Olemike's Blog

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

New Planting

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


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.

Granzella's 13 Granzella's 12 Granzella's 11 Granzella's 10 Granzella's 9 Granzella's 8 Granzella's 7 Granzella's 6 Granzella's 5 Granzella's 4 Granzella's 3

Granzella's 1 Granzella's Granzella's 12

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.


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2012 Vegetable Garden Yield

Posted by olemike on 12/24/2012


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.

120912photo 3photo 1Onions 050312Post vacation harvest - 13#072012 Canning - 4061912 Patty Pan062212-4 New Mulch

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.


The celery is coming along quite nicely as well.

My onions and Brussel sprouts are also growing pretty well.

Bulb Onions Baby BS

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

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Meyer Lemon and Clementine Fruit Trees

Posted by olemike on 12/04/2012

photo 2photo 3

We are starting to pick fruit from our two miniature citrus trees.  Both are currently  growing in wine barrels although we plan to move the Meyer Lemon tree into the ground later this winter.  We might also do the same thing with the Clementine but we have to find a good location first.

I counted the fruit on each tree this morning.  We have about 40 Meyer Lemons and about 23 Clementines.  I may have to get the grandkids over to sell lemonade out on the curb.

Hmmm – I wonder if Leona knows how to make Lemon Pie?

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About Me

Posted by olemike on 12/02/2012

Hello – Olemike here.  I am a retired conservative who is interested in politics, gardening, traveling, and playing golf.  I like to blog about most of these although I have never written a blog post about golf.  I guess we can look forward to that.

My wife and I have 5 kids and 11 grandkids.  My views about politics are determined somewhat about how I see the country (and world) changing for them in future years.  Being a fiscal conservative, I worry about the direction of the country regarding our national debt, education of our youth, and maintaining values that have made this country great.  I believe in personal responsibility and am concerned that as a society, we are coming to rely too much on the government to solve our every problem.

I keep my frustrations in check by working in the vegetable garden.  I love growing fresh vegetables and like to share my successes with my readers – few though they may be.  Of course, no gardener is without failures as well.  I also like to write about those.  I live in the central valley of Northern California.  This area gets quite hot in the summer so that is a factor on what veggies grow well here.

Lastly, I enjoy taking vacations.  They might be long ones (a week or two) or perhaps just a day trip locally.  I enjoy sharing those experiences as well.

I look forward to your many comments – be they agree with me or not.  Good discussions are quite fun.

Posted in About | 10 Comments »

Healthy Eating with Broccoli and Fish

Posted by olemike on 12/02/2012

photo 1

The little lady prepared this meal a couple of days ago.  We had baked Talapia and steamed Broccoli from our winter garden.  Leona seasoned the fish with dried tomatoes and canned green tomatoes which were canned by Leona’s daughter, Julie.  This was a great meal and very healthy as well.

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Blueberry Farm Day Trip

Posted by olemike on 11/26/2012

This past Sunday we decided to take a short day trip up to Diamond Springs, CA to the Skyridge Blueberry Farm.  It is in the Sierra Nevada foothills close to Placerville, CA.

We didn’t know quite what to expect since this is the off-season for blueberries.  However, we wanted to get out of the house for a while so off we went.  As you can see by this  picture we didn’t get to see much at the farm.

However, we did have a beautiful drive.

The weather was perfect for a late November day.  We also stopped at a flea market in Diamond Springs.

My favorite picture is the one with the dog and his cap.  His owner put the cap on him, told him not to move, then left him there.  The dog didn’t move an inch.

Posted in Travel | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Leona’s Flower Garden

Posted by olemike on 11/15/2012

Leona’s planted her flower bed today.  It looks really good and will be even prettier in a few weeks.  It will bring some nice color to that side of the house.  We’ll publish an update soon.

In the spring, Leona will be planting Zinnia seeds she saved from last years blooms.  Here’s what they looked like this past summer..

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Redwood Flower Beds

Posted by olemike on 11/13/2012

The little lady has been urging me to build her a planting box just for flowers.  I finally broke down and got it done a few days ago.  I told her she had to keep it full of flowers because if I saw it setting idle, I would fill it with veggies.  She promises to do so.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted with pictures.

It is a 4 ft by 5 1/2 ft and 24 inches high.  That makes it easier to work in without getting down on your hands and knees.  The dirt is a veggie mix I purchased at Hasties Sand and Gravel.  I have had good success with it in other beds.  I also supplemented it with Nutri-Rich 4/3/2 and Gaia Green rock dust.  I have added these two items to all of my beds and my winter veggies are doing great.

Posted in Gardening | 3 Comments »

Broccoli Harvest – Fall 2012

Posted by olemike on 11/11/2012

We harvested our first Broccoli the other day.  It weighed 14.9 oz.  It was a perfect size for one dinner  meal with perhaps a little left over for the next days lunch.  It was also exactly 60 days after I planted it which is what the label stated it should take.  That’s the first time that’s ever happened for us.  Maybe we are getting better at this science ( or art)  of gardening.  Sometimes it seems like both.

The entire garden is coming along quite well.  Take a look.

The cabbage heads are starting to form.  I’m also pleased with how the celery is growing.  This is our first time growing celery.

The Brussel Sprouts are also doing well.

We were starting to get more Broccoli than we could eat right away so we are freezing the extra.  Yesterday, we picked two heads , blanched them, and placed them in Seal-a-Meal, and then put in the freezer for future use.

A couple of days ago, I added another bed of Broccoli and Red Cabbage.  They should be ready in a couple of months.

I also recently planted a bed of onions and garlic.  It includes Whites, Reds, and Walla Walla sweet onions.  The garlic was from left over bulbs we grew last year.  I don’t have a good picture of this bed.  I’ll post one of it later after we have some growth.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with our winter garden thus far.  It’s the most successful I’ve grown to date.  We’ll see how it turns out.

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