Saturday, February 25, 2017

Is it spring yet?

The sunshine outside looks warm, but looks are deceiving! I just went out to put some seedlings in the ground, and the wind has a nasty bite to it. Temp's around 45F, so not really warm at all.

But, I got my romaine seedlings (purchased yesterday) into the soil and watered everything. You'd think that with all the rain we've had the soil would be soaked, but it felt only moist when I transplanted the seedlings so I watered the individual plants just to be safe, and made sure the square where the carrots are planted was good and moist. The seed packet warned to keep it moist at all times until they sprout. I'm not sure how much rain actually penetrates through that woven fabric, although some certainly does.

So for now, I guess the garden is complete. Unless the carrots don't sprout, then I'll have an extra square. And once the radishes are gone that'll be one square ready for summer crops.

Made some good old southern-style buttermilk cornbread and pinto beans for lunch. Actually had it around 10:30, as I hadn't had breakfast other than a little kefir and I was hungry. I can have more later, although the cornbread is as good as I remember that recipe being in a really long time. Yum.

Other than that -- an Oregon basketball game this afternoon and plenty of chilling out. Haven't slept well the last couple of nights. Rain is back tomorrow and for the next week or so. Soon. Surely, soon we will see real signs of spring!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hibernation season

In Oregon, this is kind of hibernation season. January is the worst -- cold and wet, not conducive to much of anything other than staying inside where it's warm and dry. But still, February is not always a lot better so while people are stirring now and then on balmy days that promise springtime around the corner, it's still easier to just stay inside. Which is why I go to the gym most days, rather than walking outside. I also get better workouts there, using the treadmill at a good incline, or the good cycle machine that is hopefully getting the body into condition for some good, long rides when weather improves. It's been a long time since I've ridden my bike much, and it's a slow process to wake those muscles up and build some staying power. But it's happening. I can see improvements each time I climb on it.

In the garden, though, under the white canopy, the plants seem very happy. I built a little bamboo tepee the other day for the peas to climb on, and need to get some twine to make ladders up the tepee. I also need to get some romaine seedlings this week, when they arrive in the stores. I checked inside the tent this morning and the radishes are up! No sign of the carrots yet, but hopefully they will sprout soon. Growth is slow out there -- not much sunshine, not much warmth, and it supposedly going to drop below freezing for the next few nights with even some snow flurries. All the plants are winter hardy, but I like knowing that the tent gives them just a tad more protection.

The Kat trials continue. She is still sweet and lovable, but has taken to having energy fits during hours when I'm trying to sleep, and I'm not crazy about that. Hopefully, it's just a phase that will pass soon. Last night I found myself wondering if I really wanted this crazy cat in my life, but of course, I do.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Nesting herons

So -- a sure sign of spring is the sight of herons nesting in trees down in the pond area. There are lots of nests in two different groups of trees, but today I only saw two pair of them actually working on nests.

These trees are on an island in the middle of the ponds, not accessible by any of the paths or trails and a long shot (literally!) for my camera. Even with a 24x zoom lens, the images were still pretty small.

Then! I discovered something new, which was the ability to zoom in on Windows photo viewer then open in Paint, and crop. That's how I got these closer views.

Actually, I have to say that this little camera surprised me with the detail it captured from so far away with full zoom, hand-held, and the extreme amount of enlargement from there that enabled me to get these views. Always love it when I discover something new like this.

Other than that, I seem to be feeling better today, finally. Don't want to jinx anything, but so far, so good. Not tons of energy, but enough to walk around to the other side of the ponds to get these photos. And more.

A few sun breaks today, but mostly cloudy. BUT  -- it's not raining, so no complaints.

Yesterday I drove downtown and picked up some swiss chard seedlings, and today I planted them in the garden. No signs of radish or carrot seeds coming up, but it's only been a week and I think they both take longer than that.  The little peas I planted a week ago are doing great. I got some 35" bamboo stakes to use to make a little cage for them to grow on, but don't think it'll happen today. No rush. Maybe next rain-free day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


So -- I've been a bit under the weather for almost a week now. Last Friday I woke up and felt normal, but then after breakfast, after food hit the tummy, everything hit the fan. Nausea, diarrhea, a general feeling of malaise. Yuk! Pretty unusual for me, and I blamed it on the pickled eggs I'd had for lunch the previous day.

People here suggested I had the flu, since it's been going around the building, but I didn't think so. I work hard at keeping my immune system strong, and I'm rarely bothered by anything that's 'going around'. The symptoms were short-lived and by Saturday I felt fine, if still lacking a certain amount of energy and my tummy was still queasy. Since then, I've been mostly ok most of the time. Just a bit of queasiness here and there, but sleeping a lot, including daytime naps.

On the other hand, I've still been going to the gym most days, or walking in the sunshine when there is any. Yesterday, and again today, the lack of energy is the biggest issue. All I want to do is sleep! And last night, my tummy was unhappy. But that was probably because I bombarded it with things that no sane person would consider to be sensible food for an unhappy tummy. When I'm sick, I tend to indulge in foods I like, forgetting the diet and not caring what the tummy is going to think until afterwards.

So, I kinda gave in. Maybe it is a touch of the flu -- a very light touch, if that's what it is -- and maybe I'd better give the tummy at least one day of proper food. I took a container of luscious chicken stock I made a couple of weeks ago out of the freezer last night, since real chicken soup (as opposed to the canned or boxed variety) is one of the best immune system boosts there is. That old wives tale has been proven correct by modern science.

This morning, breakfast (after the requisite kefir) was a bowl of egg flower soup, minus any spices. Just chicken stock, salt, and a beaten egg drizzled into it once it reached a boil. Yummy, and healthy. Lunch will be similar, though more substantial. I love to make Asian-style noodle bowls using chicken stock to make it into soup.

So -- I have a 9am appointment, but until then I think I'm gonna chill, rest, and see if this damned thing will go away! I don't like being sick.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


A sunny day! Word was that my fav garden store would have plenty of veggie starts delivered in the last couple of days, but once I got over there this morning I was disappointed to find that mostly they just had peas, and things I can't use like asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, etc. So I bought some sugar snap peas and parsley, and some seed.

Earlier, I'd picked up a couple of big bags of veggie boost soil amendment to top off the bed with, so it was ready to plant when I got home with the plants and seeds.

Yes, a wiser person would have taken photos before the tent went up, but since I'm not that wise, I took these through a hole in the fabric, rather than take it apart. These are the little  peas -- or the part of them that shows, anyway. They will grow. And with the lack of rain due for the next few days, hopefully they will grow fast.

French breakfast radishes and rainbow carrots are underneath some of the lovely soil.

This is the rosemary plant from the big pot I had out here. The pot was so rootbound that I'm really not sure there's enough roots to make it thrive, but we'll see. If not, small plants are cheap enough. There's parsley on the bottom and, out of reach of the hole, thyme out of the same big pot.

I need more space! But, I'll figure out a way to make what I have work. In retrospect, I could have done without the peas, but I've got 'em, and they'll taste good. But I think they'll outgrow the tent and need support and all that, and I'm not sure I think they are worth it.

So that's it. Feels lovely to have some sunshine, even if it's not overly warm out there (or, wasn't early this morning when I was out there working).

I'm told that leafy greens, which I want, will be in stock later in the coming week, so I'll make another trip and fill up more of that space.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Spring is around the corner

My meditation cushion has become her sleeping spot of choice. It's cushy, but I wonder if she can sense the peace and such that's left in the area, and perhaps on the cushions, from the hours of meditation? Cats are pretty sensitive to such things, so it's possible. We do have a bit of a conflict in the mornings when we both want to use it, but of course, I win because I'm bigger. I lose peace and an atmosphere conducive to concentration, however, because she tells me all about it for awhile, talking and pawing, even nipping, until she gives up and finds another place on the cushion to sleep/groom herself. There is plenty of room there for both of us. Photo shows that the cushion needs to be de-cat-haired, certainly.

Not sure just when I took this photo -- found some on the camera when I downloaded the cat photo. I remember taking them, one sunny day in the last week or two. Rare sunny day, I might add, though more are forecast starting Saturday. But rain or shine, spring is definitely in the air around here! Bulbs are poking their spikes above ground, robins are everywhere, and there are tiny buds on the trees outside my windows.

That springtime urge is also clearly evident in me and in another of the avid gardeners here. The first shipment of veggie starts is due in today, so tomorrow we will head down there and get the stuff we want, get them in the ground. I also need a couple of bags of soil and manure to top my bed up from settling. Looking forward to getting my fingers in the dirt and building my protective tent around the bed until after after frost date.

Not much else is new, really. Got tired of walking in the rain over familiar paths, so I've started going to the nearby gym again. At least for now. I like being able to read while I walk the treadmill, or ride a bike. Both are part of being ready for warmer weather and longer walks and bike rides in the sunshine.

Friday, February 3, 2017

New cat toy

So --- I am remiss again. But peeps, there's really nothing to write about. I'm walking a lot, but in the same old places with the same old river and ponds and such. Nothing photo-worthy. The rain has started again today, after a week or so of respite. Just rain, which is fine. No ice, no snow. We should be grateful, and I am, because Portland is getting slammed with ice. Sheets of ice, everywhere.

The cat continues to amuse, thank goodness. I bought her a new wand toy yesterday, with feathers at the end of it, and she went wild! Will chase that thing all over the house, showing some pretty darned good acrobatic maneuvers in the process. Mid-air twists, leaps with so much force that she rams into things. I try to keep them to small leaps when near furniture or such, or at least near soft furniture such as the sofa or bed. But this morning she threw herself right into the corner of a wall, with a resounding bang. Didn't seem to bother her. With all those leaps, though, she does get physically tired and ready to chill easily enough. Lots of energy being expended! I can't leave this one on the floor because when I do, she will chew on it and it's life will be significantly shortened. So I hide it in a closet and she will beg for it until I relent. It's fun for me, too. Makes me laugh. She was tired of the old one and thus I also bored with it quickly.

So -- that's it. Maybe something more exciting will come along.