Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Photojournalism

It's been hot and dry this week.  It peaked at 96 degrees and 3% humidity - everything was scorched.  So the gardening I'd planned to mosey through during the week got put off until today. (Today it's 73 and 55% - a civilized experience).

But meanwhile, our neighbors called their tree service people to have their palm trees defluffed.  I'm not sure if it's the caliber of all the service people these days or just the caliber of people that they hire .... but I was, as usual, seriously annoyed.  I'll skip most of that, and just tell you about the birds.

Now, if you trim palm trees for a living, you're going to come across crows' nests all the time.  That's where crows live around here.  So, presumably you'd have something you do with the baby birds?  You know.  Something sensible.  Merciful?  

Nah.  What you should tots do is stick the nest on the neighbor's side of the fence, somewhere they'll have no protection from anything.  (This is on top of our retaining wall).

My husband moved the birds' nest to a spot on top of our hill, but apparently the parents didn't like it and yelled at the baby birds until they tried to fly out, they rolled down the hill, and we stared at them for a while and then he stuck them in a bush, where they've been for the last 24 hours, more or less content.  I guess they're content anyway - they lived through the night.


On to the gardening... California is in the midst of a major drought and if you don't have a veggie garden going - get one.  Produce is going to cost this year.  So this year, instead of the usual heirloom tomatoes and interesting plants that I get - this year I'm going to get hybrids that were the favorites of my grandmother.  Plants that will give me LOTS of food.  (Heirlooms give you awesome food, but they're fussy and prone to disease.  Totally worth it if you have plenty of room to plant lots of plants.  I don't).  And I'm making a choice to plant things that we eat, not just "oooo! Pretty!" or things I like to eat and no one else does.  (Or why although butternut squash grows like gangbusters in my yard, I'll skip it this year.  DH and 9yo don't like it).

This is what my normal dirt looks like (contrasted with my grey Siamese cat) and this is what the dirt in the veggie boxes looks like.  I added chicken manure, organic fertilizer, and compost to last year's compost + yard dirt, which frankly didn't do very well.  I'm hoping the manure and fertilizer will help things along.

Tomorrow/this week I'll go and get my plants (I'm skipping the seedlings bit, because it's late and because I do want hybrids mostly) and put them in.  I'm planning to plant:  Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, replace the chard, kale, lettuce - and later this year I'll put in a melon vine on the hill.  (Remember that  it will stay *hot* until well into October here - yes, I'm getting a bit of a late start, but that will be fine).  All the things that are pricey to buy in quantity and that will grow in my boxes.

I feel a bit naughty working like this instead of being all super crunchy, but it really is about getting produce from the yard instead of paying through the nose.  And the produce - even from our very good local grocer - has lacked in flavor.

After DH finishes with the patio, we're talking about a grey-water system and some more fruit trees - we have the warmth, and may as well use the water from the laundry for something useful.

So - that's where it's at.  Hope you enjoyed the break from endless sewing adventures... there will be more of that soon!  :D

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