Strawberries This Morning

strawberry harvest
Two days worth of strawberries.

I waited two days then picked strawberries again. It seems like a lot of work but worth it. The harvest amounted to 20 cups after cleaning and coring. Whew! Twenty cups is a lot of strawberries but it boiled down (literally)….

strawberry syrup
4 quarts strawberry syrup

to four quarts of strawberry syrup….

fruit roll-up
strawberry fruit roll-up

and two sheets of fruit roll-up in the dehydrator this am. So, you can see that gardening is keeping me busy this summer. This is the first time making fruit roll-ups so my fingers are crossed that they will come out yummy. It is always nice to have something for the grandkids when they come visit.

Weeding & Picking in the Garden

strawberries
12 cups strawberries
strawberry jam
strawberry jam

Picking

After finishing other outside projects around here, I step into the garden to pick ripe strawberries. Todays pickings amount to 12 cups after washing and coring. Here is how they cook up into strawberry jam in the evening. Sweet home aromas! I love the smell of jam cooking, drifting throughout the house during the summer evenings.

corn rows
weeding the corn

Meanwhile, back at the garden. After picking strawberries and setting the water, I look for the shadiest area to choose where to weed, and today it is the corn.

Weeding

Gardens are always in need of weeding, no matter how conscientious of a gardener you are. I am comfortable in my Bloomsday long sleeve shirt, jeans and wearing an old lady straw hat along with sunglasses. The breeze is heavenly, the birds sing to me as the butterfly’s and hummingbirds swoop in and around. Heavenly. It is truly amazing how calming and relaxing this chore is. Mindfully, stretching the back, arms and legs while requiring that I use my knees.

I weeded the first three rows completely. Looks pretty. However, noticing that I was running out of sunlight…. I did a “pre-weed” on the remaining four rows of corn.

What is a “pre-weed”?

I stand and pull the obvious big weeds as I am walking down the row, instead of getting each and every little weed out (on my knees). I’ll go back and fully weed these rows next time around.

Two Blue Pillowcases

Embroidery on Pillowcases

I just completed embroidery on two blue pillowcases this week. They are flowers done in satin stitch along with french knots and regular border lines. This one is of four roses in different colors with a smattering of leaves and line doo-dads.

blue pillowcase roses
king size pillowcase with roses
Blue pillowcase with flowers
king size pillowcase with flowers

This one is two types of flowers some in lavenders and others in pink.

Three Paintings in Spokane Art Show

Three East Basin Paintings

I dropped off three watercolor paintings of one of my favorite subjects at the Spokane Art School. I did three winter ski views that I admired during my ski patrol days. Snow scenes up in the mountains hold a real dear place in my heart. I carried a camera with me when it wasn’t common for everyone to have a camera on their phone.
Spokane Art School 05
If you have not participated in an art show before, you may not know what it looks like before the gallery goes to all the hard work of hanging all the work. You walk in with your pieces of art, sign papers and stack them where they tell you to put them.
Spokane Art School 04 Spokane Art School 03This is going to be a unique show displaying Spokane Watercolor Society members work is marvelous. All of the paintings are small, being the same size at 8″ x 8″. We tried an alternative method of framing for this show where the watercolors are mounted on board, then waxed to seal them.  I love this method of preserving a watercolor painting without having to cover it in glass, matting and frame which often times seems to make the painting harder to see under the glare. The colors are so vibrant and warm in this waxed method and I can’t wait to see the display of this wide variety of talent up on the walls of the gallery. There are You Tube videos showing how to do this alternative method of framing for watercolors, see Angela Fahr here.
Spokane Art School Gallery
811 W Garland Avenue., 99205
Phone: 509-325-1500
Spokane Art School
811 W Garland Ave.

This gallery is on the south side of Garland near the milk jug in downtown Spoklane. The art show runs from 7/10 – 7/31st, being open only on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 – 2:00pm.

Unfortunately, we are not able to have an art show opening due to covid 19 restrictions. BThree East Basin Paintingsut you can go see the show two days a week if you wear a mask. Hope you can get a chance to go see some really stellar work by our local artists in the Spokane Watercolor society.

Asparagus Time

Asparagus time is very welcome in our garden. Unfortunately, this time is short when this heavenly vegetable graces our dinner table.  So sad it is coming to a close already.

As you can see, it is a veggie that produces welcome little stocks daily that push up from their root base. We love to go pick these with our little knife. There is no better tasting vegetable that a handful of asparagus stocks picked right from the garden before dinner. We are most certainly spoiled gardeners. By the way, did you know that one of our nations past president, Thomas Jefferson, loved asparagus too? He evidently loved gardening too.

The only problem with asparagus is that it takes a couple of years to get established. It takes a little preparation and patience. You can see the trenches we dug into the garden this year. We planted seed for more asparagus here and will slowly add more dirt into the trench as they grow in height. This encourages lots of root growth. The seeds are from our one established row of asparagus that we enjoy now. When these new ones do sprout and show themselves, they will look like whispy little things.
In a few years we should be able to share with other family members, can or pickle or simply sell at a farmers market. We believe that asparagus is well worth the work involved.

Mystery Blossoms

If a person were presented with this mystery photo, would they be able to guess what it is a picture of? It seems like quite a normal blooming plant doesn’t it?

This plant used to be quite prolific here in the Inland Northwest. However, the Washington state powers to be decided that it was a nuisance, and began spraying to eradicate it.

Fortunately this was not completely successful and these wild guys are becoming more common again. People are able to enjoy the great products made from these berries.

Have you figured out what plant blossom this is yet?

It is good to keep an eye out for these little treasures as you drive or walk around. Look for bushes anywhere from waist high to towering overhead. These mystery berries are well worth looking for.
Okay, these are choke cherries! The choke cherry is easy to find and pick if you look for them. They make excellent jams, syrups, and cobblers. Happy hunting!

Lovely Lilacs

Lilacs & Spokane

A beautiful scene greeted me, bathed in sun rays were the lovely blossoming lilacs in the garden. An amazing alluring scent wafted across the garden drawing me close to admire the delicate lavender petals.

We are so lucky to be living in the Inland Northwest in the “Lilac City” of Spokane, WA! Spring is celebrated here with a “Lilac Parade” honoring veterans. Followed by, “Bloomsday” a 7.4k run on the first Sunday of the month of May. The China flu pandemic postponed it to September 2020. This long walk makes me get up and get into shape each spring.

Every year thousands of runners/walkers complete this for the coveted secret Bloomsday shirt each year. I wonder if the shirt design this year will reflect the fact that there will be no lilacs in bloom as we come back down the hill into Spokane? I have done this course at least 15 times, and have the shirts to prove it!  As an extreme introvert, a crowded event like this is completed only to prove to myself that I can survive as I walk a good 7-1/2 miles up and down hills in a choking group of strangers. Then, I quickly retreat back home to recuperate in quiet solitude with the garden, forest and dogs. Whew.

Lilac Love is Widespread

I was born in Colorado and have distinct memories of my grandparents stopping in to visit us. Grandpa would have a handful of lilacs in his hand to give to Mom, and their scent would fill our house with smiles.

Lilac (syringa) is a prolific blooming bush with conical shaped groups of four leaf petals. The lilac flower has meanings and symbols associated with it, with more specific meanings for each color of the species. My bush is associated with first loves, being the light lilac shade .

Excerpt from: https://www.flowermeaning.com/lilac-flower-meaning/

  • ….
  • Lilac: This lighter shade of purple is associated with one’s first love or the first time one feels love for someone.
  • ….

Don’t Tell the Chiropractor

Back Aches

Lately, we have been visiting our chiropractor kind of frequently, and just can’t figure out why our backs hurt. Honestly, all we have been doing is a little gardening. Really.

What Have We Been Doing?

fence Gates 01
gate installation 01
fence Gates 02
gate installation 02

We have just finished gate installation, on the new fenceline around our garden. so now we can go in and out without untwisting tie wires. Fiurst, Pete built three gates out of old 2×4’s we had around, then I painted the wood. Next, he attached pieces of the old fence wire and, “Wa La!” Finishing with three gates ready to install. They are loaded up on the tractor and we go on down to the garden to install them.

When I asked Pete, “Would you like some help with that?”

His reply is, “Nah, I got this.”. Let’s see, is that what you would call a macho reply? It doesn’t seem really easy to me. But, for heavens sake do not tell the chiropractor about this.

fence Gates 03
gate installation 03
fence Gates 04
gate installation 04
fence Gates 05
gate installation 05

Each gate is kind of heavy and real awkward to pickup.

fence Gates 06
gate installation 06
fence Gates 07
gate installation 07
fence Gates 08
gate installation 08
fence Gates 12
drive in gate installed closeup

This 10 foot opening is the “drive-in gate” which has two pieces with each one being five feet wide and about eight feet tall. Next is the single walk-in fence further down the hill.

fence Gates 09
gate installation 09
fence Gates 13
walk-in gate installed

North Side of Garden Fence

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Now we concentrate on replacing the north side of the garden. You can tell how bad the old fence was by how many posts are bracing it up. This length of fence is approximately 100 feet long.

N fence leaned into garden
N fence leaned into garden

The first thing we had to do was go ahead and lean the fence into the garden. We are needing room to clear and level-out the ground where we are going to put the new fenceline. Incidently, it amounts to about 5 feet further out and is a much straighter line.

North fence graded
North fence graded

Thank goodness for the Kubota tractor, with the disc implement Pete is able to till the soil and then smooth it out even where we want to put the new posts.

grading north fenceline
grading north fenceline

This picture was taken from inside the garden looking at the big old apple tree.

new N fence
new N fence

Doesn’t the new fenceline look good and straight? Yay! That should keep Bambi out of our garden for quite a few years.

West Side of Garden Fence

West Fenceline (southern)
Southern side of the garden West fenceline

This is the beginning of the new west fence line which is 53 ft in length stretching out from the south side of the garage.

before of west side on the north
northern side of the west fenceline

Here is how the old fence and gate looked on the other side (northwestern) of the garage. We walked in here to pick blueberries or apples.

Old Northwest fence line removed
old fence is removed

We took down all the wire and pulled the old fenceposts/braces down, then smoothed out the ups and downs in the dirt along the fenceline. So, now we don’t have gaps between the ground and the wire at the bottom of the fence to deal with.

One Kubota tractor with a phenomenal operator can move mountains and valleys. I will never doubt the power of a man and his Tonka toy! Prior to the tractor, we left all the hills and valleys just were they were. Unfortunately, we used to have to put old logs at the base of the fences to keep turkeys out. They would come in every gap where the ground was uneven. Leveling the ground before building the fence, could be thought of as an act of forethought and planning. Wow, that is scary isn’t it? Are we getting smarter in our old age?

west fenceline posts installed
New West fence posts installed

This is the west corner going 50 ft. then turning a 45º angle for 40 feet to go around the apple tree. Covering approximately 70 feet before it makes the turn uphill into the northern side of the fence.