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Bright Yellow

Nothing symbolizes spring to me like the bright yellow of daffodils. I love seeing those vibrant yellow patches all along Highway 1 when we drive up to Enchanted Meadows. I want to plant many, many more of them on our hill so that it can glow in yellow in the early spring and make it look even more enchanted. What a magical place!

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Schooner Gulch State Beach is my favorite beach in the world. It’s so otherworldly. There are two locations that have this geological formation of perfectly rounded boulders: New Zealand and Mendocino County.

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I was so excited to show this amazing spot to my god daughter when she visited in December. Unfortunately, the minus tide was really late in the day and it was getting dark, so we didn’t have a chance to walk the whole beach, but we climbed up to the bluffs and looked north and down on the beach. With a passing winter storm, this was a breathtaking yet somewhat ominous view. I love how the coast offers different perspectives every time you visit.

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Fishing Point Arena Style

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 Ladies and Tomatoes

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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

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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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Hummingbirds in Heaven

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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IMG_1273.JPGIf you are confused about fishing seasons in California, don’t try to sort things out now. It is really confusing. The salmon season is open – both sports and commercial – and now both crab and salmon are going on simultaneously until June 30. I will stop there, because nobody really knows what to make of all this. There are reports about great crab fishing, poor crab fishing, good salmon fishing, poor salmon fishing. None of the reports are consistent. The one fact that remains is that we are in a drought and water is precious and needed to sustain fish populations.

We were lucky to share some of the riches with our good friends Craig and  Heidi. John caught two salmon off the Marin coast on Friday and we had some of it on Saturday for dinner – yum! Craig and Heidi brought some delicious heirloom tomatoes.

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And we cooked the first local crab of the season that we picked up at Point Arena Cove just an hour before dinner.

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The commercial crab season from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line and north opened on May 12. Our good friend Bill Arana came in with some 2000 pounds of crab on Saturday – he is a high liner for a reason! If you’ve never seen boats unload at Point Arena Cove, you’ve gotta go see it.

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This all made for an amazing dinner – company and food!

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