Friday, October 21, 2016

Can-Am Model T tour in September

Pat and his 1912 Torpedo Roadster Model T Ford in front of the murial on what is now the Studebaker Building in Harrington, Wa.  This was our lunch stop on the first day of the tour.
 Some of the crops on the way to Spokane for the Can Am tour
 More of the tour cars in this Palouse country.
 More scenery with the train.  These trains are probably primarily for the transport of grain and other crops from the area.
 An old homestead.  Yes the trees lean over.  Our first day of touring was very hot and windy.  The second day was rainy, cold and windy.  I did not take my camera the second day, but wish that I had, as there was some more spectacular scenery.
 This is a photo of a mountain (I do not know which one) on our way home along the I-5.
There were cows just across the fence from our KOA campsite, near Burlington.  No, this is not our motor home.  :)
It was a very well organized tour and enjoyable despite the weather.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Some of the garden at the end of September

 The amaryillis belladona in a bouquet with michaelmas daisies
 This is the flower bed beside the old garage where the oriental poppies, the Lily of the Nile, the cyclmens, and the amaryillies grow.  The lily of the Nile are hugs blue flowers that finished blooming just before the amaryillies started.  The cyclamen are spreading all over the garden.
 The amaryillies had a large clump of blossoms this year.  They were in bloom for a few weeks.  This makes a very good cut flower with the michaelmas daisies, in boquets.
 The figs, at the end of September were just starting to ripen.   This is the second crop that does not usually ripen before they freeze.  We have had a very mild winter last year, so they were early.  We have been eating some in the past week.  They are not as sweet as the summer sun ripened ones.  The leaves are dropping from the tree now too.
 The sedum Autumn Joy was in bloom on September 26 and is still looking quite good now.  We have had quite a bit of rain recently.  The Autumn colors are glorious this year.  The autumn flowers have come along very nicely with the rain.
 I have been doing some renovations to the front garden.  This was the juniper by the front entry way.  It has grown too big and was falling apart.  I now have it all taken out and have a tiny yew tree to fill its spot.  There is a hyacinth that will come up in the spring, and a blue geranium, that is evergreen.  Next to this there is a globe cedar that wraps around the stems of the lovely big pink tree peony.  The globe cedar got pruned back a bit and will look like a green pot that holds the peony, when it grows out.  The other spot where I removed another overgrown birds nets spruce, has annuals planted in the improved soil around the ugly water meter spot.  The petunias are looking very good in that spot right now.  I hope the snapdragons survive.  I must add some tulips and perhaps hyacinths.
 a close up of the cyclamens along the old garage flower bed, at the end of September.  They are still in bloom now.
A glorious sunset from off the back deck on September 26.

I have harvested the purple plums and have packages of fruit frozen for winter eating.  There is also about 60 packages of soup frozen too.  The next Autumn harvest will be the apples.  The tree is loaded.  I have some apple sauce packages frozen, there is much more to do.  I have a package of plums made into pie filling, so I should be able to do this with some of the apples, too.  The better ones will be saved for eating fresh, and making apple sauce.  The apple tree produces a heavy crop one year and the next year there is very few apples, so we should have apple sauce and pie filling for two years made up.    After that, of course there will be leaves to rake and mulch with the mower to put on the garden beds for winter protection.  This mulch seems to disappear over the year.
Last week there was a weather warning for high winds and heavy rain.  So, I moved the orange trees into the house, along with the echeveria.  That chore went very well and seemed to be much easier to do this year.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fish and Fruit on September 6

 The apple tree is loaded with fruit this year.  Pat did a severe pruning a couple of years ago. There will be applesauce to be made, soon. And there will be fresh ones saved in the garage for over the winter.
 The fig tree had a couple of first crop figs and the second crop is abundant.  This photo of Sept. 6 shows them big but still green.  Some of them are starting to brown up.  I hope there is enough sun to have this second crop ripen.  Pat did some severe pruning on the fig tree also.
 The grape vine has produced lots of grapes this year, too.  Very good right now, and at their ripest.
We had a lot of yellow plums, as usual.  Trevor and family got to enjoy some of them.  I still have many pureed, frozen jars of them, so only ate fresh ones off the tree, this year.  The purple plum has had an abundant crop.  I have 14 or 16 packages of processed, frozen fruit, and we have enjoyed 5 or 6 dozen of them fresh from the tree.
 An overview of the pond.  I drained the pond and saved out 4 fish.  The frog was back the next day.  I do not know where it hid, but I could not catch it when the pond was drained.  Of course I refilled the pond and let it sit over night before putting the fish back.  I thought I only had one shubunkin, but it seems there are 2 of them.  The next day I purchased more fish, including a big sarossa.  I got some new fish food that is suppose to enhance the colors of the fish.  AND, it really works.  The shubunkins are very colorful.   The frog has been back, but it is not eating the fish, not even the smaller goldfish.  I have 8 fish now, 4 of them that are big, and the 2 shubunkins that are growing like crazy, and 2 smaller gold fish.  There is a shubunkin in the deck tub and a gold fish in the woodland tub.   The other day I thought I saw a black fish, which would be a gold fish of less than 2 years old, before it started to change color.  It was quite big. There has been some sort of critter or bird mining the moss on the waterfall for bugs, I presume, and messing up the water fall.  Not sure what to do about it.
 The 8 fish in the pond, feeding on the new fish food.
The deck pond also got cleaned up.  Somehow the Shubunkin survived.  They seem to be able to survive the chlorinated water that I use to fill the tub and the pond.  Amazing.

We have had about a week of Autumn weather and got about an inch of rain.  And then we have been back to summer weather again.  Everything is very dry.  I have been watering the pots by hand.  I added new topsoil and some mushroom manure to the deck and patio pot, including the orange trees. The orange trees also got some citrus fertilizer.  We will see if this helps them to bloom, if ever they will bloom.  The light garden is looking ok with a few of the orchids forming buds and in bloom.  The African violets have been very nice after their repotting some time ago.

My milkweed project is not going too great.  I have one speciosia (showy) milkweed that the caterpillars need for food.  This from a plant that Dave sent me.  I have 3 seedlings that I grew from seed he sent me.  They are in pots also and bloomed with the orange blossoms, and have slender green leaves.  The silver/hairy leaved showy one bloomed with pink blossoms.I have a tuberosa milkweed (orange blossoms) growing in the cutting garden.  A few weeks ago I got 2 swamp milkweed (pink blossoms) and have potted them both up.  The leaves appear to be green slender ones, so am not sure if the caterpillars will like them.  I have a source for more showy milkweed seeds and will order them and plant them up, for growing over winter.  In a year or two, I hope to have enough showy milkweed to feed some monarchs.  I expect to keep the showy in pots, so that I can bring them indoors when and if I get any eggs laid on them.  I have a source for Monarch releases and hope they contain female and male butterflies.  I hope to try them out next summer.  Perhaps for a date in early August or late July.

I have 5 pots of lupine seed that I brought from Tahsis potted up and hope they sprout soon.  My Manitobe campula-looking plant from Sandy is doing pretty good in the front center garden.  I have put the pussy toes looking plant that I collected from Battleford near it in the front garden.  It, too is surviving.  I have a found a source. -- Russell Nursery, in North Saanich, -- for native plants and hope to get a couple of shrubs for the woodland.  My primula bed in the back garden looks to be thriving.

This has been a year for renovations.. taking out a too big bird's nest spruce, a juniper, and the improvement of the deck/patio pots, cut back the firethorn in the spring and now it is covered with berries.  The robins arrive in flocks to feed in late December.  The holly tree is also full of berries for them.