Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Seems like these days, blogging has gone the way of board shanty cabins on the prairie and desktop computers...Most have moved on to tweeting and instagram on schmartphones, not wanting to actually write much. While we don't have to hitch up the horse to go to town and our little rancher in the West has more than one room, we're still blogging on our desktop Dell. Yep, go ahead and call us old-fashioned here at Angel Crest Manor. 
This photo is from about 1904 when Jack's relatives were homesteading on the prairie in South Dakota, 20 miles from the nearest town. In order to claim the land (a quarter section was 160 acres), you had to build a shanty, plow at least 40 acres and spend one year living there. They called it "proving up." City slickers need not apply, though some probably did and lasted until winter. Jack's grandfolks made it work, combined their acreage through marriage and ended up farming a whole lot of land in the south central part of the state. Doubtless, more got sore than their thumbs! They did get telephones in 1910, but didn't get electricity out on the farm until 1951! (REA...Rural Electrification Act). Good times! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


 The first iris to pop out is always a big event for this gardener! I think this is the iris named "Salt and Pepper" that came originally from Striblings in old downtown San Jose circa 1975 or so. It is a very dependable bloomer.
 Yes, we finished the lath painting! I "Tom Sawyered" the last panel and got help from my trusty under-gardener. I was about looney (how could you tell?)...well, loonier that normal by the time I got to it. We haven't kitted out the patio because we wait for the maple trees to dump their little winged seeds all over the place, up to inches deep in the gutters. Once that passes, we put up the umbrella and start living outdoors.

Every year I "rush the season" and put out my pole bean plants too early and have to shroud them in plastic and tarps until the night time temps get above 50. Unlike peas, they don't like cool weather. So I had myself talked into not starting bean seeds in pots until May 1. Oh well, so much for good intentions...! I just couldn't help myself. At least I will be able to wait until Mother's Day to put them out. Mother's Day is sort of the timeline for putting out the warm weather crops and annuals here in the Rogue Valley. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I'm at it again...painting. I painted my first fence when I was four. It was a whitewash job at our little Palo Alto started home in 1948. I'm sure I had as much on me as on the fence but my dad let me do it. I had a red bandanna on my head so I probably didn't get any on my hair.
I'm still painting fences these days, only this time it's lath on our "garden room." The paint is Miller Storm "boxwood" which looks blue in the shadows but is really a deep blue-green that works well with bright green vegetation...a much improved product over drippy old whitewash! The light color panel on the right is the natural cedar, weathered for one year. It would turn dirty gray if I didn't paint it. So today I gutted it up and painted it. It took about 2.5 hours using a small roller and a 1" brush for all the edges. I have one more panel the same size (4'x7') to finish up the project.
Unseasonable warm temps (high 70's) have lured me into this chore ahead of my planned schedule in May. Seems like we're getting warmer temps earlier in the spring. Global warming? Nah, couldn't be THAT!!!