Monday, August 31, 2009

Last Day of August

Fall is on it's way! Summers seem to fly by in Alaska. I don't mind the cooling temps but the long daylight hours spoil me. Driving into the airport at 10pm, in daylight, driving home from the airport at 2am in daylight (just not bright)... Daylight is what I miss the most, as it disappears and we head into winter. Not that winter is dark, just only light for 6-8hrs a day. We are losing (till winter solstice) or gaining light (till summer solstice) every day, whether it's seconds or up to 30 min a day, a constant cycle, that I wish would slow a bit, on the light side...

Anyway, thought I'd share some signs of changing seasons here at the close of August.

Changing colors around our big rock, with blown down branches. I like our big rock.

Sissy does too. She doesn't blend into the scenery quite yet (give it a month).

And these would be a pair of our complimentary colors. Now the 2 different plants stand out clearly.

The Fireweed has gone to seed. It blows around on windy days like dandelion seeds....

A few other signs of Autumn coming, that I've noticed:
  • I mowed the lawn today with a sweatshirt on, in the cool evening, as the light faded and I got most of it done on 1 tank of gas (for 2 hrs with a push mower).
  • At 9:45pm I could no longer see my mowing rows, what was mowed vs. not mowed so called it a day, or night.
  • It's AK State Fair time, thru Labor Day.
  • School has started for the local kids.
  • The carrots are finally showing some size and the potato plants are slowly dying (almost ready to dig up).
  • I'm starting to care less about gardening, weeding, etc. and more about crafting projects I'd like to do or books I'd like to read...

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Wow, we have alot of mushrooms around here, esp. in our lawn! This rainy month of August has brought them out of the ground. I don't know anything about these, some I hadn't seen before. Feel free to comment with any info you know about any of them!

These almost look hairy on top.

But here's the same 2 the next day, poof!

I thought this was from a tree, it looked wood-like.

But yet, here's the side view.

These guys were pushing to the surface across a couple of days,
same size, just upward!

These little ones remind me of something, umbrellas, huts...

The fly gives some perspective as to how tiny these are!

And that's my nature walk and photo focus for this week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moose Season!

We had a visitor last night!! I was doing the dishes when I glanced out the window and noticed a big dark blob in the far clearing of our yard. It wasn't quite dark yet but with the inside lights on I couldn't make out any detail. The night before Moose season opens in our area and a bull walks into our yard! We hadn't seen anything with horns come thru this year yet. They seem to know when it's hunting season and disappear. Maybe that why he was moving thru, knowing tomorrow was the day.

The pics aren't very clear, I know. One can never stand still enough in low light to take clear pics of objects, esp. when you want details like size, number of brow tines, etc. to know if it's legal. But I didn't want to take the time to find the tripod, remember how to set the timer on the camera, set everything up, etc. in case he kept moving. So these are the best 2, out of a dozen or so pics, without using a photo editor to piece a few of them together... Hey, I was impressed they came out this bright! It was a bit darker than this out when they were taken. All I did was crop them alittle.

Scott was out on the 4wheeler running Sissy all around the woods barely an hour earlier and they didn't see him. He glassed him from the window and even in the low light thinks he just might be legal. We had a few hours to go till the season started and till dark so he didn't go out to verify. Scott may not get out hunting/camping this season. : ( He had said that one would have to walk thru the yard. 4 weeks to go to find out if another one will. The freezer is almost void of all red meat so I'm hoping we get one!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Garden update

Most of the Fireweed is about flowered out, I can't deny fall is on the way! It's still getting up in the low 60s during the day but down into the 40s some evenings. We've had rain almost everyday these past couple of weeks so the lawn is back to it's luscious green self minus the clover and dandelion flowers. It was nice to walk around the wet yard and not be swarmed by mosquitoes! What remains of the garden, thanks to the moose, is still growing nicely. Carrots, potatoes, some beans & zucs, the weeds and a few stray flowers.

Stray pansies add color to the row of carrots.

Some Zucs are surviving the moose, mold, slugs & other critters (not sure what is eating the skin off of them, mice?). I've brought in about 7 so far, pulling them before they get really big otherwise something else might get to them first. Yesterday I shredded enough of them to make a batch of Zuchini Bread and a few 2cup portions to freeze for more baking later. Sorry, no pics : ) The rest is for dinner over these next few weeks, between salads & spaghetti, yumm!

A few things are still growing in the Greenhouse. I have them in Earthboxes which have a water reservoir in the bottom. With it being cool out and not always sunny, I get spoiled, and lazy, not having to water everyday in there but I still forget to fill them at least once a week.

The Cucumbers are still blooming. I've brought in 6 big ones last week. Time to bring out the fresh veggie salads!

Tomatoes are producing, slowly, but no reds yet! Will need to buy some for those salads, for now.

I have a couple of green pepper plants but they are pretty grossly covered with aphids & such. I really need to clean them off... so far they haven't attacked the tomatoes & cucumbers that are on either side of them. 1 pepper is still growing, even starting to turn red. I took a pic but it is gross, to me, so I'll not share it. Makes me feel guilty, just taking pics and not actually caring for my plants... I blame the moose. : )

I almost forget this box. I planted small Broccoli in this Earthbox and "hid" it from the moose - put it right behind the house. We usually let the weeds grow up tall back there, just whacking them once or twice a year, so it was literally hidden for awhile.

Scott's folks are coming in just under 2 weeks! We've started a major cleaning of the guest apartment in preparation. It seems alot of the shop dust from Scott working on his many projects had drifted upstairs somehow. We'll be meeting the folks in Juneau and be there for a few days before they come here so we're trying to get alot done before we go!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cards - Birds & Butterflies

August is typically our rainy season here in the valley. Since I don't have to go out to mow the lawn (!) and I have some birthday & anniversary cards to make for August, I've been working on a few cards this past week.

With a person in mind who likes birds, I chose to use a stamp of a couple of birds from the "Best Friends" acrylic set by Inkadinkado. They were colored with Prismacolor pencils and layered on patterned paper from BasicGrey, the Sugared collection. I lightly sponged on some distress ink to help tone down the white cardstock and also edged it with the same ink. This is the first time I've used decorative Twill tape; I like it but it'll be a bit lumpy for mailing in a standard envelope.

It takes me awhile to pick a layout let alone colors so I've gotten into the habit of making more than one at a time, using at least a couple of different layouts, seeing what I like better, sometimes liking all or none.

As I made the Birthday card, it dawned on me that the stamp of the 2 birds would be good for an Anniversary card too.

I think this patterned paper looks antiquish, good for an Anniversary of say, more than 14 years? : ) Ours is next Thursday, 15 years!! Lots of love and prayers, thru the highs & lows. Ok, back to cards... The shade of brown used for matting matches the orangish brown dots on the patterened paper, tho you may not be able to tell from this small picture.

Stamps: Birds-Inkadinkado "Best Friends" acrylic set, Happy Anniv.-Stampin' Up, Happy Bday-Stampabilities
Ink: Colorbox Chalk Ink-Charcoal, TH Distress Ink-Antique Linen; Prismacolor Pencils
Paper: Solid-DCWV; Patterned-BasicGrey Sugared Collection
Twill-Creative Impressions

After a few of those, I moved on to someone else's Birthday. She likes purple. Even tho I had a color picked out - Purple - I was kind of overwhelmed by the paper and image choices so I tried to get back to keeping it simple in my mind. I chose the butterfly from the same acrylic stamp set as the birds and some fun, not too big, bold or busy background paper that actually matched my Birthday wishes for her - Love, Laughter & Happiness (that happened to be in purple!) : ) I didn't have a small Happy Birthday that I liked for the tag so I went with ol' reliable (and true) - Thinking of You. I stamped a big Happy Birthday inside.

The purple Stickles used to highlight the stamped image reflected the camera flash a little brightly! I didn't realize how bright till I had the pics loaded. I think you get the idea of how Stickles adds bling! I like Stickles! (It's a brand of glitter glue that comes in many colors and in small bottles, found in most stamp & scrapbooking stores.)

Stamps: Butterfly-Inkadinkado "Best Friends" acrylic set, ToU-Endless Creations
Ink: VersaMagic Chalk Ink (DewDrop)-Eggplant; Stickles-Purple
Paper: Solid-DCWV, Patterned-Hot Off the Press "Purple Happiness"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coleus and Potato Blooms

I was introduced to Coleus plants thru the gardening magazines I've been reading for years. I like that they come in so many varigated colors but those that have a bright pink streaks really catch my eye. I grew some in pots from seed a few years ago but in the years since I wasn't successful in growing them. Maybe the seed was getting too old or something, not to mention grower neglect. This spring I resolved to try the old seed one last time before looking for a new pack. Thinking that if they were in my sight on a daily basis I'd be able to rule out grower neglect, I started them inside. I poked some drainage holes in the bottom of a small yogurt container, added potting soil and seeds and put them in the front window with many of our houseplants.

A few weeks later, I was pleasantly suprised that not just one seedling poked up but 5! They happily grew toward that warm sun & heat in the south window, I had to rotate their container almost daily. Soon I had to transplant them each to its own, larger, yogurt container (we sure have alot of them). They've really grown with TLC!

I love these colors!

The dark, almost black, color looks velvety.

Wow, I've never seen a Coleus bloom. Light purple flowers, kinda clashes with the color of the leaves.

I got on the internet to find out more about Coleus. Apparently the plant is like most other outdoor plants & flowers, duh. It produces flowers, goes to seed then dies. Treated as a houseplant, it's recommended to pinch off the flower buds to live longer and to encourage the plant to become more bushy & full. I have 2 that haven't bloomed yet so I'll try this, since I don't want to start more seed to replace these pretty ones anytime soon.

After taking some more pictures of the Coleus I noticed some color (other than green) out the window. Seeing some leaves starting to change color and the potato plants blooming in the garden, I headed out with the camera.

I'm not sure what kind of weed this is, but it looks pretty in red. Thankfully the trees aren't changing this fast, yet.

Our Idita-Red Potato plants look healthy.

These blooms don't clash with their leaves.

Sissy entertained herself as I walked around the yard with the camera.

Taking a break to enjoy the moment, the breeze, the smells, ...what is that?

What are you looking at? Are you still taking pictures?

Well, if she would bring me the ball instead of playing keep away...