Sunday, April 29, 2007

America's Wild Rivers Coast in the Spring

woodchip areas and our aspen grove pictured above

Ah! I love spring here on the Southern Coast of Oregon. Our Rhodies are blooming, the daffadils are dying back and being replaced with budding daylilies. I find myself taking a break from the task of weeding lying under the budding Aspen trees feeling graditude for being so lucky to live in this paradise!

I notice in the picture above that the tree in the forground has Comfry growing under it. I saw a picture of Comfry growing under an apple tree and stuck a small plug of Comfry under that Aspen. I hadn't realized just how happy it has become living in the small confines of the tree base.

I am a hodge podge gardener putting plants here and there and continually find a surprise of a happy plant in places I don't remember putting it. A Clematis that I didn't know where to plant has taken over one side of an old tree trunk. The other side is covered with a Climbing Hydranga. This same trunk has a Huckleberry bush thriving on top of it!

I don't plan very much when creating my piece of paradise and the beauty that happens is just there almost accidentally. I don't find myself upset when a dog sits on a plant, or a slug finds a feast in the daylilies. My accidental garden is created to grow if it can! Somehow, this has worked for me. I have request to have garden tours and comments are always made about how beautiful our garden is, but I don't take too much pride in what I have managed to do. Nature works well with some food and water plants thrive....just like us! I give the plants a place to live and if they love it, they reward me. You can find more pictures of our garden on our eBay Store site : View My About Me page.

Spring gardening can create muddy feet. Muddy feet love to find their way into the house and then we are stuck cleaning up the house instead of the yard! I hate being stuck inside when the sun is warm and the grass emerald green!

I've read that you can put a a few layers of newspaper down just inside your door. The mud stays there! The newspapers save your throw rugs from a dingy lifeless life from too much yuck and too many washings.

You can then recycle the paper by layering it outside where you want to create a new garden bed or path. I put 12 layers of paper down with 4 inches of wood chips and like magic you have a new bed in about a year or an immediate pathway. I love the softness of woodchip paths. It is like meandering in the forest. My dogs love their morning walk around the yard exploring the paths. If there are paths, that's where they will walk. Sometimes I create a path where I see them often going. It's better than walking on a new lily peeking up. My husband doesn't mind woodchip paths that don't block his manly riding mower when he is cutting the grass. He hates barriers that he hits. Wood chips blend in, look natural and they compost into wonderful places for earthworms to live.

Living in the Pacific Nortwest, we get as many woodchips as we need. The road crews are busy removing "leaners" (trees in danger of falling onto the road) from the hillsides along the road. The crews love a near-by place to dump their loads. My husband has figured out that one truck of chips is 100 wheel borrows of chips. I wonder how he figures that out! LOL I could safely estimate that Jim has hauled well over 400-500 loads of chips over the last 10 years and I have done my fair share crawling along putting down newspaper. When we moved in, the yard consisted of grass and a few fruit trees period. We now have a 50' x 25' pond along with hundreds of plants, trees along with many chipped areas. The grass could completely find a new home and I wouldn't care, but Jim loves to mow! We still have expanses of green grass.

Come back again to see what is new with Winchuck River Store and the couple who own it, Jim and Karen Clark.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Making our Homes Green As Can Be

Improving our homes making them truly our's is always an interesting subject. It is also important to consider our world by going as green as can be. Next time you make a home-improvement, think about your grandchildren and the world that they will be living in. Make your choices based on their future lives. Above, is the river across the road and our "curb appeal" front entrance that hopefully says "Welcome"

Klamath Falls, Ore./April 3, 2007/ — Homeowners are turning their attention toward improving overall energy efficiency and boosting their homes' curb appeal, according to a recent home improvement study commissioned by Jeld-Wen, a leading manufacturer of windows and doors.

The new "Perfect Home Survey" is an inside look at current homeowner attitudes toward their houses, remodeling activity, and windows and doors. Independent research firm Knowledge Wave International conducted the nationwide online study.

Managing energy costs is going to be a priority for homeowners, especially those with older homes. The survey found that nearly a quarter of respondents have windows (22.6 percent) and doors (23.6 percent) that are drafty and inefficient. Using the same percentages, roughly 13 million single-family homes in the United States are wasting energy resources. We were so excited when Home Depot finally came close to us. It used to be 100 miles away and now we have one in Crescent City, CA; which is only 25 miles from us. We plan to buy our windows a few at a time. My husband can do anything when he sees the vision (it's my job to put the vision in front of him). By next year, we should have the front windows replaced in our 1970's ranch.

Now to get him to see the vision of river rock facing on the fireplace, maybe along the front deck and ........ my mind is racing faster than he can keep up with!

That's no surprise, according to Rod Clark, a product marketing manager at Jeld-Wen, due to the fact that the average age of U.S. homes is 32 years old.

"Energy efficiency is going to be a big topic in 2007 as fuel costs continue to rise and homes continue to get older," said Clark. "Our survey shows that many homes would benefit from energy efficient windows and doors, which can save homeowners hundreds of dollars per year. Energy-efficiency technology has also come a long way since the 1970s."

According to the survey, it's likely that many homeowners will take action in 2007 to enhance the energy efficiency of their homes and take advantage of a federal tax credit for installing energy-efficient products, which expires at the end of the year. Fifty percent of respondents are aware of the tax credit, and 43.1 percent will either definitely or probably undertake projects to take advantage of the tax break before it ends. We should all take advantage of a tax credit! My son in Napa, CA, is replacing all of his windows and saved because California's tax credit for doing this. I think he said he is saving two thousand dollars! His feeling is that he cannot not do it. His home was built in the early 1980's.

Overall, 13 percent plan on upgrading windows and exterior doors in the next 12 months.
Wanted: curb appeal The survey also gauges other attitudes related to windows and doors. The study found that curb appeal is a hot topic among homeowners, and that they recognize the role that doors play in enhancing exterior appearance. More than 87 percent feel a new front door definitely or probably adds value to overall curb appeal, while slightly more than 70 percent say the same about garage doors.

Jeld-Wen discovered in the survey that most homeowners inherited their front door along with the house, and a majority says their current door does not reflect their personal style. When asked if they selected their front doors, an overwhelming 65 percent said they had not, and 58 percent said they would have chosen something different.

I found that simply giving our front door a new and interesting color did the trick. Our door went from the original white to a deep forest green that matched the new metal roof that we put on. Our home suddenly went from the 1970's ranch to the house that fits in better with the lodge, cabin woodsey look that we love.

"Owners want to be proud of how their homes look, and the survey clearly shows that front doors are a matter of personal taste," said Shane Meisel, product marketing manager at Jeld-Wen. "This finding is a great opportunity for builders and remodelers to reach out to homeowners and offer an upgraded front door that better reflects the buyer's personal style."
Other notable findings from the "Perfect Home Survey" include:

Rise of the ranch.Given a choice between eight architectural styles, 26.2 percent of respondents said ranch was the type of home in which they would most like to live. Contemporary (20 percent) was the second most popular style. Other choices, ranked in order, were Old World Mediterranean, craftsman, cottage, colonial and Victorian. Tudor was the least popular design.
Garage as most common entrance. When asked to identify which exterior door they use the most when entering the home, the garage door was the number one answer among both men (42 percent) and women (41 percent). The front door was close behind as the second-most -used entrance.

I am looking forward to improving our garage door. They do stick out for the world to see. We currently have the original very ugly fiberglass door that allows light to come in, but adds nothing to the look of the house! I can see a panel door with windows in that beautiful green of our front doors. (we have two)

Happy at home.The flurry of real estate activity driven by a hot market in the past couple of years seems to have helped homeowners land their dream homes and locations. The survey found that 79 percent of respondents currently love both their neighborhood and their house.
Making noise about noise. Noise is the number one neighborhood complaint in U.S. cities, according to the U.S. Census. The survey supports this finding as 49 percent of respondents say their home is not quiet and would benefit from sound-reducing products, including doors and windows.

If it isn't quiet enough where you live, consider the Southern Coast of Oregon! We have quiet. I lived in San Jose, CA for many years. I made my home a retreat even though it was on a busy street. English Gardens surrounded the home and somehow those gardens made the home appear to be quiet, welcoming and hidden away from the reality of where I lived. I had a green front door that confirmed that we lived in a garden, not a city.

Remodeling in 2007 While 51 percent of respondents have no plans to remodel in the next 12 months, 45 percent say they are going to change elements in their home within the same time frame. I find that small remodeling works for us. It makes me feel that forward motion of making my home belong to me. I want to reflect my love of the Pacific Northwest. A simple addition of a trellis just in the right place or a coat of paint to make the outside shed become a cabin, instead of the shed it really is, works!

The survey results also revealed a few interesting disparities between men and women when it comes to remodeling. Both genders agree that the kitchen is the one room they want to change the most; however men are almost three times as likely to want to remodel a child's room, while more women single out the master bedroom and small closets as top remodeling priorities. In addition, more than twice as many men as women say they are planning to change the garage door in the next 12 months. Yae! That makes me want to change it more!

Monday, April 02, 2007

AeroGarden Easy Indoor Growing W/ No Mess & No Fuss


Aeroponic Gardening System



We have just been introduced to the AeroGarden Kit. This is truly an amazing way to grow your herbs and vegetables in your home all year long without worrying about sunlight and the weather.

The Aerogarden kit includes:

The AeroGarden measuring

Base 6" x 16"
Hood 10.5" x 19"
Height 15.5" to 21"

One Salad Green Seed Kit which includes

Pre-seeded bio-dome seed pods
time-release nutrients
How to take care of and how to harvest guide
Recipes for your home-grown vegetables

Built-in Plant Lighting System

The AeroGarden makes it possible to grown anywhere in your home
The AeroGarden makes it possible to grow anytime of the year.
The AeroGarden emits full daylight spectrum light that is energy efficient without natural sunlight.

Smart AeroGarden Technology

The AeroGarden has a self-contained reminder system in the control panel.

Automatic reminders that alert you to with no needed setup:

  • fertilize the plants

  • turns off and on the lights automatically

  • Seed System that is "Plug 'n Grow" Bio Dome ready for the AeroGarden

  • Drop in the seed to simply watch it grow
    You are automatically reminded to water or fertilize the seeds

  • Germination is 100 per cent guaranteed.

  • The pre-seeded grow pods are in their own miniature greenhouse

  • Very fast seed germination.....sometimes as fast as 24 hours!

The AeroGarden Chamber

  • Provides a rainforest growing environment

  • Plant roots are suspended in air in the 100 per cent humidity

  • The plant roots are provided with ideal levels of nutrients and water

    Salad Greens Seed Kit or the Gourmet Herb Kit will come with your AeroGarden. You can harvest in three weeks and harvest 4-10 salads per week for up to 2 months. Herb seed kits grow seven varieties of fresh herbs that begin harvest in five weeks.

Questions Often Asked:

What is Aeroponics?

Aeroponics is a dirt-free growing method where plant roots are suspended in air within a 100% humidity, highly oxygenated growing chamber. Because the roots are bathed with ideal levels of nutrients, water and oxygen, plants grow significantly faster, are healthier and have a higher nutrient content than plants grown in soil.

How Big is the AeroGarden?

The AeroGarden has the footprint of a breadbox and is sized to fit conveniently under most cabinets. The AeroGarden measures 16" long by 10.5" wide by 15.5" high when it is first set up with the lights at the lowest possible setting and 21" high at the highest level when the plants are getting taller.

Are the nutrient tablets organic?

The AeroGarden nutrient tablets are organic, according to current AAPFCO (American Association of Plant Food Control Officials) standards.

Can I mix seed Kits?

Yes, the seed kits can mixed, but it is recommended that you only do this after gaining experience in gardening. This is recommended because:

Plants grow at different rates and have different leaf sizes, some faster growing plants in mixed kits could over-shadow and block the light from slower growing plants. Experienced gardeners will know how to avoid this.

Our nutrients have been specially designed for the group of plants in each kit. If you mix the kits, the plants could be under or over fed.

Your AeroGarden comes with pre-set light cycles according to kit type. If you mix kits, you could be not optimizing your plant's growth by giving it too much or too little light.

When will new Seed Kits be available?

We will be introducing new Seed Kits on a regular basis. We just added strawberries in February.

Current Seed Kits Are:

Italian Herb
French Herb
Japanese Herb
Cascading Petunias
International Basil
Gourmet Herb
Salad Green
Cherry Tomato
Chili Peppers

Seeds coming soon:

The Salad Bar Series:
Baby Greens
Mesclun Mix
The Strawberry Patch ™
7 Sweet Rubies Strawberry plants

The Master Gardener Seed Kit. The Master Gardener Delux has everything needed for a full year of growing except your favorite plant seeds. Specifically designed reusable split-apart baskets allow easy transplanting into soil make your AeroGarden an excellent seed starter for your outdoor garden. Included a year suppoly seed pods, nutrients and an easy step-by-step planting and growing guide.

Green Beans
Baby Bell Peppers
Mini Eggplant
Wildflowers and more

How much energy does the AeroGarden use?

The AeroGarden system has been designed for maximum efficiency. The entire system uses less energy than a single 60-watt light bulb.

What kind of light bulbs does the unit use?

The AeroGarden uses full-spectrum compact fluorescent bulbs exclusively designed for the optimal amount and type of light needed for robust, healthy plant growth.

How Long will my plants Live?

Cherry tomatoes and Chili Peppers will grow for 6-7 months and you will be able to start harvesting in about 10-12 weeks. That gives you approximately 4 months of continuous harvests.

Salad Greens will grow for 4-5 months and you can begin harvesting after only 3 weeks. This gives you about 3-4 month of continuous harvests.

Gourmet Herbs, International Basil, International Gourmet series (French, Italian and Japanese) and Cascading Petunias also grow for 4-5 months. You can start harvesting your herbs and basil in about 4 weeks, giving you 3-4 months of continuous harvests.

How much time do I have to spend taking care of my AeroGarden?

Although all of our seed kits are very easy to take care of, some require more interaction than others when it comes to tending and harvesting. See the guide below:

Salad Greens-5 minutes per month
Herbs & Petunias-2 minutes per week
Tomatoes & Chile Peppers-5 minutes per week

How long can the AeroGarden be left unattended? What if I travel a lot?

A newly planted AeroGarden can be left unattended for up to 2 weeks. Some mature gardens may need to be watered as often as twice a week. Larger more mature gardens may need water more frequently.

When can I begin to harvest?

It depends on which seed kit you have. You can begin harvesting lettuces and basils 3 weeks after planting your garden and then enjoy continuous harvest for months. Other herbs will take about 5 weeks to be ready to begin harvesting. Fruiting plants will take longer to harvest about 10-12 weeks for cherry tomatoes and chili peppers.


We Welcome You to Our Blog!

We blog about our rural area in the Pacific Northwest . This blog is all about my life and the places where my mind wonders from day to day. Have fun reading and looking at pictures. We welcome comments.

Be sure to watch, just above this blurb, my husband, Jim, using his 10 foot hands-free electric fishing kayak


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Electric Powered Hands-Free Fishing Kayak

Be sure to check out the separate blog to find out about our electric kayak, Kingfisher 10! You can find the blog at . You can also read the features list on this kayak and purchase building plans and building kits at .

About Me

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We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.