Monday, April 29, 2013

April 26th-28th, 2013

My poor family....being related to me means when I call to ask you if you have any plans next weekend, it is probably not to go wine tasting with me! When the family trip to Yosemite was cancelled I asked them to come to MokeHill and help me unload the moving container that had the stuff I was moving from the Moraga house. Doesn't that sound like fun?
Well - they were good sports about it and we got a lot done.. not just unloading the container but I got a new refrigerator delivered, and all the oranges picked and the toilet replaced and the ATV going!

My son Nick and his girlfriend Jessie came up, and my niece and nephew spent the night on Friday as well. So Saturday I woke up to a full house and since the youngest kid Laine was up with me I sent her out to pick oranges to squeeze for juice. She loved it! And when her big brother got up he wanted in on the action too! They are both very competitive so it was my role to referee to make sure one or the other didn't get any more time picking or juicing. They picked every orange on my tree and that had to be about 100 of them that were left. It was great! The only danger is that the trees are blooming right now and I asked them to be gentle and not to knock off the blossoms but not sure that happened. They do everything with enthusiasm!
Jacob with the orange picker - laine behind the tree

Squeezing the oranges for juice
Besides the oranges I have a couple of other things that we are picking - asparagus and green peas. I always missed the asparagus ripening so last time I was there I cut them all down and within the 2 weeks, new spears had grown in! I cut them so fast! Everyone who came over was handed a spear and told to try it.. most were confused because it was raw. It is the best tasting asparagus I have ever had and we all ate is just raw. Makes me want to plant more of them since it takes about 3 years to get them to full production and they will come back for about 10 years.
Asparagus growing

Peas and asparagus

Fig Tree seems to be surviving

Lots of plums

Pretty and pretty tough Irises

Bluish -purple color iris

Sunflower seedlings trying to make it!

Another one of those pretty caterpillars

Baby Goat

Goats wanting to know where the carrots are..

This is only 1 of 2 that have survived all the attacks that remembers me.
I will leave you with the nest on my deck update.There are now 6 little blue eggs in my birdhouse on the deck. The parents are okay if we watch them from inside but don't like us on the deck. According to the internet, which never lies, the eggs will take 2 weeks to hatch and about 3 weeks after that for the birds to fly away. 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 20-21, 2013


Summer is rapidly approaching up at Mokehill, with the temp around 80 degrees on Saturday and hotter the rest of the week. I am way behind in my veggie garden planting because of being gone so much, and last week I needed to tackle some weeds and make sure the irrigation was working. But this weekend I did get some things planted, and it is a lot less than last year.

I am using the planter boxes Dad and I made to hold some tomatoes and pepper plants. Every year I plant these and every year they get eaten down to the stems by the deer and squirrels. So I put just a few in the one planter and covered it with netting... let's see if it helps. Also, to cut down on watering, I put a drip hose on those planters instead of a sprinkler. I am hoping it stops the rapid weed growth as well! Drip systems are great once you get the hang of them. Only issue in my area are that rats will chew the lines to get at the water. So every year I have to repair something. But they reduce the amount of water you use and you can place it just at the plant itself, not spraying everywhere.
Planter with drip hose
 Then right behind the planters I planted corn, sunflowers, peas and beans. Used a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler to see if that helps with the watering and weeds as well.
Corn and Sunflowers with soaker hose
Looking from the back - you can see the two boxes in front and the corn (dirt).

 Orange trees are starting to bloom and it is such a pretty smell! You can hear the bees first and then when you get close you can smell the trees!

More flower pictures! Every week I go up there there are more flowers and this week there were some oriental poppies that were red and gorgeous standing out among the others.

Isn't it the prettiest thing!
1 yellow lupine in the sea of blue

Lady bug on the grass.. I have thousands of them again and I am very happy!

Front yard looking up towards the house.

Next weekend Nick and Jessie and my sister's family will be up there to help me unload the moving container and maybe replace the toilet in the hall bath and get the ATV running... and....I am starting to understand why people might not want to have a house that needs a bit of work!

Just quickly - if you want to print any of these pictures or post them somewhere I am all for it! Include a link back to my blog please... and for those who want to email me and ask me questions - please do! My email is


Friday, April 19, 2013

Question - What happens when you leave your house for 2 months?

Answer - nature quickly moves in...

With everything that was going, putting the house on the market, selling it, packing and moving, I couldn't to the house for about 2 months. When I pulled up to the fence I could see the weeds along the driveway and they were 3 feet high... when I left they were barely there. Okay that I expected... but some other stuff was really funny. Here is Casey in the front yard, so you can see the weeds that grew and how fast... when I left I had them mowed down.

Casey in the front yard

For instance - my boots were on the deck outside my sliding glass door. In the country before you put any closed toe shoes on, you always shake them out good. We have black widows, scorpions, snakes and other things that like dark, cozy places to hide. I shook my boots and out came a stash of acorns that either a squirrel or woodpecker hid. 

Then that night I was walking past the front door and a light was shining through, and I thought, I don't remember having a peephole in the door... and I didn't until now. Mr. Woodpecker did this to my wood front door while I was gone...
Inside View

Outside View
Great - now I need to patch the door or get a steel one to replace it. I am leaning to a new steel door for security reasons but that wasn't in the immediate plans, I guess it has moved up the list now. Next, on my deck I had placed a birdhouse that my dad built for me a while ago.. it had blown off its perch in the wind and I hadn't put it back before I left. I left it sitting on the rail of my deck. Saturday morning, two of the pretty Mountain Western Bluebirds were suddenly scoping it out, and they liked it! So... they have built a nest.. see below.
Birdhouse on railing

Nest being built
I moved it against the pole so it would be more stable and they didn't seem to mind. I can watch them from my kitchen/dining room and as long as I don't go on the deck they are happy. 

While I was gone, the wildflowers also started to bloom.. and yes I know every year I post pictures of them.. but they are so pretty! And right now being able to look at something pretty when this world is so ugly, is really important. Don't you think?
Poppies by the walk

"Santa Barbara Daisy"

Purple Lupines


Yellow Lupine

Not sure of this one.. need to look it up.. pretty little blue flower
Also, the ladybugs are back! 



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Moraga House - SOLD!

Well that was quick! 

On Friday, 3/29/13, my house was sold and I am no longer the owner.. I am in my new condo but still trying to adjust. It is just so small! I have some boxes of kitchen things that I don't think I can unpack. (I realize that while I may not be a typical "girl" shopper and buy shoes or clothes, I do like my kitchen gadgets!)

My computer here at home has been having some serious issues, so I keep fixing it with the help of my son, and home it hangs in there. I don't want to buy a new one it is just such a pain! But it really has caused me to get behind on posting.. that and I can't find my camera. I know it is in a bag or a box somewhere... just where is the issue.

It has been a whirlwind of activity and I realize I have been up to the hill house in 2 months... and boy do I miss it! I check the weather up there everyday to see if there is any rain for my trees.. and there has been very little. And wonder how bad the weeds are... 

Here is a picture of Casey pouting on Easter morning.. she keep hearing that the easter bunny would be coming to the house and I think she took it literally.
She had to make due with rabbit treats in her toy.. no hate mail please! Rabbit is yummy!

I have a subscription to mother earth news as well as other publications about hobby farms, and they have an interesting event happening in September. It is calling Homesteading Month and it encourages those people who are trying to live simply and off the land to host events for others. Here is the link to the calendar if you would like to see if there are any events in your area.
Homesteading Month Calendar of Events

It in an interesting idea.. but I was thinking, if I hosted an event what would it be? I am really good at drip irrigation and gardening, but would anyone come to that? Do I need to through in a little cheese making class as well? I am not sure anyone would care or come so I will look to see if there are any events I would like to go to... nothing in California yet. But we are procrastinators here..