Evening glow in the greenhouse

Evening glow in the greenhouse
WELCOME TO MY BLOG! I am glad you found me because I hope I can be helpful or at least interesting for you to follow, be you a gardener yourself or just watching vicariously.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Diary 5/31/13

What's going on in the yard? Well, my succulent planter looks very good this year. It has finally filled in. The climbing rose, Blaze, is blooming which often means there are salmon in the river.  Well, we have taken so many pictures standing in front of the bush holding salmon that we have come to think of it as a sign! And lastly, for today, the pond lillies are blooming. They close up at night and open to three dimensional crowns sitting on the water by day.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Diary 5/30/13

The weather is straightening up. Each day is a little less showery and a little more sun.  Tomorrow will be sunnier and warmer and then over the weekend it is going back into the 80's. Next week will be in the 90's.  The garden has been stalled out during this rainy period.  We have had a chance to fertilize, so let the growing begin! Meanwhile, the saw mill is still here, and we have been gaining as far as dimensional lumber goes. Still have to send the big stuff to a bigger mill 18 miles away, but all in good time. 
first two days lumber

lots of sawdust for animals and blueberries, slash for kindling, and another trailer load of boards to offload and sticker

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Diary 5/29/13

I finally started grouting over last weekend.  I enjoyed the process and I think a pretty good job for my first time.  The grout color is pulling the whole look together nicely.  I am happy! 
Yesterday was a busy day with the arrival of a saw mill and crew and also garden help.  The weather was OK with intermittent sun, but no showers.  It rained in the night and a bit just a little while ago which is going to make for a muddy situation, but the sun is out now, so hopefully it will dry out before they start working. Cutting lumber out the short logs and tops from uprights are being processed to form floor joists and wall studs.  Slowly, but surely, the lumber is piling up as is the sawdust and scrap which can be used also.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Diary 5/26/13

One doesn't really want to say, "Happy Memorial Day". It doesn't make sense. The day is set aside to remember those who made the "ultimate sacrifice" as they say, of their lives for what someone else deemed important.  I, personally, have a hard time with the concept of war as a means of gaining peace.  It is right up there with spanking a child for hitting. I hope in the midst of the weekend holiday, there were some thoughts to why we have the day off.  I hate reading the casualty lists and seeing 19 and 20 year olds who on the brink of their lives have been killed for a slightly mystic cause. In addition, there are those coming home from the war to a life without a limb, with a head injury or an empty soul to think of as well.  To them I dedicate my thoughts and prayers on this weekend as their journey through Hell continues while
they continue their lives damaged. The Wounded Warrior Foundation is doing good things and I know there are several other organizations out there addressing this same group of men and women who need so much help upon their return. Please give when you can, and think about thanking a veteran today.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Diary 5/26/13

Worked in the yard some, at the back of our small pond.  We made a new area and planted a plum tree.  I put in a  watering system and started landscaping the edge.  We are setting large upright stones making sure they cannot fall over by any means and then planting day lillies as a border in front of them . I have some small zinnias and petunias for color to put in also.  It will take a week or two before it looks like much and I will take a photo at that point.  For now, I am happy to have some progress there.  I am still trying to clean out the top greenhouse from weeds and put down landscape cloth as I am finished with tending that area for this year. The other two greenhouses are filling in nicely and I have enough food for us for sure in there! In fact, too much of several things I am having troubl
e gauging how much will be enough. I will buy some cover crop this Tuesday and get the various turned fields that we have not been farming into grassland for this summer and maybe a more interesting cover for next year., something pretty but easy to maintain like crimson clover.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Diary 5/23/13

It was a beautiful day.  Clouds came and went and so it was great for transplanting. I am trying to get the rest of the plants I have started into soil so I don't have to take care of them in planters anymore.  I also transplanted Delicata winter squash.  I put a plant and two seeds in five holes.

Trimming the tops off before transplanting makes the little onions less topsy turvy.  I saved the greens to use in the fried rice we ate for lunch.

Dill and rows of baby onions
15 Delicatas should be more than enough for over the winter. The onions were coming up in the beds where I thinned them to plant individually outside.  I have Walla Wallas, red and white sweet Spanish.  I did not attempt hard yellow onions this year as it is already too late to get them to finish up.  I still want to plant some more potatoes and I read an article about planting late potatoes last year, so I know there is still time.  I hope I still have some seed potatoes that haven't totally shriveled up, but I did look into it yet. I put a few dill plants in with the onions for pickle making eventually.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Diary 5/22/13

Though it was not entirely a a wet day, it showered on and off most of it.  More substantial moisture was falling this evening and we need every drop of it.  I am sad that weather can humble us all and remind us of its power of destruction.  The floods last week, the tornadoes this, and earthquakes elsewhere are all forces we cannot control. So sad when children are involved.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Diary 5/20/13

The guys are getting the last of the poles for the rafters for the shop.  They are 34 feet long ones and not as easy to come by. While they were wandering about the forest looking for suitable candidates, they were joined by this guy(gal), a Spotted Owl.  This is the famous endangered species that stopped logging on federal lands(someone had to) and in other forest habitat special to their existence. This one was somewhat tame, maybe from some oldtime visits by biologists feeding them voles to watch their behavior and get a count of how many are in the area. Vole manure and decayed parts in owl poop have a special enzyme that rots Douglas Fir wood.  It is all a very unique cycle. Before the forest fire in 2002, there were 19 pairs in the range around us. This, I think is a female whose front feathers show a sign of separation where babies are being covered.  Her beak is bloody as either the guys served an easy meal when they were falling trees, or interrupted a feeding she was engaged in or maybe just peaked her curiosity.  Lunchtime came, and the owl got a break for the rest of the day, as it was time to peel the poles.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Diary 5/19/13

The new tips on the Douglas fir tree show how much new growth it has.  The weather has been great for the early growing season. The Madrone trees are suffering from what looks like a fungus.  Not sure what is going on.  They really had a couple rough years when the web worms attacked.  Last year wasn't so bad for them.  Now this year, something is going on with their old leaves.  The trees in our yard are blooming like never before, and I worry it is their last hurrah. Will keep my eyes on them and check about fungus and maybe a virus they may have for whatever reason.  After 90 degrees a couple weeks ago, we are expected to have a cold spell this week with temperatures only getting to 60 during the day and close to a frost at night. Beware fellow gardeners in the PNW.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Diary 5/18/13

Three generations of lettuce.  The red leaf on the left is beginning to bolt, the batavians in the middle are getting transplanted everywhere, and I am passing them out to friends with gardens, the romaines on the end are almost ready.  Meanwhile, the snow peas are coming on strong.  I have one other little row of them for later, but with beans almost the same size, we will many choices to eat soon.  None of the areas are large enough for a round of canning.  Ask me if I care, ha-ha.
My lovely assistant standing in the runoff of a downpour off the roof tests her rain hat to see if it is fully operational.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Diary 5/17/13

Got my last piece of tile cut last night, so maybe I will have a chance to grout soon.  Looking forward to it as I think it will be much easier than mortar and fun to see the result as you do the clean-up. Pulled a few carrots to see how they were sizing up.  It is OK to do so especially if you have not totally thinned them.  If you did not thin them, it is best to do so or you just don't get any size to your carrots and they will twine around each other which makes for interesting anthropomorphic looking carrots sometimes, but just not as useful.  I ended up chopping some of the tender tops and putting them into the elk hash I was making.  They tasted like carroty
parsley and no doubt full of vitamins.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Diary 5/16/13

We have been slowly eradicating scotch broom, these lovely yellow bushes, from our hill.  I don't know if we can ever get ahead of them by the creekbed, but here by the house, they stick out and are growing in rocky areas where chopping them out is enough to set them back substantially. This strip of them has been advancing as we have thinned the trees and made a "defensible space". This is probably our least defend
ible side. See the dead  branches hanging down from the firs?  Big no-no.  That and the bushes all around become "ladder fuels" that carry a fire from a slower ground fire up into the trees , "crowning"  into a serious wind driven event.  Seen it, didn't like it, trying to be ready for the next time, because there will be a next time. It is the natural disaster of this area.  Just as other parts of the country have tornadoes, we have wildfires. Well and volcanoes, but we hope we are not witness to that.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Diary 5/15/13

Little by little we are planting our "little" garden.  We put in 5 rows of corn yesterday.  It will be a big batch when it is all done, so guess we will have to have a party!  I was worried when I only planted a few feet of snap peas that we would have enough.  This all so new to me. Like when your children leave home and you are trying to make only enough spaghetti for two. Well, the crop is in, there is PLENTY!  Plus I planted snow peas at the same time that are also ready.  Hmmm, I'll get the hang of this growing for two thing, yet. I let the corner of the lower greenhouse go as I didn't need the space.  It has gone wild with self sewn cilantro and snapdragons.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Diary 5/14/13

Went for a drive on Mother's Day way up a canyon and found a place where the elk had been rubbing their itchy horns.  Didn't see elk or find any horns they had shed, but it was a popular spot for horn rubbing none the less.

Here is a picture of the completed tile. Well, picture is not where I wanted it... Now to grout, which I have done a little of before.  The color I am using is called "biscuit", a very pale beige to go with all the fixtures. Not sure about flooring or what color I will paint in the end.  Next after grouting is boards for the two new pony walls and then underlayment for the room. Slowly, but sure remodel will come together over next two months.  Hope I am painting by August!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Diary 5/13/13

Busy day! Accomplished quite a bit even with Garden Girl here. I am tired, so I will post pictures tomorrow. Meanwhile...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Diary 5/12/13 again

I'm going to wish all you mothers Happy Mother's Day now in case I get busy and forget to tomorrow.  It will be Happy Mother's Day to me, too, and I might do a number of things, and I hope at least one of them!  For now, I would like to say I know quite a few great mothers in my circle of friends and family.  It is self-sacrificing and they are giving it their all or at least as much as they can spare.  I am proud to know you, you moms.Here is a picture of a true super mom, the wolf spider.  She carries her babies on her back while going about her business. There must have been 50 babies on her.

Diary 5/11/13

I have been trying to keep tiling.  I like it!  Hard to do when you have so many other things going on and I had to run to town three days this week.  Off to a FFA(Future Farmers of America) plant sale this morning and then back to tiling for me.(In between laundry and watering as it will be close to 90 today.) Meanwhile it has been thunderstormy every evening, but nothing local and no hail, thank goodness.  Last year the hail took all the cherries off the trees. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Diary 5/9/13

No time to blog right now.  I am tiling!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Diary 5/7/13

Lots going on in the garden today.  Finally got the tiller on the tractor yesterday afternoon and opened up one chunk of area before the thunderstorm arrived with 3/10ths of an inch of rain-perfect. The soil was terribly dry.  Today another two areas were tilled and they look so much better for the addition of moisture.  More due this weekend. Meanwhile, I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, onions, lettuce and cabbage in the main greenhouse I will be growing food in, while Allen turned two beds and weeded most of the rest.  Looking good and feeling like I was back on top of gardening again. Though the grass in some areas needs trimming, it is all so green and lush right now, I love it.  Went out to make sure all gates were closed as there had been a cow siting, and noticed lumps on the ridge top across the canyon.  Sure enough it was bears.  Came home for binoculars and ended up spending the next half hour watching a great big mama bear, a medium sized cinnamon colored bear, and a wee little baby bear also pitch black who was running all over the hill having so much fun on the outing.  I have been checking to see if they circled back up the hill and so far I have not seen them. So maybe they went down to the creek and who knows, may come through the garden tonight!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pressing flowers

I came home with some of the specimens from the show because I thought I would press them.  I love to stick them between wax paper after they are dry and iron them. Maybe I can make them into something after that.  I have used them for candles and cards
. Soap? Bookmarks? Paper weights? Refrigerator magnet clips? Hmmmm...

Diary 5/5/13

Wildflower Show went well.  We didn't have much of a crowd, but the folks who did attend, spent money, so we still raise some funds. There was a sharp learning curve for me and I will make the next person a folder of what I learned.  For now, I am happy to start new things as the organization of this even has taken an enormous amount of time. I have learned to look closer at the world around me, and I will take that as the gift from this experience.  I was a successful event planner, I would say, it just isn't what I want to do. The thunderstorms they predicted for this afternoon happened. As we were cleaning up the show, lots of fireman's radios were going off.  I drove home through three small fires about 9 miles away. It is cooling down and not much wind now, so they probably got a handle on them.  Still, it is early for such nonsense!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Diary 5/4/13

Ready to go for the Wildflower Show.  We have three tables of raffle prizes, a good looking supply of plants to sell, and a huge array of boutique items.  We have hand painted totes, old tee shirts, and signs painted on old barn boards which you can see in the background on the far wall. We collected 210 specimens compared to the last two rainy years of 170 and 130!  Way to go us.  I know I found around 60 different flowers while searching.  Pretty amazing.  Need to take more photos though.  Hope lots of people show up, but if they don't, I feel a raffle win in my future.  I never win...
Raffle prizes galore!

The botanists hard at work putting the correct names next to the specimens.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Diary 5/2/13

Today was collect the flowers for the wildflower show day.  Cheryl and I went up the Elk Creek drainage to various locales and found probably 50 different specimens.  Very fun!  It was warmer and warmer as we came down the hill.  Had sprinklers going everywhere in the garden and yard today.  More hot weather on the way and then chance of a thunderstorm next week.  Acting like summer already here!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Diary 5/1/13

May Day! May Day! One of the perks of the position as head gardener is being the first to the strawberry patch.  Bring it on strawberries!