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I found a blackberry seedling by my waterfall today. I thought it looked like the start of a very aggressive bush our neighbor planted on the hillside, but when I went to pull it out I noticed all of the prickly stickers on it and I said OMG it's a blackberry bush. What the heck is it doing over here? We used to have them along the fence line but they all died out when we built the shed over there. Now I've got this seedling and I don't know where to put it. If they weren't so...unfriendly...I'd plant it along the fence in the dog run, but I wouldn't want my puppy getting prickled. Oh well, Mother Nature pulled another one out of the hat for me this year.
Well, it's been another year that I haven't planted one single thing in the garden. I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will. I did get an errant foxglove by the front door. I have NO idea how it got there either. The last time I planted them was in the backyard 4 years ago. I've babied it along all summer. I hope I will have more next spring.
The days are still warm but the nights are beginning to cool off slightly and the leaves are beginning to lighten a little so I know that fall is right around the corner. I can hardly wait!!!!
Wow! It's been awhile. I've been so busy the past year I've barely had time to turn around let alone plant anything. To be quite frank I forgot all about this site. :o( I was reading my garden journal from last fall and found a link so here I am.
Things on the mountain have been pretty quiet since last summer. We got hit with another whapalooza storm this winter. Three feet of snow in 48 hours! Let me tell you these severe winters are getting old. Us Californians aren't used to it. I will be happy when the winters become a little more mild or at least the snowfall does. I don't mind the rain as much because you don't have to shovel it. :oP
Spring is making an attempt to show her face the past two weeks. The wild grasses are popping out of the soil, but no ferns yet and the oak trees still haven't leafed out yet so I don't think Old Man Winter is done with us yet. My daffodils have bloomed but the snow we got a couple weeks ago did the blossoms in.
I don't have time to plant a vegetable garden this year or even pumpkins for that matter; maybe next year. The best I'm hoping for is a few flowers and getting some bulbs in the ground for next year's spring season. I am ready for green and growing things.
Hope you all have a great spring and planting season.
It's been ages since I made an entry here. Summer is always a busy time of year. There are weeds to be pulled, trees to be pruned and gardens to plant. Fall and Winter are my down times and it is at that time of the year that my thoughts turn to blogging and journaling. We are coming into our hottest times of the year. We've been having a heatwave up here for the last two weeks where the temperatures up here are in the 100's. That's pretty warm for over 6000 feet! The forestry service is on us all to prune back our shrubs and eleminate weeds, grasses and pine needles on our property which is quite an undertaking when you live up here in a pine forest. All of our weekends have been spent outside working.
We had a killing frost in May that put an end to my hopes for a garden this year. It killed all of my tender plants. I haven't had the heart to start up again, so there will be no pumpkin patch for the grandkids this year at Halloween. I didn't have much luck last year anyway since the frost we had a few days before killed them. I'm beginning to think that mother nature just isn't smiling on my attempts. I am eager to find out how all of your gardens are doing though.
I planted the seeds for this years garden on the 2nd and they are already coming up. I bought one of those seed trays from Wal-Mart ($13) for the first time, and tried it out. So far I'm having success. I can't plant outdoors yet though. They are predicting snow this weekend. Ugh! Anyway, the zucchini and looseleaf lettuce are the first to sprout. I am really surprised that it's happened so fast. At this rate we will have to get those raised beds started by next month!
Well, my last entry was a pipe dream. We got about a foot of snow last week. I was so frustrated I didn't even bother to take a picture.
It's a good thing I didn't put my plants out I'd have been stomping up and down and throwing a tantrum. NWS predicts rain on Tuesday and Wednesday with more snow (good grief!) on Thursday and Friday. I don't think I'm going to even start my seeds in the tray until around the 7th. I don't want to have huge seedlings with no place to put them. I'm hoping to get them in the groung the week after Mother's Day. We've had snow on that day before too.
I hope to plant eggplant, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, two varieties of tomatoes, butternut and acorn squash, and maybe pumpkins. We didn't have any luck with the pumpkins last year. No fruit ever developed. We planted them July 4th weekend. Anybody got any ideas what we did wrong?
It's been a while since my last post. Winter hit us really hard in San Bernardino this year. One storm (Jan 2010) dropped almost 4 feet in a few days. They say it was a record breaker, but last years storms were about the same. We were without power for 6 days and had to have a blade and a bulldozer plow our street. It took them several hours. We had to pay to have our cars dug out and the parking pad cleared. It was a mess! In the picture below Matt (our neighbor) is showing Eric how to operate his snow blower; the surface of the street was a foot below what they were standing on! The storm was so severe that we had several tree limbs break under the weight of the snow, and they came crashing down in our yard taking out a section of our chain link fence and nearly destroying my pic nic set. The whole side yard is filled with tree limbs and broken branches.We still have patches of snow on the ground in places.
Not much has happened here while the earth has slept beneath this blanket of white, but the daffodils are beginning to bloom, so I know the ground is warming up, and soon we will be able to plant our first real vegetable garden. Last year we had cast offs from the neighbors gardens, but this year we're going to do one ourselves. As I sit here typing at my desk I'm looking out at the hillside behind our house, and the ferns are beginning to peek out of the dirt, so thankfully, things will begin to green up soon. This is the first time since we've been up here that I am really welcoming spring. We had a light dusting of snow two days before Easter, but it didn't stick. This is the first year in 9 years that we haven't had snow on Easter Sunday, and let me tell you it was a welcome surprise.
Fairygarden was kind enough to share some of her hollyhock seeds with me last year, but I won't be able to plant them for a bit because we are getting several dump truck loads of free topsoil delivered in our front yard. Seems the local septic tank installer guy has tons of dirt that he has to pay to dispose of and I was all to happy to recieve it rather than him having to pay to have it taken at the dump, and he was more than glad to give it to me and save himself a pocket full of cash. He is grading our yard while he's spreading the dirt about, and only taking a minimal amount of cash (donation) to do it. I am looking forward to getting our next load in 2 - 3 weeks. The neighbor across the street is widening his driveway and he said we could have all of the dirt. Consequently we won't be putting the picket fence panels back up for some time and until they are done moving the dirt around I can't plant the hollyhocks. However, the rest of the planting beds are begging for a little color and I want to plant some pansies in them.
We have been considering moving off the mountain into a 55+ manufactured home community, but we just heard today that we are still too young to get in, so I guess we will be staying put for another 5 years until I'm old enough to live in one. No biggie, I think (in spite of the snow) I still would hate to give up my mountain home for a city life in the flatlands, but I know the move is coming eventually. We can't handle too many winters like the past two years, but who knows what God has in store for us. He must want us to stay put for a VERY good reason, and I am content to let him hold the reins that direct our lives.
I hope everybody fared better this winter than we did, and I am anxious to read what will be happening in you gardens this year!
This will be short and sweet. I've been really sick with the flu and had to make an ER run at dawn on Saturday because I couldn't breathe. Seems I got bronchitis on top of the flu. This is the first day I've been able to sit up in a week. I caught the darn thing from my grandkids on the 30th and it's really done a number on me. I've got weak lungs as it is (asthma) I never thought I'd be in such bad shape at 50. That's pretty young to have breathing problems. Anyway, we have come to the conclusion that it might not be best for me to watch the kids when they get sick with the flu or a bad cold because it has such dire consequences for me.
We've gotten several light dustings of snow this week, but tonight we are getting hit with an all out storm; a couple of feet so far. Thank goodness my hubby's gig got cancelled for tonight and he was able to stay home with me. He's been so sweet taking care of me, won't let me lift a finger. I'm not used to being the one being taken care of usually it's the other way around. He put the new ornaments I bought on the Christmas tree while I was an armchair supervisor. I will post pictures later. I'm just too exhausted to get up and do much besides the doc said I am to keep my bottom firmly planted in bed and indoors. Well, I'm off to do just that and read my book (The Sacrifice by Beverly Lewis). Night all...
The first fall of snow is not only and event, it is a magical event. You go to sleep in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? - J. B. Priestly
We stacked our cord of wood yesterday and although it was brisk there was barely a cloud in the sky. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to this in the morning. As soon as I saw it I had to quickly put on my boots and run up to the street to take a few pictures. It's only a few inches, but that doesn't diminish the joy or the magic it instills in me. There's something about the snow that makes me feel like such a child. I can't wait to get out in it and play. I love the way my cheeks and my nose feel when that brisk air hits them. Just yesterday I commented on how pretty the leaves on the cherry tree looked yesterday. They finally turned a vivid red and now they have a dusting of snow all over them which gives them the illusion that they are cherry blossoms.
Last night was warm enough that we didn't even bother to turn the blower on our fireplace insert before we went to bed. The snow has put a little hiccup in my plans to put up the Christmas lights today. Well, at least I got a few Christmas decorations out in the yard and swapped out my seasonal flags yesterday before it came.
Seasons Greetings everyone!
"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank. Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night become the touches of sweet harmony."
-- William Shakespeare
It's the end of another beautiful day here on the mountain. The holidays are fast approaching, Christmas carols play on the radio and the mercury is beginning to dip a little farther down the thermometer. My four-footed friend has just padded into the room to let me know it is dinnertime and that he is ready for his nightly torture of eating dog food while we dine on lavish meals. Sadly the leaves have all fallen off of the oaks, maples, and honey locust trees, and now their silhouettes are like skeletons against the sky. I'm sorry to say goodbye to Autumn until next year, but winter with it's frosty, white days and nights lies ahead, and i enjoy that time of year too. It is always a joy to watch the kids play in the snow. Lighting a fire in the fireplace has become a nightly occurance and whenever I go outside I have to wear a jacket, so now we have to put Shilo's sweater on him when we take him for walks. He takes this with a grain of salt and a great deal of humiliation. I'm sure in the dog world it is the equivalent of putting a Big Bird sweater on a 10-year-old. We are actually looking into buying him a pair of doggie snowboots for his winter walks. I'm sure this will add to his further humiliation. What can I say? The kids are all grown up with kids of their own, and we have no one to lavish our love on except each other and our dog.
I envy all of you out there speaking of flowers and vegetables that are growing in your gardens and I pity those of you who are already experiencing snow. My time of the frosty white stuff is soon approaching. Eric and I are going to try and catch Walt Disney's A Christmas Carol this week. Anyone out there seen it? I am hopeful that we can see a Nutcracker ballet or take in a Christmas music concert. Of course, I say this every year and we haven't made it yet, but I remain hopeful. One year we caught a stage production of A Christmas Carol by one of the local theatre groups and that was fantastic. I keep looking on the Internet for any others that might be in our area, but I haven't found one yet, so that is why we've decided to go to the movie theaters and see it in 3D.
Tomorrow we have to stack the cord of wood we just had delivered and I'm going to try to climb on the roof and put the Christmas lights up. Last year we didn't put them up and it didn't seem festive somehow. Hopefully, I won't break my neck. I've been gathering recipes and homemade gift ideas off of Marthastewart.com. She's got some great spa gifts you can make. I like to add a personal touch to my gifts and with the budget being what it is whenever I can make something instead of go out and buy it I prefer to do that. I've got to get started on them too or Christmas wil sneak up on me before I get them finished.
God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther
Well, my fellow gardening buddies the sun is coming up, so it's off to bed with me, but I thought I'd share this photo with you before I did. I took it outside my front door. Have a blessed Sunday.
"Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn
on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling
hills that reach to the far horizon? - Hal Borland
THIS is the view I enjoyed on the drive up the mountain this afternoon. I took several shots of the sky on the drive up, but I liked this one the best. The quality of pictures I get with my Rant cell phone always amaze me. I'm sure if I had a digital camera with a zoom lense I could do even better. Well, just add that to the ever-growing "want" list.
We didn't get any snow at our place last night, but I heard they got some in Big Bear which is about 600 feet higher than we are. It's a lot colder tonight, so if the storm keeps coming we should get some of the white stuff by morning.
I haven't been on for at least a week so I'm off to read what's happening in your world...
"October gave a party,
The leaves by hundreds came --
The Chestnut, Oaks, and Maples
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."
George Cooper, October's Party
There were some beautiful, soft, wispy storm clouds this afternoon. It was a perfect October sky. The trees dark silhouettes against a pastel palette of soft and somber grays. A whiff of pine, oak and hardwoods burning in the hearths of our friends and neighbors homes sent a spicy rich perfume floating on the breeze. The wind rustled through the trees sending their leaves on a magical dance to who knows where, and there was a crispness in the air that made me wish for a warmer sweater. Is there anything more glorious than an autumn afternoon?
Tonight has been a very blustery night on the mountain. There were several times when I thought the power lines would go down or Edison would shut the power off because of the winds, but they haven't yet; thank goodness. I thought we would get snow for sure. Lord knows it's cold enough, twenty-four degrees by the thermometer outside my window. I keep sneaking glances out the door to see if any flakes are falling but I see nothing but stars, so the storm must have passed us by.
The Halloween party was a huge success! Everyone had a wonderful time.
My grandson was Batman and my granddaughter was a fuzzy spider; too cute :o) That's his friend, Mattie, dressed as Spiderman. Mattie is Marion’s son. They live across the street and whenever the kids come up to our house they all play together. Katie wouldn't keep her costume on long enough for me to get a picture of her in it.
One of the first things Logan wanted to do once he got here was go look at his pumpkin patch. Eric took him over and he told me that when Logan saw the pumpkins in it he excitedly exclaimed, "Our pumpkins grew, Grandpa Eric!" You see there weren't any there the last time the kids came up to the house. After they ate lunch we did the pumpkin hunt and we had little superheroes and ghosties hunting for tiny plastic pumpkins stuffed with candy, running all over our "creepy" back yard. Logan was so cute he kept finding pumpkins but they didn't have his initial on them so he wouldn't pick them up. He said, "That's not mine, and it wouldn't be nice". The other kids didn't care they were grabbing them as fast as they found them. It didn't take long before they were all found. Thankfully, I had them all labeled with the letters of their first names, so once we got inside we separated them and each kid had 5 pumpkins. Of course they couldn’t wait to open the candy, but the moms only let them have a few pieces. Next we went outside and watched them pick their pumpkins. They were so excited and once they chose the one they wanted they insisted on carrying them inside by themselves! My granddaughter, Katie, who is two, chose the heaviest one of the five and she struggled with it halfway up the garden path, but then she said I could “help” her with it which meant I could carry it inside the house for her. Once we got all the kids seated the pumpkin carving began. I helped Katie carve hers and Eric helped Logan with his which was a lot of fun. We put all the pumpkins on display on the counter and then I put a black candle in each one and we lit them up. That's my daughter, Becca, behind them in this photo. Katie's is the first one on the left, Logan's pumpkin is next, then Erin's and finally Aurora's.
I took the seeds and cleaned them off and then toasted them in the oven. While some of the seeds were toasting we made the bat puppets and then they decided to take the kids for a walk around the block in the windy, leaf whispery, smoke scented, autumn afternoon. On their way back Marion invited all of us over to pick apples off of their trees. I now have 3 huge bags of apples, so I will be up to my neck in apple pies and applesauce by next week. (I have an awesome recipe for applesauce, using a bean pot, if anyone's interested.) After picking apples it was circle time in the front yard where they all sat down on a blanket, and my daughter and her friend, Veronica, read them Halloween stories. We topped the whole day off with festive cupcakes, and by watching that holiday classic It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Meanwhile the moms loaded up the car.
Of course, no one wanted to leave and I was hard pressed to tell my grandson that he couldn't spend the night because he had preschool the next day. There were tears, but I knew as soon as they drove off all four kids would crash and sleep the rest of the way home while Becca and Veronica could enjoy their freshly toasted pumpkin seeds in peaceful silence.
It was a good day indeed.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
- John Muir
We don't get any trick-or-treaters on our street, and that's a part of Halloween that I always looked forward to when we lived in the city. So we are throwing the grandkids and some of their friends a Halloween party at our place. The party starts at 12:30. We've got three 2yr olds and two 3 1/2 year olds so I can't make it too spooky. I've been planning for weeks now enjoying the anticipation of the whole thing. I've bought some cute trick-or-treat bags that look like pumpkins and have stuffed them with goodies, coloring books and crayons. So the first thing they'll get to do is "pick" their pumpkins out of our pitiful patch and then I think we'll eat lunch. I'm sure they'll be hungry. Lunch will consist of "spooky" sandwiches cut out in the shapes of pumpkins, cats and haunted houses, monster smiles (made out of green apples and peanut butter), green goo punch, stuffed eggs and a cupcake or two as well as usual garbage you have at a Halloween party. After lunch they can carve their pumpkins. Then we are going to have a trick-or-treat hunt in the back yard. I've bought several bags of those little plastic pumpkins and I'm going to stuff them with candy and hide them in the yard for the kids to find. Then I've also got two crafts for them to do. One is a bat puppet that you make out of a lunch bag and the other is a little bat you make with a cardboard toilet paper roll. Finally we will have story time. I've got several great Halloween books, but my favorite is The Monster's Test by Bryan J. Heinz. The pictures are phenomenal and the artist's name is Sal Murdocca. I also have Little Witches Big Night which is okay but not as nice as Heinzs' book. I guess I'll have to make a trip to the local library or thrift store to find a few more treasures. I figure after I fill them up with sugar I'll send them home...LOL :o)
I've been puttering around in the yard today getting ready for fall. You know raking all the leaves into the flower beds. Ironic isn't it? We spend most of the year trying to keep them out of the flowerbeds, but now we're pushing them back in. Well, when I took a break and took the dog for a walk here is a pic I clicked with my cell phone. It looks like there's a little autumn color on my street after all. The leaves are finally starting to change in ALL of the trees, and that means that the days are getting shorter. My days just seem to fly by now. It seems there's almost as much night as there is day. It's still cool up here in the evenings but we are back to long sleeves instead of jackets. It's been in the low 40's high 30's. My pumpkins are dying a slow death I'm afraid. I don't think they'll make it until the 26th, but I'm out there watering and feeding just the same. I guess I'm just a sucker for lost causes. I've gotten out the Halloween decorations and will probably go all out and really decorate the inside of the house and the back yard in a few days. I'll be sure to post pictures. Oh, I almost forgot I put a lot of pictures of the local mountains changing color in my Autumn 2009 photo album. Take a peek. Now I realize we don't get the flaming beauties you guys in the midwest or east do but it's downright gorgeous for Southern California.
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