Monday, October 17, 2016

Harvest Monday; October 17, 2016

Happy Harvest Monday. Cruise on over to Dave's site, Our Happy Acres for all Harvest Monday posts.
Contrary to popular opinion yes I am still around. Seems like anything that can come does come up. Been busy on other projects which means the garden has suffered. In my last post a month ago I was hoping to get some cabbage in but that didn't happen. I visited the garden this past Friday (and once before on the 26th of June) since last post and things weren't as bad as I thought they would be. Turnips came in strong and the mystery disease on the bell peppers seems to have gone away on most of the plants. Actually got a decent harvest of bell peppers and some turnips that will be cooked this week. Probably freeze the peppers. Let's take a tour.

Updated figures. Pales in comparison to last year.

I did some seed saving on the marigolds Sunday and plan on getting more seeds collected before years' end. 

Not real happy to see this Carpenter Bee cruising around but he/she is doing their job all the same. 

With the dire situation a lot of the bee population is currently facing, we need to do what we can to enlarge their habitat and garden responsibly. It is against the homeowner's covenants to have bees where we live but I may just do it anyway. I am considering mason bees as well as a hive or two of honey bees. 

Marigold Seed Saving 
Find the dead- looking ones.

Pull them out like you are deadheading them.

Pull the top off and there are the seeds. I got a lot of them saved into envelopes.

I also have more that are getting ready to bloom.

Pulled a few turnips out for meals this week. 

Part of the bell pepper harvest. 

As I know everyone is aware, Hurricane Matthew headed up the east coast last weekend and made a turn into North Carolina, our current home state. It started at our house Saturday morning and didn't let up till Sunday afternoon. We live about 120 to 150 miles from the coast so the wind speeds weren't hurricane- force but they were strong enough to topple a lot of trees. We did have a lot, I mean a lot of rain. It washed out a lot of the roads near us and people lost power for 2-5 days. Surprisingly we lost power for only about 5 hours Saturday. Usually we are the first to lose and the last to regain. People east of us towards the coast were dealing with flooding all week last week and are now cleaning up. Not a real fun time for all.

That's it for me for now. Happy Gardening.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Harvest Monday; September 12, 2016

Yes, made it back. Been a busy few weeks around here. Put the post up from our 2nd vacation day and I put our 3rd day up this past Saturday. But we are here for Harvest Monday. All Harvest Mondays can be found at Our Happy Acres.
Did a big clean- up this weekend. I let weeds overrun all of the beds, the tomatoes died off, and the marigolds have taken over. That in itself has been the best investment. Probably $5.00 invested. I got a few bell peppers and a lot of banana peppers picked this week.

The before and after shots. Man it was a chore to get those weeds out. Hope to plant some cabbages.

Hot peppers that are certainly colorful. My wife is going to take some to work with her for one of her coworkers. I am going to use some in my salsa. Have to buy some romas at the farmers' market though. Sad day here when tomatoes run out. 


I planted some turnips a few weeks ago along with some cabbage seeds but the cabbage did not start. So my idea was to plant out the bed with turnips. Good idea if I had the seed to plant. 

Well that's all I got for now. Happy Harvesting. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Vacation Day 3

On our 3rd day of vacation we went ziplining. Now if you haven't tried this I do recommend it. It was our son's idea originally so we looked around for places near where we were staying and found a place called Navitat. Outstanding people and seemingly good organization with sustainable practices at the core of it's operation. They have 2 different sets of ziplines at the Asheville location; a 10 zipline course and a 3 zipline course. We did the 3 zipline course as it promised greater heights, lengths, and speed. Here's the link for more info. Navitat Canopy Adventures.
My son took his video camera and mounted it to his head. Here's a link to his You Tube posting of this adventure. And yes, he beats me 3 times.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Vacation- Biltmore

Vacation Day 2.
Missing Day 1 but this was easier since I had the pictures reduced last night, and we didn't take pictures on day 1.
Biltmore. America's home. Once you get a close look at it, it is unimaginable that someone could build this place. 6 years it took from start to finish with 2 years just building the foundation. It is covered in Limestone slabs from Wisconsin but the main structure of the house is steel and brick, bricks that were made on the grounds. George Vanderbilt originally had a 6,700 square foot home in mind for his mother due to her allergies. Originally from NY he visited the Asheville area and decided it was the ideal location for a home. His wife never saw the home until it was completed. Try that nowadays. Anyway here's my photographic tour.

Walk in from the parking lots and this is the view you get. It was said that the main drive onto the property was designed to turn the corner and see the home from this vantage point.

Carved and curved roof over the winter garden.

I will say this often. Everything is hand- carved. The ceiling you see are Italian marble hand- laid into place. The stone masons were brought over from Europe and were paid $4.00 a day. Regular workers were paid $1.00 a day, unless they had a mule, in which the mule itself was also paid $1.00 a day. 

Upon commissioning Richard Hunt, Mr. Hunt within 18 months drew 18,000 prints and built a model.  

Again, hand- carved in place. 

The slate roof tiles were laid in place, a hole drilled through them, then tied from the interior with copper wire around the roof joists. The roof was installed from the interior. There has been a little repair work but on our tour I got the chance to see how they did this and the overwhelming majority of the roof is original. Also look at the copper roof copings that have turned green. 

I saw this and asked the question "Are those George Vanderbilt's initials?" They are and here's something to consider; When the roof caps like these were installed, they obviously were gleaming copper. The initials were inlaid with 14 carrot gold. Can you imagine the site of this roof? Bright copper and gold initials glowing in the sunshine? 

This is the main copper roof over the entrance light. 

And here's that main entrance light! It weighs about 1,700 lbs and is supported by one bolt. The reason being was so it could sway when needed. The staircase is another fascinating thing to see. It is unsupported for three floors. Through those windows are small balconies. These limestone slabs were installed in this manner through the walls and the stairs are counter- balanced with the balconies outside. 

More carvings.

Main banquet hall with organ. They square footage in this one room alone is almost as much as our house. 

Library containing about half of Vanderbilt's books. Currently about 30,000 books reside in the library. 

Bowling anyone? This is located in the basement along with...

the heated swimming pool. 

Exercise room with state-of-the-art workout equipment. 

Typical servant's room. Contrary to some information, slaves were not used in the construction nor did they work at Biltmore. I heard a few people say that as we walked around the home. Read people!

Dumbwaiter. The house also has the first intercom system as well as fire alarms, electricity, water, and a heating system. It also had two elevators, freight and personal use. The one used for personal use is still using the original DC motor and Otis elevator still services it. 

Each one of the figurines were roughly carved on the ground then raised into position and grouted in place. Then scaffolding was built and the carvers would finish their carving in the air.  

You saw the Atrium before. Fredrick Olmstead was in charge on the entire 125,000 acre property and he did a lot of remediation on the grounds due to poor crop rotations and timbering before the home was located. Biltmore is also what some consider the start of managed forestry. Currently the home and grounds encompass about 8,000 acres. The rest was sold to the government for Pisgah National Forest. 

After Biltmore and lunch we cruise Asheville for a little bit. They had this along one of the streets and I answered it. Hike the APL Trail before I die. Appalachian Trail but it was low to the ground and I'm not exactly young. 

In one of the shops we encountered we found some landscape pictures that they are now putting on metal. They are beautiful to see albeit a little on the expensive side. My wife and I may get one if Christmas bonus is nice this year. 

I could have added a lot more but I have other things to do today so this is it. If you ever have the opportunity to see Biltmore, do it! The tickets are high but every once in a while you can find discounts. Christmas is supposed to be a great time to see it as they decorate the house. Here's a link the Biltmore House for more information. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Harvest Monday; August 22, 2016

Yes, back on Harvest Monday. See Dave at Our Happy Acres!

Garden- wise, beyond peppers and watermelon, everything is pretty much had it. I know this is a repeat of every week but this simmer has been brutal for us gardeners (another repeat.) As I mentioned in the previous post, we took a small trip to the mountains and I just reviewed the garden when we got back Sunday. I also caught up my spreadsheet, here.

As I said I did a quick tour Sunday evening. 
Hope you can see four watermelon. That's whats there. 

Hot peppers and banana peppers seem to love this weather. My bell peppers all have bad areas on them. 

Marigolds. I have touched on them previously. I have done nothing to these. Maybe that's what I have to do with everything. 

Overall. Pretty sad. Got my work cut out for me next weekend. 

Our vacation wasn't a full week but a nice break from everything that seems to go in our daily lives. We are always busy with something. My oldest said such as much until he bought his house. Now I think he understands. Anyway we had a nice time and in looking at the pictures I see a few more upcoming posts so stay tuned. I will leave a few here. 

The house we stayed at had hummingbird feeders and I counted 10-12 at one time, fighting each other to eat. And boy do they eat. And very territorial. Actually kinda mean.

Biltmore. About 179,000 square foot. You want to clean it? 

70'-0" tall banquet room with organ. Note the carvings on the balcony. Everything in this home is hand- carved. Everything.

Atrium. Now that's a greenhouse. 

Part of the gardens. There's 30 acres of them. Needless to say this was at the end of our day at Biltmore and we were tired of walking. 

View from the top of Craggy Gardens in black and white. Sometimes I like to see black and white photos as I think they lend a different perspective. 

I took this from the deck of the house Sunday morning before leaving for home. We stayed in Little Switzerland. Notice the fog in the valleys. Yes, we hit a little of that heading home. 

That's it for now but as I said I have some great information for posts. Stay tuned.