Olemike's Blog

Muir Woods Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 07/24/2013

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We have been having some pretty hot weather here lately so Leona and I decided we needed to take a “Stay Cool” day trip – what better place for that than the California North Bay. We stayed at the home of Poor Mans Whiskey  (actually my son’s house in Santa Rosa) on a Saturday night and left early Sunday morning for Muir Woods.  We took a number of good pictures.  The one I like best is the cut-away that shows the age of the tree relative to many years ago.

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According to this picture, the tree would be about 1100 years old.  That’s hard to imagine.  It’s not every day that one touches something that old.

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I did think it was interesting that right in the middle of huge Redwood trees, there was giant boulder showing.
After leaving Muir Woods, we traveled on up the coast to Stinson Beach.  There were quite of few folks there picnicking and playing volleyball.

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After leaving Stinson Beach, we stopped in the little town of Olema for lunch.  We are at the Olema Farm House restaurant.  Leona ate Salmon and I had Fish and Chips.  They were both excellent.  We ate on the patio.  It was a gorgeous day.

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We finished the day with some ice cream in the little town of Tomales and then headed home to the heat of Roseville.  Our “Stay Cool” jaunt was over.

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Daily Harvest

Posted by olemike on 06/25/2013

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This is what I harvested from the garden this morning in addition to 31 beets.  We are going to pickle them.  We’ll probably only get about 5 pints but they were the remnants from our beet crop this year.

The peaches are from a dwarf peach tree we have.  There were only 4 today but we have picked 42 season to date.  They are small but tasty.  They are very good with cereal.

So far this year, we have harvested about 153 lbs of fruit and veggies.  Last year, we hit 300 lbs.  I hope to have at least 350 lbs this year.  That is probably small potatoes (no pun intended) to those of you who have big gardens but for our small back yard garden, it’s pretty good.  Plus, we are only trying to feed the two of us.

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Pickled Beets

Posted by olemike on 06/14/2013

0061413 Pickled Beets 5Today we decided to pickle beets. We had previously canned beets but this time we were going to pickle them just using a hot water bath method

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We started with 28 beets weighing about 7 lbs. and ended up with 8 pints of finished beets. We probably have enough still left in the garden to do this many more in another week or so.

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Needless to say – we love pickled beets.

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June Veggie Garden Update

Posted by olemike on 06/10/2013

052013 Bed 2 ScaleThe garden is starting to produce pretty well.    We pick  Patty Pan and Zucchini squash just about every day.  We are also starting to get cucumbers pretty regularly as well.  This first picture gives you a sense of how big our squash plants are.

We canned 12 pints of   beets the other day.  We plan to pickle some beets in the next few days.052913 Canned Beets

I’ve been struggling with a couple of problems.  The leaves on my tomato plants are curling upward.  Everything I’ve read tells me that this is a regular watering issue.  I water with a drip system every two days.  That’s pretty regular.  I may be watering too much or too little but I haven’t quite figured out which yet.  I always seem to struggle with getting just the right amount of water.  Any ideas? Let me know!

I’ve also had to spray with soapy water twice to control an aphid problem.  That has helped.  We also released some lady bugs a few days ago.

My tomato plants are growing pretty well.  We are starting to see a few small tomatoes starting to form.

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Spring Garden 2013

Posted by olemike on 05/24/2013

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It’s been forever since I’ve posted.  One thing I have discovered about blogging.  If you don’t post regularly, it is very easy to get out of the habit and before you know it, it may have been months since the last post.

Right now, I’m playing catch up on my spring garden postings.  I am going to break it down into two separate posts.  The first will be a look shortly after I had planted (early April) and secondly, a more current status.  This spring we planted 1 bed of all beets (Early Wonder) for canning purposes, 3 Patty Pan squash, 1 zucchini, 6 Celebrity tomato plants for canning, and 5 heirloom tomato plants( Brandywine, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Abraham, Lincoln, and Amish Paste) for eating, 3 cucumbers, and about 6 basil plants.  We are planting more tomatoes this year than normal because we want to experiment with various types.

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I also have some pictures of onions and red cabbage which I planted last fall.  They really took off when it started to warm up this spring.

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 In the next couple of days, I will follow-up with a current status.  There are quite a few changes.

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Northern California Daytrip – Rio Vista

Posted by olemike on 02/04/2013

Road to Rio Vista

Road to Rio Vista

After my sister-in-law had read my last post about Granzella’s where they have many mounted heads on the wall, she told us about another restaurant/bar in Rio Vista that also has a similar theme.  So – we thought we should give it a look-see.

From the Sacramento area, we took highway 160 which basically follows the Sacramento river all the way down to Rio Vista.  We passed through many small  towns such as Freeport, Courtland, Walnut Grove, and Isleton.  Most of these places had seen better days but there was still some activity in numerous places.  In fact, Courtland is known for growing Bartlett pears in the area.  They have a pear festival each year in July.  We saw many boat docks, fields of pear trees, and passed over three or four drawbridges as Highway 160 meandered along alternatively on both sides of the river.  It was a beautiful drive.  Check out the pictures.

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After we reached Rio Vista, Fosters Bighorn restaurant was pretty easy to find – “especially when you have Google maps”.  They were fairly busy and just as we were leaving, a large contingent of bikers arrived and almost completely filled up the place.

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We just had sandwiches for lunch.

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They were pretty tasty although most likely not very healthy.

They had lots of animal heads on the walls.  There was a huge elephant head.  Check out the tusks on the wall.  It’s kind of sad to think about all of these animals being killed just for display.

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After lunch we headed home.  We took a few more pictures and got one of a new pear orchard being built.  It’s fairly interesting to see how they lay out the field.

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It was a nice drive.  We saw lots of pretty country that we had not traveled before.

If anyone has suggestions for day trips in California, I’d be glad to hear from you.

Posted in Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

1st Celery Ever

Posted by olemike on 01/17/2013

1st Celery of 2013

1st Celery of 2013

Here is a picture of the first celery from our garden. This season was the first time I had planted Celery, but so far so good. I’ll probably try it again.

Any other celery growers out there? I’d like to hear about your experiences. What are your tips on growing great celery?

Posted in Gardening | Tagged: , , | 14 Comments »

Northern California Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 01/09/2013

Day Trip Route

The gloomy days got to us.  We had to get out of the house.  But – what to do?  We finally decided on an afternoon drive up to the little town of Williams, California and it’s great local dining hole – Granzella’s.  If you are going north on I-5, this is a “must stop”.Almond Trees

The weather was very gloomy but we did see numerous interesting things on the drive up.  There are lots of Almond  and Walnut orchards, Vineyard

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vineyards, and tons of rice fields.  These pictures are not very easy to see because it was a very gloomy, overcast day.

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We were amazed at how many rice fields there are in the northern central valley.  After we got home, I did a little research on growing rice.  Did you know that the fields are flooded to about 5 inches deep, then sowed by airplane, and remain with 5 inches of water in the fields until such time as the rice is ready to harvest.  The fields are then drained and dried out enough to enter with the harvesting equipment.  The rice is then processed and dried until ready for sale or shipment to end users.  Here is a grain processing plant at Sutton, CA.  These are some huge drying/storage bins.

Trinidad Denham Corp

This facility is operated by Trinidad Denham Corp whose headquarters are located in Denver, CO.  This company is the largest packer of beans, rice, and popcorn in the U.S.

Anyway, back to Granzella’s.  We have been stopping here off and on for about 10 years.  It has always been a good place to eat.  It recently burned down (2007), but was rebuilt and it is better than ever.  The food was always outstanding and now the new facility also looks really nice.  The clientele looks to be a mixture of locals and road traffic from I-5.  The restaurant is only about 200 yards from the freeway.

They have a very nice deli counter, lots of specialty items, a great selection of olives and wine, and two dining areas.  The first is the regular dining room and secondly, they serve food in the bar.  We like to eat there.  The bar area is lined with mounted heads of big game shot by the original owners.

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It was about a 5 hr. ride from start to finish.  We had a great lunch and saw lots of nice farm country.  It is always fun to drive through small farm towns to see what is unique about each one.

Posted in Travel | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

2012 Vegetable Garden Yield

Posted by olemike on 12/24/2012

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2012 was a pretty good year for our garden.  It was the most successful one yet.  Here is a summary of what we yielded:

  • Tomatoes – 541 (we canned about 45 pints of stewed tomatoes)
  • Patty Pan Squash – 270
  • Zucchini - 86  ( we canned about 12 pints of Zucchini relish)
  • Romaine Lettuce – 40 servings
  • Cucumbers – 71
  • Strawberries – 22
  • Beets – 21
  • Meyer Lemons – 21
  • Garlic – 16
  • Potatoes – 15 (Grown in a box tower)
  • Broccoli – 14
  • Green Peppers – 14
  • Clementines – 12
  • Onions – 7
  • Cauliflower – 1

Total weight of all this came to 300.08 lbs.  I calculate that we saved about $685 on veggies (at Whole Foods prices) for the year.  Obviously, we had to absorb the cost of seed, starter plants, fertilizers, watering supplies, lumber for raised beds, etc.  I’m sure, bottom line, we didn’t really save any money but it sure felt good to eat home-grown food.  That is priceless!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

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In a few days, I will determine our goals for the coming year.  I want to increase the total yield weight, focus on foods of which we eat the most, grow more items to can, etc.  I’m still developing these so will post the goals at a later time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted in Gardening | 18 Comments »

Mid-December Garden Status

Posted by olemike on 12/12/2012

1st Cabbage

I am optimistic about my cabbage this year.  Here is a shot of the best one so far.  It is not yet ready to pick, but it is forming a nice head.  No – that’s not bugs you see.  It is simply moisture from the morning dew.

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The celery is coming along quite nicely as well.

My onions and Brussel sprouts are also growing pretty well.

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Here is a shot of baby Brussel Sprouts.  It will still be a while before we are eating them.

Posted in Gardening | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

 
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