Monday, June 09, 2008

Lots & Lots to Post....

First, all the pictures. I'll start by saying that these were all taken LAST Sunday, so what you see has changed a bit in the past week. The first is a pic of the new greenhouse we've got over at the FIL's house. It's just a 10x10 ft tarp greenhouse over a PVC frame, but it's worked out well enough for us!
Next, here are my Bushy Cucumbers. You notice that we've used old coffee cans for the first transplant. Against my better judgement. I wanted to use 5 gal. buckets, because I knew (from tending my neighbour's plants while they went on fishing trips during past summers) that that's the general size pot a full-grown cuke needs. But, all we had in sufficient number was the coffee cans. And, again.... You can see that we planted FAR too many cucumbers this year. I certainly think next year we'll only go with about 6 of each. *sigh* This may (probably will) turn out to be a vast waste of resources.The second picture is of the Parade cucumbers. There are 2 varieties we tried, altogether 27 plants.
These two tomatoes are not anything we started. My FIL got them from a coworker who's got a big greenhouse up in the hills where it gets warmer earlier in the year. Andy, the coworker, evidently brings several extra tomato plants in to work every spring for anybody who wants to take them. Usually they keep a couple in the shop for barbeques and such.

Here we are with MORE seedlings in the greenhouse. Most of what you see in the peat-pots are tomato seedlings the FIL started. Some seedlings that I've started. We've got some peppes coming up, some onions there, broccoli and cabbage, butternut squash.... And mostly tomatoes. *wink* In the week since I took these pics, a LOT of this stuff has been transplanted into even bigger pots. We were supposed to transplant the FIL's tomatoes (the biggest) into buckets yesterday (or, bucket-sized pots) but didn't get to it. More on that later.

Some pictures here of the rows in the garden. The first is lettuce. FIL and Scott started the first few as seedlings and then Scott and I planted the rest of the row in seed. But that was a couple of weeks back, on Mem. Day weekend. I think the next row may be the broccoli seedlings FIL first planted out there. Something has decided it likes our broccoli this year, so we may not get much. It must be a winged something, as well, because the FIL isn't finding any rabbit or moose footprints to indicate that either of THOSE two animals have been eatting the seedlings. BUT, we did have MORE broccoli that we planted out there in seedlings, and the bigger ones are getting left alone more often. However, we also know that there's a moose that's been SKIRTING the garden this spring (FIL has witnessed it walk AROUND the garden twice now, just since Mem. Day Weekend), so we're afraid he may take a liking to our plants as they get bigger. *sigh* Just can't win for losing, it seems.

These last two pics show the second half of that truck-load (and again, we're talking pickup-truck, not dump-truck) of top-soil we got a couple of weeks back We layed it out in the bottom half of the garden at the FIL's house, as the "top" half was already planted in rows. We did make a couple of rows out of this before mounding it up this weekend and planting in our squash (both seedlings and seed). The last pic there shows the length of the garden, from the bottom on up to the top where the lettuce is planted. In dimensions, the garden is a rectangle, 22 feet wide by 60 feet long. Most of the rows have been made wide enough to rototill between, in order to keep the weeds under control. That way we only have to weed what grows up on the rows or hills.

Ok, I'll go ahead and do my Independence Day Challenge update now.
Planted: Put in my potatoes, zucchini, beets and turnips here at home this week. At the FIL's, we did MOSTLY transplanting of things. Quite honestly, I don't really recall exactly what was planted this week, except tomatoes. I know I transplanted a LOT of tomato seedlings, beyond that everything else kinda merges together into one big "I KNOW I did it, I just can't remember exactly what IT was." *grin*

Tended: Transplanting and watering and weeding of plants previously planted, here and at the FIL's house. OH, and we got a water-barrel set up at our house this week! I've been using it for roughly half of my watering needs.
Harvested: Not a thing for me, but the mosquitoes have harvested plenty of blood off me! I need to get out & pick some of my rhubarb this week. It's gotten big enough that it can be harvested the first time for the year. That and my chives. But those are items to report next week.
Preserve Something: Nothing out of the garden, though I DID pick up a few cucumbers at the grocery store on Saturday and make us a big bowl of Cucumber Salad to be eatting this week. Also picked up a honeydew melon and cut that all up and put it into containers for easier eatting this week. But, that's not really preserving things so much as cooking them, I guess.
Make Preparations: just the gardening. Didn't buy anything but garden supplies this week, didn't get to any garage sales. Really didn't do anything this week that counts for this category.
Cook Something (from scratch): I don't suppose BLT's and cucumber salad count, do they??? Everything else this past week came semi-premade or from a box. And one dinner from Subway. That's just the way it is some weeks.
Manage Reserves: As usual, rotating canned goods as used and purchased.
Work on/Toward local food systems: A coworker expressed an interest in going in on a share of unpasturized cow's milk with me. It'd amount to 1 gal. of unpasturized milk per week, and the coworker said that if I want to split the cost, she'd make yogurt for us to share, with the milk. I told her to find out how much it'll cost. My coworker also said the same lady raises chickens, and that once butchered, the lady was asking $7 per bird last year. This year she may be up to $8 or $9 per bird, but my coworker said they were the TASTIEST chickens she's ever had. I think this is something Scott and I should seriously consider this year. 10 chickens at $8 or $9 per bird isn't out of the question, esp. when the flavor is much better. My coworker also said that some of the birds get to be the size of small turkeys. DANG! That's a LOT of bird for the winter. And at a reasonably affordable cost to US, while hopefully also being worthwhile for the lady who grows them. So, two small things for this category this week. I didn't go to the farmer's market though, as it's 25 miles one way, and I don't see the point in doing this weekly with the cost of fuel such as it is. Maybe next Saturday.
Compost Something/Reduce waste: Along with the bag of tops that I had to go to the transfer station the other day, Tay also reduced the amount of toys in her room by ridding herself of MOST of her Polly-Pockets and all her Bratz dolls. Scott estimated that Tay made some little girl VERY happy. *wry smile* At least he knows to put this stuff up at the top platform at the Transfer station, so that others can use what we don't want any longer. At one point in our lives, he would've been just fine with tossing them into the bins to be covered with food and other nasty refuse. Now he at least gets that to do so is to waste some things that other's cannot easily afford. Even if he's not yet at the point where he'll consider taking things OTHERS have left at the platform.

And composting as usual. I turned my pile over this week, to mix in some new stuff, and could see that it's evidently getting warm enough to break down, even if it's not quite as deep as my one coworker/friend thinks it SHOULD be. I saw some of the materials that were composting well enough to be unrecognizable. GREAT!
Learn a New Skill: Nope. Really didn't. I need to do better in this aspect.

(I'm really sorry I haven't been posting but once a week for the past couple. Life has just been too crazy-busy to find time to do much posting. Even know, I'm looking at the time as I'm writing all this and thinking that I'm probably NOT going to get to read anybody else's blogs today.)

So some funny things from this past week to share.
First off, Monday of last week.... Tay rode her bike over to the skate/bike park with a buddy from the neighbourhood here, and she left the dogs out in the outside kennel when she went. Just as I'd asked her to. It was a nice sunny day, I knew she wouldn't be gone for more than a couple of hours at a time, so their health wasn't in any danger. (And I DID give them fresh water before I left for work.) Well, she got home for lunch, and ran out back to let them inside, and found the spiggot that opens into the kennel turned ON! Somehow those dumb dogs had figured out how to turn the damned spiggot on, and were flooding their kennel! Tay said it was pretty well sopping wet in there, and she saw Puck pawing at the handle of the spiggot, somehow trying to turn it back OFF. *shaking head* We still don't know HOW they turned it on! But, THAT'S water "down the drain". Dumbies.
I told Scott that we should hook the sprinkler up to the hose, and to that spiggot, so that if the dogs manage to turn it on again, they also get a shower in the process. *grin* That may keep them from doing it again!

Tuesday, I got to work and immediately had to tend the check-out desk for my shift. That's fine. One hour later, one of my coworkers (nice, 50 year old woman who works part-time at the library and works full-time at the hospital) came out to relieve me for HER desk-shift. I had a patron in front of me, and when my coworker D. came out, the patron looked at me, looked at D., looked back at me, and then asked if we were a Mother/Daughter team. *laugh* Admittedly D. and I do look something alike. We both have brown hair that's similar in color, and long enough that we both frequently wear it pulled up in buns or butterfly clips, or back in a braid. We're also both similarly shaped & statured. But, even though we've been mistaken for EACH OTHER before, it's the first time anybody asked if we were Mother & Daughter. *rofl* I told D. I may start calling her "Mom" from now on. *wink* (Don't worry, Mom, I know who REALLY gave birth to me. But I DO think you and D. would get along well!)
We both got quite a kick out of this happening. And, D. wasn't offended by the thought that she looks old enough to be my mom, because she knows that she IS the same age as my mom. D. has a 25 year old son, and a 23 year old daughter. My mom started having kids just a couple of years younger, meaning that I'm 29, born when Mom was 22. D. was going to college at that point, getting her certification to be a respritory (sp?) therapist, and had her first at the same time my mom was having HER last. Anyway, quite a comical moment, there.
Back to the gardening news. Both of the two cucumber plants I attempted to grow here at home have died. However, I didn't dump the dirt from the first seedling pot, and the second seed I'd planted in there went & sprouted. So, I may wind up with a cucumber plant here at home after all. Unfortunately I'm having a hell of a time finding a way to insulate the seedlings against our cooler weather. I checked at a couple of the locally owned farm & garden stores, and neither place carries those "Wall 'o water" things, which is what I was hoping to get for my cucumbers and tomatoes. Not sure what I'm going to do now.
I wound up yesterday well & truly earning myself the title "Redneck Woman". Rather than earning the title through coarse and hick-like behavior, I earned it instead by spending all day out in the FIL's garden, planting. Just a quick run-down because this will count for next week's independence days challenge, we did MORE transplanting, but mainly planted in the onion seedlings (only 17 of them), a whole bunch of squash seedlings AND seeds (5 butternut squash seedlings, 3 hills of zucchini, 7 hills of hubbard squash), and 3 rows of potatoes (THIS is more precisely how I burnt the back of my neck). Honestly, my neck doesn't feel burnt. A bit warm, but not hurting. I DID come home though, and take a cool shower, and then had the hubby slather me with aloe gel on neck & arms. My shoulders are pretty well pink, as well. I was suprised to burn, as I've only ever burnt once that I know of, and that was when I was pregnant with Tay.

Speaking of Tay, her team won both of their first 2 games. The first game was Tuesday evening (rainy, windy and yucky weather, but I'd worn shorts, a t-shirt and sandals to work because the first half of the day was beautiful with NO predictions of rain for the day), and Tay's team seemed to be dominating the play. We won that game only 2 to 1, though. It was a tight game for all that we seemed to keep control of the ball most of the game.
The second game was Thursday. I wore jeans, brought a jacket and a blanket, and wore socks. It rained REALLY hard and was windy as hell. Even with the proper gear, I froze. We also saw a double rainbow. *grin* Anyway, Tay's team seemed to be very equally matched for this game. The control of the ball was pretty well even between the two teams. BUT, we won 4 to zero. Tay had 1 official goal, and one goal that was made from "off sides" and therefore didn't count.
In both games she spent the first half of the game in the goal net. The second half of each game saw the control of the net pass to a teammate so Tay could play out a bit.

Dad left town on Wednesday. That was hard. I knew I'd miss Dad, but what I really found myself crying over was the realization that there really IS no going back. The house I grew up in has been sold and there will likely be changes made (esp. to the yard) that will make it not the same house I spent my childhood in. It's hard to explain, but as long as Dad lived here...... I guess I kinda felt like the good things I had in my childhood were never truly gone. Now that he's left, it's been kinda hard realizing that going back even very minutely, very temporarily (even walking around the yard and picking roses or wild strawberries while visiting on Sundays) isn't ever going to happen again.
Dad called this morning to let me know that he's now Stateside, safe. He hadn't quite made it into Spokane, yet. He was still in Idaho, but at least he was stateside. He didn't have any problems with the border crossings. The crossing from Alaska to Canada did take about 45 minutes as he did have to declare his hunting rifles, but that was to be expected and didn't take any longer than it should have. The crossing from Canada into the US only took about 5 minutes, he said. I guess the guard simply asked if Dad bought anything in canada, and Dad told him only a few meals and some fuel. Now he's back on US soil, even though it's not Alaskan.
I know my baby sis is looking forward to seeing Dad again. As is my niece. It sounds like Dad's going to stick around Spokane for just a bit to visit, as well as to take care of my niece while my Sis goes to Seattle for a day and a half of training for her job.

I spent a couple of hours on Friday night up at a coworker/friend's cabin. She needed to do some rearranging, and I offered to help a couple of weeks back. I finally had time. We got some heavy things moved, freed up a little more space in her tiny cabin. (Her cabin is approx. 16x20 with no running water, no outhouse but a small composting toilet.) When I got home, Scott and Tay were out at stock car races.
I had to laugh at my hubby's failure to grasp the seriousness of Peak Oil. (Or, the refusal to believe at all, more specifically.) After they got home from the race, he told me that if my old buick doesn't sell, he's going to use it to get into stock-car racing like he's always wanted to. *shaking head* Like we can afford to maintain a third vehical just so he can spend big money on fuel for it, to race it around in circles, and trash the damned thing. *sigh* Bonehead!

PeppyLady tagged me for two memes, but I'm going to have to post those later. I've got 10 minutes before I've got to head out the door for work. Sorry I haven't made it to anybody's blogs today. I've really missed reading up on your lives this weekend.
Sorry, again, that it's been so long since I've posted, and that I don't get to come around and read and comment today. I'll try to visit everybody over the next day or two and catch up.
Have a Blessed Day!


Tori_z said...

I'm not surprised you haven't been able to make it to the blogs, or post yourself. It sounds like you've had a VERY busy and productive week.

sammy_bunny said...

Nosy moose! I usually just worry about cats in my garden.

I once had a visiting horse turn on a faucet and flood my barn. He didn't even try to turn it back off.

whimsical brainpan said...

Damn girl! You've been so busy it's hard to keep up.

The greenhouse looks really sharp.

Can't you pickle the cukes?

I am so impressed with all of your planting. I can't wait to watch it grow and see you harvest it!

Going in on the milk sounds like a good idea (as do the chickens).

LOL @ the dogs turning on the water!

Kati, don't forget to wear your sunscreen!

Congrats to Tay and her team!

I'm glad your Dad's journey went safely.

Sian said...

Your dogs sound pretty clever :)

barefoot gardener said...

Wow, Lady! You've been busy, for sure....I don't even know what to say.

Em said...

Nice gardening! When do we all get to come eat??

Celticspirit said...

Everything looks great Kati! I'd love to have a greenhouse some day but I could not have one like yours, it would not last a day with the wind that we have here. I would like to hear how it works for you. Does it enable you to extend your growing season?

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

WOW!!! Respect...

Wendy said...

Phew! That was quite an update ;).

I love your little greenhouse, and I'm glad it's working out for you. Your garden looks great. You'll have lots of fresh, lovely stuff to eat in no time. Oh, and maybe you should think about one of those big, wide-brimmed hats for gardening ;).

Kaylee said...

OHH interesting!!!!!!!!!!! They found more toumours :(