Friday, November 22, 2013

November turns sunny but icy

I have to confess, I'm a little late in putting my gardens to bed this year. 

Brent removed all the planters and pots to the backyard last week while I was visiting Manda. 

Today dawned clear and bright, it was down to 24 degrees last night. The top two inches of the soil in my planters were frozen solid! I scooped out the frozen solid layer and had to dip into my potting soil reserves to plant up the few planters for winter enjoyment.

(Grrrrr....Blogger is chopping up my photos again. Be sure to click on the photos to see them in their entirety)

You can see where the summer pots were. I swept all the corners of porch and garage front area, and knocked down all the spider webs! I also got the top half of the driveway raked clean of leaves and debris and a gave it all a good sweep to give me a clean walkway.

One little angel and her pot of flowering kale.

Last fall I potted up three evergreens in the corner pot, it's hard to see the tiny globe shaped one in the right front corner. I am pleased with their growth.

                         (Again, photo chopped)

Purple and green evergreen Hebe and flowering kale on the left. Violas and a dwarf spruce in the center and a pair of kales on the right.

My three little home grown pumpkins!

Thanksgiving harvest wreath to be added soon. The weather forecast is for cold and clear for the next few days.  I'll be donning my warm and woolies again, the typical northwest gardening attire. I am also hoping to get the pond area cleaned up and to decorate the flower box shelves under the front bedroom windows.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Art From Cloth exhibit at the Wailoa Arts & Cultural Center

Jannie and I were lucky to get to visit the Wailoa Arts & Cultural Center and see the Art From Cloth exhibit showcasing the beyond-amazing quilts by the members of the Extreme Quilters of Southern California.

The accompanying brochure states, We are artists. We work in textiles. Our work has been showcased in exhibits across the country and around the world.

Fortunately, they allowed pictures to be taken of these wonderful works of art. Theses are but a few of the quilts on exhibit.

Dancing Girls

This photo was the inspiration for the quilt by Rodin Ludlum.  It was listed as a collaborative piece with Betty Amador, Sue Rassmussen, Trudy Smith, Eileen Alber & Sandy Harper. 50"x32"

By Joan De Young. 37"x36"

Annecy, France
Sue Rassmussen, collaborative. 31"x47"

Gloriana Garza. Collaborative, made by Glorianna Garza, Lynn Jurss, Christina Roca, Gayle Simpson and Florence Stroup. 36-1/2"x27-1/2"

This one was my most favorite of all!
Road To Poi Pu Point

The colors are were washed out but one can still appreciate the textures of the prints.

Sue Rasmussen. She writes: This is the Avenue of Trees On the road to Poipu Point on Kauai. I have driven down this road so many times, constantly amazed at the beauty and regal stature of these old trees. This quilt is completely machine pieced and machine quilted, using dozens of different fabric for the road alone. Part of the tree canopy is straight pieced, but the majority of the quilt is curved piecing, using the technique that I have been teaching for the past 10 years. 54"x72"

My daughters and i photographed this road several years ago during a family trip to Kaiui. It is a truly beautiful sight!

Na Pali Coastline
Sue Rassmussen. Shw writes: This is the most photographed angle of the Napali coastline on Kauai, and the ruggedness of the cliffs called out to me everytime I saw them to depict them in fabric. Whether hiking or kayaking to them, these magnificent cliffs with their gorges are breathtaking. I especially love the deep rustic color of the cliffs with the beautiful waterfalls streaming down in the valleys. This quilt is completely machine pieced and machine quilted. 37"x30"

The Carousel

Sandra Whitehouse. 46"x32"

Ocotillos in Their Splendor
Christina Rocha. She writes: My family lives on Ocatillo Avenue. The first time we saw an ocotillo was camping in Joshua Tree National Park the first year we moved to California. This is my representation of the thorny, hardy desert plant. This piece incorporates silks, rusted fabric, hand dyed fabric, sequined material and commercial cottons. 22"x58"

Dog Day Dream
Diana Shore 32"x46"

Pond Pattern Tapestry
Diana Shore. 20"x32"

Cock In The Cathedral 
Diana Shore. 24"x33"

These next two quilts reminded me of the work by my friend Maria.
Gloriana Garza. In loving memory of our sweet boy... Private Collection of Renea and Lisa Veneri-Stewart. 10"x12"

Glorianna Garza.  in loving memory of Koa; until we meet again... Hand dyed shibori fabric, fused appliqué, machine pieced and quilted. Private collection of renea and Lisa Veneri-Stewart. 

I took a picture of this quilt because Orca whales are a joy of my mom-in-law, and the tropical undersea is a joy of mine!
Sandra Whitehouse. 35"x40"


Lynn Jurss. She writes: This is first ins series of repetitive simple shapes and monochromatic color scheme. I was surprised by thenrangenof greens in my stash. Machine appliqué and quilted. 

Fractured Malama-Ki

Glorianna Garza. She writes: Inspired by a photograph I took in 2003 on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Fused applique and machine quilting. 38"x30"

This next picture didn't turn out well. I was hung between windows and my poor iPhone camera just couldn't cope.

The Snag

Sandra Whitehouse. She writes: My son lovingly took me for a ride in his motorboat on Lake Sabrina above Bishop, California. At the far end of the lake, he insisted that I clamber out of the boat and then proceeded to "drag" me up a "cliff" demanding thati must see the gorgeous view. The result was this piece and he was absolutely correct. 25"x31"

The setting for the quilt show, the Wailoa Arts & Cultural Center, was a beautiful open-air building. At the center of the rotunda was this beautiful waterfall with lots of tropical foliage.

My final word on this exhibit: inspiring!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I could get used to this

Daddy and I flew first class to visit Jannie & Shep on the Big Island of Hawaii yesterday. Wide comfy seats with enough legroom to recline with a pop up leg rest and foot rest! 

Being a morning flight, we had a three course breakfast! With a linen cloth across our trays we first had our fruit course to begin.

Warm muffin with butter and chilled fruit plate to go with mug of green tea.
Then our main course was served.

Red potatoes with Portuguese sausage and a fluffy veggie omelet with cheese.

And finally,

A delicious tropical fruit cheesecake. A very nice meal! 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Where I build a worm house

To further my goal of going organic in my food choices, I decided I needed another way to make good quality compost to increase the fertility of my raised beds. Better soil, better vegetables.

My sister, Amanda, mentioned worm composting and I took the idea and ran with it. I shopped the Internet for vermicomposting products and watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to build your own. Such a decision, spend roughly $100 for a Worm Factory that is uniform, tidy, & streamline or spend less than $20 for homemade and risk something Clampet-like.

I found a website and used it to find a local worm farmer. I contacted her this past Wednesday and found out she was going to be at the Bow Little Market ( the very next afternoon. Visiting with her on the phone convinced me that I could easily make a good home for my worms without a large cash outlay. $80 savings for building instead of buying will free up just that much more of the budget for organic, non-GMO foods!

I bought a one pound tub of Red Wiggler worms that was estimated to be 4,000 worms. They cost $25.00.

Here you can see the aging flower petals and the squash blossom of off a small zucchini. I have read that squash and melons are a favorite dinner for the worms.

This is how I built my vermicomposting bin after watching several You Tube videos. It seemed good advice to use a sturdy container over a cheap one. So I decided on two Rubbermaid Toughneck 10 gallon tubs with lids. They were $5.97 each. I also purchased a half yard of fine black tulle. Add to the tally $.67.

The tubs will be stacked inside each other. The outer one left intact to catch the worm tea. The inner one will be altered to have 1/8" holes in the bottom to allow the worm tea to drain off, and 1-1/4" holes to provide air circulation to ensure aerobic conditions for the health of the worms and to prevent smelly anaerobic composting. The fine tulle is used to cover the vent holes, to prevent the worms from exiting and fruit flies from entering.

I decided I wanted a deeper worm tea catchment area, so i added wood blocks inside the handle to adjust the depth that the top bin would stack into the bottom bin.

 Fortunately there were two holes in the bottom of each handle, all I had to do to attach the wood blocks was to add a couple of screws.

Then I used an 1-1/4 hole saw to make the vent holes. A 1-1/4 spade bit could have also worked.

Then the drain holes. I used a 1/8" bit and drilled several holes in the lowest portion of the bottom.
Here you can see the holes as the container is held up to the light. The holes look a lot bigger in the picture than they really are.

To cover the vents, I used a triple layer of the black tulle and a hot glue gun. I found it worked best to lay down a ring of hot glue around the holes, imbed the tulle layers into the glue, then top with another ring to ensure a tight seal. I did this on the inside if the container to keep the exterior tidy looking.

Before laying down the hot glue, I used the hand sander to rough up the area around the holes to help the glue get a good hold on the smooth plastic.

I trimmed the excess tulle as close to the glue ring as I could. I figured it would keep compost from getting caught in them when I empty the bin.

Now to feed the worms. I added shredded paper. I was going to shred newspapers but I discovered my shred bin was already full of paper shreds, so I just used that.

I wetted down the paper by sprinkling handles of water then stirring with my hands till they were uniformly wet, but not drippy. 

Then I layers in the greens. I had very little veggies trimmings as I haven't cooked dinner in a few days, but I did find some cherries that were getting moldy in the fruit drawer. I added some cut up flowers from an old cut arrangement and bulked up the fresh greens with handfuls of torn up horsetails from my yard.

Last of all, I added the worms.

Here's a close up of my little workers:

So, here is the finished product. I placed it in a spot on the back deck that is always shaded and will be sheltered from the rain.

So, how much did this cost? $37.61. And it was completed in just an evening!

I've read that a pound of worms will eat a half pound of produce scraps a day! So I will be adding new veggie matter everyday, as well as a handful of my garden soil to introduce the soil bacteria and provide grit for the worms' gizzards. I've also been saving my eggshells and I will be grinding mine up in a blender and giving it to the worms for added grit and to boost the calcium content of my soil after the finished compost is used to amend the soil in my raised bed gardens. 

I will need to protect the worms from freezing so I intend on bringing my worm farm into the garage this winter. If done properly, balancing carbon and nitrogen, brown and green, it is supposedly odor-free.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

holy guardian angel

O Angel of Christ, holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me everything where in I have offended thee every day of my life and protect me from all influences and temptations of the evil one.  May I never more anger God by any sin.  Pray for me to the Lord that he may make me worthy of the Grace of the All Holy Trinity, and the Most Blessed Theotokos, and all the saints. Amen.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

There be zucchini here!

I am so tickled to report that my 2 green zucchini plants are blossoming and starting to bear fruit!

And the spaghetti squash plant has exploded in growth! It has three stems taking off in all directions, running over the lettuce and crowding the tomatoes!

Each branch has lots of little blooms turning into squash!

And we harvested out first Goldy yellow zucchini!  With lots more to come!

Seeing food, that you've grown from little starts and even tinier seeds is very satisfying. Can't wait till my 'maters start coming in!