Showing posts from July, 2012

Undocumented Harvest

... Let's face it, I'll never make a career as a garden blogger. The snails eat half my crops, and we gobble up everything before I remember to pull out the camera. Did I take any photos of the pluots that have been ripening on our baby tree? Heck no! We were too busy wiping fruit juices off our chins. And the shandies that we made from the beer we brewed with our own hops and homegrown lemonade? Delicious, refreshing, and down the hatch. We're enjoying ourselves far too much. You can read the exploits on non-sucky garden bloggers over at Daphne's excellent blog.


... With so many people watching the Olympics, I thought this would be the right time to remind our blog readers about BORP (Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program), the organization that supports athletic and recreational activities for people with disabilities. Please watch this video, which was made for the Paralympics. It is totally bad-ass, unflinchingly unsentimental, and sums up all the reasons Robb and I raise money to support disabled athletes. Seriously. It's ninety seconds long, and really worth your time. Go watch it. We'll wait. Okay, then. Do you understand why Robb and I believe providing athletic and recreational programs for people with disabilities is important? Do you see how much value and dignity and fun it can bring to people's lives? Will you join us in supporting BORP? Once again, we're raising money for their REVOLUTION, and asking our friends to help us out. You can follow the link on the right side of our blog. Donating is easy. Thank you

First Eggs!

... On Thursday, our lovely hen Anne Elliot laid her first egg. And on Friday, she gave us another one. Laying eggs would seem to be a strange activity for our young hen. She spent the hour prior to the event, pacing around, fussing and vocalizing. She pushed the bedding around in her nest box, and sat there looking very hen-like. We clearly need to line the nest box with something softer than what's there, because this egg had a rough landing. These eggs are quite small, which is not surprising for a new layer. Here's a size comparison between our two eggs, and a commercial egg. I'm predicting that Harriet lays the next one. I think Robb's betting on Isabella. Lydia has always been the late bloomer, so we're not pinning our hopes on her.

Won't you be our Neighbor?

... A house across the street has just come up for sale. ( Click here for the link. ) The open house is this Sunday. We're friends with the sellers. And we connected them to our wonderful realtor (and friend) Meredith. The house is a fantastic bargain. There's a generous amount of room(1,565 square feet), three bedrooms and a large back yard. The house is configured for a downstairs apartment, so the house could provide rental income. It was built in 1912, so there's a lot of charm. Our block is really special. We're hoping that someone wonderful moves in. Like you.

Green Bees!

... This really is one of my favorite times of year, because it's the time that we see the green bees. They're so fast-moving that photographing them is more a matter of luck than anything else. They look particularly lovely in these cornflowers. I wonder where they live, and what I can do for them.

...and this little piggy went "wheee wheee wheee wheee" all the way home.

.... Holy Cats and Kittens! This seems to be blog post number 1,600.  Because of the nerve damage as a result of his spinal cord injury, Robb has very limited sensation in his feet. A few days ago, he was experiencing particularly high level of spasticity (uncontrollable muscle spasms) in his legs, and couldn't figure out why. It turns out that he must have caught his little toe while putting on his shoes, and completely ripped off his toenail.  He literally couldn't feel this, although apparently the rest of his body was relaying the message somehow. This is one of those glass-half-full or half-empty situations.  If Robb could feel his feet, he wouldn't be snagging them on his own shoes.  But, hey, at least he doesn't have to endure the pain of a torn-off toenail.

Oh, I See...

... Today, Robb and I went to Eyewise to see our awesome eye doctor Alex.   Robb needed new reading glasses, and my own glasses were so scratched that I needed to replace the lenses.  The rest of the afternoon was spent hiding in the house, waiting for our pupils to return to a normal size. Going into our lovely sunny backyard was like walking into a Hollywood version of the afterlife.  It was all white light and impossibly high contrast. For whatever reason, getting my eyes examined sparked off a chain of memories, and let me see things in a light that I had never considered before. And, I'm sad to say, it wasn't a very favorable light. *          *          *          *          *          *         * When I was a pre-teen, my mother took me to the eye doctor.  I had an examination, and it was determined that I needed glasses.  And then between the actual exam and the picking out of the glasses, my mother and I got into some kind of a fight. Goodness knows w

P is for...

... Plums and Precarious Today I harvested what looks to be the last of our plums.  While Robb steadied me, I climbed up on a rickety ladder, and picked the plums that were over-hanging the chicken coop.  These last plums were a bit too ripe to eat, and so we started the process of brewing plum wine. Pits and Proportions Our plums are a cling-stone variety (almost surely Santa Rosa), and so I cut the fruits in thirds, slicing on either side of the pit.  I chucked the sliced fruit into a jelly-bag and smooshed the juice out with my hands.  I like to think of this as the small-scale version of stomping on wine grapes. We harvested about twenty pounds of plums today, and used around thirteen in this recipe. Pomace and Patience I hung the jelly bag over the frame for my vintage chinoise, and squeezed and squeezed.  I then transferred the pomace (that's the skins and pulp) to a sieve, to let it strain some more. The pits and pulp will be given to our pou


... Among the community of garden-bloggers, there's a group who diligently document their harvests every Monday .  I'm not terribly organized, and I'm not much of a "joiner" but I've always enjoyed reading about what other people are growing.  So, here's my humble contribution. Last year, I had terrible luck with shallots and only mildly better success with garlic.  I suspect that my rock-hard soil doesn't help any crop that grows underground.  I must have missed harvesting some part of the shallots, because I've gotten a tiny volunteer crop.  This is a part of what came up, unbidden. The meyer lemon tree is finally winding down for the season.  This tree is just amazing.  We get fruit for months and months and months. We recently realized that someone must have stripped every single lemon off the tree when our house was being sold.  When we looked at the place three years ago, there wasn't a single ripe fruit on the tree, a

Chicken Lips

...  About a week ago, I noticed that our pullet Harriet's beak looked a little crooked.  And then a few days later, the tip of her beak was missing. I can't imagine what happened, that would have damaged her beak.  It looks like the top layer is gone, but that there's a bit still remaining. Harriet can eat just fine, but she does seem to be a bit less spunky than usual. What I don't know is if the beak will grow back, stay the same, or continue to fall off.  Should I worry about this, or not?

Paint Progress

... Considering that much of our house looks something like this, we're very pleased with the progress we've made with the painting. Here's the front, with Urban Tiger Smog on patrol.  The lower section, below the moulding was all replaced when the contractors incompetent monkeys ripped off the original old-growth redwood siding.  Robb and I (mostly Robb) spent the better part of a year scraping and re-painting the replacement  boards. Once we get the painting done, I'm going to plant fruit trees all around the house.  I've got baby trees in pots, just waiting to go in the ground.   Here's a view of the back of the house.  What an improvement!  Next week, I'm going to have an actual vacation week, and we probably won't work on the house much.  And then we'll be back to scraping, spackling and painting.

The Painters Repaint

... I'm on vacation from my work as a theatrical scenic painter, so what are Robb, my co-workers and I doing? We're painting our house. The plan is to paint as much as we can reasonably reach, and then pay someone else to finish the job.  Do you see all those pointy rafter tails running under our roof?  I have no interest in painting them.  No interest whatsoever.  I learned this about myself when I painted the garage rafter tails.  Blerrrgh.  What a rotten task. Overall, our house is in very good condition.  Any loose paint was scraped off before the house was sold.  We still have to scrub the walls, patch any holes or "holidays" and sand the patching spackle.  It's not hard work, but it is dirty and rather tedious. We're circling around the house during the day, trying to stay out of the blinding sun. Notice the lovely gate that Robb built for our fence.  He made every part of it, including custom-cutting the pickets.  (I th

In the News!

...  Scenic artist brings set designer's vision to life There's a very nice article about me in today's San Francisco Chronicle.   Click here for the link.