December 31, 2009: Happy New Year!

May the new year bring you joy, happiness, warmth and laughter.

December 30, 2009: Monday Harvest on Wednesday

It was small, but I did get a harvest last week!

I have pulled a few more radishes (not photographed), which are suddenly showing some size. The flavor is very good, sweet and mild. A couple of them have been attacked by root maggots, but most are pristine.

The carrots and kale in my mini-garden are finally showing some true leaves, the beets (old seed) are germinating poorly. The spinach is OK in the container, but not doing much in the raised bed. Mr. H says he wants to head home mid-February. If so, I'll probably be leaving everything but some lettuce, green onions and radishes to the neighbors.

December 30, 2009: Computer Woes

I've reformatted and reinstalled on all of my many computers through the years, and on this particular laptop twice in the past, with no problems. This reinstall was going just fine until I discovered the backup had not done the entire C: drive, as it was supposed to do. Remembering I had a previous backup on DVD, I started to access those files and it began installing everything rather than giving me the option to chose what I wanted to install. For some reason, I had a senior moment and , instead of letting it do its thing, I hit the eject button, pulled out the disc, and shut down the computer. That messed up the boot sector and I couldn't reboot from the recovery disc! For the first time ever (I've had computers for about 20 years), I had to take the computer in to a professional. He ended up having to reinstall the operating system, so as of Monday I've been back to square one, reinstalling all my programs and waiting for Microsoft to do all of its updates. On top of all that, these updates have caused me to exceed my allowable bandwidth use, and my ISP (the same guy who repaired my laptop and reinstalled my OS) cut me off! So here I am at the library, finishing my updates and checking in with all of you to let you know why I'm MIA!

One of the things the backup missed was my genealogy information, from 20 years of work. Luckily, it's on my desktop computer back home, so no worry. The other thing missing was my email address book. I requested some of you resend your email addresses, so I had reconstructed it somewhat, but now that's all lost Dan, I need your home mailing address once more! I've found most of the missing email addresses elsewhere in my records, others I can get from your blogs, but I'm missing all correspondence received recently. That will teach me to change my settings and keep messages on the server!

Anyway, the laptop is working great again, Microsoft has almost finished updates, and hopefully my provider will let me back on soon.

Gosh, I sure miss my cable internet!

December 26, 2009: From Christmas Fear to Christmas Cheer

Little Alicyn, the youngest grandchild, was filled with Christmas fear........

Which soon turned to Christmas curiosity........

And finally to Christmas cheer.

December 24, 2009: Merry Christmas!

May you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Mr. H bought me an early present, an external hard drive, so I'm going to back up everything and pull the plug on this's time to reformat and reinstall everything, as the old workhorse is running slower and slower, and I'm beginning to think there are more than a few drivers that are corrupt. It's not a job I'm looking forward to. Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well!

December 23, 2009: Oh, What a Mess

Hmmm.....I'm usually a rather neat person.

So how did my seed box get into such a mess?

It took the better part of an afternoon,

But now I can get the lid on again!

And begin my seed inventory for the 2010 garden.

December 21, 2009: Woo-hoo! A Monday Harvest!

I really feel terrible that many of my gardening friends are suffering with freezing temperatures and snow drifts. Maybe I shouldn't show them what I picked heck, I'm going to show them *wicked grin*.

I picked a dinner plate full of Red Romaine, a green onion, a radish and two vine ripened tomatoes, along with a few pansies.

And made Mr H. a delicious, fresh salad for his dinner.

If you did manage to harvest something this week, join in the fun at Daphne's Dandelions, and show us what you have!

December 20, 2009: Do You See What I See?

I'll betcha somebody's going to have a Monday Harvest post tomorrow!

December 18, 2009: No More "Blahs"!

I must say, Di over at Voice in the Garden , knows how to lift the old blahs from my shoulders! Last Sunday she offered the gift of a print of one of her lovely paintings to a lucky reader, and I got lucky!

My step-father was a railroad man. I hesitate to call him "stepfather", as he was my "Dad" from the time he married my mother, when I was six years old (my birth father is still living and will celebrate his 92nd birthday this month). Dad and both of his brothers followed their father as second generation railroaders, and a couple of my cousins have made it three generations.

Dad worked for years for Camas Prairie Railroad, which was a short line railroad in northern Idaho jointly owned and operated by Northern Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. The Camas Prairie Railroad was known as the "railroad on stilts" due to the many wooden trestles. In one five mile stretch, there were more than a dozen trestles. For many years, Dad was a bridge foreman in charge of keeping those trestles in good repair.

Lawyer's Canyon Bridge (above photo *note, this is not Di's painting! Use above link to view the prize) was one such structure on which Dad worked. At the time, it was said to be the second highest railroad bridge in the US at 296 feet high and 1,500 feet long. I actually watched my Dad walk out on a plank that was wedged somehow under the rails near the center of this bridge and jump up and down, just like one would jump on a diving board. This was the same man who fell off the roof of his house while replacing a shingle! His dog, who was raised on the railroad and spent his days by Dad's side as he worked, would not cross a trestle. Instead, he would go down into the canyon and swim the river, then up the other side to cross. My dog, however, would happily trot across the bridge without a second thought, even though he wasn't a "railroad dog". Evidently the height was less formidable to him than the prospect of getting wet.

Dad went on to become a supervisor, and eventually retired from Camas Prairie Railroad.

Thank you, Di, for picking me to receive this lovely print. Your gift will become our family's treasure.

December 17, 2009: I'm Feeling Rather Blah

OK, I said it all in the previous post, and now I'm just sitting here wondering what on earth I'll write about next! I'm in that gray area between successful harvests and spring planning. I didn't want to plan my 2010 garden yet, as I know I'll change my mind time and time again. That's just the way I am. I'll make and change my plans multiple times, then when it actually comes time to begin planting I'll just do everything haphazardly, on a whim. Let's just say (pretend) I'm the artistic type, and the garden is my canvas.

The little Arizona garden still lives, but grows oh so slowly.

The kale, seed sent to my by Stefaneener, is peeking through. I'm hoping I can grow two of these in the pot, the rest will have to be transplanted elsewhere.

The lettuce is getting true leaves, and is ready to thin out and transplant. I saw one radish that was nearly ready to pull. Most of the radishes have skinny roots rather than fat, edible ones. I'll probably plant a few more in another 2-3 weeks, as the weather gets a bit warmer at night.

Onions are the one thing that are easily grown. The potted ones can be pulled and eaten any time now, and the sets in the container in the back are growing quickly.

I've thinned the little spinach plants to stand 4"-6" apart, so I'm expecting them to put out some good growth soon. Germination in the plastic container was excellent, but there was only room for 8 plants. So far germination of the spinach and beets in the main garden box is spotty. I'm afraid that garden just gets too much shade from the palo verde tree. The carrots have all sprouted, but have shown absolutely no growth in the past month, not even any true leaves.

Ahhhh, but look at this! I'm really close to getting a couple of ripe tomatoes! I think (hope) I've stopped the leaf miner damage. I am using a piece of aluminum foil as "mulch". I'm thinking that should stop the migration from soil to leaf/leaf to soil. It seems to be the answer to ripening the fruits, too. I remembered reading about using shiny foil, as it confuses the insects by reflecting the sky so they don't know which is up or down....I guess it can't hurt to try.

My friend, Esther, bought two tomato plants the same time I did. I drove by her house today to see how hers were growing, and the poor things are dead. I'll have to call her to find out if it was leaf miners, freezing or neglect that killed them. Esther doesn't have a Mr. H to carry her plants out to the sun each morning and into the warm house in the evenings.

Happy tomatoes, even if one has been nearly denuded of leaves, to rid it of miners.

December 12, 2009: The Twelve Months of Gardening

*Please click on photos to enlarge*

In the first month of '09, my garden gave to me...

The Arizona container garden and salad garden, January 2009

In the second month of '09, my garden gave to me...

In February 2009, my first harvests from the Arizona gardens included one tiny cucumber, along with mixed lettuce and green onions.

In the third month of '09, my garden gave to me...

One last bowl of lettuce and onions from the Arizona garden, and tomato and pepper seedlings to transport north.

And, once we arrived back home, a new beginning for the Washington garden.

In the fourth month of '09, my garden gave to me...

My nice, big Washington garden, and its first salad greens, onions, radishes and pansies.

In the fifth month of '09, my garden gave to me...

May brought more salad fixings, the first of what was to be a wonderfully long harvest of lovely spinach, and the lush growth of potatoes.

In the sixth month of '09, my garden gave to me...

June, my favorite month of the year. The gardens are lush and green, everything is growing well in the perfect weather.

Crops are showing the promise of a large harvest.

And large it is, for the sixth month of gardening!

In the seventh month of '09, my garden gave to me...

July gave such a bountiful harvest that it provided much of the food used to prepare our meals....

I was able to serve "garden dinners" most every night.

And it was time to begin preserving the harvest by canning, freezing or drying the excess produce.

In the eighth month of '09, my garden gave to me...

Undaunted by the August heat, the garden continued to produce beyond my expectations throughout the eight month of gardening.

The abundant harvest of August meant...

A lot of preserving!

In the ninth month of '09, my garden gave to me...

By September I was ready for a bit of vacation from the garden, but that was not to be. My friends, family and neighbors were beginning to shun me, fearful they'd be loaded down with more tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers!

The kitchen work did slow down a bit, as there wasn't as much canning to do. All the peppers were easy to just slice, bag and freeze, and some beans were dried and saved for seed for next year.

In the tenth month of '09, my garden gave to me...


A smaller harvest...

Then death. When death comes to the Washington garden, it's time to head south for the winter.

I potted up some greens to take along to tide me over until I can get the winter garden planted in Arizona. The gardening season has been good to me. I harvested nearly 1100 pounds of produce and canned more than we'll be able to consume in the next twelve months.

In the eleventh month of '09, my garden gave to me...

The Arizona garden gives me a few salads, and some tomatoes and flowers to attend to.

In the twelfth month of '09, my garden gave to me...

One plate of lettuce, and the hope that spring comes soon.