Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, 2016.

I just returned from an awesome 12 day adventure to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming with my niece and nephew.  The last time I was there was 40 years ago, when I was 12, and on vacation with my family in a 1976 VW camper van named “Big Red.”  My niece Sarah recently graduated from Michigan State University and as a kind-of “graduation celebration,” we decided to visit Yellowstone.  My nephew Jack, a junior at MSU, decided to join us on our adventure.  The trip was truly amazing, far exceeding all of our expectations!  The landscape was gorgeous and the weather cooperated nicely.  At higher elevations it was cool, with numerous parks still under a few feet of snow.  Since High Schools across America have not yet started Summer break, the parks and campgrounds were not too busy.  We camped in “Bertha” the Bigfoot Truck Camper, staying at National Park campgrounds or RV parks.

Along the way we…..

Drove 3,500 miles…

Covered 9 States…

Visited 7 National Parks…

Ate 7 Buffalo Burgers…

Went on 5 long hikes…

Saw lots of wildlife…

Consumed lots of coffee…

and Laughed a lot!

Good times with family are truly priceless!

If you don’t know America’s National Parks, I urge you to load-up your backpack and hit the road for a few weeks… you will be amazed at the beauty of America!

 

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A bit of history about the Antler Arches.

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Spring Planting, 2016.

I think “Old Man Winter” is finally gone for the year, at least I hope so. We have been frost-free here in central Kentucky for about the last 2 weeks, so I decided it was time to plant.  I spent the last few days planting 7 small container gardens.  A few years ago I planted a large vegetable garden “in the open” and half-way through the Summer, just as the plants were starting to look great… hungry deer descended. Thinking they were at the Golden Corral Buffet, they chowed-down on the tender plants.  I scrambled to protect the remaining veggies and threw-up chicken fencing and barbed-wire as fast as I could.  After that experience, I realized that the only plants that are going to survive on my property are the ones protected with fencing. I’ve built 7 planters, all protected with fencing over the last few years.  Even though deer hoof prints are in the dirt all around the planters, the plants remain safe.  It’s amazing how much food you can produce in a relatively small space.  The property I own with my brother was a dairy pasture years ago and the soil is extremely rich, so with the right amount of sun and rain everything I’ve planted does great!  It’s really quite satisfying to… as they say… “Reap what you sow.”  One advantage to growing your own garden is you know where your food comes from and how it was prepared!  Not to mention, freshness!  Nothing like picking a head of cabbage at 9:00 am and eating it at noon!  Now that’s fresh!  I recently bought a pressure canner and this Fall I will preserve as much of my harvest as I can!

Below are a few pictures of the planters!

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Three of my planters, tomatoes, peppers and squash.

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Deer-proofed planters.

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Another planter I made last year with radishes and beets.

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This was my first fenced-in planter I built 3 years ago. This year it holds cabbage and onions.

Below, I tried something new this year.  I saw this idea on a homesteading website.  It’s an over the door shoe organizer turned into tomato planter.  I have it suspended from a fisheye hook attached to a pergola I built.  I can raise and lower it as necessary, to keep it safe from  deer, I raise it out of reach and when I need to water the plants I can lower it.  I’m anxious to see how it works!

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The over the door shoe organizer now serving as an above the ground planter for tomatoes.

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I can raise and lower this planter as necessary. Up high out of the reach of hungry deer and lower to water!

 

 

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