During this week of temperatures in the 80s, I decided it was time to plant a new raised garden bed with a few choice treats—basil, tomatoes, peppers and some green bean seeds. Of course, the next day the weather turned. An ocean front dropped the temp to the 50s and, at the same time, created winds up to 60 mph. The power went out during the night; the internet antenna swung out of alignment; a limb from the box elder crashed into the back of the house and another from the elderberry dropped on the patio.

The pond disappeared under a blanket of debris. Litter surrounded the car and pollen obscured the windows. Pine cones were everywhere.

When the wind abated a little, I started the clean up by tackling the box elder limb, the largest project. Little by little I whacked off limbs and loaded them into the car to take out to the yard waste recycling container. By dividing, I managed to conquer most of the small limbs and pack them out.The poor little plants in the garden are begging to go back to the safe and secure nursery from whence they came.

There is still plenty of clean up to do, but I may spend the rest of the day just thinking about it. Tomorrow is another day and summer may return.

Snakes You Should Meet

Of course we live in the wild. Every year or two we have some snakes around, as well as a lot of other wild life.  This year we have had almost a snake a month. So I am showcasing this year’s snakes, which I have come to appreciate. The only “bad” snakes we are apt to have are rattlers and so far there have been none this year. Even rattlers do some good and are not anxious to to encounter people. They go away if they see you first. So here are this year’s snakes. Continue reading

A Visit from the King

The garden was decked out in regal splendor. The roses were at their peak, the daisies were just starting to wane and poppies were everywhere. Visitors and locals abounded. Thrashers watched hourly for a perfectly ripe blueberry, jays cleaned up acorns, band-tailed pigeons visited the elderberries to see if they were ripe, deer grazed on dandelion flowers, tadpoles swam in the pond and coyotes left their mark to trot off to work down the driveway. Rabbits peeked out from the manzanita, avoiding coyotes eyeing the lettuce. Overhead turkey vultures soared on warm currents. It was the perfect time to have the king stop by for a visit. We have been honored.

A Visit from the King from CApoppy on Vimeo.

I turned around and saw him snaking alongside the studio. He was gorgeous! About four feet long slowly making his way along the porch. I happened to have my camera in my pocket. A perfect opportunity! He noticed me, turned, and went into the woodpile. Excited, I went inside to show Gordon the picture. When I came out, he was gone–but not quite. He poked his head out of the woodpile but quickly retreated when he saw me. I backed off and tended to weeding, all the time watching for him. Eventually he emerged, went into the garden, turned and exited into the wilds on the other side of the fence.

Israeli Cucumber Salad

In order to use up our bumper crop of cucumbers this year, I scouted out many versions of cucumber salad. This was one of the best. It is from Renee Shepherd and Fran Raboff’s book, Recipes From a Kitchen Garden, that is a boon to gardener’s with too much stuff. The onions and chives came from the garden too, and the lemon came from our neighbor’s tree. The radishes would have come from the garden too if the birds hadn’t eaten all of them first. This went particularly well with Baked Beans with Nigerian Seasonings.

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