Thursday, October 19, 2017

Finally, Winter's on it's way...


Our harbinger aspen has finally gotten its yellow leaves.  This tree is supposed to let me know where we are in any given season, but it was very late this year.  It usually greens up first and yellows first, but on our trip down the mountain, I noticed many yellow aspens and this one was still green.  A few extra below 30's nights and it has finally done its job.

Ziva has been very lucky with squirrel hunting this week, so she's finally working, too.  Ha!  Maybe it's been that the squirrels are slowed down by the cold and becoming sluggish?  Anyway, her results are below...


... squirrel one...

... and squirrel two...

Of course, she still doesn't eat them or really bother them after she's done.  That is a little strange on her part.  They both were thrown to the ravens, who really should thank her.



She furiously digs under this fallen tree for squirrels, but rarely gets anything.  The squirrels there seem to be better at avoiding her.



I know these aren't the most exciting of pictures, but it's a pic of the last of my homegrown veggies the girls will see for a long while.  Shredded in the last of the golden beets and those carrot globes.  There's also some Chinese dinner rice and beef, which I hate to give them but that somehow got pushed to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten a little too long.  Now, the girls start on store-bought greens and carrots and their standard scrambled eggs.  Oh, and leftovers, of course.

One last pic I didn't include before.  Ziva lead the life of Reilly while being Ziva-sat by my sister.  She was allowed to...



...recline on the couches.  Not sure how long it'll take to get her to remember that this DOESN'T happen at home.  May use my sister for many more vacations, so now I'm wondering if Ziva will want to leave us, for her...

... NAH!  Steve still holds first place in her heart so she'll want to be with him.  However, she can always change her mind...

... (wondering if she was really watching that movie?)...



Monday, October 16, 2017

Got Potato?....

Yesterday was THE day to see what bad weather, darkness and LOTS of rain did to our potato bins.  Remember, they never grew well, never flowered and died back really soon.


Unwrapped the bubble-wrap and took off the hoop of the red potato bin.  Pulled up my trusty crate, grabbed the hand-hoe and a bucket and started digging.  It seemed there were none, but finally at the very bottom of the dirt...  


... there were a few.  Most are very tiny but there were a few of a decent size.


Did the same work at the two russet potato bins, but it took less time to find them.  They seemed to like growing in the upper part of each bin.



As the red potatoes grew, so grew the russets; tiny potatoes, but a lot more.  They looks like tiny cigars, but I'm sure they'll taste OK.



I piled up the dirt from each bin and was going to leave it until adding it to the raised beds just before closing everything down for the winter.  I wasn't fast enough.  Steve let the chickens in for some grass eating (by the way, they are very BAD at it) and they promptly destroyed the three piles.  Oh well!

Spent today winter proofing the garden and giving the strawberry plants their last drink of water.  This week it'll be time to cut them down and put them away, so to speak.  Steve unloaded railroad ties into the garden so we can finish building the walls.  Ran into town for a few Halloween supplies, too.



Tonight I was planning on Thanksgiving casserole for dinner, but then my tummy wanted Mexican.  So, cooking up some chicken for tacos.  

Did a lot of work so we deserve it...  

Maybe a PiƱa Colada or two... too...



Thursday, October 12, 2017

♫ "Don't Go Breakin' My... Toe..." ♫

More on the toe later...  

First, yes, we'd been taken "off air" AGAIN by internet problems up here.  Sheesh!  Maybe I should've "sang" "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" because I almost had the feeling of a heart attack when we came home from a small trip and NO INTERNET.  My ol' heart can only take it so many times and I do believe my limit is up.  

Had a clue there may've been problems when we arrived home and all the clocks were flashing, indicating the loss of power, especially after the last repair-person said "do not let the power go off on the modem."  ACK!!  
HAD IT!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

When we last had contact, I'd just about gotten around to telling the rest of the Steve/garden story.  He'd started working on another railroad tie wall in the garden.  He'd been working long and hard on it...  



... and he'd finished part of it.  He was working long hours on it and not stopping for meals.  He got extremely weak because of that and...  



... found himself so tired that he could barely swing the sledge hammer with any accuracy... and smacked his foot with it.  OK, it could look worse, but it put him out of sorts to finish any more on the wall.

Luckily, we were going to be heading out for a few days, so he could heal before doing anything else.  




We landed in Sedona, where he was free to sit in front of a fireplace and read, and HEAL under the watchful eyes of Snoopy and Lucy.  They did a good job and he was soon hobbling all over the place.  Had some very nice days and many great meals.  Then, it was back to the REAL world.

Anyway, we arrived home and signed up for MORE internet help and waited.  Steve wasn't allowed to do anything under fear of "wife" for a few more days.  I did let him...




... back into the garden, but he was only allowed to reset the garden thermometer after it needed a battery change.  It was time to put his mental prowess to work...

... the instructions almost caused more problems than the sledge had...

... Ha!...


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wrangling up a bunch of pies...

Today is windy but we still headed out to finish getting the garden ready for bed.  By "we" I mean me, and a reluctant Ziva, who left me for other plans.


THIS is how she spent most of her day.  The squirrel wrangler was really wanting the squirrel up that tree.  I found this picture great in another way... you can actually see all of her.  Steve was a dear and had whacked weeds down between the two areas for the winter.  I left her to her job and started turning over dirt.



The Brussels bed is sadly empty and so are the squash and pumpkin troughs.  Steve has all of his digging tools out and is still insistent on getting tie walls up.  He didn't feel like building them today so he spent a lot of his time pulling Halloween decor out of the garage for me.  Can't wait until the house is suitably scary.



This is the final tally for pumpkins and the lone acorn.  Eleven pumpkins for the winter... that is, if the two green ones ripen.  If they don't, the girls get them.  The huge one in the back is an anomaly.  It weighs a ton, too.  The other ones are in the 6-7 inch diameter range.  They'll do for pies.

I said lone acorn because, though I had 2 growing (saddest total EVER), 1 mysteriously disappeared.  It was there one day and gone the next.  I'm seriously wondering if I should even count this acorn as it doesn't look ripe, or ever to be ripe.  Just over the size of a golf ball.  I hope next year is not a repeat of the total this year.



My total butternut count wasn't much better.  None are as plump as they should've been but, I'm going to use 5 as my bookkeeping number and include 3 halves in parentheses.  Another prayer for less rain and dark next year is now going out.



Pulled the dead tomatoes out and found that the oregano had pulled through all of the freezes.  So, onions and oregano still going strong.


More still to do... and miles to go before I sleep...



Monday, October 2, 2017

Harvest and Halloween...

Not the best of pictures, but I was true to my word and decorated the coop for the girls... (OK, and for me) so I'm feeling the season now.  I'll get a better picture up soon, but you get the idea.  The lights are candy corn colored and there's 3 jack-o-lanterns there, too.  Had to be mindful of their sleep so the lights come on at 4 and go off at 9, but really, they're probably not bright enough to bother them at all.



This weekend was all work.  Now that everything edible is out of the garden (except the onions) it was past time to trim the strawberry plants down.  They had to be cut way back as I couldn't get the soaker hose out from under them.  I'd let the runners just go crazy until I was going to cut them, but they became an impenetrable mat over that whole bed.  So, whacked them back to about 6 inches and got all the hoses into the shed.

Still a couple deadish broccoli plants in this pic and they all went into the girls over the weekend.  I have a few green tomatoes to throw to them that fell off when the cold killed the plants.  Then, I guess they'll live on crumble and odds and ends from the kitchen.  Poor, pitiful girls.

Steve's in the back getting ready to start some more planning.  He's looking at the one deadish Brussels sprout plant that I left to see if it would live any longer (pulled it out after taking this pic).  More on his plans later...


So, the strawberries are cut, hose removed and new pine needles added as mulch.  Just before snow comes, they'll get really whacked to the ground and acidic fertilizer will be scattered on the needles.  Then, they get completely covered with straw and plastic and left for the winter.  I may whisper to them that they'd better shape up and fly right, as if they don't produce next year... well, they are toast.


Here's Steve at work.  He's finally decided that he will add more railroad ties to the north of the upper beds as they'll be more "stable" for me to walk on.  I told him I didn't need this done, but I was overruled.  He worked on removing rocks and soil for hours and it didn't seem to make a dent.  It's the hazards of digging in the mountains.  ROCKS!  Everywhere and in every shovel.


I thought that was going to be the end of it.  NO!  Before finishing the upper place he'd just started, he decided to finally get to the south end of the trough bed and shore up the hill.  THAT area is a bad area and I slide down it a lot.  He'd promised to fix that area months ago, but I'll take it now.  Next year I'll have stone steps up the corner area between the supporting walls of ties.  Almost like an early Christmas present.

Anyone up for taking bets on the length of this project?...



Thursday, September 28, 2017

Just about everything's gone... for the year...

Actually having some nicer weather the last couple of days.  The days are warmer and the winds have finally died off.  Only in the 30's at night so they are nicer, too.  


The weeds have started to go raspberry all over the grounds.  I still haven't remembered to investigate which ones turn this color in fall so the mystery is still there to be solved.  The color makes the land look like we are living in a fairyland.


It was finally time to pull the remaining carrots.  The cold was starting to get to the leaves and I could see that the writing was on the wall and they weren't going to make it much further.  They look big in this picture but I bet the longest one was only 5 inches.  Probably not going with miniatures next year.


Had to get the butternuts out of the trough as something has decided to eat them at night.  They did not do well this year.  A few slightly close to full sized and many halflings (excuse the "Lord of the Rings" reference).



Pulled all the leaves and stems out of the pumpkin trough so I could see what the harvest would be.  Only 2 were still on growing plants, so cut everyone else loose and got the rubbish to the compost pile.  Still hoping the greenish ones have time to ripen in the sun.  The pumpkins in this trough haven't been bothered by any animals since I moved them up top.  The hanging half was broken up and thrown to the hens last week.  



These pumpkins grew in the butternut trough.  I didn't plant any here, but, well, there you go.  The close pumpkin (can't really see the other one) has been bothered by whatever ate chunks out of the butternuts.  I'm hoping that putting buckets over these two will get them to harvest, but their stems look bad.  

Now, the only things still growing the the garden are the onions.  The cold doesn't seem to bother them even though they are exposed.  The broccoli plants are almost all gone.  I believe I have enough left for the girls to get one to eat for three more nights.



I pulled everything else and got it out into the compost pile, but did save the sprouting straw for the chickens to eat.  THEY had a field day especially with all the seed heads in the mix. 

Now, what to do?!  I think it's about time to DECORATE the coop for Halloween.  After all, I believe the whole homestead should be in on the celebrating...