Saturday, December 24, 2011

Home sweet home

Home is where you want to call in sick and stay perfectly healthy.
Yet still lay on the couch all day and watch the sunlight shine through the windows on the walls.

Home is where I watch the trees go through seasons like it is television. This is  channel 'Dry Winter'

 Home is finally clearing the garage enough to park inside.
No more frozen car for me!
We still have a lot of work to do in the garage, but 1 stall empty is good progress. At least for me!

Home is where the LED lights are so bright you cannot see the ornaments!
I was quite excited this year to have our second tree--
Even bought some new lights to fancy it up some.
Next year we will go back to the other lights and hang these outside.
I can see our tree through the window while driving by on the main road.
It still makes me happy.  

These are my favorite ornaments:
This one is new this year--how can you resist a
 fluffy snowman with sticks for arms?
 This concept is true enough--though, I do not think I will get a white Christmas this year.

This shocks no one--I have a thing for birds.

 And here is Travis' favorite--boldly higher than all the rest the ornaments

Home is where Master Fantastic is...

I promised to refer to Travis as Master Fantastic (as in MF...) if he completed the beams
before I finished the kitchen.
Given that he started more than 6 months before I did, it was a long shot.
 I had this.
He accidentally finished a whole phase early beating me by a few weeks.
He didn't need to stain them after all...
and it turns out you do not need cupboard doors to "move in"

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grumpy Gardening

Garden Club.
The first rule of garden club, is you don't talk about garden club.
At least about the utter failures of the garden.

Well, kick me out. It is all I have.

Maybe it was that I suffered from the loss of Fred just days before planting the garden.

The distraction of planting during this time was about the only good thing the garden gave me this year.

Other than tons of cherry tomatoes and experience in disappointment.

It started with aphids. Aphids on my kale, aphids on my collards, aphids in my broccoli and aphids on my cabbage.
Next up my 2 plantings of snap peas all became ripe on the same weekend and I barely managed to harvest any of them before they tasted terrible.
With so many snap peas they shaded out my first planting of green beans.
2nd batch of green beans did alright, but the 2nd batch of snap peas didn't grow....

I planted more than twice as much this year and harvested less.
I am sorry to say I am quite familiar with the produce department this year.

Hard to imagine something so pretty causing so much misery.

These garden gnomes just sat back and laughed. They were supposed to be helping!

I got a lot of lettuce, a few peppers and a few zucchinis. My pumpkins didn't make it.

Final harvest of the peppers
And carrots! Oh my--what am I going to do with 10lbs of carrots?

The carrots did amazing. I over planted...failed to thin enough and ignored them til late November!

This is why you thin your carrots. But you only need to thin them if you didn't sow them 1 inch apart   (then find that 5 went in each hole and you couldn't see where the seeds were anymore so sprinkled them all over!)

Unless of course you like oddly formed carrots--they taste no different!

Fun fact: Travis did not know carrots came in other colors than orange til he was 35yrs old.

So you can see why I didn't post a lot on the garden this year.

I guess try, try again. I learned something...
I will definitely be planting a smaller garden next year!
And potatoes! Plants that like good soil and neglect I seem to do well with.

Here is what it looks like now:

Bliss! No work to be done for several months! Hoping to keep the patio table semi weather free.

Oh wait--the asparagus, since I didn't expect to eat any this year it is doing great!!
Now it is time to chop it down and protect the bed for winter. I hope to enjoy some asparagus next year!
I have stumped every single visitor to Castle Debauchery with asparagus growing. No one has ever seen it before.
It is not the most beautiful crop when it turns to ferns, but it sure is interesting.

Look at this! Know what that means?

We are done sifting!!!

No more dirt, no more stones and the pile killed all the weeds underneath :)

Here is the dirt in Travis' garden, levelling it out and growing more grass!

Another sad subject: Ground cover!

This patch here is Elfin Thyme. Slow growing but very steppable. They came back this year and spread quite a lot.

And here is the little star creeper.....
Can't see it?


After planting it last year the snails became fond of it in February...
So I replanted early spring....
And then again early summer once we finished the patio(well almost!)
And then it mostly died back in the heat, because living upstairs(a plus!) we didn't remember to water our patio( a minus!) every hot day.
A small bit is growing in now in the fall--so we will see how that goes.

Travis gave me permission to spend 2x as much to get this planted successfully in 2012.
I think I will give the Elfin thyme more of a thought then. Even though it is slow growing and pretty ugly come January--at least it doesn't disappear in the night!

This is the Lavender plants I bought last September for my wisdom tooth extraction.
When I got around to planting them, they were sooo root bound, I vowed not to buy cheap plants any more(a lie). But once they got in the ground, they have doubled in size!! This isn't there final resting place, but I haven't figured out where I want them yet.

I also never got around to exacting a plan for the upper moat/garden of weedin. I did managed to weed, remove the weedy soil, fill with nicer soil and a layer of newspaper to keep out weeds!
 But this a brave soldier just got a late start.
It is past the sunflowers time, but I managed to catch it in the sunlight.
Poor little guy.

A beautiful ending note for the garden of 2011

Now it is December and time to find a Christmas tree on Sunday!!

Let's just hope it snows a bit this year to make winter fun!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

F the mountains

We have been up to our latest adventure recently in Leavenworth Washington!

I am not sure who F'd the mountains, but it was said, and said often.
Maybe I can get the story in the comments? I know you are reading this Consuela!


 I was mighty impressed at how these leaves fell in a perfect pattern around the tree--or maybe it was vacation brain? or fall? Or daylight savings?


We took a trip with some close friends(well 10 people + us) to Leavenworth this last weekend and had a fantastic time!

If you have never been to Leavenworth, it is a little tourist town that resembles an old Bavarian village--they do Octoberfest and Christmas really well--though we haven't been during these times--the pictures can tell!
Total tourist destination, unless you are a skier, then well, you ski! But once you go thru the shops, men become time bombs where as woman forget they have ever been before!
Going forward--I will limit Travis to a 2hr period in town and arrange girlfriends to take his place!

This picture is from Cashmere Mountain B&B website
I haven't been there either-but I will definitely check it out.
We have previously been out here for a hiking day trip and had lunch and walked around the town.

This is the cabin we stayed at sleeps at least 12.
Nothing to look at from the front, but the view behind was amazing! And inside was huge! Slept 12 and fed 12 and entertained 12!
Thanks to another girlfriend Carleen who arranged this whole trips for a large group of November birthdays, sure made planning a mini vacation easy!!

Partial rear view

This is the Wenatchee river which you see on the 1 mile walk to town.

The trip was just what we needed! We haven't really left the house for 18 months!


We have been to Country boys BBQ in Cashmere a few times before--and always look forward to going back!
Here are a few pics of Travis' meal--which as good as they look are NOT the best meal pictures I have seen. I could write an entire page on Country boys BBQ--from the sauce to the service to the food!!
I heard Dixies in Bellevue rates 2nd this this place after a 2 day taste test done by Jessica(but she lies sometimes!)

These are amazing Ribbon Fries that I just cannot get enough of. Curly potato chips made fresh!

Did I mention the fabulous wine tasting?

We tried both Pasek  & Swakane and came home with nothing to show for it!


In our first 18 months at Castle Debauchery we had all of 1 fire (on our Christmas eve anniversary!)
And now we have had a few and even bought a bellows!

The cabin offered a fire pit and wood--which we used-even wearing our winter gear! It was around 30 degrees in the evening.
Travis, Camilla and Jamie
There was also a hot tub!Which was a lovely refreshing treat after a day in town.
I love the fall--It is my favorite time of year. (until it gets cold, wet and dark--then it is Spring that is my favorite)
The garden is mostly done--but the trees are giving you the best show.

Some scenery on our walk to town


These are some of our friends that stayed at the cabin.
Trying to get everyones attention at the same time is like herding cats!
It takes more than one shot to get the full effect.

This IS what awesome looks like. Notice the flowers on the hat?

This is Leavenworth in the dusk.

This is the view on the  trafficky part of my trip home from work--until DST started that is.
WA 202 from Redmond to Woodinville is gorgeous! Rolling hills, vineyards & farms.

Front porch light Our front light was replaced 11/8/11--It has been burning out every 3 months or so and we haven't had a way to document it. So here we are! Next time it burns out I will have the truth!

Soon I will cover G for garden and ramble thru H, I , & J before I can cover the K for Kitchen! I know how long you have waited!
This time last year my kitchen looked like this:

And now I can cook new recipes in it!!

Until then-I hope you enjoyed the pictures!