Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Believable First Day of Spring

After clipping and pruning and weeding today and a trip out to the hardware and grocery, I was tired and had taken off my shoes, but the setting sun got me outside again and before I knew it I had taken 22 photos.  Here are just a few for you to enjoy.

Today was officially the first day of spring....and  I believe it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I said I wouldn't, but I did...please turn red for me.

No this isn't one  more story about a Johnny Edwards, or a Tiger Woods or a Jesse James.  This is just me telling you about my 2010 attempts to get edibles growing on the Pacific coast again.
If you remember, my former near successes at growing vegetables were in a slightly warmer climate.
Heat and sunshine do wonders to ripen things up.  I am not complaining, because  in the weeks when  tomatoes would be ripening, I would probably be wilting  but I know that

just inland tomatoes get quite ripe and lush, I know they do...

And I know I said last year that I wouldn't plant tomatoes on the coast again...but I saw this packet of seeds and I didn't resist.  It's not that I couldn't have,  I just didn't.  And then once I had these Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato Seeds in my grubby little hands, I had to plant them.  Well, I guess that was a choice too.  Anyway, the seedings were started, and are likely to remain,  in the greenhouse.  They are already 8-12  inches tall.  Maybe I will put one tomato plant outside in the garden bed just (multiple choice)
(1) for fun?
(2 ) for further proof that tomatoes don't do well next to the ocean? 
(3) to risk near lottery ticket odds that maybe, just maybe, this year will be a great summer for tomaotes?

 The flowers from last year reseeded the soil and are already starting to bloom.
One of the raised vegetable beds is visable on the right.  They have removable two foot wood and wire walls around to discourage critters. 
Phoebe the cat is under one of the young artichoke plants which we planted in an effort to be logical by cooperating with what historically does do well in our zone.  By trial and error I learned that the artichoke plants get too big in the raised beds, unless I don't want to grow anything else, and then after moving them I learned that gophers do like to chew their roots to a nub.  These are now planted in small meshed wire baskets.
We have had some sunny days lately, can you tell?
The asparagas have appeared. Tonight we ate fresh kale, including some kale flower buds from the big kale that wintered over. The leaves are sprouting in all directions on a gnarley stalk about 5 feet tall.
The chard is ready and the herbs are all sprigging out fresh shoots.
I planted more green onions yesterday and a little triangle of bok choy. I read that bok choy is a really good source of calcium.
I also brought some raspberries plants from our Sebastopol garden and we dedicated a corner of one bed to those. Eating fresh raspberries while I watered the garden was my gardener's reward in Sebastopol. I guess I'll find out how these plants feel about their new locale. Thus far they are taking off with strong green shoots, but then as with tomatoes, growing greenery is not the problem on the coast, it is getting things to turn red.

Turn red for me, please? Or in the case of these tomatoes, purple.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

There's an old Irish Melody,
St.Patrick's Breastplate
the words sung to it
attributed to Patrick (372-466)
were translated by
Cecil Frances Alexander(1818-1895)

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Thank you Patrick

and Mr. Alexander

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pinnacles National Monument ~ A Dynamic Western Landscape

We thought we were a little crazy, a little overly optimistic, looking for an outdoor adventure. The weather wasn't rained off and on as we approached the western entrance to Pinnancles National Monument.  I hadn't visited this park since the 1960's and Mark had never been.

I forgot my camera, but Mark had his and we passed it back and forth frequently.
The Pinnacles rise up east of California's central Salinas Valley.  Leaving the valley, the road climbs through rolling hills of chaparral at the feet of the Gabilan Mountains.  The Pinnacles are believed to be the remains of the ancient Neenach Volcano some 195 miles to the south.  Imagine this, the giant San Andreas Fault split the volcano and the Pacific Plate crept north, carrying the Pinnacles.

The rains have made lovely greens along the creek waters.  We started up with extra jackets, the ratty kind we keep in the back of the car for emergencies and shifts in the weather.

The artistry of water and wind continue to shape these structures.

It rained a bit on us  as we made our way up to Hawkes Peak.  The colors in the subdued light were stunning and then the sun came out and danced new colors before our eyes. 

The monoliths, towerlike spires, sheer-wall canyons and caves of talus rise into the day...a seemingly stand still moment of the once and future dynamics of erosion, earthquake faults and shifting tectonic plates.

Oh, California!

A wall flower in front of its own stone wall.
The wild flowers are only beginning to bloom.  We saw shooting stars and tiny white milk maids on their slender stalks.  Some blue and purple lupines are blooming and the yellow bush poppies and white ceanothus grace the higher trails. 
We enjoyed the soaring birds throughout the day. Co-incidently this morning's local paper has an article on the Pinnacles: "CONDOR COUPLE LAY EGG" the Monterey Herald headlines read.  A male condor residing in Big Sur where he was released in 2004, without the aid  of any internet or televised dating service, flew east 30 miles to court a  female condor who was released at the Pinnacles in 2004. Her egg is believed to be the first laid within the park boundaries in more than a century.  There is a condor cam you can check out on the park website.
We saw a good deal of large cat scat on the trail but made no sightings of bob cats or mountain lions.  I wonder if they sighted us.  I did bring home some baby bob cat postcards.   Purchases of postcards, books and cloth bags  from the Western National Parks Association located in a tiny hut where the ranger takes the entrance fee, support educational and scientific research programs at the park.
The sun had plenty of clouds to pop behind and we hurried a bit on our way down from the peak as the sun was dropping in the sky.  It was a dark ride home and as we neared the coast a heavy rain  fell.  The two and a half dry and light hours on the trail were a lovely way to spend my XXst birthday!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Working Man's Sunset

At the end of the day...sitting on the wall above the sea.
A good days work has been done...
Time to really stop and enjoy the view...
And say good night to the sun.