Monthly Archives: July 2013

a summer’s mess


Finally our kitchen is starting to show signs that summer is in full swing. Padron peppers and shishito peppers are hitting the fry pan. Berries are being put into jam jars and pies. One of our chickens seems to be morphing into a goose…would you look at that egg! Cheap farmers market apricots are being cooked down into sweet jam. Unphotographed cucumbers are fermenting with dill and garlic and grape leaves. And I’m trying to keep track of it all this year. After reading an article about Wendell Berry’s wife, especially this passage, “Mom has kept lists of all the food she has preserved over the years inside a cabinet door in the kitchen; almost 50 growing seasons recorded.” I was inspired to do the same. Surely this kitchen has seen well over 50 years of garden preserving going on, while maybe it was documented it was not directly on the kitchen cupboards. Being doubtful that one day I wouldn’t want to paint the cupboards at some point, I chose to write it on paper.

At the end of the days, the kitchen is a hot mess. But a good kind of mess, a productive, fresh summer bounty kind of mess.


Filed under In the Kitchen

the state of things around here


Oh boy it’s been quiet around these parts, hasn’t it? I’ve been a bit of a hermit the past few weeks. With a little vacation to Santa Cruz (Why aren’t we living the life of Capitola beach bums? I really have no good answer for that.), a new adjustment to summer routines and the last round of new window replacement happening, it’s been good to be quiet for while. Now we’ve got our summer rhythm going and the windows, the glorious, glorious new windows are done with. So let’s get back to life, shall we?

With such a dry spring and such a blasting hot summer, it’s hard to find good flowers to photograph now, but I found these two beautiful ones this morning.

A few months ago I called my mom, a fellow milkweed grower, and asked how her milkweed was doing…was it coming out of dormancy? Yes, hers had, she even sent pictures. Mine looked as dead as a doornail, but when I tugged those roots wanted to stay in the ground, so I waited and waited and sure enough, it’s a healthy and vibrant plant. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but this spring I realized that living out where we are, we are about two weeks behind what blooms in the town of Sonoma. And about three weeks to a month behind where my parents live in the East Bay. Interesting.

Despite a few hiccups the veggie garden is coming along. We made another important realization this spring: gophers love plastic. Well, at least gophers who live in these parts do. We’ve observed a few farms that use black plastic sheeting as mulch and weed suppressant, so we thought we’d give it a try too. We put it all down around the melons you see in the foreground and within no time it was riddled with gophers. Even using gopher sticks which have always been a great deterrent. Scott went ahead and ripped out the plastic and wha-la, the gophers retreated once more. We should have known, they do love to tunnel under our plastic, above ground pool.

The beans are growing sky high and we’re starting to be able to pick them. Hey, looks like a morning glory found it’s way to a trellis.

The raspberries, while first starting on ‘my’ half of this bed, have been migrating over to ‘Scott’s side’ of the garden. Hrmph! I’m trying not to take it personally. Apparently they like a nice well amended, double dug bed as much as any other plant does.

How are things going in your garden?


Filed under State of the Garden