Archive for May, 2016

Master Weeder, not Master Gardener


Flowering tree with white and pink blossoms

While I was weeding one of our many gardens, I realized that being called a “Master Gardener” is a misnomer.  Anyone who lives where I do knows that if you want a proper garden that is weed-free, you need to re-title yourself as a “Master Weeder.”  The quack grass and thistle have been the bane of my existence the last several weeks.  After letting things go the last several summers, my bulbs of tulips were choked out and didn’t put forth any blooms with the exception of 4-5 brave and hearty flowers that showed up.  When pulling the weeds from the rich, black soil I have extracted the bulbs and have put them elsewhere to hopefully return to life as normal for a plant.

I have thought of the weeds as a threat from the underworld, a demonic kind of force that troubles all gardeners but I think they are more forceful and prolific here where the soil just nourishes and enriches them.  We went without rain for some time and thankfully I was able to get rid of many of the weeds because their root system was very superficial, maybe going down just 4 inches.  Now that we have had over the last several days over an inch or two of rain, the roots of the weeds will become even more formidable.

Last night I was checking how my raspberry patch was doing out in the shelter belt.  I had taken out lots of quack and itch weed along with burdock.  The burdock has leaves that are big like rhubarb and have a nasty root system so without a spade, I was just pulling off the leaves so that the raspberries had a chance to get sun.  I went back to find that the burdock was even more out in force but what I had taken out with the roots was gone.  So, I kept pulling off all the big leaves and hope that the raspberries can catch the sun as much as possible before the burdock returns. I’m told that the roots are quite good for eating.  I’ll look up recipes for that once I know the raspberries are okay with the disturbance of a fork getting to the burdock roots.  I’m wondering which is more evil of the two, buckthorn or burdock. If the latter has a useful purpose then I would say buckthorn, which looks like a plum tree but has NOTHING good about it, that’s the more wicked of the two.

I planted next to our house a wonderful little plant that may grow to 3-4 feet high, it is either called Currant Swirl or Datura Black. I bought about 10-12 of these for $4 each at the university’s greenhouse.  It is good to experiment and I’m glad I got this one. I don’t know what the white flowering plant is that has a gray stalk and leaves.  I’m going to have to have a Master Gardener come to our place to find out what the name of this interesting plant is. It is already flowering but am waiting for the datura to have a beautiful purple swirl of a flower.

Okay, I’m sure you want to see pictures of all this gardening mayhem. What master weeders should do often, just for encouragement, is take a BEFORE picture first and then take an after picture, after many hours of slaving away and fighting off the weed beasts!  The AFTER picture is so worth the toil and the battle. I’ll keep weeding so I can have the momentary privilege of a weed-free garden.  I have about 12-13 different flower gardens to deal with and TWO major vegetable gardens. I’m thankful that I stayed outside until almost 10:00 p.m. several nights ago to plant all the Swiss chard, carrots, beets, cabbage, tomatoes, parsnips, broccoli, snow peas, cukes, wax beans, anything else?  We have it all at our farm!

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Something to think about when dating in Kazakhstan

I got the following off of Facebook, so take it for what it is worth.  I don’t agree with all that is here but for the most part, I think it is true.'s photo.

How to date a girl from KAZAKHSTAN?


Yes , we are all certain than you’ve seen that movie. And yes , it may be funny. But not for her. The real Kazakhstan has nothing to do with Borat. Mentioning him will only make you look silly and mediocre in her eyes. If she still laughs at those jokes or smiles, remember it’s only due to the way she has been raised – to be polite. However, deep inside she is totally dissapointed and compassionate for your stupidity.


It is 90% likely that her name might be exotic and difficult to pronounce. Make sure you learn how to say it the proper way, and ask her what is the name’s meaning. Usually, Kazakh names have direct translations. For instance, there are names as Beautiful Moon, Diamond, Happiness, Desire, or even Pomegranate.
In fact, if you are struggling with pronounciation , «if you don’t know my name, you can call me baby» can apply here, too. A universal word to address your beloved ones in Kazakh is jánim, which literally means «my soul».


She may be madly in love with you, but she would never show it. Pride and dignity are extremely common for a Kazakh girl. She knows her worth, and would expect you to approach her first. Be a man! The longer you hesitate, the less manly you seem. Take decisions. Actions before words. Oh and yes, FLOWERS are a big thing in Kazakhstan, on any occasion, don’t forget about that!


A girl from Kazakhstan is going to observe your manners. Be respectful and go private with your disguisting habits. Nobody is telling you to stop swearing and burping – you may do it at home (she will never know)! It is true that women from anywhere in the world wouldn’t fancy it, but Kazakh girls are especially sensitive with that matter. It is expected that you hold the door for her, help with the chair, arrive on time and follow the basic table manners.


Kazakh people even have a joke: “if you are invited for a party, it doesn’t matter how late you arrive – what matters is that you arrive the exact same day”. When it comes to going on a date or catching a train, be prepared to wait longer than the acceptable 15 minutes. A girl from Kazakhstan often takes her time to prepare and doesn’t rush much. As simple as that.


Ancient Kazakhs were the first people in history to domesticate and ride horses. Kazakhs are in the TOP 3 list for horsemeat consumption in the world. Be prepared to try the horsemeat beshparmak, kazy, and… oh yes – the horse milk, which is a natural alcoholic beverage called kumys.
Bon appetite!


At first sight, a girl from Kazakhstan seems very prude, reserved and will likely distance herself from others. If this «good girl» does have any bad habits, like smoking or drinking, she will rarely expose it in public. However, be aware that the whole essence of a Kazakhstani girl becomes revealed behind the curtain. Once you become special to her, she will be the funniest party animal and the wildest lover you have ever met.


Kazakh society has traditionally been pretty patriarchic: the men are the breadwinners and the women are the perfect housewifes. Traditionally parents raise the girls with the idea that family is the most precious value in the world. The Kazakh girl will iron your shirts without you asking, prepare your favorite dishes, give you love, support and care; surprise you with fantastic gifts on any occasion, she can pay for taxi or anything like that, she is proud and independent, but when it comes to dinners and dates – the European «let’s split the bill» is not an option – you invite.


It is hard to meet a Kazakh girl that is not educated. She certainly holds a Bachelor Degree or more, or on the way getting it. In fact, she probably speaks more than 3 languages by default. Since Kazakhstan is home to over 130 nationalities, she is also aware of different cultures and customs. She reads books, she knows about art, literature and history; she is resourceful, resilient and mindful – she understands compromise. Hence, the women from Kazakhstan are attracted to men that are smart – no exception.


Ever heard of GGG fighter? Yes, Gennady Golovkin, the undefeated world’s number one middleweight boxer is from Kazakhstan. Majority of Kazakh men have at some point in their life attended fighting classes – be it boxing, judo or jiu jitsu. In general, girls from Kazakhstan are attracted to strong men with a strong character. If she is having a late night walk with you in a park, make sure you know how to defend her, not only physically, but also, for instance, to have the guts to step out for her in any conflicting conversation.


Did you know that Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world? That it is home to the world’s first and largest space launch facility? How about the fact that apples originated from Kazakhstan? There is a lot more to explore. You can easily woo her with even the tiniest knowledge about her country.


Stan is a Persian word for land or nation. Kazakh means wanderer, adventurer. Therefore, the name Kazakhstan translates as «Land of the Wanderers». It is in her blood to travel, to explore new things, to meet new people, to taste new dishes…

By Meruyert Arman /

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Gardening with a vengeance – Good soil vs. quack grass


Apricot tree blooming in the dusk hour

I know that there are gardeners out there who can relate to the problem of quack grass…it is a tenacious, stubborn and very prolific weed in many gardens.  I marvel at how the first farmers who came in this area over 150 years ago cut up the prairie with the grasses that are here.  If the prairie grass grows well without much encouragement, then it is good for grain and sugar beets, right?  Well, the farmers nowadays use Roundup and other weed killers, I suppose I could do the same with my gardens. I must have about 13-14 to deal with.  I have worked with the two sweet pea plots, one around the yard light and the other by the well.  I have pulled away all the nasty weeds by the peonies that have been languishing for years.  They needed attention and also some fertilizer. I’m glad they have not succumbed to the quack grass, they seem to co-habitate with them just fine. I would like to have some nice blossoms this spring.


what pulled quack grass looks like, evil

On to the shop, east side where there are butterfly plants and other various assortment…then on to the Rock and Roll garden. After that the one north of the garage and then around the house, to the east, south and west.  I have a garden bed on the north side, that will have coleus and other plants that don’t need sun. I have the raspberry patches to doctor up with the itch weed growing there. Then there is the garden that has daisies and a LOT of wild plum trees growing there.  I suppose I should attack that sooner than later.  Let’s see, where else?  I have my potted plants that I put up on our clothes line poles and there is another place where an old combine used to be. It gets to be quite overwhelming but then, once it is done and the flowers are blooming, it is all worth it.


what worked up soil looks like

I suppose the fact that I’m writing all this out is just a delay mechanism kicking in…I MUST go out while the weather is good this morning to get more work done.  Okay, over and out!


what quack grass looks like before pulled out!

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