"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Beets are Here! The Beets are Here!

Yesterday I picked a bunch of beets from our raised bed vegetable gardens.  I am still waiting for the heirloom multi-colored beets to grow a bit larger.  But for now these will do just fine.  I made a wonderful beet salad; you can find the recipe on my cooking blog.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Harvest

Last night I picked these goodies from my raised beds.

Arugula, Cilantro, Green Leaf Lettuce, Green Onions, Oak Leaf Lettuce, Red Leaf Lettuce, Sorrel, Spinach, and Watercress.  Beets are still too small to pull.  I have however been cutting a few of their leaves from the outer edges to steam for beet greens.

I had harvested many of these same crops for Thanksgiving dinner.  I am surprised that more was ready so soon after picking them.  We did have some nice rain around Thanksgiving and then last week we had temperatures in the high 80's and even one day reached up to 91!  Gotta love Southern California.  A gardener's paradise.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Colors of Winter in Southern California

Sharing a few photos I took today in the backyard. Weather is warming up again, 73 today but the nights are cool at 46 degrees. The ground is still wet from the recent rains. This weekend will be in the low 80's.

Liquidambar styraciflua or more commonly known as Sweetgum

Cookie Crumble amongst the leaves
Aloes beginning to bloom. The hummingbirds are loving the nectar now with so few blooms around the garden.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My newest food blog,

If you have some time check out my newest food blog. I decided I needed a place to place my photos of my cooking adventures. I hope to add many interesting recipes using herbs and vegetables from my garden.  A Table for Rue, please

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Visit From A Few Feathered Friends

I happened to have the camera in the kitchen when a few of our friends stopped by for a bath.  I believe the brown, black and white bird is a Spotted Towhee, not sure about the blue and brown one.  I missed taking a picture of the gold finches today.  Yesterday there were a dozen taking a bath at once. I rarely see the Towhee in time to get a picture but was lucky today.  I took these through the kitchen window on zoom so they are not as clear as I would like but I wanted to share them.  I will check again later in the afternoon and hope to get some pictures of the finches. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Sansevieria trifasciata has flower buds!

I have been growing this plant for at least 10 years.  Last August a friend of mine was visiting and mentioned that her plant blooms.  She must have the Midas touch because for the first time mine now has three flower stocks coming up.  I believe that it is doing this just for her!  I will add more photos as it opens but for now here are a few shots of "my little miracle."

My friend with the Midas touch!

Commonly called the snake plant or Mother-in-law's tongue.  It is an easy plant to grow and if you are lucky to have a friend with the Midas touch, you might just get one to bloom.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brown Turkey Fig Tree

The weather was perfect on Sunday and it was time to plant my wedding anniversary gift from my husband.  I have been wanting a fig tree for several years and  we finally bought one on our 32nd wedding anniversary in October. 

With all the rain we have had the last few weeks I was unable to plant it until the ground had some time to dry out.

 I dug a big hole, yes I do this myself! Tony was standing by just in case I hit some granite. I recently removed a white Buddleia davidii  from this area so most of the soil was loose enough for me to dig deeper.

I used the leftover soil to make a berm around the tree to create a basin to hold the water.  This area is on a slope of ground so this will keep it from running off until the roots take hold.

We decided on an Improved Brown Turkey Fig.  Our local nurseryman said this one would not grow that large and since we don't have a lot of space left for trees we thought this would be a good choice. 

"Blessings upon thee, gentle bud of hope!"

The bird bath was another gift from Tony. The old one I had was Italian clay and was here when we bought the house. The raccoons loved to tip the edge of the bowl to get to the water.  One October night they must have had a party; they tipped the whole thing over and broke the bowl into so many pieces it was not salvageable. It had been broken once before but I was able to repair it. This new one is far too tall for them to reach, I hope, and is so heavy I don't think they will be able to. It is actually a base for a fountain, we negotiated with the nurseryman and got it for $100.00. 

The birds are really enjoying it, it is much deeper than our old one.  I saw a Black Phoebe in it yesterday, he was diving in and then resting on the center area after each dive.  He never really bathed like most birds do, he just kept diving in and up to the center; I have seen this bird often but this is the first time I have seen it bathe; maybe it likes a deeper bowl. 

Here is a picture of the base I was able to recycle from the old birdbath.  I hate to throw anything out that can be re-purposed.  This worked out perfectly for one of my many Pelargoniums.

After all my hard work I sat down for a nice cup of Hibiscus tea.  I recently cleared this area of ground cover to create another seating area.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rainy Days, Mudslides and My Neighbor's New Rain Gutters

Tuesday Rains and Wednesday Cleanup:

My neighbors recently installed new rain gutters and downspouts.

Closeup of erosion

Our facet on top of the bank after the mudslide

Completely buried my soaker hose

Broke one of my jades and buried the Iris rhizomes

This is the top of one of the areas where the water went.  The plants to the left and right of this are covered with mud at the base;  I will need to dig these up after it dries out and replant.  There is still about 6 inches of mud at the top edge of the adobe wall but I can't get to it until I remove these plants.

This shows some of the mud, but most of it is under the plants on the left. Calendula seedlings were on the top of the bank!
East side of our garage where our trash bins are kept.  Trash is picked up on Tuesday morning so only one was in this area.  It's difficult to see the depth of the mud here, but one entire row of adobe bricks were covered. This is also after the rain from our garage roof washed mud down the drains and out into the driveway.  Our jeep had several inches of mud under it also, from mud coming down from another area.

I barely was able to move this a few feet.  This ground has a lot of DG mixed in. I had almost two wheelbarrow's full.

After mud removal.  Before I rinsed the concrete.  No stains though! Notice the jade plant hanging over the edge. It was standing before the mudslide and is about 4 feet tall.

Had I not gone out to bring the trash cans back to this location I can only imagine how much more mud we would have had.  I went up to the top of this bank when it was still raining and dug a small trench about 40 feet long to route the water to the road.

This is a rental unit, but I notified the owner and he has already installed drain pipes so this shouldn't happen again.  Normally this area is covered with high weeds, but he has been doing a lot of new landscaping and repairs to the property for the new tenants.  I wonder who put the rain gutters in for him?  Obviously not someone who thought about where the water would end up!  All is good now though and I had a good workout.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Companion Planting

Here is a link to the Farmer's Almanac for a list of friends and foes for 10 common vegetable companion plantings.

Rainy here today; plants are enjoying it.  I should be picking lettuces by the weekend.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kitchen Prices

I found this on a page in the back of an old cookbook I have.  I made a copy of it and now have it hanging on my refrigerator!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Winter Veggie Bed Update

I took a few pictures of the raised beds today to keep my blog up to date on the growth.  The rain this week and last has really helped in watering.  Normally at this time of year our weather is hot and dry.  I am so grateful to mother nature for providing us with this rain. 

All of these beds were planted on September 11th and 12th.  In less than a month we are almost ready to pick some of the lettuces and green onions, too.

Onion and Shallot sets, a few Garlic sets, Sorrel, Mesclun, Arugula, and Mache
Onion Sets, Swiss Chard, Kale, Radicchio, Spinach, Watercress

Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Radish and more Swiss Chard

I still need to find a place to plant my pea pods. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Storm Was Brewing!

The clouds starting forming early morning.  The forecast was a 10% chance of rain.  Here in California if rain is forecast at all we always look to the skies in hopes that 10% might be at our house.  I took the camera out and starting taking a few pictures of the clouds that were forming in the North and West of my house.

Around Noon Yesterday looking North

Looking West at 3:00 PM


 Last night looking West at sunset

Early morning from front door looking North

We had several heavy showers after thunder and lighting storm around 6:00 this morning.  The air is heavy with the smell of sagebrush now.  I have all my windows open,  Life is good.

Update: 10:30 AM more rain, heavy right now. My plants are singing!

“May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart might desire.”

-old Irish blessing