Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blossom II - The New & Improved Travel Bug

Blossom I was a sweet Geocaching Travel Bug I sent out to see the world two years ago. Unfortunately, the geocaching world proved too much for a butterfly, and she has been lost.

Meet Blossom II - a slug eating pterodactyl! May she have a long life on the garden tour.

Here is her link to watch her travels: Blossom II
Here is the original Blossom and information about Geocaching: Blossom I

While we had only a little rain during our outing yesterday, we did run in to some mud, by the Green River. DH tried jumping across the spot, but lost a shoe! But, then he pulled off a great yoga move and didn't get his sock muddy! Mud was a clue, though, so we knew we must be close.Came across this massive stump, now a nurse log to a replacement tree.
And finally, at the end of a rope, down a natural hole, we found the cache.

While I like to cache this time of year when the undergrowth is tamed down some, the massive maple leaves have buried everything. Hence the handy poking stick I mentioned in the last post.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

...Pumpkin Jelly?

It is that time of year when we move from blossoms, although some are still going, to fungi and lichen. Found this beauty during our Geocaching outing, yesterday. Its color (a little more orange than the camera captured) really stood out amongst the greens and grays.

I believe it's a form of jelly fungi, perhaps dacrymyces palmatus. Might be aka Fairy Butter, but I'm having trouble finding a consistent common name.

My reference book says it is actually more firm than it looks. I'm sorry I didn't touch it, now! Or at least a little poke with my handy geocaching poking stick I was using to search among the leaves for the cache.

Would you have touched it?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Ahhh... I'd like to bottle the aroma in the house today!

Pumpkin pie and turkey breast are both in the oven. An apple pie will follow (as DH won't eat pumpkin).

For a special pumpkin pie, go visit Matron, Down on the Allotment!
I look forward to trying this soon. Other than the fruit, jam and lattice top, this is about the same recipe I have in the oven now. Ok, I always put in more pumpkin which then gives me a little side custard along with the pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

P.S. From the garden today, for dinner:
Lettuce, Butterhead-Speckles, Lettuce, Romaine-Crisp Mint, Swiss chard, Beet-Kestrel - I've learned I like them raw & grated on a salad
...and a small slug. Ok - I threw him back outside ...and DH made me wash all the lettuce, again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Important Harvest

While just about everyone is impacted by the economic situation, last week, I witnessed first hand the willingness of the Renton community to help out others. For National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, Way Back Inn volunteers arranged to have a food and housing supply drive at the Fred Meyer in Renton Center. WBI has a number of houses in Renton (also some in Kent and Tukwila) for homeless families with children.

WBI provided a simple list of items needed for the Renton food bank and for WBI houses. The community generously filled two large grocery carts with 375 items plus some cash donations! (I also noticed the number of reusable shopping bags going in and out, although the donations above show a lot of plastic).

Way Back Inn is a volunteer lead organization that offers 3 months housing, sometimes more, to homeless families with children who are working to reach a more stable housing and employment situation. It only takes about $20 to provide a day & night of housing and utilities for a family staying with Way Back Inn and it can make such a difference in the lives of the children.

You can visit the Way Back Inn website here.

Another upcoming Renton event...
Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Anthony's Church
You are invited to join other Renton residents at St. Anthony's Church (416 S. Fourth, Renton) for a Thanksgiving Day Dinner, November 27 at 2:00pm. It is for those who want to be with other people in a non-threatening, family style, friendly environment. Those new to the area, recently divorced, experiencing loneliness and families with children are all welcome. Donations are accepted but not required. Sponsored by REACH (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches). Volunteers and entertainment come from member churches but no religious affiliation is required.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Apples & Pumpkins

DH did a nice job cleaning up the kitchen this afternoon. I took it as an open invitation to make a mess! He helped, too. First, an extra large apple crisp. Then cooked apples were run through the contraption, above, to make applesauce (we didn't peel them before cooking). Yes, we have an apple tree (remember?). I was surprised how good the applesauce tasted! Then the first of the pumpkins went in the oven.
Tomorrow, there will be honey-pumpkin butter, and pumpkin bread to make. Here is the link to the honey-pumpkin butter recipe from an earlier post.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Other Cloche

The broccoli looks good under the window frame cloche (all the other seedlings were eaten by slugs). We've been harvesting lettuce and chard leaves from these plants already.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Inside the Cloche

I found this pea plant blooming under the cloche! It was the only one that sprouted from seeds I planted this fall. I transplanted it under the cloche and forgot about it (I'm discouraged about the other seedlings I planted in there as the slugs seem to have eaten the broccoli and lettuce). I was surprised to find this blossom.

The calendula is also blooming in the cloche (but with a little mildew which came along with fall). The bright spot inside is noticeable from outside the cloche also.

I haven't really buttoned up the cloche for the winter and wanted to try a new way to access the inside. I have an idea so once we have another dry day, I'll post whether or not it works.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Composting in Place

Many of the leaves have yet to fall, but last weekend, we did mow up some leaves and grass to start in-place composting. Each fall, we add the grass catcher to the mower and catch the chopped up leaves and grass for composting.

Last year, we collected it in wire cages (fashioned from misc. fencing we had). This did indeed compost, but was also hard to get out of the cage and a lot of the benefit went under the cages. This year, I planned to place the cages directly in a garden bed. But, then why use the cages? So, we'll pile it up in the beds. Anything left in the spring can be raked aside or used as mulch.
Even done like this, it does warm up inside the pile.

Decided to throw some coffee bags over parts to see if that helps. I think it will let in some moisture, but keep it from being sopping wet all of the time. I hope it encourages wormies to do their thing. They are always present under any coffee bags I use in the garden.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November 1 Garden Photo

While we did remove the remains of tomatoes, beans, squash plants, I cannot bring myself to cut back the flower and herb seed heads yet. I'll leave them for now in case the chickadees and goldfinch are looking for a snack.