Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Here she is again...

First I must admit that I'm a terrible packrat. I wouldn't want anyone to see my attic, or my garage right now. I have good intentions. I've made resolutions to get rid of "stuff." I've even told my hubby to go ahead... get rid of things... only to look at what he's tossing and bring it back in.

Well, today I added to my packratting.... How could I not?

In the mail came a large box from my aunt and uncle. Inside were treasures that had me shedding tears all afternoon. This evening I just feel quiet.

I lost my beloved grandma back in February. I've been processing that loss over the past few months, but you know how it goes.... it only takes a sight... a scent... a particular sound... Be it music, food, a voice... or a stack of old greeting cards... the hammer of the gun of emotion is set... waiting for that trigger to slam down and set off the blast.

Out it comes without my permission.

In the box were a stack of greeting cards. It seems there was something I didn't know about my grandma (actually, I'm sure there are plenty of things I don't know about her), but she is obviously the genetic source of my packratting.

I've collected greeting cards and postcards ever since I was a little girl. Not just cards that were given to me at holidays, but cards that I found, and liked, and just had to have. I'd be embarrassed for anyone to see the boxes I have of them.

I also have every single card my hubby has given me. A most romantic man, a poet, a comedian and a romantic. For over 30 years I've found his cards, secretly tucked somewhere (places where he's sure I'll find them...) ...like in the refridgerator... my langerie drawer... inside a shoe... You get the picture. How could I throw those away?

Well it appears my grandma couldn't throw hers away either, and now I have them. Not only do I have her own cards, but also the cards from my great-grandma (her mother) ... 50th anniversary, 60th anniversary, birthdays... This is one persistent gene!

As I read them today, the tears flowed, and once again I felt the connection I had with her.... still have with her. I found one more thing we share.

Thank you Grandma
I miss you ... still
Thank you Uncle Don & Aunt Carol
for sending them to me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The garden is beginning to produce and its time to bring it in for preservation.


Here is it... Oregano hiding between the broccoli plants

Oregano can be used with most crops, but especially good for cole crops
such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to repel cabbage butterfly.

When used near cucumbers it repels cucumber beetle.
Also benefits grapes.

Here it is... cut and piled to be tied up
and hung in my dark cool shed.

The next crop to harvest


Potatoes and onions like eachother

Potatoes and corn like eachother
See below, the potatoes are under planted with corn.

My Hubby loves to harvest anything!

My secrets for planting potatoes:

1) Start with nice loose compost rich soil.. a must!

2) Since gophers seems to like these juicy morsels,
we dig and trench about 18 inches deep.

3) lay chicken wire into the trench.

4)Put about 6 inches into the wired tench
and plant the potatoes.

5) Snails love potato leaves... even though they are not edible for humans,
so I cover the plants with field fabric, and staple it down tight to the ground
Voila... no snails get it (:
You can also use snail bait such as:

• Kills Snails & Slugs
Can be used around pets & wildlife
• Iron phosphate occurs naturally in soil
• Easy-to-use granular formulation
• Remains effective after rain or sprinkling
• May be used up to & including day of harvest

6) Then, once the plants start to grow and poke up through the soil,
about every 3-4 days add more soil, covering the shoots and
forcing them to grow taller under the soil.
The longer the stem under soil, the more potatoes can form.

All that's necessary now is to dig under the wire...
lift it up,
and pour out all the potatoes!

This is about 30 lbs of potatoes from only 6 plants (:

And one for the road.
This is my newest test trial
Under this little tent are cumin plants.
I don't know yet, but I wonder if I can grown my own cumin
since its almost my favorite herb.

Tell me what you grow?
And if you don't have a garden...
what are your favorites vegetables, fruits and herbs to grow?

Enchanting... I'm in awe of her

I'm enchanted by Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent, Season 8.

In a time when I feel that our world is being shaken by all kinds of adversity, here is a woman who lifts my spirits. She's not much younger than me, and I think if I could have her attitude of unshakable optimism, I will have turned the corner to seeing the possibilities that humankind can and will deter negativity to bring goodness forward.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We will never forget

Thank you Uncle John

Memorial Day 2009
Remembering Uncle John

Thank you Uncle John
You bore so much
You never complained
You considered it an honor to serve
and we salute you.

and to all those who serve now,
or have served in the past.

We will never forget

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


For anyone wanting to visit my part of the world... a word of warning... don't come in summer! This is why... FOG!

The fog rolled like like a freight train, and has been here for 3 days straight. About now I'm starting to climb the walls. The thermometer barely reaches 55F most days...

My garden and I have been shivering!

Today it finally broke for the afternoon! What a relief! I was outside as soon as I saw the sun breaking through! (:

Still.... I must admit... I will gladly take this over the 100F just 30 miles inland!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Greenhouse Secrets

I really don't claim any secrets... and what I do may be all wrong, but so far its working for me. The greenhouse is a warm moist place where bugs loooooove to hang out. Two years ago I had the worst white fly infestation in the western hemisphere, I'm sure. Hubby remembered what a friend who ran a commercial greenhouse used to do. He wanted to try it in our GH... but it sounded extreme to me, so I was a bit nervous about trying. But what else could I do? The white flies were a buzzing white cloud in there, so why not try something new?

The first thing we did was scrub the greenhouse from top to bottom. Not a single thing was left in there but a naked tomato bed. As the season went on, it was an obvious success! Now we'll not do anything else. Here is how we manage the GH... fairly bug free:

1. Plant the tomatoes and let them grow big enough to be tied up,

2. Use soft twine to tie at the bottom of the plant,
winding the twine around the plant as it grows.

3. Pinch or cut out all sucker stems
that grow between the main stalk and the leaves.

4. As the plant grows, snip off alllll the older and lower leaves,
until what you end up with is a tall plant (up to about 10ft)
with no leaves except for the top 4-5 sets at the top.

5. Under plant with herbs that deter bugs...
the ones I use are spearmint, thyme, basil and Italian Flatleaf Parsley

Doing these things give us:
1. good air flow
2. Nothing much for the bugs to live on
3. Healthy plants loaded all the way up with tomatoes!

Last year I had only 4 plants in the GH...
but got 527 tomatoes from those plants. (:

You can see the new little tomatoes growing!
We are all waiting IMPATIENTLY to have home grown tomatoes again!

Here is the biggest one!

Elsewhere in the greenhouse...

... and outside the greenhouse...

Thyme, Flags, Valerian, Sweet Violets

Apple blossoms

Bottlebrush plant... don't they look happy?

Volunteers... potatoes and ?
(not sure whether its squash or pumpkin)

A newly planted Lime tree... a gift from Hubby
(he makes a killer salsa, and must have limes)

Walnut trees are just now leafing out

And another trial idea...
that has turned into a keeper remedy for keeping bugs and snails at bay...
Field Fabric on the potatoes and corn... for now.

I know... not real pretty, but look what's underneath!
PERFECT plants! (:

And a few pretty pictures...

A lovely visitor

And the only place in my garden to sit... where there are no edible plants!
Actually, I take that back... you can see right behind the bench,
scented edible geraniums, and thyme in a tub.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend~

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day started quietly, and ended with a party.

The idea was that all the mothers...
i.e., me, my sister and my niece...
would get to sit back and enjoy a meal fixed by "the guys",
i.e., my hubby, my brother-in-law, and my nephew.

Here's a question .... did we really think that was possible? (:

The answer:
yes... and no
The "no" part was our own fault,
because we women can't help ourselves...
we have to have a hands in the pot, even if for a moment.
But none of us are complaining.

The guys did make most of the meal...
but I still had to clean the house before everyone arrived,
and my family had to have "mom's seasonings"in the potato salad.

Its nice to be needed. (:

I did have the morning to myself, so I walked through the garden and took a few photos of the growing things and my usual visitors.

For once, I tried to focus on the plants we don't eat. I've always dreamed of having a peaceful garden with a pond and a few secluded nooks... but somehow that has never happened. I just can't seem to keep any area free of edibles! Oh well... maybe one day it will happen.

Walking through the garden gate

and into the rose garden... albeit a bit small.

And below is my most special rose. The mother plant of this rose traveled across the United States in a covered wagon with the great great great grandmother of my best friend. We have no idea what kind of rose it is, so we called it:

Celia Jane

That was her grandmother's name. The mother plant is a hearty massive plant that lives on a ranch in Northern California where it was lovingly planted once the family settled after the long trek over the Oregon Trail. My friend and I have spread bits of this plant to both of our gardens
my garden here, and her garden in Tillamook, Oregon. Celia Jane will always grow in every garden I have chance to plant until I'm too old to have a garden, and that's a great feeling... I get to keep a treasure alive!

Celia Jane

Mother's Day garden visitors:
The Bumble Bees

The neighbor's kitty

And later for dinner... two handsome visitors!

And just a few pretty pictures:

And now its Monday...

Here is today's harvest... 20 lbs of broccoli, already in the freezer.