Duck Shoes

The sad day finally arrived just over 3 weeks ago. My beloved red “duck shoes” as they were called by the entire family, finally wore out to the point of…well, lets just say they found their grave in our trash trailer, and they have been sorely missed.

But an early birthday present arrived yesterday, clear from Germany, and a new pair of duck shoes will make their way into my life!


This is the real name for them…


Otherwise known as Birkenstocks!!


The cool thing about these shoes is that they have the famous, and oh so comfortable Birkinstock sole, which molds around your foot for a truly customized fit.

The sole can be removed if the job will be a wet one, and it can be replaced, which I needed to do with the last pair.


This time, I got navy blue, so they wouldn’t stand out if I forgot to change my shoes before going to town. I can’t tell you how many times I’d show up in town with big clonky red shoes on my feet.

The honest truth is, these shoes are UGLY, but they slip on in a flash, handle garden dirt, wet jobs, and even can trek their way through the snow, if it’s not too deep.

The only problem is that everyone wants to wear my shoes when they need to run outside, and many times they are not at the door where I left them. I told my kids I’d buy them a pair when their feet stopped growing, but they seem to just want to wear mine.

Oh well! I’m happy my new duck shoes are here. My feet have missed them!

PS, did in mention I wear these all year long?…with socks…with bare feet…in the sunshine…in the rain…in the snow?? They are so versatile and easy to slip into, I think everyone should own a pair!!

Wood Chips

My mom called me the other day to tell me about a video she had just watched. She was excited because it talked about controlling weeds and she knew that was a main issue in our garden because it is so GINORMOUS!

I was immediately interested and headed to the website to take a look.

My Internet has not cooperated enough to allow me to watch the entire film yet, (so I ordered the DVD) but I have seen parts while in town and at home, enough to get extremely excited about the concept. This man uses Wood Chips as mulch in his garden.

The concept is that the ground is covered, the wood chips are not mixed in, and this keeps the moisture in the soil, and suffocates the weeds. There are a lot of beautiful spiritual applications as well, and he has studied nature and how the natural world grows trees in the forests, etc., without formal irrigation, etc., and he has implemented these concepts into his garden and has amazing results. 

I know it’s not a new concept to lay down a mulch in a garden, but wood chips are more permanent, don’t blow away with the wind, and take years to beak down. When they do start to begin to break down, the soil becomes beautiful, light, and from the looks of this man’s garden, and his pH test results, the soil will grow anything with success and vigor.

I was already devising ways to stop the weeds before they grew this year, and had bought a whole lot of straw bales to lay straw down all over the garden area. But now, I’m going to lay down some chips.

I didn’t waste any time going to the local lumber yard to secure a small load of wood chips in my trailer.


They actually didn’t want to sell me any of this pile because it is what they use to burn and create energy, and their supply is low right now.  But since my trailer was so small, they charged me $10 and filled it up.


These are not the pretty kind used in playgrounds and landscaping.  That stuff costs $100/ton.  But they are what I wanted…ground up branches, leaves, basic organic material from all different types of sources.










The dumpster (what is that thing he’s driving?) driver piled it as high as he could.  By the time I got home, it was a couple of inches below the edge of the trailer from all the jiggling as we traveled over the road.

I can’t wait to get started.  We’re initially going to lay down newspaper on a dormant bed, 4×46 ft long, that we don’t plan to plant this year, and mulch it with these chips.  I can’t wait to see what the ground is like next summer after all the snow, rain, and worms do their magic.

I also plan to put some in my pathways and around some of the vegetables that come up in the garden beds.  It should be a fun experiment.  I am mostly eager to see the weeds be suffocated.  Let’s hope it works, at least, for that!!

Garden Fever

It’s that time of year when growing a garden seems wonderful and romantic and appealing. Visions of beautiful canned goods, plants heavy with produce, and good food, friends and family and laughter, float through my mind.

Where are my seeds?

Do I have enough starter trays?

Hurry, it’s time to plant seeds!!!

But I haven’t planted anything…not yet.

This year I won’t be pulled in so easily to all the romantic visions of a perfect, weed free garden, because I know my summer is going to be very busy packing, sorting, and getting ready to move.

Yep, we’re moving, closer to the school, but that is another post, for another day.

I do still want to have some kind of garden. We will have raspberries and strawberries even if we didn’t want them. They grow like weeds around here. I plan to pick and freeze as many as I can.

We will probably plant some potatoes and I always get sucked into planting tomatoes even though they don’t do all that great around here. I always dream of having jars and jars full of canned tomatoes, but our tomato patch has not blessed us just yet.

In thinking about gardening, there is the ever present reality that there will be weeds in the garden, and so I am constantly thinking about what could be done to prevent them from growing in the first place.

A few weeks ago I found myself in the magazine section of the grocery store. I snapped these photos of photos from the magazine I was paging through.


I love the hay in the pathways. I’m nervous about this idea for my own garden though because it would take a LOT of hay, and I think the weeds would grow through it anyway. I might try it between the raspberry rows though.


I love garden boxes with defined sides, and pathways, and edges. But again my garden is too big to have boxes everywhere.


And I love these stacking blocks. I love them in a circle around trees, I love them as retaining walls, I love them as planter boxes. I never thought of using them to create a space for planting vegetables, but I love the way it looks.

I don’t know what kind of garden I will have this summer, but I have caught garden fever, and my mind is churning, and thinking, and plotting, and planning!!

Garden Supper

It’s that time of year around here when the garden produce is finally ready to eat!  We planted corn for the first time and it is delicious!!  I hope to get some of it in the freezer, but for now, we’ll just walk out to the garden, pluck a few ears off the stalks, shuck it, steam it, grab the butter and salt, and yummmmm, the kernals expode in our mouths with all the juicy, sweet taste that comes with home grown foods!  And not only does it taste so good, it looks purdy too!


I”m so proud that we grew this corn!  I want to plant twice as much next year!


Our supper was mostly all garden produce.  Not all of this came out of our garden.  Some of it came out of my friend’s garden.  This was our supper that we shared together.

Corn on the Cob
Green Beans
Tomato/Cucumber Salad
(Those were our garden items)

and yummy Rice that my friend made!  It was the perfect light, summer supper!


Take another look at it!


Now look at it in HD.  I’m not sure what the big deal is.  The HD picture seems to be more faded looking??  Maybe someone can educate me.  One of these days I’ll learn about photography.  Maybe after my kids are all married!  Maybe then, I’ll have time!



Oh, and the green beans have home grown garlic – I noticed it on the HD picture – maybe that’s what the big deal is.  You can see stuff better!  Oh, and the tomato/cucumber salad also had olives, tofu, and all sorts of yummy herbs.  Don’t ask me for the recipe.  I have no idea!!