Thursday, April 30, 2009


Apollo, Andrew and James have been fishing a lot lately, especially since fishing season just opened for rivers. Apollo and Andrew returned home yesterday with their limit in trout. They were cleaned and put in the freezer for some secret fish cook-off planned for this weekend. I'm not exactly sure what's going on but I'm sure it will involve cheap beer, spitting, and scratching body parts. And probably farting too. *sigh*

Apollo and Drew caught their trout limit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snowball tree

Our house came with a variety of plants and tree's growing near it. Actually, the neighborhood is full of all types of different plants and tree's. Things like Honeysuckle, Lilac, Birch, Dogwood, Tulip trees, the Redwood tree growing by our driveway (or 'in' because it's so huge) and many, many more. It's pretty cool and reflective of the nature of the valley and also all the people who have lived here in the past.

Snowball Tree?

One of our trees looks like it had been cut down and then a bunch of suckers started growing up out of its stump. It has what appears to be small Maple leaves growing on it. In fact, that's what we thought it was and considered removing it because it's ill-placed near the road. We temporarily sheered it back so we could at least see past it when pulling out of the driveway and could decide what to do with it.

But before we could get to it, tiny leaves started budding all over. Within a week, it was full of leaves again. And then, something beautiful happened.

Snowball Tree?

Small yellow pompom groups of flowers suddenly appeared. The little "poms" are only a few inches across and have littered the tree with their daintiness. They look quite a bit like mini hydrangeas.

Snowball Tree?

Mom, Aunt Rose and Faythe all believe it's a Snowball Tree. Our neighbors said it had red flowers on it but it looks to me like they're going to be red. I found some dried up looking vines growing up through the tree (you can also see them in the first photo) that appear to have had something on them, perhaps berries or flowers. I'm thinking these are the source of the red berries/flowers everyone is talking about and they died when Apollo pruned the tree. Either way, it looks like we won't be taking out the tree any time soon.

ETA: It's been confirmed, it's a Snowball tree!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peacock Feather socks

The author of this pattern photographed the sock with a V pattern down the instep but the pattern itself didn't include those instructions. I liked it so much I played around with cables until I figured out how to replicate it. It took days to figure out too since I had to match the cabling with YO's and decreases. It might not be perfect but I like how it looks.

I used Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Deep Peacock and pattern Ivy League, available through Yahoo Fun_Sox group. I like the look of the V shape on the instep, hopefully I'll be able to replicate it for other patterns.

Peacock Feathers

Peacock Feathers

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daisy Socks

I finally finished a pair of socks I started for a KAL contest on Ravelry. I love the little flowers in Daisy Socks. (Rav link) They're a simple lace pattern, good for even a beginner.

There's one errata you'll want to keep in mind. It should read, "after finishing last psso in 4th repeat on leg and 2nd repeat on instep, knit to end.” Instead, it erroneously lists the amount of stitches you supposedly should knit after the last psso. Take my word for it, it doesn't work like that.

I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Denim with a picot hem.

Daisy Socks

Daisy Socks

Saturday, April 25, 2009


You learned about it in grade school, but when was the last time you saw a spider actually eating something caught in its web? The spider was pulsating while eating the earwig too, intriguing and disgusting at the same time.

Interesting fact about earwigs: they're known to burrow as much as six feet into the ground to get escape the cold.

Spider eating lunch

Thursday, April 23, 2009

And it came with a free pair of gloves too

I decided to go for it and put the best soil I could afford in my new cedar boxes. After dragging my feet (and credit card), I chose Nature's Best Planting Soil. According to the website, it's composed of:

"Aged sawdust & bark, compost, potash, silica sand, loam and sand blended with a custom organic fertilizer mix consisting of kelp meal, fish bone meal, blood meal, alfalfa meal, micro and macro nutrients, scrambled eggs, hash browns, side of toast, and bat guano. We have also added Plant Success Mycorrhizal fungi for root development."

It sounds like the soil has been spending its mornings at IHOP!

Twenty minutes after ordering 4 cubic feet of Nature's Best, a dump truck showed up in front of our house and the driver asked me where to put it. He barely squeezed under the Redwood and dropped it off at the end of the driveway. It didn't look like much soil until we got to work.

Dumping the soil in our driveway

We ended up having plenty of soil for three of the four 4' x 10' boxes and a lot of soil leftover for the regular existing garden (where the garlic, onions, and potatoes are/will be growing), a flower box by the front door and possibly even a thin layer over the flower bed.

This fall when we get ready to transplant the strawberries into their box, I'll get more soil. We decided to wait until late fall to do that since the strawberry plants are getting ready to produce berries and I don't want to disturb them. We're really looking forward to the berries and the fact that the plants are Ever-bearing, which means they produce several harvests of fruit a year. Can you imagine how awesome it'll be for us to walk out to our backyard and pick a couple of warm strawberries for our breakfast? Yum!

Aimee doing her time

With four of us working on it, we were surprised that it still took us two hours to transfer it to the garden beds. I forgot to take photos until the very end, which is right about when Aimee realized she was 20 minutes late for yet another date.

I'm looking forward to planting seeds and plants tomorrow and this weekend. For now, I'm just hoping it doesn't freeze tonight, since I foolishly watered the strawberries this evening. They've had a hard time lately so I wanted to give them a little pick-me-up. Hopefully that won't be in the form of frosty leaves!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Common Garter Snake

We had another snake siting this morning. He was getting water from a rock lying under a slow drip faucet. He didn't like getting his photo taken and kept striking at me, even coiling up a bit so he could get a good jump at me.

Common Garter Snake

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Giant Stonefly aka California Salmonfly

I just took these photos of some unknown-to-me bug (at the time) out on my raspberry plant. He looked kind of like a grasshopper or locust. I managed to take a couple quick photos as he crawled to the top of the plant and flew away. Thankfully, Faythe's sister Dawn identified him for me.

Unknown bug

Unknown bug

Unknown bug

Sunday, April 19, 2009


While mowing the lawn today, this cute garter snake kept making an appearance. We first saw him slithering over by the house trying desperately to find a place to hide. Apparently we disturbed his afternoon nap in the sun. He finally made it over to the deck and hid underneath.

I sat on the deck while Apollo mowed and the snake kept peaking out and quickly darting back under until he decided I was safe. I saw him so often I named him Sam.

I barely got one photo of him with my cell while he rested in the sun. I sure hope to see brave little Sam again!

Later, Apollo almost grabbed a hand full of snake while pulling a pile of sticky weed up from beside the side-yard gate. The snake didn't move but Apollo jumped backwards as if something was trying to bite him. It's pretty funny to see a big man jump back and yelp because of something the size of a small stick. Eventually the snake moved on but only after I touched him. Apollo kept his distance.

Both snakes were dark brown with a small red stripe (or maybe two) down the top and a light colored belly. We used to call them red racers, but I'm not sure if that's their true name.

I don't mind snakes because they eat bugs that would otherwise eat our garden. It was also suggested that the snakes would be a Mom-deterrent. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yarn and gardening, what else!

I inherited this yarn from someone who has passed away. I don't know anything about it other than it's one ply worsted weight. The skeins look like your standard acrylic or Lamb's Pride. I need to take it to a yarn shop and have it looked at but meanwhile, I'm dying to know what it is. I tried taking a match to it but since my sense of smell is ruined by allergies I've had since January, I can't quite tell if it smelled like plastic or hair when it burned. I'm leaning towards hair. Part of the reason I didn't get a good whiff is because I ended up burning myself pretty badly. I feel like a moron! And to top it off, I can't find my Hello Kitty band aids!

Unknown yarn

Meanwhile, it snowed this morning! When we saw that it was snowing, Apollo and I rushed out at 6:45AM to cover the baby onions. It may have been too late since it went below freezing last night. I'm not sure if that will affect them or not. Hopefully not.

Baby onions in the snow

We're quite fashionable with our garden, as you can see. Thankfully it only snowed for about an hour and the slushy snow melted after a couple hours.

Grandma said we should have covered the blueberry plants with a sheet but we decided to risk it. They're tough looking plants and after all, will live out there year round from now on. Hopefully they can handle a little rough weather, we are in Oregon after all where weather is unpredictable.

Oh, and the garlic is thriving! The rows have fallen down a bit, I'll have to pack them up a bit later.

Covered onions

Anyway, I'm off to query users on Ravelry about the yarn. I'm going to rip out everything that has been knitted and make myself a sweater out of it. The yarn is good timing because...well hell, anything free is good timing!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First Easter egg dye

Due to our conservative childhood, Aimee and I have never dyed Easter eggs. Even though we're now adults and we don't have kids around to give the eggs to, we thought it'd be fun to give dyeing a try. (Plus, Aimee has decided she's going to take her eggs to work and casually show them off at lunch time.) So we bought three different kits, boiled two and a half dozen eggs and invited Nichole and James to join in the fun. While the men played video games, we women got to work expressing our artistic sides.

We had three different kits. The traditional type, one that included a wax stick for drawing and a third that let us "tie dye" our eggs. I thought Faythe would appreciate these eggs the most so I took some photos just for her. I know how much she hates tie dye and am just doing my part to ensure she's malcontent.

We had a lot of fun chick chatting and ended up joining the guys for a round of Wii bowling and golf.

Hope you had a good Easter too!

Easter eggs - tie dye

Easter eggs - tie dye

Easter eggs - tie dye

Easter eggs - traditional

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Some rambling and The Horror!

I have been suffering with congestion, headaches, sore throat and general malaise since January. At first I thought I had a cold, flu or some sort of weird jungle-froo froo sickness. But then as the weeks and months went on, I realised that I am most likely suffering from allergies. It's worth noting that Native Americans refer to this area as the "valley of sickness," and for good reason too. The Willamette Valley is a great place to grow things since rain gets trapped between the two mountain ranges enabling plants to grow and pollinate. Also, air gets trapped and circulates the "poisons" over and over. It's not a fun place to live if you have problems with pollen.

When I moved to San Diego, I was tested to see exactly what I was allergic to. Results showed a severe reaction to dust mites (hence my goal to remove all the old carpet from the house) and a few trees but they were So Cal trees so I'm not sure if there's anything here I'm allergic to. The test didn't indicate any real problems with pollen so I thought I'd be ok moving to The Valley of Sickness. OK yes, I had some mild allergies when I last lived in Oregon but I didn't really experience them until we "went to town" to buy groceries (we lived out in the mountains and only went to the Willamette Valley occasionally - those were exciting days). Funny thing is, in my little kid mind I had convinced myself that I was allergic to shopping carts. It made sense to me since every time I touched a shopping cart I got a sore throat and congestion. Oh yeah, I did have some problems in college but I was drunk a lot or staying up all night so obviously, my health wasn't really my first priority.

Digression aside, I'm fed up with feeling like crap all the time. I've taken numerous OTC meds for colds and allergies and nothing seems to really be working, not even the "special" Sudafed I brought with me when I moved from California (I think all the meth heads know what I'm talking about here).

The other day I noticed that since I stopped eating Cheerios and milk every morning, my congestion has decreased. So on a hunch I stopped eating our 50 calorie fudgesicle dessert (so yummy) and noticed again that I seemed to be better! I have decided to experiment and cut dairy from my diet (unless it's already cooked and in my food, like butter or chocolate hahaha!) and see what happens.

I'll be sad if I learn dairy is the big problem. But at least I'll be able to sleep through the night and I won't wake up with crusties around my nose or discover used tissues under the blankets.

So, I thought I'd put it in writing. 'Cause if I don't, I'll get weak and eat some cheese.

Oh my God, that means no pizza!!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

One more step towards responsible home ownership

It's safe to say we have let our back yard go. It hasn't been mowed since we moved in and is looking a bit wild. In this photo you can see how the composter's are almost buried in tall grass while clumps of funky grass threaten to take over. Believe it or not, there's also a patch of strawberries growing in this photo. After they're weeded, I'll plant the other strawberries (sitting on the deck). And once the yard is mowed, I'll finally be able to find a place for the poor raspberry plants. (If you're wondering about the rocks on the deck, the people who lived here last seemed to collect river and other assorted rocks. I've been collecting them for future landscaping we'd like to do some day.)

Anyway, after weeks of research (Apollo laughed at this when I read what I wrote because it's actually been months), I finally found a lawnmower that met all our needs for a great price at After I put the lawnmower in my shopping basket, I found a $5 promo code. $5 isn't a lot but it will buy a couple Lean Cuisines so it's worth it. Then I saw that the website automatically applied a $25 discount for shopping online! $30 is more than enough to fill my tank so I was definitely pleased with that. If I had walked in the store to buy the mower, I wouldn't have got that $30 off!

When I got ready to pay, I pulled out a gift certificate I bought from James for $130.00. I got lucky with this one because there was actually $173.00 on the card. James knew about the extra $43 but he didn't care, he just wanted the cold hard cash. So this brought my savings to $73.00. And because I bought the gift certificate about two months ago, it was as if I spent only $97. Yay! This means I got a $300 Craftsman for $227 with only $97 actually charged to my account.

Apollo is happy that it has a 700 Platinum Series Briggs & Stratton Engine, is power propelled with rear wheel drive and has a wash system. Oh and that it's black! You know, because that makes it extra manly. GRRR! And because, "It's black like me!" (He wanted me to add that.)

We can't mow the lawn yet because it's raining and we decided to leave it this way until after Easter, just in case our neighbor brings over his kids to find Easter eggs. Don't you think this is the perfect yard for Easter egg hunting? In fact...that's the reason we let the yard get all crazy! Yeah!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Name this flower

Mom found these flowers while we were getting wood yesterday near a landing on a mountain top. She loves them and at one time owned a bush which died. These were found in the wild and I'd like to buy her a new bush she can plant near her house.

The flowers are bright pink, trumpet-like and the small leaves remind me of raspberry leaves. Any ideas on what kind of flowers they are?

Oregon wildflower

Oregon wildflower

Oregon wildflower

Oregon wildflower

Thursday, April 02, 2009


We have a ton of worms in our garden. And most of them are huge! We put a marble (found while tilling the soil) next to this guy for scale.

I've always been a fan of worms. Even as a child I would rescue them if they were stranded on wet sidewalks or in puddles. Aimee and Apollo want to use them for fishing but for now, they're making our garden an even better place for all the plants.

Speaking of garden, we planted a wide row of about forty red onion sets a couple days ago. Next we're planting green onion seeds. We're going to stagger planting so they're ready throughout the season, not all at once. This is only the beginning though, we have much more to plant!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Older, shmolder

I recently had another birthday. This was the year I stopped wondering if I should dye my hair or just pull out the occassional grey hair.

I also have friends who are so much younger than myself that they consider the TV show Friends to be vintage and have only watched it on reruns.

I can actually refer to my high school experience as "decades ago."

I'm getting freaked out about the economy and am constantly researching potential jobs in my meager market.

I had to use an age calculator online to figure out my age since I've been deceiving myself this whole time and consequently aged two years in one.

Well, that about sums it up. Birthdays just aren't exciting anymore.