High Contrast Weather

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Looking more or less east from the hill behind our house this morning.

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Looking more or less west from the exact same place the first shot was taken. It’s so often like this lately. Quite a difference depending on which way you’re looking. There’s probably a ripe metaphor in there….

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Encountered this marker where the fire road comes close to Stallion Meadows Trail.  Called the HOA manager because we are super snoopy. He says it’s a CalTrans marker that will be used in getting new aerial shots of the nearby 14 freeway.

Yeah, this has nothing to do with the proposed high speed rail route that could go right under our neighborhood.

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I do not understand people who enjoy nature enough to go be out in it, but who are then capable of leaving broken glass behind them. Oh well, gives me the chance to feel like a do-gooder. After the recent rain and wind, there were a few other pieces of detritus to pick up, too.  Some day I will remember to bring along a plastic bag!

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Do Not Argue with Me About Chicken Wire

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My gardening this year is both early and late.

My friend Barb gave me six onion starts in March I think.  Really early for Acton, where our frost date is April 15.  They do not have a frost date in Camarillo, where Barb lives.

I put them in the ground and the rabbits ate all the ones that weren’t behind the fence, and then some of them didn’t survive in spite of the protection.

Here’s the one yummy onion that I grew.  My first onion!

And how tough am I, huh?  Flaunting said vegetable almost in the face of the wild onion-eating bunny!  (See her, she’s so jealous right now.)

I braised the onion with some cabbage and carrots from my farm bundle.  So flipping tasty.

And guess what?  Leftovers.

People who don’t like leftovers are beyond me.  Some things are actually better on the second day.  Plus they are right there waiting for you when you want them.  What’s better than that?  Not much, I tell you.

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I also planted sugar snap peas from seeds very early this year.  I prepped the garden space really well and the Earthboxes, too.

Then The Harmonistas got some gigs, and we were practicing or performing, and I organized Songmakers camp outs in April and May, and it was either too hot or too cold, or that one day it rained…

So here’s the late part. I just put my three Persian cucumber and two Paul Robeson tomatoes in today, June 4th.  Looked for Juliette grape tomatoes several times to no avail, which also put me behind.  Those  can take the heat in my back yard.

It feels weird not to have a better garden at this point, but whatever we get from this will be good.

Oh, I also found a garden center in Santa Clarita on Sunday that I will never go back to, where the staff made me feel like if I asked for something they didn’t have I was stupid for wanting it. They probably thought I didn’t know that it is very late to plant and that seeing as it was 100 degrees out it was not advisable to breathe deeply let alone tuck plants into the soil.

All irking enough, but then the guy told me that the fencing in this photograph is not chicken wire.  He said chicken wire is not hexagonal, it’s square.  I said, nicely, “I think you’re thinking of rabbit wire.”  “No, you’re mistaken,” he insisted, and described them backwards with quite a bit of ego in his voice.   (Go ahead, do a Google Images search if you must, I’ll wait.)

I did not go all “I AM A HOOSIER AND I GREW UP IN FARM COUNTRY AND I FREAKING KNOW CHICKEN WIRE WHEN I SEE IT, AND FURTHERMORE I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAY AND STRAW AND I USED TO BE ABLE TO WHISTLE USING A BLADE OF GRASS” on his scrawny hide.

But I was this. close.

Gratuitous Beauty

It’s been so green and gorgeous this year, I keep taking photos.  This is our neighborhood, as seen from the Southbound 14. Our house is behind the hill on the right.

Rumor has it that this is more like the usual amount of rain we should get in a year.  It’s been drier pretty much since we moved up here.

You can see why we like it.  Instant hiking!

You can also see why it’s hard to reach us by cell phone.  (The tower’s on the opposite side of the hills that surround us.)

Hydra Hits the Trail! – Thursday 5/28/2009


Look at that intrepid explorer! Just 10 days after surgery to repair that meniscus tear (Ooh! Look, ma! No spellchecker!), he’s on the trail again. They write songs about stuff like this!


Admittedly, the going was about half of our usual pace, but really really good for a guy who had a camera and a knife in his knee joint so recently! Beautiful day for it.


Around the far side of the neighborhood… Is that fire road looking a little long to anyone else?


As I was taking photos of these cactus flowers, bees kept diving into them and burying their faces in the middle. Can you see the one that took a header into this bloom?


Oleanders down by the mailboxes.


The neighbor’s coreopsis. The neighborhood is lit up with flowers these days!


We arrived home to discover ground squirrels nibbling on the tender cucumber sprouts I planted. And this container has herbs in it that I started from seed. Herb soup. Sigh. Hopefully I saved some of them.


Found about six ounces of beef in the freezer and used up the carrots, celery and some of the red potatoes making this soup. Also called in the help of Better Than Boullion to flesh out the soup, so to speak. Used fresh thyme and mint for seasoning.

Hint: When using fresh herbs that have stems in soups and stews, don’t bother nipping off all the leaves. Just put the whole sprig in the soup. The leaves will cook off and you can easily pull out the stems before serving.

Doo Doo Doo Hiking Out My Back Door – 2/27/2009


Heading up the steps we put in our first year here and up toward Hydra’s Mountain.


Just have to point out that this was the view on December 17th, 2008 when we had our rare Snow Day! All the leaves fell off the tree on the left fell off in between pix.


The vinca I transplanted from the too-sunny slope between our house and the neighbors’ are thriving in a little light shade.


Looking north up the 14.


Cutting across the neighborhood on the way home. Great way to start a weekend!

Poetry in Motion – Friday 2/13/2009


As I left Priscilla’s with my coffee this morning I noticed a flier for their upcoming poetry reading. A note at the bottom urged open mic readers to honor the wishes of the coffee house that will provide them a stage by abstaining from profanity or graphically sexual language.

My first thought was, “Wow, poetry ain’t what it used to be.”

But by the time I got upstairs and pulled this book off one of the shelves in the office, I’d realized that poets have been pushing the boundaries for a long long time. (See: Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric”.)

Wonder what racy stuff Homer wrote when he wasn’t working on “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.”

Oh, and it snowed in SoCal again!

I drove home around noon so I was able to see it fall in big fluffy flakes. It coated the hillsides in a little over an hour .

Hydra’s van pool was stopped on Sierra Highway on the way home, but make it through okay. He’d left the Tahoe parked by the pick-up point, so when he got home, he brushed snow off of it before putting it in the garage.