Archive for the 'garden' Category

The orchard

Ken has gone on a bit of a gardening kick this year. So far he’s planted 150 strawberry plants, five rows of beans, six rows of corn, several native melon plants, several squash plants, six watermelon plants, four apple trees, and two cherry trees. The man does nothing by halves. This is all well and good when one lives somewhere where things… you know… grow. With actual dirt (not gravel), water that falls from the sky, and a manageable number of wild animals that also want to eat anything green. But no, this is New Mexico, so anywhere you’d want anything to grow you have to add organic matter to the soil, you have to water everything (by hand, with a bucket, if the irrigation system wasn’t designed for all this – which it wasn’t), and you have to enclose everything to keep out the voracious animals.

Hey, if it was easy it wouldn’t be any fun. Right?

So, because we have a herd of deer and numerous birds, if we hope to ever get any fruit whatsoever off of a fruit tree, it must be completely enclosed. So, we had to build an orchard enclosure. Thus follows the tale of the orchard enclosure.

A proud man and his baby apple trees.
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Digging holes. Don’t let this fool you, I dug a lot of holes too. Just no photographic evidence.
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Holes for the trees done!
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So, not only do we have to build an enclosure, it has to be designed and built as a timber frame structure because this is what Ken wanted. Which means that Ken hand shaped mortise and tenon joints on the end of each board. This is a very time consuming project, but hey, it’s his time, not mine. However, if you were to ask me, there’s a reason that screws and drills have been invented.
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Structure laid out and ready to put up.
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Fruit tree holes dug and amended. We have to do serious amending in order to get anything to grow in the gravel around here.
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Vertical poles set up.
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So getting all the poles fitted together with their respective mortise and tenon joints and pegs put together up 12 feet in the air with only the two of us was incredibly difficult. At one point a 2×4 dropped on my head. There may have been tears shed. It was not a good sort of a project. I may have proclaimed that I would never ever help him build another timber frame structure as long as I live.
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However, what does not kill us makes us stronger, and it eventually stayed together on it’s own with the help of many, many straps.
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Since, Ken has built a gate and enclosed most of the structure with deer netting and chicken wire to keep the deer and birds out.
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The apple trees are thriving, and haven’t been eaten by anything since Ken got the netting up, so it seems to be working. Those better be really freaking good apples.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Some things I’m thankful for:

The ability to work from home if I need to, but maybe not how helpful this cat is when I do it.
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The hiking opportunities near our home, and the company of these goobers on said hikes.
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Gardening. Specifically copious quantities of tomatillos this year. Yes, that is a 5 gallon bucket.
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My good friend from work who invited me to go get afternoon tea with her on one of our Fridays off.
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My husband who can fix the dishwasher with a couple of parts so we don’t have to buy a new one.
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Camping, and family who likes to go camping with us.
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Mountain biking!
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And much, much more that I don’t have pictures of. May you enjoy my favorite holiday!

March miles

Tonight I’ve scheduled myself to finally plant the spinach and carrots and lettuce which should probably have been planted several weeks ago, but it’s super windy and it seems like it won’t be much fun. Welcome to spring in New Mexico! So I’m procrastinating by cataloging my mileage.

Go me.

Swam: 10800 yds
Biked: 146 mi. – all on the trainer, even though it’s been light enough for 2 weeks. For shame.
Ran: 7 mi.
Skied once.
Hiked: 6.75
Strength: 4

Not terrible, could be worse. I have a swimming tale of woe though. I decided not to swim last Friday because by Friday waking up before 6 becomes VERY unattractive and also realized I was only one swim away from my goal for the month, and Monday, when I normally swim anyway, was still in March. So Monday I got to the pool at 6:10 AM for my final mile of March, only to find it closed because of a chemical imbalance! Let that be a lesson. Don’t procrastinate.

I’m running 3X this week (Tues, Thurs, Sun), which is my normal non-plantar fasciitis schedule. I won’t go as far as I would have, but I’ve gotta see if I can get back into it. My foot feels alright today after running yesterday morning. We shall see.

Look at the dog. He’s sorta cute. He is begging me to go outside right now though.
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It’s still windy. Rats. Guess I have to go plant some stuff and let the dog go outside.

Tulips

See this? This is a tulip.
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Ah yes, Lisa, spring has come! How nice of you to share!

While that is true, that is not the point. The point is that this is the first time in three springs that a tulip has made it to this stage without some nefarious wild animal eating the delicious bud.

It has now lasted about five days! It has even been joined by several more of it’s brethren.

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All this is thanks to the scarecrow sprinkler we finally bought last year. It has been standing guard over the flower garden for the past month. I need to plant some stuff in the vegetable garden, so we may have to buy another one if we want to have both vegetables and flowers. Tough choices.

Root vegetables

Way to leave this blog hanging on a downer post, lady.

I didn’t get furloughed, I am still working tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get furloughed in 3 months when all of this repeats itself. Can’t wait…

In more cheerful news, this is our root vegetable crop. The giant reddish thing on the right is a purple carrot. We did plant purple carrots, and ended up with a few that didn’t get eaten, so the fact that it’s purple is not surprising. The fact that it’s about three times the diameter of the rest of the carrots is the surprise. How did that happen?

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My dang dog and other tales of woe

It froze on Saturday night and my garden is pretty much history. We still have to pull the carrots and dig up the sweet potatoes, but the tomatoes, beans, peppers, and zucchini bit the dust. I picked over half a cat-litter bucket of green tomatoes. Maybe next year I can get them planted on time without anything eating all of them so that they’ll have time to ripen. Luckily my co-worker has requested green tomatoes so she gets a bag. I’ll eat a few fried as well. The rest of the bucket has been deposited in various paper bags in the closet, which my mom says will ripen some of them. We’ll see.

I spent most of last weekend, including my Friday off, working on this.
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And now you’re all like, working on what??? I see a room with a lovely finished floor and ceiling, but hasn’t she had that finished for several months now? Yes, I have, but look at those baseboards! Putting in baseboards takes about a billion times longer than I think it should for such a little detail. We are not done yet. Cutting all those joints by hand (and yes, I cut all of them by hand) and getting them to line up right when your walls are not necessarily flat or perpendicular is a pain in the rear. It doesn’t help that we have weird window trim and pillars and fireplaces to go around. We’ve been working on those dang baseboards for MANY WEEKS and are not yet done. I’ve decided that trim is totally overrated and should be avoided at all costs. Also, that if I’m going to do any more of this I deserve a miter saw…

On the upside, my carpentry skills are growing by leaps and bounds. I totally installed a door handle and hinges all by myself on a door that Ken had started making for the crawlspace. It’s like a real door handle with a latch and everything. Unfortunately the designer neglected to take detailed stock of the hole where it is going to be installed and it needs some modifications if it is to fit.

And this is a picture of my naughty dog a few weeks ago. He was licking the heck out of his paw, which had some sort of sore on it (probably obtained while escaping from a $350 cube of chain link fence purchased the previous day because the $600+ electric and wood fence wouldn’t hold him), so he got the cone of shame and a sock. His paw is better, but since he totally freaks out and cannot be contained by six walls of chain link fence, he has been staying inside while we’re at work lately. This occasionally causes puddles or piles on the floor, but his newest thing is getting up on our bed, scraping the covers off, and sleeping ON THE SHEET while we’re out. Really Klaus? The quilt is not comfortable enough for your highness? You have to get down to the sheets? Luckily so far it’s been on Ken’s side…
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That dog has mental issues and I don’t know how much longer I can last.

Thoughts recently

I’m going to interrupt this lovely reflection on the beauties of Washington with some breaking news that I’m excited about. In increasing order of excitement, interspersed with not necessarily relevant photos:

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1. Homegrown tomatoes are SO much more flavorful than store bought. Mine are finally ripening and I’ve been enjoying them like never before. I’m enjoying them so much that I’m eating enough to stay ahead of four bushes of tomatoes!

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2. Last Sunday morning I took a shower and it felt good. Like the warmth was welcome. Amazing. Incidentally, that’s also the day these cats were snuggling together. Apparently highs in the low 80s are chilly…

3. We have baseboards sitting in the garage all finished and ready to be put into the house everywhere that we refinished the floor. I touched up the paint where we ripped out the old baseboards and other places we’ve beat it up in the past couple of years, so all we need now is time to install them. Maybe tomorrow morning we’ll get started. They’ve been ready to install since Tuesday but,

4. I got Ken a gas powered chainsaw for his birthday and he’s been cutting wood every night since. It’s kind of amazing how much wood we’ve got to deal with on our 0.8 acre of desert. We are going to be well stocked for the winter.

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5. I ran the Chips and Salsa half marathon about two weeks ago and finished. It wasn’t fast (10:20 average miles), but I managed to train for and run it without injury! I did run out of energy at mile 9, I was averaging sub 10s before that. I think doing my 12 mile run at sea level messed up my determination of how much fuel my body needed per hour. For future reference, I think gels at mile 4 and 8 might be about good. Not that I’m convinced I need to run another one. It was kind of tedious. It would be nice to get a decent time though… I feel convinced I could do sub 10s for the whole thing. And from there it’s not SO far to a sub 2 hour race… That’s why you should never do a race, you will be trapped into trying to outdo yourself forever.

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6. Now, the MOST exciting thing of all. We’re going to Maui with my whole family! I bought tickets last night! So exciting! We’ve talked about this for years, and it’s finally happening. My only regret is that I was kind of looking forward to the Cable Bridge Run and we won’t be doing it. Oh well, we can have our own beach race!


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