Archive | July, 2008

My Beautiful Lilies

July 30, 2008

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Oh July! I love this month because it’s when everything is glorious buzzing with activity! And my most favorite flower, the fragrant Oriental lily, is blooming. Click the photo for a very large view. You can almost smell them from here.

Oriental Lilies

I clipped a few and have them in the house. Their scent fills the home with their sweet, heady fragrance. Mmmmm.

My son has a growing collection of grasshoppers. He wanted me to post a photo of them. I think they are ickky. But I remember how fascinated I was with bugs when I was his age.

grasshoppers

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A Job For the Blinds

July 30, 2008

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Needing new custom blinds for your windows? I have recently had to replace some of my old ones. I am no longer buying those cheapo Chinese-made WalMart vinyl blinds. They crack at the slightest pressure, and it’s quite a chore searching for blinds that will fit my 150-year old windows.

Here’s a solution: nobrainerblinds.com ! I love the title, lol! The site has a terrific tutorial for those of us who are, to put it gently, measurement-challenged. These blinds are a breeze to order, to install, and they are custom-made to perfectly fit your window and decor style. They offer free samples, too, so you can check out the blinds before you buy. Best of all, they have a plethora of tips, advice, and installation guides to help you get and install the best-looking blinds. I love the wood styles. Check them out and toss out those cheapo plastic things! They’re ugly, anyway!

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Summer Day in the Garden

July 30, 2008

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The fruits and vegetables we’ve planted are really growing. We’ve had an unusually rainy July and the plants are enjoying it. My grapevine (Reliance Grape) which began its life three months ago as a little bareroot stick is absolutely thriving.

reliance grapevine

The cantaloupes are still babies. It hasn’t been blazingly hot, so their growth has been moderate. We’ll see what August holds for us. So far we have a lot of blooms but only three melons forming.

melon patch

July is the best month for New York perennials. All my shrubs and flowers are finally blooming! My yard is a kalidescope of blues, pinks, yellows, and oranges.

Spray of Color

More to come!

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Adirondack Red Potatoes

July 29, 2008

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My firstfruits are in! I gave these to my church as a tithe. Look at how beautiful they are!

Adirondack Reds

firstfruits

The potatoes are Adirondack Reds. It is my first year with them; it’s my first year with seed potatoes, actually. I bought these from Johnny’s Selected Seeds online. In years past, I just used store-bought eating potatoes, let them develop eyes, and plugged them in the ground. This year I just wanted to try seed potatoes. They are coming up beautifully.

The skins are very thin– even a moderate scrubbing will peel them off. I like eating potato skins, so I am careful when I scrub. These potatoes are also a little heavier– more dense– than the regular white potatoes I buy at the grocery store. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into them!

About potato growing– this year I was smart and made distinctive rows. I planted the potatoes closer together than recommended. After plugging in the potato quarters, I poured a layer of peat moss over the bed. I used peat as a mulch (it is very effective) for the growing season. Next year I will roto-till it in the soil, added with my compost. The plants just love this method.

I also heaped up mounds of soil around the potato plants when they grew to 8 inches. This encourages horizontal root growth and makes it much easier to dig for the potatoes. In times past, I had to basically uproot the plant and dig down into the hard ground to get my potatoes. Now, I just plunge my fingers into the peat and pluck what I need.

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Great Post at EZ DIY Electricity

July 29, 2008

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I link to this site in my sidebar, so if you ever have need of electrical information, tips, or manuals (or more), I really recommend this site. Wayne is a friend as well as a meticulous expert in electric. I constantly refer to his site when I am doing electric. I love his articles. I saw one the other day and it’s important enough to warrant an honorable mention, because it’s a new development in the National Electric Code that will affect electric installations (and costs). It’s ezdiyelectricity.com the official introduction of AFCI circuit breakers.

Probably the most important change in the 2008 National Electrical Code® (NEC®)is that Arc-Fault Circuit Interruption (AFCI) Protection is now required for all 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20 ampere branch circuits installed in most areas of your home. The requirements which applied only to bedrooms in 2005 have been extended to every habitable area of the house in 2008.

Arc-fault circuit interrupter protection is required in family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sun rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways or similar rooms or areas.

AFCIs will not be required in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, unfinished basements, garages, attics or outdoors.

There’s also information about tamper-resistant receptacles, something I need to read more about.

I don’t think my town has officially accepted the 2008 NEC yet. I believe they still go by the 2005. So every town is different– be sure to check with your codes department.

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It’s All Your Fault, You Pigs!!

July 28, 2008

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I didn’t say that! Gordon Brown from the UK said that, for all intents and purposes!

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1032605/As-supermarket-prices-spiral-Brown-tells-families-Stop-wasting-food.html?printingPage=true As supermarket prices spiral Brown tells families: ‘Stop wasting food’

Gordon Brown called for prudence in the kitchen last night, telling us not to throw away so much food.

With prices soaring, he suggested we could save up to £8 a week by making our shopping go further.

Waste could be reduced by simple steps such as storing fruit and vegetables in the fridge to make them last longer.

What jerks, as if WE are to blame for the global recession! It’s the fault of you greedy politicians! And they talk to us like we are stupid children. Don’t waste that precious £8 a week! Not while governments are squandering 10,000,000 times more than that! Sheesh!

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More Banks Close, Feds Take Over

July 28, 2008

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I have always been very vehemently against bank mergers and federal takeovers of banks. You’ve heard the saying “Follow the money”? We the people have less and less control over our own economy and financial market as the government and the bankers continue to scarf up the banks and make laws favoring their banker pals.

THere’s news on the latest bank closings and federal takeover. Happened in Arizona, where a lot of New Yorkers have moved. I’m not going to freak out and give a clarion call to head for the hills and bury your money in the ground. HOWEVER, this is a very unstable time, and we would be wise to be cautious right now. The feds and bankers would love us to continue our consumeristic spiral of debt and profligate spending; I am exercising caution by being very frugal, and no big purchases here! I’m also doing what I can to grow my own food, get my yard prepared for growing lots of vegetables, etc. I encourage you to so the same.

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What a Weird Week

July 25, 2008

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I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been a little under the weather this week, or what. I’ve had all my days mixed up. I even missed an appointment Wednesday because I thought it was still Tuesday, and today is Friday but I keep thinking it’s Saturday! :-p

The kids and I have been spending a little time outside, trying to pull up weeds in between rainy downpours. It’s been the rainiest July that I can remember in a few years. It’s only been scorching hot for two spells this month. I like it cool, so I’m not complaining! Our dry June has kept the mosquitoes and black flies down a little, so I am grateful for that.

We visited the famous Nichols Pond Park yesterday. I plan to have the post on my travel blog by next week. What, you’ve never heard of Nichols Pond?? lol. That’s where Samuel de Champlain (French explorer and founder of Quebec) got the brainy idea to provoke the Oneida Indians, in their village that was here. Happened in 1615. It was the first time the Indians had heard a gun shot. Champlain and his buddies the Huron Indians from Canada killed a few Oneidas, too. The Oneidas never forgot, and it’s part of the reason why the New York Indians (the Iroquois, of which the Oneidas belonged) fought the French so fiercely during the French and Indian war in 1754.

We wandered the park quite a bit– it was a wonderful place to explore! There’s a large open grassy area, and there’s a deeply-wooded swampy area. This was the location of the large Oneida Indian village, 400 years ago.

Path to Pond Overlook

July is the month that New York State hums in floral beauty. Everything is in bloom and is so lush and verdant. Walking in the cool woods is especially delightful.

Today, it’s a little bit of garden work. I’ve had to leave most of the gardening to the kids this year. It’s been so painful to bend over. I miss it– I love gardening so much that I even enjoy weeding! My new grape vine is growing so beautifully– I have to get a trellis built up around it or it will tear down the measly wire fencing it’s currently attached to.

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Freedom Gardeners

July 22, 2008

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Remember me blogging about the Victory Gardens of World War II? There’s something similar still going on! I found this– freedomgardens.org — while surfing around. It’s an online community of gardeners who are dedicated to detaching their families from the factory-produced produce and growing their own food.

The urban homesteaders at Path to Freedom have been digging their way to freedom since the early 1990s. Alarmed that corporations were introducing genetically modified organisms into the food supply, once-ordinary gardener, Jules Dervaes, took a stand at the “Alamo” of his backyard in 2001. Determined to grow as much food as he could for his family’s table, he and his adult children proceeded to plant fanatically to the four corners of their small world, using all available space—both high and low.

After the first year of gardening fulltime, they were shocked by the final tally. The harvest came in at over 2,300 pounds! By 2003, the year’s total mushroomed to an amazing three tons of produce from their 1/5 acre residential lot.

You can sign up to join. I am seeing more and more urbanites joining this group and others like it. Cool!

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My Tater Plants

July 21, 2008

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My garden is not as varied and not as luxurious as last year’s. But pardon me if I brag a little about my potato plants. Aren’t they gorgeous?! I planted almost an entire bed of them– they are Adirondack Reds.

These are the seed potatoes when I planted them in May.

tn_Red Taters

I’ve never planted this variety before, and never even eaten them! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into them!

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