Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘Fall Decorations’ Category

Tule (Tooley) Fog

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Okay, that’s pretty much true…unless I have a chance to sit on the couch and cuddle with this sweetheart…
Penni Sept. 2014

…..uuuhhhmmmmm, I mean this sweetie…
My Sweet Guy - April 2014

As if scripted by a professional screenwriter, Autumn rolled in, in the form of the very familiar covering of ground level fog…in the SF Bay Area, it’s called Tule (Tooley) Fog.
Oregon "Tule Fog" Sept. 2014

I called the valley fog here in Oregon, Tule Fog once…..I got blank stares accompanied by a smile or two…hahaha…nobody seemed to know what I was talking about..hahaha! So, I don’t really know what to call it…I guess just fog..haha. I had no idea that that particular weather terminology was specific to California.

Rain is in the forecast, in fact, it drizzled much of the day, and has now rained throughout the night. So at the great advice of two of my friends from work (thank you Sabrina and Angie) I picked the rest of my tomatoes. Many were immensely green, but off the vine they came.
Green Tomatoes Sept. 2014

These will, hopefully, ripen in a paper bag, and be no less than the quality of a tomato bought in a grocery store. At least I will know that these were grown without pesticides, and unnatural fertilizers.

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

The corn stalks came down today, as well, to keep them from molding. I like to use them for outdoor decorating…they don’t usually last very long…the chickens like them too!

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

While we wait for the rain, Penni promises to keep watch over the tomatoes.

The Guardian Sept. 2014

Thankfully, they don’t taste like blackberries…that bucket would be emptied by now!!

Looking forward to sharing this wonderful season with you….thanks for visiting the farm today! 🙂

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Images of Fall Mushrooms

After a relatively dry October (with the exception to the first few days of the month,) November 2nd brought the rain to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I say “relatively dry” October, well, because I guess it was, to the locals (of which I can not call myself yet as I am a short-timer here still.) Although I’m not sure if it hit the record books, the weather reports all talked about how dry the month was. This is not to say, however, that it wasn’t wet…at least to this Bay Area transplant. The morning dew of the fall seemed to be enough at our elevation to keep the ground moist. The dogs’ muddy paws while digging in whatever critter hole that got their attention can attest to that. Ever see a Great Dane dig a hole? It’s a thing of beauty…quite the ankle breaker! Our little Rat Terrie/Poodle mix gets in there and adds fineness to the freshly dug casm, while our old guy, German Wirehaired Pointer who’s back legs can’t support his front legs digging anymore, directs the entire excavation project…it’s really quite comical to watch. Everyone gets red, clay, mud stuck to their paws and nails…my light colored carpet is now more of a rust color.

To get back on track…November 2nd brought the rains. Basically, if it hasn’t been raining, its been drizzling. If it hasn’t been drizzling, the fog has moved over everything and engulfed our place in a cloud. In other words, it has been constantly wet, with periodic spurts of sunshine. It has been chilly, but it hasn’t necessarily been cold. Due to the nature of the weather, we have been indoors more lately than the past few months. One and a half year old Great Danes don’t really appreciate this…so, it is outside we go. We like to take hikes this time of year since the brush has started to die back. As we walked through the canopy of Douglas Firs, Maple, and indigenous Oak trees something became very apparent. The initial rains of October, then the mildness of the weather the rest of that month, followed by the constant moisture of November and the cloud cover keeping the temperatures chilly, but not cold resulted in a veritable cornucopia of visual stimuli. Mushrooms!! A varietal abundance of mushrooms. As we went along, Penny followed the scent tracks of whatever went before us, and I took pics with my phone. I realized how much I don’t know about wild fungi, so I treat all of it like it’s poisonous. I’m not touching any of it, but it sure is pretty!

Maybe these are what the ants used for lamps in It's a Bug's Life.

Maybe these are what the ants used for lamps in It’s a Bug’s Life.

Mushrooms 2013

Big, gross, slimy, and ugly! Possibly a King Boulet??

Big, gross, slimy, and ugly! Possibly a King Boulet??

More of the big, gross, slimy, and ugly King Boulet group.

More of the big, gross, slimy, and ugly King Boulet group.

Like a beautiful flower.

Like a beautiful flower.

Oddly round.

Oddly round.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

I thought this was some sort of wild animal poop...turned out to be a mushroom.  Black Elfin Saddle?  YUCK!

I thought this was some sort of wild animal poop…turned out to be a mushroom. Black Elfin Saddle? YUCK!

Mushrooms 2013

Like a delicate flower.  Japanese Parasol?

Like a delicate flower. Japanese Parasol?

Bell-Cap Panuelos?

Bell-Cap Panuelos?

Candy Caps??

Candy Caps??

A delicate cluster. Fairy Rings??

A delicate cluster. Fairy Rings??

Mushrooms 2013

Beautiful yet....I don't know if it's poisonous.

Beautiful yet….I don’t know if it’s poisonous.

Mushrooms 2013

Mushrooms 2013

Uhhhmmmm.....enough said!

Uhhhmmmm…..enough said!

And this weird thing…what the heck is this………..

Not even sure if this is a mushroom...it's some kind of gelatinous blob!  Gross.

Not even sure if this is a mushroom…it’s some kind of gelatinous blob! Gross.

It is really hard to try to identify these different types of mushrooms online. Good lesson as unless I am 100% sure what they are, I’m not going to touch them. Thankfully, my dogs don’t seem to want to either. They are pretty though. Since it is fall, I added a few pictures from our walk that aren’t mushroom related. I thought they were nice, although they don’t compare to actually being out there, exploring, and coming across these things that show it is indeed fall in Oregon.

That's my foot on the right....one BIGGGG leaf.

That’s my foot on the right….one BIGGGG leaf.

The fog creeping down the hills behind us, eventually covering us in a cloud.

The fog creeping down the hills behind us, eventually covering us in a cloud.

Penni and I found a friend.

Penni and I found a friend.

Such a cuite!

Such a cuite!

Hello little California Newt.

Hello little California Newt.

A beautiful canopy.

A beautiful canopy.

This one lone Maple Tree, surrounded by young Douglas Firs, dropped all of these leaves.

This one lone Maple Tree, surrounded by young Douglas Firs, dropped all of these leaves.

The pond is freshly full again.

The pond is freshly full again.

I hope you are enjoying the fall, it is a gorgeous time of year.

End of Growing Season 2013

With the onset of overnight temperatures dropping into the 30’s, and four straight days of rain, our garden stated, “Can you hear her…the “fat lady has sung.” Leaves have curled and turned funny shades of green-black, ripening tomatoes have been damaged, and the only growth surviving the cold are the gourds.

This is what an early frost does to a garden.

This is what an early frost does to a garden.


Our large gourds still hanging in there.

Our large gourds still hanging in there.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this year’s garden, and found it curious that some items which produced well last year, were not happy campers this year…and vice versa. I changed up the location, and made modifications…some drastic, to the soil. The two year comparison has shown me that our red, rocky soil has some really great properties that a bagged mixed gardening soil doesn’t provide. The mental notes that I have taken over the past two years will serve my garden well next year…along with a trailer full of horse manure from the boarding arena down the hill…hahaha!

So in a nutshell, here is a synopsis of how our Garden of 2013 developed. Our tomatoes loved having their roots planted in a container filled with gardening soil, whereas, the onions rebelled, producing a very tall plant without a developed onion. Those planted in the red soil did fairly well…but not as well as last year (their sun exposure was limited by the outrageously huge potato plants.) How did the potatoes do you might ask…well…if you remember, I mixed the red soil with the ashes from a wood burned debris pile….they did GREAT!! In fact, some of the potatoes were HUGE and a couple..kind of gnarled!! Next year I will continue to build the soil up around the stem of the potato plant to get a more controlled growth, and a higher volume yield, rather than weight.

An example of our potato harvest.

An example of our potato harvest.


The corn did well, although I didn’t take the time to thin out the stalks…they were too crowded, but what they did produce was delicious!! The corn seems to like our red soil just fine, but would probably LOVE it with a little added manure.
Our corn yield for the year, minus 2 ears which we previously harvested.

Our corn yield for the year, minus 2 ears which we previously harvested.


Our watermelon and cantaloupe were planted in containers filled with gardening soil. I won’t do that again as it didn’t seem to matter fruit-wise, container or directly into the red soil. The fruit was small, and a little sweeter than last year, but we were able to keep it on the vine longer since deer were not a threat due to better fencing. The fruit was harder to manage since the vine was up off the ground affecting a lot of the early fruit. Our last watermelon to harvest was a very emotional little fruit…hahaha
The Yin and Yang of this year's produce...hahaha

The Yin and Yang of this year’s produce…hahaha


I was happy with my bell pepper plants, as this was the first year I was EVER able to grow peppers. It sounds really odd as peppers are supposed to be easy to grow…right?? I have not been successful at all until this year!! They liked container living, and with a little more sun (they were hindered by the shade of the huge tomato plants) they would have been awesome…..well I thought they were pretty awesome anyway!!
Tiny pumpkins, pinto beans, tomatoes, and a yellow bell pepper!!

Tiny pumpkins, pinto beans, tomatoes, and a yellow bell pepper!!


We grew a rainbow!!!!!

We grew a rainbow!!!!!


The pumpkins did great, the gourds went nuts, and the eggplant produced very nicely. I have to say though, the most fun thing in the garden were our pinto beans (gourds came in a very close second.) If you’ve never grown pinto beans…try it. It’s just plain fun to watch them grow, dry on the vine, then shuck the dried beans from the pods. My daughter and I had so much fun with these beans. In the end, we only came out with about 1 cup of dried beans…but watch out next year!!!
Pinto Beans were incredibly fun to grow.

Pinto Beans were incredibly fun to grow.


The celery did really nicely just planted in the red soil. I have to admit, I grow this mainly for my Great Dane, Penni…she loves celery, and it is like the biggest treat ever when I pull one up for her.
The cucumbers, crook-neck squash, and surprisingly, zucchini (which has to be the easiest vegetable to grow) did terribly this year. There were all planted close to one another in a container…no more container growing for this group. I only got 4 pickling cucumbers (one of which was a mutant orange color…)
My mutant, orange, pickling cucumber!!  Strange!

My mutant, orange, pickling cucumber!! Strange!


and about the same number of zucchini.
In all, I think it was a really productive growing year. I was able to make some really delicious meals with the produce, and canned some things (details on future post.) I learned ALOT about my soil, commercial soil, the need for manure, location – location – location, and that overwatering for many of these plants is NOT a good thing. This concept is really good news for us because we water from the same water source (our well) that we supply the household with…so any use savings there is a huge plus!!

One other benefit………homegrown seasonal decorative items, courtesy of our very own farm!! Oh…and the chickens love our leftovers!!!

Free and home grown!!

Free and home grown!!

That red of the pumpkins are their true color!!  Beautiful!

That red of the pumpkins are their true color!! Beautiful!

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