Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick Compost

In the olden days we used to get a dump truck load of chicken manure from a local chicken farm (there were several to choose from) for around $20 a load.  When we had our own dump truck, my garden was lush and beautiful every year.  When the truck got too old and we disposed of it, we had a local trucker bring the manure every year (he charged twice his normal fee and did it as a favor as the manure is very fragrant and hard to clean out of his truck completely).  Those were the good old days.  

I still plant a cover crop of winter rye every fall and till that in when I get ready to garden in the spring.  I still keep a compost pile that I put in the garden every spring, but my garden is large, so I can't make enough compost. I have had a hard time finding enough nitrogen for proper fertilization, so when I read an article in a Florida gardening magazine for "quick compost" I decided to give it a try.
You can see the winter rye that I have tilled in in the background.  I used one of my raised beds for the experimental composting project.  First step, weed the raised bed - second step - put 50 pounds of "cheap" dog food in the 6' x 3' (apx) area. Cheap being a relative term - this bag was nearly $20 at Costco.
After spreading the dog food evenly over the entire area, I applied the 35 pounds of "cheap" clay cat litter.
The recipe called for 25 pounds of alfalfa pellets - but no one seemed to carry those, so I used a one cubic yard bag of steer manure (the only cheap thing I found for this recipe at a dollar a bag) as the accelerator.
Then the back breaking job of turning all of this until it was fully mixed with a shovel.
Final step - cover with layers of newspaper 
Actually, the final final step was to wet everything down good, but fortunately, it rained hard all night, so I was spared that step.  
This better work!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sights around Salt Lake City

We came to Salt Lake City to see our son, Cameron, and his family.  Here he is with his son, Gavin.
Our daughter-in-law, Anne, with Gavin on the train from the Gateway Mall where we parked to the City Creek mall which is downtown right opposite the temple.  
The mall is absolutely beautiful - the creek runs all through the mall, with waterfalls from one story to the next and pools here and there throughout the mall.
We walked all around the mall on the outside of the shops that ringed the walkways.
Every major retailer seems to be represented at the mall.
And some that I wasn't even familiar with.
There are fountains all over the mall, and all of them are accessible for children to get wet.  It was a hot sunny day, so lots of kids in the fountains.
We had lunch at Kneaders and had to stand in line there were so many people coming to the mall for lunch.
Gavin is beginning to warm up to both Ron and I.
Just in time for us to be on our way again - this time heading for our last stop in Tonasket on our way home to our Washington home.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Cottage in Natchitoches, LA

Once again we were pleasantly surprised by the VRBO home that we chose for an overnight stay on our trek across the country from our Georgia winter home to our Washington State summer home.  We chose Natchitoches because it was more or less on our chosen path across the country.  We had never been here before and didn't know what to expect.
Even in the rainstorm that greeted us, we could see that this is a very historic and interesting town.  We first passed a huge college where classes were just ending for the day, creating a major traffic jam.  The GPS told us which way to go, and we followed it even though it took us the wrong way on a one-way street.  I think the locals took pity on us with our Washington license plate, and we were allowed to merge into traffic going the proper direction.
Quaint benches lined the brick pathway along the river under the Magnolia trees that are just popping into bloom.
The cottage we had rented is only about two blocks to the historic district along the river.
"The Cottage" VRBO #288807 
The kitchen is fully equipped, with a full size fridge and stove.
The main living room has several comfortable chairs, a TV, CD player and fireplace.  A second sitting room sits between the two bedrooms.  Each bedroom has its own bath.
We found "Mama's Oyster House" on the brick street that runs along the river in the historic district.
No one orders "craw fish fettucini" thinking it is a diet plate, and even though I only ate about a third of it, I am sure I got a full day's calories in what I ate, and I did take it home so I could have the leftovers for breakfast. It was absolutely delicious with just the right amount of spice!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting Ready for Market

When we were real estate agents, it was always hard to show raw land.  Even finding one property corner was an accomplishment. When property is surveyed, the wooden stakes that mark corners disappear after a few years.  That is especially true here in SW Georgia where vines and brush and trees can grow to astonishing heights in a single season.  We made an effort to keep our established corners by having a metal fence post driven by the surveyor when he did our survey in 2005.  This year, when we decided to put the Georgia property on the market, we went another step, and made markers for each lot corner.
What seems like a simple task actually took all of one day - first finding a good board and painting it on all sides, then finding the right size numbers in Word, printing them out, tracing them with carbon onto the board, then cutting into individual pieces, then painting the numbers.  After the paint dried, we drilled holes into each marker, threaded stainless steel wire through the holes, and then used the mower around the reachable corners and the machete on the ones in the forest to clear a path to the stake, then attaching the markers to the individual posts.
Look at that corn grow!

Now anyone interested in the lots can easily walk to every corner and clearly identify where each lot stops and starts.
R&R Kitchen


Millie and Dick master bath

Kitchen island and dining area at Dick and Millie's house
Millie and Dick living room
Millie and Dick pantry/laundry room

Today I took a slew of pictures of the interiors of both houses. 
Millie and Dick's kitchen

Now I am ready to make flyers to display on Zillow, Craig's list, and to distribute to local realtors.  One more task complete - nearly ready to hit the road on Monday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Last Pictures from Florida and Georgia

We had a nice birthday dinner for Mom before they headed back to Alaska on Thursday.  One of our favorite restaurants in Englewood sits on a small lake and has a deck out over the lake where we can dine alfresco and watch the alligators.
Here are all of our shadows looking over the alligator in his resting place.
Soon a turtle and dozens of fish heard us walking on the patio, so they all hung around waiting to see if we would feed them.
The alligators all gathered under the deck hoping for a handout.
Dick and Ron stuck to beef - Mom and I were more adventurous and had a really great seafood pasta in a marinara sauce.
Happy 93rd birthday, Mom!  Still beautiful!

Then Millie and Dick were off to Alaska and Ron and I headed back to Georgia on Easter Sunday.
The flowers along the freeway are in full bloom.
At home the Amarylis are blooming
The figs are getting bigger, but sadly won't be ready before we leave next week. The corn in the field is already knee high.
On our way to town today, this car blocked our road.  Yikes!  How did she get that upside down on a flat road?
Fortunately, the driver wasn't hurt.  The car will never be the same though.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Key West Trip - April 2012

For our last week with my folks in Florida, we decided to take a trip to the Florida Keys.  We have all admired the keys from the air as we flew out of Miami to Belize, Honduras and Panama in past years and Ron and I went on a cruise that stopped in Key West, but we have never driven the length of the Keys.  So bright and early on Sunday morning, we headed out from our Englewood house to our pre-arranged stay in Islamorada, 40 or so miles down the Overseas Highway, about a third of the way down the keys.
As soon as we checked into our hotel, we headed out to check out the property.  From the unique bar, we had a bird's eye view of the whole property.
Marina on one end of the property
Ocean swimming area with pool on the other side
The bartender took a picture of all of us
Dick and Millie - Islamorada, Florida - April 1, 2012
You don't see too many Alaska plates in the Keys
Key Deer - An endangered species, on No Name Key - About the size of a big dog
Key West has such an amazing variety of plants - I love these trees
Bougainvilla in a variety of colors
All in full bloom
Wall outside Ernest Hemingway's Home
Quaint Dentist Office in Key West
One of the many fishing piers made from the remnants of bridges as new bridges were built.
Heading back to Englewood tomorrow, putting Millie and Dick on the plane on Thursday, and our winter sojourn will soon be over.