Monday, July 10, 2017


Funny how things happen isn't it?

 In my last post I wrote about having the arborist come out and see if the Corkscrew willow could be saved.  Two days later half of it broke away and fortunately fell away from the house, did not crush the barn and only slightly bent the fence.  We now just had the guys come out and cut it up....and after seeing the base of it we made the appointment to take the rest down as well.

This is part of the wood from the first half, Hubby has worked very hard at wood for the last month!

The second and larger half has now come down.  Can you see how much shade we are going to be missing?

And there is much more wood for Hubby to work on.  We had to order a new chain saw chain already!

We found two nests in the wreckage, this one was the biggest and made of mud and large sticks.

This piece makes a nice place to take a rest in the garden, yes?

Last year I was fairly sure the echinacea was dead and I needed the pot.  Since I wasn't sure, I stuck it in a small pot very roughly and forgot about it over the winter. It is obviously a hearty plant!

We did go fishing, this is on the Snake River looking at a place called Lizard Butte.  When the light is right the rocks look like a lizard sunning himself on the hill.

The geese were friendly - I think they were the ones scaring the fish away!!

And this egret seemed to have the best fishing spot...

We did not catch any fish but we had a lovely day with our friend Anita.

I did process the garlic scapes and this vinegar smells wonderful now.  It is a mild flavor and is very nice on salads.

And just this evening I harvested the garlic.  I am very pleased with the size of the bulbs.  I planted 45 and harvested 45.  I will let them dry and then clean them up.

It finally got hot this last week and we are suffering through a heat wave in the western United States.  It has been 106F here (41C) and of course with no AC except in the bedroom, it is not fun!  The good news for me is that I am working 4 days a week again for awhile in air conditioned offices.  Hopefully these clients need me at least until the heat wave breaks!  I am trying not to complain too much....we used to live closer to Death Valley and it was up to 127.7F (53C)  there could be worse!  We will survive...winter is coming! (for all the Game of Thrones fans)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Garlic, Strawberries and Fish (not together!)

We have been busy this month, doing things that need doing and doing a few things that we just want to do.  The garden has been front and center - this years rains and the wet winter left me with a bumper crop of persistent weeds!  I am trying not to complain, there are folks not too far away that do not have gardens this years because of the flooding that is still going on.  I am grateful for the weeds...sort of...I'm working on it!

 Finally got my beans planted, so I have two kinds of cucumbers, two kinds of squash (trying an acorn squash this year) multi-color bell peppers, corn, onions, tomatoes and garlic.  The whole garden is weeded for now, but it is raining tonight again, and then the sun will shine.....sigh!
It is good exercise!

 The herb garden is going great, the mint, lemon balm, oregano, sage, chives,  feverfew, and edible lavender are already having to be harvested.  The strawberries (in the front and right of the photo) are ripening at a very satisfying rate!

I managed to be in California for the strawberry season and now they are ripening here.  I love strawberries!  I eat a few and then freeze a few.  There is an angel food cake on my counter that is waiting to be a bed for strawberries tomorrow.  Yum!

My great garlic experiment continues.  I have harvested the 'scapes'.  These are the center stalks of 'hardneck' garlic that would become a bloom and seeds if left on the plant. The theory is that the plant will put all of its energy into the bulb (a good thing) if there is no bloom to steal the nutrients.  They are interesting looking and I cut them all off this week.

Here is my bag of scapes.  I had been reading about this and all of the web pages talked about eating them.  Apparently they can be used either like garlic or like a green onion, one page even roasted them like a green bean.  I have now tried them in an omelet and they were very good. A milder taste than the cloves. I am going to save some to use fresh, freeze some and use some to infuse olive oil.  This is almost as exciting as having the garlic ripen!  Isn't it fun to try something new?!

Our beautiful, gnarled, corkscrew willow is developing cracks.  We have an arborist coming out to cut on him and see if he can be saved.  I hope so as it is a lovely tree.  It is, however, too close to the house to just let it be.

The rains have made for a lush yard this year as well.  This particular day it was overcast and the whole place looked green and beautiful.

I'm not complaining - it hasn't gotten hot yet!

Hubby and friend went fishing this week and caught these lovelies!  I put the full size fork there to give a sense of the size.  One of our goals this summer is to do a lot more fishing than we have in recent years.  Hopefully putting a few more packages of this sort in the freezer as well!

Hubby is busy with his rapidly growing tomato crop and we are planning two new raised beds this summer that we hope to have done for fall planting.  One in the front yard for bulbs and perennial flowers and the other on the far eastern side of the garden to have perhaps asparagus and a few pollinator friendly flowers.  We may even have enough time to get the house painted this year - it really needs it.  It is the busy season and after the long winter even I was ready for it.  I should be complaining about the heat though in a month or so! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Recovering from Vacation!!

It always seems that I take a vacation, and then feel like I need a vacation to recover!!  I have returned, just yesterday, from two weeks in California to celebrate Miss Lily's birthday and spend Mother's Day with my mom.  I drove down by myself as Hubby stayed home and kept things going.  (and fed the cats)  Two days down and two days back in the car - I was pleasantly surprised by the audio book I had gotten at the Library, "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" vol. 4, which was very well read and very entertaining.  This volume included a set of short stories so it was well suited to the trip.  The car got over 40 miles to the gallon for most of the trip, and the two hotels I stayed at were reasonable and comfortable.

During the trip down I ran through great swarms of gnats and mosquitoes, due (I was informed by the lady at one gas station) to the large amount of rain and snow we had gotten during the winter and recently.  The front of my car was covered with their little dead bodies!  Miss Lily came over and helped me wash them off...

... which led to fun with water and hoses on a warm day!

Grandma (me) and Miss Lily had spent about 3 hours playing with the Lego's that Grandad and I had bought her for her birthday.  After she went home I continued to work on it and was able to finish the outside...

...and the inside, and the characters involved.  In case you haven't guessed this is Belle's castle from 'Beauty and the Beast'.

By the way this is a lot of work!

However the look on her face when she could see the completed castle was worth every minute!

I had fun with my mom (and Miss Lily).  We never seem to have enough time for everything, but we have a good time with what we have!

Number one son and his wife came over often and we had fun playing games, I even learned how to play two new games this trip.  Both were table top role playing type games and a lot of fun.

Number two son and his wife both got jobs working for the contractors that run the concessions in the National Parks this year so Mom and I took a beautiful drive to the Sequoias to take him back to work after a short visit.  It was still snowing in the mountains where they work when I left!

Son number three seems to have settled into his role and is not at all upset when we ask if Miss Lily can come over and then belatedly invite him as well. 😉 It is an awesome thing to watch your child become a good parent and he is a wonderful Daddy to our special girl.

Hubby seems to have missed me just enough to be gratifying but not so much that I can't go anywhere ever again!  The suitcases are unpacked, things are put away, the cats appear to have remembered me and the garden is calling me to come and plant some more stuff!

Maybe after just a little nap....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's not hoarding if it's books....

I am not a minimalist.  There it is, I've said it out loud now for all the world to see.  In a world where people are making fortunes on books detailing how to fold your clothes and 'spark joy', whole websites are devoted to de-cluttering ones home and living with no excess 'stuff' laying around, I am the equivalent of the neanderthal!!  I have collections of everything from glass animals to stuffed animals, yardage and fabric scraps, everyday dishes and Christmas dishes, 2 sets of China handed down from grandmothers, enough yarn to carpet my house with crocheted rugs, files and notebooks of family history and census reports and birth certificates, beads new and vintage, and literally hundreds of books of all genres....well you get the picture.  The really horrible thing is I am not even sorry for being a packrat - I love it!  I love having stuff to make a project that pops into my head on hand, love having things that remind me of my family members who are no longer here - I guess my 'stuff' meets the 'spark joy' test!  Anyway let's be real honest, the reason Marie Kondo's clothes fold up into little packets that spark joy is because she is a little person.  Try getting the 3X sweatshirt to fold into a little stand alone packet!  I dare you!  This post was originally going to be my ode to 'clutter', but I looked up the word and it really means things that are disorganized, or disorderly. No, I don't like that.   I guess I will just share my craft room/office organizing project that has just been completed.

Understand, when I start the project and am visualizing how it will end up I see this in my head!

I go to the store and look at the prices of all of those little baskets etc. and then I come home and cover shoe boxes with contact paper!

Sigh...organizing with a cheapskate!

I took everything out of the room including the stuff in the closet, Hubby was looking a little amazed that "all that fit in the room" and then "do you think you can get it back in?"

The living room was full of my treasures and I did throw away quite a bit of trash.  The only expense was the black rack that was on sale at Lowe's for $29.00.

The rack in the corner has genealogy binders and boxes, photo albums and boxes of photos that still need to be scanned.  I have all of hubby's parents older photo albums circa 1950's that I am scanning as well as our own photos before digital cameras.

My craft table is a big metal table we bought at the company garage sale from hubby's work.  They built rocket engine parts on them!

Craft books and patterns and boxes of fabric. 

Gotta love the shoe boxes!

The other half of the closet looks the same, at least it is all organized and it is not technically clutter.   It could still be junk...eye of the beholder and all that.  ;)

And everything did fit back in the room!

 Spring is here outside as well as inside.  The grass is greening up and the willows have that little hint of green in their branches when you look at them from here....

I am so excited about my garlic crop!  I made a map of all the bulbs so I would know what kind were where and all but one of the cloves I planted came up.  There are over 40 plants and 3 different types.....

The chives are coming up as well....

The corkscrew willow has leaves too.  The willows seem to be the first to put their leaves out...

Another exciting moment as 2 of the peonies that I planted last fall have started to come up...

 A group of us 'girls' (more like golden girls!) took a day trip to Twin Falls to see the Shoshone Falls. With all the snow and rain we are at flood stage and above on all of our rivers but it sure makes a gorgeous waterfall.  They say it is half again as much water coming over as usual. 

We had lunch and stopped at historical markers and had an altogether lovely time.  Nice after a rough winter to get out and do something again!

Hope you are enjoying the seasons changing wherever you are...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The International Day of the Woman.....and snowmen and popcorn

The International Day of the Woman is coming up soon (March 8) and I admit I am appalled by some of the ways women in America have decided to celebrate.  My attitude may be influenced by my age (very likely), my politics (not left leaning), my faith (Christian and Biblical) or a combination of all three (also very likely).

The International Women's Day has been celebrated since around 1910.  It was begun as a labor strike in New York and pushed by the Socialist Party in America.  It continued on unofficially until 1914 when a women's conference was held and it was decided to make it official, and the date was set for March 8 each year.  The IWD is even credited by no less a personage that Leon Trotsky for beginning the 'February Revolution' that overthrew the Monarchy in Russia.  (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar - in most of the world it was March 8th).  Primarily celebrated by communist countries as state holidays, the celebrations in the west still continued on their own until 1977 when the United Nations proclaimed the date and the celebration and urged member countries to observe the holiday.  These days they even have a theme for each year, this years theme is "Be Bold For Change". 

The nitwits (my bias showing) who brought us the 'March to Kill our Babies' (they called it the women's march but they only talked about abortions and sexual freedom) have decided to throw a 'day without a woman' party that includes not shopping and not going to work and maybe wearing red. (I'm not kidding they even have an official web page!) These are not ideas I consider to be bold or all that helpful!

I thought it would be fun to come up with some ideas for how to celebrate the 'Day of the Woman' and even accomplish something at the same time. Here are the ideas I have come up with so far.

1. Wear Purple like the queen of my world that I am. (just to get in the mood you know)
2. Send encouraging/thankful/uplifting Facebook posts to the women in my life who inspire me - flooding our feeds with positive messages for women.
3. Email my Representatives and Senators encouraging them to defund Planned Parenthood and save lives. (Planned Parenthood would still exist, just not on the taxpayers dime)
4. Flood the United Nations with e-mails and letters demanding that all of the countries that sit on the U.N. Human Rights council's 'Commission on Women' must allow women in their countries to vote, drive and walk alone on the street - at a minimum.
5. Donate to to help rescue male and female children from sex slavery/trafficking around the world.
6. Buy a gun, mace, take a self defense class - it really is empowering.
7. Pray for our leaders and elected officials, even the ones I don't agree with. (maybe especially them!)
Add to the list or pick one of these - I guarantee it will be more productive than not shopping or going to work. (Except for number one, that's just personal preference - wear your own favorite color!)

OK that's it rant over....

While it has been cold and snowy I have finally managed to finish the popcorn process.  Popcorn was my "never done it before" crop this year and we got a pretty good harvest - 2-3 ears per stalk.  I dried them out and we picked off enough kernels to make some at Christmas.  I still had quite a few ears left - however my technique needed work.  Picking off the kernels with my thumb was a little painful!

 They came off the cob fairly easily but the friction needed was the problem - so I got out a small heavy spoon and tried using it like a peeler (sort of) and it worked really well (after I learned to cup my hand over the process to keep it from flying everywhere!)

It was much easier after the 'system' was worked out and there were fewer to pick up off the floor!  Out of one ring of corn I ended up with about a pint of kernels!  It really does taste good, popped in a pan with coconut oil...yum.  Pretty sure the stick of butter on the top negates any health benefits but it tastes awesome!

I have been documenting the build up and melting of the snow in photographs - have to admit this one made me a little sad.  Lily made a snowman (maybe a snow lump) on the 24th of December.

Last week the snow-lump was just about the last thing left in the back yard - a little pile of snow and several rocks (eyes, nose, buttons) it's been so cold he lasted a full 2 months!!  I know you're thinking of Frosty...let's move on quickly!

There are definite signs of spring is hard to see but my garlic that I planted in October is beginning to push through the leaves.

We have been looking at all the seed catalogues as well.  We are very much ready for a change of season.

There is a lot of flooding in various parts of the country and we are keeping those affected in our prayers.

 Not getting too excited about spring as this is what it looked like on Monday...sigh!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

'A Winter to Remember' or 'Why we are Prepared'

This winter has been one of the ones people will talk about for years - remember the winter of 16-17?

I do understand that I do not live in Siberia or Alaska or the Yukon.  That is precisely why this winter is memorable, if I lived in one of those places I would expect this!  For the record (and it is a record) this is the most snow we have had in December/January since 1892.  Our average snowfall in a season is 18.5 inches, so far in January alone we have had 19.6 inches!  In the period between December 7th and today, January 24 we have had 32 inches of snow!!  Some of the passes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California have 20 feet of snow! 

This is Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe on 1/13/2017. This pass is named for the wagon train that was trapped here for a winter in 1846 and turned to cannibalism to survive.

The cats have been looking for dry places to hang out till spring.  They do not like squatting in the snow!

Set my phone on the porch so I could show the snow up to or a little above the level of the decking - about 2 feet.

We uncovered the cars, and then we uncovered the cars and get the picture. 

Hubby was walking on the ice, slipped, fell and broke two ribs.  He is in misery and now I am doing the things he normally uncover the cars!  ;)

This stalactite was a monster, but the snow is pretty - if you can stay home, and that brings me to this point.  This is why it is recommended to have at least 3 to 7 days of food, and water stored.  We have quite a lot of food storage, we did not have to go out.  We had water stored - since we are on a private well if we lose power we lose water. (We could have boiled snow on the wood stove to get water and purify it) 

Whether it is earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or record snow fall, being prepared kept us from having to get out on the roads where they had so many accidents due to ice and snow.

Somewhere along the line people began to make fun of the "preppers" who were planning for the end of the world and post apocalyptic survival, but it really is just this sort of thing that is the most likely to happen. 

We ate canned and frozen food and only went out on the days the roads were clear.  We had wood piled on the porch so we didn't have to go out to the barn if the weather was bad.  It is supposed to be dry for the next week but bone chilling cold and we will be glad for the wood sitting there.  On the days we went out, we planned for maximum errands in minimum time and travel and we felt fortunate to get home each time safe and sound.  Being prepared has allowed me to do fairly well with hubby laid up, I am able to keep the house warm and have meals due to the preparations that were made before the event.

It is just a suggestion - but planning for disaster doesn't hurt, and if it never happens you are ok - you can always eat the food at a time when you run out of money before you run out of month!