This is the conclusion to a story that I wrote back in January about a dog and her battle with ‘forbidden fruit’.

Sodapop, who belongs to my youngest sister, Chicken Farmer, and her family – is the main character of this story.  Sodapop is the daughter of my dog, Missy (that really has nothing to do with the story, however).  

The ‘forbidden fruit’ for Sodapop was an apple.  However, it was not your ordinary apple….it was an old, shriveled up apple hanging on the top of an apple tree.

forbidden fruit

We weren’t sure what it is about this shriveled apple that made her want it so badly.  But most likely, it probably because it was out of her reach and that is what drove her crazy….

forbidden fruit

She was sorely tempted by the sight of the dried up apple and she did her best to reach it, jumping as high as she could, breaking small branches in the process.

forbidden fruit

As if one forbidden fruit was not enough….there were more hanging in the tree, taunting her.

forbidden fruit

But try as she might, all she ended up with were small apple branches for all her troubles.


It was small compensation for a lot of work….


Now it is summer and the apple trees are now laden with delicious apples.  Now Sodapop has more apples then she knows what to do with.  First, she enjoyed eating the apples hanging on the lower branches of the apple trees.


However, now that most of the lower apples have either been eaten by her or picked by the residents of Double S Farms, Sodapop has had to content herself with eating the apples that have fallen from the tree….


I wonder if ‘forbidden’ apples taste better then ‘unforbidden’ apples?

**UPDATE – We recently learned that eating too many apples can be dangerous for dogs because their seeds contain small amounts of cyanide.  So, the apple trees will soon be fenced off to keep the dogs out.**

I hope you are all having a great week so far.  We are hoping for a start to our summer rainy season later this week and are keeping our fingers crossed 🙂

Today’s post is from my sister (Chicken Farmer) and resident of Double S Farms.

As a California transplant living in the desert of Arizona, there are a few things that really trip me out and one of them is flood irrigation. Every two weeks in the summer and once a month in the fall, winter, and spring months, we irrigate our yard with a “flood.”

flood irrigation

Very few homes in Arizona actually have this type of irrigation. It’s usually found in older neighborhoods and neighborhoods zoned for agricultural use. My sister, who is an expert on all things garden/desert/plants blogged about flood irrigation here and explained that the water sinks deeply into the soil which makes for deep roots for both grass and trees. It also helps to flush out salts that accumulate in the soil.

flood irrigation

Best seat in the house on a hot summer day.

Snow melt and rain water is accumulated throughout the year in a system of reservoirs and canals. One of these canals runs right behind our backyard. We sign up to irrigate through our local utility company. We are allowed up to 3 hours of constant flood irrigation but we usually sign up for just an hour and a half to two hours. The utility company then sends out a schedule with our irrigation time (which lately has been in the middle of the night!). When it’s our time, I drive to the end of the street to open the flood gates and turn on the valve that you can see above to get the water flowing.

flood irrigation

Although it looks wasteful, if done properly, flood irrigation is a very efficient way to water. Because of the heat where we leave, a lot of the water from daily sprinkler use evaporates before it has a chance to soak in. A once a month deep water is much better for plants in the desert than a daily, light sprinkle. The key is to figure out just how much water you need and order the right amount. It’s also important that your yard is nice and even or a little hill or slope will send that water right into the street. Sadly, I have seen some neighbors water their driveways on occasion. 

flood irrigation

Our first irrigation -we hadn’t figured out how much water we needed and obviously ordered too much.

My dog Sodapop goes crazy over the irrigation. As soon as she sees the water flowing, she runs up to the valve and lays right next to it. The boys love it too. They think it’s a blast to take a pair of my flip flops and have “boat” races. I love the irrigation because it brings a ton of fun critters to the backyard – ducks, snakes, toads, and all kinds of cool shore birds.

flood irrigation

Yesterday was irrigation day and we are fortunate that it wasn’t scheduled for the middle of the night. It was scheduled for late afternoon which is the hottest time of day. The boys were stoked!

flood irrigation

We’ve been irrigating this way for over a year now and I still think it’s kind of bizarre (although we have the happiest fruit trees ever). Almost as bizarre (but not as scary) as the scorpions out here – which I’ll never get used to. But that’s an entirely different post.

Noelle here again – UPDATE:

Guess what also came in with the water?


Yes, that is a fish.  Actually the fact that it made it’s way into the backyard isn’t really all that strange.  Fish are released into the canals to help to eat the algae that can build up along bottom and sides.  This particular fish made it’s way from the larger canals to the smaller ones and into the backyard of Double S Farms.

The fish was released back into the canal by Farmer Dad.  I wonder if it will wind up in someone else’s garden?

Double S Farms

Please visit my sister’s blog FinleyandOliver to read more about her adventures in the desert southwest.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I wish that I could say that I enjoyed mine, but unfortunately, I came down with the stomach flu.  I am just now able to sit for a while without getting dizzy.

Oh well, enough about me.  I am so excited to see your garden bouquets for the month of June.  I would think that everyone has at least a few different plants in flower this month.

My entry this month is my favorite one that I have posted to date.  And, it was not created by me.  Earlier this month, my daughter’s high school graduation party was held at Double S Farms, the home of my mother, my sister and her family.  It was a beautiful June evening and just before the guests were to arrive, my mother, (Pastor Farmer), went outside, cut some blooms from her flowering shrubs and made the prettiest country bouquets.

Prettiest Country Bouquets

Prettiest Country Bouquets

They looked so pretty, on the old wooden table.  I had forgotten my camera, so my sister let me borrow hers.

Prettiest Country Bouquets

The flowers in this arrangement are from two shrubs that are found growing in many gardens in the southwest….Green Cloud Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Green Cloud’) and Orange Jubilee (Tecoma x Orange Jubilee).  I love how great the colors of purple and orange look together.  **Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, contrast nicely when paired together.

Gold Lantana and Orange Jubilee

Smaller bouquets also graced the table and were made up of Gold Lantana and Orange Jubilee.

We had a great time at the party and the weather in June is just perfect for evening gatherings outdoors.

I would love to see your June bouquets.  The guidelines for MGB are very simple….

1. MGB is held the third week of each month and bouquets can be submitted during a 7 day period (or even later if you like).

2. Create your own bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.

3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required 🙂

4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it!

I cannot wait to see what bouquets you create from your summer gardens.

Have a great week!

I am very blessed to have my mother and my sister live very close to me.  However, this was not always so.  Twenty-four years ago, I moved to Arizona from California as a new bride.  The rest of my family remained in California.  Of course, there were many visits back and forth.  But I never really knew how wonderful it could be to have them living close by.  Until about 3 years ago.

My sister and her family along with my mother purchased Double S Farms just over a year ago and so began a weekly tradition of us having dinner over there once a week.  I always look forward to this day because for one, I don’t have to cook dinner – but more importantly, it is a wonderful time of visiting with my mom and sister.

With our beautiful weather, we have recently been eating outside in the backyard, surrounded by their garden full of flowers, the vegetables, the fruit trees and some feathered visitors.

Each week, as soon as we drive up, I love to check to see how the fruit trees are doing in the front garden.  It looks like the peaches will soon be ready…

Double S Farms

My son is always the first to reach the front door and upon entering the house, he is promptly wrestled to the floor by his two little cousins (Little Farmer and Littlest Farmer).

Double S Farms

Each week, my mom (Pastor Farmer) always cooks something new for us to try along with fresh-baked bread.  We love to eat outside and enjoy the sunset and our food.

Beautiful weather

Beautiful weather

Then it is time for the kids to play and the adults to sit back and relax in the garden.

Of course, there are usually new vegetables to check out….

Beautiful weather

As well as seeing how the apples are growing on the trees….

Double S Farms

The kids love to play as well on the cool, green grass.

Beautiful weather

Beautiful weather

About this time, the newest residents of Double S Farms come out of their chicken coop to come and visit.

Double S Farms

Ramona is the first to come out to visit.

Double S Farms

Followed by Flo.

By the way, did you know that chickens like macaroni & cheese?  Well, these chickens do…

Double S Farms

Especially Lucy.

We enjoy watching all of the chickens and their antics.  But, our favorite is Effie. 

Double S Farms

 Now, Effie will not win any chicken beauty contest.  She is decidedly awkward looking and has fluffy cheeks.  But, it is her personality that is so endearing.  She is very friendly and lets us all hold and pet her – even the kids.  

Beautiful weather
Double S Farms

Effie is not camera shy, like Flo can be and the other day, she hopped onto my sister’s (Chicken Farmer), lap and promptly lay her head down and fell asleep.

Double S Farms

Not to be outdone by some chickens, Double S Farm’s resident hummingbird, Jose, makes an appearance as we eat our dinner.

Double S Farms

The sun is setting and it is time to go home.

Double S Farms

I hope you have enjoyed our evening visit to Double S Farms.

Double S Farms

Good Night….

I love the shade.  There is nothing quite so refreshing as a large shade tree in order to be able to escape the sun on a warm day.  Well, guess what?  Vegetables enjoy some shade as well when temperatures start to rise in May in the desert.

I was fortunate to spend Saturday at a wonderful organic vegetable farm that is covered in a canopy of large shade trees.  My brother-in-law (Farmer Dad from Double S Farms) told me about it two weeks ago and I knew that was where I wanted to go for Mother’s Day.

large shade tree

Now, this farm is located right by a freeway that I have driven on countless times.  It is actually located on the edge of an Indian reservation.  You would never know that it existed – their existence is spread solely by word of mouth.  They do not advertise and don’t even have a website.  They provide produce to farmer’s markets as well as local restaurants. 

large shade tree

And so our day began.  I was anxious to explore this farm with my husband and kids.  To be honest, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend Mother’s Day then going somewhere new with my family.

large shade tree

One of my first glimpses into the farm revealed numerous vegetables growing underneath large Mesquite and Palo Verde trees.  I could hardly wait to get started, but first, my kids had to explore the outside of the store.

my son

This is my son, Kai who loves to explore and is always running ahead to see what is yet to be discovered.

Such as a swing….

large shade tree

My three youngest children, Ruthie, Gracie & Kai.  We are particularly enjoying time spent outdoors where Kai can be active since he will be having another surgery later this month which will leave him wheelchair bound for a couple of months.

large shade tree

The trail beckoned us onwards. 

Now, like most boys, Kai loves to run ahead of us wherever we go.  It is sometimes a chore to keep him close by.  But here, he was free to explore on up ahead of us.  As we caught up to him, we found him exiting an Indian tepee.  

large shade tree

Even though the temperatures were quite warm, it was very comfortable throughout the farm because most of it was covered in shade.

large shade tree

Tomato plants were flourishing underneath this Mesquite tree.

Then we came upon a group of perennials growing.  I didn’t tell my daughter, Ruthie what it was but told her to rub the leaves between her fingers and then to smell them. 

large shade tree

She was quite surprised to find out that mint comes from a plant.  You know, I just love how much kids can learn from visiting a farm.

Now, I have no idea what these plants are…..can someone enlighten me?

vegetables and herbs

Although we saw many types of vegetables and herbs being grown, there were some unusual things that we came across.

For example, three Mariachi singers were performing in the middle of the garden….

large shade tree

 This scarecrow would have scared my daughter, Gracie, but luckily she did not see it.

large shade tree

An open area by the store boasted an adobe oven.

large shade tree

There was even a place for Gracie to have a talk with her dad under the shade of the trees.

large shade tree

As we neared the end of our visit, we noticed something lurking 

outside of the chicken coop…

beautiful peacock

It was a beautiful peacock, furtively sneaking about.  As we got closer, we saw the reason why….

beautiful peacock

This pretty female peacock was inside of the chicken coop and he was stuck outside 😉

On our way back to the entrance, we walked by some huge cabbage.

large shade tree

And beautiful Artichokes…

Made In The Shade....

At the end, we finished off our visit at the little store.  I was surprised when I walked inside to discover that the floor was dirt.

available for sale

Vegetables and herbs of all sorts were available for sale.

available for sale
available for sale
available for sale

But I think the favorite part was the free bread and butter samples that my kids enjoyed.

available for sale

In addition to the little store, there were also some plants available for sale along with fish fertilizer.

available for sale

One of the most popular things about this farm, is their compost.  You can come and get compost in a burlap bag for $16 or a load in the back of your truck for $40.  I will definitely be getting my compost from them in the future.


I had an absolutely wonderful Mother’s Day on Saturday at the farm.

wonderful Mother's Day

 Me and my kids.   Rachele, me, my son-in-law Jeff, Brittney Gracie, Kai and Ruthie.

I hope you all had a great Mother’s Day.

**For those of you who would like to visit Singh Farms.  They are located on the northeast corner of Thomas Rd. and the 101 Freeway in Scottsdale.  They are open only on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 1:00.

It is a wonderful place to visit.

Today’s post is written by my sister, Chicken Farmer, who is a resident of Double S Farms – a place that I have often posted about.  This is her story of an unexpected surprise and not necessarily a welcome one.

I have to start this post by saying that I love Arizona.  Really, I do.  But the first time I saw a scorpion, I was ready to high tail it back to California.  Yes, there are scorpions in California, but I didn’t see one until I moved to Arizona.

unexpected surprise

Scorpions like to eat insects and you can see the wings of the Lacewing bug that he had just captured.  By the way, Lacewings are the sort of insect you want in your garden.  They eat aphids.

My family and I have lived in Arizona for close to 4 years.  the first 2 1/2 years, we didn’t see a single scorpion around our house.  However, my mother, who lived about 5 miles from us, had a ton of them in her backyard.  And by a ton, I’m talking about 40 – 50 scorpions on her back garden wall in a single night when we first realized she had a problem. 

As soon as she realized that she had scorpions, my brother and husband were on a mission.  They showed up at her house armed with a black light and a torch (which is really my creme brulee torch from Williams Sonoma).  The strange thing about scorpions is that they glow a bright green color under a black light so they’re very easy to spot at night.  Once my brother and husband would spot one, they’d fry them with the torch.  After a few weeks of this, her scorpion problem got a lot better.

unexpected surprise

Fast forward to about a year ago when my husband and I purchased Double S Farms with my mother.  The first day at the house, I saw a scorpion on the drapes.  An hour later, I found one in my bathroom.  An hour after that, one of them crawled out of a box I was unpacking.  I’m not really wimpy about bugs, but I have to admit that I was totally freaked.  We soon came to find out that our house was literally crawling with scorpions.  Within our first year of living at Double S Farms, I’d guess we’ve found at least 75+ of those buggers in our house!

There are 30 – 45 scorpion species here in Arizona.  Of those, only one is considered life threatening – the bark scorpion.  Unfortunately, we have seen those little stinkers in our house.  We have young boys and have found scorpions within inches of their feet on more then one occasion.  Fortunately, their pediatrician has assured me that since my kids are healthy, they would weather a scorpion sting just fine.  In addition, Arizona is home of the only scorpion antivenin program in North America – so an antivenin, if needed, is available at most local hospitals.

unexpected surprise

We have taken a lot of measures to eliminate our scorpion problem (including having our home sealed and getting chickens).  Although we’ve seen an improvement, we still find them in the house more often than I’d like (3 of them just last week!).

I guess my next step should be to learn to co-exist with them, which really isn’t likely as that is definitely not in my DNA.

For more information on scorpions such as what they eat and how they kill their prey, you can click on this link.

**Noelle here – I must say that I have lived in Arizona for over 23 years in 5 different houses and have only seen one scorpion (it was in the garage).  You can have a scorpion problem in one neighborhood and two blocks away, there are none. 

By the way, my sister has started her own blog about her life in Arizona.  Please visit her at 

What a wonderful, busy weekend we had.  I always enjoy the coming of Easter and what it signifies – rebirth.  

When I first started this blog, I promised myself that I would not create a post solely about my family – I didn’t want to bore anyone and although my family is wonderful, we aren’t terribly interesting.  

And so, I will keep my promise and show you a garden, sandwiched between two separate family Easter celebrations.  That way, you can skip over the family photos and just look at the garden if you like.

family Easter celebrations

 You can see my two youngest with their cousin, planning their strategy on how to get the golden egg in the middle of the field.

Saturday morning found me with the kids at the Sun Lakes Annual Easter Egg Hunt.  It is a fun event for the kids and they always look forward to it.  I love to watch the joy on their faces as they anticipate the hunt and plan their strategy.  I don’t particularly like having to get up really early on a Saturday though.

family Easter celebrations

Easter celebrations

They both did pretty well and got quite a few eggs, but alas….the golden egg was found by someone else.

After the hunt for eggs was over, we settled ourselves to watch the Easter parade, which consists of golf carts decorated for Easter.  

Easter celebrations

I will not show all of the entries, but I will show you the one that the kids selected as the best one.

After the parade was over, we went back to my in-law’s home.  I am very fortunate that I have very wonderful in-law’s – (and they occasionally read my blog 😉  My favorite thing about their home is their landscape.  It is a wonderful mixture of succulents, shrubs and perennials.

family Easter celebrations

I was fortunate to have been asked by my father-in-law to design their front and back landscape when they had their home built.  Prickly Pear Cacti, Agave, Golden Barrel Cactus, Pygmy Date Palm, Palo Brea Tree, Baja Ruellia, Katie Ruellia, Damianita and Firecracker Penstemon are all part of the front garden.

family Easter celebrations

My father-in-law has a green thumb, especially when it comes to growing annuals, like these geraniums.


Our gardening styles differ in that he is more of a formal gardener.  His plants are carefully pruned and his garden is the ‘cleanest’ garden I have ever seen.  I am a more carefree gardener and prefer more naturally shaped plants and I do not mind loose leaves in the garden.

Desert Spoon

Last fall, my father-in-law asked me to re-design the corners of the backyard.  The new Firecracker Penstemon and Blackfoot Daisy are growing in nicely.  The original Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri), were kept in the background as they offer texture and a great color contrast.

After a wonderful Easter lunch of my mother-in-law’s lasagna and the ice-box cake that I made, I was ready to go home and take a nap, which I did.

The next morning, we went to church and then prepared to go to my mother and sister’s home on Double S Farms.  My brother and his wife, my cousin and her family were to join us all there for Easter lunch and another Easter egg hunt.  As my son put it, you can never have enough Easter egg hunts.

family Easter celebrations

My two oldest daughters.

my cousin and her daughters

I had a great time catching up with my cousin and her daughters.

We had a great lunch and then it was time for the hunt.  Tradition in our family holds that the men of the family hide the eggs.

hide the eggs

The vegetable garden at Double S Farms made a great place to hid eggs, along with the fruit trees and the chicken coop.

Easter egg hunt

Little & Littlest Farmers got a head start on the Easter egg hunt with assistance from their mother, Chicken Farmer.  Little Farmer, figured that since he was hunting for eggs with candy that his Halloween pumpkin would work just fine.

family Easter celebrations

Easter celebrations

I think this is the cutest Easter bunny I have ever seen 🙂

Easter egg hunt

There were a lot of places to hide eggs, but the kids soon found them all.

youngest daughter

Including my youngest daughter, who was so happy because she absolutely LOVES chocolate candy.

Well, I hope I have not bored you with our exploits over Easter weekend, but we had a wonderful time being outdoors enjoying the springtime weather and being with family.  I do hope that you all had a very blessed Easter.

My next post will be a guest post by my sister, Chicken Farmer.  You don’t want to miss it….

All Dressed Up For Easter….

The past couple of days have been filled with the normal things that make up my life….taking care of my family, landscape consults, blogging, etc.  But, one of the things that I love and sometimes don’t love about life are the unexpected things that sometimes cross my daily path.

First the unexpected things that I enjoy…

Blue Hibiscus

Blue Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii)

The beautiful flowers on this Blue Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii), stopped me in my tracks as we were entering the house at Double S Farms.

This Australian native is a big favorite of mine because of the large purple flowers that are produced in the spring.  To be honest, I am not sure why someone decided to give it the common name of ‘Blue Hibiscus’, because the flowers are always purple.  I am not a huge fan of common names in general – especially the ones that don’t make sense.

Blue Hibiscus

Blue Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii)

Blue Hibiscus does well in our desert climate and grows 4 – 6 ft. high and wide. Some gardeners report that it is hardy to 15 degrees F,  so this shrub hold up well under the frosts we experience.  Prune lightly after the first flush of flowers to help produce a second flush.  Supplemental fertilizer is not needed, but regular irrigation is.  It does not do well in an area with reflected sun, so place in a north, south or east facing exposure.

Okay, here is one last look at one of the gorgeous flowers just beginning to open….

Blue Hibiscus

Other instances when I enjoy the unexpected is when I see a plant that does something different then the norm – grow larger, produce different colored flowers, foliage, etc.

Yesterday, I was called to a client’s home to look at his sick Magnolia tree (yes, Magnolias grow in the desert).  The prognosis on the Magnolia tree was good and the client was happy.  I offered to look at the rest of his landscape to see how things looked when we walked up to the largest lemon tree that I have ever seen…

lemon tree

This picture really does not accurately show how large this lemon tree was.  The fragrance coming off of the tree was amazing….the scent of the lemons along with the smell of the lemon blossoms was intoxicating.

**My clients are soon quickly convinced that I am somewhat of a crazy plant lady because I get so excited when I see something out of the ordinary.  They in turn are tickled pink by the knowledge that they have a special plant in their very own garden.

Well, the client with the lemon tree was a retired doctor who was pleased to show off his tree that was planted over 20 years ago.  He said that he had more fruit then he knew what to do with and offered to pick me some lemons and ended up picking me 2 bags full.  I was very touched because he was an older gentleman and it was not easy for him, but he insisted on picking them for me himself.


Now for the unexpected things that I do not enjoy at all….

I was on my way home from this consult when my husband called me to say that my 7 year old son may have broken his arm.  So I rushed home and took him to the doctor.  X-rays were not clear as to whether there was a break or not, so his arm was put into a black brace for a couple of weeks until they could check it again.


You know at first, how it can be kind of fun for a kid to have a cast and/or brace?  That is until they realize how restrictive it is.  I was asked, “Do I have to wear this all the time?  Even when I sleep?”  This morning, he asked me if he had to wear it when he played his video game 😉

Yesterday, I received very unwelcome AND unexpected news…

It was the beginning of a beautiful day and I was getting ready to leave to go on a landscape consultation when I got a call from my oldest daughter, who was just sobbing into the phone.

You know that dropping feeling in your stomach that you get sometimes when you know you are going to hear something awful?  Well, that is exactly what I felt as soon as I heard her voice.

Well, she had fallen down the stairs as she left her apartment and she was pretty sure that she had broken both of her feet.  Somehow, she was able to crawl back up to her apartment where she called her husband, who was at work, to come and get her.  Then she called me.

As a mother, it is so hard when your child is in pain.  I spoke to her trying to help her stay calm while her husband rushed as fast as he could to get home.  But her voice would break with cries of pain.  I woke up my husband, who works at night, and we rushed to be at her side.

Firefighters were called to carry her down the stairs of her apartment and then we met her and her husband at the hospital.  As she was checking in, the clerk asked her if she had ever been there before and my daughter said “No”.  I then stepped in to remind her that she had been there before….23 years ago when she was born.  Surprisingly, they still had her medical records from back then.

My Daughter

Well, it turns out that she broke her right foot AND her left ankle.  She is definitely laid up for a while and will not be able to teach (she is a high school history teacher).  Her husband is wonderful and very supportive.  I will be going to ‘babysit’ her today so that he can attend an important meeting for a little while.  So, I am gathering my magazines, DVD’s and bringing them dinner.

And so in closing, I am hopeful that the coming days bring only unexpected good things for both my family and yours 🙂

Like a Kid in a Candy Store…

Kind of a weird title for a post, but it fits all that I am going to try to fit into this one….

Earlier this week, we packed up the kids into our trusty minivan and took the long drive to Double S Farms….okay, it took us all of 5 minutes to get there.  We were gathering together to celebrate the birthdays of my husband and my nephew (Littlest Farmer).  

One of the first things we did was to go out and see the chickens, who are the newest residents of the farm.  They are now 5 weeks old and they have now graduated to the outdoors.  My sister, Chicken Farmer, is enjoying raising her chickens.  You can read my earlier posts about the chickens here.

Raising chickens

Raising chickens

For some reason, the chickens were not very cooperative about standing still for the camera.  So, my brother-in-law (Farmer Dad), picked one up so I could take a better picture.

Raising chickens

This is Flo who was very patient while I took her picture.  She is one of two who does not mind being handled.  However, what happened afterwards, I am not sure that Flo was too happy about….

Raising chickens

Farmer Dad handed Flo to my daughter, who just happens to work at Chick-fil-A, (a restaurant that serves only chicken).  I may have imagined it, but Flo look vastly relieved to be set down by my daughter.


Lucy and Ramona were kind enough to pause a moment for their picture.

We then ventured inside for dinner and birthday cake.  Afterward, my son and his cousins, (Little & Littlest Farmers), had fun wrestling in the living room.

celebrate the birthdays

Well, it was getting late and we started to head out the door when I saw something truly gross…


We were greeted by the sight of slugs crawling all over the low wall surrounding my mother’s succulent garden.  She has had a problem with slugs ever since she moved into the house last year.  There used to be a flower garden where the succulents are now planted.

Recently, she has been setting out a bowl of beer for the slugs.  They are attracted by the smell of beer and then crawl in and drown.  I wonder if they are drunk before they drown?  Hopefully, for their sake.


Not too pretty is it?  But, it is a welcome sight for those who are waging a battle against slugs.  They do not seem to prefer one beer over the other, so my mother used some old beer that my brother-in-law had left over since November.  **Some gardeners also have had similar results using grape juice.


Within 5 minutes of setting out additional saucers of beer, the slugs were racing as fast as they could to enjoy their beer.  Does that remind you of anyone you may know?

My kids thought it was very cool in a gross kind of way and so did I.  But I have to say that I am extremely glad that I do not have slugs in my garden 🙂

Picture an old rose bush that had been neglected over the years.  With new owners now in charge of the garden, this rose received much needed attention back in January.

Some of you may remember my post An Overgrown, Nameless Rose”  back in January.  This old rose bush graced the front garden of Double S Farms, which is where my mother, sister and her family are new residents.

old rose bush

 Unlike many rose bushes, this particular one continued to bloom without any help….no fertilizer, sprays or pruning.  But, there was a lot of dead growth and old canes (branches) that needed to be removed.  In other words, this rose bush needed a face lift.

old rose bush

When I finished pruning, this is what was left.  My mother, Pastor Farmer, may have been a little unprepared for how far back I had pruned her roses, but I assured her that this was essential for their health and that new growth would soon appear.

rose bush

Well, this is what they looked like this evening, just 9 weeks later, when we stopped by Double S Farms to celebrate both my husband and nephew’s birthdays.

The rose bushes are flush with new growth and there are no old canes (branches) to be seen anywhere.  I like to think of pruning as like giving a plant a face lift.  The results are usually remarkable and you don’t have to pay a lot of money like you would to a plastic surgeon 😉

rose bushes

For me, the icing on the cake was to see both of these formerly neglected rose bushes covered with rosebuds getting ready to open.

rose bushes

I can hardly wait….