Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day Walkabout

I certainly hope this special day finds you all well, happy and enjoying life. It may be a bit unusual for a Christmas Day post, but I thought I'd share a bit of our day. Of course the kids (15 & 20) woke us promptly and somewhat mercifully at 6:30 AM, and so commenced the annual ritual of sitting around the tree and passing out the presents.

Those of you who have dogs will appreciate That Charlie, our 3 year old cocker spaniel, insists on an hour-long, brisk walk every morning and Christmas or not, we were goin'. We are fortunate to live in a nice area with a great park just a couple blocks away, just perfect for walking the pooch. Below is Charlie with his friend Jake who we saw this morning.

Though not the coldest morning we've had lately, it was still cold enough to leave a little frost on things. For good or bad, this is about as close as we ever get to a white Christmas. In order to see the real white stuff, we'll be driving to Reno tomorrow to see my son, d-i-l & my wonderful granddaughters.

Penitencia Creek, for which the park is named flows along the edge of the park. The creek, dense trees & brush separate the park from the neighborhood.

Penitencia Creek Park is home to The Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, a rehab facility for injured birds that are brought in by animal control or valley residents. There is a large pond in the middle of the park and improved trails all the way around (just over a mile). California Sycamores thrive along the creek.

The pond is home to an assortment of ducks, coots, gulls, turtles and other wildlife. Here are a few of the residents, including a Great Egret who was unusually perched high in a tree.

Well, this concludes our Christmas Day tour of my neighborhood. Whatever your beliefs or inclinations, we hope this season of renewal is a great time for you & yours. From the Moore family, Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Redneck Frost Protection

So it's supposed to get into the 20s around here tonight and I just can't stand the idea of losing any of my little redneck veggies. Had to think of a way to protect them without hauling them in the house and wifey wasn't gonna let me leave her car out in the cold so the plants could have the garage.

I packed as many as would fit onto the covered front porch. The covered porch and heat from the house should take care of these guys. Might leave the light on for a little extra heat.

But I was out of space and still had several more in the planter strip and the 5-gallon buckets along the fence. Then I remembered that I had a few empty buckets...

Now that's some serious redneck frost protection!

But there were still all those plants in 5-gallon buckets. What to do??? I think I have an idea!

Boy howdie! Them nasty plastic bags everybody's so up in arms about these days fit over a bucket just like Grandma's lips on a jug o' corn squeezins. I recon that oughta take care of these guys.

Hope everyone out there is better prepared for the freeze than I was. I have my fingers crossed for the peppers even though they are on the porch. I didn't bother with the citrus as both trees have been through harder freezes than is expected tonight, they are pretty well protected between the houses. Good luck to you all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Redneck Container Garden Update

So, the fall/winter veggies in my redneck garden are doing pretty well for the most part and I figured it was time for an update. Sorry to say, but I haven't made any progress on the Nascar markings, but the racing season is over anyway. It is amazing to me how well these greens are doing. I bought them all as seedlings exactly 2 months ago, and we've been making salads from them for at least three weeks now. Granted, we aren't huge salad eaters, but a few nights each week at least and one large one for Thanksgiving dinner! Doesn't look like we'll need to buy greens for most of the winter.

The scrawny, neglected cauliflower seedlings are improving. We'll see if they ever produce anything.

These in the planter continue to thrive, especially the one on the end.

All my cheapskate containers lining the fence.

Remember my little heritage lettuces from last month?

I bought these as seedlings at the Master Gardener's Harvest Festival & Plant Sale, but from another group, possibly the Rare Fruit Growers Assn. They were in tiny, mixed 6-packs with no clue as to what they actually were. The big red one up top is just gorgeous and is really crowding the neat green one with the splotches next to it. There are two heads of some kind of bibb lettuce and this last one, a beautiful green & red specimen. Mind you, we've been taking leaves from these plants for about three weeks already.

The "Scarlet" chard is unfortunately the closest to the front door and seems to get snipped at a bit more frequently than it probably should. Doesn't help that it is absolutely delectable! The "Pot-O-Gold" is holding up better because wifey can't get at it in her slippers. I hadn't had fresh chard in several years and forgot just how tasty it is. If you don't have some in your own garden, you are definitely missing out.

Annie's "Bordeaux" spinach is doing great. It looks absolutely wild and tastes fantastic!

The recycling bins are performing just swell with more unique lettuce.

I mentioned last month that the soil media is all-natural and organic. I made the first application of all-purpose organic fertilizer today, hoping to take advantage of the rain in the forecast for the coming week. I think you'll agree, it just isn't that hard to grow excellent veggies without the chemicals.

Annie's thin-leaf Cilantro is still doing fine in the milk jug. We used a bunch of this in our fresh pico salsa on Thanksgiving and it was great!

Last month I posted that these trough planters contained spinach, but it is actually "Bright Lights" chard and are doing quite well despite sitting in their tiny seedling 6-packs for weeks before being planted.

Some of those wonderful greens about to be part of our dinner!

The green bell had three small peppers growing on it last month, which turned out to be four. This one is almost as big as a baseball.

Remember the Poblano flower? Turns out they will make fruit even in December around here, which is fine with me because I love them.

Had to do some yard cleanup today in advance of the coming rain. The Ornamental Pear tree in my back yard made an ornamental mess on the lawn. These trees have abundant fruit the size of acorns that start falling a while befor the leaves. Turns out the squirrels also enjoy tossing them at unsuspecting gardeners or cocker spaniels, causing both to make loud and obnoxious noises.

The culprit & it's colorful refuse.

I'm sure the original owner of this house had good intentions when he built the nice raised brick planter, but he apparently had no clue how large this tree would become. I love the shade the pear tree gives us in summer, but it probably should never have been used in such a small space.

There is also an apricot tree, a peach tree (scrawny) and a Meyer lemon tree in this tiny back yard.

This very productive orange tree is in the space between my driveway and the neighbor's. We enjoy a couple good crops of oranges every year.

That's a pretty complete update of what is going on in my small space. I will definitely be expanding my redneck container garden and will be much more conciencious about getting plants in the ground quickly. Hmmm, is it too late to add some root veggies? I think I know where to get more buckets.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old Home Week (part deaux)

In the previous post I took you on a brief tour of Carson City's classic West Side neighborhood, now it's time to head downtown and see some of the historic buildings along Main Street.

Now one of the coolest museums going, this was originally the Carson City Mint. Collectors covet this mark on silver dollars and gold pieces of varying denominations.

This was the first Federal Building in town. Built in 1888 as a courthouse and post office, it served until 1970 when the new post office opened (my mom worked in the post office here). It now houses the Nevada Commission on Tourism and Nevada Magazine.

The St. Charles Hotel, another local landmark.

How about a few from the grounds of the Nevada State Legislature:

A miner, representative of so many who came to this region. Kit Carson, frontiersman, trapper and guide to John C. Fremont on his Western Expeditions. And Abraham Curry, founder and architect of Carson City.

Now for the grounds of the State Capitol

The front steps and entryway with Alaskan marble floors and walls:


From the inside, looking out.

I love the frost pattern of the green on yellow here.

I couldn't leave the next one out, it's from the last place I worked befor moving to California.

Carson City is a great small town with a classic americana feel. There are loads of activities, indoors and out. The unmatched scenery of Lake Tahoe is just 20 minutes one way and Reno is only 30 minutes North. The desert surrounds you with diverse plant & animal life. Great skiing, motorcycle rides, hiking, golf, hunting & fishing, nightlife, good food, it's all here. Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my hometown.