October 31, 2010

My, how the time flies! It doesn't seem like we've been in Arizona for two full weeks already. I haven't exactly been sitting still for the entire time, but it doesn't seem as though I've accomplished much, either. Yes, the garden has been planted, but that's only 21 square feet of boxes and a few pots. I spend my mornings making sure everything inside is ready for viewing, on the fat chance a prospective buyer will call for a tour of the property. I'm not holding my breath just yet, as there is nobody around! I don't know if people are coming down late this year, or maybe not at all, but it's like a ghost town around here. This is a town of only about 400 permanent residents, so absolutely nothing is happening until the snowbirds flock in.

I've already formed my morning ritual....wake up, let the dogs out, push the button on the coffee pot, fold up the dog blankets and put them in the closet, make my bed, let the dogs in and push the footstool up to Mr. Granny's bed so the pups can have some cuddly-in-bed time. Then I pour myself a cup of coffee, turn on CNN to see what is happening in my world (we don't have a newspaper in this town), and spend the next half hour just waking up. When Mr. Granny gets up, we have a small breakfast, and I check to make sure the rest of the house is clean. That involves a bit of dusting, sometimes getting out the vacuum, and giving the bathrooms and kitchen a quick spit shine.

Once I'm awake and dressed and fed, and the house is in order, I try to get some yard or garden work done before it gets too hot outside. Yesterday I planted flowers after I set myself on fire. I'd gone into town on Friday, and checked out the local Wal-Mart for something to brighten up the place. They didn't have much to chose from, and after I'd bought lantana and some type of pretty little miniature zinnias, I wished I'd gone for the pansies and alyssum, which are much more cold hardy. The lantana will just dry up and die next summer, as it is all planted in an area that doesn't get watered by the drip system, and the zinnias will be toast if/when we get a killing frost. I also purchased two bunches of green onions from the produce department, and I planted them in two large pots. That pretty much filled up all the garden. It's still a mystery as to what is growing in one of the garden beds, but even if it is lettuce, it's going to need a ton of thinning out. The seedlings were already touching and making a carpet of green, so I took a dinner fork and cultivated out little rows to make 4" squares of green. Actually, I should have just pulled a rake through them in both directons, but it's too late now! I might just turn it all under as green manure, and replant the lettuce. I hate to do that though, as it will put the plants two weeks behind. Probably a better idea would be to start a pot of lettuce seedlings that could be moved into the bed later, just in case the other turns out to be weeds.


The container garden consists of lettuce and basil from home, chard, onions and some unknown variety of tiny zinnias. At least that's what the tag said.

Oh, about setting myself on fire. I was cooking an egg for Mr. Granny, and reached across the stove for the salt shaker. The sleeve of my robe made contact with the gas flame, and immediately ignited. I was right next to the sink, so I turned on the faucet and got my arm under the stream of water, but the flame was traveling up over my shoulder where the water couldn't reach. Mr. Granny happened to be sitting nearby at the table. Every other morning he's had his breakfast in the living room while watching TV, so it was just a fluke that he was even in the kitchen. He jumped up and smothered out the flames with his bare hands. My hero! Neither of us was injured at all, but it was quite an exciting few seconds, to say the least. The fire came really close to my hair. My daughter said her kitchen fire was for a new paint job. I said mine was for new, wrinkle free skin. Oh yes, I moved the salt and pepper shakers to the other side of the stove, where I don't have to reach across a burner to get to them.

Just look at how far the fire traveled up my sleeve and across my shoulder!

Ribbit, I want you to know I'm playing cards (Hand & Foot) on Tuesdays and Fridays now, and I've won four out of four games so far!

Diane & Meems, Mr. Granny hates Cookie's harness. He says it makes him look like a sissy! This one's for you ;-)

No internet yet, and the park owner doesn't know if they will be getting it at all. I did discover I can park in front of the library and access theirs even when they are closed. I had assumed they'd turn off their router on days the library isn't open. As much as I hate trying to use the laptop on the steering wheel, it can be done. Since I can't hardly see my monitor in the glare of the pickup cab, I'm pre-writing my blog to copy and paste quickly when I get on line.

October 28, 2010 - Weeds?

I was happy to see the radishes growing in the little Arizona salad garden already, but what I wasn't happy to see were the zillions of weeds sprouting in the lettuce bed. I can identify them in the spinach/radish bed, as those vegetables are planted in rows. The lettuce seed, however, was scattered helter skelter over the other bed as a cut and come again crop. There is no way of telling what is weed or what is lettuce, at least until it all grows to an identifiable stage! In fact, it could all be lettuce. That's the bed where it was planted last year, and I left several plants in that went to seed. If that's the case, I won't be too unhappy about it.

The little garden is all cleaned up and planted. I'll be planting more seeds in the pots, and transplanting the chard (long container) to a larger pot as soon as I get to town for a bag or two of potting soil. I remembered losing a few seedlings to birds last year, so I covered the tops of the boxes with plastic netting, as well as the sides.

The radishes I planted on Saturday were peeking through on Wednesday.

The unknown weeds-that-might-be-lettuces are forming a green carpet over and everywhere near one bed.

Cookie is happy to be out of his travel cage, and back into the larger, airier one. It isn't a tri-level cage like the one up north, but he doesn't seem to mind. I brought his harness and leash, so I can take him out for exercise once in a while.

The dogs are adjusting just fine. I made a drastic change in their routine, but they seem to be taking it all in stride. They have always been my foot warmers in bed, which is fine in the king sized bed at home. Down here we have twin beds, and two dogs take up an awful lot of room. I felt like a pretzel sleeping with them last winter! I decided the change from one house to another would be the time to also change their sleeping arrangements, so the very first night I put two big soft blankets on the floor next to the bed, crawled into my bed and just ignored them when they sat there looking at me like "What about us?" They can't jump into bed without their little stool, and were at a loss as to what to do. Fortunately, it only took them a few minutes to decide they were sleeping on blankets on the floor. They now do it as a matter of fact, which was much easier than I thought it would be for them. Actually, I'm the one who misses their company. I love waking up to Annie staring me in the face, then giving me a sloppy kiss when she sees my eyes open up. I miss Otto's tail beating out a happy morning drum roll against the sheets. I'm sure, as the weather gets colder, I'll miss their warm little bodies against my feet and back. It will be a big decision to make whether to let them back in the human bed next spring.

I've heard nothing more about the WIFI across the street, so I'm not counting on it happening any time soon. For now, the library will have to suffice. It's open only three days a week, but I'm probably due for a bit of rest from all my blogging. There will be more to do and say once I get back home next spring, so I'll just spent a quiet winter with a tiny garden and a tiny blog! What I do miss is reading all of your blogs. I've been downloading quite a few to read off line, so I'm semi-caught up with all of you, but, of course, I can't leave comments when I'm working off line. Just know that I am reading what you are writing, even though I can't comment back. I'm also enjoying your comments to my blog, as my daughter calls me each evening and reads them to me before she publishes them.

Mr. H., yes we do have rattle snakes here. In fact, I think there are more varieties of them in this desert than in anywhere else in the world! The Mojave Rattle Snake is common here. This rattlesnake has a very potent venom which is considered ten times more toxic than other North American rattlesnakes, a fact that makes the Mojave rattlesnake one of the most dangerous poisonous snakes in the United States. I've not seen one, but two of our neighbors have killed them in their yards, and one friend's dog was bitten but survived. We did have a large hawk fly into some of the brush in our yard and emerge with a large snake, but we couldn't tell what kind it was. We've also had a visit from a gorgeous King snake, and a big gopher snake once slithered out from under the laundry shed and very close to my feet. Mainly we have lizards, small and large. In fact, I actually picked up a tiny lizard this morning. He looked like he was hurt, which must have been the case or I'd never have been able to catch him. I removed him to a shady area, where hopefully he can recover from what ails him. I haven't spied any Desert Iguanas yet this year, but here is a video I took of them fighting in our yard last year. These fellows are well over a foot long. OK, forget the video...it's taking forever, and the library is closing early today :-( How about a photo instead!

Until next week,

October 26, 2010 - Well, Hello There!

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Don't ask me what happened to the new WIFI setup that was to be installed at the RV prk across the street. It was supposed to happen last Thursday, and the DirectTV man was there, installing equipment, all afternoon. That's all I can say. Nobody seems to know why we have no internet conection as of yet. I'm wondering if the service technician only comes out to this little town on Thursdays, and maybe we'll still have WIFI sometime in the future. In the meantime, the library is open three days a week, so that will have to suffice.

There is no way I'm going to be able to catch up with all your blogs, but I'll try to get the most recent ones read. I want to thank my daughter for keeping you posted on what's happening here, and for publishing your comments for me, and for calling me each day to read them all to me. I'm sorry I'm probably not going to have time to respond to them, but I'm sure you'll understand that an hour or two at the library each week just isn't going to cut it! Today's trip is being eaten up by updates to my internet security program and Windows Defender, as well as downloading 184 email messages, 412 Usenet posts!

Nothing much has happened since I last blogged. I got most of the area around the house cleaned up, the palm tree has had its dead fronds removed, and the little garden boxes have been planted. I had Mr. Granny remove the 2"x2" corner posts from one of the boxes and reinstall them a bit straighter, and in doing so he backed into that cactus that is right there next to the garden. I spent a good hour plucking cactus stickers from the back of his leg. Right after that happened, I backed into it! After another hour of tape and tweezers, we got wise....that cactus has been removed and has a new home out in the desert!

I've planted mixed lettuces in one bed for a cut and come again salad garden. In the other bed are spinach and radishes. The planter in the center has some chard that will be moved to a larger pot when I get some potting soil. That is, if any of the seeds grow! They should, as the weather has been great. We've had low to mid eighties during the day, and night temperatures ranging from 67F the first night we got here down to 47F last night.

I just tried to upload a photo of the newly cleaned up and seeded garden beds, and wouldn't you know....I haven't taken them off my camera yet! I'll have to come back with pictures tomorrow or Thursday. In the meantime, I'm alive and well, the dogs, the rabbit and Mr. Granny are all adapting just fine.

Miss you all!

October 21, 2010 - NO INTERNET!

Hello bloggers...This is Amy, Granny's daughter. She has asked me to let you all know that she is without internet again, either until the RV park next door switches over, or until the library opens up next week. The park's projected switch over date was supposed to be today, but as of yet there is no activity. Feel free to leave comments, as I will post them and read them to her. She almost has her garden ready to plant. Should happen by the this weekend, so hopefully she will be able to share with you soon.

October 18, 2010 - Evening

EG commented that I should have just looked for a McDonalds for a WIFI hot spot Saturday night. I don't think EG has ever been in Jackpot, NV before! To get to the nearest McDonalds, we'd have had to backtrack fifty miles or drive 70 miles to the south of us! Not something I would be apt to do in my pajamas ;-) That area of Nevada is high desert, and miles and miles of nothing. Nothing!

There wasn't much excitement on the trip down. Unless you consider my driving through Las Vegas in a pouring rain, and getting from one side of the city (at the Las Vegas Speedway) to the other (Henderson, NV) in 19 minutes flat. I always try to hit Vegas on a Sunday, the traffic is light and seldom moves under 70 mph through the city.

Someone had an exciting (terrifying) day, though. We just missed seeing the accident, the ambulance passed us a few miles from the scene (*none of the people pictured are known to me)........

A peaceful little rest stop north of Las Vegas.

Somebody missed the turn to the entrance.

Mr. Granny thinks it used to be a Cadillac.

Not much left after the jaws of life peeled back the top and pulled off the passenger door. Note the wheelchair on the rear bumper. It was probably an elderly couple. I wonder if they survived it, the ambulance wasn't traveling very fast. Sad.

Weeds, weeds, everywhere! I got everything unpacked and put away today, then cleared the weeds from around the front porch, and got most of them pulled and raked from the fenced in area in front. Then I cleaned the entire front porch. I scrubbed the outdoor furniture, hosed off the concrete, the railing and the big rug, cleaned the barbecue and found my seashell thingy and got it hung up. I bought it at a yard sale a few years back, love to hang it on the porch or from a tree, for a bit of whimsy. I took thirty minutes for a quick nap, then hauled out a hose and sprinkler and gave the palm tree and the front cactus beds a much needed drink of water. It looks as though the drip system hasn't worked for quite some time. Evidently the minerals in our well water clogged all the emitters, so everything was terribly dry.

Nice clean porch. The rabbit is still in his travel cage. He'll be back into the larger one tomorrow.


I got the entire fenced in area weeded and raked. It probably doesn't look like a big deal unless you know that, after being abandoned for 7 months of hot, dry summer, the entire property looks like this.....

And if you think this is bad, how many of you remember my pretty little garden from last winter?

My tiny Arizona garden last winter.

Here it is now.......

So, I think you can see why we had to get down here. We have the place up for sale, and it's going to take extra work to get it in shape this year. We've only had one other "weedy year" in the seven years we've lived down here, thank heavens!

It was lovely and cool outside this evening, so I put some potatoes and hamburger patties on the grill, heated some veggies in the microwave, and we ate our dinner on the porch. There was lightening in the sky towards Wickenburg, so we enjoyed the "fireworks" while we ate.

October 18, 2010 - Safe Arrival

We drove into the driveway at 8:30 last night, and spent the next two hours unpacking. I didn't think I'd brought much until I began putting it all away! We finally decided to wait until morning to finish up, and here it is nearly noon and I'm not finished yet! Of course, there were things that needed immediate attention, like turning on the water, the gas and the refrigerator. I spent much of the night trying to get at least one TV working, but gave up and called DISH, only to find out they had to do some kind of an equipment upgrade before anything would work. I had already reprogrammed all three of the remotes, and done all the proper connections, but none of the three sets would turn off the screen saver. Soooo....the DISH mover man will be here Wednesday morning, and Mr. Granny will have to be content with watching DVDs until then.

I noticed there was a strong WIFI signal from the RV park across the street, so I went over this morning with my mac address to have them get me on. They said they were switching providers on Thursday, as this one has never been very reliable, but she got me on and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will stay connected until the switchover. At least I can get email, and I'm assuming I'll be able to publish the blog, even though pages are very slow to load.

I need to get back to my unpacking, but I wanted you all to know we made it here, safe and sound, and to thank you for all your well wishes. By the way, Annie's Dramamine worked great, she didn't get a bit car sick. When we unlocked the door to the house, she ran inside and laid down belly up, with a grin on her funny little face....just like she did last year! By next weekend, everything should be back to normal.

I have some pictures to share, but I'll save them for next time.

October 16, 2010 - I'm Down on My Knees

No, I'm not praying, I'm trying to get an internet connection! We can't stay in the fancy hotel, complete with an ethernet connection, because we have to stay across the street in a "pet friendly" room. If I balance the laptop on the windowsill, I can pick up a very weak connection from the motel up the street. If I move it even an inch or two, I lose it all.

We've already been to the casino and lost our allowance, so Mr. Granny is watching a baseball game, and I'm....well, I'm corresponding with you. We had a lovely dinner, a seafood and prime rib buffet, so now we're ready to call it a night and get an early start in the morning. I hope we can get some sleep. There's a dog in the next room barking nonstop.

Annie and Otto made the first leg of the trip just great. We only had to take two potty stops for them, and Annie took her motion sickness meds like a good girl, so we had no urping in the Ranger. We brought "Leona the Lemon Tree" with us in the cab of the pickup, and into the room tonight. I didn't want to take a chance it would freeze. It turned out to be in the 70s for most of the trip, and it is still not very cold out, but freezing temperatures were predicted for tonight.

Leona the Meyer Lemon, Otto and Annie are all set to travel. We pulled out of the driveway at 6:45 this morning, and arrived in Jackpot, NV around 2:15 this afternoon. It's the camera flash that's making Leona look a bit sickly. Her leaves aren't a bit yellow, they are all a lovely dark green.

We didn't even fill up the back of the Ranger this year. We cut way back on stuff we usually take, like the air compressor and lots of tools. I even had room for two planters (red arrow) filled with lettuce seedlings, one rooted basil stem and the top from the Minigold tomato plant. Maybe I'll get lucky and the tomato will take root.

Forgive me for not answering all your comments, but my knees are getting tired, and my back hurts from kneeling so long. I did read them all, and I thank you for your wishes for our safe trip. We should be in our AZ home by dark tomorrow. Good night all.

October 15, 2010 - Adios My Blogging Friends!

And goodbye to my non-blogging followers, too!

We'll be leaving really early tomorrow morning, but I have to take the cable modem back this afternoon, so I'll be shutting down my blog now.

I'm not ready to go, by any means. I did, with Mr. Granny's help, get most of the pots and buckets stacked in the shed, the tomato cages put away for the winter, and the hoses all drained, coiled and stored. The tomato fortress never did get torn down, so that will be a job for next spring. Only half the main garden paths got raked clean, but the vegetation laying there will diminish a bit by March, when I'll feel a bit more enthusiastic about gardening. Cleaning up the garden is so much easier after a freeze. It's rather difficult for me to tear out plants that are lush and green yet, even though I know nobody will be harvesting them.

Goodbye, north garden.

Goodbye, east garden, kennel garden and green, green grass..

Goodbye, pretty cosmos, I wish I hadn't killed the rest of you! Just imagine, if one of you can be so beautiful, what six of you would have looked like.

If I decide to grow a garden in Arizona this winter, it will be just a tiny one like last year. I do have a project to take up a bit of my spare time, though. Last night my daughter asked what would happen if my blog went down and was lost forever. She said that would be terrible, because she was sure the grandchildren would love to look back at it in years to come. I checked, and there is a way to back up Blogger, but it doesn't do the photos, so they would all have to be reinserted. Soooo....my winter project is to copy and paste each blog, in HTML, and save them all to my computer (and a couple other sources, such as external hard drive and CD) under their publishing dates. I did ten of them last night, so I only have 523 to go. Five-hundred-twenty-four after this one.

Well, it's time to take the modem back. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that I'll have internet access when we get to Arizona.


October 14, 2010: Dogs in the Hood (ies)

Never let it be said I spoil my dogs. A dog is a dog, and should be treated as such. None of that pampering and petting goes on in my house.

Well, OK, maybe just a little bit.

Otto and Annie are ready to travel, in their Old Navy hoodies!

I swear I can hear EG giggling from here!


October 14, 2010: Eeeek! My Sidebar Bottomed Out!

Why is my sidebar suddenly below my blog? I'm going to remove my previous post about the dogs, to see if something in it did that. I'll do it over if that's the case.

OK, removing the previous post brought the sidebar back into its proper place, so back to square one with my dog post ;-)

Now it went back to the bottom. By reading each post individually, instead of the entire page, I find the problem is the Final Tally post. I'll have to work on that now. Sigh.

October 14, 2010: The Final Tally

The final tally for this garden season is now in. Following is a chart that compares 2010 harvest totals with 2009. Weights are rounded off to the nearest pound. Winning weights are shown in red, DNP means did not plant. You can click on the chart to make it larger.

2010 - 912 pounds..........2009 - 1073 pounds

October 13, 2010: Third Blog's a Charm!

Hopefully this will be may last blog for the day! I only have two days of internet connection left, so I have to take advantage of it.

The butternut squash are all taken care of.

Of the four that were left out in the garden, two small ones rotted, and it's iffy that the larger ones will ripen. I'm going to put them in the garage, and if they get ripe fine, if not, so be it. I'll not add their weight to this year's harvest.

One big basket full has already been loaded into the pickup for the trip south. I think I had six of them in the basket. Others were put into the laundry room, where it will be a constant 45F through the winter.

Some squash are still waiting for their space atop the dryer, once I finish the last minute laundry. The beans are still drying in the baskets on the top shelf in the window. These are the ones that have already been shelled, and upon today's inspection, seem to be fully dried and ready to be put into jars and stored until spring.

The final loaf of bread has been baked, and as soon as the bread machine cools off it will be packed into the back of the pickup. We've only bought one loaf of bread since I bought this machine, and it languished in the bread drawer until it turned several shades of green.

A big crockpot of chicken thighs is cooking, which will be frozen and taken south for meals for the two dogs. I've been reducing the amount of chicken and increasing the amount of dry dog food in their dinners, so this pot of a dozen chicken thighs will give them twelve days of meals. Annie is beginning to look like she's losing a little weight. Her butt doesn't look quite as large as it did a couple weeks ago.

And then I have to deal with these. I think I'll throw them at passing cars.

October 13, 2010: Today's Blog Post #2 - I'm Seeing Orange

How appropriate for Halloween month.

I checked out the carrots, to see if any of them were big enough to pull, and came back inside with a basket of gold....er, orange.

A sink full of orange from the first trip to the carrot beds.

Although there were quite a few that were 3-4" long, many of them were at least 6".

Trimmed, the first bunch weighed exactly two pounds. And that was after Annie had her snack!

A second trip to the garden gave me another basket full of lovelies.

Another 1-pound, 4-ounces to add to the total.

For today's harvest, I ended up with a gallon bag full of sweet little carrots, some tiny carrot snacks for Annie (she's still on her diet), as well as a pound of cucumbers and, last but not least, a bag of parsley and carrot tops for Cookie.

None of these carrots were large enough to pull, so I'm hoping they will overwinter in this bed.

As well as these, although it's just one short row.

Both sides of this bed are filled with carrots that are still too small. They'll also be left to overwinter, so keep your fingers crossed!

October 13, 2010: Three Days & Counting

This is the first of what may turn into several blogs before the day is over. I have a lot of photos to share, and not much time left.

Just three days until we leave for Arizona. Actually, there are only two days left to get so much done. Today I tried to get in some more garden cleanup. I still must rake out the paths, but this is what the end of the garden looks like today......

We haven't yet experienced a frosty night, let alone a killing frost. Last year it happened on October 9, but this year I have more green growth in October than I did in September.

Although most of the tomatoes have been removed, the north garden still looks pretty good. I've thinned out a lot of the overcrowded strawberries, and transplanted some of them into the whiskey barrels by the fence. That nasturtium, in the center of the photo, is blooming better now than it did all summer.

If you click on this photo, then click again when it opens in a new page or tab, you'll be able to see the many Heavenly Blue flowers on the kennel garden.

The vines have begun to grow all along my clothes lines.

The Heavenly Blue morning glory in the north garden has still not had a single blossom, even though it was the first bed planted, and gets the most sunshine.

It is, however absolutely covered with what must be a million buds. If it blossoms before it freezes, it will be quite the show. Unfortunately, nobody will be here to see it.

A few small potatoes were missed when I dug the mature ones this summer, and just look at these volunteers! They're greener and healthier than the ones I planted in the spring.

I finished killing off the garden fork when I dug down to see if there were any potatoes. There were lots of dime and nickel sized ones, but nothing large enough to eat.

And on the home front....

Remember when I bought the new living room furniture last month? I also bought a bunch of fleece blankets for the two dogs to lay on. You can see how well that worked out! Otto is pretty good about staying on his blankie, if he's not hanging over the arm of the sofa. You have to look hard to see him, he blends right in! Princess Annie, of course, has to sit where she can view her kingdom. She likes her throne to be soft and squishy.