Monday, January 22, 2018

"Mother Nature... Over Here" (while frantically waving)...

I think I made enough of a fuss and got her attention this weekend as...

... Saturday afternoon...

... and another of Saturday afternoon...

... she dumped a load of snow on the homestead.  LOVE IT!  Of course, I'm staying inside to enjoy it, but it's such a great sight to have snow on the ground.  Didn't even know where my rubbers were, since we've been snowless, so it took awhile to get them and check on the chickens.  They refused to come out while it fell.


... Sunday morning as the sun came up...

... used the raised beds for measuring... 2 and a half inches...

... the girls didn't like it much, 'specially those with
naked bottoms, but they wanted their treats...

... won't need to water the strawberries for awhile...

It's a good thing I check my weather app before bed, too.  Overnight temp was supposed to be 17 degrees this morning, but I've learned that we don't follow the weather services "suggested" numbers and had the water drip last night (had too many pipes explode as they froze).  This morning at 6 AM, it was 8 degrees.  

Tried patting myself on the back but just got a cramp...
  


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Well, My Face Is Red(bud)...

"Over 60 senility" rears its ugly head again.  I can't believe I spent the last post talking about the new treelings we received and COMPLETELY forgot to say what they were. They are Redbuds and, believe it or not, they are still there and hopefully alive a whole 3 days later.  

IF they make it, they'll be spectacular when they grow up.  I must find a way to talk Mother Nature into protecting them through the winter and infusing them with health and vigor in the spring.  

See, we've planted Redbuds before.  Not treelings, mind you, but growing trees in 5 gallon buckets.  They croaked.  We've planted Aspen from buckets before and 3, of possibly 9, made it.  We lucked out with three 6' Blue Spruce trees we planted years ago, as 2 actually made it.  We've planted Cypress (8) and Poplars (2) which didn't make it.  This, plus all the other Arbor Day Foundation treelings (Blue Spruce (10 of 10 died), Douglas Firs (6 of 10 died) we've blogged on recently.  

So, now it was time to get these newest babes tucked in... for the rest of their (hopefully long) lives?


Spent some time transporting straw to the new treelings so they'll have a bit of protection from winter cold.  I'm still making like Mother Nature and adding slight moisture to plants to simulate snow on the ground (which we still haven't seen hide, nor hair, of), so the mulch will hold that in, too.



Pretty sickly looking twig of a treelings here, but now I just needed some dirt for berms brought over.  Oh!  Steeeeeve...  



Well, here is a picture of his handiwork.  I suppose this is now all we can do to prepare the little guys (gals?) for spring.  

On to a new redness.  We are both in the grip of allergies and are now sporting red noses (to go along with my red face).  Moving into the mountains came with allergies to something new.  We never knew if it was pine, juniper or cedar.  This week we found out that the juniper counts are extremely high, so we probably have our answer.  We hack, cough and blow tissues into pieces... and find it hard to sleep.  

I suppose knowing what is the likely culprit is great, but a good night's sleep would be even greater.  Probably going to snuggle down into our furry sheets and do nothing... until the next post is due.  

Wish us luck... breathing... 



Monday, January 15, 2018

Perpetually Optimistic?... or Pessimistic?...

We received more treelings from the Arbor Day Foundation.  That group seems to be very optimistic about our chances of getting them to survive.  Yes, we of the dead Douglas Firs, Blue Spruces and other assorted tree fiascoes.  So, what to do?



Well, I decided to just give it another go.  They were unpacked and checked for dead treelings.  Only one seemed to have croaked.



First order of business was to soak them for several hours.  Nine little (and I mean little) sticks.  It's almost impossible to believe they are going to make it.


They were supposedly sent at just the right time to plant so, taking that as truth, we dug out the dead spruce sticks and made ready to repurpose those holes.  Ziva did a lot of supervising.



My job was to get one treeling out (YES, spellcheck, I know treeling isn't a real word, but it fits the situation, so I'm using it!) and hold it suspended while Steve put dirt into the hole and brought it up the the correct depth.



I went and pulled the tree protection rings from the dead Douglas Firs and we repurposed the potato bins. 



It's hard to see but three rings are there going down the south driveway, too.

Watered them well, but hopefully not too much.  At this point I have NO idea what these treelings will like, just as I had no idea about those other lost trees.  

We'll only need a few more improvements done to them before they are left to sink, or swim, on their own.  Will need some mulch added over their roots and some new berms made to keep water in.  I'll get those pics on soon...

... say some prayers for these babes?  I hate killing so many treelings that someone spent a lot of time growing.



Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Poof," And We Were Gone...

More stuff to do as old people... head down to the valley for yet more appointments.  Your life is barely yours after you reach a certain age as the doctors have more say over what you do than you do.  Yes, we'll go to them, but we don't have to like it.

Anyway, we checked with our favorite chicken sitter and planned our trip.  



First, I had to clean up a bit.  Raked out the run, added straw and planned their menu... 


... as there has to be a strategy for the sitter to employ to keep her charges inside the coop when they'll want to sprint past her.  This trip her "weapons" of war will be cabbage and apples.  She'd throw some into the far end of the run and have (hopefully) time to get crumble into the feeder before the girls head her way.  They may be sufficiently entertained that she can also check for eggs with a BIT of time.  Anyway, I wished her luck and we headed out.

We hit the Valley of the Sun just as rain was headed their way.  I LOVED it.  Yes, I DO love rain when I don't have a garden that'll be negatively impacted by it.



Rained during the night, too, while we slept obvious.  Enough came down to soak the brick patio out front of the Valley house.



             Even outside the doctor's office there was a bank of clouds.  
                                          No more rain though.


... just coming over the Rim from Woods Canyon Lake...

... Forest Lakes...

I couldn't wait to see how much snow we'd received on our mountain as we came back up the Rim.  As we came down into our neck of the woods and getting more excited...

... nothing.  Maybe one or two puddles, but no snow, nor anything even suggesting snow came.

... almost as disappointing as my doctor's attitude with my weight...

... SOB!...



Monday, January 8, 2018

Think Anyone Will Notice I'm Not The Real Mother?...

Had the teensiest bit of rain over night.  So teensy that if I hadn't seen the slightest bit of moisture drippage on the cement from the roof of the garage this morning, I'd never have known it happened.  I'd loved to have seen a rain, but Mother Nature is being coy with her timing.



I've been pretending to be her (Mother) since it really has been drier than ever up here.  I've resorted to watering the dormant (I hope) strawberry bed just so they don't dry out and turn to dust.  It would be nicer if a layer of snow was over everything and keeping things moist.                                  (listening... "MOTHER?"...)

May replace some of the plastic soon as pulling it back made the inner layer turn to dust.  Alright, enough with anything turning to dust!!  Still, everyone is now all tucked in for another month.



Water fount 101.  This thing is a marvel for the months needing heated water.  It holds a ton and slightly warms the inside of the coop for better chicken survival/comfort in the winter.  It does get dirty, but this mess is courtesy of the new straw put into the coop.  The girls kicked it all over and the dirt and dust covered everything.  

It's a little hard to clean anything in the garden when the hose is put away for the winter.  Having a hose with a pressure wand would've made things quicker, but I resorted to several trips with the watering can.  After some scrubbing with steel wool...



... it was clean and refilled with water and cider vinegar. Here, it's awaiting the brawn of this operation to get it installed into the coop.  Steve's steadier than me while carrying a full container of water, while also turning it over and placing it on its plinth.  


Other than the little jobs needed daily around the garden and coop, things here are pretty bland, to say the least.  



... from my brother...

Don't get me wrong, we love the holidays and the company they bring.  However, after we say goodbye, we pop open a bottle and take it easy for a few days.
  
Company... gone.  
Vegging... started. 
Catching up on all the recorded shows we missed over the holidays...

... CHECK!...

May have to wrestle that bottle from its current owner...    



Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 Summed Up... 2018 Look Out!...

The dreaded Rose Chafer beetles come around in 2 year cycles.  Be prepared for the next two years.

Keep pine cones out of the garden.  Stumbling over them with my already wavering legs, and the resulting falls, is brutal.

Potatoes don't do well in rainy, cloudy years.

Pumpkins don't do well in rainy, cloudy years.

Good fences make good neighbors, except where rabbits and squirrels are concerned.  Add another layer of rabbit fencing to the base of the garden fence.

Strawberries may not be the plants for my homestead.  One more year to shape up and fly right or... you're GONE.

Why do I grow rosemary, basil and thyme every year and then never get around to cooking with them?

Only grow dwarf kale as the larger Red type shades out the garden beds.

Brussels' sprouts belong in Brussels, not on our mountain.

There can actually be too much rain.  Never thought that in the Valley of the Sun... but I've seen it first hand now.

Black furniture is the worst to have up here.  Dust really shows on it and since windows are always open because of no air con, the place always looks filthy.

                                *****************************

                        SOMEONE was styling during the holidays...



... Ziva received a Christmas sweater from Steve's sister.  I do believe I'll need to wash it in hot water as it's actually too large for her.  Can't believe that after almost everything else bought for her has been too small.  I think she liked it on her.  

If a dog can "preen" what she was doing would be considered doing just that.  She thought herself too pretty for going outside...