Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kitchen Scale

Infestation on Boysenberry Canes
What us this junk?  AND what is that black bug with a green dot on its back?  The infestation looks like blisters on the spent canes of the thorneless boysenberries.  I suspect scale because this can be scraped off easily with my fingernail.

Ants seem to be involved.  I see them scurrying up and down the canes.  However, ants are everywhere in the garden.  They herd pests all over the place.

I'm not too worried about this because these canes will be pruned out soon in preparation for next season's berry producing canes that will be tied up to the supports.  But, if this is something I need to be concerned about I would like to know what I'm dealing with.

Kitchen Remodel:

Here is a view into the kitchen as destruction began.  It's not a fair image of what the kitchen looked like; but it will do.  The cabinets are original to the 1968 house.  The double oven (Dacor) no longer works. The Kitchen Aid refrigerator replaces the garage GE refrigerator (1986).  The Viking cook top is looking for a new home.  The blue tape on the floor marks the estimated location of the expanded counter.  The old kitchen table is where a wall of cabinets will be hung.  They will look spectacular!  The only upper cabinets in the kitchen will be on this wall.  They will have glass fronts.  The counter for this piece is mahogany.

Today, the 2 X 4s are exposed allowing for new copper pipes and electrical. The old light fixtures are gone and are being replaced with pot lights.  The fixture above the window will stay. Cabinets, counter, appliances, and flooring are all gone.  The new cabinets will be Shaker style in creamy white.  Every cabinet and draw will have pull-outs making my ability to access items so much easier.  The corner cabinet has a cool doo dad that will be featured later on.  The counter top is soapstone.  The appliances are all stainless steel.  The flooring will be a continuation of the stone flooring in the rest of the house.  Ajax can be seen laying on the stone in the 1st image.
A stainless steel Frigidaire is in use and will be housed in an area where the doorway will be walled in.  A Frigidaire side-by-side was chosen because of the accessibility for me and it gets the job done.  We have spent money on expensive appliances and breakdown just as quickly (if not quicker) than basic appliances.  The trashcan is blocking the use of the doorway because plumbing and electrical gadgets are dangling down.  Ajax casually waking through could cause a disaster.  The pantry is currently housing the shop vac, step ladder, and broom.

Hope you enjoy being a looky lou as much as me.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Crepe Myrtles

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) - Watermelon
Around here, crepe myrtles will bloom from June until it's not hot.  There will be a constant flow of confetti-like petals littering our driveway.  Some people don't like that and consider it a mess.  Not me.  Boo Hoo.  I have pretty pink petals blowing around my yard.  Seed pod will form and can be snipped or left for the birds.  The leaves will turn orange-red between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Crepe myrtles like full sun and well drained soil.  Done.  If fact, once they are established irrigation should be done only when needed.  I've never had problems with mildew; but honeydew is an issue.  Aphids or other pests enjoy munching on the vegetation then process the plant material and produce honeydew.  That fine mist you experience while strolling beneath crepe myrtles is not a refreshing shower.  Nope.  It's insect pee/poop.  I don't worry about it and alternate my route.  Some apply systemic pesticides to resolve the problem.  I think I would rather have the honeydew than the poison.

Dallas Arboretum Crepe Myrtles (These are my favorites!)
Pruning crepe myrtles is supposed to be done sparingly.  Whoops.  Farmer MacGregor didn't read that part and has really giving this multi trunk tree and severe clipping in the past few years.  We are now in the process of trying to remedy the damage.  If the tree ever gets unhealthy, we'll just remove and replace.  But I'm hoping for the best.  Perhaps I can contemplate a front yard design incorporating a tunnel of lavender crepe myrtles, but I can't see Farmer MacGregor going for it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Boy Oh Boy! Boysenberries in the Kitchen

Thornless Boysenberries
It's hot.  No one wants to be outside.  So, what do you do?  Crack out the frozen boysenberries.  They're great by themselves.  But they're really great blended with some vanilla ice cream.  Further inspired, I cranked up the oven (Really smart on a hot day.), and made a cobbler.  Yet another great use of berries and vanilla ice cream.

Cranking up the oven is as simple as it sounds.  I need to go out to the breakers and flip on some power to these 2 pricey Dacor ovens that sporatically work.  Come back inside and see if the oven will stay on long enough to heat up.  It did.  I proceeded to  assemble the cobbler.  Amazingly, the oven stayed on to completion of the golden brown crust with boysenberry juices bubbling through.  Unbelievable success.  I really didn't expect the oven to work at all.  I have been using the BBQ, crockpot, and stovetop to prepare meals.

The kitchen is on the verge of being demolished.  The 1969 kitchen designed by a man that never had to work in a home kitchen will be brought up to speed.  I hope to chronicle the metamorphosis here with before, during, and after images along with notes on suggestions of what to do and what to avoid.  The garden will be mostly on auto pilot with chores done in the evenings as needed.

If anyone has suggestions of things that MUST be included in a kitchen, I would appreciate an email or comment to consider your suggestions.  Anything.  Now the plan is for stainless steel appliances, Shaker cabinets with pull out features.  No hanging cabinets.  Built in china cabinet.  Soapstone counters. Stone floors.  Pot lights.  My inspiration is FUNCTIONAL.  Everything must be easy to clean and keep clean.  Extra little frills are not going to make the cut.  Oh, and overpriced fluff will get the ax too.

So, by mid July the kitchen should be complete and thoroughly enjoyed. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Boom!

It's June 1st and, just like calendar work, the plums are ripening.  We enjoyed sharing the 1st juicy goodness for dessert a couple of nights ago.  Santa Rosa plums are the 1st trees to break bud in the spring and the 1st trees to have fruit ripe in the summer.  Makes sense.  Duh!
Santa Rosa Plum
Next up are the Blenheim apricots.  Netting was moved from one of the spent boysenberries to the apricots for protection for those pesky garden birds.  Is it just me?  Or do you get annoyed by birds pecking from one fruit to the next leaving many damaged fruit rather than simply destroying one fruit?  Birds.
Blenheim Apricot
Farmer MacGregor's tomato patch is coming along.  His Better Boy tomatoes have improved in vigor as the heat turned up.  Some tomatoes are large and should be turning red soon; while still others are just developing.  They were planted in early April. Salsa!
Better Boy Tomato
Unfortunately, I did not note when the Black Beauty seeds were put in the ground.  I may stumble across a scrap of paper with the information or perhaps I noted it on the seed package

Farmer MacGregor planted Black Beauty Squash (zucchini) on April 21, 2013.  Regardless, I still maintain that the world's hunger problem could be solved by providing each person 2 mourning doves (male & female) and a few zucchini seeds.  Bounty.
Black Beauty Squash (zucchini)
There is plenty more going on in the garden; but this is what I captured before the temperature knocks on 100°F and the battery runs dry on my camera.  Time to close the house up and stay inside until the sun kisses the Pacific.