Sunday, April 19, 2009

Big catch-up blog!

So...I have been falling far behind on blogging here, because we've been so busy with getting the place ready for the wedding! But what I have been doing is assiduously taking lots of pictures of things we know we want to share with you, so here they are, finally. They are in more or less chronological order.

Here's our backyard in late December--you can see our winter garden flourishing--shortly after Adam laid out new roofing-paper paths, and shortly before Adam's mom Leslie came out for a lovely visit. Toby is always a ready model.

And some more pictures of the paths, which really transformed the backyard--we're very happy with them.

This particular path will be our wedding aisle!

Here's Adam sowing poppy seeds, also at the end of December, along our wedding aisle (and all over the backyard) in the hopes of having a field of poppies to walk through at the wedding.

Adam built us this bed in, impressively, one evening. I was really amazed at his workmanship, and the bed is super-comfortable and sturdy. It did turn out to be a bit higher than he anticipated, so even though my vaulting skills were improving, he eventually shortened the legs to a more "average" bed height.

Here is Adam replacing the greenhouse roof and walls, which were an older, scratched-up, more opaque polycarbonate, with totally clear polycarbonate. What a difference it made!

You can see here how clear the new polycarbonate panels are, especially when you compare them to no barrier at all.

Here's a neat caterpillar I found on a pruned branch while I was pruning our 300 rose bushes. We moved him off to the geraniums, and hope he will be happy there.

Lots of baby tomato plants!

Spring springing at our new old house:

The plum tree

The pear tree

The fig tree

The volunteer fava bean plant, that sprang up from the spot that was covered by a compost bin till we moved in

And here's West Coast Lenny, who is doing some spectacular flowering of his own:

Here, the tomato plants have gotten bigger and been transplanted to six inch pots.

On the same day, onions, peppers, and other delicious things:

Barbara came over last Saturday morning and told us that these brightly-colored caterpillars, which we've been seeing everywhere, are ladybug larvae--so that's great news!

I didn't understand, however, how these relatively large caterpillars turn into ladybugs, till we spotted some in various middle stages of their metamorphosis:

Jeff came over and pointed out a bunch of our beneficial bugs, and said that we have a really thriving little ecosystem here. I am sure we have Tom, the previous owner, to thank for that, since he hadn't used pesticides here for nearly 30 years. The ladybugs seem to love it here, and now that we've had these other good bugs pointed us to us, we are seeing them everywhere.

A couple of beneficial bugs:

These are called "soldier beetles." They are pest predators and, at least according to Wikipedia, also minor pollinators.

I forget what these beetles are called, but like ladybugs and soldier beetles, they are also aphid predators.

Very exciting: we spotted artichokes! Jeff said that based on how many we have right now (two or three visible on each plant) he thinks we'll have "bushels" this summer.


Even more exciting: first poppies to bloom!

More soon!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

RIP Stacey II.

Today we laid to rest a treasured member of our household, Stacey II, our betta fish.

Stacey II lived on the table in my San Diego apartment that served as a dining area, study zone, and entertainment center. I chatted with him every day that we lived there together. He was beautiful, with red and blue fins, and awfully assertive. He jumped for his food sometimes. He traveled to Santa Rosa with us in a Mason jar with holes in the lid, snuggled into the passenger-side cupholder, under a little awning of a Google Maps printout to protect him from the sun.

Yesterday Adam and I noticed Stacey II--who was named after Stacey the First, a betta fish I loved and lost and deeply mourned when I was in second grade--was not acting himself. An internet search revealed that he most likely had "swim bladder disorder" and needed to fast for three days and then be fed a mashed up, peeled, thawed pea. We changed his water and made sure not to feed him, and by last night we were hopeful he was getting better. Today, though, he was clearly in bad shape, and he passed away this afternoon.

Adam dug a hole in the garden, and we each said a few words for Stacey II. His little body will nourish our vegetables in this new year, and wherever he is, he is at peace and in a better place.

We will miss you, Stacey II. You were a good fish and a good friend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter garden!

In mid-October, we had a lovely visit from Adam's mom and dad, Leslie and Steve. Steve put in a winter garden for us, showed me how to plant seeds in rows, and gave me lots of excellent instructions for caring for the garden. It's been so much fun to watch the plants come up and grow--the first day I saw specks of green, I was so excited that I took a cell phone picture and texted it to Adam right away.

Confession: A big reason I haven't posted pics of the winter garden is that the weeds have been sort of rioting all over it. Basically, after the rain a few weeks ago, the plants in the vegetable garden, happy with the gorgeous soil created by 30 years of farming by the family who lived here before us and quenched after a long dry spell, immediately exploded into all sorts of fantastic verdancy. However, the weeds appreciated the rain and gorgeous soil too, and while they are very pretty--forming this lacy, jade-green carpet all around our vegetables--I hadn't kept pace with them well enough to feel like the pictures would do the veggies justice.

But I've spent the last few days assiduously weeding, especially since alot of the veggies are ready or close to ready to harvest. The weeds are still thriving, but they're a bit more under control.

And dinner tonight is featuring a salad made from our first harvest from this garden (of various baby lettuces, French breakfast radishes, and baby beet greens that were thinned out today) so I thought I'd get some pictures before we started picking. Here they are!

Pak choi (and indigo radicchio to its left):


Radish tops:

Swiss chard and purple kohlrabi:

Mesclun mix:

"Kitchen sink" lettuce mix:

French breakfast radishes, ready to go:


Lots of lettuce!:

And even more lettuce:

And here's a picture of the dinner Adam made tonight--potatoes sent to us from Adam's parents, needing nothing more than a quick boil and a touch of butter and salt; rare porterhouse steak topped with Point Reyes blue cheese; and our fancy from-the-garden salad with a simple vinaigrette.