Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our garden today

I think I may be partial to this shot because I, on a whim one day, built this gate! I had been wanting a new gate forever, and the night before Colven and I built it together (it took allllllll day to do with a 2 year old in tow, but he had so much fun!) I had this terrible dream that the flimsy metal gate that came before this one had allowed deer into our garden. Woke up with a mission, kwim?

Our berry zone. The Nanaberries on the left are tapering out for the season, the two strawberry beds on the right are SO DIFFERENT from each other. The farthest bed is comprised of 3 year old mothers and I can't for the life of me remember what they are called. Which is unfortunate because they are extremely bountiful and beautiful berries. This year I will be taking out the mothers and transplanting the babies into the bed. The closest bed is Seascape, planted fresh this year. Not a single blossom on them so far.

Here we have the bulk of the "planned" (read: the ones I planted, the rest are volunteers) recalcitrant tomatoes which I SWORE I would be better at pruning this year... as you can see I failed. yet. again. Ginormous plants.
Here are my beans! My glorious beans! There are even a few baby beans on there. I'm thinking I must have planted them late, since I read other garden blogs when I get a chance and see that others have been harvesting for weeks if not months?! The cucumbers are really taking off, as is the tomatillo there on the far edge. The lettuce in the center of this bed is going nuts right now... I'm amazed at how quickly the lettuce grows and is eaten lately. Colven LOVES salad, so we eat it often and I'm so glad to be able to have various lettuce beds to harvest from. I'm realizing I need to explore different lettuce types.

Baby figs! We planted this little tree when it was barely a 6" stick.
That was almost 4 years ago now... and look at these lil' figs!

OK I hardly ever buy soil anymore... especially bagged soil (for all those reasons we all know) but I did buy a bag several months ago of Foxfarm Organic Potting soil for a Mumi apricot tree that (still) was never planted and is still in it's original 5 gallon pot. Horrible parenting. Anyway, this bag of soil was opened and explored by our toddler... and I couldn't help but find this little California Poppy sprouted inside today! Sweet baby!!

Remember our little pumpkin sprout? HERE HE IS!
He is growing into quite the vigorous giant. Cyrus has been religiously dosing him with all kinds of organic teas and fertilizers. This is a champion seed!
In the background there you can see my futile attempt to hide our greenhouse with sunflowers and cosmos.

A baby pumpkin, most likely just fertilized.
See how the flower is closed?

The absolutely glorious underside of one of the giant pumpkin leaves.
Colven and I put a blanket down this evening and just relaxed there looking at the light through the leaves. It was a simple and majestic moment. And a very very still one.

We drove to Big Sur last night

Last night was the first softball game since the end of the fires down in Big Sur.
These photos are taken from the ball field in Pfeiffer State Park, which is located at the northern and western ends of the fire damage.
Both Cyrus and I were struck by how naked the hills were and how you can really see the land more clearly without the brush.

Now we just worry about the rains this winter.

It felt really good to be down there and seeing some normal fun going on down there!
It didn't matter that we didn't win!
(good thing since we tend not to haha)
Everyone was glad to see each other
and Colven eagerly went out on the field with Cyrus after the game to slap hands with everyone.

oh... and we're famous now ;)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Our car brought us to this farm stand

There was a better photo of Colven than this, but something about the tire tracks around him made me choose this photo. This is our boy celebrating the fact that we stopped by our favorite artichoke place and got the BIG ones.
My friend Angie asked me about our rural life and how we calculate our reliance on our vehicle into our seemingly green life choices. I keep not getting back to her on it because I am still processing REALLY how do I? Me... thinking....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Have vegetables?

And not sure what to do with them? I have an idea for you!

I harvested a gazillion turnips from the garden over the weekend. So many that I didn't want to command ALLLL that room in the freezer for them. So, being the industrious gal that I am I decided to make a savory custard for (I thought) a nice side dish. I boiled 5 or 6 big ones, then drained and trimmed them. Threw them in the blender and added a good dose of cream, a couple pats of butter, a tablespoon of flour, salt and pepper, and two eggs and blended it all up together for a few minutes. Then I poured the mixture into little ramekins and a couple of individual pie sized containers and put them in a large baking pan and filled it with hot water, being careful not to splash any into the mixture filled containers. Baked in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes. Voila! Cyrus and Colven DEVOURED three of them. They became the main course! A little side salad made these a complete meal.

I was dreaming of all the different vegetables I could do this with... spinach, asparagus, cauliflower! and on and on with herbs, with spices! Anything we have too much of!
It was so delectable.

Quiet Contemplation

Monday, July 21, 2008


Way to rock it Cyrus!
This certificate from BUILD IT GREEN just came in the mail (finally!) printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper and using non-toxic soy ink.

We are fortunate to live in an area where people are not only interested in green building, but financially capable of deciding to do it on a large scale, with great local resources for design concepts and materials. For those who do not know this already my husband, Cyrus, is a general contractor who builds and renovates custom homes.

He also built our home and it is beautiful! The homes he is paid to build have just a ummm bit more square footage than our 688 :) (hey I helped build our house! can you picture me with a roofing gun in my hand?!) and I have to say... much of our home is quite green. On purpose.
We are quite excited that the owner of the current project he has going is very interested in green alternatives!!!!!
We are in the process of greening our home office and researching paper and ink alternatives. I would also love to solarize our home office. It wouldn't be too extensive and would give us a chance to experiment with different brands and practices. Exciting stuff in my universe :)

Livin' la vida verde!

I love birds

Really, I do. As I harvested and cleaned up in the garden yesterday I watched two red tail hawks perform their mating rituals in the sky and I was feeling so fortunate to be surrounded by so many birds.

As I began preparing to plant new seeds for the fall harvest, I remembered how I don't always love birds! HA! Just look what I must do to protect the seeds and seedlings!

Planted for fall harvest:
cutting lettuces
winter squash
brussel sprouts
Going in over the next month or so:

A purple post




Sunday, July 20, 2008

Today at the Farmer's Market

See it there? Way in the back? Where would my toddler rather be?
Riding the panther...
Which in a way leads me to this......... I'm not going to step foot in a grocery store for a month. I've been thinking, which is always a pleasantly dangerous thing or dangerously pleasant? ;) Why would I, while living within an area referred to as the SALAD BOWL OF THE WORLD, need to go to a grocery store? OK for tp, toothpaste, butter, cheese. OK-- but EVERY WEEK? I am surrounded by farm stands, by small tiendas (must have tortillas, a staple in our house), by small, local producers (including a fantastic micro-brewerey and countless wineries! hello!). So I'm challenging myself this month. I think it will be sometimes quite a challenge! It is a prelude to the month of NOTHING PURCHASED I have forming in my mind. I'm hoping to broaden my horizons and become much more of a localvore.

One thing I forgot

EERIE, isn't it?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where there is smoke...

There is fire. There is also a community supporting it's firefighters!On my way to Carmel Valley Village today to drop my darling child off with my outlaw's for the afternoon I saw, for the first time this month, a clear enough sky over the valley to be able to SEE the smoke. We have been under a haze of smoke for so long that smoke just didn't stand out much. Today the winds were blowing just so.
I also noticed all of the signs for the people working the blaze.There were more signs than these, but I was without child for a rare afternoon so the time was ticking! haha

Hotshots are jumpers that are dropped in the middle of the fire to try to do as much as possible in places that would be otherwise out of reach. Very risky job.

Garden Friend

Check out this awesome garden spider. He (she?) is living in the strawberry bed and keeping them safe! If only he could eat snails.... I thought the web structure was so smart with that extra reinforcement in the center. Clever spider!

Companion Planting

Tomatillo buds, garlic chive blossom, and climbing beans all in one shot! As soon as the cucumber vines get a little longer I'll be able to squeeze them in the shot too :) Also in this bed: Carrots and loose leaf lettuce.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The garden today... random images

Colven how are old you?


Colven is 2

Yesterday was Colven's birthday.
I decided to make a day of doing (almost) all of his favorite things. We woke up early and went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where Colven spent most of his time at the big outer bay tank. He was enthralled with the hammer-head sharks, he would point and say OH WOW SHARK!! SHARK! OOOOH LOOK! to everyone around him :)

We also visited the touch pools, where Colven learned a new appreciation for how cool starfish are. It has been a few months since we have been to a touch pool and I was completely amazed at what a different experience it was for him, just being a little bit older. He listened to the volunteer talk about them and show the undersides.
After the aquarium we went to the beach, but Colven fell asleep before we got there, so I parked and read a magazine (divine!) and reflected on the day two years ago when he was born.

We met Colven's grandparents Pops and Taia at the pool. Taia made a huge platter of cupcakes to share, and Colven thoroughly enjoyed his in the hot tub!

We went to an organic farm stand and had lunch inside the tipi in the children's garden

There are lots of places to run

and hide there!

Then we finished off the day with PIZZA and a driving video game!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Party Sweet Boy!

Colven's 2nd birthday party was today. The weather was fabulous!
The smoke evaded us today, which honestly was a bit bittersweet.

A gift from Aunt Sakura

Opening a gift with Dad

Sharing toys (well.. baby crack) with 9 month old Malia.

Things get interesting when the water balloons come out! Here is Uncle Greg with a big load!!

Look at these men... LOBBING water balloons at the children! HAHA!! Do you see them in the sky? The kids are on the other side of the fence.

Making bubbles! A big hit.

Colven's favorite "present" ... a singing card from Taia and Pops (Cyrus' parents)

Colven and cousin Savannah on Colven's new SKATE BOARD!
We let him pick out what he wanted... and it was this.

The totally awesome cake that Nana made and decorated


Hangin' with dad in the children's garden at the end of a very long, very good, very non-napping kind of day.
Where is mom you ask? Well she is cleaning up of course! :)