• Easy steps to a clean birdbath

    by  • November 19, 2013

    How to clean a bird bath in twelve photos Keeping a birdbath sparkling clean is easy and it’s worth a bit of effort to keep your wild birds happy and healthy.  Algae may be a natural thing, but it’s not attractive when your bird bath is within sight of your windows like you want...

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    House of many colors

    by  • November 9, 2013

    House of many colors

    In 2000, we moved from the city to the country of California in the Sierra foothills near Bass Lake.  For five years,  I planned the decoration of my dream, a casual camp-style ranch house on a pretty steep slope. In February 2004, the building began and that August we moved into our trailer to wait...

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    Straw Bale gardening in the Sierra foothills: Harvest

    by  • September 12, 2013

    Harvesting the Straw Bales

    Harvesting the straw bale garden I call this experiment a success!   After reading and reviewing the book Straw Bale Gardens sent to me by author, Joel Karston, I became intrigued by the concept of growing a garden in straw instead of soil.  I wondered if this would be a good idea here in the...

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    Manzanitas are not filled with fire popping sap

    by  • September 6, 2013

    Peeling Manzanita branch

    The Highly Valued Manzanita Manzanitas are typical and beautiful Chaparral plants in the Sierra foothills.  They, and the chaparral as a whole, have long been here in California before we so how can we think it is good or bad?  My thought is that manzanita is not any more flammable or less flammable than...

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    Planting in an old wicker chair

    by  • August 22, 2013

    Wicker chair

    I’m a fan of this chair! Take a couple old pieces of junk and transform them into into a tiny little garden scene using just a little imagination.  It’s sometimes difficult to find outdoor decoration that will fit into a ranchy/foresty type garden but this wicker chair is a classic.  Here’s how I planted...

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    Kerckhoff, camping and blackberries

    by  • August 12, 2013

    Blackberry -Kerckhoff-featured

    Testing,…both camping and blackberries… I did something today that I’ve wanted to do for years! Picked blackberries at Kerckhoff Lake.  So many times we’ve driven by this pretty and serene lake, actually a reservoir, on our way here and there between over the last twenty so years.  The reservoir is just south of North...

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    Why hate the beautiful Bull pine?

    by  • August 4, 2013

    Bull pines

    Myths and facts about the Sierra Foothills Bull pine From the time we moved into the mountains, I heard from neighbors and local friends about the Bull pines.  Bull pines, Pinus sabiniana, are seemingly hated, seen as ugly, messy trees and reputed to somehow(?) suck water from people’s wells and aquifers. You must cut down...

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    Summer progress on the straw bale garden

    by  • July 11, 2013

    Part Two: Summer In May, Tractor Man and I lugged four bales of hay down our slope and set them up as a garden! At the same time, we constructed a ‘Ranch Gate Garden’, by stringing three old ranch gates together that we found on our place, fencing in the 16′ x16′ garden. The...

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    Tim and Barbara’s ‘ideal’ Foothill garden: One year later

    by  • June 14, 2013

    Tim and Barbara's garden update-featured

    Tim and Barbara’s garden, one year later If you remember, Tim and Barbara Fruehe of Oakhurst, CA, renovated their entire front and back gardens, installing drip irrigation, gravel paths, garden benches and iron arbors.  It was a huge undertaking, but Tim had it all thought out and he and Barbara knew what they wanted,...

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    Planting Dudleya in a brick

    by  • June 6, 2013

    Canyon Live-forever or Rock Lettuce, Dudleya cymosa, is a great California native for containers.  This container is a brick found at the lake and probably used as an anchor along the shore.  I found a better use for it and planted a small dudleya in each opening.   It’s lived happily here for two...

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    Garden history: Gardens by the Season

    by  • June 5, 2013

    I learned Latin names of plants from my mother at an early age and become a logophile, a lover of words, especially gardening terms and names of plants. I love the richness of all the local and ancient names of flowers and plants. In this charming essay, you’ll find a schedule of bloom that,...

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    Trying out a straw bale garden

    by  • May 23, 2013

    A Straw Bale Garden?  Sure, I love experiments! Recently I decided to try the technique called straw bale gardening, after an online chat with the author, Joel Karsten, who wrote the book, Straw Bale Gardens. My garden is on a mountainside in Central California. See the steps I took in this experiment! My Ranch...

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    Our good Sierra foothill soil

    by  • April 17, 2013

    Our ‘bad’ soil…? I get comments all the time about ‘our bad soil’ in the Oakhurst, Coarsegold and North Fork areas.  Giving this some thought, I’m wondering if gardeners are making use of the natural ‘mulch’ we have in pine needles and oak leaves. After doing some reading on the tannins in oak leaves,...

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    Rainy Spring Walk with Maggie

    by  • April 4, 2013

    On a rainy day in April, I still take Maggie for her daily walk in the garden.  It’s not cold and though Maggie’s not a fan of wet, she loves to walk and sniff, waggy, waggy…she sniffs everything!  Just yesterday, I was weeding the meadow, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, with the sun...

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    Secrets for a weed free garden

    by  • March 15, 2013

    Plants are closely planted

    One year of seeds brings seven years of weeds! Three things will make your life easier when it comes to weeds in your garden… #1 Mulch I use mulch around the plants in my garden as a lazy way to manage weeds. After three years of mulching your garden, you’ll see that your weeding chores have...

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    Changes at Sierra Foothill Garden

    by  • March 13, 2013

    Hello! Just wanted all my blog followers to know that I have switched from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and now my url is www.sierrafoothillgarden.com. What led to this change? First, I found that I need to go back to work temporarily…hopefully for just a few years. This is a big change in lifestyle for me,...

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    Grow the 7 most profitable vegetables in your garden

    by  • March 6, 2013

    Sweet 100s

    Sowing smart! What vegetables can you grow this year to save the most money at the grocery store? Yields per square foot and dollar value and of that (organic) produce at harvest in the supermarket were considered to form this list. Here are the ones to grow that will save you the most. Of...

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