Saturday, March 27, 2010

Real Estate for Sale in the area

There are some really nice places in the gold country for sale right now.. and the prices are amazing!

For those who like historic homes...

needs work but it is owning a piece of California gold rush history!

Mushroom Books and Aquaponics - Happy Birthday Dad! (3/28)

Aqua what?

I saw this article online at the that was talking about this new cross between hydroponics (growing plants in water) and aquaculture (raising fish for food). It is pretty clever. You have a fish tank that you pump the water out and use to water and fertilize the plants, and the plants clean the water and it goes back to the tank.
There is actually a little kit that home depot sells but it $250 for just a 10 gallon tank set up with a small planting bed. (Amazon search has it for $500!)There are websites as well that sell big systems for thousands of dollars. I searched for books on it and only found a couple and have ordered them. I am thinking that I might try this on a small scale and see how much work it is to maintain and if it will be a benefit or just a novelty.(See picture in next blog)

If I don't like it I can give the fish tank to my sister again!

And finally I ordered a book on mushroom identification so that I can put names to some of these pictures of mushrooms I have posted here. Those who know me, know that I love plants and actually studied horticulture and landscape design while I was laid off in 2002. Not knowing the names of all these is making irritable.. :) The book is the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms."

I am stuck in Moraga this weekend because it is quarter end again.. but my family is using the house to get together to celebrate my dad's birthday. These kind of events make me happy that I bought it.. it is centrally located, has lots of space and it is so calming that people like to go and just sit on the deck.

***Happy Birthday Dad! We all love and appreciate you so much!! ***

Picture of Aquaponics Setup



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 12-13, 2010

Ah.. a weekend alone, well Casey was with me but since she can't ask me to take her to Walmart, it was quiet. Since it was just a one night stay and I have been working my butt off at work I didn't do alot...

My parents spent some time up there last week and did some things for me which was nice! Dad installed that ceiling fan I bought over the summer and never got to put in.
Doesn't it look nice? Thanks Dad!

He also continued the repairing of the window screens so slowly I will have a screen in every window! I took a walk down the hill by my little stream and it was actually running! With all the rain it is acting like a mighty creek! Well not really... I uploaded some video of it to You Tube and you can get there in the side panel.
While down there I saw more mushrooms, I think I need to get a book or take a class because there are so many varieties and I would like to be able to identify them.
Isn't this pretty?

Also down there though.. were a bunch of baby poison oak plants that were just sprouting...
Pretty isn't it? Makes you want to touch it..

I sprayed all of those with a special Roundup that is specially made for poison oak and ivy.. hope it works. There were about 30-40 of these buggers popping up.
Lastly, these irises that were on the property when I bought it, and somehow survived almost 9 months without any care are starting to bloom. They are truly survivors!
Pretty Survivors
Most of the apple trees are not going to make it though so I will be pulling them out. There is so much work to do! I sometimes get anxious that I will not get it all done. But I remind myself that I can only do so much.. and be happy with the progress I have made so far.
One thing I did was visit a couple of local businesses, in my quest to see how people make money up there. My goal is to find something I can do that will make enough money for me to move there permanently.

Stop #1 - The French Hill Winery
Just a nice little winery with lots of wine made from foothill grapes.. the chardonnay was amazing! It had a lot more depth and character than regular chardonnay's that I have tasted. Not the usual light and fruity but just really nice. A winery would be nice but the bad news is they are going out of business... so maybe not such a good idea after all.

Stop #2 - Calaveras Nursery
This is a massive tree nursery on Hwy 12 just outside of Valley Springs that I pass everytime I go up and have wanted to visit. I drove in there and was just stunned by the acres of trees for sale and the fact that there wasn't anyone else around... kinda felt like the start of a horror movie, "Slasher 19 - Revenge of the Angry Oaks". I parked and got out and waited and this older man drives up on his cart, about 70 years old, with sun damaged skin. I have spent 100's of hours in nurseries studying plants and trees, but this place was something else. I asked him if he had any dogwoods and he shows me just a couple of rows of baby trees that he has started from seed but doesn't want to sell me because I will be disappointed because they won't bloom until they are 5-7 years old. You see where this is going? So we talk about all the types of dogwoods and what grows best and I ask about his business.
  • He grows all of his trees from seeds or acorns! All of the thousands of trees for sale he planted himself!
  • His stock is 90% Oak trees.
  • He mainly sells to cities like sacramento and stockton and the large land developers.
  • Once in awhile he gets lost homeowner's like me wandering in, but no, he doesn't stock crepe myrtle either.
That was my cue to leave.. after discussing the hybridization of the crepe myrtle, I went back to the house. I could do that job but once again, not sure what kind of money you would get for the effort.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feb 27-28,2010

I went up to the house this weekend and took Nick, his friends Jack and Jason, and the dog all in the truck. It was a loud ride up and back... you think teenage girls are loud? These kids were amazing!

The boys did move a big pile of wood for me so that was nice of them... when they were moving the last piece of wood they found the biggest black widow spider that I have ever seen.
Can you see the black grape looking thing in the middle? That was a black widow..
They also got creative when they were stacking the wood..

Some kind of wood man thing..

We had a short trip but saw a wonderful rainbow and sunset on Saturday and a bunch of hawks flying a screeching on Sunday.


sunset - i just don't get tired of this..

At night they spent time in Nick's basement room playing pokemon...
jack & jason

Sunday morning , Nick cooked breakfast for them... bacon, potatoes, corned beef hash and eggs.. it is just a mess.. but Casey loves it!
breakfast - anyone want to drop something?

On the ride home, Jack and Jason were throwing a tantrum because I wouldn't go by Walmart. They never stopped talking until they fell asleep...

Yes Casey is a happy dog...