Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"These were the happy days, the salad days as they say..."

"These were the happy days, the salad days as they say..." Raising Arizona.
(Number One with a Bullet on my All Time Comedy List)

Feast your eyes on the $400 salad. That's a conservative estimate of what I've spent so far on the garden. I have to say that it was quite delicious. You put enough goat cheese on a pile of dirt and it would be delicious.

See you next time...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Overruled On The Landscaping...

So a few posts back I went on and on about re-doing the planter box in front of our window. I thought I did a pretty good job at re-doing the box.

Then yesterday, my soon to be mother-in-law came over to help with the yard. She's a really good gardener, her house is straight from the pages of a magazine - so I figured I've give her the reins to the landscaping plans.

Step one was to take out everything from this box and move it.

Actually, that was step two. Step one was to do some edging on the front of the house to make room for those planter boxes. So we ripped out all the grass. And when I say "we" I really mean she did most of it and I made excuses to go inside or do some odd jobs that I've been putting off like fixing the light in the old horse trailer. It's amazing what a difference having someone around who knows what they are doing.

So we moved over the two planter boxes that house my strawberries, and then stole the river rocks that I thought I was going to fill the garden with. Until I bought five bags worth and didn't even make a dent in coverage. They look much better here in the front of the house. It's starting to look like someone who had a plan was doing it.

Next up, we ripped out the ratty old bushes in the front of the house. That turned out to be a pain in the arse. We did everything but get out the chain saw on this one, but finally got it out of there. So here's the mid way "after" pic.

Day Two: That was about all we got done on Sunday. On Monday, here's how things finished up looking.

Looks so much better now, and it'll continue to improve when the new flowers come in.
Nice work!

See you next time

Filling Out The Garden...

The Ol' Rancher Ron inaugural garden is getting pretty full. Seems like every time I'm at the hardware store, which is about every other day, I pick up a plant or two.

I got this little trio at Hayes Nursery in Issaquah, WA. It's a really nice nursery. Great Stuff. From left to right, I got 2 red beets, 2 artichoke, and white cauliflower. I'm hoping the artichoke works out, it's one of my favorite.

Also at Hayes I got this really cool little salad mix. There's three types of salad in there mixed together. With one snip of the scissors, you're in mixed salad land. Nice.

I also planted some more squares in my Square Foot Garden from seeds. I planted some golden beets, and mixed in a few flowers in the squares that didn't have a lot going on. There are still a few squares open, so I can plant some more when the urge hits me. I totally over bought seeds this year. I knew I was going to, but when they're $1.29, and I'm standing there at that huge rack of seeds, I can't help myself.

Speaking of not being able to help myself, I got to talking with my Neighbor Bill, who happened to have rented a roto tiller for the day, and we started eye balling a really old square of land back by my well house that seems to have a been a garden at some point in the last century. Currently I put a few giant pumpkin seeds in there just to see what would happen. Bill had the idea of planting a few rows of community corn and cucumbers to share. Seemed like a decent idea to me - so I grabbed on to this beast and gave it a spin. that thing is a monster. We tilled up everything but the two spots where I planted the giant pumpkin seeds. Bill started some corn inside at his place since it's been so cold here this spring (global warming, anyone?) We'll transfer them in a few weeks.

And then came the tomatoes. Again, I bought too much. I got two little starters, which I thought was two plants. But then I found out that there were three plants in each - so now I've got six tomato plants. I'll be giving these bad boys away this summer.

Finally I put in a few raspberry plants - a donation from the soon to be in-laws. And I bought an asparagus starter kit with eight starters in there. I think it takes two seasons for it to bear a crop, but that's ok with me. I loves me some asparagus.

Oh, I also planted some climbing flowers and beans to grow on our make shift arbor entrance. Should be looking good in a few months.

See you next time

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Hunt For Red Onion...

It's Official, I'm a Farmer.

So I have actually grown a piece of food. Amazing!
The usual suspect happens to be a red onion.
Of course, I captured it on video:

I'm such a nerd, I'm taking my onion to work to show Rachel and Dan - who helped me build the garden.

I can't wait to make my own salad entirely from the garden.

See you next time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Building An Apiary (Bee Yard) - Part One

In anticipation of my bees arriving soon, I started construction on my apiary today. That's just a fancy word for bee yard.

The big concern is that my neighbor said he saw a bear out in the back of our property last year, so I figured that it would be best to fence it in.

After a long consultation with The Cowgirl, we settled on this location. It's about 40 feet off the road behind some trees. The Bee Keeping for Dummies book said to have good southern exposure, and not too much shade - I think this is going to be perfect. The book talks about a flat, level surface for the hive to stand on, so I thought I'd put down some cement paving stones on a bed of sand, then build a fence with barbed wire for the bears.

Here's the 700 pounds of materials for the project. The ol' Santa Fe was just about maxed out. Cue the song "Lowrider".

I put down two layers of that black landscape plastic under the pressure treated 4x4 as a border. Then I filled it sand. Frank the dog came back to supervise.

Not really rocket science, but I think it will work just fine for the bees.
Next weekend, I'm going to put in 8 foot 4x4 posts and attach the horse fence material and run some barbed wire around it to keep the bears and raccoons out.

The bees should be here the first part of May.

See you next time.

Odds & Ends - April Snow & Ridin'

We had an extremely strange weekend weather wise.
On Saturday it snowed. The latest snowfall since the 1950's.

Then the sun would come out for a while.
Then hail, sleet, rain, sun - repeat. Really strange stuff.

We did get to go horseback riding on Sunday.
That was cool.

Now I just need to spend some more time in the saddle.
My knees get really sore every time I ride. I think I'm just
tense because I'm a novice, and it's a set of muscles that I
don't use very often. I'm sure It'll get better.

See You Next Time~

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Place at The Horse Show

We went to the horse show a few weekends ago. I'm just now catching up on all the blog posts. We were up at 5:30 in the morning to get down to the show on time. Had to swing by the big barn to pick up Squid the horse. She got a haircut down there.

All the horses thought they were getting an early breakfast, and were not too happy to see us when they figured out we didn't have any hay.

Gave the Squid a quick wash, put on her super-hero costume and we were ready to go.

I guess this thing is suppose to keep her warm and clean till we get to the show, but it always reminds me of a super hero costume. I want to paint an "S" on the side or something.

Here's Squid and The Cowgirl getting ready for the Halter division. She won first in the Arab, First in Pinto (she's half breed) and took First in the Champion's Class for Halter. Nice work ladies.

Here they are inside the ring.

Time for an outfit change, and put the saddle on.

We didn't do as strong in the riding division. Squid started acting up, and got distracted. Not her best showing.

Some friends of The Cowgirl - their daughter did well in the 15 and under division.

Good Times...

Let It Grow

Starting to see some action out in the garden... Even with all our spring snow this year. We just set a record today for the latest snowfall since they started recording the weather in the Puget Sound area. I blame Global Warming.

The Romaine lettuce is starting to poke through.

The spinach is making a run at it too. I'm especially excited about these two since this is my first year gardening, and I planted them from seeds. It's pretty cool to watch them come up. Can't wait to make my first salad from the garden.

But it's the bathtub onions that are coming in the strongest. These guys are coming in strong right now. I took an old bathtub and filled it up with dirt for this planter. There's a few different kinds of potatoes down in there too. should be nice in a few weeks or so.

My snap peas are starting to come up too. That will look cool when they're wrapped around the fence.

I also took the time to plant some new crops. The weather was nice last week - so I thought I was in the clear.

I planted some parsley, mint, basil, zucchini, rainbow carrots, and giant pumpkins. Me and my brother in New Mexico are planting the same seeds, and we'll see who gets the bigger pumpkin.

I was basically planting all the stuff my gardening book said was good to go early in the spring. We'll see what happens.

The plants definitely seem to like that llama poop from next door. That's some good stuff.

See you next time.

Rancher Ron

It's A One Way Ticket To Midnight - Call It Heavy Metal... Roof

The metal roof is installed! I have to say the Jerry and the gang at Metal Roof Specialties did an awesome job. Here's the before pic: your standard three tab shingle.

And the same angle with the metal on:

I'm not going to be replacing this thing any time soon. If you're thinking about a metal roof and live the Puget Sound area, these are your guys. They did excellent work, showed up on time, and worked the entire day - every day - till the job was done. I couldn't be happier.

Here's a few pics of the process:

This is the back side of the house - they finished that on the first day.

Here they are working on the front porch.

It's done! Nice work guys.

See you next time.

Rancher Ron