Friday, May 27, 2016

A morning walk

This morning I woke up early, which is par for the course this time of year. Figured I might as well go for a walk and pick up yesterday's mail.

The spirea is beginning to bloom:

Can you guess what we're going to do over the holiday weekend?

The winery is adding a pergola:

Not long now until the neighbor's cherries are ripe!

One of my little Japanese maples got a new pot; I just love its graceful shape:
The nearly new Reeboks I found at a local resale store are so comfortable!

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


That's it for the Marilyn Monroe moment at . . .

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday mishmash

It's ba-ack!
The trackhoe was brought back to the next-door lot and has been piling up the last of the stumps. We'll no doubt have another huge, smoking fire; let's hope we're upwind!

A much more welcome sight was this dear friend:
Laura stopped by briefly on Saturday afternoon after picking up the newest addition to her little dairy flock, this adorable Nigerian doeling. In addition to sharing the cuteness, Laura shared some of her Jarlsberg cheese; YUM! Laura is good at whatever she turns her hand to; this latest cheesemaking endeavor is no exception. She's going to be teaching a cheesemaking class soon; you go, girl!

Here's a closer look at the sweet baby,
and here's a closer look at the backdrop. My giant clump of white flags is going gangbusters this year! Like our garden, they are not ideally located, but after trying to dig them out with a shovel, I think it would take dynamite to evict them from this spot in my island bed.
This next one made me laugh. I walked through the great room to see Brian cuddling his dog. I had to grab my camera, even though Jackson hates that black box pointed at him. Doesn't he look chagrined to be in this undignified position?

I posted some sunset photos taken this evening on Instagram. Took them from the back of my horse, which made the evening even better. ;-)

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bits and bobs from the past week

After three focused posts this week, I find myself with leftovers to share – and wonder of wonders, time to share them! So in mostly chronological order....

Tesla Model X. Yeah, I got to ride in one last Saturday evening. Coolest thing I have ever been in; Totally Ludicrous!!!

Orchid. More blooms! It has truly been a gift that keeps on giving.

Chickens. We're down to 10, after losing a Red Sex Link this week. The rescued Elvira (below, back left, with the three young black Easter Eggers) isn't looking too perky, either; I suspect she will be the next to go. I love having our own egg producers; I hate that most chickens have such a short 'shelf life.'

Hay. Our favorite local hay guy called this week. He took advantage of the recent hot weather window and put up first cutting, the only producer we saw who did that. We have dibs on the remaining 136 bales, and it is tucked in his barn until we can get it. It's a start!

Space ship spotted in Oregon pasture! (If you don't follow Sara's blog, you need to click on that link.) After banning them from the pasture due to maturing grass seed heads, I let the ewes out a couple days this week. The horses had eaten and trampled the grass some, and the cooler, wetter weather had made it softer. Imagine my surprise to look out and see that Blaise was ready for lift-off!
Maybe she was just avoiding the nasties. After pulling a wicked grass seed head out of Babette's fleece, the girls are banned again. This stuff (looks like cheat grass but BIG) is wicked:

Colds. Brian and I both have 'em. Not surprising, given the short nights we've had in the past week or so. Between allergies and viruses, we should own stock in Kleenex.

Garden update – already! Yesterday I made a quick run to the metal recycler in Salem, so I stopped at Bi-Mart to see what they had on my garden list. Picked up six tomato plants (two Ace, a Celebrity, a Super Fantastic VF, a Stupice, and a Sweet Million); a Satin Beauty eggplant; and some yellow straightneck, zucchini, and additional bush bean seeds. Then I came home and got them all planted; yay me! Here's an updated panoramic shot to help me keep it all straight:

Loving the return to cooler, damp weather (although we could use a lot more of the wet stuff). Besides being more comfortable, the sky shows are a lot more interesting. Here are a few shots I took this week; worth clicking to biggify if I do say so myself.

That's quite a lot from . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our garden: so far, so good

We got a relatively early start on our garden this year, thanks to record-breaking heat. Rick and Brian got our plot weeded and tilled, and by May 1st we had lettuce starts and Yukon Gold potatoes in the ground. On May 8, we planted snap peas, onion sets, and carrots (I used my Kerrits seeds once I found the fine print that said they are Nantes, my favorite variety). On Wednesday afternoon, to take advantage of the wet forecast, I planted the rest of the seeds we had on hand: saved Royal Burgundy bush beans, White Egg Turnips, Marketmore 98 cucumbers, and saved Delicata squash. The minimum still to acquire and plant: zucchini seeds, tomato starts, pepper starts, basil starts, and eggplant starts. I'd like to do that on Sunday, but we'll see.

I labeled a panoramic photo to help me remember what went where (oops; the onions are between the peas and beans):
Peas are up!
The following photo was taken from the opposite corner, showing the garden's position relative to our house. The photo after that was taken from our front door.
Yes, our garden is that little pocket-sized space tucked amidst the trees.
As you can see, the garden's location is far from ideal, surrounded by trees we are unwilling to remove, which have gotten considerably bigger since we chose this space many years ago. On top of that, Rick has put in more and more berries and grapes (on the left, behind the ornamental cherry and oak trees), leaving less room for annuals. If I had my druthers, I'd let him take over that whole space for his "babies" and move the vegetable garden to a more open spot with all-day sun (in raised beds!), but I'd need to find a whole lotta help – or money to hire someone....

Still, the garden as it stands does provide food for our table. I've been harvesting rhubarb for weeks, and yesterday I got my first taste of these:
Thankful for what we have at . . .

The easy boys

From left to right: Browning, Blake (ram), and Bittersweet
They are just as vocal as the teenager (they don't like the last hay we purchased to get us through until this year's harvest and complain loudly about it), but otherwise they are all sweethearts. Of course, only one has any hormonal issues, and that's only during part of the year. ;-)

Interesting development: Since Bart died, my other shy wether, Bing, now seeks attention. Of course, I'm only too happy to provide regular chin rubs and ear scritches. (Who came up with that strange little phrase, anyway? "Only too happy." Weird.)

That's it for today from . . .

Letting the photos lead

A lot has happened in the past week, and I have been too short of time, inspiration, and temper to compose posts along the way. In a nutshell: the iris show of last week has almost petered out; the weather has swung from unusually hot and dry to below average and wet to normal for this time of year; family has come and gone; and the never-ending battle of wills continues with the teenager.
I just saw this late blooming surprise today
Meanwhile, the white flags in the island bed are taking center stage
while the little Stella de Oro daylily plays a supporting role.

Monday evening was our homeschool co-op's year-end program and 8th grade graduation ceremony. My dad drove in on Friday for the event, so was also here to attend part of the Pathfinder Fair Brian participated in on Sunday. It was bittersweet, as these events likely mark the end of our involvement with both the co-op and Pathfinders (a church youth organization, similar to co-ed Scouts). However, Brian is not quite done with his 8th grade subjects, so schoolwork continues . . . and may continue through the summer in the form of repeating two core subjects that he is not successfully completing. Oh joy.

But wait; there's more!

This morning we were up early so Rick could take his mother to a doctor's appointment before driving to northern California for continuing education. On the way he hit a deer with my car; it's drivable, but will need to go to an auto body shop to repair the damage after he returns.

The fun just never ends at . . .

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Feasting my eyes on iris

I have been collecting pictures of our iris when I can catch them in good light; they thrill my heart so. Rick bemoans how few flowers there are, and our iris bed is in serious need of redoing – lifting all the corms, cleaning out the weeds, and replanting. However, the iris out by the gate that were here when we bought the place in '95, completely neglected and competing with pasture grass, are blooming a riot; go figure!
Tuesday afternoon I rode my pony down the gravel lane through the woods and came upon a big clump of wild iris. I was so surprised to see my favorite wildflower; I thought their season had passed! I took photos with both my dusty-lens barn camera and my iPhone (for Instagram); my iPhone (bottom photo) did a better job of capturing true color.

There can never be too much beauty around . . .