Friday, October 30, 2009

Entomology - Do Bugs Bother You??

I was REALLY looking forward to this part of the campus visit. I had visions of picking up large scary cockroaches and tarantula's crawling up my arm. Millipedes taking a nap in the palm of my hand. Well, you get the picture. By now you're either really excited, or totally grossed out and looking for another blog to read. I was one of those kids that had a butterfly collection and tossed poor helpless grasshoppers into the garden spider's web. SORRY!!!!!

The Lecture was very interesting and I enjoyed it. I was SO looking forward to the "Lab". Alas, I was disappointed. Although they had these bugs present, we didn't get to hold any of them. I did get to 'stroke' a giant Millipede, but lets face it, it's NOT the same. Yes, I'm also the one that gets bitten by the rats at the pet store! Bill is the one that reads the sign that says, "These rats bite". Hum......

During the lecture there was much discussion regarding the Japanese Beetle and the Multi Colored Asian Beetle. (Both pictured below) Many people use these names interchangeably as the same insect. I know I sure have! So, now you know they are two different insects and don't remotely resemble each other!!

Japanese Beetle - Eats LOTS of plants.
Favorites are the Rose, flowering crab apple, flowering cherry,
Japanese maple, linden, elm, viburnum, Virginia creeper, grape.
They don't have any known 'good' qualities.
I personally think their coloring is rather pretty.

Picture credits below -

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle
This insect is GOOD.
Even though they do tend to bite! OUCH!!
They also STINK when you try to get even for the bite.
I find that the good old finger flick is your best defense.
They eat the aphids off the soybean plants, so they are good!
They also leave the fields in September or October to find warmer
places to hide. This coincides with harvest. GO FIGURE!

Okay, now on to the pictures of the bugs we got to play with.

Manduca Moth

I'm pretty sure I had one of these behind glass
when I was MUCH younger!

Where did it come from?

From the Pupa of course!
It's quite amazing how a caterpiller
can turn into a moth or butterfly.

Below are some tiny little Tomato
Hook Worms hatching. They will
turn into those HUGE caterpillars that can
clean a tomato plant of it's leaves in a day.
They'll also eat all their 'siblings'!

Here's a fun type of walking stick.
Not the kind we see in our area.

Finally, the millipede.
It was the size of my pinkie finger!!

Well, that's the end of the Tour!

Until next I'm thankful for all the chocolate I ate at work!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Break From the ISU Tour......

Tomorrow night I promise to do the "Bug Post"!!!

Every thing is amazing no body's happy

Watch this clip, it is pretty funny!! We take so much for granted anymore!! We don't sit back and just enjoy life!! I'm the same way!! I enjoy a sunset for about 3 minutes TOPS and then I'm back to working on something else!

I could only DREAM - 20 years ago of being able to talk
to my friend all the way to her house!!
Now, you can't walk into a store without seeing half a dozen cell phones.
I'll be honest, I don't have a 'real' cell phone, I have a tracker for emergencies.
Who are all those people calling?
Do they people they are calling NOT have a job?
People at work on constantly checking their phones.
Really, if it was a true emergency, do you NOT think someone would find you?
Ring Ring.....I'm in the women's bathroom, stall 3, need toilet paper!!
It's probably just me!

Do you remember Crank windows in your cars?
No Power Steering?
Actually needing to look and read a MAP!!!
Needing to be "HOME" to watch your favorite show or you REALLY missed it!!
The only channels you had were 2/7/9 and 12!!
FM Radio!!
8-Track and Cassettes!! I still have a BUNCH of 80's music on cassettes that I just can't seem to part with! I can't even play them in our vans!!

I often wonder how many hours are wasted while people at work "cyberslack"?
We didn't have Internet available to all our employees until 2003.
How much more productive were we then?
Did we know our co-workers better?
Did we have better social skills?

Anyway, watch this clip.
(From Susan Garrett's site)
You might realize how spoiled we really are.

I'm also going to copy what she does at the end of her posts.
Something you're thankful for, there's truly so much!

Today I'm thankful for my co-worker who
brought in a bunch of pumpkins to give away!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Green House Tour

Did you guess?

It's a Carrion Flower!
It's very pretty, however smells like rotten meat!
Yes, I had to smell it!!
Yes, I was the only one 'stupid' enough to do it.

During our first "Lab", which was on Botany, we got on of these handy
dandy little magnifying glasses.
I was really impressed as it wasn't even made in China!!

Here's Karen from "Linn" County. She's under the HUGE Banana Tree.
They said sometimes it even has bananas.
Sorry Karen, you'll just have to go hungry!

Here's a 'Pitcher Plant'.
It's a carnivorous plant.
Flies or crawling insects enter and fall into a pit.
Never to return.

Yes, I wanted to stick my finger in it!
I didn't!

This is a HUGE upside downy hanging, crawling plant.
I don't know what it is, but as we say back home,
"It sure be Purdy".

What's a green house without Orchids?
There pretty, but look like WAY too much work for me!

Here's a "Iron Cross Begonia" for Martha.
This one is made in china!

Below is a gigantic Lemon.
You can see the 'normal' sized lemon on the branch to the right.

Off to Bessey Hall to learn about plant diseases!

Next time onto Entomology - AKA the study of bugs!

I'm sure you're wondering if people were looking at me kind of funny taking all these pictures.
At first I think they were, then I think they wished they would have brought there's!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ISU Visit

Saturday the Master Gardener Interns, "that would be ME", visited the ISU campus to attend classroom training and tour the ISU Greenhouses. I would estimate that over 70 "Interns" were present and the ISU staff made us all feel welcome.

I was obviously early, go figure!! It was a beautiful morning, so I took a walk about the campus.

I made a squirrel angry! I don't think that's difficult.

Here's the horse barn. Hum....I wonder how I ended up over there??

Our First class was on plant reproduction. We used Snapdragons and Gladiolas.
Here's my co-intern's flower!
I pressed mine in my book! G

Discussion involved what to add to your planting soil for best overall results.

The Greenhouse Tour was WONDERFUL!!! More on that tomorrow.

Here's a picture of one of the more interesting plants.

Do you know what it is??

Rilda's First 5 K!!!!!

Rilda participated in her very first 5K on Saturday!!


Not only did she FINISH!!! She placed 2nd!!!!

I was actually entered, but my Master Gardener visit to ISU
(Iowa State University),
was this day as well. More on that later.
Rilda kindly stepped in for me.

It was a cross country event, and with Halloween just around the
corner, the event included 'custom contests'.

The event is called the "Muddy Monster Run" and
features Frankenstein's face as their logo.

It used to be called "The Devil's Dash", do to "PC" issues,
having nothing to do with your home computer, they changed it.

Truthfully, the Muddy Monster Logo is cuter! (':

Here are some costumes!

Rilda's Favorite shirt of the day!!


Way to go Rilda and MEME!!! I'm so glad you had a nice morning!!!
You both did AWESOME!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is it Just ME???

As many of you know, I am currently in my "Master Gardener" training. The training involves 3 hour classes twice a week, in Marion, Iowa, running from the middle of September to the middle of November. This also means I'm stuck "in town" both of those evenings. To me it's a waste of time to drive home in the opposite direction of where the class is. So, from 3:30 until 6:30 every Tuesday and Thursday I can be found in the feed store parking lot, sitting in the back of my van, reading a BOOK!!

Okay, before you think this is totally strange behavior, I know of at least THREE other people that would do this!! Martha, Meme, and Barb! They would not find this strange at ALL!! We all like to read and given enough crate pads, find our vehicles more comfortable than most living room furniture!! We even sleep in our vehicles! It provides everything but a potty....more on that later!

So, I'm driving through Marion, which btw must own stock in stop signs!! I have NEVER seen so many stop signs in one square mile! It's unbelievable! Those and narrow roads, and dips, should I mention the dips!! Sorry...back on track. FOCUS ESTER!!

I arrive at the parking lot, get in back to read my book. Oh, I have to change into my jeans and sweatshirt as it was 'dress up day' at work. I HATE THOSE DAYS!! So, I'm changed. Everyone changes clothes in the back of their vans in a parking lot....right? Please just agree! I'm settled in back with my book. It's Dogged Pursuit, very cute book. The author would be TOTALLY appalled by my behavior. That's okay, I can't imagine driving a SAAB with leather seats, so I guess we're even. Anyway....I start thinking about shoe string potato chips. YUMMY!!! I should run over to Fareway and get me some. NO NO NO!!!! Well, after 15 minutes of the debate, I lose (or win??) and get me some chips.

Back in the parking lot, eating my chips. Okay, so I ate 1/2 the can! OINK!! I decide I need something sweet! Luckily I was at walmart this morning and picked up a bag of mini marshmallows for training treats for Seeker. I know, giving sugar to a young BC is like throwing gasoline on a fire, what can I say. I love to live dangerously! So, eating marshmallows (Seeker won't miss a few) I'm thirsty!! Gee, after 4.5 ounces of chips I wonder why? I'm working on my second 20 ounce water. What time is it? I have to "go"....... it's 5:15.

It's a good hour before anyone will be in the room. So, I guess I'll just have to suffer. I go back to reading. Why is it that when you have to "GO" and your reading the books subject matter involves....drinking, porta potties and taking the dogs out to go PEE!! Is that just rude or what? So, in order to make myself feel better I finish off bottle number TWO of water. I'm getting chilly and decide I should shut the vents in the van and check the time.

As I'm getting up to lean over the seats I realize I'm kind of sticking to the dog pad. OMG!! You have GOT to be kidding me!! I've melted 4 little marshmallows to my BUTT!! CRAP!! No, don't....I have to P!!! So, my bladder is busting and I have marshmallows stuck to my arse and I'm chilly. What else could go wrong? I put the key in the ignition and turn it a quarter turn, reach over to shut the vents and the car alarm goes off!! SH*T!! So, now I have to pull out the key, unlock the doors and then try again!

FINALLY!! I sit back down to read my book. It's 5:45 and my eyes are turning yellow. I'm having trouble focusing on the words on the pages. Wait, I think that's because there are now people outside my van. What the heck!! They are talking baby talk about someone wiggling their butt (must be a dog - I hope!), telling him how cute he is (Do I talk like that????) and one of the humans is about to cough a lung on the side of my van!! JL!! Cover all ready! In fact, GO HOME!! You should not be outside!! They FINALLY leave!

Back to my book. I still have 15 minutes until bladder relief. I'm laying on my back and I'd been balancing the book on my stomach. YIKES!! Might want to lower that to my thighs!! Finally, it's 6:09 and I'm going to risk the doors being open! I'm barely able to bend to get up off my back and my eyes are watering as I'm putting on my shoes. I have to find my name badge, as you don't dare walk in without it, or the person running the class will make you feel like you are in Catholic school and your skirt is too short! If you know what I mean.

I sign in just as fast as humanly possible, drop my bag on the table and head off to the bathroom. It's then that I can't decide, do I check out the marshmallow on my butt or 'go' first. I do a quick glance and then 'go'. SO MUCH BETTER!!! So, now I take a closer look at my jeans bottom. OMG!! It looks like I sat on a park bench that was recently visited by pigeons!!! Note to self, do NOT turn butt toward anyone. Not that I would intentionally do that anyway!!

I made it through class. Although, every time I got up out of my plastic chair to get a cup of coffee it lifted with me a couple inches. Lesson Learned?

So, is it just ME?? OR do things like this happen to you too?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Farming stuff......

They were at it again on Saturday Evening.
This first row has the truck following right behind
the chopper. On the second pass the
wagon is right new door keeping pace.

They had a few misses on the corners,
so the chickens will be happy when
they find the spillage!!

You'll see our old Cottonwood tree, as
the trucks pass by.
It's going to come down soon.
It was struck by lightening a couple
summers ago. It's hallowed out on
the inside. I think I might be the
only one that will miss it.

Hopefully they were too busy
watching where they were going
to see me standing out on the
East porch with my FLIP!! G

Here's what it looked like this morning....with just a trace of frost on
the ground!! We can now 'SEE' what's coming up the road!

What a Beautiful Morning!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Positive Reinforcement

It works!!!

If you've ever used a clicker or another form of operate conditioning to shape a behavior, you'll already know, this really works!!

Thank you Meme for sending me this link!!

I seriously thinking about using this on my Co-Workers.
Especially since they were complaining just today that I don't update this blog often enough.

Monique and Kathi, you are my official Lab Rats on Monday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Egg Identification - 101

Today’s topic is EGGS!! Yes, the “incredible eatable egg” comes in many different shapes, colors, and even shapes! Don’t believe me, just stick around awhile!

We have a nice little variety of poultry (chickens, ducks and turkeys), and they are really fun to have around. We currently have Chickens - German Spitzenhaben, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Araucanas, and Black Australorps. Ducks – Indian Runner, Khaki Campbell, Rouen and Pekin. Turkeys - Bourbon Reds. We have mostly hens and thus can have quite an assortment of eggs.

Here’s a picture of the variety of eggs I collected today.

Can you pick out which bird laid which egg?

Let us begin left to right.

You can double click on the picture to make it bigger.

If you thought the duck laid the green egg, you are incorrect! That was laid by one of my young 6 month old Araucanas, or “Easter Egg Chickens”. They are dubbed as the Easter Egg Chicken as they usually lay green/blue eggs. They have just started laying, so their eggs are a bit small yet.

The next egg in line is a light tan with little brown spots. Most of our hens, in fact all that produce any quality egg size at all, are brown laying. So, if you guessed one of the chickens, you are again, incorrect. Although it’s roughly the size of a chicken egg, it’s more pointed in shape. This is actually from one of my 6 month old turkeys!

By now the next egg in line, the nice sized brown one should be pretty easy. Yes, that’s from one of the brown egg laying chickens. We only have two white egg laying chickens, the Spitzenhabens, but those eggs are very small and they don’t lay often.

Finally, the lovely nice white egg is from one of the ducks. They have lovely size and make the best baking egg! The ducks are pretty good layers, but not as good as the chickens in numbers.

So, you might be asking yourself, do you eat the duck and turkey eggs? Well, of course! They are no different than if you had any other kind of bird egg. Although, I do wonder if reptile eggs would taste the same? Hum…..I just noticed that one of the hatcheries is selling these eggs for $55 a dozen! LOL

The turkey eggs I’d like to hatch out, but right now is not the best time to have young birds. I might keep some aside and put them in the basement over the winter to see if they will hatch out in the spring. I’ve known people that have been successful with this using ducks, but their hatch percent wasn’t over 70%. Something to keep in mind.

There’s your egg lesson for the day! Now, go make yourself an OMELET!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Canine's of the Corn!!

The corn is starting to come out!!! I took the dogs out this morning to grab a quick picture before Alan and Michael got back into the fields! There's corn all around us this year. The fields that surround our house have been on continuous corn rotation for the 4th straight year now. Alan rotates between corn and beans. I really appreciate this as the bean fields are much nicer to ride in this time of year than the corn fields.

Overall, the corn is a much prettier plant than the soy bean. Corn remains attractive from the little sprouts in May, until harvest. It has attractive coloring and textures that make it interesting to look at. Beans are pretty too, but this time of year they look like a bunch of brown pipe cleaners just waiting for the strike of a match!

Below are a couple pictures of Alan and Michael.
Well, you can only see Alan. G

Whenever I take the camera outside, the ponies feel the need to put on a show. Don't ask me why! They are ponies, it's cool outside, there are tractors across the road, let's act CRAZY!!!

Here's Saphira trying to figure out why I'm lining the dogs up in the corn.
"Are people stupid or what?" Of course, "Dogs aren't much brighter!!"

Here comes ADAM!!!
He doesn't want to be left out!!

I told you they get silly.
Apparently Adam wants me to know that he still has all four shoes on!!!

Getting the most out of your SUMMER!!

I'm all about pushing the limits of Summer! I don't want the nice weather to end, so I'm not opposed to living in a "state of denial" when it comes to the weather change!

Apparently there are others out there just like me!! Take this person for instance. He (I hope it's a he) apparently wanted to stretch the limits when he drove his convertible to work last Friday. We were near Wentzville, MO and the temps were in the 30's at 9 am.

Unfortunately for him, I was snapping pictures from the back of the van!! His hoodie top would fall down and he'd hike it back up!! Wish the plumber would hike up something once in awhile!

After getting a closer look it's no wonder he wanted his hood up!! BURRRRRRR!!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We NEVER Forget!!

We're kind of like elephants that way. If something happens, we REMEMBER!! We even EAT like elephants!! Hum....

Last June, Rilda had a confrontation with a deer. We're pretty sure it was an innocent 'hitch hiker', but Rilda claims he just couldn't wait for her to stop. Thus, he became a hood ornament. Going forward, after she got over the shock.....Rilda picked up yet another nickname - "The Deer slayer".

A couple weeks ago at the September Davenport trial, we decided to celebrate! Face it, we find a reason to celebrate ANYTHING!!! So, we made it "orange" shirt day and those of us with cameo pants worn them in memory of the dear deer.

Here's Rilda with her CATCH!!!