Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nippy Morning

At a followup meeting of Relay for Life leaders yesterday the question was asked, "What was the highlight of the Relay."  One response was walking the track during sunrise.   She was so correct.  Summer mornings in Oregon are filled with dynamic colors and lighting as the first rays wind their ways through the trees and over the grasses.  And in these days of hot days the cool morning are so welcome.  This morning was just short of 50˚, a bit nippy without a jacket.

The irises have been cut back and most flowers have turned to seed pods.  The lawns and grassy areas around the house are more weeds and flowers than growing grass; mowing is less critical.  The half inch of rain last week was so beneficial but today there's a need to water plants.  Focusing on the outskirts will be a priority especially newly planted trees and shrubs.  No rain forecasted by the weatherpersons in the media.  I'll check the long range forecast, despite its variability, soon.

The garden is lush with radishes, lettuce and spinach ready for eating.  Peas are blooming and beans are pre-blooming.  Tomatoes and broccoli are presenting themselves with sturdy plants.  Their time will come.  Aah, but the fruit area so enjoyable.  Blueberries are ripening beautifully but not enough to do major picking; enough for a tasty breakfast cereal addition.  Marionberries!  Aah, so good but again about enough to flavor the cereal or pancake.  Wild blackberries are flowering with green small developing fruit.  Strawberries are ripening in stages but not all that plentiful.  Pie cherries are essentially but the birds are winning again; I guess I'd better get to picking.

Time to move the finger tips from the keyboard to the garden and shop.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

One for the Gun Lovers

A good comedian would find to way to write this story so that it's funny.  I'm neither, a comedian or good.

This will be a thrill for those who oppose gun control.  I, an advocate for limiting access to certain guns, discharged a gun this morning and I took the life of a living being.  Over the past several weeks we have lost three peahens and about nine chickens.  Several days ago in the middle of the day I walked into the barn and surprised something that quickly scurried out of the building.  Thinking it might have been the neighbor's cat I continued with my original intent to photograph the wild baby turkeys and three hens that were passing by.  Just then to my surprise and the surprise of the intruder a raccoon came into view about 12 feet away stood up and looked at me.  He (or she) wandered off and I retrieved my gun from the house.

Except for that one time the fowl killer comes randomly in the dark of night.  Since my gun doesn't have night vision, it doesn't discharge numerous shots allowing me to miss and still have a chance to be successfully, and I don't like the idea of sitting up all night, we rented a life trap.  Last evening we set it with the remains of a chicken kill from a couple days ago.  Wondering if I had set the trap properly as I was crawling into bed, I grabbed a flashlight, some pants and headed out the door.  As I came into view of the trap two bright eyes looked at me.  I returned to bed knowing that daylight would come in the morning and I could finish the job then.

So this morning, I placed a single long rifle 22 bullet into the single-shot bolt-action rifle.  I put the barrel through the cage and pulled the trigger.  I thought I had brought a proper tool to remove the shell from the gun but it didn't work so I returned to the shop for a better tool and removed the spent cartridge.

It was all quiet as the sun rose at its designated 5:30 time.  The score was raccoon 12, Denvy 1, but I think I have ended the serial killings in the barn.  Oh by the way, the chicken and peafowl are in a completely enclosed pen with a top and there seem to be no evidence of how the intruder intruded.  With the help of the loader on a garden tractor the raccoon has returned to nature and I am so glad that the government did not take from me my single-shot 22-rifle along with semi-automatic assault guns.  And why would we; we're the government and we're reasonable people electing reasonable leaders.  But that's another story.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Graduation is Here

It's been too long since I last wrote in this blog, so reports on the stages of flowers should be a be jump.  Most spring flowers have done their blooming.  This week the last of the iris blossoms wilted, the ones around the sequoia tree on the edge of the circular driveway, the ones that have thin white petals.  The peonia are in bloom.  While there is one plant near the barn which grows and blooms full and large, there are another dozen on the other side of the road and they grow very meagerly with almost no blossoms.  There is one plant that is going better with several blossoms.

The weather last weekend during the Relay for Life was hot, hitting 100˚ twice.  This affected some of the heat sensitive plants including some of the nice fine grass that I planted in from to the house this spring.  It's brown.  I did a second planting of another type of grass which is coarser and grows faster requiring frequent mowings and it's doing fine.  I've been carefully watering and even threw some more grass seed out in the brown spots.  We'll see.

The blueberry bushes are filled with green berries.  People in the valley are talking about harvesting next week but I think we have a bit more time.  The cherry tree which was covered with small green berries seems to have shed most of them.  The dumper cherry crop has become a sampling.  We've picked several strawberries and the raspberries are on the edge of turning pink.  The pear crop appears to be modest with a spattering of fruit now the size of large marbles.  Several branches on the apple tree have thick clusters.

The squash have broken through the soil but there are no signs of corn.  A big question mark there because I had soaked them before planting and they looked like they would pop up any day.  But nothing.

Peas are starting to blossom, beans are climbing the twine, broccoli both those from seed and those from starts look great.  Other plants is the garden are starting to show also.

After the hot weekend a week ago we have cooled down with forecasted rain.  The rain was a mist and so I'm off to water this morning.  It looks like a perfect day, sunny and mild.

Red Letter Day

We could mark today with a red letter; it is a special day in the yard.  It's not the weather; that's the same as it has been for the last several days and as it will be for several days to come--sunny and gorgeous for a few minutes followed by a cloud, a mist and even periodically a downpour.  And then it starts over again.  It's not the flowers, most everything was passed its prime although one rose bush has blossoms and the peonia continue with a few buds turning into blossoms.  The trees are about the same except for the top of the weeping birch near the front driveway which I topped a couple days along because it was getting too tall for its environment.

It's the fruit.  It's neither the quantity or the quality.  During my early walk around to move the watering hose I picked a couple pie cherries (still a bit tart, first of the season), a couple raspberries (again the season's first, maybe more later today or tomorrow, the first two blueberries and that was stretching their ripeness and a strawberry (we've been enjoying them off the vine for several days now).  The marionberries haven't matured in size or color yet.  Maybe another week.  Fresh berries on the cereal for the next couple weeks and maybe even some for the freezer.

Gail brought in some radishes yesterday, really tasty but really sharp.  The volunteer lettuce plant is about five feet tall; we've nipped the leading buds several times so by now it has a half dozen tops.  The leaves are still fresh, crisp and delicious.  I pick about four or five for the evening meals.

Well, the corn has never sprouted, nor have the potatoes from Rick Ernst but maybe later for them.  The squash, pumpkin and watermelon have sprouted but seem a little slow this week.  I'll up their watering schedule.  Peas are to the top of the three-foot fence and putting out blossoms.  Beans are healthy and other random veggies are coming along.  It's an average year, some things doing great, others OK and others still not at all.

The clouds are covering the sun and the shadows have vanished.  It's time to work the yard before the shower hits.