Made an impromptu trip to the Olympic Penninsula this past week, getting home late yesterday. What a beautiful state this is....and we had glorious weather too.
Several reasons for the trip; first was a visit & check in with my moms twin. She had a fall last week and has a teensy fracture in her wrist, so we wanted to see how she was doing. She is the one dealing with her long time SO being terminally ill with lung cancer. Gave her a couple days of some different things to do, see & talk about to take her mind off all the changes that will be upcoming in her life.
Mom had a beach house to go see over there too, so we all went (2 different days) to see this place. What a place! The road to get to it is a bit of a trial.....reminded me of a road I drove in Hawaii once. Getting down to the water level is not always easy. But, once there, this was the view and mom absolutely loved it.
The house is pretty good, we could make it work. We would have to do some real work to get it to a 3BR if my aunt is going to throw her hat in with us.
After reading the paper this AM however, mom is really backing off the idea, as the headlines are all about no jumbo loan monies, etc. We wouldn't have difficulty IF we could each manage to find a buyer for something we would be selling. That would be the question. I also think we could get the property in question down quite a bit, it is overpriced according to the area comps and she hasn't had a nibble according to the realtor.
Returned to find another book of dads ordered........so it's packed & ready to go to the post office in the AM. Mom is getting a kick out of turning his collection into cash I think, as she is planning on joining me here at the PC to enter the next 5 cases of books I have sitting on the floor.
Off to play catch up around here....gardening to do, weeding, deadheading and harvesting. Much of my to do list requires waiting til tomorrow morning when offices are open. Also received an email from tenants, one couple wants to move, leaving one couple only wanting to pay their share, which doesn't cover the mortgage. If I won't go for that, they both will need to move after 6 months. Need to contact couple #2 to see if that is truly their wishes, not just hear say.
Maybe it truly is time to put that big place on the market, hope for the best and move to the beach?
Viewing the 'photo' Category
Made an impromptu trip to the Olympic Penninsula this past week, getting home late yesterday. What a beautiful state this is....and we had glorious weather too.
Over the years, with all the kids at my group home........we were used to finding No Money Fun activities. New kids expected to have a budget (or worse, no budget limits) & it was a bit of a shock to them how we spent our spare time. They soon learned we weren't a household that spent without thinking and planning......and then the No Money Fun sorts of events often won out.
Much research went on all the time, with all the kids adding possibilities to the No Money Fun list.
Tonight we did one of the favorites of all time.....just headed to the beach. This is a shot looking west from the little town I grew up in.
The sun was going down, there are ferries to watch, trains coming by regularly and lots of divers at the underwater park. My young man actually seemed like he was having fun.
Mom & I loved the evening. Great weather, no time limit; it was perfect.
Gardened a bit early this AM. I'm keeping up with the watering and the deadheading. No weeds yet to speak of, thanks to the heavy layers of compost all over the place. Gave the lawn a feeding, as it is struggling to grow in all sand. Can't wait for the compost load next spring, I'm going to figure out a way to sift a layer of compost over the entire lawn. No way I'm going to spend time on it again next year like I've had to do this summer.
A great day........
That's the name of the new yarn I just received in the mail. And, the best part is I didn't pay for it!!! I was chosen to be a test knitter for a new yarn from Knit One, Crochet Too.
I've got one sock already on the needles as you can see from the picture. Yummy yarn. (no one but another knitter will understand how yarn can be 'yummy') The colors are perfect, couldn't have chosen better myself. The yarn is a superwash Merino wool (which means it's washable) with a tad of nylon and an even smaller amount of elastic. Should make up into great socks. (which I get to keep)
Doesn't get much better than this for a knitter!
Here's a few pictures of the new garden spaces at moms. Most of the bare dirt has been planted in seeds, so you need to use your imagination & fill in all the empty spots with lush foliage and prolific vegetables!
The firewood holder thingy is the container garden I'm copying from the farmers market booth we visited. Still have some work to do on this, but having a tough time getting the rocks to stay put on the ends. Might need another trip to the market!
The refurbished picnic table & benches turned out quite well & even matched the existing umbrella. Gotta love those happy accidents! Free paint too!
New seedlings are up this morning; can see the beets, lettuces, radishes and also the beans & peas! Can hardly wait for a garden fresh salad!
This last picture is a before shot, we'll see what it turns into!
I'm finishing up another pair of socks, just about ready to come off the needles. I had mom 'model' these and after I bound off, I gave them to her.
She was thrilled, as purple is her color.
I've already started another sock, or a sample for a sock, to be more exact. I'm teaching a sock knitting class this fall & want to find a childs sock pattern to use for class. Less knitting time required and all the parts of a sock included. Great for a 2 session class.
Had another freecycle sort of day; headed out this AM to dig a box full of hen & chicks (plants for those of you non gardener types). I've got just the rockery for all of these.
Also had a craigs lister here for the trees that were in my proposed walkway to the clothesline. Trees out, I didn't have to dig and the new owner already sent a thank you note. Can't beat that for a days work!
Also have a freecycler coming tomorrow for a couple cribs and preschooler type toys & furniture. Making very slow headway on the basement clear out here. It's hard for mom to decide to get rid of ANYTHING!
A no spend day all round here. Missed connections to meet with potential renter, so no income either!
Heading to bed early, as tomorrow is my gleaning/food bank volunteer morning. Not sure how much longer I want to do this. After moving, I need to start out at 7AM and I'm already resenting that!
Every time my mom gives any hint she could part with something......or a group of somethings.....I box or bag it up and list it on Freecycle.
We have been REALLY busy today, just keeping the people straight. We sent a couch and loveseat to a new home....bless that guy, mom can now park in the garage! A mattress & box spring, lamp, ironing board and iron made their way to a new home too..... A big box of vases, you know the kind that seem to grow under the kitchen sink?? A big bag of chocolates we didn't need here, a light fixture, dahlias that weren't the right color for the new garden and almost anything else that wasn't nailed down!!
I think I'm tiring my mom out!
We broke down & hired a young man from next door for an hour. I was trying to remove some sod prior to the new compost getting spread tomorrow & was coming up OLD! This kid finished the job in an hour (or less). Good decision, definitely a good place to spend $15.00.
Another lunch out today, free to us as we were scheduled to be mystery diners. Had the yummiest salad I've had in ages......grilled shrimp & spinach.
Finacially.......some money out, some will get reimbursed and I made a phone call for mom, getting dads retirement benefits sent again. They have been messed up since 07 apparently & mom didn't notice. First hint I might need to step in a bit more here...
Heading to bed to get ready for a LONG day tomorrow. Bringing the autistic kiddo here to spread compost. Believe it or not, it's one of his favorite things to do. Work boots, huge wheelbarrow and constant moving, everything that floats his boat. We'll see how far we can get on these 8 yards of yummy dirt in the driveway!
I'm working in the new to me garden (seems like I've been doing that now for awhile) and I kept turning up these odd bug/larvae type critters.
Anyone have an idea as to what this is?
They are located in the sod I'm tearing up......they are right in the root area, so only about 1"-2" under the surface.
I can't get a picture to turn out any better, although I tried. Thank goodness for digital, I'd hate to think of all the film I'd just taken of a BUG.
He (she, it??) wiggles at the front end (assuming it's the front end) but doesn't seem to have legs. I've watched it for a bit on the surface of the ground and it doesn't burrow....
The 2nd half of my problem is the lawn is full of ridges. Not that you can see, but when walking on the lawn it feels like the sand on the beach when the tide has gone out and left the ridges...
Wondering if these critters have anything to do with the weirdness of the lawn.......or if they are a food supply to something else that is doing the nasty work to the lawn?
I have a bug-in-a-cup that I'll be taking to the garden center tomorrow to see if there is anyone there that can identify this critter.......but, I thought I'd try this avenue too. I've never seen anything like this before.
The garden is loving the taste of spring weather we're having this week. 60 and sunny out..........I can almost hear the plants growing!
I know this isn't a picture of the veggie garden, but it just screamed Spring!!! to me. Veggie seedlings just didn't have a 'wow' factor!
The rhubarb looks full grown and it is barely spring. I've harvested a couple times already and will be sharing with freecycle by next week. There is no reason I have 4 hills of rhubarb. I'm still finding packages of this in the freezer from last season. Must share another hill.
Broccoli, brussel sprouts and strawberries are all growing like crazy. Berries are starting to set; there are at least twice what I had last season.
Sugar snap peas, bush green beans, radishes and cucumbers were all planted from seed and they are now all up and putting on true leaves.
Still no sign of the lettuce mix I put in from seed. Hmmmm Might have to re do this one. Cilantro not up either, but it was planted most recently.
And, there is a row of something coming up, but it was before I made my vow to mark everything, so.....it's a wait & see crop!
Cosmos from seed are coming up; I love having flowers among my veggies as I think it helps bring the bees to the garden. Sweet William and Love in the Mist also planted from seed.........no sign of the seedlings yet. Lupine seedlings are growing great.
This is the time in my garden where there seems to be little to do......compared to the getting ready to plant stage.....or the keep up with the harvest stage. I'd better pull up a bench in the garden & enjoy it!
I so enjoy reading other gardening blogs, it spurs me on to get out in the dirt here, as well as gives me new ideas.........so I'm jumping on the bandwagon & going to try to keep up with a listing of what's growing here in my corner of the world.
The seeds inside are in all stages...
Cucumbers up and almost a true leaf stage
Cosmos up and growing
Seeds directly sown outside...
Lettuce of all kinds......no sight of them yet
Cucumbers..One seedling showing itself this AM
Multiple packages of flower seeds outside...lupins are up, so far no sign of anything else.
Starts of onions, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts all growing like crazy.
Rhubarb producing enough I have been sharing already.
Strawberries; Many flowers this year and already noticed a few tiny berries forming.
Just added a row of carrots, beets and radishes....too early to start looking for signs of life there!
The cost to me is almost zero this year, as my mom paid for all the seed and starts this time. I put all her things in for her, so she paid for my plants & seeds. Since the water is from the well, no water bill......and the fertilizer is from the flock out back...... I can't think of anything this is costing but the work. And, I'm pooped!
I'm working hard to have a garden that is a true cross between Organic........and Free.
Here's a picture I took today, of the crew out back; Rocky (the rooster) and his flock of Ladies, busy at work, creating my absolutely free and most definitely organic fertilizer.
I don't have to go far to get my fertilizer...right out the back door. I'm currently taking a bit of the bedding from the coop each week and distributing it through the garden beds. The plants that are up already are loving it! I also rinse out the nesting boxes and use that water on the gardens too. Nothing goes to waste here!
The chickens have a 2nd job these days, like all the rest of us! Besides being in charge of producing all the eggs we can consume, they are taking care of all the weeds I can pull every day. Busy gals out there...
Here's my best shot this morning.......took the pics when I thought it was daylight, but obviously, it was still pretty dark, thus the odd white eyeballs!
Mama & twins!
Off to pick up tax paperwork today & then headed to my moms. Hoping the rain will hold off a bit so I can get her place mowed.
Then, a shower & change and off to my BIG knitting class this evening. Hoping I haven't forgotten anything. I have only taught big classes like this in a shop and always had extra supplies there. This will be a bit different, I'm hauling everything with me.
Timing being what it is here, I'm going to miss the Navy pulling out. Will handle the goodbyes via email. Left the newly lined jacket here for him to pick up on his way out. Tough duty he has....6 months in the south pacific, supervising exercises with all the little island nations navy's.
No gardening for me today..........I was planning on planting the seeds I soaked overnight, but when I woke up, this was what I saw here......in April no less. Some sort of delayed BAD April Fool's Joke it seems!
I re did my to do list and left off all outdoor activities. Lit the wood stove and pretended it was winter all over again.
I did make progress in the garden yesterday, so much so that I was VERY sore this morning. All my bending, reaching and lifting muscles were complaining to me this AM....
The rhubarb bed is all cleaned out and fed; and I do believe there will be rhubarb ready to pick in a week or so.
First crop of lettuce seeded, as well as pumpkin and cucumber seeds indoors.
Hard to decide whether to really get in the gardening mode.........or haul firewood for the stove a few more weeks???
I did more than survive.........I hardly noticed I had surgery. Nice. I've been the "nurse" many times with kids having oral surgery & they always made the entire ordeal look pretty nasty. So, of course, I had those mental images in my head before heading out Wed.
But, either I had a better dentist, or I'm just older & it didn't bother me as much or something........ The stay in the hotel was heavenly; took goodies for the tub! Had knitting with me (finished my sock) and a great book (also finished).
On a real plus side of this event.....I am down 5 more pounds, and feel like I can keep this up! I'm being very vigilant re; eating things that are good for me...and then I start walking again on Monday AM, which can't hurt either. Walking & dropping pounds; both of them on my goal list!
The next step in the process will be after my trip in March....which will give me time to heal up. I'm crossing things off my list of 2007 goals here.... Getting my teeth "done" will be complete sometime in August I believe...if all goes according to plan.
Anyway, I'm back home and to work this weekend with my one remaining young man here for 2 days. I've been working in my sewing room and finally finished up my felted bag. (odd pic to post along with oral surgery topic!) Love the bag, not so wild about the handles....will try this version out and switch if I run across anything that feels better in my hands.
The Navy man is finishing up another of the big windows inside today....that means 3 rooms are done with the new trim and sill treatment. Next step will be dragging out the painting stuff and getting some color on the walls, as well as the new trim. Can't wait to make that change.
Back to work.....the sun's out, it's 58 degrees and my garden is calling!
The chickens are big enough we took down the temporary section in the coop yesterday. Since we're experiencing a bit of mild weather, I've opened the door to the chicken yard ......but no one will go out voluntarily.
I tossed about 6 of the ladies out the door, hoping the others would follow, but no, still no takers for the extra freedom and treats.
I'll have to spend time this evening, wrangling chickens, to convince the 6 I tossed out......to go back in for the night. Usually takes about a week, then they start doing this on their own and all I'll have to do is close the little door at dusk.
Amazing to see how big they have grown, almost half size now I believe. Many different kinds in the mix, (since I bought them at a Year End Sale, I didn't order them by type).....I can spot what look like Rhode Island Reds, perhaps an Arucana or two???, maybe a Barred Rock and a Black Jersey Giant. Not sure on some of the smaller ladies, it will be a surprise!
Think of me this evening......I'll be in the chicken run, trying to get 6 chickens through a trap door in the coop! Who needs an entertainment budget anyway??
Most frugal gardening gifts require a head start........but here are a few ideas off the top of my head just in case you've still got a gardener on your gift list.
-Bundle up a couple landscape/gardening magazines from your stash (or the thrift store) and include a coupon for an afternoons help in their garden.
-If you've gathered seeds from your garden, include some in an envelope or waxed paper packet with a photo of the plant & directions for planting in their garden come spring/summer.
-Cuttings from your houseplants make great gifts, either rooted in water or potted. Be sure to include any specific care directions.
-Home made certificate or coupon for an afternoons outing together, visiting public gardens in your area.
-A gift of membership to their local garden club, usually a very modest fee.
-A framed print, using a photo you took in their garden.
-A custom stepping stone (or stones) using broken dishes, glassware or shells. Only cost; a bag of quick set concrete!
-Divide up a plant from your garden & pot up either in a nursery pot or something more creative like an old boot, a teakettle or bucket.....use your imagination.
I had to go tend the chickens, but not before running back in to get the camera to share my view from the kitchen window here at our "ranch". Breathtakingly beautiful. I was cold & almost didn't care.
Forgot to take the camera to the coop with me, which is silly, since I had to go back & forth several times just to get the 'ladies' all taken care of today.
All the chicks are still alive, but no thanks to me & my so called system here. Their water container had frozen, the fresh food was of course frozen and the heat lamp had sheared off right at the fixture....so no light, no heat either. Needless to say, they were pretty excited to see me come to visit!
Chipped all the ice out of the water container & added some warm water.....told them all to drink fast before it froze again! Chipped out the frozen food, gave it to the birds outside......and dumped in pumpkin innards for the chicks, again telling them to eat up.....before it is a pumpkin popsicle again. Then, tackled changing the light fixture situation. Out of heat lamps here, so just put in a BIG lightbulb. Couldn't read how many watts, but it seemed like it was putting out some heat. Hopefully it will work. Have never had a light break from the cold........but can't figure out how this could have broken off this way otherwise???
Frozen solid by this time, I hiked my way back inside for some knitting by the woodstove. Almost finished with my first sock of a 100% wool pair for me. This weather is pushing me to finish these & quick!!
You know all the jokes about zucchini...and the instructions to leave them on strangers porches, ring their doorbell & run...
Well, I'm almost to that point again this year. I go along great for a few weeks in early summer, picking the tiny little veggies to chop and eat fresh in green salads and anxiously await the time when I let one get big enough to slice & fry for the yummiest of appetizers.....and then it hits.
I've somehow missed a couple veggies on my ONE plant and I've now got 2 that are a great size to stuff with sausage & onions and call "Zucchini Dinner Boats" and 2 more that are approaching the size of baseball bats.
What to do? Put Zucchini in the cake! Yes, that's right. It makes a delicious addition to dessert, however I confess I don't tell many people here what's IN the cake!
I've included the recipe here, just in case there might be one or two of you who have let your zucchini plant get away from you again this summer!
Zucchini Chocolate Cake
(one 13 X 9 inch cake)
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
4 Tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 cups finely diced zucchini (Be sure to chop, NOT shred this)
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Cream margarine, oil & sugar. Add eggs, vanilla & buttermilk. Beat with electric mixer until well blended.
Sift dry ingredients together & add to batter. Beat until well blened, then stir in zucchini
Pour batter into greased & floured 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 -45 minutes or until it tests done.
OK, it wasn't a true square foot gardening plan, with a grid and all. But, it was close, in that it is a very small area, bordered by sidewalk & driveway on 3 sides and gravel parking area on the 4th side.
I took old sod out, prepared the soil by adding many wheelbarrows of compost (OK, I had one of the kids do it!!!) and then I started by just setting in a couple of the perinneals I had brought from the old house.
Then, spring arrived and it was time to think veggies. With no where else to put the flowers, I set in the zuchinni plants, put in a couple rows of bush beans, added in a row (now 2)of sugar peas and everything was coming along just fine for awhile. I had extra space & picked up a couple dozen onion sets and they filled up any extra space around the edges. Oh, and don't forget the flower seeds I put in on the end of the whole affair, Cosmos and sweet peas.......now beginning to look more like a hedge, lovely......but quite substantial.
Lately, it is hard to find any soil. Plants have run amuck. I can still reach in and harvest most everything (the beans are going to be interesting) and it is really easy to keep it all watered and weeded. Vines are beginning to creep out on the sidewalks....
I think I do this on purpose, I have always loved gardens that seem to be overflowing. I'm happy with this one, just wish it was bigger now!
I'm posting a picture, in an attempt to show that it doesn't take a BIG garden to grow a garden. There has been much discussion on Flash's blog re; my initial question "why doesn't everyone grow a garden??"..... this is an attempt to address one concern that was raised. Not enough room.
My area is approx 10' X 10', right outside my front door. It was the easiest piece of ground to clear when we moved in last fall. Definately a lazy persons garden, it takes me a minute or so every couple days to pull a weed that has the nerve to come up.......about 15 minutes a day to water, or no time if I just let the hose drip slowly overnight. Can't tell how long it took me to plant the whole thing as it's been a work in progress, but it can't be 2 hours total.
And, if you don't have 10' square to work with........notice the planters behind the garden? They are each my 'salad' containers, planted with mixed greens and bush peas. They would fit on a deck or porch and you could have fresh salads all summer.
Hopefully, this can help some of you cross not enough space or time off your list of excuses!!! If not, let me know here.
Still thinking on the lack of confidence as a reason not to garden........Ideas forthcoming!
In the meantime, check out the sister site from Saving Advice, at
As if fresh picked strawberries weren't yummy enough..........how about picking them right outside your front door?? And, if that didn't top all.......the plants were the same ones I got this spring for FREE!
From the tiny little scraps of plants that I stuck in the ground, I picked enough this morning that everyone had a bowl of berries with breakfast. And, yes....they do taste just like summer!
I'll admit this is my first strawberry patch of my own. I've helped in my parents patch, but have never put plants in at my own place. (no idea why, maybe it was leftover from picking strawberries that summer when I was 11) Talk about an easy plant to grow, I've really done nothing but add some water on days we've had no rain. And, I've resorted to a bit of slug bait (all organic gardeners can collectively gasp here) so we didn't have to share the berries.
If I made any errors with these plants it is where I planted them. I wasn't ready for them when they were "gifted" to me, so they got planted in 4 different places. Not convenient to pick or water this way. Also one of the spots was not totally weed free, but the plants had to get in the dirt. This area is a nasty garden now, weeds win when placed alongside berry plants I've discovered. Lesson Learned.
OK, this isn't the picture I loaded, I've done it twice, I didn't even take this picture. Supposed to be the photo of my yummy berries. Who are these people?? How did I get in their garden??? This isn't my garden.............
I'll try my photo one more time, 3rd time's the charm, right??
Since Jeffrey requested interested members to assist with sister sites, I've been having a great time with the site pertaining to frugal gardening.
Because gardening is such a visual art, and since I just moved to a new place with virtually NO gardens worth a picture.........I'm advertising for some help here! I've been placing the following ad on Craigs list, but thought I'd run it past everyone here too.
Want to share pictures of your gardens on line? www.frugalgardening.com is accepting pics right now for our new garden photo of the week feature.
Anything related to gardening qualifies~ but I’m especially interested in gardens created with hard work and creativity rather than those that had big budgets & a team of gardeners.
We need pictures of gardens, or individual flowers………..water features or garden art, even the container garden on your deck.
Here’s your chance to share your creations with others, just email photos & descriptions if you like to:
Info@savingadvice.com and they will be added to the website in the order they are received.
Check back often to view the new info going up each week and to see when your garden shots go “Live”.
The site also has an area for garden tips, which is at this point, just one lonely tip from Flash. I know there are others here that are gardeners, how about sharing some of your wisdom with the rest of us???
And, finally..........if any of you have ideas of articles we should be including, please let me know. I work so much better with a plan!!
Mine certainly isn't a jar. And, I've got a few things in my collection that aren't coins either.
I had a plastic drawer thing which I dropped coins in prior to the move in Oct. As I went to pack it, crack......it broke. Coins everywhere. Thus, the zip lock.
After moving to the new house, I thought I'd upgrade to a china dish, matched the room, had lovely violets painted on it.... (actually, the dish "happened", because I made a stupid bid for a cream & sugar on a tray for the antique booth. When I got them, it wasn't a set, wasn't even a sugar & creamer. So, I couldn't sell the dish, I had paid money for it, so thought using it was better than nothing.
It did look nice, but WAY too small....it is already quite useless. Not sure what method to go to now.....
the zip lock is holding up, perhaps that is the answer for me??
Hoping to share a sure sign of spring in my entry area here.......... (just think, I could have taken a picture of the....... still there.....dead cow next door!)
As it is, I'm not sure what (if any) picture might appear. Too funny.... The things I've learned here-perhaps I'll learn this too??
Spent a few $$ in gas today, went to the antique booth to update, only to find it closed. Stupid. Went to the bank & then mailed a package to my son. Forgot all about taking the coupons, will try again tomorrow. Brain is past dead after 5 days with autistic kiddo home. Shouldn't have planned to go out in public already today.........needed some recuperation time I guess.
Emailed the figures into the tax lady, hoping I have all she needs. Still can't find a couple items, may have to forego listing them........I'm not sure if that comes out to be a plus or minus for me........I hate taxes, don't understand them and NO, I don't even want to. I've always had a non taxable income, so usually don't need to file......but this past year is different....and I hate it.