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Backyard Breakfast

fresh eggs and potato breakfast

Breakfast the other morning was 99% fresh from the backyard: eggs, red potatoes, garlic, miner's lettuce, nasturtium flowers, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme... everything but the black pepper and sea salt. Somedays, all the work really pays off!

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Spring 2014

blood peach blossom

I love springtime and the life that bursts forth, and it's especially exciting to experience the first spring in a new place. Things I didn't know were there have gloriously revealed themselves. New plantings and dormant wood begin to show vigor. Sleeping bulbs reincarnate, expressing such incredible beauty from a brown lump that was hidden away in darkness months before.

blood peach blossom

Indian blood peach blossoms foretell a bountiful summer crop.


These lilacs smelled lovely and have the prettiest color.


Tulips sure can make sexy photos.


Calendula is a plant I always save seeds from, as well as let spread themselves. These seeds were collected from my last house from plants grown from seeds acquired from the Mendocino Permaculture seed exchange. The petals of calendula flowers add color to salads and the flower heads have many medicinal uses.

star of bethlehem

This "star of bethlehem" was an impulse buy in a nursery this spring and made a perfect addition to the understory for our largest olive tree, an area of the front yard now dubbed "Little Bethlehem".


I planted these hyacinths in the late fall. Though a enthusiast of bulbs, this is a new one for me and I was surprised by how well they did along the front path.

columbine flower

Columbine that somehow survived under the apple tree while dormant and we did landscaping, digging things up, moving things around, and planting of a new understory and apple tree guild. I'm happy to see it there as I love the flowers.

sweet pomegranate flower

Flowers from the 'sweet pomegranate' tree that's been moved twice in the past year, first dug up and potted to be moved away. Though now it's back were it was before and with a trellis to snuggle up to on the warm south wall of the house, as well as a new 'Arianna pomegranate' friend. It has recovered beautifully and has dozens of blossoms.

Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama Blue' "Pincushion Flower". Rick picked this one out at a nursery this winter, though we had no idea what it would look like, only that it was drought tolerant. Such interesting flowers and it seems to be doing well in the dry, hot front yard.

salsify flower

Salsify reseeds itself invasively in the front yard. I've experimented with eating the roots which are supposed to have an oyster-like flavor, and are tasty fried in butter and garlic. The chickens like it's greens. Though their latex sap stains everything and I prefer to keep this plant from propagating.

anemone flower

Anemone, another beautiful new flower for me this year. I'm trying them out in the front yard but may need to move them to an area that will receive more frequent irrigation.

three chicken eggs in grass

What is more iconic of springtime than eggs? Here's one from each of our three chickens, happy that the days have been lengthening.

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Winter Pole Beans

dried pole bean

These photos are from a year ago (I did not plant pole beans this year during the summer of house remodel and moving!). I love the look of dried plants in the winter, after they have served their time, spent their last energy, grown their seeds, and retired to leave the next steps to the fate of their offspring. These "Cherokee Trail of Tears" purple pole beans were grown from seeds I saved the year before, from plants grown from seeds I saved the year before that, and I hope these plant's seeds will still be viable for this coming year.

dried pole bean

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Blueberry Flowers

blueberry flower

We planted four "Southern Highbush" blueberry plants in January, and a couple have been flowering. We also planted over two dozen alpine strawberry plants around them as an understory, so we're looking forward to many berries of the future!

blueberry flower blueberry flower

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Sikkim Cucumber

sikkim cucumber

While growing up on a little hobby farm in west Petaluma, my family had a friendly acquaintance from down the road who we'd hire to mow the field. Herman the hermit, he was called, lived in a small part of a big dilapidated farmhouse. The rest of the house was relegated to storing either stacks of old newspapers or piles of deer antlers. I remember standing among the antlers in a large upstairs room and looking out at the tops of grass that reached the second story window.

In Herman's modest sitting room was the wood stove in which he burned newspapers and on top of which he cooked his meals. He lived a frugal life, though, while he may have been known as a hermit, he by no means was a recluse. His neighbors knew him well as a friendly and giving man. I'll always remember his generosity, the boxes of chocolate around holiday time, and summertime hive trays of honey he brought over to put on a cookie sheet, slice out the dripping comb, and fill whatever empty jars we had around. Pinned on the wall around his wood stove was a collection of newspaper clippings of him with his award-winning pumpkins of monstrous size. Wandering out into his garden was like going through a miniaturizing portal, that is, you would feel shrunken in comparison to the size of the plants and produce surrounding you. It's true I was a little person at the time, but I did have some experience with what was a usual size for such things. His pumpkins of unusual size must have made an impression on me, as I still have a fascination with vegetables that are strange or larger than what you'd normally see in the market, where homogeneity and shelf-life are the chosen characteristics.

How that intrigue influences my garden now, is in my choosing of seeds. It combines with my passion for rare varieties of heirloom vegetables. This is a "sikkim" cucumber I started in the spring from a Baker Creek seed and grew in my new backyard. It surprised me finding it hidden in the crowded disorderly jungle there. Having been focused on remodeling the inside of the house in order to move, I had thrown all my starts into one planter box just to get them in the ground, with not much care for each one's needs. I'm excited for the enormous "candy roaster" squashes that have just about taken over the place!

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