This is the story of our adventures -- every day and extraordinary; our dreams -- tiny and grand; our gardens -- ornamental and sustaining; this is the story of our journey.  We are a family of four living a mindful, simple life here in Los Angeles County.  We are green, conscious, and forward thinking.  We keep an eye on the past because some of the best things have already been done and bear repeating.  Walk and talk with us, have a glass of wine, taste a peach or a tomato, blow some bubbles and watch them drift up over the canyon ridge.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The best kiss ever

Tonight the girls and I were in the hot tub.  I was floating in the middle of the tub when Greggie suddenly turned on the jets, sending water up my nose and sort of "sinking" me.  Alex grabbed me by the neck and dragged me "to shore" (aka, the bench on the side).   Recognizing her "heroism" I kissed her and said, "Thank you!"  She rubbed her cheek where I kissed her and then rubbed her hand on my cheek saying, "Here, you keep this kiss.  It's the best kiss ever!"  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Food Beds in Late Feb

Garlic in the rolling bed on the deck:

Broccoli in the long bed:

Onions from seed, onions from transplants, and carrots in the long bed:

Lettuce blend in a lower terraced bed:

Peas in a lower terraced bed:

Beets, just starting to sprout!

Cauliflower that the girls planted:

More peas!

Wintered over arugula:

And I THINK that is a shallot sprout!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sage, rosemary, and thyme

And lavender and mint and chives!

The gardens today

I wanted to take some pictures of the food gardens to update some friends on the progress. When I got outside with the camera I got sidetracked by some pretty sights! Including that crazy ash tree!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our ash tree is bent on world domination

We have one single ash tree. Standing tall and straight among the gnarled and stocky live oaks. You can see it below, in the post about SoCal rains, just starting to leaf out (I swear it lost its leaves only a month or so ago). I always think of it as my echo of the East Coast -- the house where I grew up, where my parents still live, has several ash trees. Unlike many other tree varieties -- oak for example -- the species of ash we have here LOOKS the same as those in New Jersey. So, this tree reminds me of things like my brother's tree forts and my swing. But I have never seen anything like the hell-fired push this tree has made this year to populate the entire word with its progeny! It is INSANE. We have pulled, I do not exaggerate, 100's of thousands of seedlings. I cannot take pictures to do the budding population justice. In a matter of 30 seconds one can pull hundreds of the little plants. Their survival rate must be low but, dang, many of them develop a little woody trunks before they are two inches tall! In about 15 seconds one can "weed" a pile like this in a 10" square:

And anytime you turn over the soil of beds you find this:

Our oak trees had a crazy year this year -- insane acorn production -- and we have oaks sprouting all over the place. But, we have dozens of oak trees. And the sprout rate isn't even close to comparable!

I'm just wondering, do ash seedlings count as a cover crop?

Running in the grass

Yesterday afternoon Gam and Julia and the girls and I took the dogs for a walk through the neighborhood.

On the way back the girls could not resist running in the empty lot, overgrown with grass after the winter rains.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's genetic

When I was a small child I thought that lions were the boys and tigers were the girls. I believed that all dogs were boys and all cats were girls. I don't know where I got this. I just remember, distinctly, believing it, and unlearning it.

Alex, who for whatever reason would NOT go to sleep tonight, just sat here on the couch and said, "I don't think Traveler should be a boy. Cats should be girls. And Stella should be a boy. Dogs are supposed to be boys."

I said, "Really? You think so? Dogs and cats are animals. There are boys and girls of each of them. Traveler is a boy and Stella is a girl."

She thought for some time and said, "WE-ellll, okay. But then we need to get another cat. A girl cat, for me and Greggie. Then you could have Traveler and we'd have the girl cat. And we need to get another dog. A boy dog, for me and Greggie. Then Daddy could have Stella and we could have the boy dog. Dogs should be boys and cats should be girls." Then she laid down, with it all figured out, and went to sleep.

And I know we have had a similar conversation about the lion and tiger, stuffed, in her room. I promise you all, I never told her my ancient thoughts on the subject. What's bred in...

And, NO, we are not getting another dog and cat! What are rabbits supposed to be????

Even my youngest visitor thinks I need to clean!

No matter, the girls had a lovely play day with their friend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blonde Jokes

Today we drove to Westlake Village to pick up the Land Cruiser for the big CenAm journey. Gregg drove it home and the girls and I slowly meandered home in the Volvo, stopping for lunch and at a store to buy notebooks for my journal, finally driving Mullholland to Old Topanga, a pretty ride after all the rain. The girls were in a great mood and laughing and sharing stories in the back. At one point I heard Alex laugh and say, "Oh Greggie! You are the bean in a jelly bean!"

Then Alex said to me, "Mother, Greggie is putting the stickers [the checkout lady at the book store gave them stickers] over her eyes!" She turned to Gregorie and said, "I just love you Greggie! You make me laugh so much!"

Gregorie giggled and Alex said, "Oh, you are SUCH a blonde!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

It never rains in Southern California...

...but it pours. Man it pours.

Of course, before I picked up the camera, Gregorie was just dancing happily! Oh well!