Ruth Meyers

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since Feb 28, 2017
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Nearing retirement and looking forward to getting on with my gardening. I've got several acres of wild blackberries and have come to terms with that. In fact, I've decided to cultivate them and wrestle their space back from honeysuckle and cat briar. I make a cordial that is well received wherever I introduce it.
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Recent posts by Ruth Meyers

Alex, if that tube thingie in the second photo is fired clay under the dirt, that's the "tube" portion of "knob and tube" electrical installation.  Holes are drilled through the structural member and the tube is inserted before the bare wire is threaded through.  Acted as the insulator.  I removed them from my house and was amazed that the structure hadn't burned down.  Original lights were gas though; so just fortunate all the way around.
3 months ago
After 8 years of picking the same acreage, I'm developing a theory that different varieties produce different size, shape and progression of maturation.  I've got uprights at the bottom of the slope (that are definitely not thornless); and they produce plump, round berries all at the same time.  The long reclining canes upslope produce thumb-size and shape berries; ripening starting with the terminal berries and taking the whole season to produce.

My impression is the amount of sun is less important than other factors.  Some of my brambles are still overgrown with honeysuckle and other aggressives, and the berries are still coming on and good sized underneath all that heavy shade.  I carry my pruners with to find them.  The slope was much clearer when I bought the property 10 years ago.  Lots of young trees have grown up within the fields since then.  I'm thinking the blackberries do appreciate living alongside and into the branches.  And reaching up to pluck berries is much easier on my back than bending down so much.  Now that I'll be there full time, I'm considering managing the trees as pollards, so they don't get too big.  And mowing more!

This year the berries are much delayed.  We had a hard frost three days in May.  I've still got tiny green berries at the top of the slope; and I doubt they will ripen before the cane decides to shut down vascularly, which is beginning to happen.  Typically, last week would be the peak picking time, but I've struggled to get a gallon a day.  I think peak will be next week and the one after.  Very late.
3 months ago
Does she have access to any bitter herbs for snacks?  Are there weeds close enough to the pen so that she can browse?
I have that type of ant on my KY ridgetop, and just leave them be down on the sloping woods below the yard.  When they try moving into the yard, I do the gasoline method.  It doesn't take much to burn out the nest.  I'd first pull away some of the dry duff you have on yours.  Wait a while for the chaos you create to calm down.  Then wait briefly for the liquid to trickle down some ways into the tunnels and the fumes to fill the side tunnels.  The fire is very satisfying and lasts longer than you would expect.  It burns completely, so there is no worry about residual contamination.  Don't overdo the gasoline - perhaps a cup to begin, and with that much, stand back!  You can always do it again.

When they tried building right next to the pond and under the pond liner, I used boric acid, spread right over the entry holes.  They track it into the nest and it gets consumed.  No need to add sugar.  It's difficult to find large containers of boric acid anymore.  Try the hardware store.  Don't buy the 4 oz. bottle for $7.  You can buy it much cheaper elsewhere online.

ETA info I found from a pest control firm:

Boric acid is most often used in pesticides, and can be found in tablet form, liquid form, powder form and in various types of traps. It kills insects by absorbing into them, poisoning their stomachs, affecting their metabolism and abrading their exoskeletons. It’s far more likely to kill pests than borax is, due to its finer grain, which is harder for pests to detect and easier for them to ingest. When pests come into contact with it, whether through a trap or through walking across it a thin layer of it, it sticks to them, and they ingest it while cleaning themselves.
4 months ago
My modest balloon frame house is 106 years old.  It originally had a tiny cellar under 1/4 of the first floor.  At some point, the rear portion was dug out as well, with a good portion of the dirt just tossed in the remaining quarter of crawlspace, under the living room.  I took it upon myself to remove a good part of that dirt, as it was nearly to the floor joists and we had to get in their for electrical updating.  

I found at least four intact half-gallon stone crocks laying on their sides.  If you don't know up front what they are, you wonder if they might be some artillery shells before they are fully revealed.  We removed the dirt very carefully.

Turns out they were locally made and very collectible.

4 months ago
Douglas Tallamy would reassure you that nibble holes mean that you are providing food for essential insects and enriching the biodiversity of your land.  If you haven't read him, I suggest Bringing Nature Home.

Also, have no fear for your blackberry plants.  As Marco says, they will try to take over your world.
5 months ago
Coming back again to bask in you summer sunset sky.  Whoa!
5 months ago
I was chief sock darner in my family back in the 60s, and I've kept a basket ever since, though haven't practiced it for decades.  Maybe I'll pick it up again, though the new wool socks with blends seem to hold up better.

Not sure I remember anything but cotton and silk when I was darning, so that's mostly what's in my basket.  

I do have a couple of examples of wool, one from a friend who spins.

I have an assortment of molds.  The mushroom shaped ones have a metal band so as to stretch (or perhaps just stabilize) the fabric, much like an embroidery hoop.  The duck shaped molds fit the toes of socks nicely.

The skinny ones are meant for the fingers of gloves.

5 months ago
Crataegus, I think:


6 months ago