Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Walls Go Up

Wow! Wow was the only sound I could exclaim as I drove past the lot filled with overgrown forest and brush when suddenly Barry's house came into view. Wow, it really does look like a house now. Barry is definitely building his dream house! It hadn't been much more than a week since I'd stopped by, and the workers were just finishing up the foundation and floor then. And now, now almost all the walls have been built. That crew of workers certainly are keeping busy. The windows are being framed in - lots of windows. Here's a view from outside one, looking out to the other side of the house through another.
This is what Barry's house looks like from the street now.
Barry took me on the grand tour inside, room by room, discussing as we took in the view from each window things like counter tops, furniture arrangements, closet space, open spaces, decks and other outdoor living areas that will compliment the layout of his house.
Take the grand tour yourself, inside and outside.

Barry looks on as he observes the interior construction from just inside his dining area window.


Follow these links to Barry's blog - - and to his website - - to read more.

Friday, February 26, 2010

GROW Project

Sponsored by Renee's Garden, an independent online seed seller of heirlooms, culinary herbs, vegetables and unusual flowers, my packet for the 2010 Seed GROW Project for has arrived. All growing the same plant from seed, the garden bloggers participating in this project have committed to blog about our growing experiences with these plants throughout the season on the first Sunday of each month.We are growing the Nasturtium "Spitfire" this season. This nasturtium, a climbing variety with red flowers, is said to be very easy to grow. The information on the back of the seed packet says, "Spitfire's brilliant, scarlet-red blossoms shine out amongst trailing lily-pad shaped green foliage and their nectar is adored by hovering hummingbirds. Train them up short trellises or tripods for a cascade of bright blossoms or use the abundant, fiery-colored spurred flowers and their handsome leaves as a perfect way to disguise neglected areas, soften fences or walls or tumble from big containers. Both flowers and leaves are edible with a flavor reminiscent of watercress with a pinch of honey." Oh my, they do sound lovely.
Garden bloggers participating in the Seed Grow Project were added to Renee's Garden media list and sent the same press kit that writers, magazines and newspapers receive. The media kit included a complimentary seed packet of Double Cosmos, Rose Bon Bon, a new introduction for 2010 said to have extra fancy, florist quality blossoms. This brand new French cosmos is said to be packed with double-frilled petals in a rich, romantic shade of rose. The packet says these easy to grow, carefree plants will produce nonstop flowers on long stems for beautiful, season-long bouquets, that the summer butterflies love them and so will we. Very pretty.
For more information about the Seed GROW Project, go to
What a fun project for the garden blogger!
"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project, thanks to for the seeds."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fish Nets and Zuanich

Thinking about the deer-proof fencing I need to make for my new garden space at the Happy Valley Community Gardens, once the rain stopped, it was time to grab the dog and head down to Bellingham's waterfront to check out the pile of discarded nets by the dumpster in the commercial fishing work area. As usual, there are plenty available. That bright orange net might make a great gate, and the black, perfect around the perimiter.The promenade was crowded with others out enjoying the afternoon sun as we walked around Squalicum Harbor and Zuanich Point Park, then on to the marina and through the Hotel Bellwether development. On the weekends, we can purchase fresh, wild Alaskan salmon directly from this boat at the dock.
Still the middle of what should be winter, looking around, it seemed a bit difficult to believe that it was only February. While other parts of our country seem to be getting dumped on, week after week, one snow storm after another, here we have unseasonably warm temperatures forcing the camellias to full bloom in the garden in front of the Bellingham Yacht Club, and other fruit trees are beginning to blossom.
More pics from the waterfront, marina and Zuanich Park.

What a beautiful day for Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Progress, construction is underway! The foundation for Barry's dream house is complete.
Torrie checked things out from below.

As did I.

Soon the sub floor will be in place, blocking the view to the sky from below but making it possible to construct the walls. View more of Barry's house-building pics.

Our dogs sure had a good time!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Leeks, requiring anywhere from 75 to 125 days to reach maturity, are best planted very early. Gardening in a Zone 8 growing season, our winter temps often dip too low to have much success here by directly sowing them in the fall, so today I started mine.
I decided to use a couple of Jiffy 12-Cell Mini Greenhouses because I'm not planning on growing a very large crop of leeks and the mini greenhouses fit so well on the window sill. So easy to use, all you do is add warm water.Almost instantly, the pellets swell up and are perfect for planting.
I gently opened up the mesh cover on the top of each peat pellet with a fork once they had expanded in order to plant the seeds.
I planted three leek seeds per pellet, gently firmed the tops and then placed the dome top onto the mini greenhouse.
Once the leeks have sprouted, it should take a couple of months before they will have grown large enough to plant outdoors (about pencil sized) and by then, we will be well into spring. With several different varieties of carrots, a very good companion plant for leeks, planned for my garden, I will intermix my leek seedlings into my beds of carrots. Ready for harvest when they have reached about one inch in diameter, because the carrots are a faster maturing crop, there should be plenty of room available for the leeks to reach maturity.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Orange Jelly

Often fascinated by the variety of mosses and lichens here in the Pacific Northwest, the different fungi growing on and around our forest floor is an interesting study as well. Walking the trail around the back, forested side of Lake Padden, we found masses of orange jelly, the fungi rather than what one might put on toast, blooming on a decaying log.Without examining a specimen on a slide under a microscope, it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to determine whether this orange jelly is Dacrymyces palmatus, or Tremella aurantia, both more commonly called Witches Butter, or, quite simply, jelly fungus.
Edible, but said to be lacking in flavor and texture, it is more suitable to being eaten raw as it melts rather quickly when heated. Sometimes prized as a flavoring for soups or vegetable dishes, it is rarely sought by mushroom hunters here. Growing in gelatinous globs, it seems a bit slimy and snotty in appearance to me. I'm sure I would need to be very, very hungry - and a long way from home - before I would ever consider eating any.
An owl perched in a nearby tree was hooting at us as we studied the fungi growing on those decaying logs, then finally took flight heading down the trail. Often seen with babies perched in those same branches in the early spring, even though we've had unseasonably warm weather this winter, it being only February, this resident owl still seems to be flying solo.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

WMMSN Free Coffee Fundraiser

Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network (WMMSN) members Danielle and Carley are shown here staffing the free coffee kiosk for the WSDOT free coffee program at the northbound Interstate 5 Bow Hill rest area.
There all weekend from Friday at noon until 2:00 a.m. Monday morning, WMMSN members and friends took turns staffing the booth and serving up free coffee and cookies. A big thank you to all the volunteers, and friends of volunteers, that helped us plan this fundraiser and staff the booth, and a special thank you to all those drivers that stopped by to meet us and helped fill our donations jar. As the WMMSN Director of Volunteers, I say, "thank you, thank you, thank you."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Plantation Products

Really now, how many flowers does one girl need in her garden? I tell myself that maybe if I grow more flowers, in some way the vegetables I plant will benefit by increased pollination from the bees the flowers draw. Zinnias - both dwarf Pumila and giants of California, and mammoth Russian sunflowers will look so pretty in my garden and make great cut flowers too. Carrots - tendersweet and scarlet nantes, both good eaten fresh or roasted, make another good addition. All said to be heirloom seeds, at only twenty cents a pack, I couldn't resist picking out a few more for my Happy Valley garden.These inexpensive seeds are sold under the name of American Seeds and packaged by Plantation Products Inc. of Norton, Massachusetts. Plantation Products are sold throughout the United States in national chains such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Osco Drug, Ace Hardware, TruValue Stores, and at many other regional outlets.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Green Toast

Who likes green toast? Green, they're called Toast and I can knit a pair in an evening.
They're arm warmers, and I sure like my green toast!
Next I think I'll make red toast. Want to make some for yourself? Here's the free pattern - Toast.