June 29, 2005

All kinds of things are going well lately. We have been to two Farmer’s Markets in Woodland thus far, and have sold out our blackberries and boysenberries both times. The total profits are modest (like, under $100), but it’s been more fun than I thought. The people are very pleasant, an amateur folk group plays music, and it lasts only 3 hours.

We spent 5 days on vacation in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. These are the groves of old-growth redwoods, the very tall specimens. We are very fortunate, California is home to the largest, the oldest, and the tallest tree specimens in the world. We took some long hikes in the vicinity of the Rockefeller grove, paid for by the famous John D. The dense canopy of the forest blots out the sun and absorbs sound. The silence permeates, punctuated only by wind, birdsong, or the tremendous creaking of a moving tree. The trees generate oppressive humidity as they transpire hundreds of gallons of water each, per day. Lattices of vining poison oak climb the massive trunks, lending an elegant appearance. Ferns and oxalis cover the forest floor with verdure. I looked at the smallest trees and realized that they were already older than the likely span of my entire life. Everyone should spend a day visiting these titans. I feel grateful to all the people who took the effort to make sure some of the forest is preserved for all posterity. We also learned of a man named Kellogg who could vocalize as a songbird does (remarkable!) and much concerning the anatomy and mating habits of the banana slug. Regarding the latter, you just don’t want to know.

Having returned from a trip, it’s back to work in the yard. I reread one of my favorite garden books and had a "perspective check". It’s called "The Sensual Garden" by Montagu Don. The author says many things, but one observation really struck me. He mentioned how for so many, gardening isn’t nearly what it should be because of the constant feeling of needing to exert control. We get in bad moods, feel like personal failures, feel overwhelmed, etc when we fail to have gardens that look like they should be at the summer palace of the Empress of Austria. Consequently, what should be a joy and an feast for the senses becomes a constant state of siege mentality. It’s easy to get caught up in this thinking when you have a lot of land to manage, and invest so much of your time and self in everything that occurs. But, it feels so much better to set all that aside and just have a good time emoticon

That said, the insects are backing off (maybe I drowned enough of them in my pot of soapy water)–the plants are winning and starting to establish themselves. Out of all my tomato starts, only 2 didn’t survive. I easily have over 45 plants! I just learned about a special event at the August 6th Farmer’s Market, apparently UC master gardeners are coming to do a taste-test of heirloom tomatoes. I guess I’d better talk to the plants, because that’s 5 weeks to go from flowers to fruit! ….the eggplants flourish, the chard is less bug-eaten, and the mixed squashes are starting to set fruit. Many have been re-seeded. Pumpkins, gourds, beans and melons either are or will be sown by the weekend. Ken feels unconfident about my heirloom peppers (hmpf) and bought some standards at the nursery. I found a cardoon there (funky Italian thing)! I have to build a wire basket before I plant it, I refuse to let the gophers get this one.

We came home from work Monday and found ourselves visited by a new peahen, and then we saw a rare thing–an adult white peacock had come too. If Galahad is magnificent, this bird was jaw-on-floor stunning. Seeing a snow-white male in display was an immense treat. Basically, nothing got done because we just kept staring at the bird. He left at sunset, and hasn’t returned. White peafowl are valuable, I guess he lives somewhere nearby.

Lastly, someone local wants to purchase all of our turkey poults. We’ll see how that goes!

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