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 30, 2014

Diary 5/30/14

I am trying to learn the butterflies in our area. I have a wonderful book, Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest, by William Neill, and photos by Doug Hepburn. It tells what plant or family of plants each butterfly lays its eggs on. They are very specific. This is the Snowberry Checkerspot which lays eggs on the low growing snowberry bushes that are everywhere. Here it is gathering pollen from a Calendula in the garden. It has made me pay more attention to the bugs around me...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Diary 5/26/14

So, the rest of the firewood story is that the truck's battery died. Aftyer filling both trucks and ready to take weary bodies home, truck wouldn't start, or make any noise for that matter, so worried more than battery problem. Our cohort, Doug, towed us through the flats until we reached the downhill sections. Then we would wildly coast to keep momentum, the momentum that also made it difficult to stop, and with no power steering, difficult to steer. We made it down to the county road with three pulls and some exciting corners. Then pulled again home and up the hill to our yard.
Chaining up on the flat...
Good news was it was only the battery.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Diary 5/26/14

Firewood gathering adventure yesterday. We found a "danger tree", a dead tree that could fall across the road. Further up on the hill were other "snags" left for birds and animals to nest in. We bought a permit on the tree for a nominal fee from the Forest Service. They knew that we would successfully fall this huge Douglas Fir and clean up the mess after we took the firewood from it, our part of the deal. How do you fall such a giant? Very carefully~ After accessing the tree, the branches, where it wants to fall, and where we would like it to fall, the process of "facing" making an undercut and then cutting from the back to meet that absent wedge. Once the tree is down, the even harder work begins! Dry firewood for next winter...check.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Diary 5/25/14

Not to bring anyone down, but in the midst of camping, barbequing, and time off, and all the fun that comes with it, there is the reason for this 3 day weekend that must be remembered. I wish the list of those who would be remembered on Memorial Day was not growing, but shrinking. When PBS rolls the list of recent deaths in Afghanistan and other places around the military world, and many of them are not yet 20 years old, my heart is sore with the thought of good kids who will never know half of the joys life has brought me.
So, I am not saying don't have a fun weekend~
  but as you do, think of those who are not with us and have a good time in their honor.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bull Snake Rescue

Last evening, a friend who was helping out around here found a mess of berry netting I had torn out of the grapes and balled up on the driveway. When he picked it up to toss it in the trash, he found two large bull snakes entwined in the netting, stuck and going to die. Luckily for the snakes, he came to their rescue with the aid of my son, two pairs of snippers and a knife. Both snakes went back to the wild. I think they might have been having an amorous encounter. Hopefully they will be successful elsewhere. Bull snakes are very territorial and will fight rattle snakes for an area(my yard
Snake 1

Snake 2

He is lightly holding the snake's head down with his boot because the angry snake wants to bite him. Not venomous, but still painful.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Diary 5/23/14

Early Spring stir-fry for dinner last night with Napa cabbage, green onions, radishes, a handful of peas and asparagus. Delicious, of course! Can hardly wait for the rest of the gang to arrive. I find I am enthused about zucchini, but that will wear off, ha-ha.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Diary 5/21/14

Very happy that the county I live in voted in favor of a ban on growing GMO crops. It is comforting to know shocked to know that the citizens of this area get it!I feel very hopeful about the world today! The wild irises have been really nice this year. They are still blooming here and there in the shade along the edges of the forest. With the hot weather over the next couple days, they might be done, and on to the next flowers~

Monday, May 19, 2014

Diary 5/19/14

This Salmon Berry hedge is located in our orchard under a Gravenstein apple tree which until my son branched the large Douglas Fir trees above was way too shady. Now the whole area is standing tall this year with the new sunlight they are receiving. Maybe they will even make berries, not that they ever have much flavor, but they are the black bear's favorite to eat, leaves and all. (Not that I want to lure in any black bears!)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Diary 5/17/14

Now that most of the garden is in, I am going back to maintenance. There is so much weeding, mowing, and clean-up to do. Busy this week with friends and neighbors, but this coming week, no such excuses! Time to buckle down to what we hope will be the last big mow as the grass dries out and does not rejuvenate quite as quickly as it has so far. The skies were growing dark with showers on the way for a couple days and then back up into the 80's mid-week.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Diary 5/14/14

We have friends visiting from the north. There is no free meals around here. We have put them to work. Well, my work partner really came through. She worked overtime on weeding. She planted corn with the seeder and transplanted plants of

everything from cucumbers through basil to melons. An afternoon drive provided an extra bonus of fresh morels. They were just at the edge of the last of the snow. So fun and unexpected.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Diary 5/11/14

Now that's what this mother is talkin' about...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Canning Asparagus

A flush of spears beyond what can be eaten fresh gave way to canning some for later. Asparagus, as a low acid vegetable, requires the use of the pressure cooker. Many people are frightened by the tool, but if used correctly, it isn't that scary. First, snap your spears so that they will fit in the jars. Slide into sterilized jars until tightly packed. I prefer cold pack, but you can steam them slightly so that they are limp. Use your steaming water to fill the jars or heat water to a boil to do so. Leave a space at the top of the jars so that they don't boil over when cooking. Add lids which have been sterilized by adding them to the jars at the end of heating. Do not boil the rubber seals on the lids. Make sure to put the top of the pressure cooker in the place indicated with an arrow and a slice in the bottom, sliding into place. Tighten the top down a little at a time around the circle until all are hand tight. Start heating with petcock flipped down(in open position) to let steam fill the top space. Stand petcock up and keep an eye on the

gauge. When pressure reaches close to desired mark, slow down heat source. This may take some adjustment up and down to hold pressure at desired mark. Cook for required time, in this case 40 minutes. I actually turn burner off at 35 because it stays at pressure for five more minutes at least. If you can carefully slide canner away from hot burner, it will cool more quickly. Once the pressure is back down to zero, you can open the petcock and then start loosening the lid.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Diary 5//8/14

Went to bed good and tired last night, partly from some insomnia the night before, partly from a physical afternoon helping with a roofing project. Glad to see it is raining even though we have plans for the weekend. I am worried that like everything else this season, the end of the rain is going to come sooner than later. In this neck of the woods, the southernmost part of the Pacific Northwest, when June arrives, the rains stop and the temperatures warm up. This year, the temperatures have already bumped the record highs several times and seem to hover 5 or 10 degrees warmer than usual. With no or little snow pack, when the dry season starts, and the air does warm up, it may be a swelter situation. It will certainly be a drier summer than usual as there is no snow to evaporate which can help create summer rains.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Diary 5/7/14

Garden Girl is visiting. She discovered the hole punch, and made some lovely flower and glitter glue decorations. We planted zucchini and pumpkins yesterday. I also put in the hot peppers in the lower greenhouse away from the sweet peppers which I will put in the top one. The sweet pepper plants are still sizing up, so have some time to prepare the bed. Someone of the four legged furry kind is eating the strawberries. I put netting over the first ones it comes to, and they have been able to ripen. The plants beyond the netting only have pink ones. I am putting a live trap out if it is digger squirrels. If it is the gophers, the annoying buzzing stakes are going in also. Maybe I will add a game camera to see if I am actually dealing with foxes! I want those berries!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Diary 5/5/14

I love these spring days in May when everything is growing so quickly and so verdantly. I think my flowers look their best now before things start drying out. Birds are busy, busy. I see fighting, nest building, and even bug hauling going on. Quite the cacophony of sounds in the morning.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Diary 5/4/14

The 33rd Annual Shady Cove/ Trail Wildflower Show came off well. Talked with lots of nice people. Only problem was small attendance. There were so many events in the valley this same weekend. Unfortunately, our advertising was not great and that is something to work on for next year especially with so much competition for folks to stop by. Perhaps a event tour like a wine tour could be mapped by the newspaper for next year. Came home with a box of my plants leftover and some new treasures. I also brought home the wildflowers from the vases that had nice flowers and pressed them in two phone books. I just love them even if I don't quite know what I will do with them!
Cheryl finishing tags for the flowers before we opened on Sat. morning

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Diary 5/1/14

Young Swallowtail butterfly on Milk Vetch(Goat's Rue)

A new version of Trout Lily to me

Spent a lovely May Day hunting for wildflower specimens for our local fund raiser. We display the flowers and folks pay to view them, buy plants of all kinds, find a treasure at our boutique, or gain free information about plants, watersheds, fires, and noxious weeds. Found quite a few, and had a wonderful time locating them as we have had warmer weather than usual, so flowers were in different places, profuse or non-existent.