Saturday, April 30, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Oops... forgot to rotate.
The garlic is thriving.


What's your favorite brand of garden tool?

a survivor from our tree planting last year, now mulched

Fun at the Little House

Friday, April 22, 2011

Saturday Work

The gentleman should have finished their 100 bushes and trees by now.  The holes were already dug, so it was "just" laying a tree in the right hole, adding a shovel full of compost, and planting.  Add to that their work at getting four tons of compost delivered, as well as a truck-load of mulch at the Little House and Purgatory Ranch.  Myle was a workhorse too, watching kids, some not even her own, hauling water to water the orchard at the Little House, shoveling compost, and planting trees.

Needless to say, compared to their intense labors, my weeding of two rows of potatoes and watching kids is pretty puny.

Evergreen bunching onions (left) and garlic are thriving.
Looks like the onions are even forming bulblets just as they should!

Potatoes.  Awesome.

Trees we planted last year the day before Bear Cub Q's birthday.  Many are still alive.
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


are center stage right now.  The men hoed more today.  No pictures or other news currently.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Saturday = Visit to the Land

It hailed last night.  Stormed mightily.  So, upon arrival to the land, our neighbor to the south (who we always provide with a good laugh) informed me that I was "just like a city farmer.  Always showin' up after the storm."  Hey, I mentioned it hailed.  Do you think the van will look any better with a second round of hail damage?  Methinks not.

 Our kiwis look like someone to a blow-torch to them, so they are dead.  Meanwhile, the gooseberries, castoffs of my brother, are sprouting from the roots, and the blueberries are greening up nicely.  The pond has mud at the bottom, which has not been the case for MONTHS.

Purple, red, yellow and green stakes = homes for future windbreak trees
The men marked out where Dan's windbreak will go at their future home.  By the time they finished that, it was a little warmer than I can take (I'm a redhead, and apparently don't adjust well to heat.  I like think I'm not a wimp as I did deliver three babies without an epidural or much pain medicine, and James is too gentlemanly to suggest such a thing).  They also hoed the potatoes.
Garlic and tree onions thriving on neglect
First potato sprouts

James still says we should have named the land something OTHER than Purgatory Ranch, but I think he's stuck.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

I haven't purchased laundry detergent in more than two years, to the best of my recollections.  My mom did bring me a container of liquid store detergent a few months ago, after I sprained my ankle and wasn't up to making my own (I was trying to lie down as much as possible, in case the ankle was broken).

So, Thursday, when I descended to the basement to start laundry, I was unpleasantly surprised to see that I had used all but one load's worth of detergent.

Gathering the ingredients: I have a hand grater (used only for soap).  For one batch of soap, I need a bar of Fels Naptha or Ivory soap (just plain jane soap... no additives, no fragrances), 6 oz. borax and 6 oz. WASHING soda.  A container to hold the soap.

Grate the soap on the smallest size possible.  In the summer, the soap has a tendency to warm up in my hand and get a bit gummy.  It can always go in the freezer for a little bit to harden up again.

Mix the soap with the borax and washing soap.  Put a lid on the mixture and shake it up.  The borax and soda can kick up some fine powder, so it's easiest to mix it by shaking.

2 Tb. is enough of a big load of laundry.

And now I'm set for the next month.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Chores

include lots and lots of hoeing.

So that's what we did today.

Foreground, gooseberry bushes and rose bush.  Background, onion, asparagus, Rose Finn Apple potatoes, kiwis, and blueberry bushes.  Oh, yes, and more of those six tons of compost.

Roadside potato bed, after hoeing.  There's a large pile of compost still awaiting adding.
We also planted 6 hardy kiwi vines and 3 blueberry bushes.  I checked out the gentlemen's planting of a rose bush and several gooseberry bushes.

My godfather is now at eternal peace, or at least on his way.  May our labors today free him from any time necessary in purgatory.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Making Homemade Vanilla

Although this won't make a lot of vanilla extract (8 ounces... the recipe has it scaled to 1 gallon of vodka).

In six months, I'll let you know how it tastes!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

... say a prayer for my godfather, who is on his deathbed.  I was blessed to have a chance to say goodbye to him yesterday.