Thursday, October 29, 2009


DSC_0819_2141 This is the very best time of year.  The weather is cool.  The colors are vibrant.  The clothes are comfortable.  The nights are longer.  It’s time to hibernate.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ay, chihuahua!

DSC_0952_2283 A recent chat with my mother-in-law got us exchanging gardening stories.  She asked what I had growing currently in the garden.  I reported that all the fall/winter produce was in and some summer stuff was hanging in there like peppers and eggplants.  She had never cooked eggplant so we had a short discussion on that and the fact that my Black Beauty eggplant will not die!  We moved on to the peppers that just keep on giving.

I told her of my initial experience working with serranos without gloves.  My hands were hot and throbbing for 24 hours.  My description sounded like side effect warnings for Viagra.  Mary added her story of jalapeños.

Mary and Marlene were working one day on jalapeño peppers without using gloves.  Everything seemed to be fine.   They finished their project without incident.  Later that afternoon, Marlene called Mary with an urgent warning.

“Mary, whatever you do, don’t wipe when you go to the bathroom!”

Note:  The pepper plants were pulled on December 26 after months of faithful production.  Loads of peppers were harvested from the plants that day to create some stuffed peppers.

1.  Clean peppers.

2.  Remove stem.  Cut in 1/2 and remove seeds.

3.  Spread on some cream cheese.

4.  Wrap with 1/3 of a slice of bacon.

5.  Place on wire rack in a jelly roll pan.

6.  Bake in 375 degree oven until bacon is done.

Serve hot, warm, cold, all day long, with an apron on, doing cartwheels, and jumping for joy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall is Finally Here

DSC_0944_2258 This was taken out at Lake Ming this morning when we were walking the dog.  The weather has finally cooled down and everyone was out taking advantage of the situation.  Golfers, bike riders, walkers, picnickers, and BBQers were all out.  We even saw deer that had wandered down out of the Sierras.

Today, the tree trimmers are coming to thin the Chinese Elm.  The leaves and seeds from the tree are truly never ending.  Hopefully, this will keep the tree healthy and produce massive amounts of shade when we return to “Hades” type weather.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Garden Flowers

Here’s some flowers that are popping in the garden now that the weather have moved into bearable temperatures.  I’ll label the images as best I can.  Note: the images are straight out the camera.

DSC_0846_2166 Pansy – Mammoth RedDSC_0848_2168 Pansy – YellowDSC_0853_2173 Pansy – Butter YellowDSC_0854_2174 Lobelia – Crystal PalaceDSC_0862_2180 LantanaDSC_0864_2182English Lavender – MunsteadDSC_0869_2187 MarigoldsDSC_0870_2188 NastersiumDSC_0889_2207 Texas Ranger – Green CloudDSC_0891_2209 Rose – John Paul IIDSC_0895_2213 Rose – Pink (unknown)DSC_0896_2214 ImpatiensDSC_0899_2216 OxalisDSC_0904_2221 Rose – Bakersfield CentennialDSC_0909_2226 Rose – Lucille BallDSC_0912_2228 Duranta- RepensDSC_0914_2230 GeraniumDSC_0915_2231 Stock – Vintage WhiteDSC_0916_2232 Butterfly Bush – Pink Perfection (I think the label was wrong.)DSC_0917_2233 GardeniaDSC_0918_2234 Rose – Jaune Desprez

And here’s the more edible varieties.

DSC_0874_2192BasilDSC_0878_2196  Eggplant – Black BeautyDSC_0880_2198 Serrano PeppersDSC_0881_2199 Strawberries – FernDSC_0885_2203 Bell PeppersDSC_0886_2204 Lemon – Variegated Pink Lemon (blossom)DSC_0888_2206 Lemon – Variegated Pink Lemon (fruit)DSC_0920_2236 Plum – Santa Rosa (This tree is crazy.)

That’s it for today.  I just wanted to chronicle how much better we (plants, animals, and people) behave when the weather is nice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


DSC_0777_2099 I’ve planted some pansies to brighten the flowerbeds when the cold, damp, grey, fog rolls in.  I believe.  I believe.  I believe.  I picked out a few different types.  This one is called Whiskers Orange.  It’s pretty cool for Halloween.  The photo is straight out of the camera too; so this variety should really add some punch to the yards in the winter.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


DSC_0774_2096 DSC_0797_2119 DSC_0800_2122

Someone’s happy their paws can’t hold a rake.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wind, Dirt, and Drizzle


California finally received some rain.  My part of California received wind and dust.  Yuck.  We were warned that there would be heavy rain and wind.  The rain amounted to a heavy drizzle or mist.  Big deal.  And this “storm” was a tropical storm so it was humid.  Double yuck.


The plants enjoyed the mist and humidity.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


migrant mother

Photo by Dorothea Lange – February 1936

On October 17, 2009, the Dust Bowl Festival will take place in Weedpatch, California at Sunset Camp.  John Steinbeck’s book The Grapes of Wrath was set here.  The book was banned here.  The life of hardship that formed many self reliant, hard working citizens was realized here.  Many of the remaining Okies and their descendents gather to reminisce and celebrate their heritage.  The festival is from 8-3.

Weedpatch is a few miles west of Arvin.  It’s deep in farm country.  Potatoes, grapes, carrots, and a huge variety of other truck crops still vigorously grow in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

Interesting note:  The woman pictured in this famous Dorothea Lange photo , Migrant Mother , was the mother to seven children.  She was only thirty-two years old when this photo was recorded.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Planting Part IV

 DSC_0738_2065 1. Peas    2. Carrots (pending)  Garlic   3.  Beets        4.  Carrots

DSC_1204_3069 February 6, 2010

October 5, 2009 – The fourth of four raised beds has been planted with seeds.  No seedlings to transplant this time.  I’m trying to use only seeds.  Not all the beds have been fully planted; but all four have been started.

In this bed, I planted on either side of drip line.  I’m supplementing by hand watering as needed.  I ran out of carrot seeds and will plant once I make a run to the hardware store.  I’ll try a different variety.  Crystal Palace lobelia will be planted in the holes of the cinder block.  Currently, marigolds, basil, parsley, thyme, and chives are growing in some of the cinder blocks.  They are welcome to stay as long as they behave.

DSC_0743_2070 My goal is to grow enough peas to freeze.  In the spring, most of the peas were eaten before they even made it out of the garden.

October 10, 2009 – Planted a double row of garlic.  This will really help when we make gallons of spaghetti sauce this winter.





Peas 62 days Thanksgiving?
Garlic 90-120 days Winter spaghetti sauce marathon
Beets 57 days Pickled for Thanksgiving
Carrots 65 days Christmas party carrot cake!
Basque carrots



The scarecrows were put out in the garden today to add to the feel of fall.  These were made years ago and they’ve lasted through many fall celebrations.  This guy is guarding the bed that was just planted. So far, the crows don’t bother the garden. 


This gal sports a denim jumper.  She refuses to give in to trends.  The scarecrows have been known to wear witches hats as well as pilgrim hats in recognition of the fall holidays.  She’s overseeing the remaining peppers and eggplant.

Behind the scarecrows are the beds used for camellias and azaleas.  I’ll chronicle that ordeal soon.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Planting Part III

DSC_0689_2021 1. Brussels Sprouts         2. Peas           3.  Peas      4. Romaine/Bibb

DSC_1205_3070 February 6, 2010

DSC_0690_2022 On October 2, I planted the third of four raised beds.  This bed is located at the east side of the garden and receives full sun.  Fern strawberries were growing in the cinder blocks and have been transferred.  They were replaced with Crystal Palace Lobelia. 

I’m planting quite a few peas in hopes of freezing some.  Here’s how everything is supposed to mature:

Brussels Sprouts 90 days Happy New Year!
Peas 62 days Thanksgiving – maybe
Romaine Lettuce 55 days Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches
Bibb Lettuce 65 days Christmas party salad

The temperature has finally started to cool.  This morning (5:30am), I could see my breath!  I love this time of year.  In Bakersfield, we can celebrate the fact that we survived another summer.  Now I can work outside without melting and baking. 


October 10, 2009 – This bed has most everything sprouting.

DSC_0756_2083 Brussels sprouts are sprouting.  It looks like every danged seed is up.

DSC_0755_2082 Lettuce (Romaine and Bibb) has sprouted.  This stuff is infallible.

Note:  The peas are up.  I just didn’t grab a photo.