Monthly Archives: March 2015

Harvesting Green Onions

I went back to that park where the wild oinions are growing.

image

All of that "grass" is onions!

I picked a large grocery sack full and brought them home. Kinda weird to be walking through the neighborhood with a bag full of produce which I had just harvested from the “wilds” of the neighborhood park.

Once I got home, Princess Girl and I got to cleaning.

image

After cleaning, I ended up with what amounts to about 15 to 20 bunches from the grocery store.

image

I gave them one last cleaning in the sink, then got to chopping. Once chopped I put 1/2 cup servings into small baggies.

image

When they were all bagged, I labeled them with the what they are, today’s date, and serving size. I ended up with 22 servings (11 cups).

image

All the little baggies went into a large baggie and into the freezer for future use

image

We’re headed to Nevada next week (yay!), and when we get back, if the onions are still harvestable, I’ll probably do it all again. Visions of quiches and soups and all sorts of recipes are dancing in my head!

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1-2

The city…grrr (And a garden update)

City living can get me down sometimes. Sure, there’s beauty here. I run across it all around. Like this lovely little scene just down the street.

20150319_181253

Looks like a beautiful spot to explore and maybe have a picnic. Until you look to the side. And see this.

20150319_181323

I understand why they have to set boundaries and protect the natural places. But the limits can be stifling to this country girl. So, I come home to my little garden and try to shut out the sounds of the city and dream of the day we’ll be back at Castle Rock.

And speaking of my garden, here’s some recent pictures. It’s just about time to start thinning the radishes and lettuce. I actually picked and ate a couple of the lettuce seedlings which had somehow* gotten planted amongst some of the carrots. It was a delicious foretaste of the salads we’ll be eating in just a little while.

*somehow – like maybe because a two year old was helping me plant? 😉

20150321_180652 20150321_180707 20150321_180717

Seeing my little garden and how well it’s coming along helps me to better endure our time here. Gives me a purpose outside the house. And will eventually give us healthy food to eat. A win-win situation.

On my walk

Look what I found on my walk today. “Wild” onions! At the same park I went to earlier in the week. The family and I went on a walk. In the pouring rain. And came home with a whole handful of onions. And there’s more, many, many more, to be had. I’m making quiche tonight with green onions in it. Yum!  And later this week, I’m going back to pick more and preserve them by cutting and freezing them. I’m excited. Can you tell?

image

This is perfect because the onions are already there, growing great, and all I have to do is harvest them before they die off or get mowed down. And if you’re worried about me picking someone’s onions, don’t be. This part of the park is all but abandoned. The city comes in once or twice a year and mows it. And the onions are so thick, it looks like grass. I could pick as much as I wanted to, and you’d never be able to tell I had been there. In fact, I would never have guessed the “grass” was actually onions except that with the girls running around today, they were stepping on them and we could smell them and investigated. When I was there earlier in the week, I stayed on the trail. I guess there are times when getting off the trail is a good thing. 🙂

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1-2

Spring!

It’s officially Spring, and here in the Pacific Northwest it’s absolutely beautiful! On my re-entry walk the other day I took the time to stop and smell the roses. Well, the roses aren’t blooming yet, but I did stop to smell all the different flowers. And take lots (lots) of pictures. I’m not a good photographer and I don’t have a great camera, but I wanted to share with you all the beauty which helped me again focus on the good around me, rather than the annoying parts.

I don’t know many of the flowers, but it’s a good thing that you don’t need to know the names to enjoy the beauty.

20150319_181610

20150319_182658Candy Tuft

20150319_183120Almost looks like snow on the ground!

20150319_183456

20150319_183639This flower looks exquisite, even though is only has a faintly sweet smell.

20150319_184027I’ve never seen so many different varieties of daffodils.

20150319_184042

20150319_184617A pretty little watershed in the neighborhood. Unlike some other places, this one has no signs telling you to stay out..

20150319_184727Strangely, these flowers smelled heavenly, though they don’t seem like they would.

20150319_184823Of course hyacinth have a wonderful smell, too, in moderation. Sometimes they can be overpowering.

20150319_184956The tulips are finally starting to blossom.

20150319_185113The tulip trees are ending their bloom, though, But I finally got some pictures.

20150319_185159Gorgeous purple blossoms. I think they are a magnolia.

20150319_185555More tulips.

20150319_185631Maybe a maple tree?

20150319_190032

20150319_185928Love the mosses and lichens here in the PNW!

20150319_190111

20150319_190318

20150319_190330

20150319_190439

20150319_191158I actually love dandelions. Maybe it’s because I know they are edible. Maybe it’s because my girls still give me bouquets of them. Maybe it’s because they are so resilient. Either way, they always make me smile.

20150319_191235Not sure what this tree will end up producing, but it’s in a secluded area of a public park. I know somewhere in there are some fruit trees. Maybe this is one – maybe cherry?

20150319_191333Seclusion in the city.

20150319_193006It’s not very big, but it’s enough to “get away” for a little bit. I want to take the rest of the family there for a picnic on our next warm, sunny day.

20150319_193547Just love these purple blooms!

20150321_180500Our cherry tree is starting to blossom as well.

20150321_180535 The neighbor’s tree. Beautiful.

I hope if you are in a part of the country that is still bogged down in winter, these pictures will remind you that Spring is on it’s way!

Re-entry

I’ve been out of the world for a while lately. Well, my world at any rate. I headed back to Nevada for a long weekend working with my employers (who also happen to be good friends) and got to see some snow for the first time this winter.

20150308_173337

I did not get to visit the homestead, but will be able to in a couple weeks when we head back for a conference we are attending.

I returned to Oregon for one day and then headed out to a camp to be trained on their ropes challenge course.

20150311_121619Yep, that’s me, climbing to the top of that “Pamper Pole” only to then leap off for no good reason. 🙂

20150312_095408All the new facilitators learning about the climbing wall.

20150312_115849Even Princess Girl got to play around a bit 🙂

Both in Nevada and out at camp was a great time away from regular life for a while and spending quite a bit of time away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

I got back to the Norm this last weekend but I’ve been out of sorts ever since. Today it just about overwhelmed me. I had to get away. So, I went for a walk. A long one. Nearly two hours long. All by myself. I wandered the neighborhood, soaking up the warm spring air, enjoying all the beautiful blossoming trees. I ended up at a secluded park at which I spent quite a bit of time. The time focusing on God’s natural world was a balm to my soul.

20150319_193006

There are not many things I like about living in a big city. But since I have to for the time being, I’m glad I live in a place that has beautiful places which I can visit. And next time, I’ll be sure to get out and ease my re-entry back to city life as soon as possible so I don’t go so stir crazy again.

Can’t wait till we’re back on the homestead for good!

Garden Plot Update #2

20150217_101044Our first garden visitor!

So, I mentioned before that we planted our seeds on Feb 17th. What I didn’t show are our garden markers. I have used popsicle/craft sticks before with so-so results. Oh one hand they are cheap and easy to use. You write the veggie on the end and stick it in the ground. But I found that the sun and rain fades the lettering after a couple months. Just fine if you only want to know which row you planted your carrots vs onions in until they grow and you can tell them apart by their leaves. Not so good if you want to permanently mark your 4 different varieties of tomatoes so you can remember which type is which when it comes time for harvest. So, I thought I’d try a little experiment.

20150217_114825First, I wrote the info on the stick as usual. I used both sides. The front has what it is. The back has the expected harvest date so I can remind myself when I’m out in the garden and don’t have to refer back to my packets or journal

20150217_114854Then, I coated the end of the stick in clear nail polish. The polish soaked into the stick and dried very quickly, so I am hoping it will keep the letters from fading. At least until I can remember which variety of lettuce I planted where! I guess we’ll just have to see how it does.

20150217_123501And there’s the newly planted (and marked!) garden.

A friend of mine expressed some skepticism about planting so early in the season, but here’s one of the reasons I wasn’t concerned. I have shower doors! And they fit almost perfectly on my new bed. I guess this means I have a cold frame. I’m still working on a system to cover the gap in the middle, but for now, they work admirably.

20150221_132523They help heat up the soil during the day to give my little plants a boost, and they hold in just enough heat at night that the slight frosts we’ve had don’t touch the seedlings (even though everything that I have planted right now can tolerate lights frosts.)

20150221_184551And, if it gets really cold, the doors make it a cinch to cover the bed.

20150305_140335They are easily propped open so that I can work in there or to let out excess heat in case we have some really warm sunny days (hahaha! warm sunny days in the springtime in the Pacific Northwest? I crack myself up!)

20150304_103200Wait, what was I just saying about warm, sunny days??

At any rate, the shower doors also serve two more VERY important roles. One, they keep the free-ranging hens out of my seedlings!

And two, they provide the perfect table for a two year old to play with her dinosaurs and a pail of water. 🙂20150305_141309-1

Stay warm everyone. And God bless!

Moving onto the Homestead

This is the last post I wrote on my old blog. The next post I wrote was the first one on this blog.

May 3, 2014

I really should do better about blogging more often! I have so much to share so it’s gonna be a long one. Grab your cuppa joe and sit back and relax. Here we go…

Moving Day!

 On Saturday, April 5, 2014, we were finally able to take the trailer to the house pad. We were so excited to be able to get it there. It really made this project seem to get off the ground. We decided that we wanted to spend the night in the trailer that night, so we packed some clothes and camping gear and off we went.

The trailer (or RV as we’re calling it – short for Remote Vessel) is finally making it to the homestead!

 We decided to turn the day into a celebration with a BBQ with family and a few friends.

We set up the trailer at the edge of the house pad and set up the fire pit and tables and chairs approximately where the house will eventually be.
Flower Girl off exploring on her own
And Princess Girl is becoming quite the fire tender these days.
At 8 years old, she’s all about princesses these days. She was saving up her money to buy herself a crown, but her Daddy and I surprised her with one. She’s earned it for all the help she’s been with her little sister and small cousin the last couple of months!
Thanking Daddy
Sunset from the Homestead
Our little family on our first evening at the homestead since it became more than a dream (we camped there a couple times last summer since it was my Mom’s land – but back then, it was still in the dreaming phase)

First Morning

 After a so-so night’s sleep (Princess Girl wasn’t used to her bed and finally ended up on the couch and Mamma had a bit too much water to drink the evening before), we got up to greet the morning.

Good morning! (Why are the eggs fluorescent?!) Since we didn’t have the propane hooked up to the trailer yet, and for some reason our camp stove was missing it’s propane hose, we had to cook on the BBQ grill. Easier than the fire, though!
The girls on the first morning on “our” land (and yes, I let them snack on chips left over from the day before. I was too busy enjoying the morning to stop and find them something more nutritious. Don’t judge! 🙂
The hubby decided to do a bit of work while we were there, like cleaning the windows.
Enjoying my coffee (and maybe a couple of those chips) on a beautiful Sunday morning before time to leave for Church.
After church, we stopped by Home Depot and found us some cabinet pulls. That afternoon we installed most of them. It looks so finished now!

 And that was the end of our first weekend. We packed up and headed back home. Had we been more prepared, we would have just stayed one more night. We decided to do that the following weekend.



But before the next weekend came, we signed a very important document – our Mortgage papers! It was officially official! We are buying the land!

Here’s the Hubby signing the papers with the Notary.

 

Shed Moving Weekend

So the following weekend started on Friday when my young nephew helped me go up to our property and bring down some beams we were going to need to move our shed. It’s kinda funny because that shed started out at on my parents’ property and is now returning 🙂

I didn’t really want beams this long, but they all were either too long or too short. So what do you do when you have a 6 foot long trailer and a 13 foot long board and no saw to shorten the board? You get creative!
My adult nephew (who helped us dig out the culvert and pull all those nails) came by that evening and helped us scoot the shed away from the fence so we could jack it up the next morning to get the trailer under it.
Flower Girl wanted to “hep”, too.

 We got the shed moved over and the next morning my Dad came by with his flatbed trailer and helped us. It was an agonizingly slow process of jack shed up, put blocks under, lower jack. Put jack on blocks, jack up shed, put more blocks under shed, lower jack. Put jack on higher blocks, jack up shed, etc, etc, etc.

This is the only picture I got because all the sudden Dad and Hubs needed my help.
But, we finally got it on the trailer!
Yep, my younger nephew came to help out again. On the drive to the property, he fell asleep. Guess we worked him pretty hard (and the day is only half over!)

 And of course we were so busy getting the shed off the trailer once we got there, I didn’t get any pictures of the process.

Here it is all jacked up and off the trailer.
Lowering, lowering, lowering, one block at a time.

 That night, The Hubby and I dropped the girls off at my Mom’s (and took showers there, too!), dropped the nephew and his little sister off with their grandparents, and went to dinner with Hubby’s boss and co-workers. We came back to the trailer late that night and crawled into bed exhausted.

Our beautiful sunny bed! The window at the head faces East so we get the glorious morning sun! I LOVE having the windows at bed level. It’s almost like sleeping outside.

 So, that day was Sunday again and we met my parents and the girls at church. Afterward, we headed back to the RV and finally had some time to do some organizing and finishing of projects.

Putting on the final cabinet pulls
Turning on the stove for the first time since we bought the trailer.
We have fire!
Got the fridge working, too. A little too well, I’d say!

 We spent that evening in the trailer since it was a bit windy and chilly outside. And we were all tired so we went to bed early. The next morning was Monday so the Hubby got up and went to work as usual. The girls and I had a lazy day just enjoying being out there.

She made this fire all by herself (with just a few verbal instructions from me). She was so proud.
We went for a short hike to the corner of our property.
We ate lunch outside in the warm spring sunshine.
I love my girls!

We then packed up and finally made it home that evening. We were sad to leave especially since we new it would be two weeks before we could return. The following weekend we went to a leadership conference with our church. It was a great weekend, but we looked forward to staying at the Homestead again.

“Winter” Weekend

So, as it usually does, Winter returned to Nevada with a vengeance in April. We had been watching the forecast and were prepared, thank goodness, but it was a good shakedown of what we’re going to need to do/have for cold weather living up there.

When we got there on Friday, April 25, it was raining-quickly-turning-to-snow. We not-so-quickly figured out how to put out the awning. My mom and I had done it last Fall, but Joe didn’t know how it worked, so he couldn’t help much but to follow my instructions. And I couldn’t remember the particulars. But we eventually got it out and backed the cars up to it to unload.

Flower Girl was thrilled with all the “wati” (ie water) running off the awning
The view down the driveway at 7:00pm. The valley is lost in a haze and the temperature is dropping.
The same view down the drive an hour later.
We had a small catalytic heater for warmth, but also chose to use candles and a kerosene lantern for light because of the heat they also provide. We eventually closed the blinds to hopefully keep out some of the cold.

 The next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland right outside. Flower Girl joined us in bed (while Princess Girl just kept on snoozing in her bed, which she is fully accustomed to now) and the three of us snuggled for quite a while, not wanting to face the chilly morning. But eventually we had to get up.

What the hillside outside my bedside window looked like that morning.
As is the custom with these Spring storms, the snow is already melting off.
Looking back toward the valley that Saturday morning. It’s reappeared!
By lunch time, the snow was all gone and it was actually fairly nice outside. (Obviously we found the hose to our camp stove. And despite the fact that the stove in the trailer now works, I was frying chips and didn’t want to stink up the inside.)

That afternoon, we headed down into town and bought ourselves a Mr Buddy Heater. We knew we wanted one, and this was just the reason to go out and get it. The smaller heater and the lantern had kept it bearable the night before, but Mr Buddy kept things downright comfy – on the low setting even!

Cozying up to warmth!
Of course, it helped that I also baked something in the oven. Yeah, we were downright toasty in there that night!

 The following day was Sunday.  And I didn’t take a single picture. Here it is, almost a week later and I don’t really remember what all we did that day. I think we just kinda had a regular day and hung out. Oh, that’s right. We played a couple card games, checked facebook, etc on our phones, read, wrote, and generally just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.


That night, the baby had a really restless night and we ended up on the pull-out couch together. It was actually pretty comfy, other than the fact that we didn’t have enough blankets to share. I eventually turned the heater back on and let it run while we slept. By the time Hubby got up to ready for work, the propane canister had run out. By then, Flower Girl was finally sleeping soundly, so I covered her up warmly and went and crawled back in my own warm bed and we all slept for a couple more hours.

Ugly, but fairly comfortable 🙂 (Edited 2-7-2015 – Awe, I miss that ugly old thing!)
5 vultures came soaring over Castle Rock while the girls and I were spending some time outside in the finally warmer weather.

And that brings us up to this weekend. We were planning to go up again, but the girls and I got sick with a stomach bug and didn’t feel like packing up and heading up there. Being there would have been fine. The process of getting there was insurmountable. At this point, it’s still like camping every time we go up. Granted, it’s pretty cushy camping, but still a fairly large process to set up and take down “camp” every time we go up. But we’ll get back up there again soon. And hopefully soon enough we’ll be there full time. The house we’re in now has had quite a lot of potential buyers looking at it, so hopefully something will happen on it quickly.


Until next time…adieu

(Edited 2-7-2015: We officially started living on the Homestead on May 18, 2014. And less than two months later, on July 13, 2014 we moved up here to Oregon. I can’t believe we’ve been here for nearly 7 months already. I am enjoying some of the benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest, and the Portland area specifically. But reviewing these old posts have made me long for the day when this Portland Interlude will be over.)

Garden plot update #1

March is here and today was absolutely beautiful out. I so enjoyed going out and watering my little seedlings. Today I noticed that the brussels sprouts and kale had sprouted. I figured it was high time to finally write a post about my little garden plot. My father-in-law has his usual plans for the “big garden” and said that I could have a little space next to the back deck for a garden of my own. About a month ago, here’s what my little space looked like.

20150208_144951

Yep, that area piled high with bags, buckets, and junk. I started cleaning it up with eagerness.

20150208_171822

See, looking better already.

20150214_160528

I found the buckets a new home and gave the honeysuckle a haircut because I planned on hanging some containers on the fence. Then I used some of the fence wood I found on freecycle.org (which we also previously used for our chicken run) to construct a raised box for the garden bed.

20150215_160907

How did I ever do construction without pneumatic tools?!

20150215_160839

It was sooo easy. Bam, bam, bam and it’s done!

20150215_160803

The box ended up being 5 foot square. Twenty-five square feet of garden goodness. Not much when I’ve been used to at least 5 times that amount, but I’ll take whatever I can get. I also have grand plans for a bunch of containers. We’ll see how those turn out. I have never done container gardening before.

So, the evening I got the garden box built I ran out to the store and bought bags of garden soil to put in my box. I hated to spend that kind of money on it since I know there are far cheaper ways to obtain soil, but I was too impatient to figure it out. I was even too impatient to wait for the next day to empty the bags into the box. So I rigged up a light and worked into the dark.

20150215_192147

A nicely filled garden bed waiting for seeds.

20150215_192030

It was such a mild night out, that I was able to kick back and put my feet up for a little while and enjoy my endeavors.

20150215_190502

And speaking of feet…I am loving gardening in my rain boots. I loved that I didn’t have to worry about dirt getting into my shoes as I spread it around. I know this may seem like a no-brainer to you all, but I’ve never had good rain/much boots before.

And here’s the prepared bed (along with containers on the fence and you can see a few on the table – more on those later.)

20150217_100637

Watch this space. A couple months from now I’m hoping it will look vastly different, namely greener! 🙂

The very next day (February 17th) the girls and I got busy planting.

20150216_150117 20150216_150304 20150217_114938

20150217_114948

Such good helpers!

Well, that’s enough for now. I have several more pictures about my garden, but it’s late and I’m tired.

Until next time.