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Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

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Fireworks at eye level – that is something I hadn’t seen before. We hiked out to Cypress Abby above Arena Cove to watch the Point Arena 4th of July Fireworks and it was quite spectacular. The cliffs are about 80 feet above sea level, so you can watch the fireworks being launched from the pier, climbing their way up into the sky and then explode. Another advantage of being up high is that you don’t smell and inhale the smoke. We could see it filling the harbor.

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Earlier in the day, Fort Bragg was holding its annual 4th of July Salmon BBQ. We had a nice visit with Congressman Jared Huffman who was on BBQ duty and doing a great job. The salmon was delicious!

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The garden is doing quite well. The beans looked happy and I harvested the first batch which was very tasty. Nothing like home-grown food!

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As always, the North Coast was magical and we had a wonderful weekend visiting with friends, hiking, gardening, cutting firewood and even enjoying our first dinner outside on the deck this year. I can’t wait to be back.

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Point Arena has some of the best rockfish fishing anywhere! On Sunday, we were lucky enough to be invited by Captain Kane to prospect for some salmon and rockfish on his Farallon. Unlike other harbors, there is no ramp at Arena Cove. Instead, the boats are lowered into the water by a hoist. This is a little unnerving to watch the first time you see it.

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The salmon fishing wasn’t very successful, but the rockfish did their part. With five people, we came back with a nice box of fish

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Thank you Captain Kane!

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Naked Lady 1

Every August, clusters of pink, funnel-shaped flowers on erect, naked stems fill the air with a sweet bubble gum smell. The leafless stems give this gorgeous flower its common name: Naked Lady. The botanical name is Amaryllis belladonna and the plant is native to South Africa, yet widely cultivated in California and other parts of the world. We only have a handful of them scattered on the hillside, but I look forward to their beauty and fragrance every year.

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The Early Girl tomatoes are the smallest specimen I’ve ever seen, but they are super flavorful. I guess it’s just too dry, even though the drip irrigation is on every day. The cherry tomatoes are doing OK and also very flavorful and sweet. We got a decent plate full of tomatoes

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which turned into a great tomato salad for dinner.

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Berries are a true sign of sweet summer. We harvested the very first cherry tomatoes this weekend. There weren’t that many, but they were sweet and delicious; a reminder that tomatoes are in fact berries.

Then we picked wild blackberries, found a fantastic spot on our way home in Bodega Bay. We filled three buckets in a little over an hour and they were big and tasty.

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Time to make jam since I am not much of a baker.

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And voila, 18 jars of homemade blackberry jam – enough to last until next year.Of course that is not the way it works, we’ll give lots of it away and will go berry picking again and make more jam. I love summer!

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IMG_1603I was suffering from Enchanted Meadows withdrawal after not having been there in over a month. As always, it lived up to its name: 80 degrees in the shade, blue skies, quiet except for the sounds of nature. One of my favorite sounds on the hillside will always be the buzzing and chirping of the hummingbirds. Our big Knifophia, their equivalent of catnip, was blooming in its orange glory and the Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds were making a racket battling over the nectar.

The tomato and squash plants in the pots are doing great. In fact, we harvested the first three squash already.

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The cherry tomatoes in the ground are doing OK, but not nearly as well as the plants in the pots with the primo soil. I have to admit that, but am still reluctant to give up gardening in the ground. Call me old-fashioned!

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It rained about half an inch late last week, so the soil was still fairly moist and had that wonderful earthy smell. The moisture also left condensation on an upside down garbage can covered with its lid that apparently made a perfect hiding place for two Pacific tree frogs that John discovered when he lifted the lid. He decided to use another garbage can for his project and leave the frogs be. There is room for everybody at Enchanted Meadows.

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I’m feeling rested and recharged after a short infusion of magic, but can’t wait to return. I will never tire of the beauty, tranquility and peace this amazing place has to offer.

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It’s hard, close to impossible, for me not to garden. I just love digging in the dirt and love it even more if I can put something in the dirt that produces food or beautiful flowers. But with the extreme drought we’ve had in California for four years now, I can’t in good conscience turn on the irrigation on our hill. Mind you, it took many, many hours to put drip irrigation on every plant on the hill, but it’s all fed by one faucet. Seeing it turn on, drip on each plant and make it grow was one of the most gratifying sights. Just a few years ago, I had visions of a lush hillside filled with food and pollinator-attacting flowers. BUT that plan has to be on hold now or forever. Instead I am focusing on plants that survive without any irrigation. I’ve been moving around volunteer lavendars and kniphophias, bringing in natives, trying to come up with a (temporary) drought plan.

tomatoesHowever, living in the Anchor Bay banana belt part time and in the Pacifica fog full time, we had to come up with a tomato plan. So we are going to try three potted tomato plants on the deck – safe from deer, safe from Redwood roots, and safe from whoever wants to eat them. Fingers crossed…

The other water I am not willing to spare is two cups to make hummingbird sugar water. I filled the feeder and within minutes the resident male Anna’s hummingbird flashed his iridesence at me and then sat down to drink for several minutes. I don’t ever want to give up the privilege to see that.

photo 1(1)While I was weedwhacking some of the hillside to make it look a little more presentable – without anything planted and lushly growing – I saw my first garder snake of the season slither away into a kniphopha. I was thrilled. A few moments later I found one of his dead brothers up the hill. Not sure what killed this beauty.

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