Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Treehouse is Finished!

John has finished the treehouse! The last thing he did was add electricity so we can have lights up there, and I spent a few days adding a little furniture and decor.  The kids all came out to check it out and I couldn't be happier with their reaction! All three loved it.

Here's to hoping they'll have many happy hours up in the treehouse! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Max the Soccer Player!

We got to watch Max's soccer practice the other day -- these little kids are so cute! It's not so much playing soccer as it was just learning to listen and follow directions.  They mostly were getting it, with a few entertaining exceptions. So much fun!  

Afterwards we ate dinner with JR, Ashley and Max at a new food truck park. They have a great set up there for bringing your kids along - lots for them to do.

Monticello Vacation September, 2018

 We took a very nice vacation in September to see the home of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia, Monticello.  It's someplace I've always wanted to see, and the main reason is his famous gardens. 

We took a few days to get there, driving leisurely and stopping overnight two days before reaching our destination.  I liked that we weren't rushing and had time each evening to have a nice dinner and John could get a break from driving.  We do enjoy sight-seeing along the way.

Our stay in Virginia was the Afton Mountain Bed & Breakfast.  This home was built over 170 years ago, and is currently owned by the hosts who live on site.  We had an upstairs room, but there were several rooms downstairs open to guests for lounging and catching up with television if you desired.  John did go down a few times to find out what the weather was doing, since we were a little nervous about a hurricane that was predicted to come this way.  We did end up leaving a day earlier then we had originally planned, just to be sure we weren't going to get caught up in bad weather.

We had some fantastic food while we were here, the first night at the close-by Blue Mountain Brewery.  I even had a flight of their beers (most were great, some were weird! Raspberries on Acid was very different!)

Monticello itself was a little smaller then I thought it was going to be, but they've done a good job of keeping it up and making it available to tourists.  There is a visitor's center at the base of the hill, and a shuttle to take you up to the main home, which was nice in the very warm weather they were still having there.  The focus this year, from everything we heard while we were there, was to apologize for slavery.  I really thought we were past that here in the US, but I guess not, or we are regressing.  It's most likely the current press to change history, which we all know can't be done. Sigh.

The garden's were fantastic. I imagine every home in those days had their own gardens and had to raise all of their own food. The garden stretches out over 1,000 ft. by 30 foot, with terracing in between and some very permanent gazebos overlooking a fruit orchard below.  Currently the gardens are kept by volunteers and master gardeners who are available there for questions.

We had lunch that day at Michilli Tavern at the base of the property - they served lunch in period costume and much like what it would have been back when it was a stagecoach stop. The fare was very southern - fried chicken, blackeyed peas, potatoes, stewed tomatoes mixed with cornbread (way too sweet). 

Of course I bought some seeds for next year's garden from their gift shop! Excited to keep these varieties going.

We visited Appomatox the next day and toured the village that hosted the end of the war, where Lee and Grant signed the surrender of the south.  They had some of the best docents there who dressed in period clothing and acted out their parts. So enjoyable and educational! 

We also did a tour of wineries - lots of fun! Some good wines and some dry wines (haha!) and we packed lots of it in the car to bring home. A thoroughly enjoyable vacation!  
Only one of the wineries we visited. I wasn't very good about taking pics that day.

Does anyone know what this tree/bush is? Was on the street downtown near Appomatox where we had lunch at a diner there.  Interesting -- and I brought home one of the pods to see if I could get any seeds out of it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Garden Log ---- Fall/Winter Garden 10/9/2018

This is the second post to document what's planted in the Fall/Winter Garden.  

Before we went on vacation I had started quite a few seedlings in 4" pots, and I was so sure I had a great set up for them to survive while we were gone by putting them under the shade cloth and directly in place under the automatic sprinklers.  The only thing I didn't count on was way too much rain while we were gone.  Most of them drowned, but I was able to save a few of them.  These are in Bed A4:
Before the drowning

  • Cabbage, Drumhead
  • Cabbage, Chirimen Haikasu
  • Cabbage, Scarlette F1
  • Broccoli, DiCicco
  • Broccoli, Green Goliath
  • Broccoli, Waltham
  • Cauliflower, Candid Charm Hybrid
  • Cauliflower, Orange Burst Hybrid
  • Cauliflower, Erfurter
In Bed B1:
  • Choy, Shanghai Green
  • Choy, Toy
  • Choy, Purple
  • Choy, China Jade
  • Choy, Canton Boy
  • Bok Choi
  • Peppers, Stocky Golden Roasters
Pretty little Violet Sparkle peppers
Bed B2: 
  • Pepper, Violet Sparkle
  • Pepper, Jimmy Nardelo
  • Pepper, Lipstick
  • Pepper, Gypsy Hybrid
  • Kale, Premier
  • Kale, Chinese
  • Kale, Casper
  • Kale, Blue Scotch
In Bed B3:
  • Onion, Awahia
  • Onion, Tropeana Lunga
  • Onion, Copper of Milan
Do you see the little green loop in the center -- that's a tiny onion coming up!

That takes care of the main garden area.  Almost everything is starting to germinate and grow -- the rain is continuing and these plants love it.

The Squash House is planted with peas. Most of these I only had about 10 seeds, so I was able to put in several varieties.

Shelling Peas:
  • Champion of England (seeds I got at Monticello!)
  • Wando
  • Thomas Laxton
  • Purple Podded
  • Progress 9
  • Dark Seeded Early Perfection
Snow or Sugar Snap Peas:
  • Oregon Sugar Pod II
  • Sugar Ann
  • Dwarf Grey Sugar
  • Sugar Magnolia
That's a wrap.  I'll do another post when I get the greenhouse planted up.  I'm still not ready to move all my plants, I think I'll wait until there's a real chance of a frost.

Grandparent's Day 2018

We were honored to go to the Grandparent's Day program at Max's day school back at the beginning of September. What a bunch of cute kids in his class - we arrived a little early and were able to see his classroom and meet his teachers and friends.  They all wanted to show us everything in the room, and we read them a couple of books while we waited for the program to begin in the Church.  

Grumpy read a book for them

 Grandpa Gene was there, too!

The program was great and they all sang for us.  I was impressed with how many grandparents showed up! Afterwards, we went out for breakfast with Gene, Ashley and JR. A wonderful start to our day.
Max gave us some artwork for the fridge!

Pesky Peach Wine

Oh, this peach wine is giving me quite the headache. I should have been bottling this stuff at the end of September, but its developed a fizz. Arghhh!!!!

This means that the sugar I added the last time has triggered a new round of fermentation. I had to get some Potassium Sorbate to add. This should stop the re-fermentation, so it goes back into the carboy for another month.  I'll test it again at the end of October.

Not in love with the taste (again), so this might be my last year making peach wine. We shall see.

Plum Wine

I bottled the plum wine on September 24th. It is really very delicious and full bodied, and I'm hoping next year I get lots and lots of plums so I can make a lot more of this one. 

It will be resting now for a few months, although this one can be consumed young. We'll bring these out at the holidays for sure!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Garden Log ---- Fall/Winter Garden 2018

I know I've been quiet on the blog for a few months, but I've been busy, I promise!  We took a little vacation (blog post to follow in a while) and in between I've been planning and planting the fall/winter garden.  John did all the hard work, of course, all the tilling and placing the automatic waterers back in place.
Over the next few days I'm going to play catch up here and document what I've planted, since I do use this journal as my memory!
Baby Spinach coming up!
Bed A1:   

  • Early Wonder Tall Top Beets
  • Geante Blanche Beets
  • Golden Beets
  • Chicory, Verona Red
  • Chicory, Indent Leaf Catalan
  • Endive, Broad Leaf
  • Endive, Green Curled
  • Sweet Red Cheese Peppers (hold over from Spring/Summer)

Bed A2:

  • Corn Salad, French
  • Corn Salad, Dutch
  • Corn Salad, Verte a Couer Plein 2
  • Spinach, Red Kitten
  • Spinach, Regeant
  • Spinach, America
  • Spinach, Gigante di Inverno

Bed A3:

  • Carrots, Pusa Asita
  • Carrots, Little Finger
  • Carrots, Cosmic Purple
  • Carrots, Solar Yellow
  • Carrots, Yellowstone
  • Carrots, Shin Karoda
  • Carrots, Chantenay Red Core
  • Carrots, St. Valery
  • Carrots, Mixed
All of these are germinating and most have started growing.  The rains we've been having have really helped. 

Sweet Red Cheese Peppers

I'll post more tomorrow!