I Went to Lake Tahoe!

I decided to go to an Art Quilt retreat at Lake Tahoe. It was the first week of November, so for weeks ahead of time, I was nervous about the drive up–would it snow??? Sure enough, snow was predicted for the day I drove up 😦 I went and got chains for my car, and then nervously checked the CA road reports every day. And then the weather changed. No snow, and it was a beautiful drive up there!

I love Lake Tahoe. I’ve told you before how we spent many summer vacations in Tahoe when I was a kid. Now it seems I go more often in the fall, although I usually go earlier than this. The lake changed every day. The first day it was clear and smooth.

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The next day there were clouds obscuring the mountains, and the lake was a little choppier. To me, that makes it look almost like the ocean. I like it better when I can see the far shore.

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The next day it was even choppier (and colder!)

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I noticed on the drive up the huge boulders that line the river that runs along the highway. These big rocks are everywhere. I really like them.

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And then, before you know it, it was time to come home. And even though I observed that the pine trees in Tahoe were prettier than our pine trees at home, I was so very happy to be coming home. I love where I live. This is one of the things I love. Just the simplicity of the live oaks turning bright yellow and shining through the pines and the scrub oaks.

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Back in the garden, some of the Japanese maples were turning colors:

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And here’s something that JUST. SHOULD. NOT. BE. Two of my foxgloves were blooming! Does this mean they won’t bloom in the spring???

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Here’s where we planted two Aspens at the back of the yard. I will be so excited when they get a little bigger. They are so beautiful in the fall–there are thousands of them growing further up the hill on the way to Lake Tahoe.

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Did I show you this already? We rescued some logs from a recently chopped down pine (phone company had to remove some dead pines.) And MLG made this little area to display my bonsai trees!

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Some nice color from this maple bonsai.

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And that’s the report for now. I hope all of you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!!

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This ‘n That

The chickens are starting to lay eggs! I’m having so much fun gathering them. So far they’re laying all different sizes. Even though all my chickens are standard sized, some of their eggs are still “banty sized.” The big ones are double-yolkers!!

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Sometimes this is exactly how I feel:

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“I just want to drink coffee, raise chickens, and take naps”

My knee is doing great. But the heel on that same leg hurts like heck. I went for my final checkup with the surgeon (for 9 months) and told him about it, and they did x-rays on it. No fracture. The physical therapist doesn’t think its plantar fasciitis (I don’t think so either) but they are having me do some stretching exercises and that seems to help a little. Its just discouraging to still have that same leg hurting to be walking. HOWEVER, after saying rather pitifully to my BF that I didn’t think I would walk too much any more because my arthritis was so bad, I decided that I was being a baby. So I have been challenging myself to take longer and more vigorous walks. It feels good mentally :/

I’ve been trying out some new recipes. Jill recommended this one, which says its pizza sauce, but its really just a marinara sauce recipe. Its easy to vary the recipe a bit using what you like/have on hand. I like chunks of tomatoes in my sauce, so I usually use Β I am loving making this and freezing it in zip lock baggies and then using it for whatever. I made a low-cal chicken recipe using some chicken tenders. I mixed in some fresh spinach with the marinara sauce, used less than half a serving of penne pasta, and then topped it with some fresh mozzarella that was on sale. YUMM, and only 250 calories! Sorry, no picture.

Then, Biz recommended this pumpkin baked oatmeal. I looked the recipe over, and the stats on it were pretty high–400 calories for a serving. Then I realized that the serving size was huge, even for a volume eater like me. So I cut it into 8 pieces instead of 6, and voila! 300 calories per serving πŸ™‚ I got up bright and early one morning, and made this recipe. Right before I put it in the oven, I had a brief thought that there was not much pumpkin pie spice in it, so I took a little taste, and it seemed okay. After it had been in the oven for 15 minutes, THAT’s when I realized that I actually left the pumpkin out of the recipe. Aaargh. I guess I wasn’t quite awake enough. Anyway, I adjusted the cooking time down, and it is still quite delicious. I can’t wait to make it with the pumpkin in it!

Thursday night we had a good rain storm, the first in months! Saturday I went out to see what was still looking good in the garden. Here are the petunias I planted by the studio door. I think I will always have some flowers growing in this–it mostly protects the plants from the deer, and its cheerful to see the flowers when I drive up.

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The roses are loving our cooler temperatures. This is the “wild” rose. The branches hang down. I plan to put a little support for it for next spring, but I love how it is a prolific bloomer.

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Other roses:

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The tuberous begonia. I got a two for one in this pot!

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The dwarf abutilon is loving the fall.

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And the mandevillea vine is still going strong.

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So, in other garden news, I have voles in my yard! I couldn’t figure out why the dirt was rising up in certain areas. MLG is here today, and pointed out the vole trails to me. I found these solar vole repellants on Amazon. Anyone have any experience using these things?

And that’s about all for now. Have a great week!

 

 

In The Garden

Since I came home from my quilt show a week ago, I’ve spent more time working in the garden. It seems like there’s a lot of catching up to do… my new drip watering system has made the weeds very happy :/ Here’s some photos of what’s happening. These are plants that seem to be enjoying the cooler weather we’ve been having.

The front flower bed. We’ve enlarged this bed a bit, and when winter comes, we will add more soil to it. When we first put it in, it wasn’t raised very much, and so there’s not that much good soil in there. This is what I see when i drive up to my house, and I enjoy seeing all the color.

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I got a tuberous begonia, which mostly enjoys a cooler coastal weather. But since I got it in September, it has actually bloomed a bit for me.

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This bed is past its prime, but like I said, the cooler weather has given some Β of the flowers renewed vigor. Especially that one volunteer nasturtium.

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Here’s the salvia with the rudbeckia(?). They’re a little crowded now, but they will both do so well next year.

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I mentioned that this hydrangea turned green when it was past its prime, but then a month later the blooms turned pink. This bush is very rangy, but the flowers are so beautiful and last for so long, its worth it.

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I got another dwarf flowering maple (abutilon). I love these crinkly blooms.

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And here’s the zinnias, which you can see are crowding that rudbeckia. So very cheerful, and these blooms last a long time too!

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And that’s the garden report for another week. Have a happy and safe weekend.

And Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program

Here is a big long picture-heavy post to catch you up on the garden and the chickens! The garden hasn’t exactly suffered this year (since we put in a watering system,) but it hasn’t had my full attention either. Next year will be a better year in the garden. Here’s what’s blooming this week.

The Zinnias are finally starting to grow and bloom more. Behind them is the gaillardia, blue salvia, and a geranium.

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A nice mandevillia vine. MLG built me a little trellis for it to grow on. They are not frost hardy so it will be an annual. Most of the plants I buy are either six-packs, or a gallon sized plant for $7.50. To me that is a nice price for a summer’s worth of blooms.

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This is a new plant for me. It looks like I plopped a bouquet in the garden. It is a rudebekia Prairie Sun. Huge yellow flowers. Its supposed to be a perennial, and I thought it would look nice between the wild pink rose and the small blue perennial (don’t know the name but the bees love it.)

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Here it is in context:

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Liriope. I have several of these, and several were transplanted this year. This one is doing the best of all of them.

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And now for the chicken report! I was glad that I had the chickens to amuse and distract me after my surgery. I loved going out and sitting and watching them in the late afternoon. Chickens are attracted to anything red, and I think they have a sweet tooth too, so they really love watermelon. Since they are still so young, I am careful to not give them too much fruit. Do you see who is in the very center of that picture? BABY!! She is doing so well. Goes in and out with the big girls, and doesn’t let anyone pick on her. She knows to just stay out of the way.

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Buff Orpington, with a Dominique behind her:

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New Hampshire Red:

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And here is Baby in action. She seems to know how to get exactly what she wants. She looks the situation over, and chooses the path of least resistance.

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Speckled Sussex. I am still a little hopeful that this is a hen that just has a rooster-like appearance.

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This IS a rooster, darn it! Both of the polish chicks turned into roosters.

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These are the Delaware chickens. I really like their delicate lacy black neck feathers. They seem to be very peaceful chickens.

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All the chickens take turns sitting on/standing on/laying in these pots.

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Pretty sure this guy will turn into a rooster. He always comes and stands by the fence right where I am sitting on the other side. I started calling him Buddy. If I keep a rooster, this will be the one.

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Can’t you tell by Baby’s stance that she is saying, “I’m cool. What’s that over there?” I am so happy with all the forward movement she’s made by herself. I’ve even seen her get up on a lower shelf to roost the past few nights.

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And now you are all caught up with the chickens. Today I stopped at a nursery and got a few more plants to fill in a few places in the garden. What can I say? I like pink. These are snapdragons, a Pentas, and dianthus–small, but has a definite carnation smell!

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And a Vinca–three colors in one pot!

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And that’s the garden report for this week.

 

Chicken and Garden Report

Baby goes outside! One day I looked out my window (whenever I am near the studio or kitchen window I always look out to see what’s going on in the chicken yard.) I was SO SURPRISED and excited to see Baby out in the yard. She seemed to be enjoying herself, running here and there with her little hitch, checking out the greens I had thrown out there, and mixing in with the big girls. So far she has not gotten picked on–you know, the pecking order. I have a feeling she will know to just stay out of the way. She also has a couple of “friends” who seem to stick close by. And of course, she didn’t know to go back into the house at night. It was so cute–one of the buff orpingtons had settled down next to her in the yard. Anyway, got them back inside and all was well. I think it was maybe a little overwhelming, because she hasn’t gone back outside since then…

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Another day I looked outside and there was something very large and brown standing on top of the bird netting that MLG had put across the top of the chicken yard. I ran outside–it was a HUGE hawk, who was not at all afraid of me, and was bouncing up and down on the netting to try to get in! I was SOOOO glad that I had had MLG put that netting in place. He did a very secure job. If I had done it myself, it might have been much easier for Mr. Hawk to get inside! He hasn’t been back since then, so fingers crossed that he thinks its a lost cause.

Here is the view of the garden that I enjoy when I sit on my fake patio.

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The volunteer petunias have returned, although a much smaller batch of them. along with some weeds…

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Phlox.

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Most of the oriental lilies came back. I had kind of forgotten about them, so that was a nice surprise.

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Mr. Bougainvillea is doing very well, and I love having it.

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Close-up. Aren’t those little white centers a beautiful detail?

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The Jackson Perkins rose that I complained about last year. It is doing very well, and I do love the color and the smell of it.

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The hydrangeas are doing well, but I’m a little stumped as to why the flower clusters are so small.

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This is that rose that is grown on its own root stock. Its kind of wild and crazy. I think it might need a little fence support behind it next year. Lots of little blooms.

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And that’s the garden and report and chicken update for this week.

 

Garden Party

The weather has cooled a bit, and the garden is starting to perk up. Here’s what’s blooming this morning.

This front bed is doing well. In the back, against the stones, is some new columbine. They won’t bloom this year, but they should look nice next spring. In the center is a baby’s breath. I got it to replace the carnations that used to be there. I love baby’s breath, and I am glad that it seems to be doing well. At the top of the picture you can see the rose of sharon blooming. They are so tall, in spite of me cutting them back almost to the ground last fall.

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The rose of sharon is nothing spectacular, but it is pretty to see them up so high waving in the breeze. Below the phlox is starting to bloom.

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I got a new gaillardia. This is a color I don’t usually choose, but I thought it would look pretty with the blue salvia growing behind it (when they start growing πŸ™‚ )

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I thought the bougainvillea was not going to make it for a Β bit, but then it started blooming and growing. Happy happy happy πŸ™‚

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The daisies are doing well after their traumatic move last year.

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Okay. Hollyhocks. I have some thoughts. I grew these from seeds. I got three or four plants. It takes 2 years for them to bloom. And then they got “rust” in the spring. I cut off all the affected leaves. This one plant is spectacular. But I don’t think I’ll be growing too many hollyhocks in the future.

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The hydrangeas are still just starting to bloom. These were three of the very first plants that I had MLG plant for me. They were half dead in their containers, so it is nice to see them thriving now.

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And that’s the garden report for this week. I’ll be back tomorrow with the chicken report πŸ™‚

Summertime!

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Glory be! Its HOT here! I just spent a couple of hours in the garden weeding and checking the watering system, and fixing the timer. Fun times. And here are my words of wisdom for you this week:

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

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When its so hot its hard to work up any enthusiasm for going to the nursery, much less actually buying plants and bringing them home to try and keep them alive. So right now I’m more focused on garden equipment LOL. I got a new hose THAT IS AMAZING. I got so tired of the Costco “kinkless” hoses constantly kinking. So I asked Sallye at the garden center if she would order me a good hose. She ordered me the same hose that they use at their nursery, a Gilmore Super Duty Flexogen. It was expensive, but so worth it for the lack of frustrating kinks. And Sallye says it really lasts a long time.

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The chicks are growing quickly in this heat. First I opened up the whole house to them. And then I turned their lamp off when it started getting so hot. They are almost fully feathered now, and look more like tiny bedraggled adult chickens. I watch them closely for signs of rooster behavior (I ordered all hens, but they don’t guarantee 100% accuracy.)

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That one that I claimed was a Rhode Island Red rooster the first week? That is my new best friend. So I’m hoping against hope that he is a hen πŸ™‚ He comes running to the door when I open it, and enjoys hopping up on my hand and getting an aerial view of everything.

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They are fascinated by anything shiny, which I guess includes light spots.

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I was proud that I figured out how to build them a lower perch. And I found scraps of wood to make little steps for their ramp. They would climb up the ramp halfway and then slide back down.

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Of course, its always fun to find a higher spot to roost on…

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And they still do the same thing–“oh look, there’s something fascinating here, come look! come look!”

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And that’s how it goes around here. I am (literally) limping towards the finish line. I guess that’s a good thing. Because if it didn’t hurt to walk, I would probably back out of the knee surgery. They moved my pre-op appointment up a week. It will be good to get more answers to some of my questions.