Rancho San Rafael Park on an Autumn day

My sister, her boss, and myself walked around Rancho San Rafael Park at lunch time yesterday. A lot of the trees have turned already (few oaks holding out), but there were lots to see.

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Balcony Container Gardening ~ Sparks, Nevada

My garden space this year has diminished quite drastically…I have to utilize my balcony. Luckily it’s positioned for optimum sunshine!

I decided to limit myself to herbs, tomatoes, leafy greens, and probably a chile pepper of some sort. We have pretty good farmers markets around the Reno/Sparks area so I’ll supplement my kitchen herbs with the local farmer’s goodies.

I got these nifty containers, from Lowes, that sit on top of the balcony rails…the rest of the containers are made up of old flower pots I’ve found and some of my enameled cooking pots.

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So far I have planted chives, sweet basil, Greek oregano, Italian flat-leafed parsley (hate the curly stuff), lemon thyme, rosemary, orange mint, two different lavenders, summer savory, cilantro, red Russian Kale, German chamomile, and arugula.

Still need dill, either a jalapeño, serrano or New Mexican green chile, I’m thinking two heirloom tomatoes, garlic…and some radish seeds.

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Monday Rambles ~ 8 October 2012

Big sigh of relief…Autumn weather is finally making an appearance here in Reno. I’m glad the summer heat is waning.

I even greeted the cooler weather with making a pan of lasagna yesterday! I’ve been wanting to try a sauce recipe that I saw on Jennifer’s blog THE MUDDY KITCHEN…Make Sauce like a Sicilian. Holy Moly…was that a simple yet tasty sauce! I followed the directions to the t…except I added pine nuts to the garlic and olive oil stage.

Sicilian Sauce

I had enough for two pans of lasagna (froze one for another dinner)…that yummy sauce with Italian turkey sausage, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, crookneck squash, fresh spinach, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and shaved parmesan.

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A while ago I bought a book off of Amazon ~ Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques by Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley. All I can say is WOW! I’ve never seen a how-to book with so many awesome photographs to help you along.

I tried a pair of copper paddle drop earrings for my first project.

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I made ear wires in sterling silver, like the copper ones, for April’s earrings…they are off in the mail to her.

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Friday was the return trip of Union Pacific’s steam engine #844…she’s on her way back to Cheyenne for maintenance before heading to Texas to show off.

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Saturday we drove down to Carson City and visited the Greenhouse Project at Carson City High School. What a cool place! And great project! We toured the greenhouse, raised beds and a hoop house that a student was working on for his senior project. We watched as the manager showed how to propagate herbs from cuttings…took some oregano and sage home with us.

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We found an great bamboo chair (rocks and swivels) for our balcony at the SPCA thrift store in town for $15…on the lookout for another one.

How My Garden Grows ~ Mid June 2012 ~ Reno, Nevada

My small garden has taken off with the warm nights and hot days we’ve been having lately here in Reno!

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Barrel full of Red Onions

Potatoes, Chives, Thyme, Oregano, Tarragon, Rosemary, and Catnip.

Beets…lots of them with garlic to the right and some more onions in front.

3 types of zucchinis on the left with a bunch of beans on the right.

Sugar Peas…there are carrots to the left.

BABY zucs!

Back right ~ japanese eggplant, Left ~ cucumbers, Front ~ pumpkins

Big box has oodles of heirloom tomatoes, two containers on the left have tomatillos.

Lots of different peppers and one basil.

Grapes…lots of grapes forming on the very old vine.

Pears are getting larger…branches are starting to droop.

For Today ~ 14 May 2012 ~ A Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY … 14 May 2012.

Outside My Window… Blue sky, trees blowing in the wind, birds feeding on the feeders, water truck spraying to keep construction dust down, God awful Scottish broom blooming.

I am thinking… I probably shouldn’t have hoed and dug in the backyard so much over the weekend…I killed my hands again. Taking lots of advil. But…I now have two garden boxes made out of recycled fencing materials (even the screws!). And most of the weeds are hoed out of that section where the fence was pushed back.

I am thankful for… Kitty hugs in the morning.

From the kitchen… more like bbq’ing from the back patio. Last night was New York steaks, mushrooms, and asparagus…tonight is bbq’d pork chops and a salad.

I am wearing… cropped tan pants, brown tshirt, and sketchers sandals.

I am creating… I’ve pushed the Nevada quilt aside, lost my mojo on it. I tried a new pattern (from the Zakka Style book) for a sewing kit, already have plans to “redesign” it.

I also have some fabric cut out and ready to make an e-reader holder/clutch…another new pattern to try.

I am going… to have to figure out what type of smellies to make some cold processed soaps. I should be getting my oils, butters and lye in the post soon!

I am reading… I just finished all five Percy Jackson books and am rereading the first book of the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero. Then will move onto the second, The Son of Neptune.

I am hoping… That the bloody phone stops ringing.

I am hearing… Coughing from upstairs, heavy high heel walking out in the hallway, traffic.

Around the house… floor needs vacuuming and the beets need weeding.

One of my favorite things… turning brown after being pasty all winter. 🙂 And painting my toenails with Del Sol nail polish. I have Surfer Girl on my fingernails and Sun Kissed on my toes.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… Play around with new sewing patterns, plant more seeds (gotta get the cucumbers in), pray for Mr. Stripey, the tomato plant…he didn’t take to transplanting very well. Oh yes, also have to cut up my charms for the Denyse Schmidt Charm swap.

Here is a picture thought I’d share with you…

My Sugar Snap Peas

Backyard Snapshot on a Sunday Afternoon ~ 6 May 2012

Bee in the Hawthorne tree loaded with pollen.

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Rose bud.

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Luna head-planting in the catnip.

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Hawthorne blossoms and a bee.

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Lovely chives.

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Lucy in the strawberries.

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A pear in the making.

Weekend in Photographs ~ Garden, Birds, and Bees…Fabric too!

It’s windy, cloudy, and my left sinus is killing me so I thought I’d just post a few photos I took over the weekend.

A few Denyse Schmidt fabrics in 1/3 yard cuts that I got at Joann's.

Part of my haul from Garden Spot in Sparks...Bee Balm, Dill, Sweet Marjoram, Orange Thyme...Thank you Groupon, $40 for $20!

Tarragon and Chives I planted in one of my old enameled pots. Catnip behind it, Thyme and Oregano to the left, taters in the barrel.

Taters are growing! Taters are growing!

Bee on what I think is an Oregon Grape/Barberry bush...at Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, NV.

Bees were loving the pretty yellow flowers! Loading themselves down with pollen!

Goldfinch along the Truckee River at Crystal Peak Park, Verdi, NV.

My Irises are starting to bloom in the front yard.

Aaiiiyeee! Lookie what I found growing in the yard!

ASPARAGUS!

I was given some transplant asparagus last fall…dug it a whole on the side of the yard next to my neighbor’s garage and promptly forgot about it.

Last night while watering the beets, peas, onions, garlic, radishes, and carrots I looked over at the overgrown weed/grass and a dried out asparagus fern. Went over to weed and found wee asparagus spears!

Ranunculus…or how I spell (and say) it…Rah-noch-u-less-ess-ess-es

I planted a few ranunculuses on Easter…it was a beautiful day! Sunny and warm. Can’t wait until it stays sunny and warm (not hot) but we have another blast of winter heading our way. 😦

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Do You Compost?

We’ve moved a lot and the last composting pile I had was in Sparks when we owned our own home. I’ve been turning over the garden in our newest place and decided I wanted a compost pile.

So I made one last night…using a dog training crate that came with a botched dog adoption off of Craig’s list.

From the Back to Basics Traditional Kitchen Wisdom book (LOVE THIS BOOK!) they said to pick a site that’s level, well-drained, and sunny. So I set up the kennel out back near the old grape vine where it will have sun practically all day.

What to Compost?

Greens such as grass clippings, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit & vegetable peelings, and plant cuttings, alfalfa hay, green weeds that have not seeded (except for pernicious weeds). The “greens” rot fast and will provide nitrogen.

Browns such as newspaper (non-glossy paper), leaves, cardboard egg cartons (but I save those to give to local chicken folks), straw, non-treated wood shavings. Browns provide fiber, carbon and air into the mix.

Water…make sure everything stays damp.

Air…turn over your mixture to introduce oxygen.

I’m going to throw in a container of fishing worms for good measure…they say red worms or red wrigglers are the best ones as they thrive on kitchen waste.

Items that should NOT go onto you pile are chemically treated wood products, diseased plants, human and pet waste, meat or bones, fatty food waste, milk products, and pernicious weeds (plants that are destructive to other plants in their midst are sometimes characterized as pernicious weeds).