Covering Raised Beds

Jeff Northam - Monday, February 15, 2016

Even though it's the middle of February it is so nice outside that I had just had to start on some gardening. Even though Walla Walla is in zone 5 the high today was over 60 and the next 10 days are projected to be high 50's and low 60's and no freezing temperatures.  Since it's an El Nino year we are suppose to have higher than average me wondering if I could start growing things outside. Or at least prepping things to grow outside! So the project for today was covering one of my raised beds.


Over the years I have removed almost all the water thirsty grass in my year and replaced them with raised beds. The largest of the raised beds is home to several dozen strawberry plants. Typically we can pull handful of berries off starting in May but I'm hoping the covered bed will work like a greenhouse. Hopefully the thick plastic will trap in heat and moisture forcing the plants to start producing fruit earlier than normal. Since the strawberry plants are of the ever bearing variety and hopefully the strawberry season will be extended! Yum!


Honestly this was a simple project. A few years ago I had mounted 3/4" pvc (irrigation pvc) to the outside of the raised beds using plumbing strap. It probably would of been cleaner to mount the pvc on the inside of the beds but it seemed simpler to screw them to the outside. I then bent sections of 1/2" pvc into the 3/4" sections to form a hoop. I only used 4 hoops. Hopefully it will be enough to hold up the plastic.


Speaking of plastic. I used a 10' wide section of 6mm polyethethylene from Home Depot. On one side of the raised bed I used 1/2" staples to secure the plastic near the base of the bed. I used a good number of staples but I may go back and screw in wood slats over the plastic to secure it more firmly to the bed. On the opposite side I stapled the plastic to some sections of 2x4 and then screwed a section of thin wood over the plastic to help keep it in place. This should also allow me to roll up the plastic.

When cutting the plastic to size leave a good 3-4 feet on each side so you can cover the ends.

Here is a link to more pictures of the project

Hogwarts and the matches against Idaho and LCSC

Jeff Northam - Sunday, February 14, 2016

The start of the season, finally! After weeks of practicing and playing against teammates we were able to start the season with a road trip to Lewiston to take on the D1 Idaho Vandals and NAIA perennial power LCSC Warriors.


With a two-hour drive and back-to-back matches in the LCSC 4-court facility we knew it was going to be a long day. So Coach Colton (or should I say chef Colton) and I spent the prior day getting food ready for the trip. Given the timing of the matches it wasn’t going to be possible to take 17 people out for a “quick” lunch. Plus, we could prepare a healthier and better lunch than something we could quickly find on the road. With the help of some cast iron, a high output gas burner and my trustee traeger grill we prepared the fixings for flank steak and/or chicken tortas. Add in some torta bread the size of dinner plates (from John’s Wheatland Bakery), freshly sliced tomatoes, guacamole, and other sandwich fixings we prepared a feast! Might be time for C.J. (Colton and Jeff) sandwich shop to go into business!


We started Saturday against a very strong Idaho team. Last year Idaho won the Big Sky conference earning a trip to the NCAA tournament. This year they are a better team adding a solid #6 player.

Even though the score shows a 2-5 loss we played the Vandals pretty close. In doubles Phil/Zach came back from a break down at 4-5 to rip off three straight games to win 7-5. Though I didn’t see the match the quote of day comes from the Vandal #1 doubles player Jackson Varney who yelled out “What is this Hogwarts tennis” after Phil nailed an inside out backhand return.


Idaho controlled #2 doubles from start to finish winning 6-1 putting the doubles points in the hands of #3 Carter/Ho. The Missionary boys played the Vandals dead even until getting broke at 5-6. In the 5-6 game the Vandals performed real “Hogwarts Tennis” hitting 1 outright return winner and 2 net cord returns that proved impossible to handle. Clearly the Vandals used “Depulso” charm to great advantage.


Great stuff in singles from Zach and Adam both winning in straight sets. Many of the other singles matches were close – at #2 Phil served for the 2nd set but lost 6-3, 7-5, at #3 Chase lost 7-6 6-2 and was the unfortunate victim of some no-add games, and at #5 Petar lost in 3 sets.


Really a great start opening match for us. Happy with how we played and competed up and down the line-up.


Whitman 2 Idaho 5


The nightcap match was one that I was especially keen on watching. Our lineup consisted of the guys that didn’t get a chance to play against Idaho. It’s not often that some of these players get a chance to play a team match against such a quality opponent (LCSC is very good – they also lost to Idaho 2-5 but in that match lost 2 three set matches). So what a great opportunity and experience for all these men.


Doubles was a treat to watch. At #1 Petar/Adam (who are really playing well as a team) won with a wire-to-wire 6-4 match. Our struggles at #2 doubles continued as Trevor/Nishaant lost 6-2 (for those counting we only won three games at #2 doubles yesterday). Just like the Idaho match the doubles point came down to 3 doubles. And this match turned out to be a rollercoaster ride! Alex served for the match at 5-4 and was up 40-15 when the LCSC team turned the tables and ran out three straight points to break (no add scoring). After a hold by LCSC and Jacob the match went to tiebreak with the Whitties racing out to a quick lead. However, the LCSC team refused to go quietly into the night and saved another couple match points before succumbing 8-6 in the tiebreaker.


Singles was not kind to us as the Warriors won 5 of the singles matches in straight sets. However, the match of the day went to first year Nishaant Liyame who fought off first match nerves (and the effects of a Colloshoo hex) to play one of the longest match tiebreaks I have seen. Unfortunately for Nishaant he lost 18-16 in the 3rd set match break but it was a blast to watch. His teammates were screaming and yelling their support doing everything they could to will the young Nishaant to victory – they locked arms on the sidelines, they changed positions on the sidelines, they performed different claps…anything to help their teammate (what can I say tennis players can be a superstition lot). Nishaant was also trying everything he could to win the match -- long rallies, serve and volley, attack the backhand, attack the forehand and at one point in the tiebreak Nishaant even tried the tricky Finite Incantatem spell in an effort to ward off the Colloshoo hex but the complexity of this spell was too great for him to pull off.


Certainly a long day for all… having breakfast at 930am and not getting home until midnight. But was a GREAT and fun start to the year.


Whitman 1 LCSC 6


Special thanks to for a major assist in helping with this post.


I need to get back in the photography flow but I did take a few pictures which can be found here.


Return to Blogging

Jeff Northam - Thursday, February 11, 2016

For whatever reason last year I became a bit burned out on blogging. 


It also didn't help that several of my Wordpress sites were hacked. Just restoring the tennis and wine camp page took a full weekend of work! I also got tired of using Wordpress and didn't have the necessary knowledge to make adjustments I wanted. I have been playing around with Adobe Muse and Adobe Business Catalyst and am enjoying the creative aspect of creating a webpage -- not the code aspect.


I look forward to updating the page with my thoughts about my interests and passions.