Monday, May 31, 2010

Our Neighbor

We have a very handsome new neighbor who moved in this past week right next door in our little pond.  He likes to sun himself on the rocks.  I also notice he floats around in the water with his eyes bulging out above the surface and his legs and arms outstretched.  He acts like he doesn't have a care in the world...even when my cat, Gilligan, stalks him he just jumps right in the pond with out a fuss.  I feel like I want to call him Fred.  He looks like a Fred to me.  He has a lot of company since there are tons of tadpoles in the pond as well.  I like having him around as company when I'm out and about in the garden.  He sings every now and then in a creaky, croaky kind of way.  I just realized that I keeping calling the toad "He".  "He" could be a" She" but the name "Fred" will have to stay

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hay Unos Ojos

Some songs just rip your heart out...  Linda Ronstadt's Spanish style records are next on my list to look into when I get back to Turn It Up, the local record store.

For this song, Hay Unos Ojos, they've got the musicians, the atmosphere, her costume, makeup and hair all perfect.  She brings it up a whole level when she sings in such a heartfelt way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Crescent Moon

It was a beautiful night on Sunday.  Josh and I ate dinner outside and enjoyed the view of the crescent moon.  It's always an exciting moment to look up towards the sky at twilight and see the reappearance of the moon in it's sliver stage.  I love the soft pastels of the sky and the clouds. They provide a perfect backdrop for crescent moon watching!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thinking about a future with berries...

I love berries!

This weekend I spent a lot of time at home working in my garden.  I am really excited about all the berries that will hopefully ripen in a lovely way in the future.  I have to be patient though. 

I planted a strawberry patch last fall and this spring thanks to two dear friends who donated a bunch of plants to me.  I weeded, planted and heavily mulched the patch yesterday and I'm happy with the results.  Now comes the hard part.  I've heard that you should remove all the flower blossoms the first year so that the energy that would have gone to the fruit will go back into the plant.  I should get a bumper crop next year.  I wish I didn't have to wait for fresh homegrown strawberries and homemade strawberry shortcake but I'll have something really worthwhile to look forward to next year.

It looks like the raspberry plants will produce a bunch of berries for the first time this year!  There appears to be a lot of blossoms.  Raspberries are my favorite.  In July I can easily eat a pint a day. 

Last year I pruned the blueberry bushes which reside in the patch outback, past a nice space of partially cleared woods.  It's really fun to have a berry patch that is separate from the main garden area, a little hike through a beautiful area of trees and soft ground cover.  Here is the view as I hike out to the blueberries.  I have to cross a small stream to get there.
There are tons of blossoms on the bushes right now.  I think there is about four times the amount of blossoms compared to last year.  The pruning has paid off or at least seems like it will.  We'll see kind of yields I'll get when the fruit matures. 
See the bee pollinating the flower on the lower right side of this photo?

I strive to live in the moment but sometimes I really have to exercise patience when gardening.  I think I love gardening so much because of the ever changing landscape.  Everything has a time, place and season in the garden.  I design and nurture the space but after that the rest is up to the sun, air, insects, time and mystery.  There are surprises and there is real fruit to look forward to from all the labor.  So here's a toast to many happy years of berry picking and eating!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Woodland Surprise

I was out in my woods last week cleaning up some brush and pruning root suckers off tree stumps that are the remains of trees cut down to clear the area for a bit more space and light.  I want to better maintain the balance of woodland and encourage some trees to mature without competing with saplings that tend to crowd the space and root suckers popping up off stumps and root systems.  I feel like I'm getting to know my woods better and I enjoy deepening my relationship with where I call home.   Look what surprised me as I was working! 

A pink Lady's Slipper!

Here is a blip that tells a little about this plant via Wikipedia:

Lady's slipper orchids, lady slipper orchids or slipper orchids are the orchids in the subfamily Cypripedioidea, which includes the genera Cypripedium, Mexipedium, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Selenipedium. They are characterised by the slipper-shaped pouches (modified labellums) of the flowers – the pouch traps insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia, thus fertilising the flower.

Friday, May 14, 2010

There's no place like home... Part 3

I brought five baby chicks home yesterday and got them settled into their new pad.

Fuzzy, baby chicks are some of the cutest things ever!  As of yesterday my flock includes two Plymouth Bard Rocks and three Speckled Sussex.   The Plymouth Bard Rocks are blackish gray with a creamy yellow under belly and the Speckled Sussex are various shades of brown and creamy yellow.  I like their striking markings.

I also have five Australorps who are approaching 2 years old and Mr. Rooster who is approaching his first birthday.  Here they are in their summer coop enjoying a sunny day.

Two of my hens got broody and hatched Mr. Rooster and two other chicks last year.  The hens did a co-parenting thing and both sat on the nest and helped raise the chicks last summer.

Gilligan, one of my cats, is very interested in the new arrivals.  He spent some time yesterday afternoon sitting and watching the chicks.  Perhaps he's thinking about a tasty treat or just how nice it is to see our family grow.... I think he's probably thinking the first thought.  The chicks are protected by chicken wire and hardware cloth and after a few weeks of growth the cats and chickens can share space with no problem.  Here's a pic of Gilligan on the right catching me with my camera trying to get a picture of him staring at the little fuzzies.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I've been thinking about the band Calexico for awhile now, meaning to look into their music and pick up an album or two (...or more if I really like them).  I was struck by their bit in the movie about Bob Dylan - I'm Not There - that came out a few years ago.  It has taken me until this week to finally look into them.

This was spurred on by my friend and I talking in the car between gardening jobs the other day about how we both love to fall in love with new music... or at least new music to our ears.  Finding new bands or artists to get into, for me, is like a new crush.  All I want to do is listen to that CD or song over and over again.  I think about the band and the new and interesting music all the time.

When I was in town a couple of days ago I dropped into the local music store - Turn It Up.  They sell new and used CD's at good prices.  I've also been thinking how I hardly ever buy music any more since I have an Ipod.  I miss the days of leisurely poking around the music store, holding a record in my hand, looking at the art work, reading the liner notes and sometimes even listening to the music before I make the purchase.  I have decided to support the cool, local music store, and the bands I like by stopping by the store on a regular basis and purchasing an album so I can have a new music crush every now and then.

This week's band of interest for me is Calexico.  I picked up two of their albums: Convict Pool & Hot Rail.   I love most any musical sounds and styles that relate or hint to the music of Mexico or the Southwest.  Calexico is going for it with the horns, rhythms, guitar playing, overall sound.  I like this hybird of roots-rock and mexican influence.  Here's a link to one of their song, Crystal Frontier

Friday, May 7, 2010

There's no place like home... Part 2

The lilacs are blooming this week on my property.  I love this time of year.  The sweet lilac fragrance wafts through the air like perfume.  When mixed with the sunshine, cool breeze and blue skies of today the experience is heavenly.  The blossoms are visited by many.

It's interesting to me that at certain times of year there is a strong show of a particular palette of colors in the garden.  Even when we lived in San Diego Josh and I would call May "Purple".  There the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom May into June.

Here, fresh greens against the pinkish purples of bleeding heart, pulmonaria and lilac are ruling the palette in my garden...

... although some white narcissus make a pretty statement in the mix.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 1st

The start of a new month and many things are happening.  Most notably, the garden season is in full gear and I'm trying to fall into stride with the push of growth all around.  

With the close of April I took down my art show.  I was happy to have some of my paintings back in my house, filling up the space comfortably and effortlessly like old friends.  Many thoughtful and supportive words were shared in my sign-in book from the show.  Friends and neighbors have shared their thoughts in person too.  These interactions allow me to see more fully how important it is to have space and time available to share artistic pursuits.  Thinking, creating, practicing, mulling over and over ideas can be such solitary work.  The sharing, party, opening or gig breaths a wholeness and life into whatever you're creating.  Artists need an audience.  I'm so thankful to have had the space and time to do this show last month and share it with you.  Following are a few pictures from the show and gallery space.  

So here I go happily closing the door on April and gearing up for the hard work, sore muscles and beautiful garden beds that May brings!

Here I am enjoying time with friends

Gallery wall with flower paintings

Josh, my gallery assistant, did a great job helping me hang the show.