Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shhhh, quiet...everyone's sleeping...

OK, so my husband is totally going to groan when he finds out I am posting right now...
We are leaving for a road trip tomorrow morning (technically, I guess it is today... YIKES.) I decided that I had to make 10 lbs of strawberries in to freezer jam (I finished at 10:45 p.m. thank you very much.) and that I needed to pack up at least 10 lbs of fabric (because you never know what I will want to make.) and make the boys a dozen or so little blank books for the trip....

Let's just say that this is how I deal with trip next time I will be able to recognize it and maybe try to rein it in a bit. (yeah, we'll see about that.)

SO, all that said, MAYBE I will post in the next few weeks. We will see...maybe my most thoughtful husband will let me use his laptop and the WI-fi at the rental will work....or maybe I should relax and vacation?

I guess we will see!

Here is to summer fun times!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hive mentality...

Have you heard? There is a decline in pollinators in our fair world. For those of us not familiar with Plant biology here is the down and dirty... Many plants need pollen from other plants to produce "fruit" (things that we like to eat from nuts to apples to squash...think about it, when you break it down everything we eat is a "fruit" from something---EVEN the meat-eaters out there are eating corn through the food chain) Pollen can be spread by the wind, water, animals, and insects.
It is these little workers that have been weighing on my mind lately. I am an avid reader of our little daily paper (It is pretty bad in terms of writing, but it is what I've got.) and in the last year I have read at least 3 large articles talking about the decline of bee populations. This makes me think that the problem is getting serious if a town daily has reported on something formerly of only "scientific" importance...I guess, like the whole "myth" of global warming, the decline of pollinating species is becoming mainstream.
I like to eat. I like gardening. I like a world full of living green things.
So, I am proposing something rather radical--let's stop spraying chemicals on our land (see previous neighbor rant post) AND let's plant some pollinator friendly plants. My theory is just this...if you plant it they will come (wasn't that from a movie??)

I have noticed over the past 8 years, in my garden, that the (friendly) insect levels have increased year after year. Due in part to some of the bushes and plants here and there in the yard that they can use as habitat and a food source. I believe that they in turn stay around to pollinate my food plants and eat some of the pests. I choose to think of my yard as a micro-ecosystem, if you please. Some of my easiest keepers (that are pollinator friendly) are:

Ceanothus (California Lilac)-- I love this bush. It grows fast, but is amendable to shaping and the "blue" flowers are so pretty. ALSO this lovely plant is drought tolerant after it is established.(I have tested this)

Rosemary-- I love this too. The bushes grow the most beautiful sculptural branches. You can cook with it, and it smells good too.

Raspberries-- LOVE THIS BERRY. I have planted a few different varieties so that I can have berries all summer. (the early summer berries are always the tastiest, but I would never turn down those last berries in September.)

Butterfly bushes-- In my state I believe that this plant is going to go on an invasive plant list in the near future, if it isn't already there....BUT I think for town dwellers this is a great plant for bees and other insects. It is hard to kill, and it drought tolerant after it is established. I did manage to kill my white one, but it was only after I pulled it out by it's roots and moved it. I think that I didn't leave it enough root...but so it goes.

Artichokes-- Great to eat...but even better, the purple flower that appears if you let one of the "chokes" go is a bee magnet. The color is so beatiful, it almost glows. I like the textural aspect of this plant also, but the leaves are prickly and you have to handle them with care.

These are only a few of the plants in my yard, but they are a collection that the pollinators seem to like, almost year round, in the temperate climate of the pacific northwest.

While I could dwell on the disgusting things that we do to the earth and it's creatures, I am choosing to do a small bit of something positive and I hope that is some encouragement to all of you to do a bit of the same.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Peas...oops, I go on a rant.

Yum, let's do it again...
I think that summer (whisper) may have arrived here... and not a moment too soon.

I have been trying to untangle all of my garlic from the bind weed that I DESPISE...but the only way to be rid of it is to let the ground lie fallow with black plastic for 2+ years....I just can't do it. I don't have enough land. So, I am left with manually fighting them every year, but I do love my garden!

After seeing my nutty neighbor spraying (I am pretty sure with some variety of Round-up) a 2 inch weed in his vast expanse of bark today...I think that I am going to lose it. He could have just bent down and plucked it out. He doesn't need to add more pollutants to his OVER-FERTILIZED, OVER-HERBICIDED compound.

(Rant start) HELLO---We need to stop using all of these disgusting chemicals all around our bodies and then wondering why people are getting weird auto-immune diseases, cancers, and allergies. It is probably not as simple as that, but it really sickens me to watch MULTITUDES of people out "doing" their yard with the 2 gallon spray bottle of napalm, when all they need to do is get down and PULL THE WEEDY BUGGERS OUT BY THEIR ROOTS!!!

I will leave for another post how this same neighbor gets up on his roof EVERY OTHER DAY to blow off whatever detritus might have fallen in 48 hours....since he cut down 80% of his trees I don't even know what detritus there is left to fall on his roof...

Yes, that is for another post... Maybe if I get really passive-aggressive I can blow dandelion seeds over the fence to spoil his bark and grass patch... but that really isn't the kind of gal I am, but sometimes I wish it was.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Keeping it real...

I have been sad this week because my elbow and lower arm hurt...MY MOUSE ARM. I have been trying to be good--resting it, by not blogging, sewing, web surfing, picking up my kids, all the things that I really love to do. It feels marginally better... I might have to bite the bullet and visit a doctor....HORROR! I just feel like they will tell me to take some drugs and get on with it...I like a solution, being proactive etc., I guess we will see. (I put a picture in, because although it isn't my should be on your own blog and look at the greyness and the is cold here in June??!!!)
Do you like how I angled the shot, so that it looked like I got more out of the garden than I really did?? It was all so tasty, but really meager. I ate the artichoke today for a snack...Yum, yum, YUM! I also am totally sold on homegrown broccoli, it is so sweet and tender. I am only disappointed that the weather has been so awful, I think that a bit more sun would have increased my yield....there is always the fall.
Just to show everyone that we are doing our best to be organic and the like...Here is a wee spittle bug house. It came in with the artichoke, but a nice and drug-free way that I normally deal with them is just hose them off. I just thought...we get a lot of these on our rosemary bushes (I call them this because they are just HUGE!) and I could give the boys little spray bottles and have them go at it with the stream spray. I think that I will try that next time we go out back and it is above 60 degrees (It has been cold here folks.)
I hope to be up and sewing soon...I have 2 swap quilts (here and here) to do AND that chicken quilt is not going to make itself.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I always feel a tiny bit sorry for marigolds.

They are the workhorse flower...deterring all of those bad bugs, looking matronly with their stiff petals, smelling strongly like clean floors.
But I like them...
This year they all looked so pretty to me...I think that I may just have a fever for their bold unembarrassed summer colors. Isn't it time for berries yet?
The chard gets more and more interesting...but isn't it time for it to be pulled?
Did you know there were hairs in the foxglove blossom?
Cabbage veins (the picture looks better horizontally BUT blogger likes this orientation!)
More chard trying to ingratiate saw me pull the bolted white chard the other day...this orange fellow wants to stay.
The magical upside-down tomato monstrosity is back and this year the boys have added peas on top...with the weather we've been having, I will be awash in pea pods in no time, but perhaps not tomatoes.
The color of this poppy always looks unreal against the green and the pink it almost breaks the camera when the computer tries to translate it in to MB.

But this is what we have this week in the garden, lots of rain, followed by clouds, wind, and sparse late afternoon sunny spots.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Berry happy news!!!

I am so excited about the blog celebration, but FIRST...

I am the Auntie of the most BEAUTIFUL little girl. She looks just like a little elfin rosebud...if a person could look like that. She arrived on May 28th and her momma worked really hard to get that girl born. WOW, what a beautiful family. I have never seen my brother look so happy, so shiny! What a great discovery it is to find out that what you were waiting to be when you "grew-up" was a Daddy (or in my case a Mommy). I am only sad because they live all the way on the other coast, in Joi-sey. (I am sure that she will grow up with the cutest accent.) Hooray for babies and continuing life!

I found a sweet number picker at't that name rich? And the BIG OL' winner is LEAH!!!! I am so excited and the jmbmommy lovin' is going across the big water to Aussie land! I loved reading who everyone wanted to meet. One of my favorites was Dot...who wanted to meet Steven Tyler. That intrigues me...he would be interesting to meet. He has really lived an unreal life, but in some interviews he seems so normal. I would hope that he would wear leather pants... I mean, it is a signature item.

I would like to thank everyone for posting...blogging is a fun way for me to make the "big" world a bit smaller and friendly. Posting really pushes me to explore my creative interests instead of just thinking about it all the time. I am inspired by the things I read and see on all of your blogs. It is nice to have a global creative community! Thanks for being part of my world!

--Hey Leah, send me an email with your address info and I will send your goodies ASAP!