Tuesday, May 31, 2016

more gray, rainy, misty, days - and now finally some sun and a walkabout in the garden and a table to make Ed scream!

we've had several gray, misty, torrential raining, and foggy days for a while now. but this afternoon some of the clouds lifted and the sun came out for a bit. but with all of that mist and rain - everything is turning green and Strachan's Brook is filling up.

(note the table in the middle of the pic. more on that later!)

i love the colourful flowers amongst the green.

check out this prett y purple tulip and purple and white one.

more red tulips and more canada150 tulips.

i can't wait to mark and propogate them for next year so that i can plant them according to colour and have colour bursts all over the yard. the tulips i got were a mixed bag and half were daffodils. oh well - they were cheap!

i really love this purple one! for some reason it reminds me of jambaloney's mom

a tiny bit of bad news - our truck, a 2006 ford f150/8ft box that we bought the first week we moved here (2010) is sadly on it's last legs.  the steering wheel was slightly off due to the the left front wheel bearing needing replacement. jam dropped it off at our excellent dealership and they called him back in an hour and a half and gave him a rental vehicle because according to the mechanic, the truck was undriveable and our warranty covers us for a rental until our truck gets fixed. they also told him that the truck would not pass inspection next february, so we are on the lookout for either a new truck or a used truck from our dealership who did not lead us astray ever when we purchased truckdura. we are looking at getting a new/used vehicle before december. i have to say tho - it's hard to look at the driveway and see a white 4-door sedan of which kind we have no idea and don't care to go and look atbut it's a good car and our dealership and mechanic will not let us drive truckdura until it's tickedy-boo.

the strawberry hugelkulture is already producing blossoms! oh fresh strawberries here we come!

the dill is looking great!

here's half of the tomatoe plants getting ready to be moved outside.

amaranth is taking off!

my water lotus experiment paid off and i will scarify the rest of my seeds and plant them in our pond. woohoo for the frogs!

radishes are already coming up and we will thin them and use their little leaves as microgreens.

the kale has already gone to flower and will be saved for seed.

pay no attention to the weeds in this bed. this bed is where i planted our own, shrunken 2 yr old carrots which have come back with a vengeance and they are saving seed as well.

 the daikon radishes are sprouting, soon to be thinned....there are 6 overwintered broccoli on the right and 6 transplanted cabbages to the left.

teehee. a potatoe sprout. i loooove potatoes!

this sad looking little bed is a bunch of chamomile plants that jambaloney transplanted. they are already going to flower.

they will soon look as pretty as this bed.

here is a big group of winter cress that jambaloney weedwhacks around because tons of little solitary bees, hummingbirds, little ants and other flying bugs love these flowers!

the ornamental apple trees are sending out new branches galore and have shoots on the older branches. we're praying the purple finches won't decimate the new growth like they have done for the past several years!

here's a tiny ornamental rose bush covered in new growth.

and our later blooming white daffodil-thingies are just making heads.

there's a ton of salad out in the yard, peas are coming up and i have planted 2 of 3 different kinds of cucumbers, 2 of 3 different zuccs, and 4 different melons in the greenhouse that's in the house. those will be moved out to the greenhouse in another week and a bit and transplanted into the ground.

oh...and remember the table i mentioned in the first pic above? it's for my friend Ed from Riverbend Journal. He makes some of the most beautiful home-constructed furniture that you can see here. he's extremely skilled at precision wood-working and finishing. really go check that post and then scroll through some of his older posts and see some of the beautiful work he has done.

as some of you may have noticed, over the years we normally have a rickety old coffee table in our front yard to feed the birds from (as well as our bird feeders). well due to the rainy wet weather and tons of snow, we go through about one coffee table a year. no worries - jambaloney always finds something appropriate in someone else's garbage. this year he found the bottom of a little table in someone's garbage...and a piece of crappy plywood in someone else's garbage. brought the garbage home and in just under 10 minutes cut down the plywood, stuck it on the table, 4 screws later and the birds are happy.

he has dedicated this table to Ed!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

the canada150 tulip....and a cat mermaid!

kind of a crazy day with lots of clouds...then a bit of sun...then more clouds.....

did you know that next year is canada's 150th birthday? yes, yes indeed. we're babies when it comes to how old we are compared to other countries....but canada has many historical incidences that make this country special.

one of which is little known among many people from other countries - is our national tulip festival that happens every year in the spring in our nation's capital of ottawa. for the past 70 years, the kingdom of the netherlands sends several hundred thousand of tulip bulbs to canada and we celebrate the tulip festival in spring - the time of renewal and revival.

why does the kingdom of the netherlands send us several hundred thousand tulip bulbs every year? well, you may not know this - but we have a very special relationship with the netherlands. you can read more about this special relationship here but, in a nutshell....during WWII, canada took in the dutch royal family, and Princess Margriet was born in canada.

for you history buffs out there (i am talking to you W and Harry) - here is some more info about the canadian military during WWII:

"During 1945, the First Canadian Army was responsible for liberating the Netherlands, which they did through battles such as the Battle of the Scheldt and the Liberation of Arnhem. The liberation of the Randstad, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, is especially notable because the civilian population there was still suffering from the horrific effects of the Hongerwinter ('Hungerwinter'). It was cut off from food that was available in the rest of the Netherlands. German forces in the Netherlands would finally surrender in Wageningen, on 5 May 1945, but not before some 18,000 Dutch civilians died as a result of starvation and malnutrition (desperate coordinated air drops of food had already been staged by the Royal Canadian Air Force over German-occupied Dutch territory in Operation Manna. Civilians wrote "Thank You Canadians!" on their rooftops in response). Immediately following the surrender, Canadian units were able to move into the Randstad and rapidly distribute desperately needed food supplies, causing many to see the Canadians not only as liberators but as saviours." (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Netherlands_relations)

and in honour of canada's 150th birthday next year....the canada150 tulip was created. and guess who has a few??? it's us, you sillies!

here are 2 of my canada150 tulips....

they are not in full bloom yet. but they will look like this when they do bloom:

they will look like a maple leaf! how awesome is that?!?!?!?!? i cannot wait to propagate a trillion of these beauties.

well in more awesome news, while jambaloney's mom and step-dad were travelling around on a cruise - they saw this sign....and thought of me!!!

a cat-mermaid......there is really nothing more to be said - bahahahahhahah!

(if you wish to learn more about canada's tulip legacy, go here.)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

reels 2

jambaloney again!

hey this post got parked in ealy april due to work - i just finished it - my bad ;-)

so back by popular demand ( a lie i told myself to indulge in more fishing reel cleaning)..

we have reel restoration part 2. After I restored the DAM 220 I set my sights on the DAM microlite - pretty much a similar vintage, but smaller...

here is a nice pic of the oscillating worm-drive gearing, as you crank the handle, the round gear causes the spool to travel up and down when you reel in which retrieves the line evenly on the spool.

Cleaning was the same as my previous 220 post...so i will spare you repetitive details...

however i gave this gear oil a try on the bearings, and lithium grease on the gears, it is what i always used..

as ultralight reels are for ultralight fishing they tend to have simpler drags with fewer washers...

220 and microlite restored....

another angle.....

I will be frank, after all that, I fished the micro lite some and really preffered my more modern shimano. In addition, i bought another used microlite for parts cheap. The worm drive was damaged so the reel wasn't`t of any use, but as for parts, all the rest were there. IF you are considering these older reels, find a way to get 2 - it is WAY cheaper than trying to dig up individual parts...

additionally, it helps to have a schematic of the reel - you can get almost any here:


they are "blown up" diagrams that show you the whole reel with part numbers. examples

Mike`s is a great place to get old parts.

After the disappointment of my restored reel, I did more research and set my sights on old Penn ultralights - i got a pair of 716Zs made in the good old USA..it is ALWAYS good if the reel still has the box, usually a sign of care.

don't be fooled - this grease is dry as glue!!!

one of the first things to go on older reels is the bail spring, fortunately these are relatively easy to get - i got 3 from Scott's bait and tackle.

you can see that the new ones in the bag are thicker - hurrah!

very old reel grease...

here is where the ball bearings are housed...

here it is all apart... i cleaned it in a nice varsol bath...

i changed grease after looking online - - the green marine grease is much less hard on the reel in cold weather than lithium grease - i also got some mobile 1 for general lubrication use (apparently it makes great gun oil at a fraction of the price).

however in the end i opted for 3 in 1 a small bottle will last a while in fishing reels..

my mom and step-dad ted gave me a bunch on "handy-man" surprises a while back - this syringe is AWESOME for getting grease into small areas!!! - thanks guys!!!

here is the drag and spool apart - notice the width of the washers - large surface = smoother drag...

the bail roller can be seen here - on older reels they do not tend to have ball bearings and can stick pretty quickly - i have an idea, but that is for another post...

here are the clean parts...

coming together..

new grease (oil on the bearings)....

and voila - shiny near-new reel!!!!

hope you are all having a great spring - cheers!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

black fly season nightmare 2016!

it was a nice enough day to start off the 2nd week of black fly season nightmare 2016!

it was nice enough - but muggy and warm....perfect conditions for black flies. we had some trout and smushy home-hade-kick-you-into-tomorrow salsa. actually we didn't need the salsa 'cuz that trout was some good. jambloney will have a fishing post up soon and he will explain the difference between sea run brook trout and regular brook trout.

we get sick at least once every summer - and it's because of those nasty little black flies. different people have different tolerance level to their venom but i have zero-tolerance and cannot afford to get bit! our first year here we can't even remember the summer. our second year we bit the bullet and somedays slathered ourselves with deet (which we hate) and tried every natural thing known to man - yep - we slathered ourselves down with onions, garlic, lemon, comfrey tea - all the while smelling so putrid that we would have to spray each other down several times a day in order to get away from the smell of ourselves!!! sometimes we wore our bug suits that jambaloney's mom and step-dad got for us - but we hated them - me especially! i can't see anything with that net over my head and i hate nylon mesh on my body. but after last year's bout of the "black fly crazies" (you actually lose your mind when you get bitten too many times) - we decided this year, come heck or high water, we would not step outside without wearing our suits.

here's jam stylin' in his suit - looks like Pioneer Preppy when PP is in his bee suit!

and here's the funky camo-net hat that jambaloney got me for under my hood.

but folks - these stupid ^%%$$&**(!! black flies just won't give up. they WILL find your weak area and they will bite you!!!! below is the inside of my thigh....that's an old bite up top.

and that beautiful bruise is what happens to me when a black fly bites me too many times - she must have bitten me 4 or 5 times in the same spot to have a bruise like that come up!

jambaloney will often have his hood off and just run out to get something from the freezer from the basement. and every time he does - they get him on his eyes.

 he has a much stronger tolerance for their venom than i do, but he still gets a red welt when he gets bitten. his eye was swollen for most of the day!

i had my bug suit on and was only out putting down mulch on one the beds and the bending over caused my waistband area of the bug net to tighten enough to let the little buggers land on me and bite me through my bugsuit!

that's about 60 bites all concentrated in one area in less than 30 mins! and this pic was taken this morning - it was much worse yesterday! after i realized that i had been bitten so many times i almost fainted - it was all really swollen and red. i took a benadryl, it's an anti-histimine and i hate anything anti - like biotics - but i knew i had enough poison in my system that i was going to get the "black fly crazies". jam also rubbed my home-made confrey, heal-all and coconut oil salve and the swelling went down within the hour. but i was done for. and within that same hour all my knuckles, joints, muscles locked up. it hurt. all evening long.

jam went to bed at midnight and then finally i sent myself to bed at 2am. and laid awake ALL NIGHT LONG! with the black fly crazies. when jam got up, i got up, we checked my bites and bruises, put more salve on, now he's working on his contract due to it being another muggy day, i've still got the crazies but am planning to crash for the afternoon.

i've got the crazies but was still excited to discover this tulip - woohoo!

yesterday, even with crazies i made home-made roasted red pepper soup with our fresh oregano and a lobster salad sandwich for dinner .

the plate above is my plate - i have to cut the crusts off because i can't bite through them. jambaloney's sandwich was a proper sandwich.

and not letting the black fly crazies get the best of me, i went and picked dandelion heads, before jam started to weedwhack - i will dry these for tea over the winter. we get 3 or 4 runs of dandelions a year. and dandelion tea is sooo good for you!

dandelions drying on the deck between screens in order to let the little bugs have a chance to skedaddle before i rinse them.

and here is the culprit of my black fly craziness - jambaloney weeded our perennial herb bed.

then he moved all the big rocks and put down gardening mat to help prevent weeds coming up between the rocks. once he had everything in place, i mulched the bed and that is when i got bitten. this bed contains, sage, thyme, mint, rosemary, lemon balm and bee balm. it also contains an anise plant that doesn't seem to be coming back. no worries i have already planted spare anise in the greenhouse.

we also transplanted 7 pepper plants to bigger pots and transplanted 6 cabbages out to the appropriate bed. supper was - you guessed it - lobster....but how many times can you take a pic of a beautiful, delicious, fresh-caught lobster just sitting on a plate and not bore the crap out of people?

well, i am not planning for much today - too sick!  i got the black fly crazies. please forgive any potential strange comments that may show up on your blogs today - bahahahaahh!