In the Orchard

 
Since we visited the garden in our last post, I thought the orchard deserved equal time.

It’s been five years since the first batch of trees was planted, and we’ve had some hits and misses. The plumcot is a big zero in the fruit department this year. It’s one of the few trees that’s escaped leaf curl and deer damage, but it’s not producing.

It’s supposed to be self-fertile, but maybe it needs a friend. The new nectarines that replaced the dead nectarine tree are also a hit and a miss. One died, and the other is starting to take off.

The liberty apple is covered in fruit—I forgot to thin it this year, so the apples are a little too thick. The MR has braced the branches, and the mature fruit will just wind up a little under-sized. And our Chehalis tree has a couple apples as well. I think apples are a success.

 Pears are a big nothing just like the plumcot. We have a comice tree and a rescue tree. They’re supposed to cross-pollinate, but seem to be having issues. A deer did knock down half of the rescue pear early on, so it’s been playing catch up. Maybe it’s time to add another pear to boost pollination.

That’s what we did a few years back with the plums, and we immediately saw a difference. While the young weeping Santa Rosa has yet to produce any fruit. The Shiro is going to yield quite a few this year.

 I used a filter on the picture of these light green/turning yellow plums amongst light green leaves, so you could see them a little better. We do not live in a strange psychedelic world. 

And just look at the beauty plums coming on. I’m so glad the tree has recovered from its deer mauling last year. The ripened plums will be bright magenta soon.

Me and the  MR have been trying to ensure that the deer stay out of the orchard. Earlier in the spring he extended the fence posts using old galvanized pipe we pulled out during some well work and then adding more netting. Now that the fruit is oncoming on, I soaked more jute twine in patchouli and tied it near the fruit and along the fence. 

With the new high fence and the bad smell, maybe the deer will stay away. Cross your fingers; were hoping to enjoy some plums this year. 

Do you have fruit trees in your yard? Any local farms as a great source of produce?

Garden Fortress Comes to Fruition

There are good remember whens and bad remember whens.

Remember when the deer high centered on the garden fence and took out the corner post? Yeah, that was a good one—ugh.

Well, the MR replaced the post that had fallen and smashed the broccoli, and added a new higher layer of fencing, and all is well for the moment.

We have broccoli.

The beans are up, and peas are producing well.

And we have a few zucchini coming on.

Maybe a 10-foot tall fence is all we've needed to enjoy some home-grown vegetables in deer country.

What's growing in your garden?

A Little Contrast Please

So remember last month when I showed you the new bedspread with lots of pattern that made the textured shams look less exciting?

Too much pattern, not enough contrast, something had to be done. Well, the new linen shams have arrived. 

They came in this sweet little bag. 

 Don’t you just love it when stores take the extra effort to make their product feel special? 

I went with plain dark gray linen shams that don’t fight with the pattern in the spread. 

 They’re less fussy, more relaxed, almost “schleppy” in a good way. Maybe they’re a reflection of us?

Maybe this will be our summer look, and I’ll get all fussy again come winter. For now, we’re just enjoying the comfort of a good night’s sleep. 

Making any changes to your well-dressed bed?

You can see the before at The Trickle Down effect or go way back and see The beginnings of the old shams

Currant Events

When the girls were in middle school, I’d be packing lunches or making dinner only to notice one or the other cutting up my newspaper. To my surprised “what are you doing?” They’d say it was for current events.

We’re enjoying a different kind of currant events around here. It is one banner crop this year.

We have three blueberry bushes that are all different varieties and ripen at all different times. The three currant bushes on the otherhand all ripen at once. And boy are there a lot of them.

The deck worker was askingwhat I was picking. They’re so red; he was hoping they were raspberries that he saw across the yard under all that netting. He hadn’t heard of currants, so I left him a few clusters. They’re an acquired taste he told me later.

They are quite tart and full of seeds, but I’m always happy when currant season arrives—I like a challenge. We make our favorite Braised Mediterannean Chicken and of course the raspberry-currant popsicles, but I have to new recipes, too.

So I’ve been searching through Yummly and Pinterest and have quite a few things in the works:

Little Big H’s Red Currant Blueberry Yoghurt Popsicles look amazing and would help use uptwo things I have in abundance.

Me and the MR enjoyed Hungry Shots’ Red Currant Banana Orange Smoothie with breakfast the other morning. The pulp from the fresh-squeezed OJ helped obscure all the seeds. And the sweet bananas off-set the tang.

The Ricotta Pancakes with Red Currants from Dare to Cook were good but not amazing. You have to get past all the seeds.

Red Currant Curd from Kleine Chaos Küchen was so good, but I’m a sucker for lemon curd so it was an easy sell.

Then there’s the Red Currant-Strawberry Oat Thyme Crisp from Our Four ForksRed Currant Popsicles from Hungry Shots, and so many more.

This week we tried Oat Cake with Currants from Everyday Flavours. Sometimes you have to try a recipe just because of the language. Google translate has its issues. When it started talking about the reaction furnace I was in. But who can resist, butter, eggs, and fruit? A little sweet, a little tart—I’d say it’s good enough to eat.

Any currant recipes to share?

Turn to Sweet Red Gems for our favorite popsicle and chicken recipes featuring currants.

 

The Power of Technology

When I was a kid, my dad would be working on some project around the house and usually wind up needing a part. This was before the age of big-box stores, but he had a go-to place—McLendon Hardware.  They always had what he needed.

Fast forward a year or two, and my how life has changed. Our 20-year-old faucet in the shower started dripping. It’s not the kind of sound you long to hear in the middle of the night. So the MR put his dad on the case. Unfortunately, we don’t have any documentation, and he couldn’t find any registration or markings telling the model number.

Hmm, what to do next? After talking to the help desk at Koehler, Papa Larry had Sweet Miss take a picture with his phone of the part, so he could then email it to the help desk, and they could identify the faucet and what we would need.

Before you know it, they were shipping out the replacement valve, and the MR installed it earlier this week.

 

Now we can enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

While a cell phone picture and email worked out for the shower, there are times old-fashioned is best. The MR ordered a tune-up kit for the riding lawn mower that matched up with the model but had the wrong parts. The guy online from Florida couldn’t help us; they don’t make a kit for that model he said. The lady at the local John Deere dealer in Snohomish knew exactly what we needed. She said she’d set aside one for the guys, so they could come and pick it up.

Computers are a good thing, but sometimes a real person is what you need.

 

 

The Handyman Can…

That silly old song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been running through my head.

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two
The Candy Man can…

I’ve changed the words a little:

Who can fix a broken faucet
Hang up all the shelves
Grab a few tools and make everything look swell
The Handyman can.

You see, the MR’s folks have been visiting, and we’ve been keeping Papa Larry busy. The MR has been hogging his services this year with dripping faucets, broken vacuum cleaners, and riding lawn mower maintenance. Doesn’t he know I have little jobs that need done, too?

So the other day, I was happy to see Papa with time on his hands, the MR at work, and me with a list of thing to keep him occupied. When I shuffle the trays on the worm bin,  I always hose out the base in the flower beds to remove the sludge and fertilize the plants. Well, the spicket I use is near the ground under some bushes, and the valve always falls off, so when I’m done, you’ll find me crawling on the ground looking for it. All it needs is a screw.  All it’s needed for the last five-and-a-half years is a screw, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it. But the Handyman can.

And then I had some great honeycomb-shaped shelves that I oohed and aahed over for ages. And then they were on sale, and I bought them. And then they just sat around for a couple of years. Uggh, I don’t know why I’m so indecisive. They needed to be in a place where we wouldn’t bump into them. Did we really have anything decorative to showcase? Would they look good next to the art we bought or just weird? Would the screws and fasteners they came with really work? Sometimes I am filled with angst over nothing.

I remember when I told Baby Girl that I’d bought three different bedspreads and returned them all, because they just were’nt the right color of gray. She honestly told me that was ridiculous. At first I thought yeah, why don’t manufacturers make a better shade of gray? And then I realized she was talking about me. Hmm, sometimes you just have to go for it.

So I said Papa, we have these shelves, and the handyman took it from there.

Once they were up, I shopped my house and found bits and pieces to add here and there. A book art flower, some shell balls from Hawaii, vases from my mom. It all just seems to work.

With the change of seasons, I can swap out shells for more fall or wintery decor. And this will be a great place to display Christmas goodies.

With the MR busy spraying blackberries, mowing meadows, maintaining the driveway, and keeping the house in one piece, it’s nice to have the handyman visit.

Thanks Papa Larry!

We have a few other posts featuring Papa Larry for your reading pleasure: The Handyman Is Back and My Own Personal Handyman.

 

 

 

 

A Look Back at June 2017

I’ve been doing these monthly blog posts forever—or five years, whichever comes first—and I decided it was time to shake things up a little. Sometimes you gotta add a little spice to keep things new and fresh.

OK, so it’s just a collage and numbers, not that exciting, but it’s what we’ve got, so enjoy.

  1. It Doesn’t Look Like Much started the month off with a look at our new kiwi vines. Sadly one has died, but the other two are plugging along—make that one, the other is in dire straights. Remind me not to go out of town when it’s hot, and I’m babying plants. It’s going to be a while before we have vines covering the fence but we have time.
  2. This Old Dog is a sucker for an interesting book. So while I’ve been trying out some new techniques, Interweave had a sale, and I’ve stocked up on a few more. I even shortened the table runner just like the MR suggested.
  3. Clean Up the Mess is never a bad idea—even when it comes to the outdoors. While yes, we did have bits of construction debris, the now-spent lilies looked lovely after I cleaned away the daffodil leaves.
  4. This Old Dog Part II (because once is never enough) had me climbing through the treetops and blowing glass with the MR. Our ornaments turned out wonderfully well. We may have discovered a new pasttime.
  5. What’s That Smell? Why it’s your experiment with patchouli and string, you silly woman. While the delphinium still looks pathetic, our columbine looks much better. A couple flowers can make anything look better, right? And after a week or two outside, it still smells.
  6. That Trickle Down Effect talked about how once you’ve started making changes things just keep going. First I changed the coverlet, then I couldn’t ignore the fact that our sheets were tearing, and so it was new sheets, and then new shams. I’m still waiting for the shams…they’re in the mail. You’ve heard that line. And for inquiring minds, Papa Larry bought his sheets at Lake Havasu Linen Company which is now London Bridge Linen Company. They offer custom sheets. He says they’re pricey but worth it. So now we’ve all weighed in on the matter.
  7. Changing Perspective highlighted carrot leaf bouquets. Yes, you read that right. So much of life is about perspective. You can grumble about the overwintered carrots that are too tough to cut with a knife, or you can decorate your house with them. Your friends will never guess what they are.

And now for all the news that didn’t make it into the blog. We had everyone home along with the MR’s folks for a bit this month.  Baby Girl is off to Europe to study wonderful things till September. And Sweet MIss is starting a new job, moving to a new city, marrying a great guy, and searching for the perfect dress and ceremony site. Lucky us; we get to be part of it all.

MeeMee and Papa are visiting, so we’ve had lazy evenings on the deck playing cards and discussing the mysteries of life, relaxing sunset walks, quick trips across the state, and crazy owl fights. And yes, the deck guys are still working—don’t ask. It’s just another day in the life.

Hope June left you feeling happy and blessed just like us.