Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Big Bear Vacation

Oh dear, here I said I was getting back to blogging, and I have been absent for nearly two months! Time just gets away from me!  We have had one of the hottest July's on record, here in Southern California where we live.  We escaped one of the hottest weeks, at the end of July, up in our beloved Big Bear. 
Away we like a herd of turtles, as our friend Randy Lasher would say.
We left the town we live in, at about 109 degrees on this day, and arrived at Big Bear, to a torrential downpour, and a cool 75 degrees!  Glorious.  But that blew past quickly, and the heat came back.  Although a good 20 degrees cooler than back home.  Still hot for Big Bear, at about 90 each day...but cool on the water.  We arrived late in the afternoon, and didn't get on the boat the first day. 
I love this photo of our grandson, Noah, sitting on the rocks, watching the beautiful sunset.  The lake is very, very low.  We have camped in the  same spot, when we could fish from our campsite!
This was our new dog, Dukes first time in Big Bear, and only second camping trip with us.  He was a champ!  Such a delight to have along. 
This was his little spot on our site.  He was so content.  And he LOVES the boat!!

We experienced much more wind than usual this time.  But it didn't keep us from having a good time, or enjoying being out on the lake.
Noah has gotten really good at driving the boat.  And this gives Geeps the free hands to set up fishing poles.  I am retired from being a deck hand, and like to spend my time on the back bench seat, under the shade of the bimini top, knitting with my dog at my feet!

A few days after we arrived, our oldest daughter and her husband, and girls arrived to stay in a cabin nearby.  They had planned the trip to celebrate our son in law, Jake's, 40th birthday.  His family all came from Idaho and Oregon too.  Along with several friends and neighbors, and all of our side of the family.  It was a lot of fun.  They rented a pontoon one day, and we side tied in a cove and the kids all had a blast paddle boarding and swimming and tubing. 

Jake's birthday party was held at a local restaurant in The Village.  It was great food, and a really good time.
We keep our cooking simple on our camping trips.  I had brought my fresh tomatoes from the garden, and other veggies to enjoy.  We had some good burgers, and good steaks!  

Noah and I played a lot of Gin Rummy.  He got a few good hands!!
We watched a lot of beautiful sunsets, and did a lot of laying around.  We watched a movie in the trailer every night too. 

I adore the shot of Noah and his Geeps, quietly watching the sun set on our Big Bear Lake.  
We roasted marshmallows of course!

We left a couple days before Gennifer and her family.  So we said our goodbye, and headed down the hill. We were greeted with more triple digit weather, and a very thirsty garden!  I tended the chickens, and did the laundry, and we prepared for our next trip, only a couple of days later.
Big Bear, you never disappoint!!  Thanks for the visit.  Come on back in the next few days or so, to see where we went next.
XO  Kris

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Garden Girl

Greetings!!  Summer has arrived here in Southern California!  It has been hot, hot, hot!   My garden has begun to really produce some nice veggies!  I am cooking with them daily.
I have already harvested all of the cooler planted veg, like broccoli, and spinach, cilantro, potatoes.
Here we see the back garden, where a good deal of it has been harvested.  I have planted some new seeds, but they are not yet poking through.

There are 5 raised beds here, and several other pots and containers, holding veggies.  The corn got a late start, as all of the first seeds, did not come through.  I have had a problem with Toe Hee's taking my seeds this year, and wound up with many a bare spot in my garden.  The cabbage patch, although much smaller than I had wanted, is putting out some decent heads of cabbage.

 I have a Japanese eggplant in the above box, as well as lettuce varieties, and a yellow squash and arugula.
 I love Arugula, and use it on so many things.  My favorite is perhaps to heap it on a hot pizza, drizzle it with olive oil, toss some sea salt and fresh grated parmesan on top.  Oh la la!!  I also make pesto with arugula, and I love it as much as with basil!
The beets are just now coming in, and I have been roasting them, and enjoying them in salads, and on sandwiches.  They are divine!  The leafy beat tops are a favorite for the chickens!
The back garden is entirely fenced, due to the free ranging chickens.  They would mow that garden down in nothing flat!  We have repurposed  our pool fencing, but will be putting something much prettier up next year, as I am planning to be on the garden tour for The Women's Assistance League next Spring.

In the pots sitting just outside the garden are Lavender, Thai basil, and Stevia.
The area just opposite the fence, which is actually to the front of the house, and directly across from our garage, I took over as more gardening space a couple of years ago, and it has given me double the space to play in the dirt with.  We have a large property here, but it is heavily treed, and therefore shaded, so the only desirable area for veg gardening, is in this space.  I wish it were in a more private area of the yard, but it is okay.   And the soil has been beautifully amended now to yield me some great crops.
 In above photo, you can see how I have rigged the hose.  I built a tripod with bamboo stakes, and have them on either end of this patch.  I can rest the nozzle of the hose into the top, and direct the water where I want it to go, leaving me hands free to do some weeding, and harvesting, while at the same time watering the patch.
 My tomatoes are abundantly growing.  I have 6 varieties planted.  They are all loaded, but not ripening yet.  Below, you see the sugar snap peas, and cucumbers.  I am getting some nice cukes, and I eat the peas while I am out there working.  Yum!

I have some tidy rows of carrots,and more cabbages coming up in the center where the birds have raped my garden, time and time again!
 This rusted out bed spring is one that I dumpster dove for a few weeks ago.  I thought it would make an excellent support, trellis, and backdrop for some flowers in my garden.  I have  planted a variety of flowers in front of it.  I think it is going to be really pretty when it blooms!
I have more lettuce planted here, and a cantaloupe, a watermelon, Swiss chard, Kale, some onions, and a lovely butternut squash, which is loaded with little gems!

This front garden is coming along beautifully now too.  It was planted some 4 weeks after the back garden.
I have just recently put in my pumpkins. I have planted 3 varieties.  Two of which, are Big Jacks.  I am hoping for a good crop.
I have two huge clay pots that my brother gave me from a gas station tear down that his business did.  He had to deliver them with a forklift, so I can't move them from this spot.  They have been integrated into my garden as well.  This is where I planted my potatoes earlier in the Spring.  And now I have strawberries in one, and radishes, dill, jalapenos, and bell peppers in another.

The bale of straw is an experiment.  I am hoping that the tendrils and shoots from the strawberry plants will attach to the bale and continue to set off more plants and berries.  I have seen it done, but have not yet tried it.
That final hour of daylight is my favorite time in the garden.  The hens come a waddling over for some fresh greens to peck at.  The sun streaks through the orange grove in the most spectacular way.
As the sun slips over the horizon, the girls make their way back to the safety of their coop for the night.
 This Silver Laced Wyandote is now broody!  I need to get some fertile eggs this week for her to sit on.
 This pretty little lady has just come off her broody spell.  She was broody for about a month!
 One by one, they make their way back to the coop.  Greg has installed an automatic door to the back of the coop, so that now when we are away, they can be let out to the safety of their fenced run at sun up, and be closed back in at sundown.
The backyard is coming alive with blooms too.  These nasturtiums are in their prime.  I do shade them with garden umbrellas in extreme heat, as they tend to wither away and die if I don't.

 This pot of zinnias is about to explode in color!  I can't wait to see them bloom.  It is one of my favorite cutting flowers!  I have several pots of them planted around the pool and yard.
 This little guy was having a sunbath in the last of the days sun.
I hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of what is growing in my garden.  It is indeed, a passion of mine.
Happy growing!!!
XO  Kris