Tag Archives: Green!

Landscaping

(Edit: 8/28/18 I wrote this post over three months ago. Today, while looking at my writing app, I see the little word “draft”. I had never published it! Silly me! So without further ado…)

Imagine your house (either the one you currently live in or one you have lived in at some point). Now imagine if all the land surrounding that house was bare ground. Now throw in a bagillion rocks, and a few weeds here and there for good measure. Not a pretty thought, is it? Kinda depressing?

That’s how I feel about the land immediately surrounding our house. Yes, it’s understandable since it is a construction zone. But that doesn’t make me any happier when I look at it.

So, while I was delayed on working on the actual house, I decided to do something about the landscaping.

When the house pad was cut, it left behind a fairly steep hill of barren, rocky soil. But in my mind’s eye, I see beautiful terraces, filled with edible and decorative plants that provide beauty and habitat all year long.

When we had the backhoe last fall, I did the rough (and I do mean rough) cut of the terraces. This spring I have slowly been building the terrace walls.

The stairs were built out of railroad timbers we had on the property. The rocks are all native to within 50 feet of right there!

I completed this triangular section first because that is going to be Pajii’s area and I wanted him to feel like he could plant if he wanted to. Besides, it was the easier section to do!

A friend of ours came by one afternoon to help out with stacking rocks.

The circled rock in the picture below was just one of several 100lb boulders I needed to dig out and move.

All of the whiteish rocks below it are the rocks I piled under it when I levered it up, until I could roll it out of the hole.

In the picture below you can see the completed terraces on the right of the steps, and the not-yet-started hillside to the left. The huge boulders were dug out of the hillside where our well is now. They were placed in such a way as to become part of the landscaping. There are several more that you can’t even see just to the left, and many more that got used as a retaining wall over by where our garage will go.

So I got a bit of the terraces done on the left side of the stairs, and while at the hardware store, succumbed to an impulse buy of a dianthus bush. I just loved the color of the flowers and the fact that they are supposed to bloom from spring all the way till fall!

So, I had to find a place to plant them.

The very first plantings in the terraces. 😄

I also decided to pick up a few more landscaping plants that I know I want. And as the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. But seeing as how I’m not (quite) even 40 years old yet, I figure the best time to plant is now.

Lilac

Red Haven peach tree

Double Delight tea rose 🌹

The first bloom on the rose bush

I also bought some annuals to plant in pots around our trailer to pretty things up a bit.

Our fruit trees that we planted last year are doing well. The cherry trees blossomed out in late April and I thought for sure they’d be killed by a frost.

Cherry blossoms with Mason bee 🐝 busy pollinating

And they almost were! We were surprised by a light frost at the very end of April. Not that it’s unusual to freeze that late, but all of the forecasts said we were going to stay above freezing that whole week. But everything seemed to be ok despite the freeze. The next night was supposed to get nearly as cold, so we decided to play it safe.

The apple trees wrapped against the cold look like weird lollipops.

Apple blossoms

Yesterday, I checked on the cherry trees, and lo and behold, they’re loaded!

And last but not least, we bought some native/locally adapted plants from the state nursery and will find places for them to go once the terraces are completed.

For now, we have been busy trying to finish up the septic system. But we’re almost done with that, then I again won’t have anything to do, so I will go back to the terraces.

Now, remember that house you thought about at the beginning of this post? Think of all the bushes and trees and flowers that actually do surround it. Are there any that you’ve ever thought, “If I had been in charge, I would not have planted that”?

Well, guess what. We are in charge of everything that gets planted here on our land. It’s actually rather exciting to be building our land from the ground up. While it is a lot (a lot) of hard work, it’s awesome to be able to make it how we want it and only have to deal with what nature handed us, not what other people thought was a good idea. And so far, with the exception of the dianthus, I’ve put quite a bit of thought into the plants I’ve chosen.

One day, it’s going to be beautiful!

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Moving along

So this happened yesterday:

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That’s my dad’s truck. Hooked to my in-law’s trailer. Gettin’ ready to haul it back to Nevada for us.

It’s one less thing we’ll have to worry about on the day of the Big Move.

In THREE WEEKS!!!

Ohmygosh! Three weeks from today we’re moving back to Nevada!

I’m not excited or anything. 😉

In the meantime, I’m finishing little projects here and there. The house is pretty much empty, so there’s really not much left to pack. But, we still had a large freezer full of food that we don’t want to cart back to NV with us.

Like blackberries from two summers ago!

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So I made Blackberry Syrup. I think I’ll write a post on that. I only took the one picture above during the process, but it’s a simple enough process that it doesn’t require a lot of explaination.

Other than those little projects like cleaning out the freezer, we’re just soaking in the green beauty around us and biding our time.

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A cool thing happend last week when my man and I went out for date night. We went to a movie theater we’d never been to before and had about a 30 minute wait. So we walked around to this beautiful lake that was right next to the shopping center where the theater was.

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And got to watch a couple Bald Eagles flying around!

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Right there in the middle of town. It was such a cool experience!

So, to re-cap: the trailer is on it’s way to Nevada, the house is nearly empty, and we are eagerly awaiting our move out date in just three weeks.

Yeah.

Not excited at all. 😉

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.” Psalm 121

Leaving soon

We have our moving date set!

The house is on the market and Bachan and Pagee have accepted a contingent offer. But no matter what happens with the house, we are moving on May 20th!

Actually, May 18th marks the beginning of the big move with me and a friend taking the moving truck with all the rest of our posessions to NV, turning around the next day (the 19th) to travel back to OR with my mom (“Ahma”) in her RV – which is how Bachan is going to be able to make the trip down – then all of the family back to NV with our various vehicles on the 20th.

Whew!

Makes me tired just thinking about it!

In the mean time, since we only have 3.5 weeks left here in Oregon, we are finishing up with small projects around the house, visiting with friends one more time, and just kinda waiting for the day.

And since we have gotten rid of tons of furniture, look what I finally get!

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A reading corner next to a window! I haven’t had this in so long and I always long for a little space all my own like that. Now, this is in our bedroom, which is still Hubby’s office during the day, but in the evenings, when I am tired from the day and would rather get away to read or journal, I finally have a quiet corner all my own.

After almost two years.

For only three more weeks.

Ah, well. I’ll enjoy it while I have it.

And speaking of enjoying it, here’s the view outside that window as I sit here and blog.

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I sure am going to miss the green!

But, the trade off is worth it.

Heres a picture I took the last time we were on the homestead.

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Flower Girl running around the homestead nearly naked. Playing in the dirt. Having a grand old time. And Princess Girl, at 10 years old, was in nearly the same condition.

The freedom they have there cannot be replicated where we live here in Oregon.

We are so glad that our children are going to grow up with a close connection to the outdoors in a place of freedom and openess. They will not know or remember the scrutiny of neighbors. The claustrophobia of being hemmed in by houses. The fear of living in a neighborhood where you stay indoors or in your yard after dark and the curtains are drawn and the the doors locked.

At Castle Rock, we will not be putting in an air conditioner, which means that on hot summer nights, all the windows and doors are open to let in the cooler night air. The cars will be left unlocked, and probably even the house most of the time. Some of the windows might not even have curtains, or if they do, it’s to block out the sun in the summer.

Life in the country is kinda laid back like that.

And we can’t wait! Only 26 more days!

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.” Psalm 121

Spring on the Homestead – Northern Nevada Style!

Spring in the desert is subtle.

A gentle greening of the hills.

Delicate flowers peeking out amongst the rocks.

Spring in the desert is not showy or brilliant.  But it comes just the same.

It may take a more practiced eye to see it, but the beauty is there, if you’ll just have eyes to see.

We were blessed to be able to spend some time on the homestead a couple weeks ago and see Spring arrive.

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Violets and Tumbleweeds – so typically Nevada!

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Daily Life #11 – DIY paracord belt and signs of spring!

I finished my belt!

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And O.M.Gosh, my fingertips hurt from gripping the p-cord over and over and over as I weaved the thing!

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Weaving, weaving, weaving

Overall, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. As you can see from the first picture, I ended up using two different colors because we didn’t have enough of just one. But I think the two tone effect is cool. Besides, people hardly ever see my belt since I never tuck in my shirts.

So, out goes the very worn bracelet.

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Well, maybe I’ll keep it for those days when I’m not wearing a belt. 🙂

Oh, and here’s a picture that shows the instructions of how to make a belt or bracelet using the weave I used.

Today I went for my walk, but it took twice as long to go the same distance. I kept getting distracted by all the signs of spring just around the corner.

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And I walked through the neighborhood park which has the wild onions growing and picked some for our dinner.

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They are still small, but very flavorful.

Our house designer emailed us the house plans today. We are so very close to being able to submit the plans for our building permit. So Hubby and I spent a substantial amount of time going over everything, making changes were needed, and fueling our dreams.

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.” Psalm 121

Happy New Year

I know, I know.

I’m a little late with my holiday greetings. But as I said in my family newsletter (which I just sent out a few days ago), better late than never, right?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection the past couple of weeks, as is typical this time of year. And also looking toward the future of this year. Are any of you already planning for your spring and summer gardens? Now’s the time to order your seeds and in some cases, get them started indoors.

I just read this online article (How to Pick Your Vegetable Seeds Without Going Crazy) and it’s got me dreaming!

But alas, my biggest decision this year is that I am scaling way back on my plans for our garden. Any when you have a tiny plot anyway, “scaling way back” means that I don’t plan to do much of any gardening this year.

The reason why is actually pretty exciting. We are hoping to be in the process of actually building our house this summer. Which means frequent trips between Oregon and Nevada. And as I learned last year, my garden doesn’t do so well if I’m not around to care for it. Imagine that. 🙂

So, I’ll probably throw some carrot seeds in the ground and call it good. Those were what did the best and we ate the most of last year. And I love that they are frost tolerant and you can leave them in the ground all season and just go out and grab some as you need them.

It kills me not to really be making plans for the garden. But the trade off is worth it as we make progress on our house.

A couple days ago was a fairly mild day here in the Portland area, overcast but dry and not too cold. So I used the opportunity to get outside and do some yard work.

Almost done! And it's a good thing, too, because the debris can is almost full!

Almost done! And it’s a good thing, too, because the debris can is almost full!

I scooped up the walnut leaves and put them in the yard debris can. Yes, we have a compost pile, but not the right set up to cook the toxins out of walnut leaves.

Just after New Years, we had snow here. It was a rare treat for us in the Pacific Northwest. Normally, any time there’s snow here, it’s covered in ice. This was a light, fluffy, “dry” snow. At the beginning of the day it wouldn’t even compact into snowballs. The girls and I spent 3 hours playing outside.

Our back yard looked quite different with a thin layer of snow.

 

And then, that night, a freezing rain came in, covering everything in a layer of ice.

For this girl from the desert, ice storms are pretty magical. It is surreal to see ice coating everything. However, I am glad no one in our family had to go anywhere. One of those times I am thankful that my man works from home.

The hens don't mind a bit of snow.

The hens don’t mind a bit of snow.

We had a bit of sad news recently. One of our hens (“Pepper”) was killed by a predator of some sort. Considering it was during the middle of the day in broad daylight, we think it was one of the many neighborhood cats.

Flower Girl with Pepper this past spring.

Flower Girl with Pepper this past spring.

Now we’re down to three hens, one of which doesn’t lay very many eggs per year and none in the winter (our English Game Hen). The other two, however, have laid fairly steadily this winter (after their molt), even without supplemental lighting (for more information on supplemental light in the chicken coop, see this great article from Jill at The Prairie Homestead). I would love to add to our little backyard flock, but then I think of how much we are hoping to be gone this summer. And I think of transporting them back to Nevada when we do finally go. And I think, three chickens is enough. For now. 🙂

And in the mean time, we’re dreaming. We’re dreaming big!

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.” Psalm 121

First Frost

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We had our first frost here in the Portland area this morning. November 22nd and we just now froze! Gosh, the growing season is long here!

I love frosty mornings even if it does mean a bit more work to care for the animals.

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This morning’s chore was pretty easy, though. I just broke the ice layer in the chicken’s water dish and plucked it out. Not so easy when it get’s frozen solid.

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Frost sure is beautiful. God’s design frequently amazes me.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

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.” Psalm 121