My Sister Is Trying to Kill Me, Golden Eagle Trail Episode

The Sunday before Memorial Day, my sister tried to kill me. Golden Eagle Trail is a little over 9 miles of death. Very pretty, very steep, death. Otherwise known as a hike. We met up with two of her equally insane friends a little after 9:30 in the morning with her dog  Tippy and my Jada. We then proceeded to the trail. Oh boy. I’ll let the pictures speak to how pretty it was.

that doesn’t look so bad…


Jada and Tippy enjoyed the hike:

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Pretty scenery


with nasty edges. That is a sharp dropoff at that rock edge.


I wasn’t going to get much closer. Jada and Tippy were braver than my sister and me. This had another big dropoff edge.


Neat rock. Looks like a bench but was not that big. Just a neat rock.


More rocks and pretty.




More rocks.


Rocks and trees.


Wolf Creek, I think.

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More pretty.


The highest point. You’d think I could maybe smile?


Jada in the creek.


Those poles come in handy!


Such a happy hiker dog!


After the attempted homicide, errrrr, ummm, hike, I watched the video on this post about the trail. Where he talks about the steep downgrade being hard on older knees? UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY!!! I really had trouble with this part. I wish I had known that it was a known issue. I felt like a big baby. But, that said, I really was hurting. Aleve helped a lot. Made it so I could get back to my car. I couldn’t turn around and couldn’t just stay there. Surprisingly enough, the next day I was just stiff all over. And by day 2, I was much better. So, I win this round. Wonder where she’ll try to kill me next? I think I may push for Watkins Glen. I haven’t been there in over 40 years. I’d like to see it again.


End of May Wrap Up

05/24/2016 Got the Fiend Fence up! They are not, I repeat, NOT happy about that. Mabel was really trying to get through it this morning. Then she was pacing back and forth along the fence line. They’ll get used to it. 20160516_143247[1]

Got the Romanesco broccoli planted. I hope Jada does not step on them. Rose de Berne tomatoes are next on the list. I bought some creeping phlox for the spot next to the driveway in the “hell strip” and split it into two. Put the other half next to the irises that are around the telephone pole on the opposite end of said hell strip. While planting that one, I noticed a faint anise or licorice scent. I never knew my irises had a scent! It was definitely coming from the iris.

Also bought 12 strawberry plants. I put one in a hanging basket and one in a hanging basket that I turned into a pedestal planter. Now to figure out where to put the other 10.

Since I am so dang proud of those cages around the square planters, I am going to swap them out with the smaller ones out by the polyhouse. Just because the chickens can’t get at them now, is no reason to not make use of them. And this way, I don’t have to make cages for the planters that are out there now. Just swap.

In the last few months, Moe has started bumping the back of my head as he walks by. This is something new. He’s 9. And it isn’t just a one bump pass by. It’s 2 or 3 hard pushes and then he goes on. Weird cat. Gorgeous, but weird.

Moe being silly


06/05/2016 Got the strawberries planted next to the patio under the tall pear tree. They seem happy there. Got the Rose de Berne in. Got the planters swapped. Found out the kohlrabi and radish seeds were mislabeled. I think what I thought was radish is kohlrabi. I know what I thought was kohlrabi is radish. Harvested those already and planted more. Very spicy variety, whatever it was. 20160523_120251.jpg 20160523_134714.jpg

The Feathered Fiends did great in May – a total of 145.5 eggs. The .5 one was a “fairy egg”. They are smaller and are only the white. I had one of those in April, also. It happens. I now have 28 eggs frozen in the freezer waiting for the winter slow down. And a whole quiche. And 42 in the refrigerator. I need more egg recipes.

Part of the reason I haven’t posted is that I am learning how to YouTube in addition to how to blog. My channel is here:  I know that is an awkward link. There is a way to have your name as the channel name, but I haven’t found out how to do that yet. This trying to stay current stuff is mildly stressful and somewhat exciting. Admittedly, it is all vanity stuff. I don’t have anything earthshattering to report, but it is a way my distant kids can see what I am doing (like my Facebook posts aren’t enough?) and it is a log of sorts. So I will keep doing it.  In the mean time, my sister tried to kill me. I am waiting for the pictures of our hike on the Golden Eagle Trail before I post more about that.



Mid-May Garden

05/16/16 through 05/22/16 Made some seed tape and planted 20 carrots in front of the cabbage. I am not really expecting great carrots since the ground is rather stoney, but the foliage will be pretty along the sidewalk. Any carrots will be a bonus. I don’t use a lot of carrots anyway.

Got the fencing material to make the Fiend Fence. Just need to install it now.

Took one of the jars of super thick brick jam, added about half a jar of water, and some more berries. Reheated and rejarred. I think it worked. I’ll test some tonight.  Yes! It worked!!

I bought some rhubarb and had it in a pot. Darned Fiends ate all but one leaf! I thought they were toxic. Fiends must not be sensitive to that.20160516_115013[1]

We have a cherry! A. Cherry. One. I think I’ll name it George. 20160519_160438[1]

Have the Fiend Fence posts in. Weather is supposed to be rainy for the next two days so the dirt around the posts will have a chance to settle in. I’ve gone around and foot stomped at the bases so they are firmed in a bit. Gates are in place. 4x4s are cut for the border to the paver area in front of the coop. Next dry day will be working on the fence and paver area. The remainder of the Fiend Fence is the green coated 2″x4″ wire mesh stuff.


Baby blueberries! Doubt we will get enough this first year to do much with. I need to look up how to propagate them. I don’t think 3 bushes will be enough for me.


Pear tree is loaded again with lots of fruit.


I bought 12 June bearing strawberry plants. Now where do I put them? I have two baskets that might work for two of them. Maybe by the patio under the pear tree.

I think that is enough rambling for the moment. More at the end of the month with updates on the Fiends, my sister trying to kill me, and the annual parade.




Early May Garden

05/06/2016 Things are sprouting! Mostly stuff I want to sprout, but there are a few weeds. Ok, a LOT of weeds.

My pumpkin experiment worked. I put 3 seeds from a 2011 packet on damp paper towels and 3 from a 2013 packet and put each in its own little lidded container to see which one would sprout, if any, and which one first. This morning I saw a root poking out of one of the 2013 seeds. Potted it up and now out into the greenhouse it goes. The others are back to their window to keep trying. Not that I need 6 pumpkin plants.

The yellow wax beans (Second attempt) that I direct seeded have started to appear. The first batch I started inside and they did not do well. I think I started them too early.

05/10/2016 Total of two pumpkin seeds from 2013 sprouted so I have them potted up in the greenpolyhouse. I don’t know what to call that thing. It is like a greenhouse and like a polytunnel hybrid. Polyhouse maybe? Anyway, back to the pumpkins. 2011 seeds did not sprout. They might have eventually, but I do not need more pumpkins. So I tossed them.

The beans are growing. Both kinds have poked up through the soil. Started sprouting some of the hot pepper seeds from last year’s crop. I don’t use that many hot peppers – we still have a bunch in the freezer – but someone here expressed an interest in hot pepper jelly so….

Speaking of jelly, I made my first ever jam today from raspberries that I had in the freezer. So sweet and yummy. And I even used a reduced sugar recipe where the fruit:sugar ratio is not 1:1, but 2:1. Why haven’t I done this before?20160510_205333[1]

As part of my learning how to do new things journey, I tried to video my yard and uploaded the very raw results to my YouTube channel. If you want to be bored silly, you can view it here:

Next step, figure out how to edit and label the videos, and how to change the channel name. UCJblahblahblah is not a good name.

I’m moving the biggest raised bed. Rotating it 90* and shifting it back toward the patio about 2′. It will make for a better traffic flow and space for another bed later.

Work on the path is somewhat underway. I’ve moved the one daylily and put part of it in pots and part of it in the strip between the sidewalk and curb. Tidied that up, put in the edging and leveled it out a bit.


The girls are laying consistently. I forgot to mention April’s total egg count. We got 123 for the calendar month! I have a whole quiche in the freezer along with 14 frozen eggs. We’re eating a lot of hardboiled eggs throughout the week. And still, I have eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. We get between 3 and 5 eggs daily with the occasional 6 and once 7! But those darn roosters are starting to annoy me. They are not aggressive to me, but they are just very hard on the girls. Some of them are bald on their backs. I either need to rehome the boys, learn how to butcher and process, or make protective gear, aka chicken saddles, for the girls. I am leaning toward option 2, much as I like them. I’m putting it off until spring broody season is over. If one of the girls does want to be a mama, I’d like to use our own eggs this time.

More later, as I get on with the yardwork.

April and a wee bit of May Random Rants and Raves

WD40 is great. I keep a can of it in the kitchen. I use it to take the baked on crap off the stove top. It takes off label residue so I can reuse mason jars I get from the farmers’ market. It also removes Sharpie marker from plastic.

Either George RR Martin or Steven Moffatt seems to be in charge of the cast of 2016. Getting tired of all the celebrity deaths.

Left shoe first. I have no idea why, but I usually put on my left shoe first. It isn’t the end of the world if I put on the right one first. Just one of the weird things I noticed recently.

Anyone want a rooster?



End of April in the Backyard & Frontyard

04/22/2016 Moving the keyhole shaped pavers from the sitting area next to the pond to in front of the coop. No one ever sat there anyway. Then I will reconfigure the path around it, since we no longer need a path to the now removed burner barrel area. Fun with flat rocks!

I potted up the 2 spaghetti squash in the really big pots but wind broke the stem of one of them. So, I’ve set another few seeds to sprout. By the time they do that, I can put them right out.

The yellow wax beans had the same problem. But since it is forecast to be fairly warm, I just planted more in the bed where I was going to put them anyway. Bed #3. The other side got the Blue Lake Pole Beans. Fencing around to keep out the Fiends.

Got the front garden beds planted out and figured out. Turnips and peppers will go in the ground in May. The rest of those 2 beds is done.

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The sidewalk bed. I put sticks up where all the plants got put so I don’t accidentally weed them. Yeah, I would do that.
The local feral cats like to go under the porch. I am thinking of putting some catmint next to their entry hole.

The Roma tomatoes are in bigger pots and half of the Rose de Berne are also. I have started saving all my cottage cheese tubs now to use next year. I didn’t have enough temporary pots. I am also saving toilet paper tubes for the parsnips and styrofoam meat trays for underneath all the pots. Gardening on the cheap.

04/28/2016 The replacement piece for the greenhouse came on Saturday. Got the whole thing back together and the cover back on. Now I just need to figure out how to keep the door open on windy days without the whole thing blowing away again.

Sprouted some sunflower seeds from the Fiends’ nightly snack supply. I will use them to screen the propane tank and the rainbarrels. Might as well make the yard look pretty. Sprouted out some turnips last week so they got planted in the reserved spot next to the driveway. Only got 12 so far. Set some more to sprout. Or as the proper allotmenters call it, “chitting”.

20160418_081546[1]The cherry trees actually bloomed this year! I didn’t expect them to since we planted them just last year. And the poor apple tree is hanging on. Even the damaged branch that really needs removed is blooming. Pear trees are both in bloom also. Blueberry bushes also.

I bought another rhubarb. I potted it up and it split into two, so just maybe, I will be able to have one survive. I don’t know why I have had such lousy luck with them. I am going to try putting them in the front fenced part of the yard. Unless I change my mind. But that seems the best place at the moment.

The mystery spot in the front garden next to the hosta got beets in it. I got fancy with those beds and made labels for the individual plants. I took one of those indelible markers that welders use on pipes and wrote on rocks that were there.


I have most of the seedlings in the greenhouse now. I’m getting impatient to get them all in the beds. I really need to get the truckload of composted manure. Maybe this weekend. Then I can focus on the Fiend Fence. And the path. And the pond. And, and, and. It never ends, does it?

Updated: The Great Greenhouse Build

Fixed the weird picture placement.
Ok, the title is a bit of a stretch. It’s super easy and the pieces were well labeled.


The box. Almost like Christmas. So excited!


The site. The apple tree is to the left. Cherry tree to the right.


The pieces.


Base assembled.


Halfway there!


Ooops. Missing piece #6. One of the roof supports. I called the company and they are sending out a replacement.


Put on the cover anyway, while waiting for piece #6. I have plants in there now. I like it so far. The top gets the morning sun more than I thought it would, since it is above the fence’s shadow. Good to know for next spring’s seed starting. I want to put concrete blocks around the base to hold the plastic down and maybe fill them with dirt to use as strawberry planters. If I can figure out a way to keep the Feathered Fiends out of them.

Update. Had a very windy day. Since I didn’t have blocks down, the durn thing blew over. So, while I am waiting for piece #6, cover is off and the plants are back inside. The ones that survived, that is.


I have no idea why I did this, but I recovered my toddler sized rocking chair seat. I forgot to take a before picture, but just picture a faded purple blotch that was supposed to be a flower on a stained piece of white. Very stained. Toddlers are not tidy. Anyway, I had a scrap of fabric I am getting rid of as part of the hoarder fighting project. So I cut off part of it and stapled it around the base. Maybe took all of 15 minutes. An odd project since I have no one that is of a size to use the chair. But it is cute. And ready for any future toddler visits. Hint hint hint. (Not nagging, kids, just, well, hinting. I need babies to love on.)IMG_20160326_070631[1]

My crocheting continues. I do a row or three while I watch YouTube gardening shows. Motivates me to do weeding and try new seeds. Here’s what I am working on at the moment:

04/17/2016 The blanket is bigger. I am going to double it because the finished version per the pattern is about the size of a lap blanket. Not quite what I was expecting. I do like the different textures.



April’s Backyard Barnyard

04/05/2016 Seedlings still inside. Tonight the low is supposed to be 18*F! Not much better on Saturday. So, I will keep the baby plants inside. I moved bed 1 today to where the 3 circles are on the plan. Lot of fun moving all that dirt. Shove chickens out of the way, scoop dirt. Toss dirt in bed 3. Move chickens. Toss dirt in wheelbarrow while carefully (or not) avoiding chicken. Shove chickens out of the way, scoop dirt. Move wheelbarrow while kicking (gently) chickens out of the way. Dump into bed 4 while not caring if chickens get dirt on them. They are so helpful. Not. I think we’ve decided on plan 1 for the Fiends to have for their free range area. I will choose soon. I need them out of the people area.fence plans

I may possibly move the blueberries that are on the left side to the front fenced yard. We’ll see. They’ve only been in the ground since late summer/early fall of last year.

04/06/2016 Oooooooh! Looky, looky what came today! THANK YOU, Merry!!!


It’s a green poly greenhouse! When assembled it will be 6′ x 8′. Now to figure out the best place for it. I think probably between the apple and cherry trees (the cherry tree is only about 4′ tall) where the dog house is. Dog never uses the house anyway.

We decided on plan 1 for the Fiend fencing.


The Fiends of March

January’s egg total was 48 eggs, after a 2 month long molt/sunlight shutdown of production. Our coop is not lighted so that had something to do with it. February’s total was 47. Cate’s eggs are the really dark ones, Bridget’s are the palest brown. I don’t think Serena or Ruth are laying at all. Neither are my blue/green layers, although Mabel is showing a lot of feather damage on her back. I think she is a favorite of one of the roosters. Or both of them. Nasty birds. I may have to make her a chicken saddle. They look like little dresses to protect their backs.

03/03/2016 Mabel is laying! 2 blue/green eggs in the refrigerator now. I really need to make her that saddle. Her back looks sore now.

3/18/2016 Zippy, Cate, Serena, & Ruth:20160318_154627[1].jpgWe are getting an average of 3 eggs a day now. I still don’t think Ruth is laying but she is not a breed known for that. She was supposed to be part of a meat bird experiment. 12 eggs. One hatched. Sigh. Hard to dispatch one if you know which one it is. Until I get VERY hungry. And she’s now beyond that “tender” age. I do have a presser cooker. Hmmmm, Ruth, you’d better start laying!

(Mar_12,_2016_03-32_PM)SAMSUNG_SM-N900V(4128x2322)[1] Bridget


Both Ameraucanas are laying now! And on St Patrick’s Day, the egg was very green!


Zippy looking gorgeous.

03/23/2016 Note to self: check under the coop for eggs. Found 2 there today. Float tested them and they were ok. If they don’t float, they are good.

04/03/2016 Bridget is the under coop layer. Silly girl. Last year she laid in weird spots also. Now we are getting 3-4 eggs a day. We will be eating a lot of eggs! I do plan on freezing some. I didn’t know until recently that you can do that. Just put them in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Pop them out, baggie them up, and they will keep for a long time. I will be doing that later in the late spring to mid summer for when the Fiends take their winter break. March’s total was 97 eggs.

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