Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Color

My alliums are just starting to bloom on the west side of the house.  I can't wait to see them in full bloom.  The colors are just gorgeous and if I leave them to dry it will seed and there will be plenty more alliums in the future.  You can get the bulbs and plant them in the spring.

And last fall I planted daffodils for the first time.  I am glad I did.  The deer don't like alliums or daffodils so they are a safe choice in my yard.

I think I will plant more this fall, maybe some that come up earlier.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stay Involved in the Community

One of the things that really bothered me last Christmas was when a friend posted on facebook something along the lines of wishing she could do more to help others and asked what others wished they could do and I felt like everything they mentioned was possible if they just spent some of their time during the year to make it happen. We each choose what we want to do and where we want to put that effort.

The local firefighters want to restore and paint an old firetruck to help raise awareness for cancer - including getting checkups so that if you do develop cancer it can be caught earlier.  Everyone says how important it is to catch cancer in the early stages because it's more curable but one of the other reasons is that it's less expensive. Surgery to remove it is seriously the cheapest thing.  Chemo is not cheap. Radiation is not cheap.  I had great insurance but it's taken years to pay off all the co-pays, deductibles, out of pocket maximums, in addition to lots and lots of time off work, and other expenses no one even thinks about like all the long car trips over and over again to get to treatment. 

My husband is on the board for Cache Valley for Hope. We had a booth at the Firefighter's 5K. Tyler even spoke in the interview with Laura Wolford on the Valley Channel. We help people locally (i.e. Cache Valley).  One family needed help repairing a bathroom, another needed an ice maker, several needed gas cards, one needed her windows cleaned inside and out because the sunshine helped her so much as she watched her daughter pass away from a brain tumor, and Christmas dinner was provided for many of those too tired and busy with doctor appointments and treatment to get out of the house once again. 

Tyler helped with the auction and the Miss Cache Valley and Miss Bear River donated their time to help raise cancer awareness and money for the firetruck.  

I guess my point is that when Christmas comes around I hope that you've done something to give back to your community and to help those in need.  You can't do it all but you can do something.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

American Girl Birthday Party

I baked these cupcakes using a box mix from Betty Crocker.  The flavor was Golden Vanilla which was a big hit.  I couldn't try them because I'm allergic wheat so you'll have to take it from my friend Jalane that they were good.  I had some extra left over and when I found out she was having a crappy day I knew immediately she needed them (the neighbor girl fell in her only uncovered window well and required emergency surgery). She said they were the best cupcakes ever and so did all the 10 year olds who were here for the party. 
 The girls were so cute. They all noticed that the invitations matched the plates, cups, napkins, and cupcake stand - all of which was 50% off or on clearance. That cute re-useable cupcake stand was about $6. It was so cute I just had to share.  We then did some of the crafts that are the American Girl brand sold at Michael's, necklaces and bracelets and rings.  The girls had lots of fun for 3 hours and so did I.

To frost the cupcakes I put the icing in a disposable bag with a #12 round tip and swirled it on the cupcakes.  Then I sprayed them with pink and added purple sugar sprinkles.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trees in my yard

Aren't these flowers gorgeous? And they smell amazing.  I love having 3 trees in my side yard that bloom.  Hopefully we'll be able to add a few more around the driveway for next year. 
This is an Improved Canadian Choke Cherry and it doesn't fruit.

And here's our baby Beek, Kiwi.  I had him outside and thought the tree made a gorgeous background. Ignore my hand - but I don't have a portable perch other than myself. 

Peach wood is toxic to parrots so I didn't let him sit on it.  Aren't the blossoms beautiful?  This is what we had last year. This peach tree was bare root 4 years ago.

Here's the peach tree as it was starting to bud.

 And another view of a branch from the Choke Cherry.

Here it was a week ago just before the blooms started to appear.

And here is the new Braeburn Apple tree.  I picked this bare root tree because I like the idea of apple that you can store in the fruit room for up to 3 months.  It will give me the chance to recover from canning tomatoes before I go ahead and make apple pie filling, apple butter, and apple sauce. It'll be a few years but it this time I actually fenced around the baby apple trees so that the deer don't kill them again.

You can see both fences here.  I had corn in this spot last year.   

And here you can see the leaves are starting to show up - which reminds me, I need to add another dose of rooting hormone.

And this one is the Gala Apple.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I purchased some Slogger brand garden boots with a gift certificate I got for Easter.  I am allergic to soy, palm kernal oil, nuts, wheat, melons, and berries so most candy is out including 99% of chocolate.  So I got a gift certificate to the garden store.  Of course I had to spend a little more than I received to get these but I love them.

I can wear them without socks once in a while because they are thinly lined- like when the wind is blowing the cover of my square foot garden - or I can wear a thin sock and still stay cool enough (I have super duper hot feet - like it makes me sick to my stomach sometimes).  I am super excited about these.  They are even comfy with my big calves.  For someone 5"1' I have really big calves and tiny ankles. Go figure!  

Anyway, my son loved them so much he took his birthday money and bought the little boy's pair in blue with red stars.  Now he's as "cool" as his mom.  I love that he still thinks I'm cool and I'll hold onto that as long as I can.

And I don't know if you can see my blank walls about my kitchen cabinets in the background but I am finally making plans on how to decorate those.  We've only been here 5 years.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Meet Kiwi

 My daughter had a goldfish for 2 years that someone gave her at church during the nursery lesson on God created the ocean and sea life.  And then she had a beta fish and after 3.5 years she got another one that lived 6 months.  But we've never had anything you could pet or train or anything like that. 

Maybe you remember when we rescued the baby robin that ended up in our window well. Well that's when the desire to have a bird started.  I had a BB parrot when we lived in Panama.  And later a blue budgie and a white budgie, I took care of someone's mean and messy cockatiel for a year while they were overseas, and then we had finches.  My favorites? The BB parrot and the finches.  

So I researched and researched for months.  I really wanted a male Eclectus but being so far from a good avian vet I decided against such a big bird with a strict diet.  I knew I needed a parrot from either central or south America because they are less dusty.  The drier the climate of origin the more powder they produce and I know I would be terribly allergic. I have no problem with our Yellow Sided Green Cheek Conure.  We picked him for a number of reasons.  They are quieter than other Conures.  He is smaller which means a smaller less expensive cage.  And he is more colorful than other green cheeks. 

I talked with other people selling them via KSL and they were all still being handfed.  When I called Bird World they had 3 baby green cheeks out on the floor who had been weened for a week.  We made the drive and I reached down to pick one up. He jumped right on my hand and we've been buddies ever since.  Kiwi loves my hair especially at nap time.  I let him sit on my shoulder to sleep and only when he is being good and if he'll step up without resistance.  We've had him a week and he is really a good bird.  No, he doesn't talk yet. And right now I'm training him to lay on his back.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Make your own drip line - Conserve Water in the garden

I decided to change my drip line this summer.  Because I have a nice new mini roto-tiller I wanted to change the spacing in my drip line. I made a quick video to show you how I made it. I'm sorry it's out of focus. It's really hard to tell with this camera. And I had it on wide angle - add like 30 lbs.  Yikes!

I live in Utah and the summers here are dry.  They call it the High Desert where I live. We are in the tops of the mountains but it's still sage brush.  So here are the three pieces I put together first.

Here it is put together.
 And here is the nasty hose I will replace this year.  I will add the timer after all fear of cold is gone.  They will freeze and crack.  The one I love is from orbit.  

Here is the piece the hose connects to.

The ball valves are a new feature this year.  I'm super excited about them.  This way I can control the amount of water for each line, especially in the fall when my green beans still need water and my tomatoes don't. Got green tomatoes late in the season? Cut off the water supply. 

I put together 14 pieces in all. These first 4 are 1 foot apart so that each foot in my square foot garden with have its own supply.  Then after that they are 3 feet apart. 

This is my cattle panel trellis for my sugar peas that grow up and over the top.

I didn't bother to buy the expensive ends.  I just folded them over and used a zip tie.

And now I know where to plant things!!!

Still need to fill this up. This drip line has its own emitters which control the amount of water that drips out.  Perfect for even watering.

The mountains are gorgeous.  I would have put my tomatoes out today in their walls of water but a big snow storm is on its way.  Maybe next week.

My other goal is to get rid of this gravel path.  Too messy.  The other goal but not this year is to have a pro put a cement wall and cover it with a rock similar to what is on my house and put caps on it so I can sit on the outside edge if I want. This also means having them raise the well cap.  I like things neat and orderly and pretty.

Now that this is done I will be laying out weed barrier (once the plants all sprout) and then putting river rock down.  Yes, even before I beg for a few more new trees.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tomato Cages - inexpensive and long lasting

This is the tomato cage created by a friend of my father-in-law. His name is Rick.  He used Galvanized Steel Cattle Panels (sometimes called wire panels).  Each panel is big enough to make 3 of these.  You will also need wire cutters.  Can you see how the wire is about 4 inches apart (height wise) and the top two are not as far apart.  You will want to cut them this way because you will cut the bottom horizontal wire off and then stick them into the ground with what is left. These are 4 ft tall tomato cages which are much taller than what you can buy and these certainly are very sturdy.

 You can see here how he wrapped the wire around.  In the fall you un-do one side and they fold flat.  

 See, the bottom wire is gone, leaving these nice ends to stick in the ground.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

not gardening - dinosaurs

It's spring break for us and instead of dealing with the crowds out of town at popular attractions we decided to visit someplace closer to home.  We went to a museum.  It was filled with some of the coolest dinosaur displays I've seen (don't forget I lived near DC for 18 months).

I love it - fossils and a replica of what it probably looked like.

Had to share the plants - I love plants and even extinct plants are interesting.



Run for your lives!

Wooly mammoth - they even had a little mammoth hair under glass. 

And that is just 20 of the 207 photos I took.