Monday, April 29, 2013

Blender on Steroids!

Kitchen Appliances are the norm these days and a modern house has two separate electrical circuits
dedicate just to the kitchen.  I like tools and I confess that I own some of these and some I use and some are at the back of the pantry used sparingly.  The one I use most often was purchased on a spur of the moment weakness because I was impressed by the salesperson at a Home Show.  It is over thirty years old now, still works like a champ and gets used often.  It cost $300. way back then and a similar model now is over $600.  It is a Vitamix Blender and after 30 years of use is still as good as the day I brought it home.  It is a blender on steroids and could probably turn rocks into a fine powder.
To be honest I bought it because I liked daiquiris and a gimlet made like a Seven 11 slurpee! Most blenders you have to break the ice into little pieces first or it will jam up the works, not a Vitamix!  You can fill it with full frozen cubes and in seconds you have snow.  A minute later you would have boiling water!  The blades (same ones for 30 years!) turn so fast they will cook vegetables and you can make soup!  You can put dried tomatoes in it and turn them into a paste!
   I also have a bread machine and I hate it. It is a good one, also top of the line but it makes bread "just like store bought" bread and that is not a compliment.  Nothing can beat the love put into hand made bread and nothing can duplicate that process.  I like the process of making bread, even the flour on the floor and a machine just doesn't do it for me.
   Never used after the first week or so:  a Pasta Machine, works great but a lot of effort and too much clean up.  A milkshake machine, don't even know where it is.  We do have an air popcorn popper that gets used once a month or so!  And a KitchenAid mixer, a very powerful piece of machinery that mostly sits on the counter.  A Microwave that is used for reheating, never for cooking!
   So that is my confession for today!  What kitchen appliance do you use most?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How is the weather?

There are no safe topics.  Everything leads to politics.  "Global Warming" may have been misnamed  it is a certainty that the weather is changing what may be in doubt is how much culpability we will admit to.  Maybe it is not our fault but it probably is.  It is true that we could do something about it but I wonder if we will?  It is a fact that the weather is changing.  Snow in April in some parts of this country!  Crazy weather!  We are missing rain in Oregon by more than half.  "April showers bring May flowers" has always been true for Oregon and it has been know to rain through June.  Normally our summer doesn't begin until the fourth of July and often we have an "Indian Summer", nice sunny days through September and into October.
   It was 80 degrees yesterday.  And the day before.  We have three cloudy days forecast but no rain and then the ten day forecast is close to 80 degrees every single day.  The gardening "rule" in Oregon has always been to get your garden planted by Memorial Day.  That is the end of May!  Summer is a month early!  I normally harden off my tomato plants during the first two weeks of May, taking them from their protected environment of the greenhouse and exposing them to the real world a few hours at a time.  Not so easy when the temperature is already in the eighties!  Crazy weather!
   Last year May was also nice but then June came and it was colder than normal and rained every day.
That sent my tomatoes into shock which they did not recover from until the end of July.  What will happen this year?  The weather man is always right in predicting the weather fifty percent of the time.
This has to be crazy hard for the farmer.  Some parts of the country they can't plow because there is snow on the ground and other parts a veritable drought.  Nuts.
    On a different topic, do you have a juicer?  It is the latest fad and my wife bought one last week.
It is pretty amazing really and has to be healthy.  I go out in the garden and clip a few leaves of spinach
and Swiss Chard, different lettuces, some cabbage and nasturtium flowers.  She adds some apples and a banana and juices it all up!  Pretty cool! and all fresh from the garden.  What do you like to juice? and after the thrill of the first two weeks, how often do you use it?
   How is your weather?
You can see more of my garden here:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Garden Palette

 Playing in my studio
 Lettuce in a planter, picked daily.
The "back porch", filtered sun and perfect for fuchsias!
Add caption
Nude for now but getting dressed. This is the main garden entry with the Trumpet Vine.
My garden is my biggest palette, where I put most of my effort, most of my energy and all my artistic talents are tested.  I plant early the things that can be planted early.  I have 70 flower pots each larger than five gallons and the early vegetable crops do well in them.  I plant peas in February followed shortly after with spinach and lettuce and chard, cabbage, then strawberries.  I wait until the weather is warmer and I can til my main garden area.  I measured it today,  it is 31' x 40' enough room for a lot of vegetables.  I will plant tomatoes, of course! and squash and carrots and beets, cabbage, peppers and some odd and ends.  I try something new each year but the focus is always on my tomatoes.  I have saved the seeds from the best tomatoes from last year and have a genealogy of tomatoes that go back almost 25 years.
The pool, looking toward the blueberries and my studio
This area has about 20 pots and a waterfall. The "Mural" is 1/2" concrete board.
New area this year, I have developed the area to the east of the greenhouse.
   My garden is divided into areas and is sometimes the same from year to year and sometimes totally different.  I have two garden entries, like a main arched entry and a servants entry, an area of blueberry plants, a sitting  area surrounded in potted flowers and the concrete slab between the greenhouse and the garden with its own 20 or so pots.  It takes about an hour each day to water these pots by hand and I enjoy that time to commune with them.  I like elevated gardens and have flower pots and planters as high as seven feet off the ground.  My elevated pots are on automatic watering systems and the others I do myself by hand.

Three varieties of blueberries about 6' tall.
I'll keep you updated on this area, it gets really pretty!
   Most of my flowers are the same:  wave petunias because they are spectacular.  I do have some others this year but couldn't tell you their names, just "pretty flowers" and a contrast from my usual.
Blueberries and pots on garden wall.

I haven't learned how to place the photos in the proper order to go with the story.  Anyway, my garden has begun and the weather forecast is nice for the next ten days!  Lots to do and plenty of time!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I get "friends" requests from facebook, sometime three or four in a single day.  I have no idea how they find me or what they really want.  The only social networking I do is right here, on this blog and sometimes on my other cancer topic blog.  If you want to know what I am up to, what I am making and about my thoughts, sometimes, even the weather, this is it.  I have been in and out of facebook and once had hundreds of "fiends".  I am currently back in because I wanted to see what a particular real friend was up to and had to re sign up to access the account but when I last dropped out not a single "friend" inquired as to why?  It is because they don't give a rip and really, neither do I.  I couldn't even name 400 people let alone count them as friends.  That is what hands are for and why we only have five fingers!  Now people friend me again and I mostly ignore the requests.  I am here.  That is enough.  Even here it is a lucky day when I get 3 comments!  People are busy.
   I am emptying flower pots, putting that soil back into the garden and filling the pots anew with potting soil along with a dash of blood meal, bone meal, cotton seed and kelp.  Plants have to eat too.
I will have more than ever this year and all is well in my greenhouse.  Flowers and tomatoes alongside.
Once you get cancer even if you get rid of it, you always have the idea that "this" could be the last season, the last flowers, the last effort at the best tomato. So make the best of it. Today is always the only day we really have anyway.  Tomorrow is a fantasy and yesterday is gone.  The Beatles had it right.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Garden Gates

 There is something special about a Garden Gate
I like building and designing Garden Entries.  I built
this arbor a couple of years ago and now it has a beautiful clematis growing over the top structure.
I suggested at the time to add the gate but the client didn't believe me!  Two years later she did!  She has two very small dogs and the gate is to keep them in; however, I think the gate adds a nice element and helps define the garden space.
Locked In!

It is a four foot wide entry, big enough for any wheel barrel and could have been a single gate but I like the drama of a double entry gate.