Another Day at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno, Nevada





Another robin. :)

Another robin. 🙂

Japanese Kerria

Japanese Kerria

Flutterby chowing down.

Flutterby chowing down.

Apple blossoms almost spent out.

Apple blossoms almost spent out.

Feral kitty basking in the sun.

Feral kitty basking in the sun.

Don't come any closer, lady!

Don’t come any closer, lady!



Of course I have to add the bee's butt!

Of course I have to add the bee’s butt!

Wordless Wednesday ~ 8 April 2015


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.


Backyard Snapshot on a Sunday Afternoon ~ 6 May 2012

Bee in the Hawthorne tree loaded with pollen.


Rose bud.


Luna head-planting in the catnip.


Hawthorne blossoms and a bee.


Lovely chives.


Lucy in the strawberries.


A pear in the making.

The Hawthorne Tree is Blooming…and

it hums! 🙂 The bees have found it!! I love to stand under the tree, close my eyes and just listen…it sounds like a big ole bee hive. Smells good too.

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 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.

The Backyard Homestead – Edited by Carleen Madigan

I was lured back to Crafters’ Choice Book Club and picked out some books…mainly quilting, but one was The Backyard Homestead, 2009, Storey Publishing.

Here is a LINK to a youtube video with Carleen. Love the guy’s comment after making bread and butter.

I really love this book…it has all of the information in one spot! I have lots of different books on the subjects but this one has ‘How Much Food Can You Produce?’ for a Homestead on 1/10 of an acre, 1/4 of an acre, or 1/2 an acre. With guides on Vegetables, Fruits & Nuts, Herbs, Grains, Poultry, Meat or Dairy Animals, and Wild Foods. The book is loaded with recipes throughout!

The planting section is wonderful and very easy to read. Great growing guides; seed starting; cold & hot frames; saving seeds; harvesting; preserving; even an intro on canning.

I really like the Fruit section. I have five blueberry bushes that I was wondering about pruning and there is an excellent how-to with great illustrations on how to prune your blueberry bush. We just moved to a 1/3 acre on there is a peach and plum tree on the property…good section on fruit trees.

Love the Herb chapter! There is even a Flu/Cold planting guide with a recipe for an herbal broth. How to make Herbal Vinegars, Teas, and how to cook with them.

Grains…”Depending on how much bread and pasta you eat, you may not have enough land to grow al lthe wheat needed to feed your family. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t start with a ‘pancake patch’. Or maybe enough corn to eat during the summer AND make popcorn for the family movie night through the winter. Once you’ve got your pancake patch established, why not try your hand at growing and malting barley for making your own homebrew?” She walks you through planting, harvesting, threshing, winnowing, storing, and grinding. There is a section on cooking with grains ~ cornmeal, bread, pastas. Making your own beer.

Poultry for Eggs and Meat…that is what I want to do…the egg part at least. Still a bit squimish on the meat part. She has guides on Egg and Meat breeds, with dual-purpose breeds too. Egg production, life of the layer, bleaching sequence, replacement pullets, collecting and storing eggs, determining freshness, and cooking with. If’n you’re into the meat part…how to butcher. Directions to making a simple chicken coop. Also a section on raising Turkeys, Ducks, Geese. Duck eggs, I found out, are much richer than chicken eggs…I got sick on them when in high school, so I’m staying away from duckers. And Geese?! They’re just plain mean. I still rub my arse just thinking about them.

Since I’m on a 1/3 of an acre…I’m going to stay away from the larger farm critters. But there is a section on raising goats, sheep and cattle for meat and milk; piggies…which are my absolute favorite farm critter. I raised them in 4-H while in high school. Just love those Durocs! How to raise rabbits. And a guide to processing and preserving your meats. Smoking, making jerkey, making sausage.

There’s a section on making cheese…hard, soft, and cottage. How to make yogurt. Making butter. Ice cream.

The last chapter is on Food from the Wild….how to ‘forge from vacant lots and other wasted spaces.’ How to get permission to forage on other’s property, find a guide on local wild edibles, tools, harvesting.

There’s a section on beekeeping. That is something I would like to do too. I’d like to have one or two hives. How to get started, how to maintain the hive, harvesting the honey. And if you’re in the right climate for sugar maples…making maple syrup!

Eight pages of resources. USDA Hardiness Zone Map. Keeping Chickens: Selected City Municipal Codes (Reno…no prohibition or restrictions on keeping chickens in the city).

Garden Pictures For Today ~ Sparks, Nevada

Pictures today…it’s been one heck of a week here at work! Seems all I’m up for are picture postings. Sorry.

Maters! We ate our first garden tomatoes of the year! Red Siberians. Yum Yum YUMMMMMIE GOOD!


I’ve cucumbers growing! There are four plants throughout the yard…here are the Spacemasters.

I still think these wee bees (they are not honeybees, some other type or bee-like) are the cutest things…they were all tucked into the sunflower this morning. 🙂 NOTE: I talked to the beekeepers at the Nevada State Fair (8/26/09) and they said these guys are Native Bees!

The Lemon Queens are blooming! They are also over 8 feet tall! Holy Cow! I was finally able to submit data on the Lemon Queens to The Great Sunflower Bee Project. My other data submitted was for the honeybees on the lavender, russian sage, beebalm, and coneflowers.

Please look past the water stained windows (they are very very very old…like 70 years old) and instead gaze on the pretty jar with lavender buds and white vinegar. I’m making my own clothes softner/rinse.

Sunflowers & other flowers ~ Sparks, Nevada ~ June 2009

I threw out a couple of packets of sunflower seeds up in the front corner of our lot…they’re coming up everywhere now. Here’s a picture of my first bloom ~ this plant actually has 20+ flowers that will be blooming on it!


The Lemon Queen “Three Sisters” are over 6′ tall now. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THEM BLOOMING!


The rest are flowers that are blooming around the front yard…





Remember “mini-burning man”?


Just me playing with photoscape ~ I love the “antique” filter.


The Great Sunflower Project ~ Hobby Farm Home May/June 2009

I received the May/June 2009 Hobby Farm Home magazine yesterday…and by last night it looked like it was read by 20 people in a doctors office. 🙂 Just love that magazine!

On page 38 in Garden Grit by Susan M. Brackney there is a tidbit on GREAT SUNFLOWER PROJECT ~

Sunflower from my front yard, Sparks NV, 2008 ~ these wee ones were sleeping in the flower. 🙂

You’ve probably heard that our Honey bees, bumblebees and other natural pollinators are dying back, but thanks to the Great Sunflower Project, we can all help these insects – and the researchers who study them.

Volunteers are asked to plant sunflowers and then count the number of bees it attracts in a half hour or less twice a month. The goal is 5 bees during that time setting.

The sunflower that they are suggesting is the LEMON QUEEN (an American Natitve flower) ~ you need a sunflower that has POLLEN…and because people don’t like the pollen on their cut flowers, some sunflowers have been altered to be pollen-free. 😦

Pollen is critical for new bees so the Lemon Queen has been picked as the sunflower of choice. They are protein-packed and can be grown in your garden or pots…it will produce multiple, lemon-yellow blossoms all summer long so bees can be counted for many months.

Ultimatley, researchers hope to pinpoint geographic regions in which bees are most scarce, so participants without any bee visitors on their sunflowers will supply the most important data of all.

To donate or sign up for the free program, visit, while supplies last, a packet of Lemon Queen seeds will be sent to you. But you can always buy them at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( and Gurney's Seed & Nursery ( ~ Here is a list from the Project Site itself.

I’m going to look around the Reno/Sparks area to see who carries them locally. NOTE: If you’re in the Sparks/Reno area…the Sparks Lowe’s has the Lemon Queen seed packets!