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More thoughts on Kevin February 28, 2009 Filed under: Uncategorized — johnbob @ 4:41 pm

As I’m reading Kevin’s obituary… “Kevin was a gifted musician.” I smiled and looked at Grace. “I want my obit to say that, too! Who’s gonna argue with me once I’m gone.”

I’m sure Kevin is looking down smiling at that one too because he never considered himself more than extraordinarily adequate when it came to singing OR playing guitar.

Having to perform on stage without him last night, I was facing the fact that he would never be standing there to my left again. I would never get to sing harmony with him again. I have a head full of the exact phrasing that he used for every song so it was easy to drop a harmony on top of whatever he sang. We had been doing it for 19 years. It was second nature to me.

I will miss you Kevin Flagg February 25, 2009 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 12:24 am

Kevin Flagg passed away today from cancer he had been fighting for almost a year. We had played together off and on in various bands over the last 30 years but the last 19 years was in a wedding band first called Buck Naked - then (finally! a name change) Sawbuck Band. Playing a wedding in a band called Buck Naked… not a good thing. Kevin was a ‘Git’er Done’ kind of guy and I always respected that in him. He didn’t talk an awful lot but when he did, it was usually pretty interesting to listen to.

Kevin was a stocky, solidly built guy that worked in the Electricians Union. He’d done his share of hard work. The last few years with the onset of carpal tunnel in his hands, and probably some other reasons, he changed over to an office job at the union hall. I don’t think he liked it, he was more of the outdoor type - pulling wire and setting up breaker panels.

He had been valliantly fighting this cancer since last Spring and it was bad watching it catch up to him - going from 230 down to 160 lbs - watching his pants almost fall off cause his belt didn’t have any more holes in it. He was going bald anyway (which I sometimes teased him about) so the hair loss from the chemo wasn’t a big issue.

Now, hearing the news today, I am once again reminded of when Dad passed in ‘02 and Mom a year and a half later… as we’re making the long drive to the cemetery in the procession - looking at life going on around us as we drive along - the men working on the road, people pumping gas, delivery trucks making their rounds. Why hasn’t the world stopped? It has stopped for me but everyone else goes on about their business. If only for a while to recognize that life will never be the same again… the world will be a different place now. I am almost mad at them for doing this - going on with their lives - unaware of what I am going through.

We have to go on. That is our burden in being part of the living world. But it is a little sadder place now - a sadder world - missing something - a world without my mom - without my dad - and now it is a world without Kevin.

DTV Transition Delay… ugh February 6, 2009 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 1:24 am

I have known for over 5 years that the US was switching to digital television. I kinda keep up on such things. But, unless you reside under a very large rock, you should have known 2 years ago that this was coming! Now how can you not be ready?? We applied for our coupons and got our converter box almost 6 months ago - and I am so glad we did. We now get over 20 channels. This is because almost every channel has 2 to 4 different programs that they are broadcasting. It’s almost like having cable!! Actually, better, because it’s free! And each channel has a guide that shows what’s on now and what’s coming up next.

I am betting that once we do ‘officially’ get the government to let the switch happen, all the TV stations will add more channels. I know they can broadcast at least 4, maybe 5 channels thru the one frequency. Channel 27 in Bowling Green is already broadcasting 4. And I predict that once people see what’s out there for free, it’ll be time to drop the cable - especially in these economic times. We cannot get cable where we live and even if we could, I don’t watch enough TV to justify paying for it. All of you cable channels that I never see and have never heard of your shows… sorry, I guess you’ll have to figure out a way to get your channel to me over the air. Right now I don’t even miss you cause I don’t know you exist - or your advertisers, either. I’m too busy watching RTV (Retro television), Create, and MEtv.

I have already had several people ask me about these ‘other channels’ they hear about but cannot get. Sorry, you got cable. You can’t get them!!

Back to School January 16, 2009 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 12:19 am

I’m a schoolboy once again. I am taking web development classes at Terra Community College. I already have a headstart since I’ve been doing this for 10 years now - self taught. Guess it’s time to get up to date and official with it, though. My certificate when completed will be Digital Arts and Media Design. I’m pretty excited about it. Got to skip out on 2 classes because I had already taken the one and had tested out of the other one years ago.

C-C-C-Cold!!!! Filed under: Home — johnbob @ 12:14 am

I’ll tell ya, I’m sure it’s been this cold before but I can’t remember when. It’s 11pm Thurs night and already we’re at -8 and that’s fahrenheit!! Driving home from Terra, my truck just didn’t want to do anything. I could almost hearing it crying “No, I don’t want to move!!” Thank goodness we have a good covering of snow to protect the plants. We are staying warm with a good fire burning in the stove. I have a floodlamp with a reflector rigged up for the cats to sit under and keep kinda warm. I have to keep changing their water every few hours cause it ices over.

Fall 2008 October 13, 2008 Filed under: Garden, Home — johnbob @ 10:51 am

Yes, Fall is here - you can feel it in the air. Some flowers are just starting to bloom - like the mums. Since they seem to do good here, Grace and I have bought 5 more to plant. Other flowers are kicking back into gear after the long summer drought. The roses are releafing and starting to bloom after getting a double whammy from the drought and the Japanese Beetles. Even the strawberries are perking up though I don’t think they’ll get any more berries made before frost.

The ornamental kale is really starting to show its colors now and will look good all through December. I was also able to acquire several yucca plants this spring. They are well established now and should look good poking through the snow this winter.

We have already started stockpiling firewood. I think it’s gonna be another cold winter. Very poor pumpkin crop this year - didn’t help that I got them in late. But we did get a nice selection of gourds to decorate with and even got a few birdhouse gourds to make some birdie homes with!

Grace’s trigger thumb problem has been fixed through surgery and she’s doing fine. I’ve been busy helping out a lady with a pond mgmt. business and also working on stocking our online store. Time to start listing a few things in eBay now, too.

Drought of 2008 September 5, 2008 Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 12:23 am

It has been over 2 months since we had any significant rain. This is the third year for a drought - this year it just started a little later. The only rain we’ve had is 1/4? one day and .4? another about a month ago. Tonight we are getting some sprinkles from hurricane Gustav. That’s pretty sad - it takes a hurricane before we get any rain. It’s too late for the corn field that surrounds us this year - the ears have already dropped over and the short 6? ears are only about half developed. About every 5th stalk doesn’t even have an ear. Our grass is very brown and crunchy.

The only things green in the garden are plants I have been painstakingly watering. Of course, watering only keeps them alive, they don’t really grow much under these conditions. Grace is worried about the well drying up. I told her we’d be OK. Suprisingly, the marigolds are really starting to kick in and bloom. Grace’s pepper plants are doing the same thing… boy, they’ll be hot this year!!

I even had to start watering my Hybrid Shade Poplars that I planted last Spring. These trees are amazing - I planted 3ft long sticks from Gurneys and now they are over 12ft tall. I am also impressed with the Royal Empress trees (bought from a cheesy ad in the paper - “Grow 12 ft a year - plant in the ground and STAND BACK!”). They also are approaching 12ft tall with huge leaves that measure over 1ft across! These things came in grow cubes, were about 2 inches tall, and looked dead. In fact, the first ones were, had to request replacements. They have been in the ground 2 years and are amazing. OK, not 12ft a year, but a good 6ft is nothing to sneeze at. Maybe they’ll bloom next year - yes, they’re supposed to get purple flowers on too.

Time for Canning September 4, 2008 Filed under: Home — johnbob @ 10:47 pm

It’s a comforting and satisfying feeling to walk down in the cellar and see shelves lined with jars of canned goods. Grace and I have been busy canning… 16 pts of green beans… 13 qts of peaches… 5 qts of dill pickles… and Wednesday I canned 18 qts of tomato juice. I also made another batch of salsa while I was boiling the tomatoes - that went in the freezer.

We acquired Grace’s dad’s (Bruce) old National Retort Canner. It is a big one!! It will do pints stacked 2 high or 1/2 gallon jars. I am searching for a rubber gasket for it but so far have had no luck. The Tiffin Hardware gave me a phone number of a company that handles alot of parts for old canners so I will call them tomorrow. Bruce also set us up with the peaches. Grace painstakingly blanched and peeled them. I am so prould of her!!

Kittens just keep coming!! July 12, 2008 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 10:45 pm

We are down to 5 female cats with just 2 tiger kittens to give away… at least we were until Miss Kitty gave birth to 3 more kittens in the barn on June 25th. There was a 4th but it was stillborn. She is not the best of mothers, having them in a back corner on concrete… actually I found one about 20 ft away in the main barn. Luckily I heard it crying. I moved her into the kitty nursery box and all was well for several days when she moved them to the front lean-to which I keep locked so there was no way they could stay in there so I moved them back. She then moved them into the chicken laying boxes I have in the main barn - they were so scattered around I had to look for them. Her latest move was up to the house behind the grill. Since they are under cover, I’m leaving them there. They are big enough to get around now and are fat and happy.

Little Miss Kitty went into labor July 11th and produced 3 more kittens - all orange tigers. They are doing well so far.

Summer 2008 Garden July 11, 2008 Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 8:45 am

The garden is growing great - a far cry from last year when we had no rain for 2 months. Sunflowers have taken over several sections. There is one area I call ‘The Jungle.’ It is thick with them. Luckily, I found out that leaf lettuce doesn’t mind being in some shade so it’s growing fine under the big sunflower leaves. Tomatoes are coming on and should have some soon. Last night we picked 2 qts of peas. Sweet corn is nearly waist high and the pole beans are climbing like crazy. Flowers are blooming nicely, too. Of course weeds are growing at the same rate. And the Japanese beetles are starting to appear and eat everything. They have already attacked the leaves on the pussywillow bush. That’s the latest from the garden.

The Garden’s Growing - Spring 2008 June 10, 2008 Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 9:43 pm

Grace has been busy picking strawberries. We will be making freezer jam soon! Meanwhile, I have been enjoying leaf lettuce… so much better than head lettuce. The peas and green beans are up, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, and popcorn are all looking good. The blackberries are blooming and it should also be a bumper crop of raspberries this year also.

My plum tree that I planted last year has died. It even had blooms on this spring. I suspect that Roundup might have nipped it that was sprayed on the field around us. We will be surrounded by corn this year - I am looking forward to it - Grace is terrified!

I planted Grace a purple redbud tree this spring that I purchased from Gurneys. It came with hardly any roots. Then we got busy so I had it in a bucket of water for over 2 weeks. When I finally got it planted, I wasn’t expecting much. Well, it sat there in the ground doing nothing for over a month, but unbelieveably it is now popping some leaves out! Surprised me! It must have been busy rooting. My pixie crunch apple tree is doing good despite all the wind that is whipping the sh_t out of everything. That’s normal around here. You’d think this was Chicago.

All the flowers are doing fine. Irises were gorgous as always. Grace has even picked some roses. Volunteer poppies are everywhere - so dainty but really hold up well to the wind. Oh, and I must mention… sunflowers are everywhere. I’ve had to thin them out in places. It will be another bumper crop this year.

More Kittens!! April 2, 2008 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 7:19 pm

Mother Cat gave birth to her brood on March 31st. The funny thing is - she had them in the same box with Fred’s kittens (her great-grandchildren)! Tonight I was kinda able to get a head count of 7 and one of them is a calico. Add that to Fred’s 3 and it’s a box full!! Fred’s kittens are already starting to open their eyes. Meanwhile, Miss Kitty had a single little tiger kitten on Friday the 28th. It’s doing fine in a box all by itelf. I have thought of taking one or two of Fred’s and moving them over there but maybe I’d better leave well enough alone.

The good Lord giveth…. March 27, 2008 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 8:45 pm

Wednesday morning we awoke to find that Fred had given birth to 3 kittens. Appears to be 2 tigers and the third one is all white - not sure how that happened!! This makes Mother Cat a great-grandmother. And yes she has been helping out her granddaughter with nursing duties. As of Thursday evening, Mother appears to be in labor herself.

On a sad note, We returned home Wednesday evening from BG to find Calie dead on the road. Calie was born last Summer and captured the hearts of everyone who met her. She has been fighting what I believe was a ‘psudo-pregnancy’ -her milk glands were very swollen. This had been going on for the last month. It was making her very uncomfortable and she had difficulty walking. Then she got an eye infection in the last week. I’m not sure why she was crossing the road because she normally didn’t go out there. We laid her to rest under the pine trees.

Seedlings are started February 19, 2008 Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 9:00 pm

I have started seedlings growing in the front window. A wide variety of flowers and some pepper plants, too. The ones I started last week are already sprouting. A favorite last year was the ornamental kale. They are neat because they hold up good to freezing and look good till well into January. Ornamental cabbage will do the same thing.

Robins in February Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 8:40 pm

Yes, you may think I’m crazy but I know what I saw. On February 16th, I had 6 robins hopping around the yard!! I would assume they were 3 pair on their way north to Canada. They were here a few hours picking around in the pine needles and around the few snowdrifts in the yard and then left. Maybe Spring will be here sooner than we think.

Valentine’s Day, 2008 February 14, 2008 Filed under: General — Gracie @ 1:28 am

Today is Valentine’s Day and my first attempt at posting anything on our blog. I have the most awesome husband. The last several months have been very difficult for me. My Mom died three days before Christmas and we buried her the day after Christmas. Through all my tears and sadness, it has been my loving husband and my wonderful daughters who have been there for me. I am very fortunate to have caring people in my life. On this special day I have to tell a certain someone how much he means to me.

John, I Love You with all my heart.

Visit our General Store January 10, 2008 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 11:47 pm

After much work on John’s part, our new online store is open and ready for business!! Come take a look around. We have stocked the virtual shelves with quite a selection of items - some new, some old.

Please let us know what you think.

Goodbye to 2007 December 30, 2007 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 1:16 pm

It’s been an interesting year… I can’t say that’s it’s been a great year. Oh, there were some good things, Heather getting married, her and Jake buying a house. Meagan getting closer to graduating college. Canning tomato juice and applesauce for the first time. Having our first Barn Sale. Cousin Sharon and I trying our hand at Flea Marketing.

On the lower side, Grace’s mother dying right before Christmas. Me being unemployed for 6 months (although that did give me time to work the garden). The third Pirates of the Carribean movie being a disappointment.

Maybe 2008 will show some improvement. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Garden Summary 2007 December 12, 2007 Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 10:02 pm

Well, another gardening year is over. We had to deal with a very wet spring. Then around the middle of June, it dried up and we saw absolutely no rain until mid-August… yep 60 days with no rain. My new fulltime job was watering every day. I was moving hoses around the garden like crazy. Had to quit a few times because of low water.

Some things I just had to let go as far as watering - but the tomatoes were not one of them. We had a great crop! I had planted 36 plants. One of them was an Early Girl and it was the most consistent producer - still putting out tomatoes up until frost. We canned 40 qts of tomato juice this year - putting Mom’s Victorio Strainer to good use. The cherry toms also were delicious.

We got 2 crops of raspberries this year - one early summer - one later in the fall. Too bad I don’t eat that many. But I did make some into freezer jam. The strawberries also had a great year and we made freezer jam till it was coming out our ears. That’s coming in handy now that it’s winter outside! The blackberries are really established now too and had a bumper crop. Expect to see some cranberries next year - the bushes should be big enough. My one blueberry bush just seems to exist - must not like our ground.

This year was the first year of getting serious with pole beans and peas. I strung up wire and string for them to climb on. That worked out fantastic! We canned 32 pints of green beans - and gave away bags more. Froze quite a few peas. I even tried a late crop of peas and actually got a few more.

Our sweet corn crop turned out good - Cloud 9 was the white corn I planted. Grace (and me too, now) loves the white corn! The later crop I planted out past the corn crib was enjoyed by the raccoons. They were smart and waited till it was just ripe. Of course, sunflowers grew everywhere. And the ones that got watered were huge! The rest were pretty short. They’re always fun to see.

Pumpkins were on the small side but not bad all things considered. I suppose I had about 50 of them. Got quite a few gourds too. Had them decorating the house everywhere! I also planted a Tartartian Cherry and a plum tree this year expanding the ‘orchard’ to 6 trees so far. I need to plant another cherry for a pollinator next year. Might have to do the same for the plum. I also planted 3 hybrid Poplar shade trees in the yard. They are growing great!

We planted more bulbs this fall - can’t wait to see what they do in the spring. All in all the garden was pretty good. I know Dad would have killed to have beautiful ground like we have here. Maybe next year, we’ll get some rain on a regular basis and I can finally see what this sandy ground will do!!

Our first snow of Winter 2007 - December 5 December 5, 2007 Filed under: General — johnbob @ 3:57 pm

It started snowing Tuesday evening and kept it up all through Wednesday, even though it was more just flurries. Many schools were cancelled in the area. But we had to trek to Tiffin for a doctor’s appt that Grace had. We then stopped to see her mother at the nursing home. She is doing well since her stroke (actually better than before) but complaining of her stomach hurting all the time.

Anyway, we probably got around 2-3 inches and now the wind is whipping it into drifts here and there. The main roads are fine but side roads are snow covered. It’s just so nice to look out and see and nice white blanket covering everything. The sun even tried to peek out in the afternoon. It looks like a nice evening to stay home around the warm fire.

Thanksgiving 2007 November 22, 2007 Filed under: Home — johnbob @ 11:57 pm

Well, Thanksgiving is in the books for another year. The turkey turned out fantastic - a 22 1/2 pounder! Carol provided the bird - a Butterball. We had a turnout of around 20 people. Dave and Cindy and the kids made it up from North Carolina. Carol said the stuffing tasted just like Mom’s! Other highlights were Karen’s corn pudding, Blaine’s cheesy potatoes, Julie’s apple pies, Grace’s cheese ball, and Carol’s pumpkin pies. We also had corn that we had frozen from the corn roast this past summer. Everyone left stuffed to the gills. The kids watched movies upstairs while the adults had some interesting conversation and story telling in the kitchen and garage. It was a cold, blustery day but we didn’t get the snow flurries that were predicted. Much time was spent going through store ads and mapping out the shopping plan for ‘Black Friday.’ Now we can officially look forward to Christmas!

Strawberries put to bed November 15, 2007 Filed under: Garden — johnbob @ 8:15 pm

I mowed off the strawberries Monday and covered them with straw for the winter. Can you believe I actually found a ripe one… and promptly ate it! I also cut the broom corn and hung it up to dry in the garage. I plan to make some arrangements to take to the Wood Co Fairgrounds X-mas Flea Mkt on Dec. 1-2. Cousin Sharon and I have 2 booths rented to hawk our wares. Should be a good time!

40 Qts of Applesauce November 12, 2007 Filed under: Home — johnbob @ 9:01 pm

We now know that 2 bushels of Mcintosh apples makes 40 quarts of applesauce! Whoops… I didn’t think that many apples would go that far. The Victorio Strainer worked great as usual and made pretty easy work of it. After cooking the apples for a while, Grace and I cranked them through the strainer. We ended up with 2 big 5 gallon buckets of applesauce. Then it was time to add some sugar and cinnamon, cook it for a bit and then into the jars it went. With Mom’s Presto canner, we can do 7 qts at a time. We only had 1 jar that didn’t seal - pretty impressive.

Our New Blog Filed under: General — johnbob @ 8:00 pm

This is our first posting to our new blog. I thought this would be a good place to keep track of things that we’ve been doing here around the farm.

Hopefully, I can get Grace to add her 2 cents on a regular basis. Hope you enjoy reading this and stop back often. John & Grace


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