Autumn Harvest

The summer has just flew by and now it’s autumn!  The world is getting bigger and the the clock keeps ticking forward.  So much distractions and things to ponder.  Just need to remember to take time out and enjoy the small things too.  Such small things as my little backyard orchard. Which didn’t really produce much of a harvest at all…. but what we did harvest was greatly appreciated!

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I do have a small jujubee tree, but it’s still too young and looks like a small shrub.  These big varieties I got from the Farmer’s Market recently.  Jujubee are sometimes called, “Chinese apple” and taste like crisp apple but with a unique sweetness.  One of my mom’s favorite fall fruits.

mexicola_avocado_october

Best to pick the avocado when they turn black/purple then let it sit for about 5 days until soft enough to eat.  This Mexicola variety has very thin skin that was hard to peel, so I just ate the skin too.  Good thing it’s organic!

harvest_october_2016

I’ve gathered some fruits here… “Wonderful Pomegranate”  and some avocados.  We gave  few ripe fruits to our friends and neighbor.  One that grows mandarin oranges and he didn’t have a good harvest this year either.  Besides the drought, there is also a citrus disease going around here.  Maybe next season will be better.

All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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Summer Backyard Fruits

Summer has officially arrived on June 20th and I hope everyone is staying cool.  As much as I love summer greens & fruits, I don’t know if I like the summer heat as much.  But thank goodness for the cool breeze blowing off the deltas and river ways.

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Our mini fruit orchard is making an effort.  The Mexicola avocado tree is doing well. It has produced at least 10 fruits, compare to last year of 1 fruit.  Next year we may actually give it avocado fertilizer and see if that helps.

The other trees in the garden which I didn’t get to photograph include the Wonderful pomegranate, Algerian clementine, apricot and Bacon Avocado.  The apricot tree has some strange little holes on it’s leaf and I haven’t found a cure for it.  Since it’s still young and the roots haven’t been established yet, it makes it difficult to fight off any disease.  But once it’s a few years older, maybe it will do better.

Most of the trees are struggling, but the Asian Pear tree was the most productive, with close to 30 pears!  I was hoping the fruit size would be larger and I don’t know if it will continue to get bigger.  It’s probably because we’ve been conservative about watering our garden.

Anyhow, at the rate of things in the state of California, we really don’t know how long we will live in one location.  But either way, we put down these fruit trees and maybe the next generation can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Photo taken with Samsung Note 2

Clumping Bamboo Shoot

This will be year 3 for my clumping bamboo.  The reason I chose this variety is because it won’t spread too far.

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I’ve never grown bamboo before so I didn’t know what to expect.  For a while it didn’t do much growing and then after a few spring rain, this little bamboo shoot came out of nowhere.

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One thing I do know about bamboo is that they can grow fast.  So a few days later I saw this long skinny bamboo stalk growing as tall as the parent plant.  For someone that has never grown bamboo, this was really exciting to see!

wonderful_pome_flower

Another thing that also enjoyed the spring rain is the Wonderful pomegranate bush.  There seem to be more blooms this  year, so that’s a good sign.

Photos taken by Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2.

White Pear Blossoms

We had quite a bit of rain in March and everything is coming up green in our area.  Spring is possibly the most cheery time of the year as little blossoms start showing their colors.

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Here are some white Asian pear blossoms from our multi-grafted pear tree.  Last spring there was only a handful of flowers.  So I think this year we could have a good crop of pears – compare to last year’s total of 3 fruits 🙂  That is if the bee population is healthy and strong and ready to do their their busy bee thing soon.

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This will be year #3 for my little backyard orchard.  The nice thing about growing trees or annuals is that once it’s in the ground, there isn’t much else to do except to watch it grow.  Well except for the usual care such as pruning, mulching, fertilizers, keeping the bugs off and of course water!  And despite all the rain we’ve had this winter, Governor Brown had to remind us know that we are not in the black yet, so we must all conserve and limit our water usage.  Wonder if it’s not too late to start collecting some of that rain water.

Photos taken with Samsung Galaxy S3

10 Stitch Knitting

I haven’t had the time to knit much these days. But when I do find the time, I go right to my 10 stitch knitting.  Frankie Brown, the pattern designer described it as “An Elizabeth Zimmermann inspired blanket worked in any yarn using only 10 stitches. You start in the centre and work in a sort of square spiral, joining as you go. No sewing up needed!”

The pattern itself started off very confusing to me.  And I had to unravel many times to get it right.  But once you get the hang of this pattern, it will go very smoothly.
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1st Start with casting on 10 sts.  Slipping all first sts, knit 9 ridges (18 rows).  Mark the right side.

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Now get ready for the corners which Frankie calls “open double corners”.  To me they are more like knitting 2 triangles to form a square corner.  Use the following pattern to form the 1st triangle or corner.  There will be lots of wrap and turn knitting here.

*Sl 1, K8, yfwd, sl 1 pwise, yb, turn.
Sl 1 pwise, yb, K9.
Sl 1, K7, yfwd, sl 1 pwise, yb, turn.

Sl 1 pwise, yb, K8.

Sl 1, K6, yfwd, sl 1 pwise, yb, turn.

Sl 1 pwise, yb, K7.

Continue along until you are down to the last row.   When you only have 1 st to work, knit it rather than slipping it.
Now reverse the process, working back up to 9 sts, still wrapping the st at each turn.**Work one ridge with all 10 sts then turn another corner from * to ** (When working the 10 st ridge you
might like to work sl 1, pick up and knit 1 st, psso at the end of the first row to neaten the join.) This will  form the 2nd triangle in order to form a square corner.  At this point it would just look like a long rectangle.

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In this photo above, I’ve already finished the corners.  And already starting the next triangle.

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Looks like I’ve already finished knitting the corners and it will form a square soon.

Now work back along the side of the original 9 ridges, attaching
your strip as you go by following this two row pattern:
Row 1: Sl 1, K8, sl 1, pick up and K 1 st from the side of the
knitting (there should be a ‘bump’ there ready), psso.
Row 2: K 10.  When you reach the next corner work a single corner (from * to
**) and carry on along the next side.

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This is the center where the corners have joined and we continue knitting outward from here.   The neat thing about this pattern is that it can get as big as you like while still knitting with just 10 stitches.

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I just used this leftover colorful yarn to see how it would turn out.  It’s OK, but I think next time I’ll use more muted colors.  I like using size 7 circular bamboo needles.  When I have free time, I will do a video tutorial.  In the meantime I hope these instructions are helpful.

I’d also love to try the Ten Stitch ZigZag and the Spiral.  Thanks for sharing Frankie!

 

 

 

Hello Rainy January

It’s almost the end of January and we’ve had many rainy days out here in Northern California.  No complaints so far, except for maybe when the grounds are too soggy and the dogs don’t get as much walking.  Cabin fever anyone?  Luckily we’ve had a few breaks in the weather and got to see some sunshine this weekend.

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Here is some of my succulents that have survived the winter freeze back in December.  These little green guys are really hardy since they can take low water and very cold temperatures.  They were turning red on the edges, but after the rain they have flourished and started to turn green.  Reminds me of a place leprechauns would like to hide in.

etsy_fairy_garden

Photo via etsy made by: Fairyscape.  “Succulent Enchanted Fairy Garden in terra cotta pot”

In the springtime I am thinking of making a few succulent fairy gardens.  I love how lush and colorful this one above looks.  Maybe one of my elderly neighbor would love to have a little fairy garden in a pot sitting on her porch too.

 

 

Good Bye 2015

2015 was a year full of good-byes.  Some had to go sooner than others, but they will always leave an imprint in our heart.  I hope the holidays have been relaxing and fun for everyone.  May the new year bring you much peace, love and good cheer.

rosemary_blooms_december

I barely had time to garden, but I do make an effort.  Back in November I made 10 cuttings from my Rosemary bush.  I’ve kept the cuttings in a small greenhouse.  Hopefully it will survive the winter and get planted in spring.

rosemary_cuttings_december

We have some new additions to our already growing family of four leg furries.  Introducing Hilda, the German Schnauzer.  She came to us very shy and skittish.  Now she is just full of life and love.  Hilda loves long walks and will greet you with a big smile.

And that is our Red Panda cat.  It’s not that we go looking for new pets, but somehow they end up finding us!