still knitting

Took me MONTHS to finish this.  A Red Heart yarn project – Breezy Knit Market Bag – figured it would use up a large skein of yarn that I had.  Followed gauge but made it wider than the original pattern, created crocheted sides to the bag, made the straps longer and wider and still had yarn left over.

PLUS, even with the extra stitches it is only just as wide as the pattern said it would be and about 3 inches shorter than it should have been!  When I got to the end of the first side realized it wasn’t coming out per the pattern, but was already bored with the design and the project.  That’s why it took so long to finish.  Just got tired of it.  Was thinking I’d make this the beginning of christmas gifts, but my boredom lead to mistakes, so NEVER MIND!  It will still work as my farmer’s market bag.

IMG_1160 (799x1134)

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While not suitable for everything and all occasions, this is my alternate ride.  After a rocky start due to a bad controller and a bad throttle, it now takes me where I need to go.

monday3Compared to two wheeled e-bikes and some other designs, it is woefully underpowered.   20” wheels only.  As I have hit over 20mph on this thing, can assure you that it is not quite the exhilarating ride you might think you get with speed.  Trikes can be very unstable, and being unstable at speed is not comfortable.  Plus, I’m a little taller than the average bear.  Sure wouldn’t want to try this if I were any taller than I am.

But it gets me to the Farmer’s market and have done some touristy exploring on it.  Can recharge it from a 120v line –whether house electric, or off my Goal zero!

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still a gardening blog

Tuesday June 6, 2018

IMG_1142In the greenhouse: stevia closest, empty is tumeric tuber waiting I hope, then potatoes both white and sweet. Something has been eating the sweet potato leaves as fast as they grow!

IMG_1143This shows the tomato plant at the end of that row. Early Girl and we’ve already eaten several off this plant with more coming in. Notice the draperies helping keep the temperatures moderated.  That is an Amaryllis up on the table.  Bloomed beautifully a month or so ago.

IMG_1144geraniums on the table and under, as well as two pots with ginger tubers and what ever is munching, keeps clipping the tops off the ginger as soon as it shows. in front of that are two zucchini plants.  the foremost has given us some nice fruit but is now being eaten also.  down low on the left is a pot of sweetgrass. keeps the greenhouse smelling heavenly.  in the white pot is an almond seedling. it was lower and what ever is eating clipped the top right off it!  below that, out of sight, is an agave that I found uprooted on the street. the Javelina pulled it out of somewhere and munched on it heavily. the roots were dried out.  Have potted it up and we’ll see!!  not showing the green beans as they’ve been heavily munched also.  so much for that experiment.

IMG_1145out into the garden, this is a boysenberry plant which may, or may not, get moved to what is becoming the fruit area.

IMG_1146down the row in the main garden, closest is an armenian cucumber doing nicely, an assortment of different tomatoes, eggplants and last is chard.  all seemingly doing well.

IMG_1147end of the row is this pot of peas.  the other side of the fence is up for later

IMG_1148East side of the main garden, not doing half as grand as the west. Pepper plants to the front, spaghetti squash, some kind of melon someone gave me, a couple more peppers and then some zucchini

IMG_1149This is what is fast becoming the fruit area. starting to the right and going counter clockwise; onion bulbules right in the front center ish,  moving to the right are two rhubarb, a grape, a blueberry that is just barely hanging in, another grape, a nectarine bush, blackberry, fig (see two fruit starting on that).  This is the area I might bring the boysenberry into.

IMG_1150on the other side of the fence by the main garden is this potato plant.  I have to keep these covered usually so they don’t get eaten.

IMG_1151closest to the camera is the single white sage plant that overwintered and beyond that is my comfrey in probably its tenth year.

IMG_1152along the side of the house in the new raised planter some bush beans.  If you look closely you will see some of these got sunburned while we were away this past weekend. the mesh around the growing area is to try to dissuade little munching critters.

IMG_1153So the shade cover is up.  last year the munchers got under this, hence the mesh around the bottom and lower front.  Planted Royal Burgandy bush beans in the far portion of the planter this morning.

Posted in chard, comfrey, container gardening, fruit, gardening, garlic/onions, greenhouse, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, potatoes, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Have just been reading about (and ordered some to try) “soap nuts”

Which lead me to wondering if anyone has tried using Yucca root for laundry/cleaning?  Basically the same thing, natural saponofins  (or how ever its spelled).  Or will I have to be the first to try it??


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more stuff

Doesn’t seem like 10 days since I updated . . but here we are.  Dipped below 40F one morning, but that didn’t stop me from harvesting a zucchini in the greenhouse.  Picked another one last night.  and the tomatoes are ripening nicely in there.

Saw a little bit of green coming up from the ginger, but it has disappeared again.  maybe the lizards got it.

The 650 gallon horizontal leg tank is buckling as the land it is sitting on is shifting, so we have to get that empty quickly.

Just ordered another (another?!?!?!) Goal zero power supply.  This is a 400W small unit as I want a portable unit.  Really wanted the lithium battery one, but they didn’t have that as an “open box” unit.  The 1000 and the 1250 units require carts and help due to their weight, but at some point, they will be taking over some of the house load.

And as I move towards more self-reliance, DH bought a Traeger pellet smoker!!!  Runs on electric of course, and special very expensive pellets.  Easier to use for making lunch during work hours than the charcoal smoker, but don’t think its really necessary.  and smoked meat every day loses its “specialness” quite quickly!

Onions are coming in nicely.  Chard is doing well.  Green beans in the greenhouse are putting out beans, but the plants don’t look healthy.  The Stevia, in the bag where the potatoes failed, seems to be doing fine.  The last planting of beans isn’t showing any signs of sprouting yet.  Could be they were too old.  Could be that the evenings are too cool.  We’re still dipping down into the 40’s at night, days are about 45 degrees warmer!  A testament to how dry it is.

The fellow down the road who had a Langstroth hive seems to have lost his bees too. the hive has been moved.  Do see bees around, no idea where they are coming from, although I know there is a very active and healthy top bar hive a little over a mile away.

See at least one tomato forming on the outdoor plants and some peppers that had started on the seedlings are progressing.  The squash seeds I planted directly in the garden after losing the seedlings are coming up nicely. Peas are doing great!

Pretty amazing at what and how much things grow in such a short time this time of year!

Posted in bees, chard, container gardening, fruit, gardening, garlic/onions, greenhouse, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, peppers, potatoes, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, top bar hive, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment

harder than it seems

Like a lot of people, I’m dancing the compromise between working for a living and being more self-reliant in my daily life.  It goes in fits and starts and is hindered by many factors including the weather, my own age, and the up and down demands of our business.  Fortunately, we work from home, so at least the matter of commute time doesn’t come into the equation, as well as the ability to put in time when I MUST outside with extra time at the desk when I must – even if its 6am or a sunday afternoon. 

This morning needed to get the grape plants into the ground, move a couple of the pepper plants that went in over the weekend, get some potatoes in dirt, and water everything.

First the grape plants.  Bought a tall arched arbor that goes between two grow bags. Got it assembled over the weekend and Monday moved the pots with the grapes near them.  While in that area of the garden, pulled some of my onions (they were in one of the grow bags I wanted to use for a grape plant), shifted around some soil, dumped a grow bag that was doing nothing, clipped the flowers off the rhubarb, and snipped off the bulbules from some of the walking onions. 

For the latter, do not have enough room to let them walk around, so I snip of the bulbules and plant them in a little pot I keep for the purpose.  by the fall they are ready to be planted elsewhere for the winter, with a spring harvest.  This never gives me a lot, but does allow me to keep them alive and aclimatized should I ever want to expand them.

Today went round and found one of the grape plants had fallen over and leaves that had hit the ground had all turned brown and crispy.  Just a couple of days!  Anyway, got them planted and fertilized all the way around the blueberry, the grapes, the blackberry, the rhubarb, the nectarine and the fig.

Speaking of the nectarine, see ONE fruit trying to form.

Then into the main garden.  Seeds are coming up for the replacement zucchini and two of the spaghetti squash.  This would have encroached on two of the peppers I had planted over the weekend, so moved them.  had been keeping a section of the garden open for bush beans, but my instead plant them in the raised bed next to the kitchen.  That has not been much of a success yet as I keep forgetting to get out there and water it regularly!

Have not planted any basil this year

Did get some potatoes in a large grow bag outside.  Last year potatoes had done okay, but kept getting eaten, so immediately put up some protection for these seed starts.  The ones planted in the greenhouse succumbed to Verticillium fungus, I think.  Everything was growing well and suddenly they turned yellow, wilted and died.  Had added some manure/compost to the soil and hope that was not the issue!!  Have added the same to the pots that I replanted with existing turmeric plants and they are also doing poorly.  Right now, have a salvia in the pot that had the potatoes in it.  don’t know if that will be susceptible or not.  Of course, it could have come from the seed potatoes also.

After all that garden work, watered and then set up the solar oven for some chicken breasts for lunch.  The sun hadn’t reached around to the point where I set that up until then.

When all this was done I had spent about 2 hours working in the garden, maybe more.

and I thought about how hard this would all be if I had to do enough of it to completely satisfy our food needs for a year – every single day – and I admire our ancestors for their back breaking labor.  It also made me appreciate why they were so anxious to embrace the “time saving” appliances of vacuums, refrigerators, toasters, washing machines, etc.

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May 5, 2018 update


IMG_1096 Thornless boysenberry, Monrovia.  Will it stay here?  maybe no.  Seem to be doing fruits in the Eastern garden.  Will revisit this soon.

cutting back on my veggies, but also squeezing more in, almost square foot gardening.  first planting got caught in a cold snap and some have been completely lost, and some are maybes.  Bought some other seedlings, and a neighbor gave me some.

IMG_1097starting upper right, an armenian cucumber, two beefsteak tomatoes and in front of them are all romas.  you can tell which are stunted vs the just planted seedling.  the little things sticking out of the ground are Ollas and usually have caps on them.

IMG_1098 some overlap with the picture above un named beefsteak tomatoes in the back, plus a possible recovering beefsteak planted a month or so ago. Romas in the front.  There is also two better boy tomatoes from the neighbor, one upper left, one more center between the ollas.  There is also a recovering Brandywine tomato back there

Have an early girl in the greenhouse which has fruit on it that are starting to ripe.  they are small, but it will be the earliest we have ever had tomatoes.

IMG_1099moving past the tomatoes to eggplant and chards

IMG_1100at the end is this grow bag of snap peas, two small ollas in the bag to keep watering even

IMG_1101outside the fence is White sage, only one plant from last year is coming back and to the right is my comfrey which has been in the same spot, in the same bag for probably close to 10 years now.


IMG_1103eastern bed, you can barely see a little toilet paper roll with a couple of zuchhini seeds starting to bud.  Then some sweet peppers.  This had been about 5 zucchini plants that got nipped badly by the cold.  There are still two plants in the greenhouse and we’ve already harvested on zucchini off them.

IMG_1104middle, sweet peppers and some sort of melon from the neighbor.  that’s all she called it, a melon.  Melons haven’t done well for me in the past, we’ll see how it goes

IMG_1105sweet pepper, and again with the toilet paper roll and spaghetti squash seedlings

IMG_1106 more sweet pepper and one spaghetti squash that is showing maybe a couple of little leaves

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