Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Helicopters and holidays


With each month that goes by it sometimes it seems like we discover something new about the area we live in. This month it's been the Christmas tree harvest. It turns out we live near several Christmas tree farms and they've begun sending them to market. It sounds like the soundtrack from "Apocalypse Now" lately at our place, since helicopters are used to transport the trees off their hills to one staging spot, where the 18-wheelers can easily load and then transport them all over the country. 

In thinking about the fossil fuel/carbon footprint of this whole endeavor, I truly believe that an artificial, reusable tree (we've had ours for going on 19 years now) is a vastly more eco-friendly alternative, even if someday, a long time from now, it ends up in a landfill.  


The place I hear the helicopters the most is when I'm out in the shop, where I've been working on our alder wood doors for downstairs. I'm still not sure how they're going to look next to the oak trim around the doors, but the doors themselves are coming along fabulously. If necessary,we'll re-do the trim on the doors if the difference in wood types is too glaring.



Checking stain colors against trim and floor to get a match.
We also had a major paint failure on our new shutters, which was my favorite part of the new house paint scheme. The official Sherwin-Williams paint name is "Secret Garden," but Big Ag and our painter have nicknamed it "Army Man Green" for the little plastic troops both played with as boys. Anyway, the Army Man Green latex paint just didn't adhere to the shutters properly, leaving us no option but to order pre-colored green shutters in a shade I'm not particularly fond of (Midnight Green, for those keeping track of wacky paint color names). 

Army Man Green ((lighter) versus Midnight Green. Army Men win hands down. 

But I am experimenting with different paint types and if we can find a good paint that will adhere to these shutters, next spring we'll give painting them another go. Never give up.

Future olallieberry patch
We're also getting the trellises built for the olallieberries we brought with us from California, which have been living in pots for the last two years. We'll be adding some table grapes to other trellises eventually, and then we can really begin harvesting a nice variety of both fruit and vegetables.

In case you haven't noticed by all the pictures taken in actual sunshine, we've had a really dry (by Oregon standards) autumn, which I can tell you I'm thrilled with. Last year it seemed like it rained almost every day, but this year we've had stretches of week-long periods days with no rain whatsoever, and it's been great. There's been enough rain to keep things green without it becoming an inconvenience to outdoor activities. We've also had a good deal of morning fog, which has brought to mind my winters in the Central Valley of California. A happy kind of nostalgia, and perfect for getting in the mood for the holidays.




I did plant a winter garden of lettuce and some onions, but it's been disappointing, so I probably will not do it again. Once the weather turns cold, I'll just focus on inside activities more, and leave the food growing until spring. And of course there is always work to be done with the chickens and general yard clean-up and pruning, so I won't lack for outside chores in winter, should I get the urge. And I always do get that urge. I just have a hard time staying inside for long periods of time.




Hope everyone's late autumn/early winter is going well, and the seasonal roads that beckon to you are being traveled!  





10 comments:

  1. This all sounds so lovely (well, except for the flying christmas trees -- YIKES).

    Why did the greens not go so well? Being cool season crops and all? Insects, rabbits, something else?

    We are enjoying the rain down here, no winds (so far). And town is very quiet (bliss!) while so many students and other folks are gone for the holiday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds perfect, Christina. I know I LOVED Paso when all the tourists would leave and it was just like a quiet, small town again. Not sure why my lettuce is not thriving, the days are really short (8:00 to 4:00) and the sun stays very low on the southern horizon, so maybe not enough light or heat. I'm so glad there's rain down there, I'm guessing it put the Cave Fire out quickly. Have a great rest of your holiday weekend (I suspect the students and tourists will all be back too soon lol).

      Delete
  2. Oh yes, the light/heat might be an issue if you didn't start or plant your seedlings early enough to get that last bit of summer, enough to give greens a good start for winter but not too much so they bolt. Hoping mine do OK since I've yet to plant some 6-packs of greens. I'm also late for garlic. This week! Crossing my fingers!

    Cave Fire is mostly out (90% contained). Don't know what could still be burning. Hoping for more (gentle) rain, it's a late start to the season here. But not sure what's normal anymore...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the truth for sure. We had one autumn of daily rain, this autumn which has been dry, and I'm not sure which one is the norm. Who knows anymore, anywhere? And I used to plant my six-packs of greens at this time back in Paso. They grew slowly but it was great to have some nice salads by February, when I'd plant more to see me through spring. Up here, lettuce can grow in summer, which I'm still getting used to!

      Delete
  3. Yeah, Paso is another story! In Los Osos I had the BEST strawberries with that sand and coastal clime, it was dead easy. In SLO they're a bit needy. But my tomatoes are better than in LO. I'm trying to get a mix of berries established (couple varieties of blackberry and blueberry plus Baba raspberry, marionberry, boysenberry, ollalieberry). They are either unavailable or expensive to buy fresh and so much better to pick at home when ripe. Always learning with gardening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with your berries; I only had Olallies but found them to be extremely tough. The vines can handle anything from 8 to 112 degrees and survive! The fruit is trickier though, a good early heatwave in May or early June kind of shrivels them quickly, but we only had that happen one year out of the seven we grew them down there. You'll love growing them and in SLO your temps will be much better. How are the prices for berries at Avila Valley Barn? I always thought they were reasonable back in the day.

      Delete
  4. Yes, hoping it's a good berry locale here! Do you grow marionberries? They are my favorite, have only had them up in OR and WA. I haven't been to Avila Barn in ages, I should give it a whirl again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We WILL be planting Marion berries this spring, I think it's mandatory since we live in Marion County! They actually originated at Oregon State University, I believe. Avila wasn't particularly close to us, but I do remember the few times we went I thought their produce was reasonably priced and good quality. Bet it's especially cute at Christmastime too!

      Delete
  5. Haha, excellent, your own berry and the best one! Didn't know that about OSU. With these first rains I was able to remove some of our spreading Matilija. Giving divisions to MG pals and friends with bigger plots so we'll have more room for edibles. Have lots of willows, wild plums, and native plants for the wild ones so I don't feel bad beating this one back. It remains undaunted, anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never heard or Matija, what exactly is it? Up here we have Himalayan Blackberries that have basically gone native, it's out of control and people literally buy goats hoping they'll get rid of them on their property. They do produce amazing, delicious fruit though, so I don't hate them as much as native Oregonians seem to!

    ReplyDelete