Robb and I were at the local Home Depot -- a place I hate with all the burning fires of hell -- when I got a message from my friend Stefani, saying that she'd thinned her strawberry patch and had plants to share. What could be a better antidote to the soul-sucking place-less-ness of Home Depot than a gift of local garden bounty?
Stefani gave us a box bursting with beautiful strawberry plants, and a massive bag of limes. We wandered around her backyard farm and chatted about the pleasures and pitfalls of urban gardening, chickens and bees.
Sometimes it feels like we live in a small town. We may bump into each other online, instead of in line at the post office, but the effect is the same. We exchange garden gossip, catch up on the news, and share some home grown goodies. It's all very neighborly.
It seems that many of the local chickens are moulting. Our back yard looks like the site of a half-hearted pillow fight. Stefani and the other chicken keepers on Alameda report the same thing, along with a slow-down in egg production.
The local beekeepers are all wondering about climate change. Why on earth would our bees have swarmed in November? Why are our lilacs on the verge of blooming? I'm not so tuned into the local cycles of weather -- even after ten years in the Bay Area -- to be sure of what's normal and what's not. That's one of the reasons I love poking around in friends' gardens and garden blogs: it helps me better understand what's going on in the growth cycle.
It helps me stay connected.