I was happy to see this little guy with pollen all over him flying around the garden.  We have not had as many bees in the garden as in past years, but there are still plenty flitting about from flower to flower, providing us with the lulling hum of their buzz.  Some days my favorite thing to do is go out in the early morning and sit close to the rosemary bushes or wherever they happen to be congregating that particular morning, and get lost in their hum.  It’s very therapeutic.

This little guy showed up one day (a volunteer from our compost we dumped in that particular raised bed).  At first I thought it was a squash of some sorts, then as it continued to grow I was thinking a type of melon and then when my friend Kendra was over she pointed out the flattened bottom and said “that’s a pumpkin”.  How silly of me – of course that’s what it is!  It’s now starting to turn orange.  The kids and I are so excited about our little guest in the garden – what a welcome face.

Luckily the peaches and nectarines didn’t ripen at the same time.  It was actually perfect.  As we finished with the peaches, the nectarines were ready.  These two trees are fairly young – the peach is about 2 years old and the nectarine about a year so we don’t get a whole lot of fruit (maybe about 2 -3 dozen) but enough to enjoy .  I love walking to my car to head out to work and grabbing a nice ripened fruit to bring for my lunch.  Yum!

Our first two potatoes 🙂  I can not wait to start harvesting the potatoes.  With the way the plants have been going, we should have a good crop – we’ll see.  These two were volunteers (or at least not with the rest) I must have left a seed potato in the other bed by accident.  But what a nice accident it was.  I uncovered these when I was pulling up all our onions (and boy did we get a lot of those).

Early August in the garden

Our first sunflower face to say hello 🙂

or a much more appropriate name “deadly nightshade”!  Much to my dismay, this little villain has taken root in my garden!  I saw these plants coming up in random spots in the garden and at first I thought it was a volunteer tomatillo – kinda looked a bit like them.  But then as they continued to grow I didnt’ really think that’s what it was, I didn’t really know what it was.  Then I saw these little berries form in clusters, hmmmmm?…… I am always a bit cautious when I see a plant with berries that I don’t know, always makes me think of poisonous berries? 

Well, my intuition was correct.  I had been meaning to take a picture and bring to my garden guru at work but kept forgetting so on Saturday as I was walking out to my car to head to work, I remembered I needed to ask Kimberely about the plant, so I ripped off a stem.

The look on Kimberely’s face when I walked in to her office – panic, horror, mouth agape.  Before I could even get the words out of my mouth “what is this” as I’m holding the deadly little bugger in my hands, she says (in her oh so eloquent english accent) that is “deadly nightshade”! 

I wanted to drop it and scrub the first couple layers of skin off of my hands, but I sat and listened to what she had to say.  So I was right to link it to a tomatillo, because they are in the nightshade family as well (as are potatoes and tomatoes – both which were in the same bed as this guy – probably cross pollinating each other).  But unlike those nightshade species that you can eat, this guy, not so much.  Wikipedia stated 2 berries (and these are little berries, about the size of a small blueberry) will KILL a child – yes, that’s right folks, KILL!!!!! 

I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.  My kids, my animals, the other animals in the area, all potentially in danger due to this death trap!  All I wanted to do was walk out the door, get in my truck and head back home to eradicate these little suckers.  But I had to work 😦  So of course I had to do a quick read on wikipedia myself, which made me feel more sick. 

But then I wondered about homeopathy – it’s used in small amounts?  How can that be?  So I felt a bit more calm, as well, as my kids are pretty good – they only eat what they know from the garden.

Kimberely had told me to go wash my hands thoroughly – you just don’t want to take a chance.  I did read that the roots are the most toxic, so while I was eradicating them at home I wore gloves and made sure to not come in contact with the roots.  I’m sure I was being overly cautious BUT not taking any chances.

I’m not sure how it made it into our garden but I will definitely be on the lookout for this “grim reaper”.

So, this is what’s been keeping me from my blogging and my sewing.

Once we got the beds built we needed to get the garden going.  We finally got most of our veggies and herbs in.  We planted lots of different lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, arugula, thyme, basil, cilantro, fennel, chives, eggplant, peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, pole beans, and we added a couple more strawberry plants to our patch. 

 I think that’s about it.  Oh ya, I have some carrot seeds we need to get in the ground this week.  It may sound like a lot but you should visit my friends blog ( a sonoma garden- link to the right) she’s got tons!  She needs to start her own market out of her backyard. 

So our lettuce has started to grow

we tried it out the other day and can start making salads – that’s my favorite – to go out to the garden and get my greens for our salad.  The arugula is super spicy- boy is it yummy!

The fruit trees are looking great

The Santa Rosa plum

our peach tree – love that furry fruit

In between getting the garden in order we are doing a mini remodel in the kitchen.  It’s kinda like sewing, I would so much rather create a skirt/shirt/pants from scratch than to try to alter someone elses work.  Same thing with remodeling, sometimes it’s easier just gutting and starting from scratch.  But we are “altering” – so we run into some snags here and there- but it should be done within the next week or so.  Then we can take a breath.

It is all so worth it- especially since we’ve been picking our strawberries and eating our fresh greens. 

 

First I would like to say- hello again- I feel like it’s been forever since I last wrote.  I have been busy with visitors and the blog has taken a backseat.   It feels good to be back.

My friend emailed this link to me and I just wanted to share it with everyone.  You can have your backyard certified as a wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.  It’s pretty cool and very easy.  There are certain criteria that you must meet in order to qualify.  So for those of you who don’t quite meet the qualifications, as a family you can turn your backyard into a wildlife habitat.   It would be a fun thing to do as a family and it would help teach your children the importance of creating these habitats.  Spring is officially here so it’s the perfect time to get outside and start getting those hands in the dirt.  Or if you are not as lucky as some of us to live in a temperate area (such as the bay area) you can start your planning indoors by getting books and magazines together and figuring out what you are going to do to create your habitat.

Once you’ve completed your habitat it will provide you with so much pleasure – it’s so great to look out in your garden and see hummingbirds drinking from the flowers,  walking by a bush of lavender and have it humming from the buzz of all the bees  intoxicated from the nectar, birds outside your window singing or frolicking in the water, the multitude of fragrance around every corner- it’s pure joy.

So go – get dirty – breathe in that musty earthen smell and have fun!

I would love to hear how you created your habitats.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.  Frank Lloyd Wright

https://secure.nwf.org/backyard/certify.cfm?campaignid=WH08ACHP