Spring in Kansas

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A beautiful day

Jason and I planted some trees and tree seeds yesterday. The weather will be in the 70’s in a few days so we wanted to get started even though I think it is likely there will be a cold snap before summer. It was pretty though.

spring near pond spring pic 1 spring pic 2 spring possum

The ponds

A friend had asked if we had a duck pond. We don’t strictly have one for the ducks but we do have a couple small ponds. The largest one, the Big Pond, is the most aesthetically pleasing to me. Jason stocked it with different kinds of fish and it has tall grasses growing in it. We recently found that the possum is making is home here where he has taken over an old beaver den. You can see his little white face in the bottom picture.

big pond 2 big pond 1 Possum at pond 1

The second-closest pond to the house is the Near Pond. This is the one that Jason used last year for some irrigation. There is a small rowboat and a paddle boat at the edge. Jason thought about taking me out on the boat last summer but I was still struggling with the idea of having ticks and couldn’t yet tolerate the idea of having leeches. Not to say for sure that there are some in the pond, but I wasn’t up to the possibility. Maybe this year. Silly girl.

near pond 1

This is a small pocket pond that Jason built this year as just a water catchment. I think that the plan is that it might be used for irrigating the gooseberries and blackberries if we should have some drought this year.

pocket pond 1

Finally, this is the Far Pond. There are willows that are spreading on one edge. Jason has an area built for a boat to be undercover at one end of the pond for when he used to duck hunt. I didn’t explore but wonder if some other creatures will take it over now.

far pond 1

Jesus of the wheat

Jason and I have talked several times about a billboard that we saw when we were driving the U-Haul truck across Kansas for me to move here. When we were driving towards the billboard by Colby, Kansas, I remember silently thinking that the billboard looked like Jason. Then he said, as he looked at the billboard, “I didn’t tell you how famous I am here.” We have mentioned this a few times since then so I thought I would look it up on the Internet. Found it.

wheat Jesus_Billboard

You can see that there is a resemblance.

morning Jason picture

Seed confiscation!

We have been buying seeds of perennial food plants in order to help establish our food supply and with an eye toward educating others about unusual plants. A lot of these seeds we get via E-Bay for individual sellers in order to support small independent businesses.

However, a recent order from someone oversees never arrived. We had been researching Xanthoceras sorbifolium, which is also called “yellowhorn” or “Chinese flowering chestnut” as another potential food source. It has edible nuts which can be used to make cooking oil. The plant is already here in the U.S. and is not considered invasive. In fact, it was awarded the British Royal Horticultural Society award as a plant of merit.


We had read the Federal government statutes on importation of plant materials and had believed that seeds were exempt except for those from noxious weeds or invasive plants. Understandably, importation of live plants in whole or part is banned due to concerns about disease or insect pest relocation. But we just learned that our seed order was confiscated by the USDA and began to investigate as to why this occurred.

Mail Notice

Apparently, the statutes that we read online previously have been changed to include even small amounts of seed (less than 50) as needing a phytosanitary certificate.

J.L. Hudson seed bank had further information about this online. I can understand the need for some regulation but this really seems intrusive and heavy-handed. The USDA requirement to attain a phytosanitary certificate for import of any seed in any quantity from any country besides Canada excludes seed exchange between legitimate seeds banks except for those seed operations that have significant funding. I find it especially hard to overlook this issue in light of the fact that large corporations continue to strive to limit access of individuals to seeds of many types on a global level. Seemingly unrelated, I know, but irritating.