Archive for May, 2017

Hostas

Posted May 28, 2017 By Ruth

You may remember that last year I planted a bunch of hostas in an odd corner of the yard.  And that the reason for it was that nothing else was thriving there, except for the weeds.

Not only did they come back up this year, they’re almost all quite large and thriving!

Not quite sure whats munching on that one, one other one is being munched on too.

 

Top right corner there is one of the ones that didn’t come up big, but since we had to kill a bull thistle that decided to sprout right next to it last fall I’m just thrilled it came up at all.

 

Is that not the cutest little hosta plant ever?  Its called Blue Mouse Ears and I want about 10 more to scatter around that area.  Unfortunately that was the one expensive pot of the bunch, so I’ll have to settle for 2 or 3 most likely, assuming I can find them local again.

Birds

Posted May 25, 2017 By Ruth

There were no babies from the pink Bluebird eggs.  The House Sparrow struck barely a day before they’d hatch.  There is another male Bluebird (not the same one I think) scouting the nest box yesterday, so maybe we’ll still get lucky this year.  I’m not holding my breath though.  My local House Sparrows aren’t deterred by the normal methods used to keep them away from the Bluebirds.

I’ve decided its time to do some religious trapping of the sparrows.  Before someone freaks out, House Sparrows aren’t a native USA bird, they are infact an English native (and if it was legal I’d happily box them all up and ship them back), and they’re highly destructive to natives, as I’ve had to learn the hard way.  Trapping and killing (or even shooting and killing) is legal as long as local laws on the subject are followed and the killing is done in a humane fashion.  I’ve done casual trapping before, as well as had some luck with the pellet gun, but they were one bird at a time methods.  This time I’ve ordered a repeating sparrow trap, which is capable of holding a large number of birds.  We didn’t need to spend the money, the trap isn’t cheap, but my husband isn’t arguing with me, he’s as frustrated with the House Sparrows as I am.  I’d happily leave them alone if they’d leave my local natives alone, but they aren’t.

In more amusing news, this is the location of one local Robins nest this year:

That is the top of our solar panel meter and shut off.  In an emergency that nest will likely be destroyed as the firemen shut down our solar panels.  In addition the nest is between our garage door and the front house door.  And my dogs are absolutely willing to munch on baby bird if given a chance.  As a result we’ve tried hard to keep the Robins from nesting there.  The first summer I hung shiny spinny ribbons above it (you can see the remains in the picture).  The 2nd summer the Robins wove the ribbons into their nest (I didn’t get a picture, I should have).  The 3rd summer we stacked odd shaped irregular items on top of it.  They nested on top of the irregular shapes.  Then I hit on the bird spikes, you can get a 10ft pack from Amazon for not to much.  They worked for two years, it was awesome.  Then, in the mess that has been this spring, I left for work one morning and spotted the above image, and of course had to snap a picture.  The nest is built up enough none of the spikes poke through.  It was probably there for a day or two at least before I spotted it, it generally takes them a day or two to build it.  I feel like it needs one of those motivational captions about overcoming your environment.  I guess I need to come up with a new solution for next year……

Garden

Posted May 23, 2017 By Ruth

Everything’s planted, caged, got its water hose set, and mulched with straw!

Volunteer rattail radishes.  I knew I didn’t get them all picked last year, I didn’t realize how many I didn’t get picked.  Nice to know they’ll reseed in my climate though.

Volunteer potatoes.  I guess there were more surviving potatoes than I realized!

Black Pearl peppers, seeds given to me by a friend of mine.

Black Plum tomato.  Still my favorite tomato.  Mostly because of the flavor, but also for the reason shown in the picture above.  Thats a two-foot tall seedling, standing happily on its own.  They barely need caging till they’re closer to 4ft tall.

Read the damn manual

Posted May 16, 2017 By Ruth

When you buy a new piece of equipment, read the damn manual.  I don’t care if you’ve run virtually identical pieces of equipment for your entire life.  Read the damn manual.

And if you DON’T read the manual, and the piece of equipment won’t work, read the damn manual THEN.

And if you STILL haven’t read the damn manual, don’t call the store screaming about how we sold you defective merchandise, because I WILL wait you out and then walk you through the steps to start your new lawnmower properly and be delighted when you clearly feel stupid.

The fact that I sound about 14 over the phone helps with this, but still, you could avoid the whole thing by just reading your damn manual.

waiting……

Posted May 15, 2017 By Ruth

 

Those are my seedlings, tomato, pepper, melon, etc, waiting for the weather to warm up enough for them to be planted, picture taken last night.  Average last frost is today.  If the weather predictions hold I might be able to start planting out tomorrow.  Tonight we’re supposed to drop to the low 40’s, but after that….the lowest they’re predicting is 50 for the next 10 days.  The tires keep the dirt warm enough that I can plant as soon as air temps allow me to.    The lights in the picture are C9 non-LED christmas lights, they produce enough heat to keep the little greenhouses nice and warm.

Course, planting is going to be an exercise in frustration too.  I still don’t have full use of my right arm yet, its better, but not 100%.

Instant Pot Ketchup update

Posted May 3, 2017 By Ruth

Husband reports that he REALLY likes the flavor of this batch.

Also, after some discussion with some other IP owners it was suggested that maybe the IP needs to be set to “saute” to force the mixture to reduce better.  Its worth a try.  Will report when I try it again!