The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Yes, still alive...

proth5's picture

Yes, still alive...

This is a somewhat off topic blog post, but I promised Janetcook that I'd send some pictures of the vast, bustling proth5 estate which has undergone the usual spring transition since she last saw it.

My retirement is going well. I have traveled more than I really wanted to but have managed to spend considerable time at the location that is the most exotic to me in all the world - my own crumbled abode.

We all know that photography is not my thing, so I hauled out my trusty camera only to have it complain that the battery needed charging. Who knew that the thing had a battery or that one needed to charge it? I had heard that phones had cameras in them, so I looked at mine and to my amazement, my phone is also a camera!

So, here are some shots of the yards. It seems like I have spent May being a full time groundskeeper and I think it is paying off.

Front yard 1

(I am particularly proud of that arbor - which I assembled all by myself. Teak. Very heavy.)

This view proves I live in the city...

And the back yard from my lounge chair (fish not visible)

Yep - that tall green stuff in the upper right is bamboo. It is winter hardy, but will die back to the roots. It has just begun to regenerate. About a week ago. That is about a week's growth. It gets really lush by July.

On the baking front (and yes, I am baking/milling, but not blogging...), I have volunteered to be on the BBGA formula formatting team. I hope I can get through the training materials, although four years in engineering school and a decade or so of testing complex software might just give me the required skills. This will be a good outlet for my sometimes(hah! "sometimes"!) perfectionistic nature.

Have a good summer and

Happy Baking!



LindyD's picture

that your gardens are as tidy as your formulas, Pat.  A most excellent and organized use of space.  Square foot gardening and containers make a lot of sense, even in larger spaces. 

That pond is most impressive, especially the boulders.  Let me guess: you installed them using a bob cat or backhoe?

Was sorry to read that you lost your spinach to hail.  Take heart - here in the north woods we still have some ice on Lake Superior and frost warnings tonight.  But the snow has melted and the forests are filled with trillium in flower, so life is good.  I might even get green beans planted and my lettuce seedlings moved into the garden this weekend.

Hopefully you can do your BBGA work in a comfortable chair next to your beautiful pond.  Water is always soothing.



proth5's picture

my mis spent youth, it occurs to me that I was assigned weed pulling duty (my grandfather was a professional gardener)even earlier than I was hauled into  kitchen to bake. In my tiny mind the two are linked - you grow the food - you cook the food.

The pond was installed for me (there are some things that I just feel are beyond me and I do hire them out) while I was working in the Netherlands. Although last year one of the rocks on the waterfall fell into the pond and I had to go wading to get it placed back (that is not as much fun as it would seem). A few years back, I did supervise a renovation to put in a decent filter and the bog garden and I will have to say that I fought pitched battles with the pond designer to have it raised up like it was (the right choice - which was conceded after construction was completed) and to put in the large Japanese Maple (Again, he right choice). How they got the rocks in for the first installation I will never know.

You guys have been having a tough weather year - I've seen pictures of the ice on the Lake Superior.

And I was just having a bumper crop I spinach this year, and then... Lettuce should be able to take a frost or two, but those green beans hate the cold. I use wall-o-waters until mid/late May for anything that needs the heat.

Of course, there is my juggler's lament (I keep saying to myself "I'm not incompetent! I can do two fisted roll shaping!"). I'm actually getting better at it, but that's a relative thing.

I've got the Wifi rigged up and extension cords handy so I can take the computer by the pond. Just why I don't do that more often (hand slap to forehead) is beyond me.

Enjoy your late spring!


Janetcook's picture

Hi Pat,

What an amazing transformation from just a few months ago!  I am impressed and happy you figured out how to use your phone.  (I should say such a thing as that when I don't even own a cell phone nor do I want to own one.)

I am anxious to see it in a months time when everything has had a chance to fill in.  You are lucky to have open space for plants in front and in back.  Our place has trees which cut into sun time big time but I am okay with that because they help keep the house cooler on our hot days.  

I gave up planting veggies in pots on our front deck several summers ago when a marauding band of raccoons came through here right at harvest time and devastated all of the pots my son and I had tended so faithfully all summer.  They were worse than the hail!  Now I plant flowers only.  Bees and butterflies visit and do not trash the place while they are here.  I like them.  Raccoons have to forage in someone else's yard.

Your pond looks wonderful now that it is out of its dormancy.  Looks very inviting and must be nice when you are milling away and have that to gaze upon when looking out of your back windows.

Are the shrubs surrounding your front yard boxwoods?  They look like the ones I just had my daughter plant and I am hoping that someday they will grow up to look like that.

Thanks for the post and photos.


proth5's picture

the hedge was boxwood. It's just privet and I inherited the thing from my house's previous owners. It seemed a shame to rip it out and it is facing a busy street and sidewalk, so as long as the side I look at is not too bad, I'm keeping it.

I was at the Denver Botanic Gardens last night and was looking at their h**l strip plantings because now that I do not "work" anymore, I want mine to rival theirs.

BTW: Anyone contemplating being in the Denver area in the near future should contemplate dropping by the botanic gardens. They have a Chilhuly exhibit mounted quite strikingly through the gardens. I didn't think I was much for glass among plants. Mind changed.

Glassblowing... now there's a thought...


Isand66's picture

Beautiful pond and yard Pat.  I have a rinky dink pond that I hope one day to expand upon like yours but I think my wife would rather we get a pool :).


proth5's picture

discourage people from putting in ponds. The folks who installed mine are quite impressed that I have maintained it all these years, but I love koi, and therefore must have a pond. The folks who built it told me they make as much money uninstalling ponds as they do installing them. They are just a lot of work.

Thanks for the kind words!


dmsnyder's picture

Thanks for posting the photos. Hmmmm ... If food photography isn't your thing, maybe it's landscapes?


proth5's picture

perhaps. I am simply not catching the photography bug even now that I have the time. I just returned from a quick trip to the Black Hills (quite beautiful, by the way) with not one photo...

Thanks for the kind words!


PiPs's picture

Great to see you just kicking back and relaxing ;)

Love what you done with the space ... beautiful and functional at the same time. 

Happy milling and baking :)


proth5's picture

I used to maintain this stuff while being gone most of the time, so I guess this is relaxing.

Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by. I keep thinking that I should head for Australia - you can put me to work...


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Can't wait to get back to my little estate and work in my jungle garden; also the front "yard" ( suppose I should call it  my front "meter.")  My son updates me about all the goodies flourishing.  Says I can find my first meal right in the garden.  He's moving out before I arrive so all is clear to make a clean sweep through the house.  (Yeah!)  Lots of updates planned. Need a dumpster.  New flooring etc. but my garden is my sanctuary and that's where I'll be with my morning coffee picking greens for the day.  

Here in Trail, I've done my bit to plant some flowers, transplanted baby Zinnias to the flower bed between the wild flowers coming up. There is BC Columbine, bleeding hearts (appear to be also wild) irises and surprise lilies.  Baby columbine look so much like clover I bet they get pulled often as weeds.  I know they bloom the second year so there will be lots of them for someone next year.  I'm shading them with my Zinnias.   The rental has a long historic rock wall with a flower bed below it and I like encouraging the local (no fuss) wild plant life.   Happy plants that chose to grow there.  Nothing to eat though, too close to the smelter.  

Enjoy your growing garden, Mini


proth5's picture

there is nothing so satisfying as nipping out the front door and picking the herb - vegetable - whatever that you need.

Naturalized plantings of flowers are the way to go. That's really my protocol - vegetables get tended, flowers look after themselves...

Take Care!


varda's picture

Pat, Flowers look after themselves indeed.   That's my mantra this year, as I'm too busy baking to go trolling around for new cool plants, so the old ones will have to do.   Love your garden.   And it seems to me that I have gone to the Denver Botanical Garden some time not too long ago and it blew my socks off.   If you could get hell strips like that you could charge admission.   Your BBGA job sounds like just the thing.  Happy sort of retiring.  -Varda

proth5's picture

to hear from you and hope all is well in the Northeast.

I grew up visiting Longwood Gardens (in PA) and Winterthur Gardens (in DE) (And a friend of the family was the head gardener at Winterthur for a number of years - so there was his "personal" estate) so in terms of baseline botanic gardens it takes a lot to impress me, but the Chilhuly exhibit is extraordinary in how it integrates glass with the plantings.

Just got access to the secret formula files - training materials should arrive soon. Hopefully this time I won't do anything to piss off any board members...