Vote Tomorrow!

Americans: Please go out and vote tomorrow! People in other countries risk their lives to vote — please take 15-30 minutes out of your life and go vote!

And if you are in Idaho, I would ask you to seriously consider voting for the Democratic candidates. The governor’s race is actually looking competitive and we need a different approach to funding education in Idaho!

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Brief Speech on Global Income Distribution at Local Liberal Writers Gathering

I live in a very conservative area in Idaho, and once a year, everyone who writes (or has written) with a liberal perspective for the local newspaper is invited to an evening reception. Hors d’oeuvre are served, and then each writer is invited to make a brief speech about what he/she has been thinking about and working on lately. Here’s mine:

I’ve got a little stage fright, because I’m going to tell you that we are not poor. Yes, many people tonight have been sharing about how poor Idahoans are, and how many are on welfare, and while that is shocking, we here in Idaho are not poor in the global scheme of things. When you look at the global income distribution, we are quite rich.

If you own a car and a nice television in the United States, then you have enough assets to put you in the top 23 percent of wealthiest people in the world. If you own your own home and a car, then you are in the top seven and a half percent in the world for assets.

You are wealthy. How will you use your wealth for good?

Wordless Wednesday #photo

Falling Down Building

First Seeds Started

In past years, I have always started my seeds too early and ended up with leggy, unhappy seedlings. So this year, I made myself wait until 3 months (12 weeks) before the last frost date to start any seeds, and I am spacing them out more carefully. I hope this results in happier seedlings. I also have a grow light, now.

Yesterday I started seeds indoors: celery, celeriac, and leeks (2 varieties to space out harvest) under the grow light; and onions, napa cabbage, and cabbage in the window. Both flats are on heat mats.

Today I built my first-ever mini-hoop house in the backyard, and planted endive, more onions, and mache’ (corn salad) in it. I built the mini-hoop house with hardware cloth, a row cover, and garden staples. It won’t stand up to heavy snow, so it’s not a winter hoop house, but I’m hoping it will stand up to the winds and light snows of early spring. So far, the cover hasn’t blown off with the mild breeze we’ve had today. (Well, it’s a mild breeze for eastern Idaho, it might be considered more of a stiff breeze most anywhere else). If it continues to hold up, I will post a how-to article here. I am planning to build a more substantial hoop house next fall for next winter, but I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with stakes, heavy-duty hoops, and half-frozen soil today.

Yesterday, I made a trip to the plant nursery to pick up some large peat pots and new gloves (I go through gloves like you wouldn’t believe). I couldn’t resist two tiny kalanchoes in bloom, one pink and one white. They are very sweet.

Corporal punishment in schools is still legal in 19 states #humanrights

I grew up in a state where corporal punishment in the schools was not legal. I assumed that it was not legal anywhere. I just found out today that it is still legal in 19 US states. Idaho is one. Is your state another? Find out here.

Gardening How-To: Growing & Repotting Blueberries in Idaho

Container of blueberries and strawberries ready to repot

Blueberries and strawberries before repotting

I grow blueberries in Idaho. This is not their preferred environment. Blueberries like warm, humid swamps in the eastern part of the USA. The biggest problem is that swamps, by their very nature, have acidic soil and the high desert of Idaho is decidedly not acidic soil. In fact, the soil here is the very opposite — alkaline!

To solve this problem, I grow my blueberries in containers with half potting soil and half peat moss for acidity and better water retention. I have been growing four different varieties of blueberries, Patriot, North Country, Northland, and Jersey (not quite sure about the last one, the tag is lost) to see which does best.

Well, this year, I didn’t get any fruit, and the leaves on 3 of the plants (in separate containers) were showing signs of low iron. The hard water reduces the acid level in the soil and makes it alkaline, inhibiting the uptake of iron for the plant.  So I decided I would change out the soil and add a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorous (for fruit production), sulfur (to release iron in the soil), and iron for those 3 pots. North Country is obviously the best choice for my area, since I have had it the longest (a year longer than the other 3) and I still have not needed to change the soil. I decided just to give it the fertilizer, since the leaves are looking good still.

So how did I repot my blueberries and change the soil? See below for the answer in photos. (I also grow strawberries in the pots, so you’ll see the strawberries being divided, too.)

  1. Remove blueberry plant from pot

    Remove blueberry plant from pot

  2. Tools and Supplies for repotting

    Tools and Supplies for repotting {I didn’t use the sulfur because the fertilizer (not shown) was high sulfur}

  3. Open up the root ball

    Open up the root ball

  4. Remove unneccesary soil

    Remove unneccesary soil

  5. Ready to repot with root ball cleaned of extraneous soil

    Ready to repot

  6. Pot with potting soil

    Fill the pot halfway with potting soil

  7. Add peat moss

    Add peat moss

  8. Add fertilizer

    Add fertilizer {If you are in eastern Idaho, I am using Town & Country’s Fruit & Flower Food — only available locally and specially formulated for our soil and water conditions}

  9. Mix all the soil together

    Mix all the soil and fertilizer together — use gloves or the phosphorous & sulfur will make your hands smell terrible

  10. Add blueberry plant

    Add blueberry plant

  11. Now cover the blueberry rootball with potting soil. Be sure to completely cover the crown of the rootball.
    The rootball's crown is showing

    You’re not done yet when it looks like this! The crown is still showing — the soil slopes down from the plant to the edge of the pot.

    Finished crown covered

    This is finished. The crown is covered and the soil is level.

  12. Now for the strawberries.
    The strawberries' root ball ready to have the excess soil removed

    The strawberries’ root ball ready to have the excess soil removed and the strawberries divided.

    Strawberry plants divided

    Strawberry plants divided

  13. Then add some of the strawberries back to the blueberry pot. There were more strawberries than I needed for that, so I made another pot of strawberries, which I unfortunately did not get photos of.

    Add strawberries to the blueberry pot

    Add strawberries to the blueberry pot

  14. All done! Give everything a big drink of water! {The water will compact the new soil slightly, so be sure the crown is still covered and fill in any holes with more potting soil.}

Wordless Wednesday: Big Springs Idaho

{A quick explanation: Big Springs is the head of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. The springs just come bubbling out of the riverbed and hillside. The water is runoff from the Yellowstone Plateau that was absorbed into the ground and comes back out at the edge of the plateau. It is a National Natural Landmark.}

The Springs at Big Springs Idaho

Smoke in the air

The smoke in the air from nearby/regional wildfires is so bad that it hangs in the air between the houses. There is a visible haze in the air looking even a block away. It is like a post-apocalyptic vision.

Thankfully, there is no ash falling from the sky (yet) and the air filter seems to be doing its job and keeping our indoor air relatively fresh (we cannot close the windows unless we absolutely must — we have no AC and the orientation of the house and windows means it heats up quickly).

This smoke is so bad without even having wildfires threatening town or even very close. The closest fire is in the desert west of town, at least 20-30 miles away and the big fire is closer to 100 miles away, to the west. I hope the forests northeast of town don’t catch fire.

Tuesday Treasure: Celebrate Red Rose Day

Today is Red Rose Day, and I have been featured in a treasury in honor of it.

‘Red Rose Day-June 12’ by wcuster

Inspired by lizbethsgarden’s tassel and includes 6 other Idaho Etsy teammates.


Red Roses on White …

$8.00

10 Red Roses Artifi…

$2.99

Crocheted cotton bl…

$10.00

40% off Sale on Now…

$34.00

Red Rose Cake Truff…

$23.99

Flower Wrist Cuffs …

$38.00

Paris Pinup Girl Re…

$34.00

SALE Red Rose Crims…

$18.00

Vintage 1970’s …

$3.95

Small Red Rose Ring…

$10.00

Classic Red Rose Br…

$190.00

Personalized Wine G…

$195.00

Vintage Turquoise B…

$8.00

Small Red Glitter R…

$2.45

Red Rose Earrings

$9.75

Infant Hat-Leopard …

$14.95

Treasury tool supported by the dog house

To see close-ups of the handmade items, click the treasury image. You will be taken to the Etsy treasury where you can click to see each item.

Friday Feature: Celebrate the USA!

I love the 4th of July and this year I am celebrating a little early with a patriotic treasury with lots of beautiful red, white, and blue items. I also made this treasury as part of the June Treasury Challenge by the Etsy DTeam and the June Treasury Game of the Idaho Etsy Team.

‘Celebrate the USA!’ by lizbethsgarden

A treasury to celebrate the American Flag and the Fourth of July!Part of the Etsy DTeam Treasury Challenge for June. Theme of 4th of July. Also for June Treasury Game of Idaho Etsy Team.


Red,White and Blue …

$12.00

Graphic Design – Pa…

$8.99

Fiery Glass Bead Br…

$18.00

quilted throw -13 T…

$389.00

Ceramic Ornament Pa…

$6.00

4th OF JULY crochet…

$28.50

Fourth of July Felt…

$6.00

Crochet Uncle Sam H…

$32.00

Old Glory – Patriot…

$30.00

Red, White, and Blu…

$15.00

Red white & blue re…

$7.00

Fabric Basket Patri…

$6.50

18″ Red White …

$35.00

Cross Stitch Patter…

$5.20

4th of July Headban…

$10.95

Mini Sugar Cookies …

$12.00

Treasury tool supported by the dog house

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