Have you ever wondered how to make it rain? The folks at Home Grown New Mexico may have figured it out. For the second year in a row the Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour has concluded with a downpour. I can't think of a more fitting end to a tour of permaculture gardens, water catchment systems and chicken coops than a powerful rainstorm.
When you think of Sonoma, CA what comes to mind? Maybe green vineyards or rolling golden hills, but probably not craft beer and hard cider. On a recent vacation in Northern California I tasted quite a few beverages made with barley and apples instead of grapes. Sonoma County has built a reputation on wine, but a revival of hand-crafted beer and cider has grown from historic hop vines and apple orchards.
Why do banks give up these incredible buildings? The answer is probably very boring and financially sensible, but LOOK at this building and tell me do you prefer an ATM?
Anyway ... on our recent (and too short) northern CA vacation we made a trip to the Petaluma Seed Bank. If you enjoy seed catalogs, you will love this place. We browsed for quite a while and made small withdrawal (i.e. we bought some seeds).
One sure sign of spring is our Santa Rosa Plum tree in bloom. With crossed fingers, compost, water and a little help from Mother Nature and Luther Burbank we could have a crop of plums later this year. Barring any late freezes or big wind storms, of course.
Getting away for a weekend of camping always seems like a hassle, until the tent is pitched and sleeping bags are unrolled. We were packed and rolling out of town by 3pm on Friday toward a state park about 2.5 hours away which minimized traffic and stress. We also enjoyed the comforts of a developed campsite. True backcountry camping will wait until all family members can carry their own backpack. Clear starry skies, frosty cold mornings, sunny hikes and 48 news-free hours helped to clear our frazzled minds.
Folks around Santa Fe call these flowers Purple Aster when they pop up in late summer / early fall. Apparently Aster bigelovii has quite a few pseudonyms including Bigelow's Tansyaster, Sticky Aster and more scientifically Machaeranthera bigelovii or Dieteria bigelovii var. bigelovii. Regardless of what they're called we have a few of these self-seeded native wildflowers growing in one of the beds around our home.
Our garden attracts a good variety of insect pollinators, including our honeybees. For the past week we've had a new variety of showy, large moths in the garden. They flit about like hummingbirds and are bold, relatively unbothered by human attention. A quick 'Net search revealed that our garden guests are Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth. Of course, now I need to check the tomatoes for hornworms.
Once again it is high summer and time for garden tours. Santa Feans have a selection of garden tours to choose from. Tours range from Behind Adobe Walls and the Botanical Gardens to gardens that are a bit more home grown. As our garden is relatively modest I find inspiration from similarly DIY gardens.
One week ago a fierce thunderstorm hit our neighborhood and it started with a vicious hailstorm. I was in the middle of a project and could do nothing to save the tender annuals in our garden. While the corn survived, most of the chiles, tomatoes, beans and squash were shredded. Many of the perennials are already looking better, but I still need to decide what plants will be replaced this season.
I'm thrilled to have the precipitation, I just wish it had all come as rain. Ugh.