Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Clay Pot Tower Gardens

Tower Herb Garden
I've been wanting to make some Clay Pot Tower Gardens for some of my herbs for quite awhile and finally got around to building a few.

My friend Sun, gave me some clay pots when she was moving so I wanted to use them in a creative way.  I used some in one of my tower gardens and one for the base of a pot I planted some strawberries in from a strawberry bed I'm dismantling.

Strawberry Planter

I'm in the process of redoing my herb garden and will be taking the tables out, leveling the ground and putting mulch down.  Then I will put all the planters back in and install a drip system.  We had a mister system in there and it wasn't that great of an idea so now...Plan "B"... a drip system.

I built a couple of Clay Pot Tower Gardens for some of my herbs for the entrance of my herb garden the other day.  Here in the High Desert we get a little done here and a little done there between juggling schedules, taking care of all of  our ranch animals,high winds and whatever else gets us distracted!  So once I get this herb garden creation finished, perhaps I'll post another photo.

Clay Pot Tower Herb Gardens

I have  a couple of hundred seedlings going that will be ready to plant in our Straw Bale Raised Bed Gardens after the last frost which could be really soon!  We really enjoy gardening and it's a good thing, because it is a work in progress on our ranch!

Comments Welcome!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

High Desert Home Show in Victorville CA

There's still time to go to the High Desert Home Show at the Victorville Fairgrounds today.  It's open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM today.  We had originally planned to go on Friday when it first opened but we had high winds and pouring rain so we decided to go yesterday after meeting with the High Desert Branch of the California Writer's Club.

Even though it is a smaller scale Home Show compared to the ones in Los Angeles, there are lots of great vendors that inspired us with lots of creative ideas to get busy with this spring!

Our main focus for going to this Home Show was to look at landscaping ideas, gardening, composting, recycling, re-purposing, becoming more self sufficient and health care.  We definitely found what we were looking for and more!

Perfection Landscape

Our good friend, Cindy Poore, a Landscape Specialist with Perfection Landscape, was so generous to gift us with VIP tickets to come to the Home show this year.

She has a fantastic landscaping company right here in our local town of Phelan.  Cindy has very unique gifts and talents in designing special havens for her clients.  She has a great sense of color and has a wealth of knowledge for what grows well here in the High Desert.

If you are thinking of giving your property a face lift, we highly recommend Cindy Poore.
Call: 760-868-6104

Landscaping Etc.

Landscaping - Skin Care - Far Infrared Saunas

We saw quite a variety of fountains, patio furniture and other yard art on display along with all sorts of rocks that can be used in landscaping up here in the High Desert.  There were several Spa booths, outdoor screen rooms, window and flooring booths and a great booth that had several styles of Far Infrared Saunas.  There were all kinds of booths that had unique decor for inside the home.  The Mink Oil products were even there so of course we stocked up on them again...gotta have that Mink Oil for my gardening hands!

Meet Greg Anderson

 World Wide Worm Farm in Apple Valley!

What an amazing guy with such amazing talent.  He composts, recycles and re-purposes all sorts of unique things.  He creates awesome yard art out name it...he does it!  He showed me a photo of a bumble bee he made out of coffee cans.  Check out the Tin Man he made out of tin cans that is hanging in his booth to the right of him.

He showed me photos of his amazing raised bed gardens and cold frames he created as well.  I'm definitely going to go buy some earth worms from him as soon as our raised straw bale gardens are finished composting.  So if you want some worms from Greg for your gardens, give him a call: 760-792-9660.  He even uses recycled paper for his business cards!  He practices what he preaches!

Learn How to Become More Self Sufficient

Compost, recycle, re-purpose, bug control, plumbing supplies, wind power and solar supplies
There were so many educational booths at this High Desert Home Show that had a lot of very informative ways about how to become more self sufficient in these challenging times we are in.  Home shows are great places to go to get ideas and find people that can help you get the things done that you aren't able to do yourself!

Cooking, Local Artists, Boy Scouts, Highway Patrol, Health Education Etc.

 There were all kinds of cooking supplies, pots and pans, cutlery, gadgets, home decor, health supplies and just about anything you can imagine for inside and outside the home was on display.

 Favorite Country Sheds

Sheds on display from Shed World

 Shed world had a wide variety of sheds and out buildings on display that can be used for so many things on property up here in the High Desert.  These are a few of my favorites from them.

Another Great High Desert Home Show
We are looking forward to implementing all the great ideas we got from going to the High Desert Home Show this year.

Comments Welcome.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Alpacas Have Character!

"Say What?"

Our alpacas were taking turns yawning this morning and I just happened to catch "Tezzie" on camera!  Looks like he's singing a tune or saying something really important.  If I learn how to attach sound to this, I might add a song later!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ode to the Redbud Tree

One of my favorite trees is the Redbud tree. We had many in our yard in Glendale, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, MO, where I grew up.  It was one of my mother's favorite trees as well.  When we moved to the High Desert in Southern CA I got several from the forest service and planted them on our ranch.  They have started blooming once again and the butterflies and the bees are are having the time of their lives enjoying the tasty nectar.  Even the humming birds love them!  This is a photo I took of one of our Redbud trees yesterday afternoon while out enjoying all of our fruit trees beginning to bloom.

Butterfly in the Redbud Tree
The Redbud is a small tree which grows in the forest, on the borders of fields, on hillsides or in valleys...and now on our ranch in the High Desert of Southern CA!  The leaves are alternate and heart shaped, three to five inches long, turning to a bright clear yellow in the autumn.  The Redbuds bright magenta, pea shaped flowers grow in clusters along the twigs and small branches, and usually appear before the leaves in early spring.

Redbud Tree in full bloom with heat shaped leaves beginning to unfold

A Bit of Oklahoma History

Maimee Lee Robinson Browne, my husband John's grandmother, was instrumental in getting the Redbud Tree to be the official tree of the state of Oklahoma in 1937.  Redbud in Poetry as expressed in verse collected by Maimee Lee Robinson Browne is a beautiful book of poetry that was published in 1964, honoring the Redbud Tree and acknowledging her for all the work she did to get this accomplished.  She was the leader of a state-wide campaign to plant the Redbud tree.  The beautification program took hold all over the state. There are over thirty thousand Redbud trees in Sulphur, OK.  They must be a sight to behold when they are all in bloom in the spring.  That is a lot of Redbuds compared to the seven on our ranch!

"Whereas in the beginning of this great commonwealth, when the sturdy and hardy pioneers thereof trekked across its rolling hills and plains, one of the first sights to greet them spread out in glorious panorama, was the Redbud tree-a tree, that as it arose in the spring from verdant fields, was emblematic of the eternal renewal of all life; a tree that in its beauty renewed the worn spirit and gave hope to the tired heart of a people seeking homes in a new land, and...." a partial quote from the Senate Joint Resolution Number 5 declaring the Redbud the official tree of the state of Oklahoma on March 30, 1937.

Bees enjoying the nectar from the Redbud blossoms

Beauty in Our Forests

Deep in the forests in spring
When the redbird makes her first call
She sees only the green of the cedar
and the Redbud through brown leaves of fall.

Brilliant buds tempt travelers to gather
Small sprays to take on their way,
Denuding the forests of slender
and wasting God's glory each day.

To protect this miracle of springtime
When drab colors become radiant hue,
Help God keep beauty in our forests
For birds and mankind to view.


Redbud Tree in Full Cycle

 This Redbud tree still has its seed pods on from last fall and is in full bloom with its flowers and the beginnings of the heart shaped leaves unfolding.

Comments are Welcome!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another Chicken Soup for a Chilly Day!

Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup

Another awesome chicken soup recipe from Marti's Kitchen Concoctions inspired by a chilly windy day in the High Desert.  Once again, I start out with a baked whole chicken that I de-bone and boil the bones to make scrumptious chicken broth and cube some of the pieces of chicken meat to add to the soup after the veggies are cooked.

Boiling Chicken Bones for Soup Broth

Cubed Chicken for Chicken Soup
Organic Vegetables for Chicken Soup

Today's chicken vegetable soup has organic onions, garlic, celery, carrots, red cabbage, broccoli, kale, home grown squash from our fall 2011 garden that I froze, peas, pink salt from the Andes, and last but not least organic salt free spices that I get from Costco!

Chopped Vegetables Ready to Saute
Veggies Simmering in Chicken Broth

After I saute the veggies in a little sunflower or sesame oil, I add some of the chicken broth and simmer them for a little while.  This gives the veggies a chance to really soak up the flavor of the broth, pink salt and salt free spices.

Chicken Vegetable Soup in Crock Pot
I put all the ingredients in a crock pot to simmer on low until time to eat!  A crisp organic lettuce salad goes really well with chicken soup.  I make a great Italian Dressing using organic olive oil, Bragg's raw unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar and those yummy organic spices I get from Costco.  Bon Appetite!

Stay Tuned for Marti's Next Post!

Comments are Welcome!