Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pug Life

Pug: The garden gate is open and nobody is looking.

Pug: Yum! That smells like a lavender? 

Pug: Yes!.

Pug: Okay, I'm guilty.  

Pug: So sorry.

Pug: Life is good.

Pug: Don't feel good. Help!

Before she become a rambunctious dirt digger, Fancy was a very sick puppy. She was suffering from a very severe skin disease called generalized demodicosis. Nursing puppies acquire the Demodex canis mite from their mother, but only become a problem if the puppy's immune system have a defect. This condition is believed to be inherited. The disease is not contagious to other pets or people. 

The disease start with a lesion or rash on her neck. We thought it was just an ordinary kind of rash when we rescue her. But then she started losing patches of her hair and her skin become inflame, crusty, and scaly. The infection spread to her legs and nothing seems to help. The vet tried quite a few pills, sprays, and medicated shampoo and conditioner but she only responded by growing weaker and weaker every day.  Up to the point where she stop eating and  my husband had to push the pills down her throat. The vet finally found one that work and she recovered fully. 

Pug: All I need is love.

  Husband and Fancy showing off the stitches on their chest.
Halloween 2009:  Husband was home recovering from open heart surgery.  I hurriedly decorated the porch with pumpkin and lanterns and let the dogs out before it gets dark. I had two bags of candies from Costco and don't want the dogs to scare the kids away.  But my decoration  was apparently not  scary enough for Fancy so she added some of her own blood on the floor.  I never found out how she hurt herself but the open wound on her chest was two and a half inch long. My daughter took her to the pet emergency clinic and she came home with stitches on her chest.  I think the girl is showing her empathy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Three Favorite Tomatoes

Anna Russian.  The most beautiful and luscious heirloom tomato in LoLa's Garden this year. Sweet and almost seedless.  Unfortunately it is not very productive.  I only got five tomatoes from each plant.  

Sungold Hybrid.  The most luscious bite-sized tomato.  Sweet, thin-skinned, early and very  productive.  Great for salad and snacking right off the vine.  

Early Girl Hybrid VFF.  Extra early, tasty, meaty, and full-sized.  It is simply the most reliable. Love it on BLT and salsa.  Fresh red tomato salsa is delicious and very pretty with Sungold.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Neighbor's Flower Garden

My neighbor is a professional landscaper and gardener and maintains an awesome collection of flowering plant, shrubs and trees. He have of course a beautiful garden and I try to visit it as often as I can with my camera just so I got something exotic to brag and share. I often told him that I like hanging around his garden because I get lots of compliments from people who were passing by. The funny thing is that I have to admit to strangers that my garden is the wild and weedy one next door. I honestly thought of just saying thank you but wild and weedy sounds like a joke. It makes people laugh, so I'm keeping it.

My favorite of his flowering trees is the Magnolia Elizabeth (above). The flowers looked so luscious and smell so good, it is on my list to at least see and enjoy if not own.


I didn't miss my photo ops with these peonies this year simply because they produced so many blooms. I had to come over to check it out. If I remember right the pink and white one is called "Bowl of Beauty").

The variegated yellow rose is called Gracie Allen and Ginji is setting pretty under the tree with the newly planted impatiens. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Goodbye Tree

Four years ago when I first saw this old elm tree, I thought I could live with it. It was at the end of the property line and was blocking the morning sun, but my new garden still got more than six hours of sunshine and was very productive. Then one windy day the power line that was too close to the branch ignited and the down line started a fire that burn the wooden fence. Avista, the power company, trimmed and removed some of the branches, but would not cut the whole tree down.

This tree was more than 75 feet tall. Tall enough to hit our bedroom if it falls down, making it dangerous to keep. Then last year, I was wondering why my three-year-old kitchen garden can't seems to get enough water and nutrients. My veggies looked kind of anemic and were not very productive. I thought that maybe I just didn't have enough compost material. I was relying on my huge compost pit to keep my veggie garden organic. Or did I simply under estimated the tree's ability to reach and extract nutrients and water from its surrounding?

One day I decided to move a raise bed that was at least 45 feet from the tree, and could not believed how much new roots the old tree have crawling underneath. It was amazing considering that I did not till the ground when I built the raised bed. I was following the "lasagna" method and just covered the grass with card board and newspaper and add compost and top soil. But after 2 years the tree's massive root system took over. No wonder my plants were suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. The big old tree was acting like a big bully and was stealing their food and water.

So last spring we decided to get rid of the tree.

The most honest and affordable arborist in eastern Washington and northern Idaho area. No joke. One bidder thought we were disparate enough to tackle a second mortgage just to get rid of the darn tree. He probably didn't have the means but if we have the money, he'll find a way. Only Affordable Arborist told us he can't do it because he doesn't have a professional tree climber and topper, then put in an honest bid when he hired one.

The professional tree climber

And his safety gears and equipments.

Getting started. One branch at a time. This section was the most dangerous part of the whole tree. It was directly on top of the power line.

Each branch was tied before it was cut and two guys on the ground used the rope to guide the fall away from the line. It was quite a system of know how and coordination.

Well Hello Sunshine!

And off to the ground it goes. A few feet at a time.

And here comes the big one.

Goodbye Tree!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Meaning of Life

The meaning of life according to Viola and Moss.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Little Community Project

LoLa's Garden have several varieties of tomato plants, and zucchinis, eggplants, and herbs for "Community" and "Plant a Row for the Hungry" gardeners in Spokane, Washington. And if you are an elementary school teacher in our area who is passionate about the environment, gardening, or nutrition, I also have a lot of Sungold tomato plants, the best tasting cherry type, to give to your students. Just to experiment and experience the taste of garden-fresh vegetable, and to help create fun memories that leads to a healthy lifestyle. Sungold is early, easy to grow and very productive.

If you are interested email me at lolavirg@gmail.com for more information and to reserve your plant. I will take orders until they're gone. Pick up day is Sunday, May 30. The plants are free to the above gardeners and teachers only.

Tomatoes: Early Girl, Celebrity, Big Beef, Brandywine, Anna Russian, San Marzano, Sungold, Yellow Pear, Super Sweet 100, Merlot, Cabernet, Tami G.

Zucchinis: Black Beauty, Baby Bush, Yellow Butterstick, Costata Romanesco.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dreams and Inspirations

The seed catalogs for spring 2010. The garden was still frozen when they arrived. Decision, decision, decision. Too many varieties, too little time.

This year I have decided to grow seven varieties of cherry/grape tomatoes. My favorite is Sungold, but can't resist Cabernet, Merlot, and Tami G. These are new super sweet varieties that maybe great for snacking straight from the vine.

I'm big when it comes to recycling, and reusing plastic containers. These are Costco's throw- away roast chicken containers. It's like a mini greenhouse. No need to punch holes. I just lined it with three layers of newspaper. The grooves on the bottom prevent over watering and also act as a reservoir.

Seedling growing under the light. These are tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in March. About eight weeks before the last average frost in our area.

Tomato plants in the green house. Almost ready for the The Inland Empire Gardeners (TIEG) 2010 Garden Expo on May 8, from 9am to 5pm at the Spokane Community College. I've been a club member for three years, and this is also LoLa's Garden's third year as a vendor. It's basically just a hobby that gone wild. I enjoy experimenting and growing different varieties of vegetables, especially tomatoes. Only to end up with too many seedlings to share with friends and family. Having a greenhouse makes it easy to get carried away.

This is from last year's kitchen garden. I'm dreaming of a salsa and a ratatouille that is as good or better than last year's produce. How about you? What is new in your garden this year?