Tuesday, May 30, 2023

May Flowers and Projects


The area between the houses and the lake has been kind of neglected over the past few years.  We have a set of steps to the lake in the pea gravel, but weeds have overlayed the gravel, and the steps were getting a bit ragged. When I started weeding the area, the project began to evolve.

As I pulled weeds from the lake and weeded the bank, Ron emptied the many wheelbarrow loads for me as the slope demands a strong person to push the load uphill. 

The vision I have now is for a lawn between the house and the gravel which forms a bridge the lawn mower can cross between the two grassy areas. 

Meanwhile, Ron has split and stacked about 8 cords of wood, so we should be all set to stay cozy next winter.

Everything is in bloom right now. The rhodies are starting to wane, but the iris are in full bloom.

Even the sage is blooming. Interesting little blossoms that kind of look like mini orchids.

It's been a busy month - all about projects and work - June will be more about family and gatherings.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Garlic Infused Honey


I plant a lot of garlic. I've been asked "What do you do with all that garlic?" A lot of garlic goes into pickles around here - and I cook with garlic a lot - and, of course, I need seed for the next year. Last year I didn't have enough garlic because I had planted the garlic I bought at Costco that had sprouted, and planted it at the wrong time. It really needs to be in the ground in September or October. I planted in early spring, and it was California garlic.  My daughter-in-law rescued me last fall and gifted me some absolutely lovely Spanish Roja bulbs. They are more suited to this climate, and look amazing. So this year I should have enough garlic.
In the meantime, I just bought another bag of Costco garlic, and found that it was mostly sprouted and needed to be used right away. Nature's antibiotics - garlic and honey, make an amazing potion for control of colds and flu. It is a big job to peel enough garlic, but so worth the effort. 

It seems like everything I do becomes an assembly line of sorts. So first step, peel off the papery outside hulls from the garlic bulbs. Then separate into cloves. Next step, use the flat side of a large knife to whack each clove to loosen the hard inner hull. Since it takes 4 or 5 full bulbs to fill a pint jar, there is a lot of debris (compost).

Two different friends from high school each gifted me a bucket of honey recently! (Never too much honey or too much garlic around here) I separated the honey into quart size jars for ease of use, and now I have the garlic ready for the honey.

The garlic will liquify the honey as it ferments. This concoction will keep forever and is something to have on hand for so many uses. At the first sign of a cold take a tablespoon full in a glass of water. (I actually take it as a preventative nearly every day, and have not had a cold or flu in many years.)
I also use a couple of cloves in any sauce I make - spaghetti, marinade, BBQ sauce, etc.  The cloves plump up nicely when heated in the sauce. Once my assembly line project is done (A couple of hours this morning) I have enough garlic and antibiotic for years and to enough to give away to the few people who are into home remedies. :)

Monday, May 15, 2023

 "When lilies of the valley bloom, it's time to plant pumpkins and squash" - So the weather has warmed up and it's time for full on gardening!

We make garden space available to our renters, and they have their gardens planted too. You can see the raspberries fully leafed out and starting blooming on the left, the garlic of the right separating the two renter gardens. Gene has mostly potatoes, cabbage, and onions planted. Gabriel has tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers.  I have some of all of these, along with parsnips, carrots, garlic, squash, pumpkin, beets, broccoli, and more.  With good weather, we should all be eating fresh veggies before long.

The heather and candy tuft we planted on the bank in front of the house are getting bigger and prettier every year.  The iris are budding and should be in full bloom soon.

I cleaned all the empty pots and extra stuff out of the greenhouse, and you can see in the corner on the right where I have been burrowing under the foundation. We have power that we can extend to the greenhouse now. Most of the trench can be dug with the excavator, but I've managed to get a 3' by about 6' trench in the area where the excavator is too large to reach. I managed to get under the foundation, so I'm ready for Ron to finish the job.
Meanwhile, Ron has split 7 cords of firewood, and leveled the building site. 

And I've begun my swimming season! These are the days we've been waiting for!