I much preferred eating the wooden ones that he was using last year.

2014 June 9

Plant Doc started harvesting carrots in the annuals field. They sure make a tasty snack and Rex is loving it. He is fixing flags in the annuals field.

2014 June 8

Plant Doc replanted seeds in the lab after I got my lights back from the baby chickens. It looks like I'll be getting my hydroponics toilet back. He is back on the Big Green Bucket tilling up the harvested crops and lots of weeds.

2014 June 7

Plant Doc is on the Big Green Bucket tilling up the harvested crops and lots of weeds. I'm sure he wouldn't mind it if dug a few holes of my own.

2014 June 6

Plant Doc finished harvesting the turnips, radishes, rutabagas, raddichio, endive, cress, arugula, chard, and beets in the annuals field. I don't like the taste of any of them!!! Back to eating pencils.

2014 June 5

Plant Doc went to a sweet potato farm to get slips and is planting those slippery plants in the annuals field. They didn't feel very wet so I just don't get it.

2014 June 4

Plant Doc is cleaning up the weeds in the annuals field. I decided to do the same in the front yard gardens. Plant Doc says that any plant growing in a place that you don't want it is a weed. Though, I'm not sure he would agree with my choices.

2014 June 3

Swimmer went to sell produce at the WakeMed Farmers Market. Plant Doc is updating his plant lists. I took the opportunity to chew up Swimmers hat that she left on the ground.

2014 June 2

Plant Doc is harvesting some veggies today. I got loose from Swimmer and had a nice run around the neighborhood for a few hours. Even got to chase a few chickens.

2014 June 1

Plant Doc was getting rid of weeds in the annuals field and he broke the power paws! That looks painful, I'm glad nothing like that ever happened to my paws.

2014 May 31

Plant Doc set up an educational booth at the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Centennial celebration. I was chasing Rocket Boy around for his bag of bagels and won.

2014 May 30

Swimmer went to the Franklin County Farmers Market to sell produce. Plant Doc is getting educational materials ready about his research. I got a hold of them and they looked pretty good, but they didn't taste very well.

2014 May 29

Plant Doc is harvesting some veggies today and finished harvesting the lettuce.

2014 May 28

Plant Doc is working on his website.

2014 May 27

Plant Doc is cultivating weeds in the annuals field.

2014 May 26

Plant Doc took me for a walk and showed me how the wheat in the perennials field was getting clobbered, but its relative triticale next to it looked great. Those bugs and birds must be like "Hey, this looks like wheat and tastes like wheat, but it ain't no wheat. What is this stuff? I've got a sensitive stomach, so I don't think I'm going to mess with it and just eat the wheat over there."

2014 May 25

Plant Doc is cultivating weeds in the perennials field.

2014 May 24

Plant Doc is pulling the flowers off the strawberries.

2014 May 23

Plant Doc is harvesting all sorts of veggies in the annuals field.

2014 May 22

Plant Doc is cultivating weeds in the annuals field and does not look happy about it.

2014 May 21

Plant Doc is working on his website.

2014 May 20

Plant Doc is cultivating weeds in the annuals field.

2014 May 19

Plant Doc is mowing the lawn...all day.

2014 May 18

Plant Doc is working on his website.

2014 May 17

Plant Doc is cultivating weeds in the annuals field.

2014 May 16

Plant Doc started harvesting turnips and rutabaga. At the end of the day, the family went to the Zebulon Market on the Lawn to sell produce.

2014 May 15

Plant Doc is harvesting chinese cabbage, lettuce, and radishes in the annuals field.

2014 May 14

Plant Doc is working on his website.

2014 May 13

Plant Doc and Swimmer told me I had to stay in the lab for the morning instead of snoozing in the sun on the lawn. They packed up the truck with the bags of lettuce to sell at the farmer's market.

2014 May 12

Plant Doc is on the phone trying to find places to unload his produce. Swimmer took some political signs for some guy who was trying to win Sheriff and lost. She painted them white after Plant Doc set her up on the lawn. He harvested another set of bags of lettuce and chinese cabbage. I don't know how he manage to squeeze all that into the food cold box. He filled some of Swimmer's empty soda bottle and stuck them in the winter part of the food cold box. He is trying to water the lettuce again with that jug of water and wand on the back of the Gator.

2014 May 11

Plant Doc was out harvesting lettuce and chinese cabbage from the annuals field into the little yellow phone book bags. He then moved the portable table to the end of the driveway and set up a little produce stand. It looks like the little church across the street is having services now so they are trying to sell to that crowd. Wild Girl sat at the stand with her little toy cash register while Swimmer did what she does best, Yapped away with the neighbors. After an hour, Swimmer took the kids to the pool saying it was some kind of holiday for Mom's. Makes me sad that I can't visit my Mom today. Wild Girl was not happy since she only made one sale plus she didn't want to go swimming. That's ok Wild Girl...there aren't that many people who go to that church and most of them left in the other direction. Plant Doc isn't looking to happy either and went on the computer to make more flyers. He set up the produce stand again for the evening service, but Swimmer and Wild Girl didn't go out there to help. He still didn't sell anything so he gave a few bags to the neighbor with the mini ponies and the one who takes care of the tractor equipment for him. The lettuce is looking sad so at the end of the day he was trying to water it with a jug of water and wand on the back of the Gator.

2014 May 10

Plant Doc made some farm flyers and labels for produce bags on the computer. He has been experimenting with harvesting lettuce into little yellow phone book bags which he has a roll of. I didn't think anybody used phone looks anymore. Oh, I get it, they are from 15 years ago. Anyway, he is filling them with lettuce, then washing them out with his special hose which he doesn't leave outside hooked up with the rest of the hoses by filling the bags with water and doing repeated rinses. He filled up the entire food cold box with them. He also made a little sign for putting below the mailbox and put some flyers on it.

2014 May 9

First day for the farm at the Franklin County Farmers Market. Plant Doc is picking radishes and cleaning them up for sale. Unfortunately, radishes aren't very popular, so he didn't sell very many, especially since he got there late after being up till 3am the night before getting the flyers ready. Apparently, he got a lot of comments about how big they were and how cool the white icicle ones are, but not many people like eating them. Wild Girl tried selling some at the end of the driveway to no avail. I think Rex is the only one around here who likes radishes. Plant Doc is tilling up the herbs in the perennials field since they just didn't take.

2014 May 8

Plant Doc is getting flyers ready for the first day at the Franklin County Farmers Market. He got his portable table and produce scale just in time. The portable table serves as a nice outdoor patio set. Swimmer has been asking for one since we moved here.

2014 May 7

Plant Doc was using the Power Paws to get rid of weeds in the annuals field.

2014 May 6

Plant Doc is tilling up the spinach and herbs in the annuals field. The barley and rye cover crops were just too persistent and kept coming up thick.

2014 May 5

Plant Doc has taken many of the tines off of the tiller and has turned it from a 6 ft to a 4 ft one. He can now till a single crop variety row without wiping out his treatment flags. The flags still kind of get squished though.

2014 May 4

Plant Doc is out cultivating between the rows with the little Mantis gas tiller again.

2014 May 3

Plant Doc is cultivating the rest of annuals field and the perennials field.

2014 May 2

Plant Doc is mowing the lawn....all day. I bet he can't wait until the orchard has trees instead of just grass since it's double the work now. For a year and a half he complained about not having grass there, and now he is complaining that he does! The flat tires can't have too bad a leak since he only had to repump them once in the middle of it.

2014 May 1

Plant Doc is cultivating the annuals field. The tractor fixing neighbor came over and Plant Doc gave his son Ryan's old bike in exchange for oil changes and tire repairs on the mower.

2014 Apr 30

Still feeling lousy from this cold and this rainy weather just makes me want to sleep. Plant Doc is working on the website.

2014 Apr 29

Plant Doc was using the Power Paws to get rid of weeds in the perennials field. I don't know why he paid for paws since mine are perfectly suited for the job.

2014 Apr 28

Plant Doc is using his mini-tiller cultivator to get rid of weeds in perennials field.

2014 Apr 27

Plant Doc is back on the Big Green Bucket cultivating the weeds in the annuals and perennials fields.

2014 Apr 26

Plant Doc is working on his field plans.

2014 Apr 25

Plant Doc is planting seeds in the 2 new hothouses.

2014 Apr 24

Still feeling lousy from this cold. Plant Doc is planting the garden.

2014 Apr 23

Plant Doc is back to mixing the little white pellets and mossy stuff to put in flats for the 2 new hothouses.

2014 Apr 22

Plant Doc is mixing the little white pellets and mossy stuff to put in flats for the 2 new hothouses.

2014 Apr 21

Swimmer went to Raleigh for a doctor's appointment and to get a replacement bike. Plant Doc finally convinced Wild Girl to take Rocket Boy's bike which she has been riding the last few days, so Rocket Boy got the replacement bike. Plant Doc is getting the garden ready for planting.

2014 Apr 20

Still not feeling good, but at least I know I'm not dying. Plant Doc is cleaning up Rocket Boy's pond filters and putting in chemicals to get it ready for fish. The kids helped him put the water plant bags in it. He also planted Wild Girl's raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries in the garden. Looks like some of the mint pots sunk into the ground too far and he is dugging them up and fixing them. Swimmer keeps making me eat these yucky antibiotics.

2014 Apr 19

Plant Doc is working on his field plans. I'm feeling absolutely horrible and have been wheezing all day. Swimmer is freaking me out screaming at Plant Doc that I am dying and need to be taken to the emergency vet. He tried to comfort me by telling me that Swimmer was being ridiculous. Instead of going to bed, Plant Doc finally gave up trying to reason with Swimmer and drove me to the emergency vet in Raleigh. The vet poked and prodded me, but fortunately said that I was fine and I just had "Kennel Cough", which is just a minor cold. I nipped the vet a few times while he was trying to give me antibiotics and anti-nausea pills.

2014 Apr 18

Feeling worse today and just want to sleep all day. Wild Girl is riding Rocket Boy's bike chasing Plant Doc as he mows the lawn. Plant Doc says that he can't wait till the orchard is full of large fruit trees since there is way too much grass to mow. Due the slope of the orchard, he didn't even realize that he was mowing the lawn for 2 hrs with a flat tire. To top it off, he ran out of gas with only a little left to mow.

2014 Apr 17

Happy Birthday Rocket Boy! Unfortunately, someone in the family has gotten sick on the unhappy birthdays this year. This time it was Rockey Boy on his own birthday. Swimmer took the kids to Raleigh to play and get their birthday bikes, though, Rocket Boy is feeling lousy. Just can't get a break on these birthdays, Wild Girl is crying because her brand new bike is broken. Plant Doc is working on his garden plans. Still not feeling great but the vet says that I'm probably going to not need surgery to remove the stuffing from my bed.

2014 Apr 16

Starting to feel a little better and back to eating my regular food, but still not up to par. Plant Doc is moving flats around among the 4 hothouses and finishing getting them ready for planting.

2014 Apr 15

Gagging alot, but at least I'm not throwing up anymore. Only thing they are letting me eat is rice. Plant Doc and Wild Girl are riding the Gator back and forth to the greenhouse store down the street to get pine bark mulch. Plant Doc covered the grass next to the existing hothouses with the mulch and then put up the 2 new hothouses. He was out there working till midnight.

2014 Apr 14

Still throwing up, though not as much. Swimmer took me to the vet and it looks like the stuffing from my bed is lodged in my stomach and I might need surgery!!! They won't even give me any food to eat! Plant Doc threw out my beds so now I'm sleeping on a blanket. Plant Doc spent the day moving the chicks to the playhouse, adding chemicals to Rocket Boy's pond, and doing miscellaneous stuff around the farm. He got 2 more hothouses delivered for starting seedlings for the spring crop.

2014 Apr 13

Spent all night throwing up! I thought the stuffing from my bed would be a good source of fiber, but it definitely disagrees with my stomach. Happy Birthday Wild Girl! They are having a birthday party for the kids and all of their school friends are here. Plant Doc cultivated the weeds in the garden with the Big Green Bucket.

2014 Apr 12

Plant Doc is finishing burying pots in the perennials field and planting mint. He is out watering the field using the Gator spray tank.

2014 Apr 11

Plant Doc is using the hole digger on the Big Green Bucket to bury pots in the perennials field. I wonder if they are going to grow into really big pots.

2014 Apr 10

Plant Doc is mulching the strawberries and garlics with pine straw. He watered them using the Gator spray tank 25 gallons at a time. Not a very efficient way to irrigate a field. We need a well.

2014 Apr 9

Wild Girl was home sick from school again. She is starting to play again. The strawberry bare roots arrived just when Rocket Boy got home from school. Plant Doc spend the evening planting them in the dark.

2014 Apr 8

Wild Girl skipped school and is starting to feel better. Plant Doc did a do-over on his birthday. He also put chemicals in Rocket Boy's pond to kill the algae.

2014 Apr 7

Wild Girl woke up in the middle of the night sick with a stomach virus and has been hitting the garbage can all day. Plant Doc has been singing to himself, "I want to wish you an unhappy birthday...". It's raining out, so he is working on his garden plans and moping.

2014 Apr 6

Swimmer took the kids to Wendell and brought home baby chicks! Starlight and Moonlight are Black Star chickens, Rosie is a Rhodebar, and Sarah is a Red Star girl chicken. Plant Doc moved my emergency toilet hydroponics grass and grow lights to Wild Girl's room to create a warm nursery for my new pals. Plant Doc seeded the last few seed flats in the greenhouse. He created a custom seed roller for small seeds using a blank. He then used it to plant the last few rows of annuals and perennials. He also finished planting the last variety of potatoes.

2014 Apr 5

The grow lights in Wild Girl's room were on all night for the chicks so it was a little hard to sleep. Plant Doc is working on his field plans on the computer today.

2014 Apr 4

I guess Plant Doc has KP duty and has been spending the day cutting potatoes and planting them.

2014 Apr 3

Plant Doc is planting garlic cloves in the perennials field. Wild Girl is helping him split up the cloves.

2014 Apr 2

Plant Doc planted onion sets in the annuals field.

2014 Apr 1

Plant Doc used the push spreader to seed bare spots on the lawn. Put together a mini gas powered tiller with a furrower attachment. Apparently the rain a few days ago partially filled furrows that he dug with the Big Green Bucket so he redug them with it.

2014 Mar 31

Plant Doc went to get some grain and seed potatoes in the morning. In the afternoon, he used the hand held spreader to broadcast the last few grains and turf grass in the perennials field. He also planted Bermuda grass and creeping fescue in the erosion bare spots in the orchard and along the edges of the perennials field.

2014 Mar 30

Plant Doc is hogging the computer again.

2014 Mar 29

Plant Doc is working on his field plans.

2014 Mar 28

Plant Doc went to the State Farmers market to get mint plants, grass seed, and some other seed that he still needed to get.

2014 Mar 27

Plant Doc planted the other half of the annuals field with the push seeder. He also planted a few things in the perennials field.

2014 Mar 26

Plant Doc planted half of the annuals field with the push seeder.

2014 Mar 25

Plant Doc used the push seeder to plant some of the overwintered crops in the perennials field.

2014 Mar 24

Plant Doc used the hand held spreader to broadcast grains and turf grass in the perennials field. He also planted a row of onions.

2014 Mar 23

Plant Doc used the disc hiller on the Big Green Bucket to create hills for strawberries in the perennials field and carrots in the annuals field. He hooked up the mid-buster to create furrows for peas, onions, and potatoes.

2014 Mar 22

Plant Doc is hogging the computer again.

2014 Mar 21

Plant Doc is working on his field plans.

2014 Mar 20

Plant Doc is cultivating the annuals and perennials field, even though there are no weeds! Oh, I get it, he is using it to figure out where it's safe to plant.

2014 Mar 19

Plant Doc got the rest of his seeds and is planting them in the hothouses.

2014 Mar 18

Plant Doc finished his circus of flags in the annuals field.

2014 Mar 17

Plant Doc is putting up colored flags in the annuals field.

2014 Mar 16

Plant Doc finished planting popsicle sticks in the annuals field and putting up the white flags.

2014 Mar 15

Plant Doc was up late again last night working on his field labels. Plant Doc is putting colored flags in the perennials field and went back to planting popsicle sticks in the annuals field.

2014 Mar 14

Plant Doc was up late last night putting printouts of seed packet covers in plastic to use as field labels. Plant Doc put out his field labels on the white flags. Wild Girl had one of her school mates come over to play. Plant Doc is planting his popsicle sticks again in the perennials field. We must have lost the war since he is surrendering with white flags.

2014 Mar 13

Plant Doc is planting popsicle sticks in the perennials field. As soon as he finished, I started stealing popsicles sticks from the perennials field.

2014 Mar 12

Plant Doc is working on his field plans.

2014 Mar 11

Plant Doc is working on his plant lists again.

2014 Mar 10

Plant Doc is working on his plant lists again.

2014 Mar 9

The kids are on spring break this week and we are having so much fun.

2014 Mar 8

Plant Doc is planting seeds in the hothouses.

2014 Mar 7

Swimmer went to some lawyer to confess about losing her engagement ring. Plant Doc went with her.

2014 Mar 6

Plant Doc is mixing puffy white balls with peat moss and putting them in flats.

2014 Mar 5

Plant Doc is working on his plant lists again.

2014 Mar 4

Kids have a snow day again!

2014 Mar 3

A truck went flying past my window and put down lime on the grass.

2014 Mar 2

Plant Doc is tilling the annuals field.

2014 Mar 1

Wild Girl had a school mate over for a play date. Plant Doc is painting the disc. He then hooked up the tiller and tilled the garden and half of the perennials field.

2014 Feb 28

The family went to Lego Fest in Raleigh after school. Rocket Boy was so excited when he got home, I just couldn't sleep.

2014 Feb 27

Plant Doc is discing the annuals field and half of the perennials field.

2014 Feb 26

Swimmer is putting rocks around the edge of the hothouse to hold it down. Plant Doc went to Raleigh to get seed.

2014 Feb 25

The hothouse went flying again and Plant Doc decided to anchor it down better.

2014 Feb 24

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer. I found some actual glue, bit it open, and spread it on his chair when he got up to go to the bathroom. He wasn't moving anyway.

2014 Feb 23

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer.

2014 Feb 22

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer.

2014 Feb 21

Plant Doc is plowing the annuals field. He painted the plow when he finished.

2014 Feb 20

Plant Doc put up the shelves in the hothouse to hold it together better.

2014 Feb 19

Plant Doc fixed the hothouse again.

2014 Feb 18

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer.

2014 Feb 17

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer.

2014 Feb 16

Plant Doc is putting out grass seed in the orchard.

2014 Feb 15

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer.

2014 Feb 14

Plant Doc is putting out fertilizer in the annuals field, perennials field, the orchard, and the grass.

2014 Feb 13

The kids have a snow day off again!

2014 Feb 12

The kids have a snow day off again!

2014 Feb 11

The weather is getting nasty out there again.

2014 Feb 10

Plant Doc is still hogging the computer. Swimmer was a little angry with me after I ran circles around her with my leash and she couldn't get up. A fair fight is a fair fight.

2014 Feb 9

Plant Doc is glued in front of the TV while working on the computer.

2014 Feb 8

Plant Doc is working on his website and hogging the computer.

2014 Feb 7

Something called the Olympics started today.

2014 Feb 6

Plant Doc fixed the hothouse.

2014 Feb 5

It was windy and rainy last night and the new hothouse came crashing down.

2014 Feb 4

Plant Doc is working on his website and hogging the computer.

2014 Feb 3

Plant Doc is working on the gardens.

2014 Feb 2

Plant Doc is doing trips on the Gator to the greehouse store down the street and getting mulch for use as a floor for the greenhouse.

2014 Feb 1

Plant Doc got another hothouse and is putting it together.

2014 Jan 31

The kids have a snow day off again!

2014 Jan 30

The kids have a snow day off again!

2014 Jan 29

The kids have a snow day off again!

2014 Jan 28

It's snowing again.

2014 Jan 27

Plant Doc is planting seeds in the hothouse. He planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohl rabbhi, lettuce, and spearmint.

2014 Jan 26

Plant Doc is taking the labels off the solar path lights. Not sure why he bothers since Swimmer is just going to run them all over with the truck again.

2014 Jan 25

Plant Doc went shopping for the chickens and brought back metal garbage cans for keeping the mice out of their food. He also got more solar path lights for the driveway.

2014 Jan 24

I can't wait till it warms up so that I can take a bath in the garden pond. The top half inch is a layer of ice. The waterfall is still running despite the cold weather and being partially frozen.

2014 Jan 23

It's cold out there. I'm spending the day taking a nap in the lab under my sunbeam.

2014 Jan 22

The ground is all crunchy from that frozen white stuff. Another heartbreak on the farm today. My pal, Wendy, died from the cold. She's hasn't been completely healthy since she got a foot injury a few months ago and hasn't been laying many eggs.

2014 Jan 21

Plant Doc almost has the pond complete and the waterfall is up and running. He just needs more rocks. I think the world might be ending tonight since it's raining frozen white stuff now. Our hen, Chicken Little, is hysterical and keeps saying, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!".

2014 Jan 20

Plant Doc is building Rocket Boy's garden pond over by the barnyard gate. He has been out there digging all day and using the hole digger on the Big Green Bucket. He put a mound of dirt next to it for the waterfall. By the end of the day, it was starting to look like a small pool with a diving board.

2014 Jan 19

Plant Doc is working on the secure login pages for the website.

2014 Jan 18

Plant Doc is working on the crop lists for the annuals and perennials fields.

2014 Jan 17

Plant Doc is working on the secure login pages for the website. The kids have a snow day off again!

2014 Jan 16

Plant Doc is still working on the databases for the website.

2014 Jan 15

Plant Doc is working on a database for the crop lists.

2014 Jan 14

Plant Doc is working on the crop lists for the annuals and perennials fields.

2014 Jan 13

Plant Doc is working on the secure login pages for the website.

2014 Jan 12

Plant Doc has been working on the database for my blog. Can't wait till he gets it up and running.

2014 Jan 11

It's raining out and something seriously strange is going on with the driveway...it's bubbling like it's going to explode! It's not near the septic line, we don't have any gas lines, and I'm pretty sure we aren't over any volcanic fault lines. They better not be fracking under out land without informing us. Plant Doc says he wouldn't mind it if a oil gusher forms, though.

2014 Jan 10

Plant Doc is screaming at the computer for being too slow. I think he messed something up.

2014 Jan 9

Plant Doc said that he is working on making the website secure. Just who does he think would come here and steal it?

2014 Jan 8

Plant Doc discovered the the house mice have been eating the hydroponic starter seedlings in my lab, so he planted some more and covered them with little plastic domes. He and Wild Girl finally planted the flower bulbs in the shrub gardens around the house. They planted daffodils and tulips in the satellite dish garden, crocuses along the back sidewalk garden, and hyacinths in the garden that Swimmer always runs over with the truck when she is backing out.

2014 Jan 6

Plant Doc picked up a few seed packets and is working on his organic seed order for early spring planting. I don't know what a Polar Vortex is exactly, but it sounds scary and it is darn cold outside.

2014 Jan 5

Plant Doc is working on the secure login pages for the website.

2014 Jan 4

Plant Doc is still working on the databases for the website.

2014 Jan 3

Plant Doc is working on the databases for the website.

2014 Jan 2

Plant Doc is hogging the computer just about every day now. Doesn't he know that I need blog time.

2014 Jan 1

Happy New Year! I don't feel any older. Went to bed at 9pm last night. Plant Doc was the only one who stayed up late.

2013 December 31

Swimmer took the kids to Raleigh to celebrate Noon-Years Eve while Plant Doc stayed home and worked on the computer.

2013 December 30

Plant Doc is planting seeds in the hothouse. Doesn't he know that it's still December? He planted cabbage, kale, mustard, brussel sprouts, and collards for the perennials field.

2013 December 29

Raining like crazy so it looks like the finishing touches on the sandbox are going to have to wait till things dry up.

2013 December 28

The family went to Raleigh for the day while I took a long nap. They came home with another ton of sand for the sandbox.

2013 December 27

Wild Girl's friend from school came over to play. They wouldn't let me say hello properly and I spent the day on the front lawn. Plant Doc put together Ryan's sandbox.

2013 December 26

Plant Doc came back with a ton of play sand for the sandbox.

2013 December 25

Merry Christmas!!! Don't know what it's all about, but I got lots of toys!!. Plant Doc started working on Ryan's presents...a waterfall kit for a outdoor pond and a sandbox!

2013 December 24

Steak for Christmas Eve!!!

2013 December 23

Plant Doc is hogging the computer.

2013 December 22

Swimmer drove to the airport to pick up Plant Doc and the kids.

2013 December 21

Getting a lot done on the computer with Plant Doc out of town. I sure miss Wild Girl and Rocket Boy.

2013 December 20

Kind of lonely around here without Plant Doc and the kids. Took a long nap while Swimmer went swimming.

2013 December 19

Swimmer drove Plant Doc and the kids to the airport to visit his family in NJ.

2013 December 18

Being a real stinker today. I completely dug up the hydroponics grass in the lab and Swimmer was not happy about cleaning it up. Slipped out the door when a delivery truck came and chased it down the driveway. Plant Doc was not happy when he came after me with the Gator. Especially when I ran across the road to check out the neighbors houses.

2013 December 17

Plant Doc is hogging the computer again. Looks like he got back his soil nutrient reports and is figuring out lime and fertilizer applications. I keep telling him I've got the fertilizer covered.

2013 December 16

Plant Doc mixed the coconut media and put up the final two topsy turvies in the lab. He had some extra so he mixed in some more perlite and filled up some of the flats in the hothouse.

2013 December 15

Plant Doc messed up the hydroponic carrots badly so he replanted them. He filled another hydroponics container and planted lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant seeds and strawberry roots for the topysy turvies.

2013 December 14

Rainy afternoon. Plant Doc mixed the coconut media that has been sitting in the hothouse and put up three more topsy turvies. He started preparing another set for tomorrow.

2013 December 13

Plant Doc continued work collecting Ag Extension publication references for the website Grow Guide. Swimmer took the kids to a holiday event in Raleigh after school.

2013 December 12

Plant Doc looks like he is nauseous again downloading agricultural extension publications for the website Grow Guide and entering the citations into a reference manager.

2013 December 11

Decided to do a little digging in my hydroponics grass. Plant Doc had fun cleaning it up.

2013 December 10

Hey, Plant Doc, go outside already! I need to use the computer!

2013 December 9

Plant Doc still working on the computer.

2013 December 8

Plant Doc is hogging the computer so not much time for blogging.

2013 December 7

Rainy day. Plant Doc is working on the computer. Swimmer went to Raleigh while I took care of the kids.

2013 December 6

Plant Doc was not happy when I tried digging the hydroponic grass in my lab. He filled a tomato Topsy Turvy upside down planter and a strawberry side hole Topsy Turvy with the coconut media. He then started mixing another wagon full of coconut media.

2013 December 5

Plant Doc is mixing coconut coir blocks with perlite in the kids wagon which also serves as a garden cart. He moved my indoor hydroponics grass that I can start using my new emergency toilet.

2013 December 4

Plant Doc and Wild Girl have been driving back and forth on the Gator to the greenhouse store down the store and filling the Gator garden cart with pine bark mulch. They put the first load in the hothouse greenhouse to cover the mud and the other two loads in the shrub gardens next to the house.

2013 December 3

Plant Doc was on the computer until the middle of the night and all day today again.

2013 December 2

Plant Doc was hogging the computer all day today. No time for me to work on the blog. I think I'm going to have to figure out how to use one of the kid's iPads.

2013 December 1

Plant Doc started wackings more weeds, but the engine stopped working on the trimmer. Looks like he is getting the hothouse ready for something.

2013 November 30

Finally, Plant Doc got off the computer and went outside to wack weeds.

2013 November 29

Plant Doc is back to copy, paste, download, copy, paste, download, copy, paste, download. It's rather nauseating to watch.

2013 November 28

Turkey!!!! I love this holiday! Plant Doc is spending lots of money buying Christmas gifts on the computer. I can see why they call this Friday Black.

2013 November 27

The family went to Raleigh for the day to play and see movies. I got stuck in the lab all day and slept it off. Plant Doc says the hydroponic grass was still to delicate for me to use, so I had to hold it for 10 hours!!!!

2013 November 26

Plant Doc is copying and pasting like a madman on the computer...I can't watch!

2013 November 25

The hydroponic grass in the lab for my emergency toilet is really starting to take off.

2013 November 24

Plant Doc looks like he is nauseous working on the computer. He is downloading agricultural extension publications for the website Grow Guide and entering the citations into a reference manager.

2013 November 23

The weather is getting cold and Plant Doc is becoming a real hermit. I can't get in my blog time on the computer.

2013 November 22

Plant Doc is watering the hydroponic grass in my lab with some kind of nutrient solution. Don't know why he doesn't just let me pee on it.

2013 November 21

Plant Doc is working on his website again. I like it better when he spends the day outside.

2013 November 20

Cute little seedlings are starting to sprout in the hydroponic grass container in my lab.

2013 November 19

Plant Doc just won't move his butt of the computer.

2013 November 18

Plant Doc is working on his website again and hogging the computer.

2013 November 17

Plant Doc and Wild Girl are back to filling up the little boxes with dirt after digging holes using the Big Green Bucket auger. They are doing a whole bunch of holes in the annuals field, the perennials field, and the orchard. I just don't understand why they don't let me dig the holes for them.

2013 November 16

Plant Doc and Wild Girl filled another storage tote and mixed up the little white balls and coconut dirt. This time they planted carrots in it. After spending a ridiculously long time getting some little cardboard boxes labeled and put together, Plant Doc used the hole digger attached to the Big Green Bucket to dig a few holes around the lawn around the house and a bunch in the garden. Wild Girl then filled the little boxes with dirt from them after stirring the samples up in a sand bucket.

2013 November 15

Plant Doc and Wild Girl filled a storage tote with little white balls, a layer of rocks, and then a layer of coconut dirt. They drill holes in the bottom then planted grass seed in it and put it in my lab. Wild Girl said that when the grass grows big I can pee in it if I really need to go and noone is around to let me outside. Swimmer must have gotten him really angry, because Plant Doc attached the brush cutter end to the trimmer and went around the propery like a crazy man, screaming and cutting down high weeds until way after dark. The thorn vines in the drainage ditch almost ate him alive.

2013 November 14

Plant Doc and Wild Girl are going around replacing burned out light bulbs both outside and inside. My lab now has some nice warm grow lights in the fixtures.

2013 November 13

Plant Doc went to Fayetteville for the entire day, so I got to spend the day on the computer.

2013 November 12

Plant Doc is putting out flags along the edge of the driveway near the perennials field. He says that there are going to be spare fruit trees for the orchard there, but I really can't picture those little flags growing into trees. It will make a nice wind barrier for the barnyard and perennials field when they grow up.

2013 November 11

Swimmer and Wild Girl had me jumping over things back and forth, back and forth. I just wanted some food and it was the only way to get it since my food bowl was empty. Every time they wanted to show off my agility jumping to Plant Doc, I stopped doing it. I get nervous in front of an audience! Plant Doc is messing with his flags in the orchard and garden again.

2013 November 10

The kids went to Raleigh and Plant Doc is messing with oil changes on the Gator and Mower with the help of the neighbor who has the tasty chickens, so I'm just going to take a nap. Plant Doc and the neighbor hook up the hole digger to the tractor. I think I'm going to help him get a head start by digging some holes in the lawn.

2013 November 9

Plant Doc is measuring out the orchard and putting out flags around the edges.

2013 November 8

Plant Doc is planting wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet, and alfalfa in the garden and as a cover crop for the annuals field.

2013 November 7

Plant Doc is planting peas and winter peas in the garden. He also is spreading winter peas along the edges of the woods around the orchard and perennials field for the deer to try to keep them out of his crops.

2013 November 6

Plant Doc is planting sage, cilantro, cabbage, and beets in the garden.

2013 November 5

Plant Doc is running back and forth between the garden and the annuals field planting carrots, brussel sprouts, leeks, mustard, radishes, and turnips. The ones in the annuals fields were replants to fill in the bare spots, plus the radishes and turnips were cover crops for 5-row sections. He also planted lemon balm, oregano, rosemary, and onions in the garden. He also is doing some in the annuals field with the Hoss cultivator.

2013 November 4

Plant Doc is planting lettuce and spinach

2013 November 3

Plant Doc is still weeding the annuals field in preparation for cover crops.

2013 November 2

Plant Doc and Wild Girl went to Raleigh for the day to see a movie and a soccer game.

2013 November 1

Plant Doc is out doing a final weeding for the year before he puts down cover crops in the annuals field with the Hoss cultivator and a scuffle hoe.

2013 October 31

Plant Doc is back on the computer tweaking his garden plot plan. He printed more of the field labels and laminated them. They are not certain of the exact day I was born, but Plant Doc calculated that it would be sometime this week. So the family decided that they would celebrate my first birthday today since it was some crazy holiday called Halloween!!! I love birthdays! Got lots of special attention and a few new toys. Early evening the kids got dressed up in scary costumes and came home with a bunch of candy.

2013 October 30

After hogging the computer all morning working on his plot plan, Plant Doc is plotting out the backyard garden for a winter crop.

2013 October 29

Plant Doc planted rosemary, sage, oregano, cilantro, lavendar, garlic chives, and leeks in the perennials field. He also weeded the annuals field using the Hoss weeder.

2013 October 28

Plant Doc is using the Big Green Bucket to weed the annuals field one last time before he puts down cover crops. He then planted perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, timothy grass, and alfalfa in the perennials field.

2013 October 27

Plant Doc and Wild Girl are making a scarecrow in the garden. It sure looks a lot like Plant Doc. The family is having a Halloween party and all the kid's friends are over. This place is going crazy. Plant Doc pounded the poles from the previous owner's electric fence into the ground to use and legs and everybody is making scarecrows in the four corners of the annuals field. Grandpa Yapper is spending the night again here.

2013 October 26

There was a frost last night and the zucchini, squash, melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers look like they are done for. The corn isn't looking too good either. Swimmer, Grandpa Yapper, and the kids went to the State Fair. It was peaceful around here, but I wish Plant Doc would stop working on his crop plans and let me use the computer.

2013 October 25

Plant Doc planted broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and collards in both the annuals field and the perennials field.

2013 October 24

Plant Doc is mowing the lawn. The sweeper needs repair so I don't have to worry about getting run over by Swimmer on the Gator.

2013 October 23

Plant Doc is getting the property ready for some party.

2013 October 22

Plant Doc is going around fixing all sort of stuff. I think I need to give him some more to work on.

2013 October 21

Plant Doc is planting annual ryegrass and creeping red fescue in the perennials field, as well as the remaining erosion spots in the orchard where the tall fescue isn't growing because it is mostly just sand and silt. Wild Girl helped him plant cotton, tobacco in the perennials field. Plant Doc also planted mustard in both the perennials field (for seeds) and the annuals field (for sprouts). She meant to hook my leash up to the tree on the front lawn, but she accidentally attached it to the unhooked leash extension. So I decided to pay them a visit in the field and help bury the seed.

2013 October 20

Plant Doc is planting tall fescue, bluegrass, wheat, barley, oats, rye, millet, and white clover in the perennials field.

2013 October 19

Plant Doc is laminating his plant cards and changing is crop plans again.

2013 October 18

Plant Doc took the kids to the State Fair while Swimmer had surgery. I wish I could go!! To the fair, not the hospital, that is.

2013 October 17

Plant Doc is weeding the rest of the weeds in the perennials field the hard way using a hoe.

2013 October 16

Plant Doc is weeding the perennials field with the Big Green Bucket. The grass is really coming up now in the orchard and it now looks like grass with dirt patches instead of dirt with grass patches. It finally looks like the dirt will finally stop ending up in the neighbor's pond. I'm going to miss jumping over those silt fences when Plant Doc takes them down.

2013 October 15

Plant Doc is putting down some grass seed in the orchard using the spreader on the Big Green Bucket. He finally gave up on the tractor service guys coming to finish fixing his rototiller and tried doing it himself using his little power tool grinder. Success! He is now tilling the garden and the tall weeds are gone. He first cut down the tall Sunflower plants and told the kids that they could make Scare Crows out of them with their friends at their upcoming Halloween Party. Swimmer and Wild Girl are picking the leaves off the basil plants that were left in the garden.

2013 October 14

Plant Doc went shopping for grass and grain seed. He also went to Walmart for the first time in a year and looked like he was ready to vomit by the time he got out of there.

2013 October 13

Plant Doc finally put out the painted soda bottles filled with vinegar on the trees. I think he is a little late since there aren't many bugs around anymore.

2013 October 12

Plant Doc is weeding the annuals field again.

2013 October 11

Plant Doc is weeding the annuals field using the Hoss weeder and a hoe.

2013 October 10

Plant Doc is thinning and transplanting more beans and peas.

2013 October 9

Rainy day and Plant Doc wants to work on his database. Plant Doc is getting annoyed that I jump in his chair to work on my blog every time he gets up. He accused me of sexting a French Poodle.

2013 October 8

Plant Doc finally got back to planting in the annuals field. He planted basil, dill, chives, leeks, chamomile, turnips, and broccoli.

2013 October 7

Plant Doc is weeding the annuals field using the Hoss weeder and a hoe.

2013 October 6

The Yappers deserted me to got to Raleigh again. I don't know what ice is, but apparently there is some game they play on it.

2013 October 5

I was stuck in the lab all day since the Yappers went to Raleigh for the day to play and see some space movie.

2013 October 4

Plant Doc finally got off the computer and used the spreader on the Big Green Bucket to put out grass seed.

2013 October 3

Plant Doc still is still hogging the computer and is in a very bad mood about it.

2013 October 2

Plant Doc is hogging the computer and is in a very bad mood about it

2013 October 1

Plant Doc, get your Yapping butt off the computer chair and go outside.

2013 September 30

Plant Doc still is still hogging the computer and is in a very bad mood about it since he wants to get outside.

2013 September 29

Plant Doc was working on the computer all day so I didn't get time for working on the blog./p>

2013 September 28

Plant Doc planted radishes and carrots in the annuals field.

2013 September 27

Plant Doc planted onions in the annuals field.

2013 September 26

Plant Doc planted spinach and beets in the annuals field.

2013 September 25

Plant Doc thinned and transplanted cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and melons in the annuals field. He also weeded it with the Big Green Bucket.

2013 September 24

Plant Doc thinned and transplanted pumpkins and melons in the perennials field. He also weeded it with the Big Green Bucket.

2013 September 23

Plant Doc thinned and transplanted beans in the annuals field.

2013 September 22

Plant Doc looks like he is going to cry. Half of the dirt that he moved from the neighbor's dirt pile has eroded away.

2013 September 21

The family went to Swimmer's swimming event for cancer charity while I got stuck in the lab all day. Oh well, it was a rainy day anyway.

2013 September 20

Plant Doc finished filling in pot holes in the orchard.

2013 September 19

Swimmer took the truck for a power wash to get any remaining gas remnants out. Plant Doc is filling in the erosion pot holes in the orchard. More trips to the neighbor's dirt pile.

2013 September 18

Plant Doc is using the Big Green Bucket to steal some dirt from the neighbor's dirt pile to fill the erosion pot holes in the orchard. I hope he asked first. Plant Doc accidentally left the gas cans in the truck after filling them and Swimmer took off with the truck to go swimming. Ooops! They really need to make better seals on those cans, since there was a little bit of gas spilled all over the back of the truck. Swimmer is hosing it out while Plant Doc tries to finish moving dirt before it's too dark.

2013 September 17

Plant Doc straightened up his flags and planted lettuce in the annuals field.

2013 September 16

Plant Doc is doing some kind of calculations for tractor row spacing out in the perennials field. At the end of the day, Plant Doc weeded the perennials field with the Big Green Bucket, but this time he didn't wipe out many popsicle sticks. I guess his calculations worked.

2013 September 15

Plant Doc just won't get off the computer. He is doing drawings of the fields and tractor row calculations on the computer.

2013 September 14

Plant Doc has some weird angle measuring tool and is doing drawings of tractor rows on a piece of paper. I've been trying to eat that piece of paper all day.

2013 September 13

The neighbor is creating a small pond for watering his corn and is creating quite a big dirt pile over past the annuals field. I wish they would let me play in it. Plant Doc weeded the annuals field with the Big Green Bucket. He sure wiped out a lot of popsicle stickes.

2013 September 12

Rocket Boy always comes up with the most unusual questions. He was playing with the hens and got the berry juice all over his hands from a large pokeweed that they were under next to the barn. Plant Doc told him what the plant was and that the berries were poisonous to eat (even though the birds sometimes still do) and the leaves and other parts were even more poisonous to eat. So he shouldn't let the chickens near them and never have him or any of the other pets eat the berries even though they look like blueberries. Rocket Boy's immediate response was "What happens if a Whale eats one?". So Plant Doc replied that he couldn't imagine how a Whale would even come in contact with one. Upon which Rocket Boy worriedly asks, "But since birds go after them, then what if one flew a berry out to the ocean and a whale jumped up and ate the bird?". So Plant Doc replied that I can't imagine a huge Whale getting very sick from one tiny pokeweed berry. It still troubled Rocket Boy for quite some time and I barked to reassure him that I wouldn't eat any regardless of what happens to a big fish.

2013 September 11

Plant Doc mowed the lawn today and for the first time mowed the newly established patchy grass and tall weeds in the orchard. There are stil some pretty deep potholes out there from erosion so he was bumping around like an amusement park ride. I thought he was going to get swallowed up by one of them. Looks like Swimmer finally did too much damage on the lawn sweeper for it to work. What a crazy driver! No wonder she smashed up the car.

2013 September 10

Plant Doc planted New Zealand Spinach and Sunflowers in the annuals field. Burpee was rather skimpy with the number of Sunflower seeds in the pack, so he picked the remains from the garden to finish the job. He was rather frustrated that he couldn't find the bag of them that Wild Girl had harvested a month earlier since the birds had eaten almost all of them at this point. Guess the Sunflower row is going to be a bit sparse.

2013 September 9

Plant Doc planted corn and garden peas in the annuals field. That Hoss wheel furrower attachment looks like a lot of work. He was panting more than I was.

2013 September 8

Plant Doc planted field peas and soybeans in the annuals field. He spent forever trying to drill a larger hole in 2 washers to keep the Hoss Wheel furrower attachment from slipping out of place so easily.

2013 September 7

Swimmer came home with a whole bunch of potatoes from the food store. Looks yummy! Plant Doc is using the furrower attachment on the Hoss wheel weeder to plant potatoes. He is also using it to plant the peas and okra little deeper than the Jang seeder can handle in the annuals field.

2013 September 6

Oh no! Swimmer got in a car accident and Plant Doc is rushing out of here with Rocket Boy. What a relief, Swimmer is fine, but apparently the car is dead. Long live the truck. Plant Doc is using the furrower attachment on the Hoss weeder to plant the beans a little deeper than the Jang seeder can handle in the annuals field.

2013 September 5

Rocket Boy and Swimmer are "sick as a dog" with an upset tummy. Personally, I find that expression rather insulting. Finally, Plant Doc is back to planting in the annuals field! He is planting pumpkins and melons by hand.

2013 September 4

Plant Doc is fixing popsicle sticks in the annuals field.

2013 September 3

Plant Doc is putting out white flags and fixing popsicle sticks in the perennials field.

2013 September 2

Wild Girl has an upset tummy. I think I'll lick it to make her feel better. I wonder if she ate a frog. Plant Doc is pacing the annuals field.

2013 September 1

Plant Doc is putting out white flags next to some of the popsicle sticks to form cross lines a quarter, half, and three-quarters of the way across the field.

2013 August 31

Plant Doc is measuring out a new grid of popsicle sticks. This time he is using the jumbo size ones that he put numbers on. I hope that means will be harvesting larger popsicles this winter!

2013 August 30

Plant Doc has surrendered the farm! He is putting out border rows of white flags with the DeMilia Research Farm logo on it out in the annuals field. It's starting to look like a circus.

2013 August 29

Plant Doc has lost it. He is screaming at the popsicle sticks in the annuals field.

2013 August 28

Plant Doc is using the Hoss wheel weeder to get the weeds between the popsicle sticks (those that are left anyway!). Looks as tired as if he was chasing a squirrel.

2013 August 27

Plant Doc is wiping out the popsicle sticks again using the weeder on the Big Green Bucket. I just don't get why he keeps doing this.

2013 August 26

Plant Doc is planting squash in the annuals field. He seems to be confused about something and is out playing with popsicle stick spacing again.

2013 August 25

Finally, first day of planting in the annuals field! Plant Doc planted cucumbers and zucchini in the annuals field.

2013 August 24

Swimmer and the kids were gone all day for a bunch of parties and a soccer game. Kept trying to get Plant Doc to play, but he would only do so a little. Hung out on the front lawn chasing bugs and took a bunch of naps in the lab. Woke up at midnight, when Plant Doc yelled that he is finally done working on his crop planner.

2013 August 23

Plant Doc planted the pumpkins and melons in the perennials field where the strawberries are eventually going to go. He is planting by hand.

2013 August 22

Plant Doc is still hogging the computer working on his crop planner.

2013 August 21

Plant Doc is mowing the lawn while Swimmer is driving like a crazy woman in circles all over the place with the Gator with a sweeper attached.

2013 August 20

Rain. Plant Doc is still hogging the computer working on his crop planner.

2013 August 19

Rain. Plant Doc just won't budge from the computer so writing this on Rocket Boy's iPad. Don't understand why it takes so long to plan his crops. He just dump the seed in the ground and see what groes.

2013 August 18

I learned the hard way not to mess with frogs this morning. I like to play with them and carry them around. Don't eat them, though, since they are my friends. As I've learned this morning, even the non-poisonous ones carry a little toxin. I was losing my breakfast and foaming a lot of mucus from the mouth. Swimmer was about to rush him to the vet when Plant Doc brought me outside and hosed out my mouth. I usually like chasing the hose, but this was not fun. Anyway, the hose worked and it stopped the problem immediately. Plant Doc also gave me some allergy and tummy medicine, so I got really sleepy after that and took a long nap. Plant Disease Tip of the Day: I knew that frogs are good in the garden for controlling insects, but I didn't know they can control dogs too!

2013 August 17

Rain. Plant Doc is still hogging the computer working on his crop planner.

2013 August 16

Rain. Plant Doc is hogging the computer working on his crop planner so don't have much time to blog.

2013 August 15

Looks like Plant Doc is about done putting out the popsicle sticks.

2013 August 14

Plant Doc was gone for the day at some kind of turf grass field day. I guess he goes around peeing on all different types of grass to decide which one he likes best. Don't understand why he didn't take me along since I am an expert on such things. Plant Doc got caught out in another evening thunderstorm. He needs to be careful or he is going to get zapped like a bug.

Plant Disease Tip for the Day: Plant Doc learned at his field day that a low dosage of Urea on Tall Fescue can be applied during the summer to aid recovery from Brown Patch. No need to buy any fertilizer...I'm on it! I've just got to make sure I don't always go in the same spot or it could burn the grass.

2013 August 13

Plant Doc is putting out new popsicle sticks in the annuals field since he wiped them out with the Big Green Bucket weeding. I don't get it. Thunderstorm came at the end that Plant Doc and Swimmer got caught out in taking care of the chickens. I licked them dry when they got in.

2013 August 12

Last night around midnight, I am sound asleep when all of a sudden Plant Doc yells and turns on all the lights. Apparently a mouse attacked him while he was sitting on the couch wathing the window to the window to the world of tiny Yappers. Plant Doc is fixing his popsicle sticks again. He is whipping around a bamboo stick in the air to keep the flies away. He really could use a tail. Plant Doc continued fixing those popsicle sticks even in the middle of a thunderstorm.

2013 August 11

Plant Doc and Swimmer moved the chicken coop to the other horse stall. Chicken Little must have been checking out her new pad the other day when she flew in there. I guess she found it acceptable and gave the OK.

2013 August 10

Snake on the lawn!!! I tracked it down, Swimmer stabbed it with a really big fork, and Plant Doc killed it with hoe. Plant Doc is numbering popsicle sticks so I'm snoozing in the lab again.

2013 August 9

Plant Doc is out fixing the popsicle sticks in the annuals field. Swimmer moved the bunny house to the horse stall. Plant Doc is mad because she moved it on her own and damaged it in the process. Wild Girl harvested some gourds from the garden.

2013 August 8

Plant Doc is weeding the annuals field with the Big Green Bucket somehow managing to avoid wiping out too many of the popsicle sticks. Wild Girl harvested a cucumber from the garden. Swimmer cleaned up my lab, which was overdue except I wish she didn't move the desk away from the steps since I like to climb up there. She found some dead mice in the butterfly growing kit that were stinking up my lab.

2013 August 7

Plant Doc is numbering popsicle sticks again. Chicken run again! Junior and Chicken Little flew the coop from one horse stall then flew into the other stall.

2013 August 6

Another really sad day on the farm today, my bunny pal Ginger succumbed to the damage from the fly strike and passed away overnight. After burying her, Plant Doc was fixing silt fences and starting messing with a big hand weeder on the Big Green Bucket.

2013 August 5

Plant Doc is numbering popsicle sticks in the living room and won't let me near them. Chicken run! Junior and Chicken Little flew the coop (actually the stall) and were running around the barnyard.

2013 August 4

Plant Doc has 2 giant frisbees hooked up to the Big Green Bucket and is making hills out of some of rows in the annuals and perennials fields. Went digging for worms in the hills and they are fun to jump.

2013 August 3

The kids had a swim meet and I had the place to myself most of the day. Took a long nap.

2013 August 2

Plant Doc locked me in the lab while he was putting numbers on popsicle sticks, then he has the nerve to put me in the horse stall to see how I liked it. Did some digging and spotted a nest of baby mice to play with. Wild Girl was screaching about saving the mice, so I didn't get to play with the babies long. All of a sudden a snake goes slithering past Wild Girl so I jumped into action and saved her from the snake. Need a nap. Plant Doc is finally done planting popsicle sticks and is back on the Big Green Bucket.

2013 August 1

Plant Doc is back doing his popsicle stick dance in the perennials field.

2013 July 31

Plant Doc is now putting bamboo poles in a grid in the perennials field. I guess it's going to be a big circus. Can't wait to ride the Ferris Wheel and the Rollercoaster. Hope that they sell Cotton Candy.

2013 July 30

Plant Doc is back doing his popsicle stick dance in the perennials field. This is starting to get monotonous.

2013 July 29

Plant Doc is putting bamboo poles in a grid in the annuals field. Between the bamboo poles and the popsicle sticks, it's starting to look like a circus out there.

2013 July 28

Plant Doc has now got some kind of popsicle stick walking backwards dance going in the annuals field. "SSSSAAAAFFFFEEEETTTTYYY", I don't know what this all means. I think the heat is getting to him.

2013 July 27

Plant Doc is now walking backwards in the annuals field with measuring tape and then forward again to put down the popsicle sticks.

2013 July 26

Plant Doc is out playing with his popsicle sticks again in the annuals field. He is putting hundreds of them out there. Can't wait to get out there and pee on all of them.

2013 July 25

Turns out that it might not have been the parasite disease after all that paralyzed my bunny pal's leg. Ginger got large bumps on her fur and it turned out to be huge maggots from the Bot Fly. They are gross looking. She went to the vet and had 5 of them removed. It's possible that the leg paralysis was from the maggot infections and she is getting better as a result of the antibiotics, even though the maggots removed. Rex had one on him and it had to have been an extremely painful since it appears that the maggot hole has neutered him. At least they numbed mine first when they took away my dog-hood at the pound.

2013 July 24

Plant Doc is out playing with his popsicle sticks again in the annuals field.

2013 July 23

I decided that I needed to learn more about plant diseases, so I tried eating a few of Plant Doc's textbooks. After spending hours the popsicle sticks in the field yesterday, Plant Doc ran them over with the Big Green Bucket and crushed them. I still don't get it, maybe he is trying to grow trees from them. Anyway, I dug a few up and surprisingly half of them were just pushed into the ground instead and could be pulled up intact.

2013 July 22

Plant Doc spent the day putting popsicle sticks in the ground around the edge of the annuals field. I'm going to have to take a run out there soon and rearrange them the way that I like. Not sure why he wants to measure the dirt in a grid pattern.

2013 July 21

Needed to express myself and decided to rip apart anything I could get my teeth on this morning. Plant Doc spent the day putting popsicle sticks in the ground around the edge of the perennials field. Of course, I pulled up the ones where he didn't put in correctly, so he'd have to fix them.

2013 July 20

Plant Doc was writing on and painting the edges of popsicle sticks. Something about plotting out his experiments, whatever that means. All I know is that the ones that I was able to grab were tasty. Rocket Boy created some cool buildings with them, until I knocked them down, of course. Swimmer was riding around in circles on the lawn with the green golf cart with some big brush thing attached to it. Got me dizzy watching it and she wouldn't listen to me when I kept barking at her to stop.

2013 July 19

Sleepy today. Plant Doc was on the Green Bucket until midnight and made it hard for me to sleep with all the racket. Plant Doc spent the day driving around on the green lawn eater. I got put in the barn stall while he did my favorite spot on front lawn. A very sad day on the farm today. My hen pal, Holly, died either from illness or heat stroke. Swimmer had put out a bunch of fans and frozen water bottles to keep the chickens and bunnies cool. The ramp to the coop house was removed for the bunnies since Ginger's leg is paralyzed, but the one for the chickens was left in place. Holly went to the coop house to lay an egg and never came back down. Swimmer and Wild Girl moved the chickens to the barn stall and the bunnies to the house after that since it was just too hot out. Plant Doc buried her across the road, which I've heard is what chickens like to cross. I wanted to dig her up to say goodbye, but they didn't let me.

2013 July 18

Plant Doc was on the Green Bucket all day with a giant rake attached to it. I really really wanted to chase it.

2013 July 17

Plant Doc was on the Green Bucket using the metal frisbees on the orchard lawn filling in the spots where the little streams were trying to form. Don't understand why he bothered planting grass there if he was just going to dig it up anyway. Personally, I would like a little stream where I could catch fish. Plant Doc then put down more grass seed using some kind of hand held crank that looks like a monkey organ. He must be trying to grow grass on his clothing since he was covered with seed when he finished.

2013 July 16

Plant Doc was hogging the computer this morning so couldn't get to my blog till late. He finally went on the Green Bucket using the metal frisbees on the perennials field.

2013 July 15

Spent the morning sleeping in while the kids went to swim practice. Plant Doc finally was able to go back into the fields and spent the afternoon on the Green Bucket digging in the dirt using metal frisbees in the annuals field. After it was turned up, the soil stank like you would not believe. All those tiny little organisms must have had a party down there with it raining every day for weeks. Party's over! Time for you little stinkers to fry in the Carolina sun!

2013 July 14

Is that? No, it can't be! The Sun is shining!!! I've got to check this out. The grass is still wet and the garden is all muddy, but it actually feels like Summer in the South again. Spent the morning snoozing on the lawn in the sun. Took a short walk with Swimmer then she and Wild Girl took me to doggy class. After that, we went to the doggie park to see my pals and finally I could do some rough play and nipping without getting sprayed with a water bottle. Plant Doc is out weeding the garden again. After I take a nap and watch my inspiration's latest antics on the Tiny World Window with Rocket Boy, I think I'll do some digging for him.

2013 July 13

I can't take it anymore. Rain.

2013 July 12

Rain. Plant Doc did some hand weeding in the garden. Too muddy for the Hoss. Steak bones again!!!!

2013 July 11

Intermittent rain. Plant Doc was cleaning up the garden with the Hoss wheel weeder.

2013 July 10

Rain. Rocket Boy left a space drawing and a pencil on the floor for me to examine. It looked rather good and tasted even better. Next time, I'll save the pencil point for last to pick the metal piece that holds the eraser out of my teeth.

2013 July 9

Rain. Sleep.

2013 July 8

Rain. Steak for dinner!!! Really good sleep.

2013 July 7

Rain. Swimmer's birthday and came home with a outdoor meat cooker. After that she was gone with the little Yappers for the entire day while Plant Doc worked on the computer. Took a long nap.

2013 July 6

Rain again. Sleep again.

2013 July 5

Plant Doc is fixing his plastic fences that are holding the dirt in place in the future orchard. I don't like the sign of this. I'm enjoying the sunshine.

2013 July 4

Plant Doc spent the day on the Green Bucket digging in the dirt using metal frisbees in the annuals field. What's all the noise about? Did Rocket Boy set off all those rockets? The sky is full of thunder and I've got my tail between my legs. Plant Doc is lighting some fire sticks in the garden. I think he is trying to smoke out the plant fuzzies.

2013 July 3

Some sunshine. Plant Doc spent the day on the Green Bucket digging in the dirt using metal frisbees in the perennials field.

2013 July 2

Rain. Sleep.

2013 July 1

Rain. Sleep.

2013 June 30

Rain. Plant Doc is still hogging the computer. Wish he could go on the Green Bucket so I had more time for blogging

2013 June 29

Rain. Got yelled at for barking too much. Seriously? With all the yapping and screaming I have to listen to around here, they complain if I feel the need to express myself!

2013 June 28

Rain. After a sleepy morning in front of the Tiny World Window, Plant Doc put me in the Ram between Wild Girl and Rocket Boy and I watched out the window as things flew by. We met up with Swimmer and went to a Yapper's park where they didn't let me have as much fun as the doggie park. They then took me to a doggie class at the pet store where I taught the Yappers to give me treats despite pretty much ignoring their attempts to get me to do silly things. After class, I dragged Wild Girl around to sniff all the other dogs and bark at the birds, mice, fish, cats, and all sorts of other things. Plant Doc found the food that his brother's Bijon Frise eats and it turns out to be so much better than my grub. Those French may be rude but they have good taste in food.

2013 June 27

Rain. I just couldn't stay mad at Plant Doc after he taught me to play frisbee. Learned how to rebound off the couch after the retrieval so that I could run full out on the wood floor.

2013 June 26

Rain. Oh no! It looks like the inside non-doggie Lab is now the new sleeping room for this Lab. The injustice of it all. I like my little bed, but it's not as roomy as the ones for the Yappers.

2013 June 25

Rain. Got put in the inside non-doggie Lab for the rest of the day and night so I couldn't work on my blog. Had a really good anectode and managed to push open one of the doors to get out to type it up, but Plant Doc put a chair with a heavy box on it and I lost my train of thought by the time it was all over. How is a artist supposed to create if he is not even given access to his canvas? Tried to give a kiss goodbye to the little French dog, but they wouldn't let me near her. You'd think I was sick with something contagious the way I was treated. No plant disease tracking by this dog for a couple days. I'm on strike!

2013 June 24

Rain. Plant Doc's brother came from Charlotte with his little white Bijon Frije, Savannah, or what is that he came from Savannah with his dog Charlotte? Anyway, she must have gotten word that I was a heart breaker since she wouldn't even give me a lick hello. I had heard those cute French girls were hard to get, but give a pup a break! It wouldn't have worked out anyway since she was clearly not a farm dog, wanting to stay inside the house, ran away from the chickens, and was shaking to death when they showed her the rabbits.

2013 June 23

Rain. Plant Doc is hogging the computer so don't have much time to blog.

2013 June 22

Rain. Heard a mouse in the wall upstairs so I dug up the rug to investigate. Not sure why Plant Doc was so mad when he was the one who enlisted me to track down pests. He sprayed some bitter tasting stuff to stop me, but I found that it wasn't so bad after eating a sweet strawberry. A good pest tracker never gives up on his prey.

2013 June 21

I did my first pest tracking in the garden and discovered some crinkly yellow leaves on the cucumbers. Plant Doc called it a mosaic that was caused by one of those viral type things that give me the sniffles. Didn't particularly like the taste of cucumbers either. So my very first Plant Disease Tip for the Day is "Even though the yellow crinkly Cucumber Mosaic Virus is not fuzzy or slimy and doesn't smell bad, don't eat it because those leaves are all rough and scratchy. Plus, it's not worth worrying about catching the sniffles from it, even though Plant Doc says it's a different type of virus."

2013 June 20

Tried to go to sleep on Wild Girl's bed, but that mouse in the wheel was too distracting. Switched to Rocket Boy's bed and Swimmer stayed in it to get me settled. First full day exploring the farm. Learned that a field for fruit trees is called an "orchard" and the dirt area adjacent to it is going to be for strawberries, turf grass, herbs, and other plants that overwinter or live for many years called "perennials". While the big dirt field for veggies next to the barnyard is for plants that die in the winter called "annuals"

Coming soon. Lucky's plant disease tips and a full featured blog layout. Wild Girl is also working on some comic strips about Lucky.

 
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