Archive | January, 2011

Critter-Proofing the Garden

30 Jan

Last year our orchard and vegetable garden were pillaged by critters of every stripe…moles, voles, gophers, tree squirrels, ground squirrels and even birds — who scratched, dug and pecked out the seedlings and sprouting crops. When the tree squirrels stole every single one of the ripe donut peaches in a single day, Eddie took action and built wire-screened enclosures around all the trees that still had fruit on them. Then he did the same for the tomato plants. This year, he decided he would simply build an enclosure around the entire veggie garden. I say simply, but it was not, of course. This is a truly awesome construction!

Destruction site and forms for concrete perimiter.

After lots of measuring, drawing up plans and materials lists, he ordered lumber, gopher mesh, avian wire, plumbing materials and concrete. First step was to remove the old fencing and bring in a back hoe to dig out 18 inches of soil. Then our gardener and his crew poured a foundation, lined the garden with gopher mesh, and put all the soil and some amendments BACK in the garden.

Soil is back in the garden, mixed with sand, compost and manure. Ready to GROW!

Butch and Eddie used THOUSANDS of staples to attach the avian wire to the panels.

 It took Eddie and Butch nearly two weeks to erect the frame and cover the top and sides with avian wire. Last of all, Eddie built gates and doors, and re-plumbed the irrigation system and the water to the henhouse.

We will use the supports to mount wires for vertical plants such as tomatoes, peas and green beans.

Three gates provide entry from the barn, the back yard and the hen yard.

We used to have several widely spaced raised beds here, which wasted a lot of ground and made crop rotation rather complex. So, not only will the new garden nearly double our growing space, it will be safe from underground, above ground and overhead bandits! Take THAT, you little varmints!


Ribbons of Memories…Tied With a Bow!

2 Jan

Today I plan to take down the rest of the Christmas decorations and reflect on the great times we enjoyed in 2010. There was granddaughter Amy’s confirmation and birthday celebration in spring; planting the orchard, pool parties and house guests in the summer; our month-long motor home trip and neice Arlene and Will’s magical wedding in the fall;  followed by a Thanksgiving visit from granddaughter Lauren, her husband Marty and our great-granddaughter Samantha from Toronto.  And, no sooner had the table been cleared of Thanksgiving dinner than I began decorating for Christmas…my favorite holiday!

A blue tree for Lila Blue!

The bird tree brightens Eddie's Bar

Deck the halls!

 In early December I went to see the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker with James, Maria and Yazmin…renewing an old family tradition. We took Yazmin for the first time when she was five and the last time we went was when she was 12, so I was tickled when she asked me if I’d like to go with her again this year.

James and Yazmin ready for dinner before the ballet.

Cheers to my lovely 17 year old granddaughter!

Maria, Yazmin and I are ready to see The Nutcracker.

The cast of The Nutcracker.

Christmas lights on City Hall.

On Christmas Eve Mari, Jeremy and Lila Blue arrived, and on Christmas morning LB opened her gifts. So much fun to watch a two-year old enjoy her loot!

I'm so excited...I just can't hide it!

Tea, anyone?

Ralph, Rosamaria, Melissa, Amy, James and Yazmin joined us for Christmas dinner. Eddie roasted a goose and a prime rib, after which we lazed around for awhile and then exchanged more gifts.

That goose is cooked! Cheers!

Yes! It's a polar bear!

Looking back, it has been another wonderful year for our family and we wish you all a healthy, joy-filled and prosperous 2011.

Happy New Year!

Oh...and there's that bow...the first thing to go up and the last one to come down until next year.

Hasta pronto,

Lisa and Eddie