Friday, December 26, 2014

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! 2014


I had my family over for Christmas which I really enjoy.. but I am really sick! So cleaning up after they left felt like a chore this year... so I wrote a really bad poem about it..

My very bad day after Christmas poem

The day after Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas and the guests have all left
The silence is golden but the place is a mess
The pine needles stuck in the rug just like glue
The wrapping paper scraps hide in every crack too
There are dishes to clean and laundry to wash
Bathrooms to scrub and floors to mop
Looking around it caused me to exclaim,

Where are the elves when you need help to clean?

See you in the New Year! 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Storm Damage - 12/13/14


If you live in the United States and you listen the weather news at all, you heard a lot of noise about a rain storm coming to California this past week. It wasn't just rain but also a lot of wind, some gusts up to 50 mph in the higher elevations. Well my house as you know sits on a hill and it has a breeze most of the year, but during a storm things get really crazy. So I was concerned about the trees around the house and the greenhouse to see how it would stand up. Thankfully the new roof panels stayed on tight, but the plastic sheeting on the walls was shredded by the wind. It was so bad that I lost all of my seeds, a lot of the mesh pots and even the chair was blown around inside the greenhouse. BUT, the grow tanks stayed put and the fish were fine..they just had to swim around some debris in the tank.

Front door was torn open

Back walls ripped off

Debris inside the greenhouse

Very happy to see everything still pumping

My nephew helped reseal the walls of the greenhouse.. while it was still raining!

Tree up the hill behind the greenhouse snapped - it was dead and about 150 feet tall. It is propped up on some other trees right now so I will see how long that lasts. Thankfully, it is a long way away from anything it could damage.

Not pretty but it is sealed up again against the elements and the critters.. in the spring I will need to figure out a real door for it.
Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to have the rain but was not wanting it all in a couple of weeks time! I just hope it continues through to March and doesn't stop like it did last year.. January was completely dry and warm..


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oyster Shell Fragment - Hangtown Fry


While working on cutting up the wood that was blocking the ATV trail yesterday, I found something unusual.. a fragment of an oyster shell. It seems pretty old to me and only a couple of inches instead of the normal size. But how did it get here? 

Well looking it up, the gold miners did eat oysters in a dish called "Hangtown Fry". Hangtown is the nickname of Placerville which is up the road about 30 miles from here. The recipe I found at a website shows how they ate them..

Hangtown fry could possibly be the first California cuisine. It consists of fried breaded oysters, eggs, and fried bacon, cooked together like an omelet. In the gold-mining camps of the late 1800s, Hangtown Fry was a one-skillet meal for hungry miners who struck it rich and had plenty of gold to spend. Live oysters would be brought to the gold fields in barrels of sea water after being gathered in and around San Francisco Bay. Such a meal cost approximately $6.00, a fortune in those days.
Hangtown Fry Recipe

This spot is by the creek that isn't really a creek anymore and has the 2 tailings piles as well.. so I guess I am safe to say this is a left-over shell from a gold panner's meal. Very cool!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Greenhouse Update - Raise the roof!


I have decided that I am going to keep the greenhouse where it is so during the Thanksgiving break, my dad and I put a poly-carbonate roof on it. These are panels that you can buy at Lowes and have the waves in them. They are lightweight which is good for us because they make it easy to move them around and they last for a good long time.
First let me remind you of what it looked like with the torn plastic sheeting and the blue tarps covering it... a real hillbilly greenhouse looking thing. Sad..

Before we started the project - I had 2 blue tarps covering the roof

After we stripped off the roofing plastic and tarps we had to nail on the cleats that you screw the panels into. They are wavy and thin so you have to be careful with lining them up from top to bottom. By the way, the label on these clearly says 6 feet but when we got them home and measured them they were only 5 ft 7 inches. What a big difference!

This is the cleat, you first attach these to the rafters and then attach the roof panels to them.
Halfway finished - but the clouds are coming in!
You have a special screw that you use to attach the panels to the cleats. They are painted and have a washer to stop leaks. But you must pre-drill the holes or the panels will split... this is really important!
Just getting started on the first side
 You can see the one cleat running the whole length of the bottom of the roof. We just used 1 row on the top and 1 row on the bottom since these are pretty lightweight and don't need a lot of bracing or attachment.

My bestest helper! My dad the super-man!
Screwing on the panels to the cleats

Dad finessing the end panels

Inside view of the finished roof - and even with the pouring rain the next day, no leaks.
I love the roof because it is watertight and lets light through but not too much to scorch the plants. I am using the leftover material to cover the holes where the walls meet the roof. Then I need to try and winterize it some more to keep the heat in as much as possible. My vegetables and fish are still going strong! 

Kale and tomato plants... the tomato plant have small green tomatoes and even new flowers. The kale are cold hardy so they should continue to do good in the winter as long as I can keep it from freezing.

Green pepper that I just picked and ate today! Finally... the pepper plants grew the slowest of everything in that system. I am thinking that they are not a fan of the aquaponic system and will probably need to grown them in the dirt next year. But still in the greenhouse to protect them from the deer that eat these plants down to the stem in just 1 night.


More Game Camera Pictures - aka "Critter Cam" for Nov/Dec 2014


I have captured a picture of something new this time, a fox! Here are the pictures from the last month or so..

But first - my neighbor's goat has figured out how to jump the fence and apparently comes over to visit while I am not home. She leaves behind the 4 other goats who stare at her through the fence.

 Deer action shot!

This black cat swings by every night - I have tried to convince her to come inside but she will have none of that. She is well fed and not feral but her being out at night is dangerous.

Silly me - I thought I had 1 raccoon on the property because of pictures like this..
Fuzzy bandit!
But nooo - I have at least 2 which means I may have more..
Two raccoons!
And finally - I definitely have a coyote that goes through the area but now I have a picture of a fox as well!

Seems like everything happens at night here!