Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Will it Be Spring, Already!

It's been raining here.  Sometimes torrential, sometimes just a cold drizzle, but wet has been the name of the game this week.  Over the weekend we had to deal with temperatures dropping into the mid 20's at night and felt compelled to try to protect our newly planted fruit trees and bushes.  The result was a rather odd looking "casper the friendly ghost" garden, but it did the trick.

Preparing for the Freezing Temps,
Rain, Sleet and Snow
All Newly Planted "bagged"
Pear Blooming
Wednesday we found the red, much used, strip of heavy paper in our mail box.  In this little post office, where nothing is automated, they use these rather clumsy notifications to let us know they are holding a package for us.  When we find the bent, stained, notification in our mail box, we take it with us to the post office, and exchange it for the package... the notifications get reused, I imagine, until they literally fall apart.  So yesterday, after I'd finished my last meeting for the day, I headed to the post office to make the exchange.

The postal worker was on the phone when I arrived (normal) and she managed to make the exchange with little interruption to her conversation.  I checked the return address on the package and, sure enough, it was from my bamboo seller.

Back at the old farm house, we opened the box carefully and found the 50 rhizomes we'd ordered, plus some bonus rhizomes.  We placed them in a bucket of moist dirt, awaiting a break in the rain so we can plant them.  Another of our experiments, I'm excited to see how the bamboo grows here.
Judy Unpacking, Inspecting the Rhizomes
Joe, adding dirt over
first layer of rhizomes

Joe and Mr. Bamboo Rhizome

Healthy Rhizome
Today, another dreary day, with off and on drizzle, made working inside more tolerable.  I know that once the weather breaks, I will be very tempted to take extra breaks out in the sunshine.  But this week has been mostly indoor weather.  Still, we are getting a few things completed that had been put off in favor of outside work.  I've spent the past few nights working on my tax returns (UGH) and hope to be able to send them off soon... before the mad crunch.  I think I am in favor a flat tax rate just so I don't have to spend so much time each year trying to figure out the nuances of the new tax rules and my ever changing situation.

Of course, the freezing temperatures resulted in our having to head over to check on the water pipes at the Pond House.  While we were there, we took a walk down to the pier and saw the osprey was on the nest.  She is already working on the next couple of osprey youngins.

Osprey sitting on Eggs

This afternoon I answered an ad on FreeCycle for some forsythia plants.  We have some more ordered, but they haven't yet arrived, so, we might as well get some local offerings for free, right?  The response came back welcoming us to stop by and help ourselves.  She, the advertiser of the plants, would come out to meet us when she saw us out in the front yard.  So, we got in the Isuzu and headed over.  Sure enough, when we arrived, another taker of free plants was just pulling out.  We got out and greeted Dot at her front gate.  She immediately said, "I know you! You sing and play guitar in the choir at St. Therese!" to which I had to admit she was correct (as I tried to pinpoint who she was).  She continued, "You sold me a violin once!" Oh, yeah, NOW I recalled who she was.  Nice lady with a lot of energy.  Her son played violin but was tiny and she was having trouble finding one his size.  I was playing the violin at church one week and she came up after the service to inquire as to whether I gave lessons.  She also told me she was looking for a small violin for the boy.  As it turned out, I had a 1/4 size violin which fit the youngster perfectly and which I did sell her.  That was at least 15 years ago!

We chatted for a while, admired her goats, chickens, cats, dogs, gardens, trees, bushes, and commiserated with her on her WATER drainage issues.  We arrived to pick up the plants at about 5 PM and did not make it back to the old farmhouse until 7:30PM.  By that time we'd had the grand tour of her house, knew of her divorce, her grown children and the grandchild she is raising.  We'd admired her new hardwood floor and discussed options for diverting the water that wants to flood her basement.  We declined the offer to take a couple of her Siamese cats, and admired her son's photography and drawing.  By the time we left, I knew more about this woman than I had ever known, though I have been "acquainted" with her for many years.
Dot's Goats, 1/2 Pygmy, 1/2 Nubian
When we returned home, we tackled another project we'd been putting off.  By 9PM Joe had installed the range hood in the make-shift garage "kitchen."  Soon, we will get the range out of storage, and I will be able to bake in the oven again for the first time in over a year.

Still, I have been having quite a bit of fun "baking" in the crock pot.  I have found I can buy a $1.00 cake mix and make it according to directions.  I then add other ingredients and bake the cakes, two individual sized cakes at a time, in the crock pot.  I store the extra batter in the fridge and each day make two more.  I can get 12 individual cakes out of a single box mix.  Some of the delightful flavors I have baked are chocolate cake with big beautiful California white raisins (thanks to Olga) and chopped California walnuts, chocolate cake with cherry pie filling, yellow cake with white raisins, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. The latter was a really neat result, with the raisins staying put throughout the cake and the chocolate and butterscotch chips sinking to the bottom.  When the little cakes are turned out onto the plate they are lovely moist cakes with chocolate and butterscotch topping.... YUMMY.... served warm with ice cream!

Chocolate cake with Cherry Pie Filling

Covered with Foil

Fresh out of the Crock Pot

Turned out on the Plate

Served Warm with Chocolate Ice Cream

The weekend is upon us again and we have big plans of getting a lot done.  I sure hope the rain takes a hike and the sun and warmer weather grace us with their appearance!  Otherwise, I suppose we will simply have to keep knocking out those indoor projects we've been putting off.

Peas are Coming Up

Asparagus is Poking Through

Killian wants to garden too!


Gorges Smythe said...

You certainly sound like busy folks. Hope you don't grow to rue the day you planted bamboo. Many folks do!

Sharon said...

Good Morning, Judy!

Think it's going to be one of those years, some folks will get too much rain and some not enough.

Your projects are coming right along! I like the idea of the bamboo, I bet even DH would, but it gets too dry here in the summer, it would probably die. That plus the fact that the ground here is 1/2 rocks and 1/2 clay. Your garden looks good and I agree, warm weather would help a whole lot!

Your garage kitchen is coming right along! We'll need a panoramic view after the work is all finished!

We have spent our tax refund, long ago, not our AL one though, they have been known to show up as late as July. Not holding our breath.

Any more lookers at the Pond House? I hope you are able to sell it soon!

Louise said...

Holy Smokes! I got tired just reading of all of your adventures. I love the osprey nest. Did you build the platform?

mixednut555 said...


Nekkid Chicken said...

OOOH Judy, Glad to see you back. Joe's Rhizome looks like a crab. I am amazed sometimes at the range of temperature differences between just you, Sharon and I. We have been sweltering in 90 degrees already. The boys and I have been checking out that eagle with her three eggs with 2 of them hatching out already. I must show the boys the osprey you posted. I just love watching all the critters in the world doing what they do best.

Take care,
Smell the rhizomes sometimes.
LOL :0)

Judy's Corner said...

Me least we have the backhoe to keep the trenches around the bamboo clear... hopefully that will contain it!

Judy's Corner said...


Sadly, no lookers at all for the Pond House. The contract with the current realtor expires April 15, so we will try a different approach. At least a different realtor.

I finally sent in my taxes this afternoon... LOL Lots of paperwork this year!

Judy's Corner said...

Hi Louise,
No, the platform was already in the pond when I had the Pond House built in 2002. There are three of them in the pond and the Osprey return every year to raise their next brood.

Judy's Corner said...

Hey Kat!

Judy's Corner said...

Hey Mal,

I just posted more Osprey pics. They are pretty cool birds. We finally have had a couple of warm days, but we are heading into the low 40's tonight. Hope the plants i the garden are not adversely affected by the crazy swings in temperature!

Anonymous said...

It's been raining here. Sometimes torrential, sometimes just a cold drizzle, but wet has been the name of the game this week.forsythia for sale