Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas at Home 2006

Wow, it was April 2006 we made the last entry to this blog! No way to 'catch up' 10 months of no posts. Life has certainly moved on for us, but not this blog.

Okay, so Christmas 2006. We purchased (at seriously reduced price) a new artificial Christmas tree. We already have a huge 6 foot tree that completely takes up either the upstairs or downstairs cupola if that is where we place it. Or takes up the whole front of the living room if that is where we place it. It certainly holds all the decades of Christmas ornaments back to when the children were, in fact, children. Now, they are grown with children of their own.

It's kind of sad in a nostalgic kind of way to put up the big tree with all the years of ornaments unless the kids and grandkids are going to come for Christmas visit. For now they are scattered about, and sometimes they can do the travel, sometimes not. I wanted instead a smaller more compact tree that I could tuck in a corner and I'm quite satisfied with the size of this smaller tree.

Our Christmas gift to ourselves this year. A nice double recliner loveseat. We have for several years now been discussing getting either couch or loveseat that has dual recliners. It was still years in the future for us as a purchase. When we were out and about taking in Christmas bazaars and such like, we came across a garage sale that we almost didn't stop at and found this great dual recliner at a price too good to pass on.

Nope, not telling, but we knew we would not likely come across such an affordable price for this kind of piece of furniture again and it was in such good, cared for shape. We left, both yearning and wishing we hadn't committed to dental work and $$ cost to us. Somehow we managed to talk ourselves into believing we could tighten the budget belt, squeezing hard, eat beans and rice, and doing so could manage to pay the dentist $$ and treat ourselves to this Christmas present. Now, it's February and we are recovering but recliner is paid for and so is the dentist $$.

posted entry by Lietta Ruger

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

More promptings from stories of Military Brats Online

I seemto do a wandering among the links at Military Brats Registry and get myself tangled up as the links take me offsite to other links that take me offsite. Anyway, so that I can return promptly to Military Brats Online, where there is a list of Brat stories, I'm blogging a quick entry. I will revisit Military Brats Online and the Brats stories posted there will prompt me with my own memories.

Already I was prompted by something suggested - and yes, we were a family who traveled the old Route 66 highway - back in the day. Now those are some photos I really wish we had - many of those old places are gone, torn down, don't exist any more. Another thing that doesn't quite exist any more is the way in which we traveled when we returned stateside.....before Interstate highways - back when travel meant 2 lane highways, some sort of tourist interest stop in practically every town and whistle stop along the way.

I really must try to write about the month long travel trip we took when we returned stateside - arriving in San Francisco, going north to World's Fair in Seattle and seeing the Space Needle, driving across Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Dakotas and then south criss crossing until we arrived at our new base assignment - Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi. It seemed we stopped at every natural vista and man made tourist attractions along the way. I might ask my two sisters and brother to 'remember when' to help me round out the details of this memorable trip.

Promptings from Podcasts at Military Brats Registry -

I plan to listen to the series of podcasts placed at Military Brats Registry, and then write some thoughts about them.
Leaving an entry here more to quickly link to the page list of podcasts; Military Brats Registry Podcasts

It's here! The Military Brats Registry "Every Brat Has a Story" podcast is now available. The program can be downloaded to your computer or mp3 device such as the Apple iPod. And if you're using iTunes or iPodder you can subscribe to automatically download to your device. Click on "podcasts" in iTunes and enter "Military Brats" in the search box, then subscribe (free!). Each episode will be automatically downloaded into iTunes and to your iPod.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

2006 pix of yard progress since Nov 2002.

We bought this house in Nov 2002. Now in 2006, I have an acquisition of photos that show changes in the yard. Photos below are from 2006. I will need to backtrack to add slideshow photos from previous years.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

We bought this house in Nov 2002. In Spring 2003, began work in the yard, very modest beginning, mostly adding a few annuals, some containers, cutting back rhodies and some other overgrown mature specimens. For vegetable garden, I used split-bag topsoil, planting seeds directly into the split bags.

In Spring 2004, work in earnest began to shape up the yard, retaining the flavor of the original owners vision. Also did not want to take out, prune, remove plants until we knew what they were - using that axiom to wait a year and see what's what.

In Spring 2005, more work in earnest, serious pruning, removing, and began actually rearranging, creating and starting to claim yard more to our vision, rather than preserving integrity of original owners vision. Learned original owners stopped living in the house, using on occasional weekends, so yard upkeep had lost it's shaping over the years.

In Spring 2006, we are now engaged in claiming the yard as our own. We have been one-income family since May 2003 when I left my career employment. It has put a serious damper on spending so working the yard has been on extremely frugal budget.
Patience and bit by bit, plant by plant, back-breaking labor, we are very gradually getting somewhere towards our yet unrealized vision for the yard and house.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

Wee Garden Inventory of plants; Bay Center house

Zones, Planting Seasons,

Calendar In the Sunset Western Garden Book (1996, 2001, Sunset Pub. Corp., Menlo Park, Calif.), the western U.S. is divided into 24 Climate Zones. These Climate Zones do NOT correspond to the USDA Hardiness Zones.

Zone 5

Marine Influence Along the Northwest Coast Mild ocean air bring relatively warm winters in this Zone. Minimum temperatures range from 28o to 1o F, although in some year a "big freeze" can cause considerable damage to plants. Zone 5 extends from the Puget Sound area in Washington, including Seattle and Tacoma, south along the Pacific Coast to north of Brookings, Oregon, including Astoria, Newport, Coos Bay.


* Delphinium - twice over the years and both eaten by slugs
* Asiatic Lillies -transplanted and they died
* Calla Lilly - grrr, of 5 planted, only one has come back
* Daisies - tall variety, transplanted, doing well
* Carnation - doing well
* Snapdragon - does well
* pansies - does well
* dusty miller - does well
* iris - does quite well
* gladiolas - doing well
* calendula orange flowers - not perennials, but have blooms into winter
* primroses - does well
* ranunculous flowers, red, yellow, white - slugs ate them
* heliotrope - not perennial, an annual, and nice choice
* tulips - after 3 yrs, looks like tulips bloomed this year
* daffodils - does well
* Columbine - volunteered in 2005 and doing well in 2006.
* Foxglove - didn't come back, trying again this year with new plant.
* Creeping Buttercups - arghh, like weeds, bane of my garden beds.
* Lavender - many varieties
* Rosemary - evergreen actually, and grows to bush size
* sedum varieties
* Hibiscus - 2 plants 2006, planted front rose bed
* Bleeding Heart - white; planted 2006, shaded back side of yard.
* Dahlia - 2 plants 2005; died.


* pansies - does well
* petunias - does well
* cosmos - does well
* sunflowers - slugs eat, russian mammoth spectacle if can keep slugs from it
* marigolds - does well
* strawflowers - does well
* geraniums - does well
* allysum - does well
* baby's breath .. white flowers
* begonias - does well

Bulbs and Rhizones

* iris - doing great
* calla lillies - finicky
* asian lillies - died
* easter lillies - died
* gladiolas - doing well
* hosta - 4 plants disappeared,slugs or died
* hosta type in planters
* tulips..lost them, didn't produce again. oops reappeared in 3rd yr


* Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree
* Monkey Puzzle Tree
* Maple
* Weeping Norway Spruce
* Evergreen trees in back yard
* 10 dry root seedlings Natl Arbor membership - which in 4th yr are showing progress. Next spring if they flower, I can perhaps identify which is which. We lost the coloring chart. 3 in front yard, 2 in back yard so 5 of 10 of the tree roots made it.
* Mugho pines - planted 2 small starters this yr = 2006
* Japanese white flowering Mt Fuji - planted 2006
* Apple hybrid tree with 3 apple varieties on one tree - planted 2006. (will list varieties here)
* Eucalyptus - 2 trees. planted one in front yard 2006 and one in whiskey barrel planter end of 2005 season.

Shrubs and Bushes

* Rhodedendrons = Eight mature.
* barberry, a small tree or shrub w vivid yellow blossoms and red berries. Oh, why - husband pulled up when we were ignorant of what it was - total loss in trying to re-plant or propagage. Good news though, in the other bed, a shoot is coming up, so may still have a new barberry with it's internal yellow trunk - medicinal properties.
* Hydrangea = 3, and only 1 lived, 2004. It is doing well in it's third year
* Lilac = mature, but it is struggling. Lost 2 trunks in Fall 2005, new baby is coming up between remaining 2 trunks.
* Fuschia Tree - does very well, cautiosuly pruned in spring 2005, no need as it comes back in fullness. hard pruned spring 2006 and it still comes back in fullness.
* juniper - mature, tried to propagate 2006; not taking
* Weeping Norway Spruce - doing well
* Lacey Leaf Japanese Red Maple, not dwarf - 2004. slow growing and doing well
* Forsythia - 2005, and doing well in 2006.
* Eastern snowball - 2006, newly planted, we'll see how it does
* Mallow tree - 2006. perennial, delicate pink flowers on elongated stems.


* Lavendar = 11
* Rosemary = 3
* Oregano = 3
* Sage = 2
* Basil - annual
* Marjoram - didn't make it
* new herb, need name, haven't used before
* Parsley - annual
* Chives - doing well
* Mint - planted in ground 2006
* Catnip - excellent for perennial w/ purple flowers
* Salt and Spice herb - annual
* Tarragon - 2006 not doing well
* Thyme - have planted from nursery twice, died both times 2005, 2006.

Rock Garden

Planted rock garden in 2004. In it's third year in 2006, it is looking very nice.

* Sedums, will try to list names of varieties.
- candy tuft = white flowers
- autumn joy = rust color tops in Autumn
- usual array, names not known.
* Lavender - three varieties. Cotton lavender is magnificent as it sprawls and crawls all over the rocks.
* Dracenia - from a small plant to a spectacular centerpiece - sharp and pointed up growing stems.
* Forthsythia - bush, I know, and probably not best at rock garden, but I love to see that first yellow of spring from kitchen window. Planted 2005.

2006, extended the beds in rock garden area as adding additional plants.

* poker plant
* achillibe
* coral bells or lily of the valley
* elephant ears plant (bulb)
* ground cover (purple flower - need name)
* another lavender plant
* rock garden evergreen - yellow flowers (need name)
* rock rose - pink flowers
* iris bulbs (transplants, likely won't leave in this bed)
* perennial white flowers (need name)
* autumn joy sedum
* upright blue flowering perennial (know name, can't recall - need)
* delphinium - slugs ate

Vegetable Garden


* Radishes (Good)
* Lettuce (Good)
* Spinach (Good, but won't grow it again)
* Onions (Good)
* Tomatoes (Great)
* Corn (Good)
* Zucchini Squash (Great)
* Summer Squash (Great)
* Acorn and Winter Squash (Great)
* Pumpkins (Great)
* Cucumbers (Great)
* Cauliflower (way too big a plant, won't grow it again)
* Wax beans (Great)
* Eggplant (didn't grow, season too short?)
* Watermelon (didn't grow, season too short or not hot enough?)
* Green Peppers (Great)


Same as above with new additions;

* Beets
* Turnips
* Snap Peas
* Green Beans
* Elephant Garlic
* Carrots
* Lima Beans
* Elephant Garlic


Same as previous years but miserable failure of entire garden this year.
- Elephant garlic did well in it's 2nd yr.
- beets growing large and well.
- radishes growing well as usual.
- tomato plant from nursery producing
- all else failed this year, slugs ate the tender plants. twice planted zucchini, squash, cucumbers and slugs got every one. Also neighbor gave me well rooted zucchini and cucumbers and slugs got those also..

- new challenge and problem; combatting slugs! I have been reluctant to kill slugs in previous years, but with the end of last season and this season (2006), I can't afford to be so merciful.

- new challenge; the borage/comfrey I planted from seed in 2004 came back again in 2005, but in 2006 it was popping up all over the actual vegetable garden space and in rock garden bed. Researching it, seems it has that characteristic, has some underground growing mechanism, and is next to impossible to entirely get rid of once it starts that system. Groan -- been trying to rid of the perpetual creeping buttercup and creeping morning glory and wound up planting another permanent creeper. Had I known, never would have planted. What have I wrought with one package of seeds?!


* Strawberries = 6 in 2004; 3 lived, bought 3 more 2005; doing well in 2006 although so far few to no strawberries. Time to transplant to more permanent space.

Compost and Fertilizer

* kitchen compost, scraps
* purchased bags compost
* Used Sam's last year 2004. Miracle Gro this year 2005. None 2006.
* Using purchased top soil both years, split bag one year; garden space this year.

Seeds and Preserving Seeds

* Sunflowers
* Green Pepper
* Cucumber
* Zucchini
(great, but I've misplaced and can't locate the preserved seed packets in 2006)


* 1 miniature in 2004 w/ red, pink, coral roses on one bush
* 3 packaged root climbing roses 2004, 1 yellow Peace Rose, 1 traditional climber with small pink roses and 1 hasn't bloomed yet so don't remember it's rose color yet. It bloomed, and is a deep burgundy.
* Bought 3 more packaged root rose bushes 2005; planted in front bed, 2 lived = pink buds and yellow buds but coral buds died.
* Bought another root rose 2006 for front bed; it's struggling.
* Bought climber, yellow, to plant in raised railroad tie bed as permanent anchor. Now have permanent hydrangea, permanent climbing rose, permanent catmint, permanent yarrow. And permanent lavender in the brick post column.

Indoor Plants

* Spider plants
* Jade plant
* Rattail cactus (died)
* Flowering cactus
* Philodendrom
* Scheffelaria (bush size now, 5 yrs old)


* Harry Lauder Walking Stick Tree = 3, already 2 died, premature cutting away from mother
* Spider plants
* Yarrow, volunteers from seed blowing
* 2006, tried again, most all failed. Cotton lavender may have taken; pussy willow tree (my Mother's yard) may taken, cedar shrub may have taken.

Garden journal at Dave's Garden and also at Wee Garden website.

Decorating Yard n Garden

* old shoes, planter
* storebought stakes w/ ornaments
* decorative trellis = 2
* windchimes
* swirls
* stepping stones
* yard sales/flea market items as bowls, urns, baskets, old garden gloves

Weeds and Pests

Arghh on the Slugs! Also the creeping buttercups.

entry by Lietta Ruger

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Time to hit the garden and yard .. my climate zone

So, I learned something today. I had thought where I live the climate zone per USDA Hardiness chart was in zone 8-9. Ahh, but I found the below today which points out my maritime environment puts me more in line with Zone 5. Now I will adjust my planting times accordingly.
Also, it's April 1, and I'm eager to start the seedlings, and I learned something else about planting some of the vegetables too early. (Lietta)

From Washington state Master Gardener's website; Everything can go into the ground now, except the heat loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, cukes, corn and basil.
Sunset Climate Zones, Oregon State Univ., LANDSCAPE PLANTS

Sunset's Climate Zones
In the Sunset Western Garden Book (1996, 2001, Sunset Pub. Corp., Menlo Park, Calif.), the western U.S. is divided into 24 Climate Zones. These Climate Zones do NOT correspond to the USDA Hardiness Zones.
Sunset's Climate Zones
are based on winter minimum temperatures, but also include other factors such as summer high temperatures, length of growing season, humidity, and rainfall. This approach is used to avoid the difficulties encountered when the USDA Hardiness Zones are applied to parts of the western U.S. For example, with the USDA Hardiness Zones, the Olympic rain forest in Washington State is in the same Hardiness Zone, Zone 8, as part of Arizona's Sonora Desert. Seven Sunset Climate Zones are used to cover Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. They are:
Zone 1

Coldest Winters in the West In this Zone, snow falls and stays on the ground (from a day to all winter) and the growing season is from 75 to 150 days, but frost may occur on any night of the year. The Cascades and most of Central and Eastern Oregon are in this Zone, including the Oregon cities of Bend, Redmond, Burns, etc.Zone 2

Second-Coldest Western Climate Here snow is expected but the average annual winter temperatures are higher than in Zone 1; they range from -3o to -34o F. A few lower elevation sites in Eastern Oregon, such as LaGrand and Baker City, are in Zone 2, as are Spokane and Pullman, Washington, and Salt Lake City, Utah.Zone 3

Mildest of High-Elevation and Interior Climates This Zone is often called the "banana belt" since the winter are fairly mild, but minimum temperatures may range from 13o to -24o F. The growing season can be shorter than in Zone 2, but the winter temperatures are always higher. Oregon's Coastal Mountains, as well as the Oregon cities of Hood River, The Dalles, Pendleton, and Ontario, and Boise, Idaho, have Zone 3 climates.Zone 5

Marine Influence Along the Northwest Coast Mild ocean air bring relatively warm winters in this Zone. Minimum temperatures range from 28o to 1o F, although in some year a "big freeze" can cause considerable damage to plants. Zone 5 extends from the Puget Sound area in Washington, including Seattle and Tacoma, south along the Pacific Coast to north of Brookings, Oregon, including Astoria, Newport, Coos Bay.Zone 6

Willamette Valley Warmer summers distinguish this Zone from Zone 5, average temperatures being 5o to 9o F higher. Average winter lows are similar or lower than those of Zone 5. Much of the Valley has a long growing season, with 279 days in Portland. However, Portland may also experience icy winds blowing down the Columbia. Zone 6 extends from Longview, Washington to Roseburg, Oregon. This of course includes Salem, Corvallis, and Eugene, Oregon.Zone 7

Oregon's Rogue River Valley: This Zone has hot summers and mild but pronounced winters. Typical winter lows range from 23o to 9o F, record lows vary from 15o to -1o F. The Oregon cities of Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland are in Zone 7.Zone 17

Marine Effects in Extreme Southwestern Oregon and Northern California A narrow strip along the Coast between Gold Beach and Brookings, Oregon is in this Zone (as is the Coast of Northern California and much of the Bay Area). posted by Lietta Ruger

Spring - time for yard and garden - where's those helping grandkids!

Giving the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree a much-needed trim and setting out some of those early spring primroses and pansies launched us into our spring clean-up. After the winds and rains of winter, our yard looks strewn with debris and left-over projects undone from the end of last fall.

So, getting the planting station in the carport ready for a new spring workout, we got the area cleaned out. Since we tore out the carpet in the main floor of the house, it had been taken outside to the temporary place under the carport. Sweetie got it all hauled out and loaded into his little pick-up to go to the local landfill. Swept out the winter leaves, and tidied up the area. Found grandchildren's toys from last August when the family stayed with us....ahhhh, miss them all so much.

Pruned up the wild fushia bush and took down it's height. That and a hefty pruning of the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree and we have some serious burn-barrel fires in store. Maybe our neighbor will be as accomodating as last year and haul it to his burn pile for disposal. First spring lawn mowing done. General clean up in the yard and it is already looking much better - ready for spring and new projects.

The kitchen vegetable garden needs tilling and new plantings and I'd like to expand the vegetable garden this year. My vision of it requires more back-breaking labor than either of us really want to expend, so looking for some easy short cuts to make more raised beds for growing more vegetables. I'd like to try the upside down tomatoes this year. I also thought of getting several half whiskey barrels and planting in them.

I've taken on gardening as a leisurely hobby, outdoor exercise and that great feeling of being connected to nature. But I've wanted to get serious about my kitchen vegetable garden as a means of producing some of our food. I'll NEVER want to learn how to do canning thought, but I'm receptive to the art of 'freezing' what I can of the harvest.

We had a small windfall of a bit of extra $, so I went out to the garden store where I spent 4 hours just looking at every item; envisioning my entire spring and summer and what I could do; then did a reality check and made a list of what I most wanted right now that would fit the small bonus $ amount. In my mind I spent several hundred $ but my reality was quite different than my mental shopping spree. In my mind I had lined up to buy 3 trees, 4 bushes, a new wrought iron with canopy outside room, redwood patio set, water fountain gardens for several places in the yard, trellises, wheelbarrow, electric roto-tiller, red lava rock, mulching, mini-greenhouses in several sizes, several more whiskey barrel planters and hundreds of packets of seeds, bulbs and tubers. WoW - had a great time imagining all I could buy....but the few 20 dollar bills in my wallet just wouldn't stretch that far.

With carefully pruning away my mental shopping, I made a list of what I could buy with my real available dollars. I bought pruning shears (boring), potting soil (boring), seed packets (fun - but I had to put about 50 packets back - over my budget), a new tree = Mt Fuji white cherry, the usual assortment of primroses, pansies, and a few other 2' starter flowers, and I found 3 summer tops at price I couldn't resist so I treated myself.

It was time to refer back to my Wee Garden website and update it some, and I learned something about the climate zone where I live in Pacific coastal area. It's not zone 8 like the gardening books and USDA climate zone tell me; it's zone 5 because of the Pacific winds and climate zone. Well, the good news is that with zone 5, the last frost is later than zone 8, so the planting season is later. Might explain why all the seeds I've started for the last 3 years don't seem to germinate. I need to start them later and actually create a greenhouse environment for them of heat, light and moisture. Forget tomatoes, no way in the climate zone I'm in with short, short hot season can I grow them from seed. Sounds like my instincts to buy starter vegetable plants from the nursery is well-founded.

Now where's those grand-darlings to help me with my yard. They really were very helpful and willing workers with the taskings of the yard. Emily hauling off sod to the back, Drew using the big person shovel to dig a hole, their fascination with the worms when we turned the soil.....ahhhhh, I need my families to live closer. All this training them towards their own independence and they are all making their own lives their own way in different parts of the country. I miss them all. I always wanted to own acerage that would allow for building several homes in one place and having family close by but I'm also wanting mostly that they flourish in their own lives.

posted by Lietta Ruger
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