Saturday, May 26, 2012

Is it Springtime Yet?

I have several days off so I have been going through the sheds and throwing things out.  You know, those old blankets and bedspreads that I was going to use for ... what?  Dog beds or plant covers or something.  I had some freeze protection row crop cover cloths that were stored for two years.  Turns out I can't use them since it is so windy here I can't keep them on the rows.  A large mouse/rat had turned them into a nest.  I threw them out.

We had a ton of rodents last year which we diligently trapped out but I hadn't really gone through the shed to see what the damage was.  I got a lot of stuff thrown away in two of the sheds.  I put out about ten bins and barrels and boxes.  The trash guy told me it was too many but he magnanimously decided to take it all anyway. Thank goodness since I will probably have more by next Friday.  I am in the mood to throw it away if it hasn't been used in awhile.

I also managed to gather up all the little odds and ends of two by fours that I can't bring myself to throw away.  We'll burn them next winter so I put them in a barrel to store with the rest of the wood out back.

Christmas lights.  We don't do Christmas and we have no children so ... I threw away some more of those darn lights.  I still have some left.  Maybe I'll be rid of them all in another year or two.  I spread all the fertilizers and such around the yard.  They aren't doing me much good just sitting in here, now are they?

The wooden shed looks much better.  The long shed is doing a lot better as well. I have some more work to do on the front wall and a shelf to install.  We have to make the sliding doors this summer, as well and I need it to be as cleaned out as I can get it to work in there.

Wednesday and Thursday were gorgeous.  Coreopsis is blooming underneath my Golden Honey Locust.

We have at least four males and one female hummingbird coming to the feeders.

Thursday the wind came up in one great gust and didn't quit for two days.  Here is an oriole clinging to the bobbing feeder.

Friday was hellabad.  This is rain/snow.  If you look closely you can see Wiseguy the miniature horse inside his shed.

Wiseguy came out briefly, decided the weather really did suck and went back into the shed to gaze out at the bad weather some more.  It rained and rained.  We needed the moisture but I got really wet working on the long shed.  I fired up the wood stove to dry off and warm up.  I love that wood stove.

Oh yeah, and the electricity went out for about 6 hours yesterday.  Bummer.

Fortunately the snow didn't stick and today, although only 55 degrees and pretty windy, isn't nearly as bad.  We are hopeful that our veggies will pull through and we won't have to replant.  Especially since we don't have any extra melon or winter squash seeds to replant with, for the most part.

Monday, May 21, 2012


We had a full eclipse of the sun yesterday at 6:28 pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time.  I met Hubby at a location in Dayton so that we could see it together.  He had to work and wasn't going to be home in time to see this solar event with me.  I left early enough to go shopping since it is a 40 minute drive so I hate to get that near a store and not get a few groceries.  

Friday I decided not to get gas on the way home and I thought that, although I would be pretty low on gas, it wouldn't be an issue.  When I hopped into the truck to leave, I saw that the gas gauge was pretty low but when I got on the road it seemed really, really, really low so I had to drive to the four corners to get gas on my way out instead of taking the cutoff and buying gas on the highway just before Dayton. I probably added an extra ten miles to this trip. That'll teach me not to be lazy:)

Anyway, here are some not-really-great photos from the solar eclipse.

This one is a photo of  the shadow of the moon moving across the sun.  We set up a spotting scope as a small telescope and reflected the image onto a piece of paper.  Bearing in mind that one cannot look directly at the sun or the eclipse without eye protection.

This is a photo of the moon sitting right in the middle of the sun.  The moon is the darker part in the middle even though you have to look closely to see it.

We had a dark piece of welding lens with us and I got this photo by holding the dark glass over the camera lens.  Pretty awesome.

An event like this will not occur in our area again for 25 years and it was a thrill to witness this natural phenomenon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The DMV and Insurance Compliance

The Department of Motor Vehicles in Nevada has sent me a certified letter telling me I am not insured for the Toyota pickup truck.  Of course, I filled out a form online when I sold it telling them I sold it.  Then, I filled out another form online more recently at their request.  They told me I wasn't insured and asked me why.  I told them because I sold it.

So, now they have sent me  a certified letter telling me I am in big trouble for not having insurance on the vehicle and that they can't verify that I sold it.  I called and spent thirty some minutes on hold waiting to get a live person on the line.  When I did, they told me to ignore the letter since, if I sold the vehicle, I wouldn't be registering the vehicle and you only get hassled if you are registering the vehicle.  He claims that this does not effect the other vehicles I actually do own and for which I am completely insured.

What a pain and how ridiculous.


Here is a photo of one of our black chin hummingbirds.

We have at least four male black chin hummers coming in to the feeders every evening.  They are very difficult to count as they are zooming and fussing and chasing each other.  On top of that, we also get several orioles coming in to feed as the sun is going down.  Totally flusters the hummers who try to intimidate the orioles with fancy helicopter maneuvers like zooming in underneath the feeder and then going straight up to pop in the faces of the orioles.  The orioles are NOT afraid:)  

Sometimes I sing the theme for Star Wars.  Duh duh duhhh dunt.  Duh duh dunt,  Duh duh duh, duntelly duuuuhhh.  They are so dramatic and definitely each one is fighting the battle to be king of the feeders.

Their wings make a buzz noise as they zoom through the yard.  I told Hubby last night as he was going out the front door to be careful.  The hummers are chasing one another over the top of the house and you might end up with one of them stuck into your face with its long pointy needle like beak!  I swear, a couple of times I was worried they would poke my eye out.

They move so fast sometimes my slow eyes don't even see them.  All I hear is the high pitched buzz of the wings.  The guys who fly jet fighters for the Navy over in Fallon probably wish they had the speed and maneuverability of  a hummingbird.

We also have at least one lady hummingbird around here.  The male shows off as she sits sort of low in a bush or on the fence.  The guy goes buzz, buzz, buzz rapidly in front of her, back and forth, back and forth, spooning his tail out as he tries to impress her.  He then zooms up at a bit of an angle, zooms around at the bottom and then zooms up the other way in an eliptical orbit.  He doesn't complete the circle but pauses at the top and zooms back down and up the other way.  Very impressive and if I was a girl hummer, I would want him!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Spring Photos

Ads are appearing on this blog and I don't know why.  I am trying to figure that out.

The hardy geraniums are just starting to bloom.

The Purple Robe Locust is showing how it got it's name.  We are counting on it to shade the breezeway and it is starting to be effective.  Three years old.

The Cottoneasters have cute little red flowers.  The bees are loving this plant.

Wow!  This pie cherry is covered in blossoms this year.  

This Mountain Ash is two years old and has flowers at the end of each branch.  Hope it grows a lot this year.

I should look up the name on this one but I am going to say caryopterix.  Beautiful blue flowers that the hummingbirds love.

Our first strawberry of the year and, boy, was it tasty!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Iris Are Blooming

More iris are blooming.  Forgive me if there is a repeat but I don't think there is:)  These are the latest iris to bloom.

Brilliant purple with a white beard and a purple ruffley border.  So flashy.  One of my favorites.

Pure white.  A little fuzzy in this photo.

A lovey salmon pink.

Pretty close to orange sherbet.

A lovely shade of blue.

Two tones of yellow and some brown speckling.  A very interesting color.

I ce blue and super ruffley.

So deeply velvety purple they appear to be almost black.

Finishing up with another favorite.  This one is about as red as they come.  A bright splash of color in mid-May.

Hope you enjoyed this new post on iris.  Let me know how your spring garden is going.  Of course, if you are in New Zealand you might have to let me know how your fall garden is doing:)

Other assorted spring flowers, tomorrow.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Busy Day, Spring Chores

It is laundry day but I can't complain much about hanging out the clothes when my view is this!

I got the tubing laid out for the melon half of the veggie garden.  I am running the water a bunch to get the soil to moisten since it is bone dry out there this year.  The veggie irrigation will be on  automatic timers once I finish setting it all up.  I am putting in some beans and other seeds this week.  Hubby is in charge of the melons and corn.  I have had a huge problem this year.  The birds are eating my little baby green sprouts so no beets, peas are a bit sparse and no lettuce.  I'll have to see what I can do about that.

I filled up the wall-o'-water today.  This afternoon I will transplant my baby tomato plants.

I emptied out the pond and scrubbed it a bit.  I got most of the sand and goo out of the bottom.
I had to take most of the rocks out, string the electrical extension cord and make sure the pump still runs.  Then it was time to fill 'er up.

I got the rocks stacked up nicely after several tries.  And, yes, I did crush a finger or two getting all those rocks put back into place.  The birds love having a pond and so do the cat and the dogs.  During the winter I keep the pond open by pouring hot water into it every morning.  The meadowlark was singing and singing as I finished up on the pond.  I think he approved.

We call it the pond, although that is a bit grandiose but the effect is lovely.  Maybe next year I'll finally take the time, effort and money to do the two tiered pond of my dreams.  Nothing too fancy just a nice upper and lower basin with a pipe of some sort to have water flowing from the top to the bottom.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wild and Crazy Wiseguy

Wiseguy went out today for a fun drive.  I stopped to talk to one of the neighbors.  She said she has big horses.  She reaches over and slaps Wiseguy on the butt when I was leaving.  Wrong move.  Wiseguy took off running. Fortunately, I got him whoa'd before we managed to hit the sand ditch by the side of the road.

We stopped and talked to another neighbor and I warned them not to touch him anywhere behind his blinders. I'm not going through that again.  

We went about 2 miles or maybe a bit more.  

All in all a good time.  I just love my little guy.
He seems to have dandruff in his wild forelock.  Maybe I'll give him a bath tomorrow.

A nice warm day today.  Lots done in the veggie garden.  More about that tomorrow.


The iris are blooming.  Looks like I have some more colors coming out right now but here are some of the iris that have been blooming for the last week or so.

Near the front gate

Back yard bank.  The yellow flowered shrubs are scotch broom.

Purple bottoms and white tops.  Very flashy.  Bank yard bank.

German iris in browns and yellows with true blue iris in the background.

Butter yellow with a white ruffle and yellow trim.  One of my favorite colors.

The iris are fun, simple, hold the sand down, put on a wonderful show early in the year and multiply easily.  You just can't go wrong with iris.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


We all have to sing our own song
Whether beautifully or a little off key
We all need a flock where we can belong
Whether that is thousands flying together or just two or three.

That is what the birds have taught me.

The Littlest Hitching Rail

Today has been a fantastic day for birds.

Mockingbird singing on the front fence.

A magpie swooped off the roof and landed in the Feather Reed Grass next to the back patio.  He snatched something and then threw it onto the concrete.  I finally figured out what it was.  One of the super ugly potato bugs.  The magpie was taking the legs off so he could eat it.  Good Magpie.

Meadowlark singing on top of one of the little apple trees.  He moved to the back and serenaded us from one of the goat pen corner posts a little later in the day.

Morning doves and quail coming through the backyard.  One of the quail is announcing that Hubby has come out.  Run my darling wife, run!

I guess we are mostly getting the M birds today:)

Now for the littlest hitching rail.

Isn't that adorable?  This hitching rail is conveniently located near his pen.  The shrub poplar in the background is about five years old and looking pretty good sized.  Yeah!!!

Still Cold at Night

It is still cold at night but the days have been okay.  Low sixties but the last five nights have been 36 to 39 degrees.  Of course, here in the desert it will generally cool down a lot over night all summer long. Looks like today will be a pretty nice day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Second Time Around

Saturday I took Wiseguy out all by myself  with the cart.  It was the second time taking him out since I got him.  We did a good job.  He still isn't thrilled about taking the bit but I did get it into his mouth by taking my time and gently insisting this was going to happen.  I had to put the cart on him with out any help but he stood nicely and was very patient.  We walked east on tenth.  We got to Catfish [about half a mile].  Then I got him to trot.  He wanted to canter but I reined him back down to a trot 2 or 3 times and then he trotted nicely.

We were on pavement so once we reached Antelope [about a quarter of a mile] we turned onto the gravel road.  It's actually road base.  We got to Bass after about half a mile.  We stopped at the stop sign.  I was thinking about taking him home but he seemed like he had a lot of go left in him so, after the car went by, I kept going up Antelope.

We did a few figure eights on the dry lake bed.  Then we trotted up to Angel.  There is another half mile, this time on dirt.  Then, we trotted up Angel to Tenth [a quarter of a mile] and made a right turn towards home.  I walked him the last half mile to make sure he was nicely cooled down.

I thought we did great!  We did about two and a half miles total.

He spit the bit out as fast as he could.  I brushed him a bit.  I walked him out to the mailbox and to close the gate since he was still a little sweaty under the harness and I thought it would be good to make sure he was really dry before I put him up.  He really wanted to go back into his pen!  He got his treat [senior feed and psyllium pellets].

He doesn't know it yet but we are going out again tomorrow.  Shh!  Don't tell him.

Grass is Weeds

Weeds are my life and right now the weeds are grasses!  I am pulling a lot of grasses that are trying to take over my flower beds.  The Feather Reed Grass is awesome when it is where it belongs but not so nice when it takes over an area.  The Alberta grass is really tall and I love it but it wants to take over as well.

Then there is the poke-your-eye-out grass.  I actually don't know what it is really called but it gets these long stiff stems that want to poke you in the eyes.  I'm trying to get most of that gone.

Finally there is the needle-and-thread grass which was a mini disaster.  It looked really pretty in the wind - and we have plenty of wind here - but it turned into a nightmare.  The seeds would stick in our clothing and the dog's fur.  If I wore a skirt to accomplish yard work, I would look like a weird porcupine.  I worked my buns off to get it out of the yard last year.  I did pretty good although I have had to get some more out this spring.

An hour in the morning and an hour or so in the evening is a good goal to keep the weeds under control.

Didn't do much with the miniature horse today.  When I clean a house, I just don't have much energy left for the extras.  Naturally everybody gets fed morning and evening.  I changed out the water for the goats and the horse, as well.

I love spring.  The irises are coming on and the place is greening up.  I definitely have to pull it together and get some photos up.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Nice for the last several days.  Well, above freezing in the forties or low fifties overnight and in the sixties and low seventies during the day.

I know, where are the photos?  I will have some up over the weekend.

The hummingbird has shown up although last year we had several by the end of May.  One of the orioles is back to steal from the sugar water feeder, as well.  Hummer season is May 1st through Labor Day weekend.  You are supposed to pull the feeders after Labor Day so the little goobers will fly south when they are supposed to.

Hubby and I got the compost mountain spread over the new North Veggie Garden section.  Hubby then rototilled it all in.  Let the melons begin officially on May 15th.  The whole areas is bone dry so I am watering the veggie garden to try to keep that compost decaying into the dirt.

The peas are coming up and so are the rads and the beets.  The finger potatoes are starting to come up but the German butter and Red Sotos are still trying to reach the sunlight.  The row filled in, as usual, when we had a couple of windy days so they are planted deeper than I like to start them but since that happens almost every year, I am pretty sure we will have plenty of potatoes.

The onions and garlic are growing like gang busters but the carrots are having a hard time.  Need to start some more, I think.

The irises are starting to bloom with the standard purple ones coming on first and now the yellow ones.  Wonder who will be next of the irises to bloom.  Easy to care for and pretty.  I have quite a few irises in the yard.

We took little Wiseguy out carting for the first time yesterday.  He did great and tried really hard.  The street is dirt and it goes a little more uphill than I thought.  It also has quite a bit of sand on it this year.  The little guy had a bit of a hard time pulling me so we definitely walked up the hill and through the sand.  We went maybe half a mile up and half a mile back.  Next time we will be sure to go the easier route so he can trot more.  He likes trotting.