Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Irrigation solved finally

For the last 4 years Jeannie from Your Home Harvests http://www.yourhomeharvests.com/ and I have been struggling with keeping the entire garden watered.  We have been using a single timer and many hoses and many soaker hoses.  When we tried a three-zone timer the faucet would sing right next to the bedroom.  But then it did that anyway.  Also every year we had to buy new soaker hoses.  We used six hose splitters and the problems compounded.  This year Jeannie suggested I consider getting it professionally done.  I called three landscapers in the area. One never responded, one responded way late and one responded and got the work done before Memorial Day.  That was Mid-Valley Landscape www.mid-valleylandscape.com.  I am delighted!  He understood the needs of a vegetable garden, as his wife is a gardener.  And the work proceeded.
Here is the yard torn up.  This took a day.  And this is only part of it.

 Here are the underground valves.  The white pole goes into the garage where the timer is.

The timer.

The water bottle is reserved for sugar water for the beehive.
And the actual watering units.  These are around the trees—two-espalier apple and two pear and two columnar apples.  There are three watering circles and in each trunks.  You can also see some mature leeks and some grassy like tufts of growing leek (these still need dividing.)

Here are the hanging baskets.  The orange globe does not water them but I like glass things so they are there for decoration.

 Here is the corner flowerbed.  There are some nice plants in here, and more to come, but the bees like the wild borage so it is in place for that reason.  I am hoping to get borage moved to the insect hedge in the future.
 The rest of the gardens have sprayers like this, a 90-degree spray at each corner and a 180-degree spray on each long side.

 Here are gardens nearer the chicken yard.  The trees are to the left.  The other tow gardens now have tomatoes, 5 blueberry bushes, spinach, some leek and more to come.  The raspberries are not in the picture.  They have been segregated to their own two 2’x4’ pots.

please forgive the rough post.  Blogger changed and I have spent 3 hours trying to figure this out.

Asparagus, herbs and potatoes to the right, bee hive under the awning, strawberries in the left foreground and celery, beans and peas (so far) closer to the hive.  What an exciting time of the year.  May 2012.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trevor has learned to play

Every year Trevor Airedale and I go to the Picture People for pictures. Trevor usually looks the same, but I take my best pictures with him. Then we have pictures to share with family, for Facebook or Ravelry This year we had a coupon.

We got groomed the day before. I go to Brandy Ashlock at Images Hair Salon

(503) 990-7475  ‬‪5171 River Road North, Keizer, OR 97303‬.

I took Trevor to his groomer KBeeler who rents a station at

She has taken the time to learn to groom Trevor.

Our photographer lives with two roommates, they each have a Pit Bull. His is the youngest –a girl-18 months. He suggested that we do some with just Trevor.

Trevor is all Airedale – a typical clown. But we never would have had these pictures were it not for Our Veterinarian. Trevor goes to www.banfield.com/

2925 Lancaster Drive Northeast Salem, OR 97305

(503) 581-5899

He is on a well dog policy and had been going in every time he had lesions for itching (that means for years). June of 2011 Dr. Palotti suggested allergy shots. Not only does he now have a lovely pink belly, but he is more playful and even more loving. He goes to doggy Day Care at http://www.everythingpawsible.net/ M-F and they kept telling me that he was playing more, standing up for himself, greeting new dogs appropriately and just generally happier.

Whose dog is this anyway.

Oh yes, still My Trevor- McClever

Trevor turned 11 on March 5, 2012 these pictures were taken six days later.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Honey

The bees did not make it through the winter and we had some nice days in early February so we cleaned out the hive and I harvested and bottled about 3 gallons of Honey.

here the hive is open and the bars on the left have been harvested. At this point we had not found the queen.

We found her. None of these bees are alive and the queen is in the middle.

Here is a visiting bee on capped honey to the left and brood cells to the right.

Here is capped honey off of the bars and ready to go inside. We left the bars out in the open and over the rest of the day and the next we had sunny weather and high 50’s for temperature, so the visiting bees cleaned everything up. Then I brought the bars inside the garage.

Here the honey has been placed into pieces and is in the top bucket which has holes in it. It is slowly dripping through the mesh filter and the top bucket with the holes and into the bottom 2 gallon bucket. This takes days, but I harvested about 3.5 gallons.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The beginning of winter

Time to put everything to bed.

Jeannie and Malinda came to clean up the beds and put in a new strawberry bed. The garden is almost cleaned up and new compost is enriching the beds. The small orchard of espalier apple and pear trees has been pruned and the raspberries have been thinned out and moved revealing all five of the blue berry bushes.

The chickens have a night -light, but they have still cut back on their laying. The Americana Chickens are laying an egg every three days, the Cochin Banties are not laying, and so I am getting about two eggs a week. They spend school days in the coop, but weekends they get out in their little chicken yard and get some cracked corn.

I had an awning built for the beehive, hoping to winter them over. Here are some of the cleaned up Gardens and the awning for the bees.

The worms have been moved inside and the mason bees will be brought in and cleaned up for their early work when the fruit trees bloom.

The deciduous trees have lost their leaves and we have come inside and work on winter projects. I have knit quite a few things and here are a few…

Here is the Birthday Dress I knitted for my one year old Grand Daughter.

Here is one of two hats knitted for my youngest Grand.

Janita and I went together to knit four sweaters for the four girls. Janita knit one for our 4 year old. It had a lavender button band and edging. Below are two of the three that I knitted

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Pumpkins and Last fall harvest

Jeannie brought me some pumpkins from her farm. Here is the traditional one. It looks big in this picture, but is is a scant 12 inches. Here it is sitting on one of the child chairs to my children's table set. this is really a "sugar Pumpkin" for making pies. I will do that in Nov.
This is the other pumpkin. Yes it is green and warty and sweet and orange inside, as you can see by this cut.
This is what I canned. There are 9 pints of pumpkin, and I had some more tomatoes to can. Finally in the plastic are the roasted pumpkin seeds.
This is my apple harvest. My mini orchard is in it's second year. I have two espalier pear trees that did not produce anything or even bloom. BUT the two espalier apples did and so did one of the columnars. I have gravenstine, goldens, and liberty (my favorite for eating).
Halloween found Jeannie and me picking the last of the veggies as we were expecting (and had) a good frost. Here is a mix of red and green tomatoes, a butternut, and a few unexpected tombocini - zuchinnis.
Finnally Jeannie brought a winter squash which will hang out in the garage until January. It is a Marina de Chioggia. It is famous in Itally for ravioli---
Make a filling with squash, crushed amaretti cookies and parmesian
or you can just prepare and eat... Jeannie says "Cut it in half with a big knife and clean the seeds out. You can bake it like this or cut it into a few pieces. I bake them at 400 for at least 30 minutes but maybe as long as an hour. Check it with a fork. " And eat..which is what this garden is all about...good healthy eating.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Airedale was buzzing?! And other garden insects

My Airedale was buzzing?! And other garden insects

One dark morning! Yes fall is upon us and clouds overhead intensify that feeling. Trevor Airedale went out for his morning constitutional…. One sniff and he took off for the corner of the yard near the beehive. His barking signaled an intruder…. it was raccoon and this time they quickly left. They went along the fence in the neighbor’s yard complaining of …bark, bark.

I called Trevor in to check that there had been no contact with his enemy. He was fine, but when opportunity strikes; he needed to go and secure the corner. After his third trip, he came in biting at his chest and lifting his paw. As I came nearer, I could hear an insect buzzing, but I could not find it. I looked in his ears, tried to check his chest. It felt like fifteen min. of searching. It occurred to me how delightful it would be for me to call the emergency vet or later his vet with the news that my dog was buzzing. Slicker brush in hand I started brushing and indeed a bug fell between us. I never identified the bug as Trevor quickly ate that. It most likely was not the honeybees as it was too early in the morning though it could have been a drone kicked out of the hive preparing for winter. I had already killed most of the available yellow jackets, but to be sure he would be ok I did Benadryl Trevor. He went to doggy daycare groggy, but fine and lively by pick up time eight hours later. Here he is reating after his adventure.

Parts of the garden are not allowing things to grow. Jeannie suggested symphylans, which are tiny white centipede like bugs that move down into the soil.

I was directed to buy inexpensive potatoes (I had already harvested my red, white and blue potatoes) and plastic cups. Cut the potatoes in half and place them white side down and cover with a cup to cut out the light.

On 10/3 we checked and found that they were there. Jeannie had brought food grade diatomaceous earth to put down. Hopefully this and a few more applications before next Spring will do the trick.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Predators to the backyard farm

Yellow jackets! Yikes… I am allergic and they are trying to invade the beehive. I understand that they can ruin the hive.

I was stung the other day and the following day the single sting in my finger was exceedingly painful a looked huge black and blue and blistered. I well I needed more traps for my “pay back.” Here are results.

I used two commercial traps this is my “kill” for one day…so satisfying. These work on a pheromone attractant but since it is fall and the yellow jackets are looking for protein for their larva for winter I added bacon.

I happen to have two glass bottle traps.

Here is my favorite. I am unable to find more of these.

Here is my other bottle trap. It is only four inches across. This has been my most dependable performer in the past.

Last night I left it on the ground as yellow jackets were there looking for wataer. It was knocked over by the Airedale as he ran at our morning predators.


When Trevor and I awoke he went out the door with a growl. I heard hissing and howling, but it was not Trevor. It was two raccoons after food in the garden. Trevor kept after them until they finally left over the fence. They were really unconcerned at my showing up with the flashlight, but Trevor did not give up and they left.

That is an Airedale for sure. Here he is looking sweet as ever.

It does not appear that they were after the chickens that were tucked into their coop for the night. They are only allowed in the chicken yard when I am home and can check on them I notice that when a crow or jay flys over them, Abby the largest of the chickens opens her wings making her appear much larger.