Yellow Fungus and Blue Jays

Yellow Fungus on our big ash tree

There is a very big yellow hunk of fungus on one of our largest trees, an ash that stands in the front yard. Shelly put out a photo and asked her online people what it was. Might be a sulfur shelf? Our own research says that is most likely what it is. This is good to know, but also bad news for us. This kind of fungus usually only appears on the exterior of a tree with much rot inside. A close examination of our ash tree revealed a large cavity facing south with a lot of rot inside.

We were sitting at the kitchen table looking out the west double windows and noticed a lot of bird activity. Eight to ten blue birds were flying around and drinking and dipping and washing in the puddles in our gravel driveway. We shortly identified them as a flock of blue jays, which none of us had seen in a large group before. They hung around and bathed, then were gone. We found out some blue jays migrate while others don’t.

Harvest started last month and is finally winding down in our area. As usual an amazing amount of dust and debris was kicked up and if there is no breeze it will hang in the air for hours. Add to that all the dust from our gravel road created by coming and going farm equipment and it has been a pretty dirty fall so far.

The Roundup

Our road looking to the west

Farming My Backyard offers many useful links and book recommendations about all sorts of homesteading and simple living topics. A good resource to bookmark.

One of my favorite poets is Stanley Kunitz (1905 – 2006). Click here to sample some of his poetry.

The 60 Worst Inventions of All Time ranges from funny to stupid to dangerous.

Here is a pretty comprehensive list on 101 Practical and Realistic Ways to Save Money.

One Dish Chicken Bake

One Dish Chicken Bake

This frugal recipe was torn out of a magazine years ago but there is no name to be found for me to give credit. Perfect for cooler weather, this simple dish can be put together and baked in less than an hour.


1 package stuffing mix, already mixed according to package instructions

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 package mixed vegetables

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/3 cup sour cream or milk


In 9 X 13 inch baking dish mix the vegetables, sour cream or milk and soup. Place the chicken on top then spread the stuffing over the chicken. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until chicken is done.

Franklin Junior High School

When I first walked into the foyer of Franklin Junior High School in Des Moines, Iowa there was a fight in progress between two kids. One jumped up and kicked the other into a glass trophy case. Welcome to Junior High! There was much more fighting to come, and drugs, smoking, skipping class, bullying and stealing. Several times kids got beat up so badly they didn’t return, switching to other, safer schools. Once a school bus was commandeered by students while parked in front of the school (after the driver left for help in the school) and driven away for a few blocks, managing to run over a kids foot during the journey. Another time a bus load of kids rioted and almost succeed in rocking the bus over, while still inside.This school was a good experience for some, and really bad for others. I was one of the others. I have written about some of my elementary school experiences and will mention in the future my high school days but with Franklin there is not much good to tell. I attended the last two years before it closed. A church bought the building, fixed it up and used it as a Christian school for years. Currently it is being renovated for a mixed use space.

Asking A Lake About Death

Lake Superior Driftwood By David Jacobi

Walking along the shore

I asked the Lake Superior

Where do we go when we die?

It broke a wave and splashed at me

Is there an afterlife?

It washed ashore some debris

When it grew stormy I asked about heaven

It washed over the stones and back out again

Leaving some just so

2021 By David Jacobi

Woodpeckers and Tiny Frogs

Corn just before it began browning this year

Our well has been repaired (broken impellers) and the new overhead door for the machine shed installed. It took two and a half months to get the door because of back ordered parts. Our situation with broken supply chains is occurring worldwide. I was visiting with a lady who told me she placed an order for replacement windows for her house in June and was told not to expect them until November. A few weeks ago I heard an unfamiliar call from up in the trees on the acreage and spotted two larger than average birds, both sporting a dash of red and white. It took a few days of observation while out and about until I finally was able to get a good enough look to identify two pileated woodpeckers. They stuck around for close to three weeks and seemed to be bickering with each other, not mating. Then they were gone. In early August we noticed all of the robins were gone, and they remain so. We have had about the usual amount of fireflies drifting about and dragonflies buzzing around but very few monarch butterflies and no painted ladies. We have a few toads again this year, with a new addition: tiny frogs, about the size of a penny. When walking through the grass they will leap out of the way, jumping up to two feet at a time, while the toads will just sit and watch you pass by.

The Roundup

Fungus on our old pear tree

Herb News is a “blog about herbs, botanicals, natural health care, alternative, complementary and integrative medicines, the politics, business, science and even gossip, about herbs.”

“You can tell a lot about a person from what he reads. The surviving—and largely ignored—remnants of Adolf Hitler’s personal library reveal a deep but erratic interest in religion and theology.”

“Producers today are merely focused on making money. That’s why so many things you consume are absolutely destructive to your health. Chemicals, carcinogens, artificial ingredients, you name it – chances are you are putting these things into your body without even knowing it.” Search Is It Bad For You to help you find out. “is the world’s largest, most trusted online self-storage auction platform. The website hosts over 15,000 online auctions per month, and advertises live in-person auction schedules as well. The most comprehensive database of storage auctions is found here, and the site continues to grow as more and more storage operators make the transition online.”