Monday, May 15, 2017

Another Gardening Season is Upon Us!

The garden is finally awake. Although a frost again last night makes me dubious about pulling out all the plants from the safety of the greenhouse and sunroom.

Since we were nudged up a zone to 6 several years ago, our last frost date should be May 6. But true to the bi-polar weather Spokane is known for, not everything is by the book.

So for now I scan the sky and check the weather station quite often. One might say obsessively.

But when you have been caretakers of thousands of seedlings for over 8 weeks it becomes second nature.

Heaven forbid if Hubby doesn't get his pickling cucumber starts or Daughter her lemon cukes and Snow berry tomatoes!

And the weather has sure run the gamut from t-storms with power outages, snowstorms, hail, and driving rain, with the sun-breaks that dazzle.

So even with the extreme weather conditions and the fact Baby got all three of us sick, we made it through our first garden show of the year, the Garden Expo, this Mothers Day weekend.
It was an enormous success and I got to see old friends, and meet new ones.

We were like a well-oiled machine rolling out our racks of plants from the horse trailer our dear friends so kindly lend us for this event.

In the old days we hand carried the myriad amounts of flats and pots from the parking lot to our space inside.

And the weather cooperated. It waited to pour down on us after we were loaded up after the show and on the way home!

A big thank you to all my customers and my family for their help.

Now if the weather will warm and dry up so I can tackle the weeding and lawn mowing. And so I can get my own garden planted!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Busy as Bees

With the coming of Spring, work has started up in the greenhouse. Cleaning and filling flats and pots with soil mix.

The snow has finally completely gone from the yard so work can commence outdoors as well.

Pussy willows have budded and need to be cut for future arrangements.

The lawn looks a bit sad. There will be a problem this year with lawn mold. The many months of smothering snow pack has caused this. Our snow came and stayed before the ground had a chance to freeze.

If you notice a rotting smell or pink, white , or yellow discoloration, this is what it is.

Lightly rake to remove the dead areas, being careful not to remove the grass roots. Just enough to fluff it up to allow air circulation. Don't compost this or feed it to your chickens or livestock. Dispose of in a garbage bag.

Wait till around May to apply your usual spring application of fertilizer, or a light topdressing of an organic compost, manure, etc. Fertilizing too early in spring can encourage lush top growth at the expense of root growth.

You should see results as the weather warms and the lawn continues to dry out.

Luckily, we seem to have minimal damage. I have raked off the few remaining leaves of Autumn and any dead growth.

Grass seed has been thrown down over some dead areas by the back garage door where heavy carts of chicken feed have been rolling all winter and caused the damage.

Every year I suggest the lawn replaced with a mulch walkway or even a gravel path but no solution has been agreed upon.

In the sunroom just off the office tomato and hot pepper seeds are up and heading out to the greenhouse. We are waiting for the second set of leaves to appear before transplanting the seedlings into bigger pots.

When we had a day without rain I managed to start mucking out the chicken coop. We use a deep litter method inside the roosting room and now all that 'litter gold' is going out on the raised garden beds.
I got all five of the beds on the south side of the greenhouse covered, including the two beds of asparagus and rows of rhubarb and the winter onions and chives.

It has been raining again so I need it to dry out before venturing back into the coop. Besides, My foot has been telling me I have been using it too much.

So I instead am in the greenhouse with a chair and am re-potting the seed geraniums, and cutting back the scented geraniums and potting them up into retail-ready pots.

I am also planting some succulent pots and wreathes, and planting on some birdhouse roofs.

The Swedish ivy hanging baskets are next. They missed their re-potting last year and just received a topdressing of new soil, so they will get a complete overhaul now.

The hanging tomato baskets are sown as are the petunias, and other basket flowers and various perennials. Also some herbs that need the additional time to germinate.

Somewhere I have put my seed potatoes that will go into feed bags again this year. I can get three years planting use out of those bags so it is a win win.

Onions are in as are the peas and beets. We are trying a white beet this year so no using the water for dyeing cloth! They promise to be a sweeter beet so can't wait to try them.

This is the time of year I wander around and take cuttings from everything. The angel trumpets have been blooming all winter in the greenhouse and I have taken some starts from them. If they look really pretty I will be offering them at Farmers Market this summer.

I need to find some more novelty planters to fill with succulents. And when it warms a bit more we will be making more hypertufa creations. Besides the troughs and pots I want to try the draped towel and doily containers. (more about that later, hopefully)

Sunday, Betsy took me to Home Depot and I purchased some replacement grape plants for the grape arbor. You may recall past pictures of the grape arbor with the hammock hanging below. What a wonderful place for a nap and being able to reach up and pluck ripe grapes is so decadent! Anyway, over the years because of lax pruning and tending, we have lost the green and purple table grapes. All that is left growing are the champagne and the concord grape. So Home Depot had their grape plants out so I purchased the replacements. If the rain and wind ever stops I will venture out to dig holes and plant them.

If I have time I want to go over all the houseplants and repot, prune, and rejuvenate them. This will probably be done right before I set them out in the shady area off the back porch for summer. They really benefit from being outdoors for those months before frost comes round again.

So off I go to do some work in the greenhouse.
It's always warm and moist in there and I love the sound of the rain pounding overhead.

My own little piece of the tropics!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Looking Towards Spring

I know it will come

It does so every year.

But this year I need to convince myself.

As with years behind me, there have not been glimpses of the coming Spring.

Grey remains of summers blooms in the flowerbeds.

Brown soggy patches of lawn.

Not this year.

Like layers of ancient glaciers, the first snow of the year is still here.

Instead of melting away, it has piled, showing every storm of winter.

Removing it has been tough.

we have run out of room.

It spills over fences onto the front lawn.

It has become a shroud around and behind the mailboxes.

The driveway no longer accommodates three cars wide.

It has buried the tether ball hanging from its pole. It has encroached up the sides of the RV.

It has drowned itself in the pond and raised the level up past the shoreline.

The chickens no longer want out of their dry confines. They can no longer scratch through and find ground.

Even our dogs no longer enjoy running outside to chase the squirrels and birds. We have to shovel a way out for them with each new snowfall. Or they will high center.

It just never melted between storms. It just kept accumulating.

But now it has started to melt. Now that means a different problem.

All that melted snow has to go somewhere. And it has.

Taking out driveways, over running creek beds. Flooding basements and garages and shops.

And the potholes! I have not seen them so widespread as this year.

But it is melting, and soon it will be gone.

And grey will green up.

And brown, mushy will turn firm and colored.

New life will emerge.

Thank goodness for Spring!

We have waited an eternity for you!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things.. What Are Yours?

Just finished up with my last vintage and handcraft show for the year.

So now I can focus on Christmas and the family.

Thanks you guys for all your support and help in my endeavors at Farmers Market and all the shows you packed and unpacked and got me to!

As I am sitting here in the office, looking out thru the sunroom windows, I am eternally grateful for a roof over my head.

It is absolutely freezing! About 12° but feels like 2° with the wind.
The chickens are going to stay in their house for a bit longer today I think!

We have a winter storm watch ahead of us so getting the generator, flashlights, oil lamps and candles, and extra blankets ready.
Oh and the doggy sweaters are at the ready!

Anyway, to get my mind off all the heavy boxes of Christmas decorations I need to haul up from the basement, and this looming storm, I am thinking of all the things I do enjoy about this time of year.

Very random things

I love the Christmas lighting contests on TV.

Watching Bruno Mars on the Victoria Secrets show.

And all the beautiful girls and their costumes!

The annual Dr. Who Christmas special!! Can't wait!

Watching the Hallmark channel movies all night long.

Seeing my dogs in their warm sweaters.

Grateful birds and squirrels at my feeders.

Warm quilts and snugly blankets.

Chevy heaters!!

Star gazing in the clear nights.

Christmas lights and displays.

The Santa outside stores ringing their bells.

Small business Saturdays.

Putting up a Christmas tree.

The looks on children's faces.

Baking and more baking. Decorating cookies with the kiddos.

Flannel sheets on my bed!

Snowmen everywhere.
Angels everywhere.
Rudolph everywhere.
Penguins everywhere.
Polar bears everywhere.

Men with beards and wearing flannels.
Plaid anything! I love plaid!

Fur-lined boots.
Watching kids jumping and sliding on frozen puddles while walking to the bus stop.

The UPS man delivering packages to my porch!
The FedEx man delivering packages to my porch!
The mail lady delivering packages to my porch!

The feeling we get this time of year. Can't we keep it all year?
Family and friends draw near. Christmas cards still appear.

The sun is coming out and it makes everything just a bit more cheery.
The holiday cactus are blooming, the amaryllis are budding.
The rooms are scented with cinnamon, and bayberry, and pine.
Iced drinks are replaced with hot.
I love wrapping my hands around a hot cup of Earl Grey or Constant Comment!

Cuddling my my Hubs and the doggies!
I think I will go do that now.

Share some of your favorite things about this time of year.
And look at this season through the eyes of a child!
Reach out to others and look beyond your own struggles.

Peace and Cheers,

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Drying Peppers- Blogging from a country kitchen

Well, the frost came but not before I was able to grab all the peppers out of the garden.

I simply pulled all the plants up from the beds and placed them in the cart and headed for the greenhouse.

There I removed the fruit from the plants and gathered them into a clean garbage can.

The empty plants were handed over to the chickens who enjoyed them as food tremendously while the ducks used them as nesting material.

I drug the pepper-filled can to the garage and transferred the peppers to colanders to bring to the kitchen sink.

There they were washed, the stem cut off and seeded.

From there I cut them into narrow 1/4" strips and rings and laid them out on the trays of my Excalibur dehydrator.

I set5 the dial to 125 degrees and left them on their own for the next 4 to 8 hours.

Soon the house was filled with the tantalizing smell of heated peppers.

A much better fragrance then when I dry mushrooms!

After they have dried to a leathery feel, I cool them and then place them in ziploc bags.

The drying intensifies their flavors, heat and sugars, and I use them in all kinds of dishes.

They can be left that size or crumbled up to use in meat rubs or other recipes that call for pepper flakes.

I will not dry all the peppers.

Some, like the cherry pick and smaller cubanelles and hungarians will go into a brine for my family fave pickled peppers.
They are eagerly devoured by the grandkids over the winter.

It's a really easy recipe of vinegar, salt, fresh garlic cloves, and pickling spices.

I pierce the skins of the pepper in several spots and place them in glass gallon jars.

I mix the vinegar and spices and salt until well mixed and pour over the peppers till they are covered.
I place the lid on and put them in the refrigerator to pickle. They will be ready after about 6 weeks.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Move over Summer, Autumn is moving in!

We've been blessed in the Pacific Northwest this year.

A pretty great summer with not many rain-outs at Farmers Market.

Heat waves that we've managed pretty well.

(We added an awning over the back porch/ barbecue area)

Putting up a shade house really saved the plants from torture in the greenhouse.

(And helped with the multi times a day watering)

Hubs and I learned that sitting out in our zero gravity chairs under the cherry tree can be a really sweet thing.

(We had always felt guilty about wasting work time)

We were able to watch the osprey gliding high overhead, discover all the jets coming and going and guess which ones were landing in Spokane, and watching the squirrels and woodpeckers call to wayward children and mates.

We usually have a hard frost that obliterates most everything followed by several weeks of warm weather again.

This year we will be getting our first frost Monday night.

Almost halfway through October. Pretty amazing really.

But we have been leading up to it.

That crisp nip in the air when you know summer is over.

Turning off the AC and leaving the doors and windows open instead.

(I love open windows. Lace curtains moving)

Telltale signs of the tired hanging baskets suddenly putting on a new batch of blooms.

Pine cone droppage has ramped up and the starlings have arrived to eat the grapes and apples.

So now the leaves will start coloring up and dropping.

The tamaracks on the hills will be noticeable from the pines.

Sadly the patio furniture will be put away.
Hummingbird feeders washed and stored.
Suet feeders restocked.
Fountains and extra pumps in the pond turned off.

The kids came over yesterday and helped us get ready.
The houseplants were all carried into the sunroom.

Tropicals and tender perennials were hauled back into the greenhouse.

Soon it will be time to take down the awnings and canopies from the back porch and patio.

The billy boots stand ready at the back door for the twice daily tromp to the chicken coop.

(In reality I should have been using them already due to all the rain we have been getting)

The flannel sheets are back on the beds and the extra quilts and throws are draped over couches and at the end of beds.

The fall flags (along with the Seahawks) are out on the front porch and garage.

We have been eating our acorn, sweet dumpling, and spaghetti squash.

So about all that is left is to ready the tarps and old sheets to carry out tomorrow night to drape over garden beds still producing peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini.

First frost of Autumn.

We have been lucky!

Now on to a new leaf.

Monday, September 26, 2016

An Amazing App!

I don't usually talk about this sort of thing since we all are deluged with ads on every page we visit.

But I gotta share this one!!

Daughter Betsy turned me on to this and as skeptical as I am about this kind of thing, I gave it a shot.


We all become part of team and earn money when the other members of our team shop.
And Betsy is a shopper.

I would be if I could drive. (pout pout)

So squeeze one more app on your phone and click away and earn some spending money.
You will be pleasantly surprised.

I earned $5 on Saturday for stopping in at Joann Fabrics and picking up some things I needed anyway!

My Referral Code: tmfhaou
Sign up with my code and earn team points with all of us plus your own rebates.
My daughter has earned over $100 in less then 6 weeks.
I've only done 3 rebates and earned over $20!
Give it a try.
Get $10 for trying the free app. Download Ibotta to unlock savings at local stores, bars, and restaurants.|By Ibotta, Inc.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Food. Drink. Vintage. Shopping. What could be better?

What is a weekend of shopping without food and drink?

Even the most dedicated shopper has to stop once in awhile for more fuel.

And what better place then this lively spot?

O'houlis Kettlecorn stand.

And you can watch everything being made!

And if it's a chilly day, mosey up to the kettle corn machine!

And you've never had lemonade like this before!

So grab some food and drink and keep shopping!

Mark your calendars.

It's fast approaching!

2 days of awesomeness!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Can't wait to Shop! Vendor Profile for VINTAGE PICKINS FALL BARN SHOW

Yet another talented lady ready to sell at the greatest show in Hayden, Idaho!

Please browse my sample of items coming to the
Vintage Pickin Fall to find their forever home with you.

My name is Karen Jones and I own the Bunk House Sampler in Blanchard, ID.

My love of
farmhouse and primitive items catapulted me into a business of up-cycling old, rusty, and much loved
things into new décor for your home.

Karen has some really pretty stuff! Can't wait.

Do you realize this show is coming up really fast!

Gosh, I have so much to do!

Hope the Modge Podge is dry by then!

Hope the sewing machines don't give out!

Hope I have plenty of sanding blocks. And paint! And paper! And HELP!!

Better get the trailer from sonny boy so I can start getting loaded.

And do the no-rain rain dance for clear (and warm) weather.

Ready or not, here we come!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vendor Profile- Lucky Lady owns a shop!

How many of us have dreamed of owning our own shop?

Quite a few I'm guessing.

Well this lady has followed her dreams and made a success of it!

If you've never been in Sweet Pickins, next time you're in the area, stop in.

It's worth the trip!

My name is Abby Nicholson and my Mama Linda Cederblom and I own and operate Sweet Pickins.

Sweet Pickins is a boutique in Hayden that has 60+ vendors of handmade, repurposed, vintage and antique items.

My mom raised me crafty and when I found myself unhappy teaching school, I decided to go into business with mom selling crafts.

We always loved vintage and antique but didn't think to mix with craft until some of our vendors came in who repurposed old and new.

We have been open for 2.5 years now, its so fun to see local talent and history come into the shop, as well as meet new faces in our community who enjoy the same thing!

There is something new on a daily basis so make sure to swing into Sweet Pickins in Hayden- 9521 N. Government Way Hayden, ID 83835