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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Arlene's Garden Tour 2012 - Last day.

The birds like to follow me around the garden, hoping I stir up some worms or bugs.  Here are my two ducks, Ducky Boy and Ducky Girl.

The chickens are great company, but make growing things difficult.  They redeem themselves though when it comes to snake and bug control.

Jet Lag, champion Rooster and fighter of coyotes, challenges me to a dual here.  William scoops him up for me and when the hens are not looking, Jet Lag enjoys a cuddle.

I planted some plants on and around this old spool.  Here's a bare spot and you can see put a big pot on the top.  It was the first time I've ever done it and next year I will plant it up earlier.

It brings the petunias into better sniffing distance.

I like nice fragrant plants near the doorways.

I seeded some ornamental grasses into pots earlier this year.  I need to think of a place to plant them before the Autumn.  In the background is the duck house.  The ducks go into their dog run and then duck house every evening and we just have to remember to lock them in.  They have a child's toy pool to play in...they are not called waterfowl for nothing..the pool has to cleaned out every few days. They are such fun pets to have and I love to see them fly.

William comes in for a break and makes me laugh about something....he has me chuckling all the time.

I put a big pot of cherry tomatoes growing right next to a comfy chair to encourage snacking...and it worked!

I think for next years tour I'm going to feature the front side of the garden and house, which gives me the challenge of tackling the rose garden.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Arlene's Garden Tour 2012 Day three...the Trees.

Most of the tree shown and mentioned below I planted myself in the late 1990's.  I really love trees and one of my favorite places is Finch Arboretum in Spokane.  I enjoyed walking around there with keegan and my dog Heidi, when I first came to Washington State in 1977.

Here I am with Keegan at Finch Arboretum in 1977.  The tree we're sitting in is a White Willow.

We have lots of these willows growing along our part of Crab Creek.  Once we stopped the cows from grazing along there the willows really grew big and now look lovely.  They'd make a nice shady places for the cattle if they ever go there again.  Many of my favorite tree in the park I have planted in my garden.  I've tried to create a mini arboretum in fact.

This spring I cut a little path through these lilacs and chokecherry.  I knew I had achieved the results I wanted when Brad stood in there and said it wasn't like being in eastern Washington anymore.  Our area is mostly bunch grass and sage brush desert.  Along the creek there are the white willows and cottonwoods.  Around the springs there is chokecherry, golden current, Serviceberry, squaw currant.  The wild flowers are abundant and lovely in the spring.

Here's the little woodsy path I made.

Here's Teddy sitting under the weeping mulberry.

Teddy is like me, she prefers the shade.  Here she is on my rock throne/with foot stool....Flintstones furniture for the garden.  On the left is a viburnum and the right you can see part of the weeping elm.

This weeping willow got off to a rough start, but it's finally a nice looking tree.


These jolly flowers show up every year.

Here are my three favorite trees.  Left to right, English oak, Blue Spruce and Birch.  I have another nice English oak and about 8 more Blue Spruces in other places in the garden.

We have automatic sprinklers to keep it all watered.  On the right is an American Fringe tree.  It is so slow at leafing out in the Spring that Brad always asks me if it's dead.  It has lovely delicate blooms.

Here's a European weeping Beech.  I love the one they have in Finch Arboretum and looked all over for one for my own garden.  I bought this one in Redmond Washington about 12 years ago.  It grows very slowly but one day it will be magnificent.

When we were at the nursery in Redmond, I found a Crimean Linden and it's doing really well on the far side of the garden.

The chickens enjoy all the shade and they scare off all the snakes.  We used to have lot of tent caterpillars till we got the chickens.

My next blog will be the wrap up of the garden tour...then I'll actually take some pictures of the mustangs.. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Arlene's Garden Tour 2012 Day two...the edibles.

Not that I'd ever eat the chickens....

This is what I have to put up with!  I put sticks around the new plants or seedings so the chickens don't scratch them up.  It works really good.

Here's Jet Lag and some of the girls out for a stroll.

On the left is 'Strawberry Trough Forever' and on the right the Squash and carrot trough.  It's a handy way to use the troughs that are full of holes.

Whoever weeds the strawberries, eats the strawberries.  So far the silly chickens haven't discovered them.

I seeded the carrots and squash together.  The squash is the 'Vegetable Spaghetti' variety.  I cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it.  When it's baked I put spaghetti sauce and other things in it and bake it some more with cheese on the top.

They are growing over the side even.

In this little ..whatever it is...I seeded Walla Walla Sweet onions, some carrots and a egg plant or aubergine.  The onions are ready.

My mini vineyard is only in its second year.  No grapes yet....let alone vino.  I planted three different varieties of grape.  Underneath I panted some flowers.

I planted my tomatoes out on April the first, with protection.  The first ripe ones were on July the 10th.  The varieties I have are Early Girls (always early and girly), Sun Sugars (sparse but so very sweet and orange), Chocolate Cherries (not chocolate covered cherries like I dreamed of) and Sweet 100 (always sweet and at least a hundred of them).

This is the root cellar Brad's grandfather tunneled into the side of the bluff.  I'd use it for my onions and carrots...if I have more.

Stay tuned for tomorrows exiting installment..Day three..The

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Arlene's Garden Tour 2012.

It's time once again to stop and smell the roses.

Hearing that, Teddy being an obedient dog, had a good sniff of the roses....

and then off we went with my camera.  Henrietta, with her one good eye, wanted to tag along.

Right away it turned into an adventure.  I was going to take some pictures of my native plant 'wild' area first.  Soon as we got in the thick of it we heard some crashing about in the shrubbery.  Bobby would have been right on it, but Teddy just looked at me waiting for instructions.   This overfed leaping deer dashed away and once she was a safe distance, she turned and eyeballed us.  I told Teddy to, "Go get 'em".

Once the deer heard me yelling she high tailed it.  Teddy kind of went after her.  Teddy is so used to the deer she doesn't see a problem with them and she's not really a chaser.

For some reason the blue elderberry I planted up here has been dying off.  It was really making this seat nice and shady....till it died back.  I planted some 4 o'clocks here.  They only open up in the late afternoon and so they were closed in this shot.  

Teddy comes back down the hill.

She gets really winded.  We started noticing early this spring that she gets very tired quickly.  Early in the year when Brad and William were fixing fence, instead of chasing the bunnies, Teddy just sat and panted.  I'm not sure if it's to do with the fact she has asthma or what.  Later today there was a big break out with the cattle and Teddy was called for duty.  She fell off the motorcycle and so she had to run behind.  When they brought her home she had a asthma attack and I quickly gave her 20mg of steroids.  Up until then she was doing so well she was down to 5mg.  I have noticed the steroids work really fast for her....thank goodness.  We are going to get another herding dog (same breed) and just give Teddy light work....although what she does is pretty light as it is.  Maybe she'll just stick to shopping, garden walkies and cuddles.

My plan for this area is for it to get really over grown and shady, then I'll make a woodsy path through it.  I planted some ground cover and you can see it's already so shady moss is growing.

The main plantings are native but as you can see, I'm planting other things, like this golden privet to liven things up.

The woodsy paths are emerging.  This was just dried up grasses and sage brush four years ago.

Stay tuned for part two of 'Arlene's Garden Tour 2012'.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pony hero memories..and putting up hay.

I've got a bit behind lately - I'm going through a big flare up of the dreaded sarc.  It didn't stop me from enjoying the Olympics though.  Being British I'm well chuffed at all the medals team GB won.  NBC's coverage could have been better though.  I would have loved to watch more of the equestrian events.  How I wish I could watched the three day event.  That was always my favorite.

When I was growing up in England, equestrian events were frequently shown on TV and my hero's were my favorite riders and their horses.

My favorite horse/pony was Stroller, who was ridden by Marion Coakes (Mould).  He was only 14.1 hands.  His mum was a Connemara pony and his dad a thoroughbred.  Stroller was the only pony ever to compete in the Olympics.  He won silver in the 1968 Olympics.   I loved that pony.  Because of his small size, it was absolutely exciting to watch him jump against the clock.   They won over 60 international competitions.  He retired at age 21 and died when he was 36 of a heart attack.

Like most horse mad girls, I used to jump anything and a favorite thing to do was to set up jumps in the woods.  It was really fun to race through the woods jumping over the jumps made from branches and logs....(I bet that really ticked off the dog walkers and others).  I discovered it's a good idea, when building jumps in the woods, to look above the jump to see what's's no fun hitting a low branches and can be very painful.

In about 1971 or '72 I attended the Royal International Horse Show in London with a back-stage pass.  I got to meet my heroes such as Harvey Smith and others.

Here's a picture of the cheeky little pony:

Here's a video of Marion and Stroller doing what they did best:

Meanwhile...back on the ranch;

Here's how Brad and William get the hay to our stack yard.
Brad stabs the bales with this tractor and then loads them on the trailer.

William drives the truck around while Brad stacks the hay on the trailer.

Then they both go to the stack yard and Brad unloads the bales.  Then they return for another load...and so on.  It goes pretty fast and there's no broken bales to mess with.  This hay wasn't rained on and is already sold.  I noticed they got the little baler out to put up some hay for the mustangs.