Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bathroom Project

Bath-tub to be redone on Friday, then all that remains is paint the doorframe and replace the door. I'll check the used house parts store for a 'classic door' before going to Lowes or Home Depot. Then..... Bathroom #2?Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Peaches. Bulb Planting. Puttering.

Wednesday I noted that some peaches had fallen from this miniature tree. I picked them up, and more fell off. There were about 30 peaches. This is Garden Gold miniature peach. The tree is 3 years old. Unlike Honey Babe, it didn't have much problem this year with leaf curl.

These were very tasty. They have prominant fuzz, which is something that I like about them.

I got inspired, and a Raintree Nursery catalog came at the same time. I reserved another genetic dwarf peach, this time El Dorado.

Site for peaches at Raintree Nursery is here.

I also saw the Tri Lite peach/plum hybrid. It will replace a nonproductive apple (golden delicious) in the yard. Not a genetic dwarf. Site for tri-lite is here. Dave Wilson Nursery's photo of Tri Lite is here. After enjoying the Flavor Delight Aprium and various pluots, I feel inspired to try another Zaiger tree. Dave Wilson Nursery's description of the interspecific hybridization ast Zaiger genetics is very interesting and can be found here. They also devoped a 3-way hybrid, peach, plum, apricot, that they have called a "Peacotum™", which apparently is not on the market yet. They report this one as having a 'fruit coctail' flavor. I think that when this one comes onto the market, an existing ornamental or fruit in my yard wil have to give way to it (unless it costs a fortune, which it might).

Today I also planted 64 "Fortune" Daffodils (photo examples from google search here) , One globemaster allium (google search result here), and 6 each "City of Haarlem and Gipsy Queen Hyacinths (here and here). Oh, plus I finished off a 35-bulb bag of "Tete-a-Tete" Narcissus (here).

Bulb planting is an act of faith, suggesting hope that the upcoming Winter will pass and I'll still be here. Also an investment in the future, knowing that when they do come up I'll be watching closely, hoping for releif from the darkness of winter.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crinodonna. Anigozanthos

This Anigozanthos did well this year, blooming most of the summer, and proved to be tolerant of sporadic watering. The yellow variety (not pictured) has green leaves but didn't produce a single flower this summer. Does that mean it will be a winter bloomer?

Having seen these outside in Las Vegas, I suspect that they just aren't Pacific Northwest material, but will continue to try.
Posted by PicasaThis Crinodonna has bloomed reliably in this location for 4 summers in a row. This is the first year for a pair of flower stems. The photo does not catch the subtle apricot hue of the blossom. It's quite striking.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Charlie "Sit!"

Not much of a plot but it captures some of Charlie's 'spirit'.

Doggie Video Test

Sunday, September 16, 2007

White Marseilles FIg

This is "White Marseilles" = Lattarulla = Lemon fig. It's been growing in a container for 3 years. This summer it "almost" had a fig but that fell off, so I've never tasted one from this tree.

It wasnt happy in the container, drying out too fast. The leaves are pale and look ready to fall off now, ahead of the other in-ground fig trees.

This location is the former home of a raspberry that got out of hand, the berries were small. I like the Fallgold better - bigger, sweeter, and smaller plant. So, I dug out the raspberry, and planted this tree into the ground. Added crushed eggshells for calcium, and covered the soil with a leaf compost mulch.

I lso planted 30 bulbs of a small narcissus around the edges, for Spring color.
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Bathroom Project

Posted by PicasaAnother step closer. Hired a plumber to finish the fixtures. First he spent a lot of time saying that the plumber who roughed in the pipes did it all wrong. Then he said that the new Toto water saving toilet could not be installed on the original drain pipe and that the tile coult not be drilled. So I did it yesterday, he was wrong on both counts and now we have a new water saving toilet. Then he only managed to get the sink 1/2 done, so I wound up finishing that. Apparently the original plumber installed the wrong pipe for the bath tub spout - a part will be sent in the mail to replace that, and I hope that it will work.
Still major progress in the right direction, with a working sink and toilet, ,and a tub that is 'almost there'.
Now to spackle over the cement board above the tub, then prime and paint.


I'm a BAD BOY.

All summer long, I've been watching this brugmansia limp along, anemic and rarely blooming, with yellowish leaves and not much growth. Finally, I gave in and gave it s little miracle grow (gasp!). It's responded in a big way, with the most flowers ever, the leaves are bright green, and it's put out some new growth.

OK, ONE plant got some miracle grow. Obviously, it was missing something - I did use Whitney's organic fertilizer when repotting it, and had given it some doses of fish emulsion, without much benefit.

Here's how I look at it. If someone cant absorb vitamin B12, we give them injections. If they have an infection ,we give an antibiotic. If they have cancer, we givce chemotherapy. That doesnt mean that living a healthy lifestyle with good balanced diet and daily exercise isn't the best for almost anyone, it's just that sometimes there is a situation where something 'extra' may be needed.

At least, that's how I justify it. Next year I'll give it a good dose of chicken poop compost, and see if that does the job.

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Angels Rest

Yesterday we went to Angel's Rest in the Columbia River Gorge. Beautiful view, nice hike. I forgot to put the memory chip in the good camera, so these are a bit blurry. Ning and the dogs.
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Early Fall Main Crop Figs

Hardy Chicago - this is a less-than-2 year old tree (started from cujtting early 06), so it's proven to be quick to produce its first figs. They are in the "OK" category - nothing to write home about, but much better than no figs at all. Maybe they'll get better (bigger, sweeter, juicier) as the tree matures?
Posted by Picasa"Vancouver" - probably Brunswick, grown noriginally form a cutting. This is still the biggest, sweetest, juiciest fig in my yard, and they are starting to swell and droop. I can hardly wait.a

Grapes in Cherry Tree

What's that up in the cherry tree? Grapes! I'm not sure of the variety, possible Niagra. I suggest Niagra as the variety because it is the most popular seeded green grape variety sold in stores, although I bought the original plant at a Farmer's Marker in Vancouver 4 or 5 years ago.
They are very juicy and sweet, but given their locaton 20 or 30 feet off the gound, it takes a ladder to harvest them. The plan was to have them grow along a fence UNDER the tree, but this vine has aspirations of its own.
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Fall Blossoms

This is my favorite lily, I almost missed it. This is a species lily, so not as flashy, and the fragrance is strong and sweet but not as overwhelming as some hybrids. Doing well wtihout much water - but may not be as ready for next because of my neglect this year.
The rose is "Happy Child", getting by and occasionally blooming. It took about 4 years from cutting stage to really perform.Posted by Picasa

Nings Chickens

These are 3 of Ning's 4 hens. See earlier entrys for them as baby chicks. They are laying 3 to 4 eggs daily. One of the Rhode Island Reds is the 'star' chicken, largest eggs and most reliable, the other Rhode Island Red is the developmentally challenged hen, laying fragile eggs that almost never make it to the kitchen. The others (I dont know their variety) are in between.

So far, they are keeping up with us, although we did have to makde a plateful of deviled eggs so that we didnt waste any.

They eat a lot of the kitchen scraps that otherwise would go to the compost pile. They actually still do, since once they go through the chicken the result heads to the compost.

The hen house was built from scraps of 2X4, parts pulled out of the old bathroom (the flooring is former cabinet), and one sheet of outdoor grade siding. It opens from the top for easy egg collection. We haven't made Winter plans yet, may need to insulate their roosting house (purchased separately) or build something new.

Here are my thoughts on why home yard chickens are environmentally friendly:
* They can be fed kitchen scraps and food that is owtherwise wasted, and they convert it into food for us (eggs) or the garden (chicken poop). Of course, they do get regualr chicken feed and oyster shells for egg strength.
* Growing them at home is cleaner than chicken factory farms, no massive waste.
* Growing them at home connects the gardener to their source of food, creating a deeper connection to nature and where we fit into our food chain.
* They eat bugs and slugs, converting them into food.
* These chickes are housed in an area that I could never rid of bishop weed. They seem to have eradicated it. They are good at killing plant life under foot, when needed (and even when not needed, but I'm listing the positives here).

Here is a question: if they eat oyster shells, and the chicken converts them into the eggshell, does that make eggs seafood?

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

After a hiatus

It's been a difficult summer. Work hours are long and the work is the most intense ever. Coming home, I'm often too exhausted to do more than water 'essentials' about every other night on hot days, less often if cooler. No time for more significant garden projects. I have also tried to get the bathroom project finished, but only about 1 day every other weekend.

What has happened in the garden?

1. Most of the plants continue to survive. The grapes (Venus here) are producing like crazy now. I've about finished off Interlaken and Venus, and Price is done. Price didnt have many anyway, but they are the most 'grapy', most flavorful and largest. They do have seeds, but I think I even like that.

2. Of course, the hummingbirds dont take much attention, and they have been the big treat of the summer. I read that they eat the nectar for energy, but get all of their protein from insects. No wonder this yard is doing so well wtihout insecticides.

3. Tomatoes are producing well now. I eat at least one large tomato daily, sometimes more. Principe Borghese makes for great 'tomato raisons' - slice in have and leave in the dehydrator for about 24 hours.

4. Figs have not done much yet. The containerized figs are barely limping by. Vancouver / Brunswick has lots of large figs and Petite Negri has many many small ones. Hardy Chicage has a few, I ate one yesterday - these are small, but so is the tree. next year?
5. Raspberries are bearing well. I think I do like the Fallgold better, and my just ust that one next year.
6. Roses are surviving, not much disease, and most bloom a little all summer. Nothing dramatic.
7. Brugmansia has had a few flowers but not as much as last year. Maybe the container is too small. It gets daily waterings.
8. Ning's Changchun beans actually did quite well. we are still getting more than we can eat.
9. Garlic did very well. It's almost time to plant again.
10. Cacti did well this year. A few blossoms as noted earlier. Most have grown guite a lot.
All for now. I dont know how to move back closer to work/life balance (I've NEVER been in balance) but seriously need to strive for it, lose the 20 "stress pounds" that piled on, and figure out how to find time and energy to bike again. Can I do it? Posted by Picasa