Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

There is nothing more fun than growing your own pumpkin patch. When I was growing up we always had a huge display of jack-o-lanterns all from pumpkins grown in our backyard garden. The neighbor kids would come over, we would all pick out some pumpkins from the garden to carve and we would have a big ol' pumpkin carving party. Sometimes drills and saws were required for the big 100 lb'ers and that was the biggest blast! Power tools, wheeee!

This is the first year I have had enough space to grow pumpkins in a long time, not to mention the freedom from those dreaded squash bugs. The garden produced several pumpkins this year even though I got the seeds in a little bit late. Here's the harvested haul. As you can see, some didn't quite ripen up, but that's OK. There's always something fun to create with a green pumpkin:

Here most of them are all carved up. There were 13 in total (perfect Halloween number!) and it took 2 days to carve them all. This is what was created on day 1. Most were original creations, the two on the left were from printable templates:

The kid created this nifty 4-sider:
This guy requires an up-close shot since it's hard to see his gourd-impaled head in the dark shot. The kid stated that 'that gourd must have had some pretty good momentum to get stuck in his head like that'.:

Here they are on the porch:

Day 2 the last few were carved up. A cat from a template, but we added a moon and stars:

It really comes alive when all lit up:

And a zombie pumpkin with a cauliflower brain. An old wire hanger cut into pieces was used to secure the top pumpkin and the brain in place. Red food coloring and pumpkin guts provided the bloody effect:
All lit up:

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Deck Cover Fabulousness

We have an uncovered deck area just outside our room that we wanted to use as an extended outdoor living area, but it needed a cover since it rains a bunch up here. The solution?  The hubs ordered this Kookaburra waterproof sail shade and attached it with eye hooks to anchor points on 3 corners of the house and a giant pole we made from part of a big leaf maple that had been cut back earlier this year. Then he strung twinkle lights all about it and around the pole.

It turned out awesome:

It reminds me of the outdoor spaces in Austin that we left behind. I love it! I'm thinking of painting the pole blue.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bloom Day October 15, 2012

It's October Bloom day and in true Pacific Northwest fashion, it is pouring and windy outside today. Fall has finally arrived and it's storming in like a pissed off mountain lion.

Even though it's nasty outside, I still have lots of flowers in bloom, but I'm sticking to the ones potted up on my deck so I don't have to get drenched to take photos.

The begonias are looking fabulous. The dragon wing begonia I brought with me from Austin really love the maritime climate and are just gorgeous:


I also now am able to grow tuberous begonia and they are looking spectacular:

Some yellow ones:

More yellow:

Some pink ones:

Another plant I'm so glad to be able to successfully grow again are fuchsia and they love this weather:

Here's the one that had a zombie revival from what I thought was a dead for sure after a million degree summer but came back in winter in Austin and traveled to the PNW with me to live a glorious new life:

Also brought from Austin and loving the maritime climate more that I ever dreamed it would is firecracker fern. It's blooming crazy right now and still attracting Anna's hummers even in mid October:

I'll be moving this to the pop-up greenhouse shortly, but am leaving it out as long as possible since the hummers enjoy it so very much:

Another one that really has been doing well that was a surprise to me is the Kangaroo Paw. It keeps blooming away:

The geraniums are still blooming beautifully. A pink one planted with fuchsia:

A purplish ivy geranium:

A bright red one:

The purple dahlia is still blooming:

As is the purple-stripey petunia that seeded iteself into the garden that I dug up and put in a pot so I could see it up close every morning:

The guara keeps on blooming. I like this one because it reminds me of Austin *smile*:

And I shall close out this bloom day post with the labuffarosa rain lilies that just keep on keepin' on. I had no idea they would love it so much up here:

Happy Bloom day everyone!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sale pots!

It's my lucky week! I picked up some groovy planters the other day at an estate sale that I just love and today I discovered pots 50 percent off at a local store. Half off!! It's like christmas time. So of course I had to run straight over there this morning to pick up a bunch of them. Not only were they half off, but they had lots of blue pots which I just love.

I've always loved blue and fell in love with the blue pots I would see all over Austin while living there. I had a pretty nice collection of cobalt blue pots down there but sadly had to leave some of the larger ones behind. I'm now on a mission to replace them.

Here's the smaller and medium ones I picked up. Some are brown and black as well as blue:

And these are the big blue ones. I am completely and totally in love with that super giant blue one. I plopped my abutilon right into that beauty:

I snagged the last giant blue pot, but may need to go back for more medium/small ones. For the love of pots! I need more!


Friday, October 12, 2012

Estate Sale Planter Finds

As I was on my way home from an errand today I spied a sign advertising an Estate Sale. 'Well that sounds fun!' I thought to myself. I'll go have a gander, might see something nifty.

The sale happened to be right around the corner from the house, so it was easy to stop in for a quick look. The road was lined with cars and all manner of people were marching up the long driveway to see what was for sale. We parked a ways down the road and had to walk a little ways it was so busy. Did I mention it was only 9:30 in the morning? Geesh! And people were already hauling out all types of stuff - end tables, furniture, tools, crab pots, dishes. It made me a little sad, actually. All these things were treasured items that once belonged to someone who has now passed. It was a little like watching vultures feasting.

The first thing I noticed was that the property was very pretty and landscaped, with hanging baskets everywhere, and yes, even those were for sale. These were plant people. They even had a greenhouse out back. I bet they have planters, I'm thinking to myself! I hope they aren't already gone.

Walking into the house, the sale already looked fairly picked over even though it was still early, but as I walked out on the back deck, what did I spy? Planters! Nifty planters. A giant heavy planter full of chicks and hens, a gorgeous blue planter full of begonia and a heavy bunny planter. The blue pot didn't have a tag, but I asked and they told me that, yes, it was for sale.

These all became mine for the fabulous price of a little over 20 buckaroonies. I am particularly fond of the bunny pot. This is a hefty, good sized pot and I'm thinking some lambs ear would look spectacular in it come spring:


This ginormous pot is tremendously heavy. I do think the dirt inside is fairly heavy, but the pot itself seems pretty sturdy. I really like the way it is aged from sitting outdoors for years:

AND it came with a super collection of chicks and hens:

The blue pot has some nifty leaves scored into it:

And look, it came complete with these gorgeous begonia:
I left the sale, planter prizes packed into the back of the car, imagining they were once loved pieces of that garden. They are leaving their beautiful garden behind, but have wonderful new homes in mine where they will be treasured once more.

Monday, October 8, 2012


What to do with many pounds of stupidly large cucumbers? And piles of jalapenos? Pickle them!

Here's the cucumbers being prepped for pickling. Many of these were a good foot long and the seeds were too large to eat. I decided to scoop the insides out and slice them up to fit in the jars:

I found this recipe and went with it. It made 14 pints and they came out great! Aren't they pretty?:

Next were the jalapenos. The jalapeno plant had so many peppers on it that it actually collapsed from the weight. I had to do something with all the peppers:

They were pickled as well. I used this pickled jalapenos recipe. It was really easy and they also came out just wonderful. One jalapeno plant yielded 8 pints of pickled peppers (not counting the piles of them I already ate).:


All together now:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Very Small Melons

My attempt at growing melons in the northwest resulted in croquet ball size melons. Hey, at least they actually ripened! I planted muskmelon seeds since I read muskmelon are supposed to grow up here, but didn't get them in the ground until mid-late may and then they didn't even sprout until sometime in June. On top of that the nasturtiums pretty much ate the garden and enveloped the muskmelon plants. Nevertheless, the melons made an effort to grow and set several melons. Here are some I picked this morning:

These are definitely NOT the ginormous voluptuous melons I was able to grow in Austin, but as a first attempt, I think I did alright. Next time I'm going to try the 'Northern Arizona' heirloom seeds that I saved as those are supposed to be short season melons. And I'll start them inside first.

Regardless of their size, they do taste good! So I call that a win:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunflower Burglar

A sunflower seed burglar has been spotted in the garden. He's looking to see if anyone is watching:

Then he quickly commits the crime....
...chewing off the sunflower seed head in no time flat:
And makes a quick getaway! This squirrel is making out like a bandit: