Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Update

I harvested rhubarb for the first time and am in the process of baking my first pie ever. Since I used vegetable shortening, I think it would even qualify as vegan. Hopefully it comes out of the oven OK and tastes good.
The first black krim is looking great.
Kyle helped me put in the tree branches that the christmas lima beans will climb. I also planted dragon's tongue bush beans. I'll plant more herbs in this bed as well. 
One of the brandywine tomatoes has produced flowers.
The stock tank area got some new plants and fish.
Here's a fuzzy photo of the dwarf lily pad sending up three flowers, we only had one last year.
Garden Huckleberry doing it's thing.
At least the peas like the cool extended spring. 
I decided to add an egg wash, but should have added some water to the egg yolk.
As you can see, it tasted pretty darn good. I used this recipe for the filling, and this one for the pie crust. I'd never made either before and it turned out great. The crust was way better than store bought and the pie wasn't soggy at all.
This is after the dog helped herself to some delicious pie. Bad dog!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


this is a fully photo documented tute on how to make your own self-watering container for large plants. hopefully this one will support two pumpkin plants.  we also make smaller 5 gal bucket versions with only one "well".

step one, find a suitable container:
drill multiple holes with a large bit in 4 inch PVC tubing, we used two 7-inch pieces. the length and width will depend on the overall size of the container.
here's what the "wells" will look like in place. the holes are to allow water from outside the wells to permeate inside the two columns of potting soil.
next, drill a bunch of holes in an old lid from a container cut to fit on top of the wells in side the container.  this is for the platform base that the wells sit under.  the wells will go in the two circles with x's in them. drill holes very near to those circles so that you can zip-tie the wells on to them. also drill holes near to the top edges of the wells for this purpose.  
here is the bin again with the "fill tube". just a 1 inch PVC pipe with a bevel cut at the bottom. we will drill two holes near the top of the bin to zip -tie it in place.
hot glue landscape fabric onto the wells and add the zip-ties to attach the wells to the shelf.
here's the inner part upside down. I'm hot gluing landscape fabric onto the bottom of the wells to keep soil from coming out into the reservoir. 
here is the whole setup inside the container with the fill tube in the bottom left, note the hole on the left. there is another on the right that we will hot glue a swiss cheese drilled cross tube for good aeration (you'll see it in the next photo).   
next cover the entire shelf with landscape fabric to keep the soil from falling through the holes and add a landscape fabric covered aeration tube as pictured.
final step: fill with potting mix, water, and plant your pumpkins. we chose these fancy ones that I think look really cool and we can use for cooking. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


One of the other reasons for not posting a lot is that there is a trial going on that is hard for me to not follow or not to have any feelings about.  It isn't my case, I was out of town when the body was found, but I work with a lot of the people that handled the case. A little boy died. I don't particularly care for many kids, but none deserve to die like he did. There are even children still living under the same or even much worse conditions than he did. I can't talk about the particulars, but I can link to one of the newer news stories. Just look up Robert Manwell on the internet. It happened in 2009. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mid May Recap

A loosing battle with severe environmental allergies has sapped my get up and go, including my blogging. Luckily I have been taking photos, so I'll try to drag my but to do a garden update post.
beware: rabid dog

the quinalt strawberries are doing really well in their third year

brandywine transplanted with homemade wall of waters

tomatillo, looking great

the pondtainer got some new plants, I will add some native plants as soon as I figure out what to plant

gratuitous pic of the dog and corkscrew rush

ground cherry

random tomato bloom

last, but not least, the first tomato of the year is a black krim.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Do People Think I Am?

Emma is just trying to be a good lawyer but she has the distinct feeling she's being watched. Soon after this feeling hits her, someone actually kidnaps her. Stuck in a basement she is tortured but eventually escapes. But her nightmare has only begun because when she leads the police back to the madman's house, they know who it is. It's the local coroner. Now with him getting expert treatment from the cops, she must fight back on her own and hopefully submit him to the same pain he did to her. But just as you don't bullshit a bullshitter, don't play games with a serial killer. This one loves games and he'll checkmate you if you aren't careful.  Written by Pon Juice  -IMDb

When on the job during real death investigations, I am usually treated with respect by all involved- law enforcement, EMS, fire, the families, etc... I am mostly taken seriously and almost everyone appreciate what I do.I even get hugs. Something strange happens at other occasions. I've participated in a couple staged exercises where my office participates as the role of The Coroner. Usually, our office is tacked on the end as an afterthought. Something to be quickly done and taken care of. 

Movies like the one above don't help. There are so many strange stereotypes about my job.
This is not what my office looks like. It looks a bit more like The Office but with scrubs and cargo pants.
Sometimes, this is how I feel I am seen.

In Flight From Death :the Quest for Immortality, Gabriel Byrne beautifully narrates the hypothesis that our death anxiety may be the root for many religions and their inherent problems of conflict between differing beliefs.  

The explicit awareness that you’re a breathing piece of defecating meat, destined to die and ultimately no more significant than, let’s say, a lizard or a potato, is not especially uplifting. -Sheldon Solomon

When I've participated in disaster scenarios used to train first responders or demonstrate what they do, I saw some commonalities. The participants seem really stoked, there is a lot of fanfare in making the scene horrifically realistic. There is a lot of makeup that looks like bad B movie zombie stuff. The actors and their dressers really get into it, to me, they really get way into the fake cheesy gore.

So the strange part is that when my office shows up there is a lot a hustle and bustle setting the stage as you will. The more recent disaster I attended was a fake car wreck, they had an industrial fog/smoke machine I would love to have in my yard come October, smashed cars, even a helicopter.  As all the EMS, Fire, Police, student's parents, the PTA were talking about the timeline and who would do whatever, no one would even acknowledge the presence of my office. I felt that we were the unspeakables that are not to be named. When we were mentioned, we were told we had four minutes to pick up the"body". We were to be front and center, I assume to add impact, and then quickly leave. Whisking away the death.

My thoughts are that death anxiety makes people sort of blank out when death is portrayed and it gets to the actual part where accepting ones one mortality should sink in and be acknowledged. Why do families have the bodies of their dead embalmed and made up? It is an attempt to mask the death-look of the person. Why are so many elderly left to wither in nursing homes? 

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.  ~Edvard Munch

Casualties of War

I see the effect of war too often.  Link to artist. My life is all about balance.

Spring Hike

Today was the nicest day of the year so far. Emily and I met up for a wildflower walk put on by the Idaho Botanical Garden. Considering I had an extra long day at work dealing with nasty things, it was great to get out and follow around people so passionate about botany and willing to share their knowledge. I did feel a little silly with my point and shoot compared to Emily's nifty-cam, but you have to start somewhere, right? I had a ton of fun and wished we had footage of our mistaken discovery of the elusive "Idaho" something native plant that I got overly excited about.  You had to be there. Here are a few of the shots I took, including photos of some morbidly names specimens. 

Death Camas- looks really menacing doesn't it? 

Human and animal symptoms of Death Camas may appear from 1-8 hours after eating the plant. Recovery usually occurs within 24 hours. Symptoms include: excessive watering (foaming) of the mouth, burning following by numbness of the lips and mouth, thirst, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach pain, persistent vomiting, diarrhea, muscular weakness, confusion, slow and irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, subnormal body temperature. In extreme cases will result in difficulty in breathing, convulsions and coma followed by death. -Source

Rush Skeleton Weed 
More info here with a photo of the adult plant which is quite pretty. This is a noxious weed. 

The yellow flowers are Arrow leaf Balsam root, a favorite of mine.

The Old State Penitentiary is in the lower ground. It's one of my favorite places. Believe it or not it was in operation until the 70's. The inmates had to go to the bathroom in buckets that were hoisted out of there cells with ropes and pulleys. Isn't Boise a pretty town?

The purple flowering plant is known as Duck's Bill as well as a few other names.

One variety of Biscuit Root. The crushed leaves smell like a cross between sage, mint, and carrot.

I just thought this looked good, I love deadwood in the desert. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


In the midst of all the turmoil in the news I'd like to show my latest new bloom. The first Yellow Wonder Alpine Strawberry bloom has arrived. That tiny unaware flower was such a nice break from a violent week. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Early May Recap

About two weeks ago I planted the two Black Krim tomatoes I started on January the 31st. They are doing fine and have new blooms on them. A week ago I put as many plants in the greenhouse as I could fit and they are doing greater than could be expected. I plan to build a hoop house next year and put all the plants out early as there is nothing better than real sunlight even if it is intermittent.  

Although it isn't in the best focus. I had to share a photo of the ground cherry in bloom. The plants that I kept inside were only half the size with no blooms. 

Eggplant taking in some rays.

This is the tomatillo that I accidentally snapped in half putting it out for sun last week. I stuck the upper stalk in the soil and tied it to the chopstick stake figuring it would die. The damn thing is sprouting new leaves. It is really leggy and not pretty to look at, but I'll keep it going and make it thrive.  

The spring peas are up and sending out tendrils. We'll have a new trellis set up for them this weekend. Those are some radishes in the back, succession planted for a few good harvests during our short spring.  

The potato plants have erupted with beautiful purple and green leaves. These are a rosy fingerling variety.

The alpine Yellow Wonder strawberries are flourishing. They seem so fragile and paper thin, but have withstood weeks with an oscillating fan and they love being out in the bright sun with some harsh winds.  The bigger plants fill about the size of you hand with outstretched fingers. The lower photo is from March 25th.