Tag Archives: homestead

June and July in the Garden

The garden is doing much better now that some heat has finally come on.



We started harvesting butterstick summer squash and black beauty zucchini last week. With tons more to come on. We also have planted light green Lebanese squash, some globe zucchini and a few others, I am sure Russel will be tired of it long before the harvest is over!

July 2010 in the Garden

Tomatos in July

We have been harvesting salad greens, cilantro, mustard, mizuna, parsley, dill and arugula for about a month now. So wonderful.. so thankful we can do this.


I am starting more seed now, and hope that it takes.. the birds, mice, quail.. who knows? have been eating the tiny little starts so I have covered the latest batch with remay.


The basil is about ready to start harvesting for pesto. Did you know there is a shortage of pinenuts this year! I am so bummed.
The next town trip I am buying all I can find (if I can find any).
Besides using in pesto, they are one of my favorite foods..being allergic to most nuts, makes them all that more desirable for me.

The tomatos are doing great.. we have about 15 plants of 3 or 4 different varieties.. hopefully there will be enough to can at some point.

The rats have eaten the corn crop down to the ground 2x.. and Russel replants.. it’s not even ‘knee high by the 4th of July’ but perhaps because our gardening year seems to be about a month behind, we may actually get some corn.

We spend at least 2 hours a day in the garden, many days if both of us are out there, it’s really 4 hours. We don’t have anything hooked up to drip or timers, so watering daily is needed for several things. The rodents of all kinds have played havoc on lots of the beds.. trapping doesn’t seem to make a dent in them at all. But as my friend Sue would say, ‘ya gotta share’!


Bumper Crop of SugarSnap Peas!

As I talked about ( in this post ) I have, for lack of a better way to describe it, been sick for going on 7 weeks now.

We also had a cold and wet spring, which made the sugar snap peas very happy.. and me too.

This doesn’t look like it, but every other day for the last 3 weeks or so we have been harvesting 2 to 3 pounds of sugar snaps!
Best snack food there is:

SugarSnap Peas


WP and FB

(Ages since last post.)

I have been working on a new install of WordPress as a CMS.
I remember when I installed MT here for this blog, took some time, but was relatively easy.

The MT forums at the time (2003) were active with friendly people who wanted to help..not just point you to an outdated Codex file.
Word Press, for all its popularity, doesn’t do some very simple things well at all. I started the dev 2 months ago, at version 2.8 since then there have been 4 major upgrades of the software!

Because I hand code, I know how to do everything I am asking WP to do for me, but trying to get WP to do it, well is another thing.
The reason I chose WP, was the client wanted to be able to ‘write their own info’ (post) and upload photos and such, so i needed to give them a back end that was user friendly.

I don’t know how that will work out in the long run, but it’s been a summer of WP learning curve and frustration. And it doesn’t look like this site will ‘go live’ for at least another month!
[the site did go live HumCPR]
[I have continued working with WP and learning constantly..)

We did get away for our anniversary July 27, just a short trip to Ruth Lake, some swimming and a bit of fishing.
We also did Reggae on the River, the one day event now at Benbow State Park, very irie and fun.

Russel is really making some progress on some of the homesteading projects we have, so that is good. School starts soon and time will be short.

I talk with Dad’s widow, Sue a lot. I miss the Michigan family, after being there for so long, I got used to being able to see everyone.
Not to good about keeping in touch, but making an effort.

Facebook as become my hang out, lots of my cousins and nieces are on there so I can keep in touch that way. And many locals who I don’t see all that often, so now we can at least play a game of Lexulous (scrabble) every now and then. I have also ‘friended’ with lots of Bruce Cockburn Humans, some old friends, and even made some new ones.

I guess the neatest Facebook story I have so far is this one:


I went to high school and was friends with a group of brothers (4), D,G,J,R. Both D and R have passed. I have pictures of us from 1966 to 1971.

Well my cousin on FB, had a friend with the same last name as the 4 above, he ‘friended’ me and said, “hey won’t J & G be surprised by who I found on FB!”

So I connected with him, I vaguely remember him, as he is the youngest brother of the 4 I mentioned. Come to find out that J (who I was friends all through school) has some kids with girl I went to school with. (who also has passed on)

So they fb’d me..and they wanted the stories, because they had never met their uncles.. dying so young and all. And they didn’t have pictures.

So I spent a weekend digging though old photo albums and year books, scanned a bunch of photos into FB and told them some stories about their uncles, even the youngest brother didn’t know a lot of this stuff and had never seen most of these pictures.

The gratitude and thankfulness I felt from them for doing this little thing lifted me up, when I was very down and still grieving heavily for my Dad.

So when you wonder if you should pitch all those old photos, well, maybe not. Maybe find the persons who will treasure them and pass them on.

Anyway to me it was the neatest FB connection so far.



Today is one of those beautiful spring days. I walked to the meadow down the road from our place. I started doing that just to get the feeling of being in nature. Even though we are surrounded by forest and no houses, when I am out side here all I see is the work that needs to be done.

What a shame, I need to change that mind set some how. We are so lucky in so many ways.

Dad was doing good the 3 months since we were there, then last week he collapsed. Now he has brain lesions.. and is getting radiated again for them. He has been through so much this past 2 years. I feel his time is very short, and it brings up so much stuff for me.

We missed some very cold days when we left mid- December.
Once back it has mostly been nice for a month or so. Finally getting some needed rain in March.

spring yard

Along with it being spring one day and winter the next.
Of course just thinking spring brings up the ton of work it takes to get ready to garden.

snow in march

Home at last

We had a few glitches and Kaya had to live out side in the heat and smoke while we were gone, but we came home to a good garden:

july garden
july garden

Harvesting: 4 kinds of summer squash, basil for tons of pesto, eggplants, tomatos, red and yellow potatoes, lots of salad greens.
Peppers on – waiting for them to go red.
Carrots, beets and green beans a bit slow, planted late.
Peaches so heavy breaking the tree limbs, but I have my doubts as to whether they will ripen.

We also made it to Reggae on the River at Benbow, a one day event this year and quite comfortable, good food, good music and a great crowd.

A couple of visits to Eureka,saw “Iron Man” and “Hancock” on 2 separate visits. Got sushi and bought some stuff for the house, including a door for an interior room.

It has been hot and smoky this past week, but we had good cool weather and little smoke for several weeks.

We also got the storage shed cleaned out and BIG NEWS Russel got the electrical water pump to work with our little honda generator… this means that I can pump water from here… no having to go down down below to the holding tanks with gasoline to run the pump. (he always does that job)
So this is a good thing, it has been in the process for a couple of years, lots of lines and wires to run between here and there and lots of little issues… but it’s working!!!

I haven’t been swimming all year. Most days I wanted to go up to the Van Duzen River, it was too smokey. And the Eel is so low and full of algae I wouldn’t put my toe in it.

And that’s about it for now. I will leave you with Bucky-boo…
who is sporting a much larger rack now than when this was taken a few weeks ago!!


Michigan July 2008

You can pretty much read this post and get what Michigan was.

I am always glad to see family and especially fun to see Dad and Sue.
This year got to meet great-niece Lauren who is just a delightful engaging young woman. I hope we can get to know each other through emails.

Lauren Brown

I did get to see niece, Laurie (17) and she is a beautiful as ever. I am so glad brother John brought her down from Alpena to visit while I was there.

Also had dinner and a visit with Lauren’s grandparents, Scott and Donna. Now how this works is my sister (who died at 31 in 1985) had a son with Scott, this is Jamey, and Lauren is his daughter. Scott and I were in school together, he is the only person from my graduation class of 1970 that I still have contact with. It was really good to visit with them awhile. Time is always too short.

My old friend Darlene also came to visit. I am so glad she did. We go back to the 70’s as well. She has been my friend longer than any other. Her life is good, she is a grandmother now and totally into that sweetness.

The thing I am not speaking too much of is Dad’s cancers, both melanoma (neck and shoulder area) which he has had roughly 4 operations on.

And now squamous cell carcinoma in his throat/base of tongue. They have decided to do a 5 days/7 weeks of radiation on that.. the doctors say he should be able to beat it. I don’t know. He was much more active than I had thought he would be. But he doesn’t feel good at all, he is just doing what he can do till he can’t do it any more.

We did the usual 4th of July picnic out on the lake (these are from a few years ago..but it’s the same thing) with a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins. Good to catch up with them, it all seems so surreal at times though. Our life here is so very different than any ones back there.

The Return Trip

I had a total body break down at the end of the toxic Michigan stay.
Part was bad bed and pillow which caused an old injury to arm/shoulder to reappear. I couldn’t even raise my arm to dress, brush hair, eat (right arm). This started the last week we were there.
Not good. And the hives had started too. I try to eat as clean as food as possible, but …. any way for what ever reason my hands were swelling up. Then motel night 1.. got a severe sinus drip and intense whole body swelling.. took a antihistamine and knocked my self out for a few hours only. Got up at 4am.. flight at 6am.. worst airport food any where (Detroit).. got to Denver.. no time to get decent food there either. I did pack some stuff, but wasn’t good enough.

Got into Sacramento… smoke… fires..100 plus degrees… running on adrenalin by now. Russel just muscling me through to our car… the 4 runner battery was dead. Russel jumped started it and we went to Woodland and bought a battery. Ate some not so good pancakes and eggs and he wanted to keep going.. it was only 11 am here. So we drove on too Clear Lake (2+ hours) where I had booked a room (Best Western) in case we couldn’t drive all the way.

Good thing, I was about to lose it bad. Nice motel there .. and friendly staff. But I needed to eat, but felt total nausea, got R to get a baked potato from the motel eatery. What happened next was the total break down. Hives, rapid heart beat, head ache, dizzy, so much more… I told Russel to find out where an emergency room was cause I didn’t know if I would make it. I passed out at this point.

Good bed and we had our pillows, I woke up feeling better than I had in a few days. It doesn’t sound like much when writing this down, but I don’t ever remember having my system that stressed by something I still don’t know why.

It took several days before I was normal… other things I won’t mention here were happening too.

The sun came up like a red rubber ball in the Sacramento valley.
And went down as a red orange ball here in the hills. For some reason my camera wasn’t capturing the redness of the sun??


Full Moon May

The garden is mostly in. The poppys are popping.. the sage is blooming and the wild lilac. We have had a dry spring with mild temps until the last several days of HIGH HEAT (100’s). Watching the clover yard dry up. The deer coming around less as there is less to eat. Haven’t seen the bambies yet, although we had a pregnant doe here for weeks.

Russel’s Aikido teacher from the bay area is here this weekend for a retreat. The potluck was last night and good food was had by all.
He is wrapping up the schools classes. In 3 weeks he will go to Aikido summer camp in the south bay for a week. I hope to have a lot of energy and maybe some money to do some interior work on this house.

The Michigan trip is booked for June 25 -July 11. Dad does have even more cancer. The melanoma keeps spreading, there are spots on his lungs which nothing can be done about, and a lump in his neck that is some kind of squamous, but not skin cancer kind. There is at least one more surgery ahead, if he chooses to do it. Probably just before we get there.

I have started to speak it out loud, that he may die soon… or not .. as he is a tough old guy (86) going on 60. But I need to prepare myself. This one will be hard to let go of.

My friends T and Ter from Florida are actually saying they may come visit this way this summer. I am so hoping that they do. I need them too. I need to see T… just feels like it must happen.

Not a lot of photos to brag about. Haven’t been using my camera much. Got this one in april through the hazy kitchen window:


I have been working a lot.

And Bruce Cockburn, www.cockburnproject.net is out on a short tour which is being recorded and filmed for a new LIVE-Solo CD and DVD. Wish he was doing some shows on the west coast for this, but he’s not.

There is also a lot going on locally. Too much to really go into here, but here is a link to a local blog who keeps everyone informed at least to what is going on with code enforcement, diesel concerns, 2nd district elections and Reggae wars, to name a few. I use it only as a means to being alerted and seeing what some (few) people are thinking about these issues. I do not generally agree with a lot that is posted over there as opinion.


Spring 2008

Spring is here the daffodils and tulips are blooming as are the peach trees. Life should be sweet, and in many ways it is, but I am stressed in so many ways.

First off, Dad isn’t done with the cancer it is back and another surgery is planned for April 23. This time the surgeons are taking ALL the muscle left in his left shoulder.. why I am not sure seeings how the lumps of melanoma are in his neck ..but I am not there to ask all the questions. And they will do what ever the doc says is the best thing to do. Dad is afraid the cancer will spread to his brain, or eyes or ears..and I understand that. But after this surgery, he will have no use or movement with his left arm.

I did book flights back to Michigan last month. We will be gone end of June through early July. I would like to go back now.. or when he has surgery, but they ‘can handle it’ and I am sure would prefer I am not there.

I am on a hormonal roller coaster just now. But hope to end that all soon. I may stop the estrogen as well, but have to see how bad the hot flashes get again.

I have been working, a local woman who I have written about before, Estelle Fennell is running for Humboldt County 2nd district supervisor. I have made her a website.

Estelle Fennell

And I am working on a new version of Russel’s Aikido for Kids website.. this one will go live in a couple of weeks.

I did manage to see Prezident Brown a few weeks ago at the Mateel Community Center. It was a good show and I danced in a new dress! (Yes finally finding the rayon batik dresses I like really did lift my spirit a bit!!).

That’s pretty much it. All the usual spring projects and clean up and dump runs, and getting the garden ready, and figuring out what projects, if any are going to get done this summer. Our summer here won’t really start until middle of July! Yikes its so hot by then nothing much can get done. I hope Russel feels good enough and has enough energy to actually get some stuff done before school is out.. other wise, it mostly won’t I fear.