Thursday, January 19, 2017

Excuse me. Your bird feeder is empty!

It use to be emptied by the "east side squirrel and the west side squirrel".

Interesting clouds the morning before the rain set in.   They were moving very quickly across the sky.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

We've been waiting for our January thaw for quite some time.

On Friday cousin Adam came up to shovel the snow off of our roof.   There was a lot of snow up there and we are getting ready for the "river of moisture" headed our way this week.  It is forecast to rain for three days.  We learned a couple of nifty tricks from him.  One, if your gloves aren't keeping your hands warm enough, put on a pair of latex/nitrile gloves first.  Your other gloves will slip on over them.

 Yes, it really does work.

Oops.  I almost forgot.  Two, use ice melt on the ice that had formed on the roof.  It will help it to slide off when the temp gets above freezing.  Thanks Adam!

Next we headed out for our walk to the county road and the newspaper boxes.

It looks nice with all of the sunshine, but it's bitter cold and there's no dawdling on the walk, except to stop to take photos.

We had a visitor during the night to our bird feeder.  I heard her walking on the deck and got up at 3:30 to watch her eat what was left of the sunflower seeds.    She was back today looking for more.

Unfortunately, this cannot become a habit.  We do not want deer hanging around the yard or on the deck.   They will just cause a really big problem in the spring when all of my plants start coming up.

This is our Christmas tree stuck in the pile of snow from the roof.

One last photo of the cat and mouse before they disappear.

The sky changes from blue to pink this time of the year.

Yes, you're cute.

And finally, a little humor from the Farside.  It seems appropriate with the current political climate.
  Thanks Mr. Larson.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Willpower, where are you?

Yes, I have tomatoes, but three is not enough.  They are growing on a couple of my plants from last summer, but the plants are tired of blooming and I think it's time to start new ones.

First things first.   It was time for a new project.

My old seed-starting light panel was worn out and I needed a new design.  It was a bit difficult this time as buying fluorescent lights has changed since the last time I looked at them.   I was looking for 24 inch lights that could be mounted on a 3' piece of wood.   I don't think LED lights are going to work for this project.

I use the lights two ways.  I first use them as a heat source for the bottom of my seed trays so that the seeds will sprout.  Once the little flowers and veggies are up, I turn over the light panel and put the tiny plants underneath the light.

I did some searching on the Internet for the lights, but didn't have any luck.  I did come across a great idea for mounting the lights though - velcro.  It worked great.

The tiny plants need closed monitoring and a warmer temperature than the 60 degrees in the basement, which is where I have my big plant grow-light stand.

I am going to use an old cookie sheet to set my seed trays on.  It should work well to warm the seed starting mix and the seeds.

Petunia, pansy and geranium seeds are really tiny.  I can start dozens in these two small trays.  (I usually start way more than I am going to use)  The problem with that is that as the plants get bigger and bigger then one needs larger pots for them and more space and more lights and more potting soil and so on ......

OK then.  "How many petunias, pansies and geraniums do I need?"  Probably not hundreds.  You laugh?  In the past I have started over 100 pansies.  Don't even ask how many of the others I started.   A gardener must have a certain amount of "flower and vegetable willpower".   I am going to put the blame on all of those seed catalogs that are arriving in the mail and a certain amount of cabin fever.

Let the 2017 growing season begin!
(How about 90 pansies and 45 petunias, 24 geraniums, lobelia, zinnias, marigolds, tomatoes, peppers.....)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two years in the making.

I have been drying flowers for two years.  My goal was to create a wreath of the flowers from Sarah and Dylan's wedding.  There were dozens of red and yellow roses and Baby's Breath and lilies.  The problem was that only some of the flowers dried well enough to use. 

I had to regroup and start drying other flowers to add to the wreath.  Some were from the beautiful bouquets sent to me while I was recovering from my hip replacement.  I also used lavender, oregano, thyme and Lady's Mantle from my garden.

I tried drying the lilies using silica in the microwave.  It does work well for drying zinnias and even dahlias, but the lilies just didn't keep their color.   Most of the other flowers dried quite fast just by hanging them up for a week or so.

It's a matter of collecting and drying enough to make the wreath.

I call this the yellow one.
Dylan and Sarah's wedding flowers

When I was finished, I had enough dried flowers to make another wreath.  This one is my seashore wreath, even though the idea of adding sand dollars didn't really work.....

The only other wreaths that I have made were done several years ago - the red one, which included the dried zinnias from my garden.....
JP and Melissa, wedding colors

....and the blue one.  
David and Julie's wedding flowers
I also made two more Christmas wreaths and a centerpiece, but I forgot to take photos....darn it.

The temp is zero again today.

I hope you are staying warm!  There are only  ???? days until Spring.  (Sorry, I'm too lazy to find out how many)

The good news is:  I have three  - count them  - three, cherry tomatoes ripening on my tomato plant.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Goodbye 2016!

 It was a pink ending to 2016 or maybe it was a snowy white ending?  You can also throw in some very cold temperatures as the final minutes ticked off on the clock.

Jens and Mathis and their friend Caspian came by to shovel the snow off of the barn and decks, but most importantly to put the finishing touches on the sled ramp design.  They did a great job.

The starting ramp had a little curve at the bottom of all of the runs.  This year there were three.

Collin and Rylee warming up for sledding.

Dylan and Sarah's snow art.  Thompson is checking it out.

Grandpa Jon, Caleb, Collin and Ben.

Ben and Collin

JP, Dave and Julie.  Happy New Year!


Quinn, Rylee and Ben with Grandpa in the background.

JP giving them a boost.

A view from the top of the ramp.

Retired Mountain Man lost his hat almost every run.

As the night wore on, the cat found a mouse.

Jaden, Jens and Daryl.

Becky on her first run.

Jens, Jaden and Joe.

Yes, I went down the sled run but there are no photos of that event.  We brought in the year with one of our usual renditions of The House of the Rising Sun.  I have to say that the group was really on singing The Big Rock Candy Mountain this year and also Your Cheatin' Heart.   Sorry I do not have any photos as I was busy playing the piano.

New Year's Day dawned very cold and very windy.  This is a photo of the 120 Trail on Middle Mountain.  I think we ate our lunch with Neil and Ann somewhere just behind the cluster of trees in the middle of the photo.   No, not now.  In the summertime. On a very nice clear sunny day.  Back in 2005 maybe....

This a shot towards Sam's.  It looks cold up there.  It's cold down here at 2500'.  5 degrees below zero with the wind chill.  Brrr.

It's a cold beginning for 2017.  I hope you are staying warm wherever you are.