Saturday, July 7, 2018

July 4th 2018 - Long Weekend in MokeHill

Happy American Independence Day! 

Hello!

4th of July this year was smack dab in the middle of the week.. so I decided to come up here on the 3rd and stay for the rest of the week and weekend. I am dog-sitting a friend's dog as well, a female husky named Flower, so it seemed like a better idea to have her here in this big house vs. my small apartment in the city. The weather was really good for the 4th only getting to the mid 80's but it soon got hotter the next couple of days. My garden this year is very small, due to the gophers and everything getting eaten, I decided to not plant a couple of the beds. But, I did finally finish putting mulch down over the whole garden after working on it for 4 years. I also have my neighbors goats here eating the weeds down... so that is always exciting! 
I did the middle section over the memorial day weekend so the goal this weekend was to finish it finally.


 I always lay out weed block fabric and tack it down with landscape staples. Make sure you overlap the edges by about 4 inches or more to help block the weeds from finding a seam to poke up though. One thing i have learned is to use A LOT of mulch.. each of these piles is one 2 cubic foot bag of mulch. I used to put it much thinner but this is the most effective way to keep the weeds out. The reason it has taken so long is that prepping the dirt to get all the weeds and rocks out and somewhat smooth takes a lot of effort. And I wait until Lowes has this mulch on sale...
My "helper" Flower supervising my work

Finished it finally! Now because the other bark has lost the color, I will be putting more bark on those thin spots. But for now, I am done! The goats are here again and here are a couple of pictures.

They love attention!

They also really like dogs... they would follow us on our walk. Flower is not one who likes them however... 
Random garden pictures..
California poppies

Carrots from my yard.. i got a lot of them and this is just a small batch.

This is a carrot that I let go to seed. I want to see if I can actually get seeds this way and plant them.

Must have a frog picture!


This is a picture of one of the tomatoes I started in my greenhouse aquaponics system. I have planted 5 of these tomato plants in the garden and hope they survive. I also have about 6 more in the greenhouse in the grow beds for back up plants. For me, tomatoes don't taste as good grown in the greenhouse, they need the dirt to really get that bright tomato taste. However, starting the plants in the grow beds gives me a really nice transplant to use.

And finally, the quail this year are not as plentiful has they were last year but that is because we didn't get the amount of rain like last winter. But they are still on my property and they tend to hide in the bushes and branches of trees that fall down. This one is the look out for his little group of quail..
Such a pretty bird, and to be honest, they are very tasty too. I can't hunt on my property so they are safe from me, but not the other predators like cats, dogs, foxes, hawks and coyotes. 

Hope everyone had a good holiday!
Julie

Thursday, May 31, 2018

SCGS Jamboree 2018 - Burbank, CA - Day 1


Hello From Burbank!

My mom and I are here at the first day of the genealogy conference, but we are taking different tracks. She is taking the family history writers track and I am more interested in the genetic genealogy track. My first session today, "The Danger of Distant Genetic Matches", was fascinating! The speaker was Blaine T. Bettinger, Phd and he has a couple books out on the use of DNA in genealogy. His class talked about how to do "phasing" with the DNA of your parents and since both my parents and my son have had DNA tested, I can really do this! It will weed out the matches that are attributed to false positives due to the various algorithms the DNA sites use. My dad has so many people in Finland that are matching and we don't know why so that might help with this question.

My mom is now inspired to write so many stories, that she is going to get a cup of coffee and think about what she could write. Regarding family stories, my (maternal) great, great, uncle Dan Goodan, was not a good man. He was a thief, felon and a con man... and also fathered a child with a woman when get out of Folsom prison. This man had several kids and through DNA testing, we met Janet! She is my 3rd cousin, the grand-daughter of Dan Goodan and a really nice lady. She missed out on the cousins that my mom had and it was clear they both were sad about that.. but hopefully, this new "family" connection will help her feel like she does belong with us and connect with us more. 

Day 1 is over and it has been an interesting day, great presenters, location is good, service and concessions have been terrible but you can't have it all!

Julie

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cat versus Fox

This cat has been hunting on my property for years and I always worry about her. But when she came face-to-face with a fox, she didn't back down.

The fox is so confused by her!

Julie 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Garden Stuff and Frogs!

Hi

I missed going to my house for a few weeks in April and the weeds just exploded! I spent many hours hacking and spraying them, but for all the work, this is my favorite time of the year.  There lupines are in full bloom with the red clover and golden poppies just getting going. And my tree frogs move back to the greenhouse in anticipation of the heat that is just around the corner. But the vermin are active again and my fight with them continues.










This year I planted my winter garden of onions and garlic as usual, but the voles have eaten most all of the onions. Out of 100 plants, I have about 8 of them left. I am so mad because that is my favorite crop! The carrots are doing okay, not as good as last year because a bit less rain, but there were some oddities there as well. 
















The fun of gardening is that you get to be the one who digs up these strange things. I have planted a bunch more to try and get a 2nd crop in before the summer heat comes, so we will see what happens with those carrots.
Julie

Just Pictures March 2018

Hi
It was a strange weekend with my goal of trying to spray all the weeds interrupted with hours of hail and pounding rain. I got trapped in the greenhouse with the fish and here is a few of the pictures that make me happy.
Wildflower


The  light thus morning coming through the wet trees was amazing
This is a video of my goldfish in the aquaponics tank. I bought them 4 years ago and they are just huge now. The noise is the hail and rain outside...
This was done via my phone sorry for any goofs!
julie

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March Madness 2018 - Weather wise I mean

Hello

When I moved the blueberry plants up to the garden, we were in the middle of another drought year. No rain, no snow, no bueno. This month, March, has been wild in terms of weather. We have had some low snow levels and lots of rain, and yesterday, I got hail for about 15 minutes. 
Video of it coming off the roof of my house, it was so loud!



In the garden a few weeks ago, I took off all of the citrus from the trees ahead of all this cold weather and set about juicing them. My little lemon tree gave off about 200 lemons!
Yes this is a wheelbarrow full of citrus.. it was an amazing amount of fruit.

During the juicing process, first I rinse and scrub all the fruit really well in water with a tiny splash of bleach. There is a lot of mold spores out and I don't want to ruin my juice with mold. I juiced lemons and blood oranges and froze the juice.

First carrots of the year!
Warning - Plant Geek ahead!
I have a small patch of carrots because the seeds really didn't germinate this year as successfully as last year. (Carrots are notorious for being fickle to germinate.) This first bunch didn't taste too good I think because it had been so warm this winter, until these last two weeks. Next week I will pull a couple more and see if they taste better. Carrots are a winter vegetable, and need cold to taste better. (When it gets cold, they pull nutrients and energy from their leaves, and store it in the root.)They are also good for storage because you can leave them in the ground over winter, as long as the ground doesn't freeze really hard. Or you have voles that eat them all up! One other fact about carrots is that they are not annual or perennial, they are biennial ; which means they grow for the first year, and if you leave them in the ground, they will flower and set seeds the second year. I have never done this but I might do it this year with 1 or 2 of them. Just to see what happens.. of course, if the plant is a hybrid  even though it sets seeds, the results will be different than what you were hoping for. They will take the characteristics of 1 of the parents, not both. 

Okay enough plant talk! 

Thanks,

Julie

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Garden Bed for Blueberries Feb 2018

Hello

Last year, I went to a whole lot of trouble to create an area to grow blueberries and blackberries, where the old grape vines used to be. I worked on building that soil up, putting up a deer fence and even chopped down a tree branch that was hanging over the area. I planted them all and I was very happy.. until summer came around. My garden area is where I spend most of my time, but this large planting area was on the other side of the citrus trees and by the time I got finished with everything I was working on in the main garden, I never made it down to see them.  They suffered quite a lot I am afraid.. totally my fault. This winter I decided to move them up to the main garden, and built them a planting bed that used my old deck boards. I knew that I wanted something skinny and long so that it would fit in the area next to the strawberries.. so I found 2 each of the 16 foot boards for the sides, then cut 12 inch end pieces. I used corner brackets and screws to put them together because they hold better than nailing or just screws. I used the same technique when building up the strawberry beds as well, they just hold better especially when you have wood that is older.

Then of course you have to out in gopher wire which means staple gun time! You lay it out and just start stapling it to the frame, this was a narrow bed so I have the wire going down pretty deep. 


The view from my deck looking down at the completed frame for the planter, minus the dirt and the plants!

This weekend, I added the peat moss, the dirt and transplanted the blue berries. The like acid soil which is unusual and why I added the peat moss. I am not sure if they will make it since I so neglected them last year. If not, I will try and plant more next year and pay attention to them! They are bit hard to see because they are just sticks right now.. since they are dormant. Soon they should leaf out and I will see who is still alive. 
They are there I promise! They just blend in with the dirt right now..


This has been another really dry year, so I am not sure what I will be able to plant in the outside garden. I was really hoping to plant the Stupice tomatoes because they canned up so well and they taste wonderful still. When I open a jar of these beauties, it tastes like summer again!

We have some flowers blooming and of course I have to share the daffodil pictures before I go..


Thanks again!

Julie