lauribob's blog

Early July
Posted on Jul 7, 2022 11:32 AM

We're a week into July now and it's still looking a lot like June - cool temperatures and lots of rain. I don't like it! The mosquitoes are absolutely unbearable this year, and I'm afraid they'll still be here in August if the weather doesn't ever warm up. One plus side of the yucky weather is that we have spinach and chard coming out of our ears! They are both really lush and especially tasty this year. I don't have real high hopes for a giant tomato or pepper harvest though, at this rate.

Larry sold his house this winter while we were traveling, so that's a huge thing for us. Thirty years since we built these two houses here, and now we have new neighbors. They are a couple of really nice women and they have put in a big garden in the old corral. I wanted to have them over for a BBQ, but they're vegans and I wouldn't know where to begin... I can do vegetarian, but vegan is outside my wheelhouse, crotchety old thing that I am. We all get along and no one seems to be worried about boundaries or dogs so far. I like them and met one of their moms, who was here to help out for a week or so, and planted a nice garden at the front of their house that really makes it look nice.

We lost a lot of bank this winter while we were gone. It was a little scary this spring, but so far the river is behaving itself, more or less. I think we might get some rip-rap placed when it's way down and at that point in time, we wouldn't be putting rock in the river, so I don't think you need a hydraulic permit perhaps. We'll have to research it, though there doesn't seem to be much help for homeowners in this sphere. We've got to do something.

I've been trying to reclaim some flower beds that have gone wild, but between the mosquitoes and my bum knees, it's been a challenge. I need to hire a worker bee for a spring clean up next year, or possibly this summer. I do what I can and embrace the wild look as much as possible. The flowers are still pretty. My rock garden looks pretty shabby though, so I might focus on that for now since you see it every time you walk in the house.

We haven't seen the bear since early one morning when it was checking out the garbage cans again. It was a young black bear, maybe two years old? Kind of cute, really. I just make a lot of noise if I have to go outside after dark, and Ruby barks her lungs out. No worries, although the night it was on the porch while we were trying to figure out what the racket was gave us some pause. (It was shoving the large gas BBQ around.) Bears will be bears.

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Another spring, another blog post..
Posted on Jun 13, 2022 1:56 PM

OK, I just learned a lesson - if you accidentally close the wrong tab on your browser, this blog doesn't save a draft apparently. Thumbs down I will continue with an abbreviated version.

Last year the fires were bad. We made a lot of hot sauce. We got the garden planted yesterday finally. We're having a nasty, cold spring. There's a bear hanging around. (Replaces 4 or 5 paragraphs. Might as well keep life simple I guess.)

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Hotter than the hubs of hell
Posted on Jul 5, 2021 6:19 PM

I haven't used this blog for a while, but thought I might give it a whirl again. We stayed home this past winter due to the pandemic, so I was able to get a good early start in the greenhouse. I had overall good luck with germination, except for the hot peppers. We ended up buying a bunch of starts on a trip to Spokane and put most of those in the black sacks so we can bring them into the greenhouse when it gets cold. We have way more peppers than we've had in the past with the hopes of making more hot sauce. We've used or given away most of what we made last year and are down to our last bottle or two.

The winter wasn't super cold, but it was snowy and very icy with freeze/thaws going on. We finally ended buying some of those little tire chains for your boots after Greg took a couple spills in the driveway. I thought they were great because I could walk the dog with them on, along with a walking stick with an ice point. We got a bunch of new neighbors on our road last year when the real estate started selling like hot cakes. There's way more traffic on the driveway now, it sometimes feels like Grand Central Station. I have to make sure Ruby is wearing her collar when we walk so I can grab her when someone comes zooming up the road. I've tried to let everyone that I talk to know that she is blind, but there were a lot of tradespeople working on a new mother-in-law house at Jack's old place.

The river came up in a responsible fashion and it doesn't look like we suffered any catastrophic bank loss this year. Unfortunately, the beavers decided to take down about 8 trees right on Larry's side of the property line. Odd, they've never messed with the trees right up here by the houses. Maybe they have a plan? We fenced ours so they couldn't get to them. The ponds came up nicely this spring; here's hoping they can keep enough water through the summer to be ponds instead of a swamp. We've seen a few turtles, but nothing like the old days. Still plenty of ducks, geese, and herons. There have been some turkeys hanging around, but not too much of a nuisance, along with a healthy flock of geese coming right up into Larry's yard with their babies. They seem to know that all of our dogs are too old and blind to chase them.

It was pretty chilly all through May this year, and then June hit with a vengeance. Some weird weather pattern had the northwest trapped in a heat bubble. It was 106° for about a week and finally cooled down a few days ago. Still hot for this time of year though. It broke records over on the coast and especially down in Portland. 115° or some such nonsense down there! I'm glad the kids have a swimming pool - I doubt they have A/C. They were up for Father's Day and we had a great visit with all of them after not seeing them for over a year due to Covid. So glad we're all vaccinated now and can return to normality! Unfortunately, there was a super-spreader event at one of the churches in town about a week ago, and at least 25 people have tested positive. A lot of people are wearing masks again at the grocery store. Of course, probably not the ones that didn't choose to get the shot. I heard that most of the people at the event refused to even be tested afterwards. "It's just the flu." Sigh.

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the yard work. My knees are shot and I can only bend over for so long. It's looking pretty messy out there, but the flowers are still blooming through the weeds. Our sprinkler system is feeling it's age too. We shut the upper yard off for 4 days while the kids were here because the grand-kids set up a tent out in the yard. When we turned them back on, everything was wonky - two stations running at the same time, skipping stations, not turning off at all. 3 nights in a row we had to get up in the middle of the night to shut off the water valve to them so the pump didn't burn up. Greg dug up and replaced all the valves and the control box. About $500 later, it's all working again, but a bunch of the pop-ups need to be replaced still. Either leaking or not rotating. The little sprinklers in the gardens are buggered up too. Just trying to keep everything alive at this point. The lower yard seems to still be working OK, thank God. We did have to drag a hose across the driveway for a few days to keep the vegetables watered though. Of course it has to go gunny-sack in the middle of a heat wave!

So far no wildfires in the valley. Some huge ones up in Canada are sending their smoke down, and Wenatchee has one going up by the airport where they're under evacuation orders now. I hope it wasn't started by some idiot with fireworks. I was just outside and it felt like thunder to me - that oppressive feeling like the air is too heavy to stay up where it belongs. Suspicious clouds are forming over the Loup. The last thing we need right now is dry lightning. At least our sprinklers are working again and our generator is being repaired right now. We finally found someone to work on it and he seems honest and knowledgeable.

I'm ready to go see family and friends on the coast at last! It's been a long year.

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First Frost October 6, 2019
Posted on Nov 2, 2019 10:58 AM

Well I guess I'm just not much of a blogger, despite my intentions. We were blessed with a smoke-free summer this year - no major fires in the valley at all. Yay! The mosquitoes were ferocious however, and came earlier than usual. The meeting with the Yakamas was a total waste of time, so we're still contemplating plans for bank preservation. All they want to do is getting running water behind us by dredging out the ponds and all the way down through everybody's property to connect to the river below us. Yeah right. That sounds like an excellent idea, if you want to live on an island with an eroding bank. No help with advice on the most fish or neighbor friendly way to use rock. Sigh.

Strange summer weather - not very hot with an abnormal amount of rain. The snow-pack ended up being less than normal so they were calling it a drought,and the river did drop really fast. September was not its usual self - no Indian summer and way more rain than I needed. Now it's cold and we're getting more wind than normal. I was out trying to get the RV ready to roll the other day and had to come in because it was rocking so hard, it was making me seasick! I think we had 40+ mph winds that day. It cleaned off most of the trees - so long fall color.

Our vegetable garden did horrible this summer. The gophers ate our onions and root crops, the peppers didn't get enough sun and heat to produce as usual, and the tomatoes were just plain sorry. We only ate one melon and it was tasteless. The only real successes were the cukes, squash, and cabbage. Disappointing, and now Greg is really disheartened about the garden for next year. He quit weeding it before the end of summer, it seemed so pointless. I hope he gets back in the groove again, I can't even keep up with the flowers let alone take on the veggie garden by myself! We did can up some green salsa - nothing stops the tomatillos.

We had the house painted in September and, of course, everything along the foundations got trampled and abused, so it looks especially sad right now. It will all be fine in the spring.

The weather is supposed to hold for another week now - cold and sunny. We're planning to head south next week. Still lots of stuff to get done though.

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Spring is Here
Posted on Apr 25, 2019 10:47 AM

I've been very busy weeding as much as I can before my wrists or my back gives out on me. Things are way neglected around here after the past few years of too much smoke to work in the yard. I'm hoping we have no fires this summer.

The greenhouse is doing fairly well, although I'm having my usual poor luck getting peppers to germinate. The tomatoes are all potted up and getting bigger, and I have quite a few flowers going as well. I'm getting the bottom watering tweaked, but wish I had more choices on the timer. It's either once a day or every X hours. I'd like it to go off in the morning and again in the mid afternoon. I'm trying every 12 hours right now and hoping they don't get too saturated. I may go back to just once in the morning and increase the time a bit as needed. Right now I have to water the stuff in the little cells twice a day anyway, until I get them potted up and moved into a tray.

The daffodils are wonderful this year - whatever bug was nibbling on them last spring is not in evidence this year. The Tiritomba are my favorites this year - so bright and cheerful!
Thumb of 2019-04-25/lauribob/e704ad

We are still getting light frost every few nights, but it has been sunny and warm on the days that the wind isn't trying to blow my socks off. I'm wearing shorts now unless the wind has a bite.

I am finding more and more gopher damage as I clean out the beds. I think they killed both my Karl Foerster grasses and the big aster in the KK garden, and the rockery looks like a minefield with all their holes and mounds. They hit the Siberian iris hard, but I don't think you can kill those, and they could use thinning anyway. We haven't caught any yet. They've eaten the roots off a number of daylilies and other perennials in various places, but I think most of them will survive, if much diminished. We also have significantly more mouse/vole activity since both the cats bit the dust last year. I wish a feral cat would move in and take over, and then move along when we leave for the winter. I guess that's a bit much to hope for. I'm catching a mouse a day in the greenhouse, but so far none in the RV. I can deal with mice, but this gopher thing is new to me and I don't like it!

Greg is getting ready to till the garden and get the onions in and get the lawnmower fired up for the first mowing. Of course, we need a new battery first. Lots to do right now!

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