Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Canister from plastic coffee containers

Create a Folgers Holiday Gift Container

Click on photo link above to get to Folgers link for 'how to' and downloadable prints to decorate your holiday canister.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Survived the hurricane-force winds; Pacific Northwest storm, December 2007

Pacific Northwest Storm of the Decade, Dec 2007. Declared disaster area in Southwest Washington, Washington coast and Northern Oregon coast. We live in Bay Center, WA, Pacific County, and had hurricane strength winds for 2 days - 119 mph with gusts of 145 mph. Photo slideshow below.

Can read more at my account of our experience in Pacific County at Washblog story. Also at my blog 'Life in Bay Center on Willapa Bay' and the special page I made at the blog 'Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007'

posted by Lietta Ruger

Friday, December 07, 2007

Survived hurricane-force winds of 119 mph, infrastructure collapse Pacific County, Washington coast, December 2007 Pacific Northwest storm

More on page on this website (see tabs above) dedicated to ‘Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007′

Today is Friday, Dec 7, 2007 and we just got power back yesterday, Thursday, Dec 6, 2007, after being without power, communications, access in or out of the county since the storm hit last Sunday, Dec 2, 2007. It was what it was advertised by the Chinook Observer to be - the storm of the decade and it affected most all of Washington coastline with grave flooding inland and great parts of Oregon coastline. Most hard hit with massive flooding was Lewis County and Grays Harbor County, our neighboring counties. Pacific County was hit hard too, enough to collapse a seemingly fragile infrastructure; no power, no land phones, no cell phones, no 911, no access in or out of the county and even emergency communications out of county to notify status were limited and curtailed. It was an eerie feeling to be so completely cut off.

Later as the week wore on the reality of not being able to access our own bank account or get gas as gas pumps need electricity to work, and word of possible contamination of water in South Bend/Raymond, the fragility of the infrastructure not only in our own county but any county became evident to me. We must learn to rely on individual preparedness, and preparedness and help from among our community to see us through those early days of catastrophic weather events. And given what we experienced with this storm, I'm inclined to believe that with climate warming, we will see other such storms, perhaps not at that magnitude, but enough to cause breaks in the infrastructure here in Pacific County and in neighboring counties.

Sorting out how to tell parts of the story, and rather than one big fat blog entry, I will want to break it down some. For the days without power and communications (phones, cell phones, 911, emergency access), I started a journal. Now that we have power back and I am seeing via internet news all the devastation around us in our own county and neighboring counties, I recognize we are among the very fortunate.

Providing the link to the Washblog interview Noemie did with me when she phoned me yesterday to check up on us where she gives an account of what I shared with her.

Report from Lietta Ruger: Storm Causes Complete Infrastructure Collapse in Pacific Co.

I just spoke with Lietta Ruger, one of Washblog's editors, and she asked me to post a little summary of our conversation. She plans to post something more in-depth later.

She and Arthur Ruger live in the Willapa Bay community in Bay Center. There is no locally owned broadcast media in the area, and so they rely primarily on King 5 TV for their storm warnings. KIRO and KOMO generally don't provide coverage on their area. She said that no warnings came through mainstream media on the severe impacts that their community was expected to face from the impending storm last weekend. It was only because they happen to subscribe to what she describes as a tiny newspaper, a weekly called The Chinook Observer, that she learned her community was facing perhaps "the storm of the decade."

Having received this one warning, she and Arthur brought out their candles and blankets and cooked up the food in their refrigerator and battened down the hatches - just in case. The storm hit on Sunday and the three of them - including Lietta's mother - stayed indoors for two days as winds up to 119 miles an hour raged outside. There was no electricity, no phone service, no cellphone service. After the storm subsided, the roads were so impassible in every direction, and the power outage and the lack of emergency service so complete -- that as far as people in her community knew, they might have separated from the rest of the United States and floated off into the Pacific Ocean.

It wasn't until yesterday that a local store selling crank radios opened and she and Arthur were able to tune into coverage from Astoria, Oregon to find out the extent of the damage to the rest of Washington state.

Even then, most of the stores remained locked, the social services office, where emergency help is usually offered, remained closed and dark. The gas pumps, which run on electricity, don't work. People who have medical emergencies are out of luck. And at least one woman did die, when her house caught on fire from the candles she was using to provide light.

There was no safe way to travel by water, either, because the water was moving too fast and there were too many other dangers, low tree branches, objects, etc. Even the county's weather monitoring equipment failed. We know that winds reached 119 mph in Bay Center and 120 mph in Astoria, she said, because private citizens had equipment that withstood the wind, while the wind broke the county's equipment.

The problem wasn't with community members. People helped each other quite a bit. In fact, the owner of the Bay Center grocery store, a woman named Lori, drove from Long Beach through all the hazards to Bay Center and fired up the generator and stove and cooked soups and made sandwiches to serve the people in that community. And her husband and son did that in the other grocery stores owned by the family in other nearby communities. But now that the electricity has come back on, and she's learned that the rest of the world is still here -- though Grays Harbon and Lewis Counties appear to have suffered even more -- now she's feeling pretty upset.

This is a warning, she said, that we need to get our act together on emergency preparedness. We are experiencing the effects of climate change and we can expect more. This kind of storm is not on the usual scale. It's a clear signal, as well, that we need some major changes in how we do media. Pacific County needs its own broadcast media. We talked for awhile about testimony at the recent FCC hearing in Seattle that local communities are endangered by the centralization of broadcast media. That is absolutely correct, she said. Now that she has a little time to think, it's hitting her, the extent of this collapse of infrastructure: the lack of emergency preparedness and media coverage and the blackout on all services during the storm or for the 2 days afterwards. "This complete and utter failure, she said, "is unacceptable.

(read more at the Washblog story)

A few photos below taken by my mother of Bay Center in Pacific County, after the 2 days

of hurricane-force winds. Click on photos to see larger view.

Downed tree on Bay Center Road

Downed treee on Bay Center Road, Bay Center, WA in Pacific County, WA

Several downed trees at Bay Center residence

Several downed trees at Bay Center residence, Bay Center, WA in Pacific County,WA

Tree down on power line Bay Center Road

Tree down on power line Bay Center Road,Bay Center, WA in Pacific County,WA

Blow down trees in the county park at tip of Bay Center

Blow down trees in the county park at tip of Bay Center, WA in Pacific County,WA

More on page on this website (see tabs above) dedicated to 'Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007'

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Doing Something Positive - The Urban Pioneers are doing it, so can we!

Excellent video encapsulating wide array of concepts in Sustainable Living. These Urban Pioneers got a jumpstart back when it was called self-sufficiency- meaningful living, abundant living, simplistic living, getting off the grid. And they go even further back ... see the video below. Big hat tip to Path To Freedom Journal blog.

from the Path to Freedom Journal blog 'about us'
On 1/5th of an acre, this family has over 350 varieties of edible and useful plants. The homestead's productive 1/10 acre organic garden now grows over 6,000 pounds (3 tons) of organic produce annually,providing fresh vegetables and fruit for the family’s vegetarian diet along with a viable income.

In addition they have chickens, ducks, goats, brew their own biodiesel (made from waste (free!) vegetable oil) to fuel their car, compost with worms, solar panels provide their electricity needs, a sun and earthen oven is used to cook food in.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

by: Sintilia Miecevole

If you are tired of seeing the same old clothing styles at mall department stores and boutiques, it may be time to add a little spice to your wardrobe. Rather than looking just like everyone else, thrift stores offer access to unique items not found anywhere else- at least not in the last twenty or so years! Not only are thrift store clothes relatively inexpensive, but they can also be ultra hip. If you approach it the right way, you may be able to create your very own personal style by mixing the old and the new.

When you first decide to embark on a thrift store shopping spree, there are a few things to remember. Firstly, a lot of thrift stores only take cash, so if you are used to grabbing Daddy’s credit card and going to town, you’ll have to make other arrangements. Some stores do take checks, so you might want to have your checkbook handy. Secondly, a lot of thrift stores do not have dressing rooms, so you’ll probably want to wear a light t-shirt so you can try on your finds right where you find them. And most importantly, you are probably not going to find anything that fits you absolutely perfectly. You can’t go in looking for “your size.” You will have to try on what looks promising and see if you can alter it in any way if needed.

Believe it or not, thrift stores in the hippest parts of town generally have the least hip clothes. This is because there are hundreds of people just like you who are picking through their stock of wearable items every day. If you want to find authentic vintage clothing at inexpensive prices, you’ll have to drive to the most uncool parts of town. This could mean the suburbs, and it could mean farmland, depending on where you are located. You will find, however, that it is well worth the drive, and that your treasure is definitely another woman’s trash.

Shirts are typically the easiest items to find at thrift stores, because they allow more flexibility in the fitting department. You can find some excellent western shirts in rural areas, and there are always witty t-shirts on the little boy’s racks. If you are looking for a good pair of jeans, however, you might want to check the men’s section. Thrift stores typically stock a plethora of pleated-front tapered-leg acid-washed jeans in the ladies section, so you will rarely find anything cool on those racks. However, the men’s section can be filled with surprisingly girlish slacks in interesting colors and textures. There have also been known to be great pairs of vintage Levi’s hanging in the men’s racks.

If vintage dresses are your think, you will have a field-day going through the strange fashions of yesteryear that you will find in any thrift store. Once you make your way past the obnoxious flowery Sunday dresses and the strange lime green pleated skirts, you may find one or two keepers. Don’t give up until you looked at the last one, because chances are there will be a diamond in the rough there just waiting for a little nip and tuck from your sewing machine.

Thrift stores are also an excellent place to find work clothes for a job interview or a new office job. If you’d rather save your money for more fun items, you can always replenish your work wardrobe with some inexpensive black skirts and dress shirts from the local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Work people will never know that your new suit only cost you five bucks. They’ll just be happy that you’re not wearing your favorite club get-up to the important meeting again.

About The Author

Sintilia Miecevole, host of provides you with shopping information from franchises, business, great buys and seasonal items to ecommerce and more. Be sure to visit for the latest information.

Source: Articles 3000

« One Man’s Trash… Could Be Your Treasure - 3 Rules Of Thrifty Product Sourcing

Thrift shops and consignment stores can be excellent sources for your product inventory — they always have fresh items to pick through and you can find some great pieces for rock-bottom prices.

• Consignment stores, are commission-based. People bring in products for the store to sell on commission — what doesn’t sell is returned to the owner.

• Thrift stores are often ‘not for profit’ and get most of their goods via donations.

In comparing the two, thrift stores are typically more willing (and able) to bargain with you simply because they have more room to do so.

Online retailers sometimes feel that these types of resale stores are not a good place to find inventory because there’s not enough of a profit margin. But author Kate Holmes, founder of Too Good To Be Threw (, disagrees. Holmes asserts, "These stores have a very limited market. If nobody in their town happens to want to buy a pair of Jodhpurs that week, those Jodhpurs will be sitting there waiting for an eBay seller to snap them up.” The end result can be amazing deals on quality items with an online demand.

In addition to a narrow market, Holmes also cites restricted space as a factor in second-hand stores’ bargain pricing. She points out, "They only have so much space, so they can only carry so many things. If they can move an item on and bring something else in, they’re pleased with that.”

3 Rules of Sourcing Products in Thrift and Consignment Shops:

1. Shop the Edges. Even resale stores tend to carry certain types of products. What doesn’t fit a shop’s profile, they usually want to move out quickly. They tend to put these products around the store’s edges, so start there.

2. Shop Often. These stores are constantly turning over product and bringing in new items, so don’t let a dry trip or two discourage you. Your persistence can pay off in a big way.

3. Cultivate Relationships with Shopkeepers. If they like you, they’ll be much more willing to give you deals. They may also be more willing to set things aside for you, if they know what you’re looking for, and guide you to items you might have otherwise missed.

If you’re just starting out, a good place to find resale stores is in the Yellow Pages, under either “consignment” or “thrift.” Don’t be afraid to ask shopkeepers if they know of other stores in the area — if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll usually be happy to refer you to someone they think might.

Product Sourcing Radio is Created and Hosted by Chris Malta and Rob Cowie of, Home of OneSource: The Internet's Largest Source of Genuine, Factory-Direct Wholesalers for online sellers. Click Here for FREE E-Biz & Product Sourcing info!

Source: Articles 3000

Let's Talk About Thrift Stores

I do and don't like to shop at Thrift Stores. I love thrift store shopping when I have extra money to spend and encounter those thrift stores that are clean, well merchandised, and prices are affordable, and I feel like I have purchasing power. I don't like thrift store shopping as much when I have fewer choices and absolutely have only XX dollars to spend and I'm not in the 'mood' for gently used anything. Usually when I'm in those kind of moods, it's dark anyway and I'm more in memory of childhood days when sometimes it was 'hand-me-downs', and not much other choices. So, it's a frame of mind for me.

Over the years, from teen, to young parent, to middle aged parent of almost adult kids, to grandmother, my identity, self esteem, and needs have changed. In my teens, having cool, new clothes of the 1960's made a major difference to how I felt about myself. As a young wife and mother having fun clothes was important to me as I assumed my new identity as wife and mother. As a working wife and mother, career woman of the 1970's and 1980's, having a professional wardrobe was important to my sense of identity. Making sure my children had new home, new clothes, new toys, plenty of groceries was important to my sense of being a successful parent.

But in the 1980's something happened. Brand name labels became the 'have to have' among kids and with the brand names came gradually escalating prices until ridiculous prices was the operating word. Tennis, running, basketball shoes jumped to over $100.00 a pair and kept climbing. And that was rather my own personal 'wake up call' and when I put my foot down, explaining to my children, by my logic, that this brand name label clothing was a marketing device and nothing more. I wasn't going to buy into it.

Not so easy for them, because part of their forming identities was tied to what the kids at school were wearing and having whatever was the newest, coolest marketing product. Things like Cabbage Patch dolls began the trend towards 'must have at all costs' toys that parents needed to get for their children. Where was this mentality coming from, I wondered, while I didn't purchase Cabbage Patch dolls at outrageous prices? Well I did purchase some of the trendy toys of that era for my children, but only in what I considered to be an 'acceptable and affordable' range by my standards.

Fast forward through the 1990s to the present, and the trend of buying the newest, latest products is a firmly entrenched mentality among families today. I shudder at the challenges my children, now adults with children of their own face in their efforts to satisfy the perceived wants and needs of their children. If I were faced with some of those financial challenges now, I would have to consciously work to stay above the fray.

But now I sound like my own grandparents sounded to my ears when I was a lot younger. So I've reached 'that age'. Even so, I have growing concerns for my adult children and my grandchildren because I sense strongly the lifestyle we enjoyed when I was raising them is more elusive as they raise their own children.

I began frequenting thrift stores for the fun of finding those very special finds --- cut crystal, unique bags, vintage tablecloths and napkins, yard ornaments, occasional kitchenware. But I didn't 'have to' shop thrift stores, so it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and I was spelunking, looking for those great finds. And then I tried my hand at looking for certain collectibles and antiques in thrift stores and the best of the best thrift stores were when we lived in a city that had wealth that was measured only by more wealth. I found some of the best quality of whatever I was looking for in the thrift stores that dotted that city. It was my ideal of shopping manna.

When we moved from the city to a more rural setting, in region known to have a shrunken economic baseline, so did the availability shrink in the shrunken towns that comprised the region. The spelunking changed and took on a different element, but was still fun, because I could ocassionally find authentic antiques at thrift store prices, and collectibles not yet priced at collectible prices. When we made the decision to go from two incomes - his and mine to one income - his - we felt proud of our decision, made the shifts to tighten our belts, and I earnestly began to look at reviving all the dollar saving hints and tips I'd learned growing up as a child in an economically-challenged family.

I wanted to see if I could do with our household what some of the Depression-era people did to creatively stretch a dollar, recycle, re-use, re-fashion, and remake. It wasn't easy to find reading material on such things, and I wished I could have been in the tutelage of some of the elderly who knew how to do what I did not and could teach me. I realized that I had grown accustomed to the ease of consumerism, and began to contemplate ideas like what if.......

-- what if the economy implodes and we have no choice but to revive some of the older skills?

-- what if we couldn't drive cars any and everywhere because gas cost too much and global warming was a concern?

-- what if and the what if's went on in my mind

And perhaps it could be called an intuitive sense of changing times because as a society, a nation, we seemed to have reached a point of needing to reconsider lifestyles permitted to evolve at the hands of marketing devices.

I'm most encouraged though by the creativity I am seeing among the young families and especially the young women of today as they try to manage their lives and lifestyles on a shrinking dollar. I see a revival of a need to find creative ways to re-use, re-make, re-fashion, re-cycle, and I see young families finding ways to do more with a bit less and keeping a good spirit while doing so. For some it seems to be an effort to restore or return to a prescribed faith-based lifestyle that puts women in their homes with their families. For some it is a flair for the artistic in finding new ways to create clothing, fashion, home decor, gifting. For some it is the challenge forced upon them.

And the thrift store takes on a new prominence in the modern era. Or so it seems to me. So let's talk about thrift stores.

Then and Now

Over the years, the imaginary character, skinflint curmudgeon, has been evolving as our own times have been evolving. When he was invented, there was a movement towards abundant simplified living, living off the grid, meaningful living and enriching the act of living. Since he was invented, politics in this country (USA) has so altered the landscape of living life enough that there are economic conditions that rather force a change in lifestyle for those not among the wealthy and more wealthy.

Erosion of middle class economics, inflated housing market prices, inflated and rising petroleum/gas prices which absolutely will have impact on our carbon-based economy and way of life. Meanwhile the discretionary income margin we permitted for ourselves when we deliberately reduced to one income lifestyle has been consumed by the ever increasing petroleum-based essential products, like groceries, heat for our home, and for us there no longer is a discretionary income margin. Every dollar is budgeted and accounted for and we have yet to make what will be required cuts to manage the cost increases ahead.

So while our fun little character, skinflint curmudgeon, was just going to give ornery type old fashioned advice in a whimsical kind of way, it is becoming less fanciful fun and more a necessity to shave costs, squeeze more out of the dollars we have and look at new ways to manage our lives since the foundational plan of our younger years will not carry us well into our later years.

Monday, August 06, 2007

EZ home test to learn more about your soil

Do you have good garden soil? Is it sandy, clay or loam? Do you have enough organic matter? Find out by making this simple soil test recipe:

1 quart jar
2 cups water
1 tblsp water softener

Take a soil sample from the top 12 inches in your garden beds. Since your soil may vary throughout your property, take samples from each area and test each one separately.

Place your soil sample, water and water softener in a quart jar. Cover with a tight fitting lid on the jar, shake vigorously until everything is floating in the water. Set the jar aside for 24 hours.

What settles first is the sand, the next layer is the silt, followed by the clay, and frosting all the layers is the organic material on top. When everything has settled after 24 hours, measure each layer. Then divide the thickness of each layer by the total depth of all layers together. To get the percentages, multiply the answers by 100.

Optimum soil percentages are:

Sand - 30-50%
Silt - 30-50%
Clay - 20- 30%
Organic material - 5-10%

(article is from Rainy Side Gardeners)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Front yard vegetable patches make food, but some gardens rile the neighbors

One tomato plant at a time equates to one step at a time in a growing new 'movement' of front yard vegetable patches. Yes, people are getting on board with the idea that one can actually grow food in their own yard and growing it in their front yard sends a message. Instead of all the work and chemicals to maintain a home and garden magazine type yard, one can grow their own food and still have a beautiful 'growing' front yard. What constitutes what is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder anyway, so who says that a perfect, green front lawn equates to the only kind of beauty a homeowner can share?

In this time of heightening awareness of sustainability, environmental concerns, global warming, 'green' living, I am pleased to see the return of something resembling the 'Victory Garden' of WW II era. Another time when this country was at 'war', although, I don't subscribe to the invasion/occupation of Iraq as a 'just war', our troops are deployed in combat in wartime.

We chose to move away from urbania and don't live in a cul de sac of well tended front lawns and landscaping, so I can appreciate that it is a courageous step for people who do live in those kind of 'traditional' neighborhoods to shift to planting vegetables in the front yard instead of trying to grow the perfect grass lawn edged by the perfect compliment of landscaped specimens.

The article mentions how neighbor concerns are met with compromise in growing vegetables in attractive ways that don't detract. Fitting vegetables in among traditional landscaping can be done in such a way as to enhance both. I'm not sure it has to be one way or the other but a compliment of both ways. I saw a home where the front yard had been converted into raised bed gardening and it was quite attractive in a geometric kind of way.

I recently claimed a bit of our front yard to make a combination new flower and vegetable bed. I then claimed a piece along the side for more vegetables. This in addition to my actual kitchen vegetable garden which, btw, I plan to double or triple in size over the coming years. Now I will even plant a tomato plant or maybe a squash in the flower bed that faces the street as my own proud statement to the neighbors, although my neighbors where I live don't require such a statement, they aren't too likely to complain if I turn my entire yard into a vegetable garden and orchard.

Do it - make a statement, plant one vegetable in your front yard and then two and maybe you too will want to rip out your front lawn and grown vegetables instead.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

End Time for Our Monkey Puzzle Tree - dying, no dead and time to take it down

Ahhh, I found someone else who's mature Monkey Puzzle Tree died - like our 90 + yr old tree has died. Big hat tip to blog That and This for providing an account of demise of the tree, decision to take it down (fell it), along with great accompanying photos and links.

Last spring/summer season I knew our Monkey Puzzle Tree was dead beyond dead. Sweetie was unwilling to let go and acknowledge the tree was a goner - no more - the one almost green instead of brown branch just wasn't enough life to save the tree. This spring/summer he acknowledges it is dead and we need to bring it down.

I honestly do not know the habit of this tree in it's natural setting when it finally does die and have been trying to find out. Does it fall, does it remain standing and if so how long before it falls of it's own accord. The neighbors seem to think because it is so old, so rooted that it is unlikely to ever fall. I think if it did fall it would take out the entire street corner, and then which way would it fall - on our house - which neighbor's house??

We are talking now about having it felled and leaving enough stump to have a totem carved out of what is left. We are being told that we should think about selling the wood as it is highly valued in some places. We are told the wood is too difficult to carve and the totem pole idea does not have merit. One way or the other though, I think the tree needs to come down.

Which is why the blog account at That and this was such a good find for me... thanks!

photo 2000 of the real estate listing for the house, shows the Monkey Puzzle Tree as it was. We bought the house in Nov 2002, and the lower limbs were already straggly and looking sickly. Our neighbor was willing to cut the lower limbs in early spring 2003 (a decision I made that I didn't consult with Sweetie about first and he was very, very unhappy about it). Because the tree was planted on what over the next 90 years would become a paved intersection in our small fishing village, the largess of the tree caused a blind spot for traffic making turns at that corner. Losing the lower limbs opened up visibility at the intersection. But, and it may or may not be related, the tree seemed to quickly lose what vitality it had and began the process of dying.

2005 spring/summer season photo of our dying (dead) 90 + year old Monkey Puzzle Tree (The Araucaria Family: Araucariaceae)

Winter 2006 photo of what is now clearly a dead monkey puzzle tree - all that is left is trunk and limbs and that green at the very tippy top - the last breath of hope of life for the tree - by spring it was brown.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Update - Yard and Garden - July 15, 2007

Update - July 15, 2007

Vegetable Garden; doing well enough.

Progress of seeds I planted;

-- Corn plants are looking now like corn you see in corn fields.
-- Beans, coming along, not too impressive yet
-- Squash - zucchini doing okay; yellow summer squash doing okay; acorn squash planted late but they started then failed overnight one night (slugs?? or was it because I decided to fertilize and the acorn squash plants were too new to take being fertilized.
-- Cucumbers - well, there are plants, but it's not too impressive yet.
-- Beets have popped up and are shaping out nicely. Note; beets seem to do well here.
-- Radishes planted and harvested already, much less nibbling by critters this year.
-- Elephant Garlic is doing quite well but can't tell till I harvest the bulbs.
-- Garlic (normal size) seem to be doing okay, can't see any flowering though. The transplants at the back of the house failed.
-- Pumpkins - only one or two, the rest failed.
-- Green, Red, Jalapeno peppers - failed
-- Dill - failed
-- Carrots - two plants growing - the rest I accidentally stepped on when they were newly coming up and they were damaged, okay ruined.

Progress of transplants from garden center;

-- bib and red lettuce - okay and growing well. Note; red lettuce adds color to the green garden. Use again!
-- spinach - failed.
-- tomato plants - doing well, one plant has tomato forming.
-- pepper plants - seemd to be doing okay.
-- cucumber plants - hard to tell, still so compact and small.
-- pumpkin plant - slow but growing.
-- onions - doing okay. Separated each bulb and planted 2 batch crops in garden.

Newly planted vegetable bed by front door;

After Sweetie recreated the entrance area at the front door in front yard, he created a new bed for planting. This year I wanted to use it for more vegetables. Since it is strictly clay, I needed to amend it with compost and top soil, before planting anything. It is too late in the season to plant seeds, so I picked up some vegetable plants at the garden center at our one and only department store in the region -- Dennis Company. I'm grateful they carry vegetables, herbs, flowers favorable to our climate and area. It makes for a somewhat limited line to choose from, and it's about 75/25 that what I buy will do well in my yard.

-- Squash - flying wheels squash (looks interesting on the label!) - 1 plant.
-- Squash - hubbard squash - 2 plants.
-- Squash - acorn squash - 2 plants.
-- Peppers - varieties - jalapeno - 2 plants, pimento - 2 plants, green - 2 plants

When Sweetie began this project he finished up another project at the other corner of front yard, bricking in and squaring off that corner. I had started last year to create a tiered flower garden effect to replace the brick step tiers he took out. We discovered in our digging that PO had apparantly tried to create about 4 steps, using bricks, from the garage up to the front yard. Over the years, it got buried, so we found a treasure of bricks and attempted to make it workable. It wasn't too workable, which is probably why it got overgrown in the first place.

He took the bricks to use elsewhere, and that left the tiered effect, which I was prepared to design into a tiered flower garden. I started with some plants late last growing season, and they hadn't much chance of setting up in their new places, so when he decided to change the corner, the plants were amenable to being transplanted.

I'm not real sure now what those plants are by name, so I'll have to backtrack and see what I blogged last year. One is hellebos, and three others to be identified.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Willow Twig Rooting Solution for new cuttings recipe

I tried what is known to garderners in hand me down folklore of using willow twigs to make a rooting solution to use with new cuttings. I cut several off my mother's old willow tree, and put them in a large jar, let them gestate for several days and then added the solution to the 'new cuttings' to take root. I wasn't successful.

I found this at another blog and wanted to share the 'recipe' here, so for my own use in my own garden on my own blog here is another recipe for Willow Water rooting hormone.

Here's what you do:

1. Get a handful of willow twigs (any Salix species will do)

2. Cut them into pieces a few inches long

3. Soak the twigs in a few inches of water for a day or two; then remove the twigs.

4. Use the willow water to soak cuttings in overnight, or to water flats of newly started cuttings, or to help transplants.

Now remember since this method isn't very exact, the strength of the willow water can vary depending on the time of year, the number of twigs, the concentration of hormones in the twigs, and the amount of time that the twigs were soaked. You will, however, still get a solution that will help your plants root.

hat tip to Weekend Gardener

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Music: Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yoyo Ma

Sunday, July 01, 2007

'The Store Wars' -- may the farm be with you - a fun video

A fer fun video 'The Store Wars' -- May the Farm be with you.....

Someone having fun with the message. Made Sweetie,a die-hard Star Wars fan chuckle.

Fun video 'The Store Wars' May the Farm be with you.....

'The Store Wars' May the Farm be with you. A fer fun video to offset the very serious video below.

Cool digs in the Pacific Northwest

Chris - are you cool enough? Article in the Chicago Tribune about a newly opened hotel in your 'Pearl District' in Portland, Oregon. Video shows the building and room, and it is so 'Pearl District' for sure. Check out the video at the link.

Ace Hotel


1022 SW Stark St.,

Portland, Ore.

Beautiful hipsters sip coffee, read magazines and listen to alternative rock music under a vintage hotel sign. Stacked old books and suitcases make up nightstands. Converse sneakers wiggle inside the lobby's black-and-white photo booth.

Welcome to the 79-room Ace Hotel Portland, where chic meets cheap and minimalist flair mixes with military earth tones.

And, despite a retro feel, the hotel also offers Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions and even turntables in some of the rooms, all uniquely decorated -- some with walls painted by local artists and other touches that mix vintage with modern.

read more and watch the video at this link.

Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs

The video starts off looking like some lecture and I started to hit the stop button, but decided instead to hear it out for a bit, and then I was intrigued. Because she was talking about something as if I should already know what it is and I realized I hadn't even heard of it, let alone realize what it is, so I listened.

Do you know what Codex Alimentarius is? And if you do, then you're ahead of me on the knowledge scale. Do you know how it will be affecting our food supply - and somthing so vital as our food supply will be in another of what feels like 'corporate take-over' in every aspect of our daily living.

Maybe you're interested, maybe not, and the good Dr in this video does a fine job of explaining by building the foundation steps so that even if you think you don't care about Codex Alimentarius, you likely will after watching some of this video!

The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. Ratified by the World Health Organization, and going into Law in the United States in 2009, the threat to health freedom has never been greater.

This is the first part of a series of talks by Dr. Rima Laibow MD, available on DVD from the Natural Solutions Foundation, an non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about how to stop Codex Alimentarius from taking away our right to freely choose nutritional health.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pit Bull vs. Porcupine

What do you get when a pitbull picks a fight with a porcupine?


Comments: Apart from the fact that the poor pooch pictured above is mislabeled as a pit bull (she's actually a bull terrier), these pictures are authentic. They were originally posted on a community bulletin board by the dog's owner on May 25, 2005. The terrier's name is Inca.

"Thousands of quills were embedded even in her tongue," her owner explained. "The vets worked for quite some time to get quills out and even still could not get them all. The one's that are left will work themselves out over time. Inca is home and on antibiotics and pain killers."

In a follow-up post dated July 13, Inca's owner reported that "she is just fine and has just the odd broken bit come out once in awhile. Other than that she is back to her old self."

Moral of the story: Dogs and porcupines don't mix.

from Urban Legends and Folklore

Now for some solid information about removing porcupine quills, see article at The Pet

Having watched our own dog and my mother's dog suffer with their first encounter with porcupines, I'm in favor of taking the dog to the vet and letting them anesthisize the dog, remove the quills rather than try to pull them out myself. We had a neighbor who's dog encountered a porcupine and the neighbor used a treatment that I wouldn't recommend or so we heard when we inquired if the dog was okay. Had to do with dousing the dog with gasoline and yanking out the quills. Not sure the point of using gasoline, but hey - it's still a shade of the wild west where we live, so who knows where this remedy came from over the generations.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tip Toeing thru the tulips this year!

Those first tulip bulbs I planted last Fall came up this spring! I'm excited. I know lots of people grow tulips, but these are my very first, where I planted the bulbs and watched expectantly in the spring for them to pop their shoots up out of the cold ground. Woo hoo - I have tulips.

Now I'm inspired to want to make a 'tulip garden', but it will be more like a bed of tulips. Just not enough space on our home plot to create my vision of lavender fields, tulip fields and daffodil fields. We lived in Mount Vernon, and Samish Island in Skagit county, Washington (state), so I got spoiled seeing the daffodil and tulip fields every year. I loved our time living in Skagit county.

Then a few years ago, we paid a visit to Port Angeles, Sequim, Hurricane Ridge (Washington state)and got my first glimpse of lavender fields a bloom. Oh, how I would love to have my own lavender field. I have planted lavender in my beds, and I have only just begun, but our home plot is just not anywhere large enough to permit me to create an illusion of any kind of blooming 'field'.

This year though, we had a speaking engagement in Eastern Washington, so we took a trip via the White Pass route. It was perfect timing, and I had no idea that Mossy Rock (Washington state)has a nursery growing fields and fields of tulips. So now I've found a mini version of Mount Vernon closer to my backyard and will make an annual trip in April to Mossy Rock to see the daffodil and tulip fields in bloom.

Silly Symphony - Flowers and Trees (Walt Disney animation video)

Gotta love this old Walt Disney animation! Silly Symphony Flowers and Trees set to classical music.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21, 2007 - More Trees - Reshape front rock wall - Vegetable garden - Garden Journal entry

I haven't done such a good job of keeping up with my gardening journalling. Good start in 2004, and okay in 2005, and only one entry for 2006. I've taken some entries from my Wee Garden website, some entries from my Wonderwander blog and brought them here to this new blog I made to journal about my yard and garden.

Got an early enough start this year on the vegetable garden. Sweetie turned the soil for me early - about March this year. And the weather seemed to warm up by April, so I went ahead and planted my seeds from last year. I had bought multiple packages at bargain price last year in a sell out at a nursery in Grayland. The weather didn't stay so warm, and while it didn't freeze either, nothing but the radishes and beets came up. So by June, I'm already disheartened about my vegetable garden this year. 2006 vegetable garden was a bust as the slugs won out eating all the cukes, zukes, and most other of the meager vegetables I planted last year. I'm determined not to grow vegetable plants for the slugs this year!

My neighbor had given me 2 elephant garlic plants two years ago. They came up nicely last summer and are doing well again this year, even though I've transplanted them to another part of the garden. My neighbor knows of a house that has been abandoned out in the woods, and he says garlic growing there is plentiful, so he brought me a bucket with several garlic plants (regular size).

Sweetie this year has really taken to some serious reshaping of our front rocked bed. He literally removed boulder size rock wall, dug out the hill of mounded dirt, flattened out the area, hauled dirt away, and carried the rocks back shaping a new wall. He spread some of the dirt at the back of the house, in area I hope to make another small vegetable garden area = full sun - south sun and will be good sun for growing vegetables. However, the dirt is clay through and through, and I didn't really think the seeds had much of a chance of growing in clay soil.

He screeted off the area, we covered in plastic. He moved bricks alongside the outside walls of the house to help keep the never will go away morning glory vines from springing anew. Then we spread the dirt. I placed the seeds and nothing - nothing has come up. But I really didn't expect those seeds had much of a chance in clay. Perhaps next year we will be able to get the right kind of enriched soil, compost, and realize my hopes of making that area a place to grow corn, beans and squash. This year it's a bust - at least in that area.

In line with Sweetie refacing the front rock wall, we closed off the entire section to disinvite guests from using to come to the front door. Previous owners had apparantely mounded up the soil - likely from digging out the soil to create a basement for this house which was post and pier with no basement when it was originally built in 1892. Previous owners must have created a boulder size rock wall to keep the dirt in place. Previous owners bought up the bricks from local high school in South Bend that was demolished to build a new school. With these many bricks, a bricked up basement was added to this house, a brick wall fence built, and with excess bricks, a pathway was laid to create a walkway to the front door. Unfortunately, it was laid on the hill incline with no hand rails and any human trying to walk that brick pathway was destined to take a fall. More so in the wet, slick rain and we get RAIN around here - known for it in the Pacific Northwest.

We have been fortunate that most people know to come to the back door, but there has been an ocassionaly visitor or two who didn't know better and actually used that treacherous brick walkway to the front door. I waned to make sure that doesn't happen again. Sweetie removed the bricks, and actually re-used the bricks to create a brick wall which walled off access. I planted one of the new Japanese Weeping Flowering Cherry trees I bought this Spring right in the center of what used to be the brick walkway. And now that Sweetie has resahped the entire front rock wall, it is looking more like a deliberate designed garden bed.

We decided to cut down the rhodedendron that Sweetie had shaped into a tree last year. Even though we had attacked the ivy that had overtaken the rhodie which had grown quite tall over the many years, ivy is unrelenting in reproducing itself! When it has had this long a number of years to grow, the older growth leaves turn round and produce berries, and becomes a whole other living plant, obliterating the original plant. So we cut the rhodie in front down to bare root, giving it one more shot at growing as a rhodie, and we will need to keep it clear of the ivy. Another neighbor thinks it is a lost cause and we should just remove it. But - we'll see....

Sweetie moved the beautiful orange flowering azalea. I think it is an azalea, tall growing and not close to the ground variety. If I'm wrong, and it is something else, that is fine, but nonetheless it has beautiful orange blossoms and is a real showpiece. I was worried it would not survive the transplant and cautioned Sweetie that he would need a very deep root ball if he was going to dig it out. It did blossom even after the transplant, so perhaps all is well.

I planted the second Japanese Weeping Flower Cherry tree in the front yard. That makes four new trees in the small front yard. Three are the bare root trees we ordered from a membership with National Arbor the first year we moved here. Those bare root trees are doing nicely now in their fourth year growing. They are the heighth of shrubs and it will be a few more years before they actually become trees, and like all those other folks who make the mistake of planting too closely together, I think I have done likewise despite my plans to ensure they were planted with their mature size in mind.

Since the vegetable garden isn't going anywhere this year, I picked up some starter vegetable plants at the garden center of our one and only department store in the area in Raymond. Oh, I am too hard on myself. Ooops, the corn and bush beans that I planted are coming up, along with the beets and the radish did quite nicely. But then radish usually does for just about everyone. I planted some starter zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, one pumpkin. I put in more seeds for pumpkins, acorn squash and if those come up or even some of those seeds come up, then good for us.

This year, the strawberry plants have multiplied themselves plentifully, so my four original plants have become many now. I realized when I planted them that the place I was planting them would become too confined it they did multiply and that I would have to transplant and move them when that time came. This was the year of that time, so I moved them into a larger bed with more hours of sunlight. Some won't survive the move, but others are showing that they will be okay. The berries are turning red now that they are getting more sunlight. I moved them to where the iris bed has been, and the iris have done right nicely with so many blooms this year. I needed to thin the iris anyway, and needed the bed they were in, so I am still trying to decide where to move the iris, which I already pulled up and are laying out under the tree in the shade waiting for me to find them a home. It's been too many days since I dug them up, so I will likely lose many once I do get them planted again.

In front flower bed under the bank of windows, I planted three heathers and two azaleas this year. The three rose bushes from previous years are not doing so well, and one has seemed to die again - same spot as the one before it. Bad spot for rose bush. I have decided I have approached this bed all wrong. What I need is some low growing but bushy type specimens that will grow about halfway up and provide covering for the concreted part of the basement that shows there. Either in the fall or early next year, I will move all those plants, rose bushes too, and plant something else in that bed. I have some dahlia bulbs to plant this year.

Speaking of rose bushes, the three in the back yard aren't doing so well this year either. I had planted a package of seeds - money tree plants - there and those didn't grow up last year when I planted them but did this year - big time! So I will have some money tree plants that I can dry and use for flower arrangements - that will be fun. But the roses they have grown up around are struggling this year and I don't know if there is a correlation.

That about wraps it up for so far in 2007 season, but is only June, and the season is far from over. One of my intended projects for this year is to place a red lava rock walkway from the front door to the road as the new inviting walkway for guests to come to the front door. I will need to buy the lava rock. I need also much more enriched soil, and I want actually compost this year to amend the soil in the vegetable garden. I want hay this year to cover the garden through the winter months and keep down the weeds. I want an electric roto-tiller so that even I can turn the soil and till the garden come next spring.

I'm still thinking that I want to extend or have more vegetable garden beds, but I think we might do the raised beds approach, in which case that can be added along the way anytime in the years ahead.

And lastly, while I'm feeling like I have not been attentive to my yard and garden, all of May (Mother's Day month) was about being gone - trip to Spokane forBloomsday Marathon where my oldest daughter ran/walked; trip to Hawaii to visit my younger daughter who had a surprise 'graduation' that I knew nothing about so they surprised me royally with keeping that a secret and a surprise and being with my six grandchildren (three per daughter) was a delight. Visit to Portland and lunch and zoo with my son and most of May 2007 was spent in the most delightful mothers day month!

Return home and attending to our dog, Jake, who popped his acl (anterior cruciate ligament) so was reduced to three legs. The vet performed surgery to repair and I have to say I was startled by how invasive a surgery it was - poor dog's entire leg was cut open. Jake was biting out the stitches before he even left the vet, so vet put in stainless steel stitches and even then Jake was still trying to bite out the stitches. So we've been watching him 24/7 for almost two weeks now, not letting him out of our sight. He's healing up right nicely. Started using the leg on the second day home - still hopping mostly, but found he could use the leg. Now almost two weeks later, he is using the leg quite regularly and even running on it. We've bonded even more this past two weeks and become even greater companions, but he is happy to be back outside, running about, watching over his territory. He prefers outside to inside, so this has been difficult on him to be inside next to me (us when Sweetie is home).

Weather has not been very conducive either, more the one day a week of sun, with the rest of the week overcast, some mild winds, some rain and nothing like last spring. Well summer is in a few days, so perhaps we'll get some 'summer' type weather then.

My Wee Garden Inventory of plants; Bay Center house

Zones, Planting Seasons,

Calendar In the Sunset Western Garden Book (1996, 2001, Sunset Pub. Corp., Menlo Park, Calif.), the western U.S. is divided into 24 Climate Zones. These Climate Zones do NOT correspond to the USDA Hardiness Zones.

Zone 5

Marine Influence Along the Northwest Coast Mild ocean air bring relatively warm winters in this Zone. Minimum temperatures range from 28o to 1o F, although in some year a "big freeze" can cause considerable damage to plants. Zone 5 extends from the Puget Sound area in Washington, including Seattle and Tacoma, south along the Pacific Coast to north of Brookings, Oregon, including Astoria, Newport, Coos Bay.


* Delphinium - twice over the years and both eaten by slugs
* Asiatic Lillies -transplanted and they died
* Calla Lilly - grrr, of 5 planted, only one has come back
* Daisies - tall variety, transplanted, doing well
* Carnation - doing well
* Snapdragon - does well
* pansies - does well
* dusty miller - does well
* iris - does quite well
* gladiolas - doing well
* calendula orange flowers - not perennials, but have blooms into winter
* primroses - does well
* ranunculous flowers, red, yellow, white - slugs ate them
* heliotrope - not perennial, an annual, and nice choice
* tulips - after 3 yrs, looks like tulips bloomed this year
* daffodils - does well
* Columbine - volunteered in 2005 and doing well in 2006.
* Foxglove - didn't come back, trying again this year with new plant.
* Creeping Buttercups - arghh, like weeds, bane of my garden beds.
* Lavender - many varieties
* Rosemary - evergreen actually, and grows to bush size
* sedum varieties
* Hibiscus - 2 plants 2006, planted front rose bed
* Bleeding Heart - white; planted 2006, shaded back side of yard.
* Dahlia - 2 plants 2005; died.


* pansies - does well
* petunias - does well
* cosmos - does well
* sunflowers - slugs eat, russian mammoth spectacle if can keep slugs from it
* marigolds - does well
* strawflowers - does well
* geraniums - does well
* allysum - does well
* baby's breath .. white flowers
* begonias - does well

Bulbs and Rhizones

* iris - doing great
* calla lillies - finicky
* asian lillies - died
* easter lillies - died
* gladiolas - doing well
* hosta - 4 plants disappeared,slugs or died
* hosta type in planters
* tulips..lost them, didn't produce again. oops reappeared in 3rd yr


* Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree
* Monkey Puzzle Tree
* Maple
* Weeping Norway Spruce
* Evergreen trees in back yard
* 10 dry root seedlings Natl Arbor membership - which in 4th yr are showing progress. Next spring if they flower, I can perhaps identify which is which. We lost the coloring chart. 3 in front yard, 2 in back yard so 5 of 10 of the tree roots made it.
* Mugho pines - planted 2 small starters this yr = 2006
* Japanese white flowering Mt Fuji - planted 2006
* Apple hybrid tree with 3 apple varieties on one tree - planted 2006. (will list varieties here)
* Eucalyptus - 2 trees. planted one in front yard 2006 and one in whiskey barrel planter end of 2005 season.

Shrubs and Bushes

* Rhodedendrons = Eight mature.
* barberry, a small tree or shrub w vivid yellow blossoms and red berries. Oh, why - husband pulled up when we were ignorant of what it was - total loss in trying to re-plant or propagage. Good news though, in the other bed, a shoot is coming up, so may still have a new barberry with it's internal yellow trunk - medicinal properties.
* Hydrangea = 3, and only 1 lived, 2004. It is doing well in it's third year
* Lilac = mature, but it is struggling. Lost 2 trunks in Fall 2005, new baby is coming up between remaining 2 trunks.
* Fuschia Tree - does very well, cautiosuly pruned in spring 2005, no need as it comes back in fullness. hard pruned spring 2006 and it still comes back in fullness.
* juniper - mature, tried to propagate 2006; not taking
* Weeping Norway Spruce - doing well
* Lacey Leaf Japanese Red Maple, not dwarf - 2004. slow growing and doing well
* Forsythia - 2005, and doing well in 2006.
* Eastern snowball - 2006, newly planted, we'll see how it does
* Mallow tree - 2006. perennial, delicate pink flowers on elongated stems.


* Lavendar = 11
* Rosemary = 3
* Oregano = 3
* Sage = 2
* Basil - annual
* Marjoram - didn't make it
* new herb, need name, haven't used before
* Parsley - annual
* Chives - doing well
* Mint - planted in ground 2006
* Catnip - excellent for perennial w/ purple flowers
* Salt and Spice herb - annual
* Tarragon - 2006 not doing well
* Thyme - have planted from nursery twice, died both times 2005, 2006.

Rock Garden

Planted rock garden in 2004. In it's third year in 2006, it is looking very nice.

* Sedums, will try to list names of varieties.
- candy tuft = white flowers
- autumn joy = rust color tops in Autumn
- usual array, names not known.
* Lavender - three varieties. Cotton lavender is magnificent as it sprawls and crawls all over the rocks.
* Dracenia - from a small plant to a spectacular centerpiece - sharp and pointed up growing stems.
* Forthsythia - bush, I know, and probably not best at rock garden, but I love to see that first yellow of spring from kitchen window. Planted 2005.

2006, extended the beds in rock garden area as adding additional plants.

* poker plant
* achillibe
* coral bells or lily of the valley
* elephant ears plant (bulb)
* ground cover (purple flower - need name)
* another lavender plant
* rock garden evergreen - yellow flowers (need name)
* rock rose - pink flowers
* iris bulbs (transplants, likely won't leave in this bed)
* perennial white flowers (need name)
* autumn joy sedum
* upright blue flowering perennial (know name, can't recall - need)
* delphinium - slugs ate

Vegetable Garden


* Radishes (Good)
* Lettuce (Good)
* Spinach (Good, but won't grow it again)
* Onions (Good)
* Tomatoes (Great)
* Corn (Good)
* Zucchini Squash (Great)
* Summer Squash (Great)
* Acorn and Winter Squash (Great)
* Pumpkins (Great)
* Cucumbers (Great)
* Cauliflower (way too big a plant, won't grow it again)
* Wax beans (Great)
* Eggplant (didn't grow, season too short?)
* Watermelon (didn't grow, season too short or not hot enough?)
* Green Peppers (Great)


Same as above with new additions;

* Beets
* Turnips
* Snap Peas
* Green Beans
* Elephant Garlic
* Carrots
* Lima Beans
* Elephant Garlic


Same as previous years but miserable failure of entire garden this year.
- Elephant garlic did well in it's 2nd yr.
- beets growing large and well.
- radishes growing well as usual.
- tomato plant from nursery producing
- all else failed this year, slugs ate the tender plants. twice planted zucchini, squash, cucumbers and slugs got every one. Also neighbor gave me well rooted zucchini and cucumbers and slugs got those also..

- new challenge and problem; combatting slugs! I have been reluctant to kill slugs in previous years, but with the end of last season and this season (2006), I can't afford to be so merciful.

- new challenge; the borage/comfrey I planted from seed in 2004 came back again in 2005, but in 2006 it was popping up all over the actual vegetable garden space and in rock garden bed. Researching it, seems it has that characteristic, has some underground growing mechanism, and is next to impossible to entirely get rid of once it starts that system. Groan -- been trying to rid of the perpetual creeping buttercup and creeping morning glory and wound up planting another permanent creeper. Had I known, never would have planted. What have I wrought with one package of seeds?!


* Strawberries = 6 in 2004; 3 lived, bought 3 more 2005; doing well in 2006 although so far few to no strawberries. Time to transplant to more permanent space.

Compost and Fertilizer

* kitchen compost, scraps
* purchased bags compost
* Used Sam's last year 2004. Miracle Gro this year 2005. None 2006.
* Using purchased top soil both years, split bag one year; garden space this year.

Seeds and Preserving Seeds

* Sunflowers
* Green Pepper
* Cucumber
* Zucchini
(great, but I've misplaced and can't locate the preserved seed packets in 2006)


* 1 miniature in 2004 w/ red, pink, coral roses on one bush
* 3 packaged root climbing roses 2004, 1 yellow Peace Rose, 1 traditional climber with small pink roses and 1 hasn't bloomed yet so don't remember it's rose color yet. It bloomed, and is a deep burgundy.
* Bought 3 more packaged root rose bushes 2005; planted in front bed, 2 lived = pink buds and yellow buds but coral buds died.
* Bought another root rose 2006 for front bed; it's struggling.
* Bought climber, yellow, to plant in raised railroad tie bed as permanent anchor. Now have permanent hydrangea, permanent climbing rose, permanent catmint, permanent yarrow. And permanent lavender in the brick post column.

Indoor Plants

* Spider plants
* Jade plant
* Rattail cactus (died)
* Flowering cactus
* Philodendrom
* Scheffelaria (bush size now, 5 yrs old)


* Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree = 3, already 2 died, premature cutting away from mother
* Spider plants
* Yarrow, volunteers from seed blowing
* 2006, tried again, most all failed. Cotton lavender may have taken; pussy willow tree (my Mother's yard) may taken, cedar shrub may have taken.

Garden journal at Dave's Garden and also at Wee Garden website.

Decorating Yard n Garden

* old shoes, planter
* storebought stakes w/ ornaments
* decorative trellis = 2
* windchimes
* swirls
* stepping stones
* yard sales/flea market items as bowls, urns, baskets, old garden gloves

Weeds and Pests

Arghh on the Slugs! Also the creeping buttercups.

2006 pix of yard progress since Nov 2002.

We bought this house in Nov 2002. Now in 2006, I have an acquisition of photos that show changes in the yard. Photos below are from 2006. I will need to backtrack to add slideshow photos from previous years.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

We bought this house in Nov 2002. In Spring 2003, began work in the yard, very modest beginning, mostly adding a few annuals, some containers, cutting back rhodies and some other overgrown mature specimens. For vegetable garden, I used split-bag topsoil, planting seeds directly into the split bags.

In Spring 2004, work in earnest began to shape up the yard, retaining the flavor of the original owners vision. Also did not want to take out, prune, remove plants until we knew what they were - using that axiom to wait a year and see what's what.

In Spring 2005, more work in earnest, serious pruning, removing, and began actually rearranging, creating and starting to claim yard more to our vision, rather than preserving integrity of original owners vision. Learned original owners stopped living in the house, using on occasional weekends, so yard upkeep had lost it's shaping over the years.

In Spring 2006, we are now engaged in claiming the yard as our own. We have been one-income family since May 2003 when I left my career employment. It has put a serious damper on spending so working the yard has been on extremely frugal budget.
Patience and bit by bit, plant by plant, back-breaking labor, we are very gradually getting somewhere towards our yet unrealized vision for the yard and house.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

Three Sisters; Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

link; Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

"Most of the tribes in the eastern area of what is now the United
States practiced agriculture. It is well known that maize, potatoes,
pumpkins, squashes, beans, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, and other
familiar plants were cultivated by Indians centuries before Columbus. Early
white settlers learned the value of the new food plants, but have left us
meager accounts of the native methods of tillage; and the Indians, driven
from the fields of their fathers, became roving hunters; or adopting iron
tools, forgot their primitive implements and methods."

The University of Minnesota
Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden
As Recounted by Maxi'diwiac (Buffalo Bird Woman) (ca.1839-1932) of the
Hidatsa Indian Tribe

Originally published as
Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians: An Indian Interpretation
by Gilbert Livingstone Wilson, Ph.D.

See the very detailed and clickable contents at

(hat tip to yahoo group; Old Ways Living)

I absolutely did Not know this - but I do now. I have often heard of The Three Sisters, without full recognition of the relationship. I will be planting my corn, beans and squash in a quite different pattern this year. In fact, I think I will plant it in that sunny space behind the house and actually name it My Three Sisters Garden. I came across this in my morning reads - attributed to a post at one of my listserv groups by Sweet Spring Farm.

*The Three Sisters*

The "three sisters" of New Mexican agriculture, corn, beans, and squash,
were hundreds of years ahead of their time. This system serves as the basis
for inter-cropping systems currently being used around the world as tools to
increase agricultural productivity in areas facing food shortages. Why is
this such a successful system?

Simply stated, each of the three sisters serves an important role. To
understand the system, one should first consider the three plants
seperately. Growing corn in rows is a good idea but wastes valuable planting
space. Beans require some sort of support system and must be staked up to
grow. Finally, both squash and corn require additional nitrogen in the soil
to produce adequately in New Mexico's typically sandy soils, which are also
prone to losing valuable moisture due to evaporation.

As corn reaches for the sun, beans may grow up the strong stalks and the
necessity of building a support system or frame is reduced. One must plant
corn some distance apart, leaving the ground bare; however, planting squash
between the rows of corn reduces soil moisture loss as the squash foliage
acts as a natural mulch, reducing soil temperatures and helping to "hold"
moisture in the soil where it may be used by the plants and not lost to the
atmosphere. Finally, beans have the unique capability of being able to "fix"
atmospheric nitrogen, pulling it from the air and improving soil nitrogen
status; essentially, "fertilizing" the other two sisters.

Contributed by Dr. Dann Brown, Professor of Botany, Eastern New Mexico

Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree (bush) or Contorted Hazelnut - Corylus avellana L. 'Contorta'

2005 - Our Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree - mature specimen - 15-20 yrs old

Harry Lauder Walking Stick

Corylus avellana L. 'Contorta'

This unusual European hazelnut was found around 1850 growing in a hedgerow in England. It has been propagated by cuttings and grafting ever since. The plant has become commonly known as "Harry Lauder's Walking Stick" or "Contorted Hazelnut."

The stems and leaves naturally twist and turn as they grow. The plant would normally grow as a sprawling bush, but if it is grafted onto a 4 ft. tall upright stock (Corylus colurna L. is a good non-suckering rootstock) it forms a very ornamental specimen tree.

Walking Stick : This shrub reaches a height of 8'-10', with a similar spread. The flowers of Harry Lauder's walking stick are yellowish-brown "catkins," as on pussy willows. The blooms appear in early to middle spring. However, this shrub is not grown primarily for its blooms but for its unusual branching pattern, which is indicated by its other common names: corkscrew filbert and contorted hazelnut. For as you can see from the picture, its branches contort themselves in every which way, resembing corkscrews.

Sun and Soil Requirements for Harry Lauder's Walking Stick : Grow Harry Lauder's walking stick in well-drained soil, in full sun to part shade.

Care of Harry Lauder's Walking Stick: Being a grafted shrub, Harry Lauder's walking stick does require some special care. The rootstock is Corylus colurna. As often happens with grafted plants, there is a tendency for suckers to shoot up from the rootstock. You must prune off these suckers so that the plant does not revert to the characteristics of its rootstock.

How Harry Lauder's Walking Stick Got Its Name: According to Adele Kleine of "Flower and Garden Magazine," the shrub's "appealing common name derives from the old Scottish comedian Harry Lauder who performed using a crooked branch as a cane."

Uses for Harry Lauder's Walking Stick in Landscape Design: Harry Lauder's walking stick is a specimen plant. The corkscrew shape of its branches lends much-needed visual interest to the winter landscape.

More on Harry Lauder's Walking Stick: Harry Lauder's walking stick is a case in which one may rightly claim that a deciduous shrub truly comes into its own only after its leaves have fallen. Not that the shrub isn't attractive when fully leafed out. But the eye is especially drawn to this curious specimen in winter, when many other deciduous trees and shrubs are little better than sad reminders of a defunct fall and summer.

our dog, Jake (an Australian shepherd - collie mix),
lays under our Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree - 2005

What is Harry Lauder's walking stick?

By Chelsie Vandaveer

March 11, 2005

At one time, shrubs and trees were planted to separate fields or fields from roads. These hedgerows divided land in a gracious, idyllic way. They were a mix of useful plants neighbors could share—willows for basketry, berries and nuts. A modicum of maintenance kept the hedgerow, a hedgerow. Wildflowers grew there; birds and small animals had refuge in the midst of cultivated lands. The hedgerow stayed the same and yet it changed with the seasons and the passing of the years.

Sometime in the early 1860s, a curious shrub was noticed growing in a hedgerow in Gloucestershire. It was hazel like the hazels (Corylus avellana Linnaeus) that people had cultivated for hundreds of years. But it was different, its branches twisted and corkscrewed and wept. Not many years after the discovery of the contorted hazel, a boy was born at the north

His father died when Harry Lauder was twelve. He helped his mother support his seven siblings by working in a flax mill while he went to school. Later he worked in a coal mine and it must have been difficult to see the stars when one is in 'the pit'. But he clung to his dream—someday he would be a music hall entertainer.

Harry mixed comedy with music and made laughable, yet touchingly lovable characters for his songs—the stodgy Dame, the red-nosed slovenly Calligan, the kilted tight-fisted Roderick McSwankay.

By 1912, Harry was at the top. He was elected to the Rotary Club of Glasgow and his fame spread beyond England. In 1913, he entertained in America; in 1914, he was in Australia. While in Melbourne, the British Empire entered World War I. Harry's son, John left his father's tour and went to war.

Harry, too old to be a soldier, mobilized to do what he could do best, entertain. And entertain he did. Realizing that those soldiers and sailors maimed by the war would be left in poverty, Harry raised huge sums of money for their pensions. Then Harry did something crazy and the war office fought him on the very idea of it all. He took entertainment to the trenches and battlefields of France.

Harry and Ann never saw their son John alive again. In 1919, Harry was knighted for his charitable works. When World War II broke out, he launched himself into another round of entertaining the troops and raising funds. Harry Lauder died in 1950. Few alive today have even heard his name, but entertainers have kept alive the tradition he started—laughter and songs for soldiers and sailors far from home.

It was Harry's wild character, Roderick McSwankay that made the hazel famous. The decked-out Scotsman leaned on an equally crazy hazelwood cane. The shrub became known as Harry Lauder's walking stick.

our Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree

2006 Specimen Acquisitions

2006 Spring/Summer season

Using this space to list plants purchased this year -2006;

- Eastern Snowball (bush/shrub) front yard

- Mugho Pine (2) Pumilio mugo pine front raised bed

- Hosta (Honeybells) side flower bed

- Achilbe (2) lower shaded rock garden and new wheelbarrow garden under maple tree

- Poker Plant lower shaded rock garden

- Coral Bells - Lilly of the Valley lower shaded rock garden

- Elephant ear lower shaded rock garden

- Primrose Beauty - Potentilla Futicosa (evergreen shrub/bush - creamy yellow flowers) upper sunny rock garden

- Rock Rose (evergreen shrub/bush) upper sunny rock garden

- Dwarf Periwinkle (evergreen perennial ground cover) upper sunny rock garden meant to trail down by fenceline

- Little Princess Spirea (shrub/bush)

- Hebe (check variety - tag said 'la favourite'

- Rubus - Emerald Carpet (ground cover - part shade)

- Sedum Gracile (evergreen w/ white flowers, red in summer)

- Nordic Holly (sun - sedum?)

- Southernwood Artemisia Abrotanum (sun, bitter lemon leaves, use in vinegar and salads)

- Sedum Aizoon (yellow flowers 10" long)

- Wormwood Artemisia - Oriental Limelight (sun 3-4' tall)

- Ice Plant (succulent purple/pink flowers ground cover) upper rock garden

- Cardinal Flower (perennial, part shade, poisonous)

- Verbena - Homestead Purple (spreading perennial, sun) upper rock garden

- curly grass (name not known, twisty, curly grass like plant)

- Guardian Delphinium (slugs ate it)

- Coleus - three varieties

- Hibiscus - Luna Red (2) (perennial) front window bed

- Sedum - Autumn Joy (2, one in 2005, one in 2006) upper rock garden

- Tree Mallow (evergreen perennial shade, delicate everblooming pink flowers) new shade garden in wheelbarrow under maple tree

- Bleeding Heart (bush) new shade garden in wheelbarrow under maple tree

- Close out nursery sale - Grayland - scented geraniums, peppermint, orange thyme, asters and ? = planted in white stemmed flower pots

- Geraniums (3) in rose pink shades, (4) in gold and rust shades

- Heather (3) upper rock garden, and two in camellia flower bed border

- Spring/Autumn Heather (4) whiskey barrel, indoors, and 2 in camellia flower bed border

- new whiskey barrel = Eucalyptus tree; foxglove; heather; beach transplants; yellow oriental poppy, spring heather

- new whisky barrel - upright = sedums, and surrounded on sides - need central core plant specimens and then extend this part of the growing out of barrell garden into grass yard.

- Eucalyptus tree - front yard

- Rose of Sharon - 5 dry root plants from Mom - not seeing anything

- Pussywillow tree propagation from Mom seems to have taken. She calls it pussywillow tree = ?

- Propagate experiments this year didn't work out using the root cutting formula. 2 Cotton lavender propagates seems to have taken.

- Lilac tree; lost two trunks over winter and new sturdy trunk is growing up from center

- Fuschia bush cut back severely and did not suffer - can be cut back severely annually

- vegetable garden was a bust this year - slugs!!! Ate 3 plantings of seeds = zuchinni, cucumbers, squash. Beets grew well and big this year. Tomato plants did well enough. Peas and carrots did well enough. Problem = old seeds and driest summer on record with no rain.

- Comfrey/borage planted 3 yrs ago continues to return annually. This year popped up everywhere inside vegetable garden bed and rock garden. Research = these are invasive and impossible to totally rid - underground root spreading system

- Japanese flowering cherry (upright) white blooms

- hybrid - 3 varieties Apple tree