Saturday, August 18, 2018

Does This Count As A Garden Or Not?

These photos were taken the night I brought these two home.
This is a Shady Lady. I have a tomato!

This one is a Celebrity and tada! I have  had a tomato. 

These two were on the get 'em while they last for $2.50 each cash and carry. I had wandered into one of my favorite nurseries on Wednesday. I hadn't meant to but I went past it on my way home and figured what the what let's go! So I did. 

I was on the hunt for a little something to put the perk back in my pear and apple trees. You may remember from a couple post back with all the smoke and particulates in the air those two who were perfectly lovely only a few weeks ago are doing their best modern dance interpretation of "tree in pose of death". Ugh! 

So I walked out of Gold Leaf nursery with a 4 ounce bottle of Superthrive and two bargain tomato plants.  I am usually pretty picky about what I put into my soil and plants but everyone I know at the nursery is nuts about this stuff. I figured that it will go on two trees who went from healthy to half gone in a short amount of time and I have tried everything else . Factor in that both of the trees are in a basin of their own planted at least 4 feet away from anything else. We are safe just in case when I start reading the fine print on the bottle and internet and I slap myself silly for buying it. Basically they are going to die so why not try every thing with in reason? 

This is Agatha Apple. She still has green in her bark but her "hair" looks pretty sad. :-(
and yes I name my plants doesn't everyone?

So back to the tomatoes. I figured since last year I nursed a tomato plant through until November and harvested fruit I may do the same with these two. The most that can happen is I am successful and my green house will have two occupants when the temperatures drop and I will have tomato's. The worse that will happen they won't and I will have bought two very pricey tomato's . But there is also the BLT factor.

I wait all winter for the first BLT of summer with our tomatoes. For the last 6  years that hasn't happened . I either went BLT less or bought a Farmers Market tomato. Now don't get me wrong  but it just isn't the same. There is nothing like plucking a sun kissed  tomato and pairing it with the lettuce,bacon and I also enjoy avocado on occasion . So I took the plunge on Wednesday evening and walked out on the deck lovingly caressed the small but ample and ripe Celebrity plucking her from the vine. 

The scent was pure ambrosia that only to be found in the garden in August. While slicing it the aroma drifted upwards and I was transported to summers before when the children were little's and  Geoffrey would pay them a penny a piece for each squashy fat tomato worm they retrieved and stomped. Then I gingerly spread the sour dough bread (lightly toasted) with mayonnaise , oh the indulgence!   Smoshed some avocado on the mayo, placed the slices of tomato on the avocado, placed the slices of bacon gently on the the tomato slices , topping them with red lettuce and lastly the other slice of bread.I then sliced up the middle and plated with some kettle chips . Those are another infrequent indulgence but darn it a girl needs to have fun! 

Then I found myself in a quandary of semantics. Can I honestly say that I had a delicious   BLT with a summer tomato from my garden?  Is possession really 9/10 of the law? Or am I just a lying opportunist who bought her way to gardening rights by being in the right place at the right time?  

Thursday, August 16, 2018

This And That

 Had some appointments and errands in Redding today. Coming down the hill from blue sky and sun. A large layer of smoke covers the valley floor today.  

Let the healing begin. In the hallway at the Chiropractors office.

An encouraging article at the optometrist office while cruising the local paper waiting for appointment time.  

The sky on Wednesday night. So nice to see our moon as it begins it dance this week between the planets.

First Naked Lady to bloom in the late summer blooming. 

Love all the emotions that are shared in this.   

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Normal Is A Setting On A Washing Machine

A person has to love Mt. Shasta and all her glory. 

I don't think that this the view I would get today with the Carr fire still with us but hopeful that perhaps it will happen soon. It is finally getting better daily at our place up the mountain. We got stars two nights in a row and I have hopes of watching the moon dance in between multiple planets in the next few nights if that holds. 

And if I had a camera with me when I went to the barn today chances are good this is what we would see. Sherman really enjoys his daily multiple naps as does his partner in guarding Yarrow. In fact he just about has it down to a science. When you are up often at night strongly suggesting that the bad guys "just keep moving" it frees up days for a good nap with one eye open.

Of course the goats aren't far behind in perfecting the art of lounging. They too seem to have made a life style of it. And KC here is no exception


I remember these. Cookies that is baking that is. I haven't turned on my over since mid June. Just got too darn hot. I am so looking forward to Fall weather when I can taste a fresh loaf of home baked sourdough it has been too long. One thing this long hiatus has taught me. Certainly setting up a savings envelope for a solar oven like Leigh at
has. Next summer if it goes well I won't be without my homemade goodies. 

Speaking of homemade. Now that I have a small but steady supply from Little Trouble of milk I will be whipping up some mozzarella. I may make some cherve and some buttermilk too. Home produced dairy products just make me go wild . 


Mostly because then I get homemade pizza. Wonder what you get with a solar oven?

Maybe there will be more of this in the future too. We would welcome a cold, wet and snow filled winter . 

And even though the decision is out. After the cold seasonal winter we just might be welcoming Spring with some of these.

One just never knows what can happen when things get back to normal. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Oh Look I Made A Mini Post

I cannot get a photo of it because it is on a freeway overpass as are many many many signs of gratitude for everyone from first responders to fire fighters from far and wide. But of them all for the folks who made survival possible since July 23rd this one is my favorite. Had to share I was in town today and noted it again. Done in multi colored ribbon on the cyclone safety fence a grateful very clever person left this message. 


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Blue Skies, Hat Fire And Carr The Bear Cub

Stay with me on this multifaceted post.  Yes that is blue skies taken yesterday afternoon and enjoy it when you can cause as of now it is smokey skies again. And we had stars last night in the weeks since the Carr fire began I remember seeing stars on only three nights. There may have been more that I saw but forgot when I spent my nights sleeping on the deck because of the issues with our off grid solar unit. 

As of 7 AM today the Carr fire checked in at 186,416 acres with 55% containment. There is also a lot ouuing and aweing over little Miss Carr a black bear cub read about her here

The new kid on the block is the Hat fire. It is about one and one half hours up the mountain to the NE of us. It was started (I use that term as right now the scuttlebutt is lite intentionally ) on Thursday late afternoon and is currently per Cal Fire info of 7AM today 1,900 acres and 25% contained. 

I am feeling rather like the bologna in a sandwich but the bread is fire. If you want to keep up with the stats or are interested in the monster that is burning in Lake and Mendocino counties go to 
this site is update at least 3 times a day and has reliable info on all California fires including referral to fires that are not considered Cal Fire incidents. 

Ok fire stuff over for today. On Thursday I took a much needed off the property to the hamlet of Mineral.,_California
A fiber friend has a designated camping spot up there all summer . She spends 5 days a week there and the weekend at the house on the valley floor. A great get away from the heat retreat. So she invited some of the ladies up for a fiber day in forest. The photos below were taken on my drive up. Intentions were honorable to take photos of the gathering but did I? Oh heck no found myself so into spinning , visiting and just relaxing (can we say "breath") I never got a one.

The road to mineral. The smoke you see is headed to Nevada's Great Basin. Apparently it has proceeded to as far away as Michigan today per a FB contact. 
Lane Valley Road a short cut from my place to the fiber day.

This chimney on Lane Valley Road is all that is left of an old homestead perhaps. The left side of the chimney has a very wide substantial opening that leads one to think it was in the kitchen of a large ranch house and was used for cooking and heating. Or perhaps in the main room and used for both. 

As everywhere in the mountains and foothills of Shasta and Tehama counties there are cattle.
This ample Black Angus bull and the Hereford blue with the very to standard horn set (they have been tipped at the ends for cowdog and cowboy safety. Also for less damage to be done in a "boy fight " ) and the cute curly do on his forehead were both hanging out grazing with the boys. They were also eyeballing the heifers across the street. ;-)

Caught this guy fueling up in Redding on Monday . Got a much needed giggle from it as it seems we could get our Crepes & Fries plus fuel if need be. There was a pickup attached further forward.

The first three of the new , larger solar panels are in place before I left to run errands yesterday.

When I returned about 5 hours later this is what I found. Much to my delight! However we still have to have the industrial size batteries arrive get these panels on the system all the wiring is now in place. The older panels on the stand alone are all tested out in good working order so we have 12 smaller panels 75 amps each and these six which are the new are  150 amps each which will give us a total of 2500 amps in the end. I am hopeful we will be back on line by the end of next week at the latest. It will be wonderful to have the cooler and lights up and running. We have been very conservative with the unit since it began showing its needs by slowing down the generator. So we haven't had conventional living after sundown. And when this all comes together  our generator use will be relegated to the back seat so to speak which is what the original plan was when we moved here.

The tree that was standing behind the generator pump house until the additions were added. So in another year or two, as it was a live healthy tree but had to go for the sun angle, we have more heat for the winter.

As if that weren't enough excitement we had this. Check out that left(right in photo) eye that was the loser in the fight. It is even worse today. Geoffrey managed to get a shingles infection in his optic nerve. It is nothing to be toyed with as everything from blindness to annoying stuff such as debilitating pain are on the list. So he has been down for the count since Wednesday when he finally agreed to a visit to our O.D. who marched him directly to the ophthalmologist office for appropriate care.   He is sleeping almost constantly and is very painful still. He is on AB's and eye drops with a follow up appointment next week. The fun never ends at Walnetto Farm!

Let us make this post a bit longer shall we? I got this cute tote in the mail yesterday from my sister.
The back and the photo below splain Lucy. And I am going to keep my eye out to see if they do a repeat performance for this year. As this is a cause I can get behind.

Almost forgot. This cute canister is what the adorable tote was stashed in. Just love it and my dog cookie jar desperately needed replacing. I am feeling so loved with all the unexpected goodies!  

Well I hope you have made it to the conclusion. I will end until it is over and the fat lady sings "Please pray for California " and hope to see you next time! 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Today I Cleaned My House Because I Can't Fight Fire

This photo is pretty much what it still looks like here on our 42 Acres of Paradise. Sometimes it is a bit worse somewhat like a foggy day in January in the San Joaquin valley of California. Sometimes we see blue sky in places and the last two nights we have had stars again. What have I learned from this Carr fire?

Much. Somethings about me and my response to it and somethings about my community. What I can say about this situation is it strikes me very much like the journey with cancer. Until you go through it you really can't fully understand it. It like cancer steals from you. Your sense of vulnerability enlarges. Your logical thought can go to pot. And your emotions can ride high and strong. Even if one is on the fringes, as we are, you still are effected by what is whirling around you.

I have watched my community and friends. Some who have lost their homes and some who have been evacted for week(s) and still don't know if they have a home because the fire flared up again in their area. I see people who are so strong and some who are so stupid. There are always those that will take advantage of others in a precarious situation.

What I have seen the most of is the best of us. The ones who give all from first responders to   volunteers . The quality of those in Shasta county restores faith in my heart. We see so much ugly on a daily basis that it can overshadow the good that still dwells out there. And if what I have seen since July 23 is any indication of it good certainly does out weigh evil. I think that it is evil and drama make a buck for some and sensationalism attracts like minded and keeps it going. Pity.

So today I did what I imagine a lot of us here did. I cleaned my house. Now most of you know that I would clean my barn over my house any day but I did that yesterday. So today it was house day. I got down and dirty . Did some heavy lifting and cleaned under some things that , well never mind, let's just say it had been awhile. And in the middle of all of it I had an epiphany. I cleaned my house because I can't fight fire.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Well,Well,Well This Has Been A Hell Of A Week Or Two

This is a photo of the sky at my house in the week since the Carr Fire began. Yes that ball up top is the sun and yes it is not altered in anyway. It is what we see with our eyes. And please forgive me if I do go on with little diversion about this monstrous fire. This fire that after a week has grown to just shy of 100,000 acres , taken 6 lives including two preschool age children and their great grandmother. And the fire that is now heading into Trinity county just to our west with as much unpredictability and insanity as it began with.

This is the map of the fire a day or two ago . The major change would be that the area to the left has crossed the dotted line in front of it entering the next county. Otherwise it is finally somewhat stabilizing and some folks are even repopulating their neighborhoods. Of course in a mountainous terrain such as Shasta county we in general aren't meaning urban type neighborhood. But several of those were involved too and lost in the fight.

This is what it looked like driving home from the valley floor on Saturday. It was the same day we had a visit from this sight for sore eyes.

I was under this in a cool spot by the river visiting with my sister by phone when it came out of the smoke and I can tell you it takes your breath away. 

As far the critters are doing well as can be expected. Yarrow has been doing some heavy working with Sherman at night. How do I know ? Well that is the other side of the story. I have slept on the deck literally for over a week now. Why? Because we have such an unpleasant inversion layer locked in place above the house cannot cool off because we can't use our cooler. Why? Because we have been having issues with our almost 18 year old solar unit. Part of it is wear and tear , part due to extreme temperatures, part to batteries and panels that need replacing. Even though it wasn't used a lot during its first 12 years of service and we have been here going on seven years , it is an older system. 

So what are we doing? Besides praying for cooler weather? Preparing for our upgraded unit. Geoffrey has been taking down trees for the new panels that will go on the East side of the pump/solar house. 

We will be replacing all six of the original units panels.  You can see the unit below in the center to the left of the buck pen. Of course that is a stock photo from last winter.  We will also be getting two batteries that will weigh in at about 1200 pounds each and will replace the entire bank of 15 smaller units we have now that are on the way out. We also have a few smaller items on the list. We are working with the small local business that put this unit in originally the owner is a super guy well educated in solar as he has been in business since 1971. Yes he is 75 years and still logging 16 hour days in the field. In the end we will an updated unit that will serve us well, push the propane to a backseat (this has been my dream carbon footprint and all you know) and give us a leg up if and when it comes time for us to downsize a bit. I am very excited!  Hopeful this will all come together in the next two to three weeks and the apparent cool down headed our way means we can nurse this system along as Geoffrey has already and we can get back our trusty swamp cooler and stop feeling like we live in one. I have managed to drop 6 pounds in the last 12 days between the heat and chores. 


I will take photos and keep you updated with the progress. Until then once again I will close with please pray for us in California. I have lived in three counties in this great state and two of them have major blazes in them and other parts of the state.