Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The weather has finally been somewhat agreeable, not too hot and not raining, so I've been taking the opportunity to pull copious amounts of weeds.

One problem I always have is with whatever bed I plant the peas in. The beds are four feet wide by 24 feet long, oriented east-to-west, so I usually plant one long row of peas along the north side of the bed. Up until this year, I plopped stakes in the ground and tried to rein in the peas with twine. They would always fall over and into the bed on the south side, and into the lawn on the north. And I would always plant spinach just to the south side of the peas because they're something that grows quickly and I can get them out before the peas flop on top of them. But the peas block my access to the spinach from the north, and my arms aren't long enough to reach them from the south.

So what I end up with is a weedy mess.

And then I had one of those DUH moments. Why don't I plant the peas one foot to the south, and grow my spinach on the north side of the peas? By the time the peas are tall enough to cast shade, the sun is high enough in the sky to shorten it, and I think spinach would like a little shade in the warmer weather. It would make picking the peas on the south side easier, too.

Last year I made tomato cages out of some 4x4" wire mesh, but they weren't strong enough to hold up the tomatoes, and rendered it impossible to pick the tomatoes. So the wire mesh has been relegated to pea fencing, and the peas are much more upright this year than any previous year. So I've also gotten rid of the flop-over problem as well, increasing my spring garden space. Now I'm in the market for tomato cages. Anyone have favorites?

Elsewhere in the garden, my oregano seems to have some sort of stem fungus that causes the plant to wilt about this time of year. I have a feeling that, even though oregano is from the mint family, it's a might too wet for it where I currently have it. So I harvested all of my oregano on Sunday, as well as my thyme. I need to replace the thyme plants anyway, as I haven't taken proper care of them and they've gotten too woody.

I also need to plant the six cranberries that I bought from Raintree Nursery. They were on sale, and the thought of fresh cranberries in the fall was too good to pass this opportunity up. They're going to be a ground cover in the front yard, and should provide me with at least four lbs of fruit when they're a little bigger.

Even though my other pear bloomed this year, it was so cold and miserable that the bees didn't bother to show up until too late, so I can only see three pears growing. Kind of a bummer, but better than nothing. I think a purchase of mason bees might be in order next year. They're not so fussy about the cold.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Some Like it Hot

What a change a couple of days can bring! On Tuesday, it was 50F and raining. It felt like March instead of mid-May. I rounded up the rest of the cross-cut shanks from my freezer. It's one of those parts of beef that you don't ever think of using, but I tell you, it makes great veggie beef soup. And veggie soup I made. Lots of it. And I now have 18 cups of soup in the freezer. It did feel like March, after all.

And in the freezer it'll stay for now. Today is supposed to be in the 80s, and tomorrow even warmer, and muggy (which we don't normally don't get around here), and I'm thinking tuna salad in pita pockets, not soup.

The tomatoes will be loving the heat. I did manage to get the cukes planted, but not the corn. I'm having the same issues as El at Fast Grow the Weeds with regards to pulling out plants. In my case it's the finally sprouting sprouting broccoli and some spinach which needs to make way for the corn.

I'm way behind in my planting. Again. Last year it was due (in part) to a wonderful vacation in Germany. This year it's weather-related. Why, oh why, can't I keep to my planting schedule? Every winter I carefully plan my garden and when to plant what, and it never works out that way. The slugs ate all my lettuce, and I do mean all of it. So now it is May, and there is no lettuce to be had, and I won't have any for two more months. Grrr.

Okay. Think positive. The onions came up well, as did the potatoes and the peas. Even the leeks made a reasonable showing. I started lots of excellent tomatoes, and almost all of them are in the ground. Breathe deep. There, that's better.

Time to go harvest the broccoli and spinach before it gets too hot (I'm a heat wimp).

Monday, May 12, 2008

No Flour. No Rice

Just had an interesting trip to Costco. There is absolutely no rice, and no wheat flour. None. Not just my favorite brand gone. Not just stashed in the back room because they're rationing it. It's all gone. And apparently it has been for the last two weeks.

Major wake-up call here, people. I knew it was bad. I didn't know it was this bad. Did you?

I did find flour and rice at the local grocery store, double the price I paid four months ago. They were suprised that Costco was having a supply problem, but said they had lots in the back, and hadn't needed a shipment in a while. There were a couple of brands of rice gone, but maybe they hadn't restocked yet.

I now have about a two-month supply of flour, which will hopefully get us through until the spring harvest in June. Hopefully it will be a good one, and the shortages will diminish.

This has, however, made me want to redouble my efforts in the veg garden. Not so much to grow my own wheat, but to fill out our meals with more veggies. I'm thinking nutritious filler, here. That'll work well with Thing 2, as he's not that big into meat, but Thing 1 practically will eat nothing but meat and bread.

Today I'm planting out 10 tomato plants and seeding the corn. We're supposed to have hot weather on Thursday, so hopefully that'll speed germination.

Interestingly enough, Western Washington was known for good yields of oats back in the early 1900s, about 90-125 bushels per acre. For whatever reason, it's not grown anymore. I figure that we could grow enough on 3,000 feet to feed us oatmeal for breakfast three days a week, and have enough left over for occasional oatmeal bread and seed for the following year. Of course, talking dh into ripping up 3,000sq feet of lawn to do it would be impossible unless absolutely necessary. It's just a thought, though.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Giggle

Some sad news from A Year in Bread about this guy:

There has been a sad passing. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, two children, John Dough and Jane Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.

If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else who may be having a crumby day and kneads it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

See ya, SPOA

Wow. I am ready to become a hermit. Nothing I do, or don't do, comes to any good.

First, my neighbor yells at me for letting him know that he's bulldozing a protected native growth area, then my neighbor on the other side thinks I called animal control about her dog, which I didn't, and now I get totally flamed on the SPOA website for bringing up what I thought was a good point about speculation in the commodities markets.

Now I'm "deluded" and "better off tending my garden".

Fine. I will. No fruit for you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yarn Stash

I've been cleaning out my office/craft room/computer room. Egads. The taxes were done months ago, yet there they sat all over the table and floor. I can now vacuum! Hurrah! I can now put together my photo scrapbooks! Woo-hoo!

I even sealed half of the kitchen counters tonight. I moved all the stuff from the wall side to the island. Next week I'll do the island. Haven't I been a busy bee today?

In my cleaning escapade, I found many balls and partial balls of yarn of all colors, fibers, and weights. I can make hats, scarves or mittens from some of them, but there certainly isn't enough yarn to make a vest, much less a sweater. Any ideas would be appreciated!

Monday, May 5, 2008


I participated in Spokane's Bloomsday Run yesterday. I went with my two friends, M and J. J ran the course (she's awesome!), while M and I walked. It was a total madhouse. Some 44,000 people ran yesterday. We couldn't go as fast as we wanted to for the first two miles for all the (slow) people.

I did great until the Doomsday Hill, at which point my hips started hurting. I was afraid they were going to, so I brought along some ibuprofen, and struggled for the next mile and a half. The funky thing was, if I jogged, I felt fine. So I'd jog a little for pain relief.

At around mile 6.5, someone was barbecuing burgers. The crowd let out a collective groan. How cruel! J met us at the finish, asked us what we wanted to eat, and we both yelled "burgers!!!" She looked a little surprised, so we explained, and she took us to the nearest burger joint. That was the best bacon and cheddar burger I've ever had!

Well, I finished in 2 hours, 14 minutes, which was 15 minutes faster than I was hoping to, and I didn't totally crash. Today I am completely out of it. I slept for two hours this afternoon, and I'm ready to go to bed right now. Zzzzzzz

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fenced In

I am resigning myself that my "neighbor" is going to put up a six-foot cedar privacy fence on the property line. I say "neighbor" because they don't actually live there, he's "fixing" up the house for sale in a couple of years. And I say "fixing", because it looks worse than when he started.

This is the same guy that yelled at me for introducing myself and politely letting him know that he was bulldozing a protected native growth area. Sorry for trying to save the guy a major fine. My heart races just thinking about it.

It breaks my heart, this fence of his. It will block a third of my view of the woods behind me. He's going to take out three flowering plum trees to do it, as well. But, there's nothing I can do about it. They're from suburbia, and they think in terms of boxed-in spaces and resale value. They don't realize that they're spending all this money, and it's not going to increase the value, but rather decrease it. Nobody around here wants fences unless you're keeping in animals, and even then they're not privacy fences. But, you can't reason with selfish people bent solely on profit.

So, I'm trying very hard to think of this as an opportunity. We don't have a gas-powered line trimmer, so we won't be able to cut the grass along the fence. I'm thinking a hedge of filberts, elderberry, currants, and a few pie cherries would screen the ugliness of the fence. Maybe I could put up a greenhouse now, as well, but I'm not altogether certain where the septic drainfield is over there.

All I can do is laugh when they're yard is overrun with rabbits, racoons, opossum, rats, moles and mice, since they'll be fencing out the predators. It'll serve them right.