Thursday, May 31, 2012

early abundance

Although nominally still spring, the fruits of early summer are upon us - here apricots, mulberries, and cherries. We are staying ahead of the birds with the apricots, breaking about even with the mulberries, and are hopelessly behind on the cherries, occasionally finding a half-eaten, half ripe one.

Tastes like summer? Feels like summer too! 97 here today.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

fuzz ball

This hours-old killdeer chick and its sibling keep mom (with chick below) frantically vigilant as they scamper through the melon patch without regard for the various hazards. Killdeer chicks are precocial, born ready to move about and to forage on their own, although they won't be flight capable until 25 days old.

The primary hazard here, should they stray through a nearby fence, is our chickens, who would eagerly dismember and consume the little bird. Other hazards are hawks and owls. Kildeer young mortality is high, a reason why kildeer populations are not thriving.

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Monday, May 21, 2012


Yesterday evening's crescent sun replicates itself on the siding of our house through pin-hole pathways in a screen of native grape on the west side of the deck.

It was not a total eclipse (92% here, 100% a hundred miles north) but dramatic. The chickens took it as dusk and a signal for bedtime, then huddled outside the hen-house, confused to be experiencing dawn so soon.

We used our spotting scope to project the image of the progressing eclipse on a piece of paper. This was our peak.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

some local press


A regional recognition leads to a nice notice in the Galt Herald, our local weekly. They ran this photo with it.

The photo was pulled from a piece they ran earlier this year on our now one-year-old community garden. The FFA members and I are planting bare-root fruit trees in February in the margin between the fence and the curb. The trees have leafed and branched and are looking good; a few even gave us blossoms.

The garden is thriving, with all of its 31 plots now contracted to community members who are tending vigorous summer gardens. It has a growing waiting list.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

connect* the favas!

We're at several 100 pounds of favas distributed and still only about half-harvested. This year I occupied, with favas, some of the un-leased beds at the community garden (which is now, happily, fully subscribed and with a growing wait-list), as well as growing an abundance here at Kingbird. At the food bank they are popular with some and eagerly sought, and a mystery to others. Although labor-intensive (pick, shell, peel) they reward throughout their life cycle - providing a nice mass of green in the winter garden, early flowers for the pollinators, nitrogen for the soil, biomass for the compost table, and protein for the table, and all of that without irrigation or a need to weed. My candidate for miracle crop.

*Bill McKibben, true global hero, asks us to "connnect the dots" globally today to demonstrate our concern about climate change. I'll be joining an event later. You should too - or at least pause for a moment, breathe deeply, think green thoughts, reflect on our urgent need to change course and avert disaster, and resolve to do your part going forward.
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