Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sweet Northwest

Welcome to the 14th Annual Gingerbread Village Tour.The six gingerbread displays are created by Seattle's architecture firms and the Sheraton's culinary staff. Donations from the displays support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Above, the Space Needle, Westlake Center & its winter festivities, Santa's Monorail, Mt. Rainier.
Pike Place Market with rooftop reindeer parking. More photos later.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Look Out New Year!

01/01/07 update: So this hat didn't work its way into the new year's eve celebration after all. It will be a nice addition to the barn / potting shed so no worries. Hmmm... quite the find at my favorite second hand shop! It looked like it had been a hanging decoration and it had a layer of dust on the flowers. A good soaking brightened it up. Check back in a few days and see if it shows up again!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We've Been Fished!

We returned home last night to find some additional lights on our outside Christmas tree.A nice string of fish have mysteriously appeared! Hmmmm...
We've had quite a time with this tree. First, the serious challenge of getting lights to the top of it (really, honey, they don't have to go ALL the way to top). Then the lights went out and it was only on Saturday DH discovered the cut wires (creatures or clippers, we cannot imagine?). New lights in place and now it's catching fish! So how to find out who has a fish story to tell...?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Joyful Christmas

May all the joys of Christmastide
Within your happy home abide,
And may God keep you in His care
As down the path of life you fare.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
-Petunia, Petunia's Gardener, and the DH
(poem from a card sent to my Grandparents in the 1940's, photo from Petunia's Garden)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jingle Jangle Jive

Jingle Jangle tree and reflection. The first outside night shots I've tried with this camera just aren't working like with my old camera. Sort of liked this one anyway. I'll try again if we can get the tree lights to work again ....

Like this picture, this week has been a little too jingle jangly and I don't yet feel like Christmas is only a few days away. So many plans and not enough hours. But, really, those plans aren't needed to enjoy some time with the DH and do some little surprises for a few others. You know, the 25th only gets the 12 Days of Christmas started! So who's late?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

2007 Calendars Available

Still needing a 2007 calendar?
Beauty & Strength 2007:
Women of Mary’s Place Speak of Homelessness & Hope
$10 Postage Paid ~ Now Available

A compelling wall calendar celebrating the beauty, strength, courage and hope of women who have experienced homelessness. Proceeds benefit Seattle’s Church of Mary Magdalene & Mary’s Place Day Center. More information at www.churchofmarymagdalene.org or 206-621-8474.

Print the order form here or from the website: http://www.churchofmarymagdalene.org/2007%20flyer.doc.
(note, this form can be slow to load, but it will load)
The calendar is beautiful and inspiring, just like the women. Let me know if you have any questions about the organization or the calendar. This is a community of women supporting one another through very difficult situations. They'll appreciate your support and you'll be inspired all year long.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Home Warm Home

On this third Sunday of Advent, I'm very grateful to be in my little home, warm and rested. After the windstorm Thursday night, there are still many without power, with big trees lying on and in their houses and other less than restful situations. It's cold now too, but the snow in the picture is gone.

I'll spend the rest of the evening now, in humble appreciation of the little things, writing Christmas cards and drinking my own version of gl├╝hwein (probably only as close to the German version as I am at this moment close to Munich where I first tried it! that is... probably not close). Warm wishes to all of you, wherever you are tonight.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas comes early (to good gardeners)

Special delivery Arizona grown and dried gourds:
Remember these bottle neck/bird house gourds growing on our pumpkin patch fence? We called DH's brother for some expert advice as we could not see how they would ever dry. Just about hopeless in the Pacific Northwest is what we all decided (see below). Brother M recognized the disappointed sound in my voice and surprised us with a nice variety of quality AZ dried gourds!

Washington grown and mostly rotting gourds, in the barn: And a few trying to dry in the house:
Thanks, Brother M! This is indeed better than my suggestion of mailing you our moldy, undrying ones.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A box on our doorstep!

And it doesn't say "Do not open until Christmas!" But just in case, Santa, note this isn't me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Welcome

This cheery banner hangs in our entry every Christmas. It is another creation from Sis. DH has had this one longer than he's had me, I think. The garden (& other) critters are a joy to have around during these rainy, dark days.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Garden Waltz


Frosted carrot greens, gardeners dreaming inside, sunny days ahead full of glee; Spring's on her way, mail will come one day with seeds, seeds for you and for me...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hawthorn Berries

Oh yes, and a little blue sky.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's Here...

I'm making my list and checking it two, three or four times. Gonna leave it laying around the house 'cause Dear Husband needs to knows how much to put on the gift certificate he'll make and leave in my stocking. But shhh... he likes it when he surprises me.

Territorial Seed Company www.territorialseed.com

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hope & Preparation

We'll have an outside Christmas tree this year so Sis' (DH's sister) little angel will stay inside with us. She's topped all the trees since we've been married and happily announces Christmas from tabletop or tree alike.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Industrial Moles and ?

We have a mole problem. Well, we thought we had an industrial size mole problem. But now we see what is going on. Initially, there was one natural aerator at work and we sort of ignored him. The first one wanted more time to spend in the fluffy garden soil so he called in reinforcements to handle the pasture - from all corners of the universe, apparently.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good-Bye, November!

Well, we're really not too sad to see you go. Over 15.5 inches of rain this month doesn't replace a few nice rains we could have used last summer (hmmm...remember Ode to Rain?) Just the usual 5-6 inches in Nov. would have been just fine.

And "thunder snow" ?! After the 6th flash over my head on the way home in the ice/snow Monday night, I was starting to think my car had some electrical issue making the street lights go out - or was it me? Aren't flashes of light signs of eye problems? Is this how crazy starts? Why now?

Finally, I heard a good thunder along with the lightning and decided I wasn't seeing things after all. Thunder snow - who knew!

And who needs this 18 degrees? Our average low for November is firmly above the freezing line. Sure there were also some above average days in November. But these pansies (& cows) aren't sure they were cut out for 18 degrees. They had months of blooming to go still, who knows now.

December may be arriving more peacefully here, but for some of the rest of you, it sounds like it's our November in disguise. Keep warm, stay safe and good luck!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Winter Apples

We had a little blue sky yesterday, but as the temps stayed low, it didn't produce much melting. The large pileated woodpeckers have been happy to find some apples still in the trees, with or without the extra topping.

Today, we're back to white skies to go with the white snow, and no melting. May have more snow tonight and then warmer temps and rain. Right now, the road connecting our little street to the rest of the world is blocked in the down hill direction by a sideways truck and car and a very iced hill up the other way. Some drivers decided to go around the "closed" sign at the top of the hill only to find the blockage around the curve. Then they cannot make it back up the hill. As I said before, we don't do snow here often!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Squirrel Forecast

The squirrels knew about the weather this week. We are supposed to have a mild winter, but I've been noticing how extra plump the squirrels have become.

I'll heed the squirrel activity this afternoon: I saw one make lots of trips to the tree by the barn with a mouthful of leaves and treasures. A few extra blankets and snacks I presume. How cold will it be tonight? I think I'll follow his lead and plan to stay inside.

Snowflowers are Blooming!

We don't do a lot of snow in the Puget Sound lowlands. And when it does arrive, usually it quickly melts. This might be with us for a few days thanks to cold temps. I could hear some cars sliding and spinning on the main road by our house due to the ice that also formed. Lots of hills and little road clearing so a good day to stay off the roads.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Bright Spot

Thanks again for the orchid, Sis! What a lovely treat on these dark days. It remains in the small pot it came in for the Barn Warming over a year ago. I thought I should repot it, but then it the flower buds starting showing so I let it go. It has more flowers than shown in the photo.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Snackjack Pie

I'm not the cook that many gardeners are, but I do like to use the harvest (plus I wanted more roasted pumpkin seeds). One medium snackjack pumpkin makes just a little more than a pie. Yes, that's a store pie shell. Maybe next time I'll try making the crust too. The neighboring pie is from our apples trees. I call these vegetable and fruit servings.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dinner plans?

Anyone for roasted pumpkin dinner and a little turkey pie?
But, oh, no shortage of thanks to give on this day of giving thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving wishes to you!
(...and you thought pumpkin pics would end with Halloween!)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Gold!

DH mowed(mulched) & collected the leaves from the ornamental cherry trees (see April view here) and we're spreading them in the garden. I hope the leaves and some burlap coffee bean bags will smother out the grass between these rows. Before mowing the leaves, below.Early November, below, after taking down the bean structure (see Aug photo here). The clean coffee bags in the far end cover part of next year's expansion. Hopefully some of the grass will be gone by spring.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Need Mulch?

Big-leaf maple - all the mulch you ever need in one single tree!

These leaves surprise me every fall when I find them on the ground mixed in with normal leaves. That's a size 9 foot there.

When I was out in the garden on that extra frosty day, I kept hearing crunches in the neighbor's woods. Was it the neighbors? No. Crunch, crunch. Was it a squirrel? No. Was it that coyote that's been around? Crunch, crunch. Finally concluded it was these giant frozen leaves not so silently falling to the ground!

What a week! I didn't expect to be so out of touch. I even have topics lined up and still couldn't get them posted.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Snackjacks Indeed!

These small Snackjack pumpkins will be back next year!
I baked them for about an hour and my father-in-law scooped out the meat. DH soaked the seeds in salt water and then stuck them back in the oven for roasted pumpkin seeds. We added chopped apples to the pumpkin meat. (Spring photo here.)
And made apple & pumpkin muffins. The roasted pumpkins seeds where so much better than the seeds we tried to roast last year. These needed no shelling and we've eaten them all already. So all the little Snackjacks scattered around the house will soon accomplish their snack providing mission and be eaten before long!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Warning!

The ghost of the one-handed scarecrow is on the prowl! He might have his sights set on a new HAND from YOUR GARDEN... (Some say lots and lots of garlic will keep him a way.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Doubt About This Frost

There may have been a light frost earlier in the month, but no question about what happened last night.
The forecast was for 34 degrees and the clear, cold evening felt like a frost was on the way. Picked most the tomatoes just in case.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall Peas in Blossom

The August 10th planting of snow peas (Oregon Sugar Pod II, I think) are blossoming. I have no idea how they'll do once the frosts start. (Before we mowed them down last weekend, the pumpkin leaves looked like they might have had a light frost, but nothing else seems to have minded.) I realized today, however, that this row gets shaded by the barn in the afternoon. In the future, I'll use the rows farther away from the barn for early spring and late fall crops to give them a few more needed hours of sun. The white framed windows are sizing up the area for a possible cold frame over the lettuce and spinach.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Exterior Decorations

We still visit our hillside seats but often it's too dark when we get home to visit in the evenings. Others must enjoy them when we're not there. Someone's gone and decorated the tree with painted leaves and lots of shiny tinsel.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Barn & Garden

Here is some of the sunflower harvest. They were being eaten by the squirrel so I brought them into the barn to dry. Other critters may find them in here, but I'm watching for signs of munching. Foggy garden on Oct. 7th, below. The black barrel is a tumbler composter, otherwise, I compost "in place." The tall grassy row between it and the garden has in it a number of native trees & shrubs that started as bare rooted seedlings. We hope to move them to other places on the property soon. Then this will be a lavender row.The vines on one side of the bean structure are getting thin and it took the Chickadees & Goldfinches very little time to discover the sunflower heads stuck among the vines.
I've been drying flowers and now these leaves in the barn too. These first got a quick rinse before drying and now they are on my table in the house.