Wednesday, July 22, 2009

garden calamities

it's been an unusual gardening year this summer. perhaps it was the cold spring and early summer and then getting blasted with heat suddenly. i don't know. as you remember i planted for the first time a soil building cover crop in my raised beds last fall. i was hoping to improve my soil which has a lot of clay so amending the beds every year is a must and can get pricey.

well, i'm not sure what i think about the cover crop-it was a lot of work hand tilling it in and i'm having weird funky things happening this year. although the japanese eggplants are doing well-they love the heat.

the yellow squash took off like gang busters-we had tons of yellow spaceships invading the garden. although i did have a bee mishap-i had tons-o-honey bees happily buzzing around the garden before i had flowers-but as soon as things started blooming they vanished!!! perhaps they found a better hangout or got tired of waiting.

so i had to hand pollinate with a paint brush-taking pollen from the male flower and putting it into the female flower- aiding in act of flower sex was a new experience for me. it sure worked- i think their was some fireworks happening.

we were getting so many i was having to give them away-friends ran from me when they saw me coming! then a weird thing happened-i'm only getting male flowers now-no females at all. they keep blooming and then they die. same with my zuchini and petty pans.

it is also happening with my melons.

we only have one watermelon growing(out of all our melon plants) even though the vine is full of flowers. but all the flowers appear to be male. same with my cremshaw, lambkin and cantaloupe. total bummer!!! the fruit needs to be growing by now!!!

peppers at our place always seem to take awhile to get going. i've harvested some serranos. the jalapenos and orange bells are slowly coming around. we tried a new heirloom this year called the nordello.

from italy-a sweet pepper. they are red when ripe but don't seem to turning and they have been on the plant for ages. now the plant has stopped producing flowers-i know if i pick the peppers they will flower more. dilemma-do i pick them or wait for them to turn red?

i planted basil through out the garden this year-the heat is finally getting it to grow.

i just love potatoes-as you can see-i love all the niteshades -damn. my potatoes were not a success this year-i've been harvesting as the vines are dying and some totally dead. here's some russian fingerlings:

as you can see-they didn't all get big enough. they should be the size of the bigger ones. but the vines died before they finished growing. more questions. while harvesting-i had the pleasure of picking this guy up instead of a potato. when it started moving in my hand-i grossed out! potato bugs freak me! here's what he was eating-he was about 1 1/2 inches long.

he died the terrible death of being pulled apart in two different directions by lily and lucie. the chickens love a good game of tug-o-war!! then they chow down!

leaving the tomato discussion for a different post-that's another situation.

on the fiber side-i did get much merino roving dyed for my LYS. i gave a felter friend first dibs on it before i took them to the store and she bought 10 rovings-ha! i had 14. four bags was not enough to restock-so i need to get on the ball and dye some more!

almost done with the log cabin baby blanket-!!!!!! then i need to burn the midnight oil and get something done for the fair-always the last minute no matter how hard i try to be on top of things. i should be making holiday gifts-but hey-why not wait till november-as always-stress on!

Friday, July 17, 2009

100 books

i got this from birdsong's blog. it's a list of important reads compiled by the BBC. they say most folks have read about 6 books from the list. put an X by the titles you've read. i've decided to also include audio books which i will put an A instead. interesting list-i got 26. i only counted the Xs. it's better than 6 but i think i need to read more-i see tons on this list i have always wanted to read but have forgotten about.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte- X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling- A
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee- X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte- X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell-I THINK SO-EONS AGO!
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller - X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - A
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - X
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - X
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -HUBBY READ IT ALOUD TO THE FAMILY
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery- X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon- X
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - X
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck- X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - X
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett- X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt- X
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White- X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery- X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

happy reading-i nead to get my eyes checked-haven't since i was pregnant with liam(he's 11 now! gads)-i know i know!!!! too much time has past-need to do it. mybe that's why i don't read much anymore. makes my eyes itch.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

the reclamation of my bathroom!

once school is out for the summer i think to myself-yeah! i'm going to have so much free time to fill my life with fibery goodness. ha! i forget what summer entails- all the usual chores PLUS gardening, building projects, property work etc. leaving very little time for other things.

great news! i have reclaimed my bathroom. it is no longer a chick brooder. you would not believe have much dusty dander chicks produce-it's rather disgusting-it's everywhere-i wouldn't even brush my teeth in there. the chicks are now fully feathered pullets and can be outside at night-yahoo!

Gads! can you say "rooster?" the chicks are supposed to be sexed at the hatchery but it's not 100% accurate. liam named him zeemic. as you know we are anti-rooster around here-so he's free to anyone who wants him-he's a catalana. originally from spain but popular in south america as they are heat hearty birds. much needed around these parts-maybe you could breed that trait into your flock. otherwise mondy's gonna eat eat him for dinner. let me know if you want him!!!!

these 8 chickens are living in an adjacent yard to the our original flock so they can get accustomed to one another. chickens are vicious and new comers are never welcome-it can get bloody. i want them to get bigger before i put them in with the nasty gurls! then they will share this coop with them:

we also have 8 new bantams. very excited as we've never had the little chickens before. they are too cute! they come unsexed so we will definitely end up with some roosters. we've identified 2 so far. being that banties are miniature chickens the roosters can sometimes be even nastier than the big guys-little man complex? or the napoleon complex? one is particularly mean already bites real hard-liam named him adolf then changed it to napoleon. dinner anyone? or maybe we could do the recommended procedure of just letting him free in the woods and wish him luck!! hey all you PETA members-you are more than welcome to come over and take him off my hands-just bring some wicked ass leather gloves.

the banty bungalow is near completion. they are living in it-but they are confined to it as fencing has not happened.

building anything sucks when you live on a hill. there's my power tool "rosie"-i love my dewalt!!!!!

liam helped dig these fence post holes 18" deep! actually he did most of it as i was having hand issues again. what a great worker he is. thank you so much liam. post hole cement is god's gift to making my life easier. i hate mixing cement in a wheelbarrow and having to transfer the mess into the hole. post hole cement is just awesome-you just put your pole in the hole add the mix, level and pour in some water-set for 5 days!!! schlepping the 60 lb. bags around is a pain though.

see the boarded up window on the left-that will soon be nesting boxes that come out of the coop-so you can collect eggs from the outside. you can sorta see the nesting boxes sticking out of the left side in the above picture of the old green coop. they are very fun to make! the bantams won't be laying for another couple months so i left that project for later-i just needed to get them out of the bathroom!!!!

here they are inside the new bungalow-on a bed of madrone leaves. i had gotten some rice straw that was incredibly dusty-worried about their little lungs and eyes. the bantams are suppose to be buff wyandottes-but check out the whitish one-huh? that's the one that was crippled for about a week. and the one right by the feeder has dark grey legs and skin-feathers seem to be more like a frizzle-plus she had deformed wings. not sure what is up with her-she seems happy and is eating and drinking so we'll just let her be.

i am so relieved that we don't have to transfer the birds from the garden cage to the bathroom every nite and then back out in the morning-what an ordeal that was. still need to shingle the roof as well as fencing, making a gate and nesting boxes-getting close to being done!!!!

OMG! i just realized it's been forever since i've posted a gross picture for you all. as you remember-i've posted photos of the time i had to stick my fingers up hazel's vent( butt) looking for a stuck egg, dead rat in bottom of stove, dead mouse in pet drinking bowl, bucket-o-worms and many other goodies. so i leave you with-what the dragon threw-up the other day.

yes, it is an entire sock! just be glad i didn't post the picture of when he ate an entire red bandanna and did not throw it up-it came all the thru!

i'm off to clean and disinfect the bathroom.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

july 4th-happy independence day!

it's been our family tradition to attend downieville's july 4th celebration since we moved to camptucky(long story). we just love it-it's about a 45 min. drive thru the beautiful north yuba canyon. the parade is small-they close the highway 49 so the parade can go thru town and turn around and go thru town again. my camera was out of batteries so i had to borrow some pics that liam took.
after the parade the crowd is encouraged to join in the fun and create "fire-less" fireworks-as we can't have real fireworks up here in the tinderbox. two big rolls of plastic bubble wrap-rolled down the street f0r the masses to stomp on- the sound is deafening but glorious at the same time.
after the the fire-less fireworks there was a firefighter competition between 3 teams-the forest service, downieville vfd and camptonville vfd(YEA!) what fun-wish i had more pics-liam had some great videos but i'm having trouble downloading them. lot's of water play, screwing and unscrewing hoses, bucket races, capturing water in a big metal garbage cans from the water moniter! balancing a basketball on the spray and keeping it balanced while you shoot it high in hte air.

we had 4 members from our camptonville vfd-we won 2 out of 4-yea!!!!! you guys rock!

and of course a dip in the north fork of the yuba is always a must on a hot day!!

i almost forgot the races and tug o war- last year i ran the races and nearly killed myself-this year i stuck to the tug o war only-my favorite event. and yes, i'm proud to say the mountain gurls won once again against the flatlanders!