table of contents
March 31, 2004
it's funny, because P-Melissa commented on how exotic my plants seemed to her eastern Canadian self. i was surprised. really.
after 10 years in southern california, i really start forgetting how weird the plants are here. my jaw dropped at every corner when we first arrived... we used to walk around the neighborhood pointing and staring. but i guess i've acculturated and it all starts to seem normal.
i really try to plant in the vernacular. interesting, but in the vernacular. plants that i see doing well in other people's gardens. and often, the plants outside of gas station and in median strips. i figure if it'll grow there, it'll grow anywhere.
this area is a huge growing region so lots of stuff DOES grow well here, if you are willing to water it. once established, my front yard (predominantly gazania, a couple of flaxes, some wildflowers) and my courtyard (a united nations of lavenders, rosemaries, sages and other herbs, some dusty miller) will need very little water.
this is the west wall of the courtyard, the view from the kitchen, more or less, though this is snapped from the little porch. on the left is a dwarf orange, the right a fig and in between lavenders, rosemaries and a couple of artichokes. eventually, i'll get a fountain installed on this wall.
the east face of the courtyard. door goes into the diningroom, center window is above the kitchen sink. the livingroom is on the left in this picture, the hallway windows are on the right. i've planted jasmines, honeysuckle and white potato vine to creep up the porch rails. the two bushes must be the world's heartiest camellias as they've really been through the wringer this year. in the beds, a rosemary and a couple of salvias i think.
the backyard, with grass, papyrus, agapanthus and various little bedding flowers will probably want more water, but i'll keep stepping down the water until it starts to complain.
and there's lots of stuff that doesn't grow here! no bulbs that need to freeze, also a lot of fruit trees, like most apples, need to freeze. some people take their bulbs out of the ground every year and store them in the fridge for 6 weeks to simulate winter, but i am not that sort of a gardener.
March 29, 2004
happiness by the yard.
i went to the giant wholesale nursery on friday with a gardener friend of mine and filled his truck and my car with plants.
here's some gazania going back in to the front yard. a lot of it got trampled, sand-blasted, buried under piles of dirt, but it's beginning to come back already. i really got a dizzying number of plants and it was so great to come back and start planting.
and the courtyard is done! found someone to come in and loose set bricks for me and he finished up saturday. there are no longer any areas of the yard that are crusty, sandy, pits of construction debris. i can walk in and out of the house without dragging in huge amounts of dust and mud. not to mention finally having something pretty to look at. and having a whole new room to use. really, it's the biggest room in the house and the center of everything. visible from nearly every room, so it's such a relief to have the floor done! now i can start planting and "decorating".
the weather was so beautiful yesterday. i spent almost the whole day outside moving dirt, planting a few things, moving the plant containers around again, sweeping, watering... luxuriating.
i am eager to get out there again today. a few more "structural" plants to buy and place before i start filling things in. papyrus, banana, agapanthus. some climbing things for the neighbor's fence. purple passion vine, morning glory, some orange thing i've seen. a couple of hanging pots... and maybe a swing by the talavera tile store to see if they have the fountain of my dreams...
having all the major house projects done is so nice. the relief of that coupled with the joy of being in a beautiful spot puttering in the garden... finally, in the evening we built a little fire in the chiminea. i took zoe out there at bedtime and we sat for a few quiet minutes watching the sparks from the dying fire and the stars in the sky.
i am lucky.
March 28, 2004
grapes without guilt?
It dawned on me yesterday that I still feel vaguely guilty eating grapes. I grew up in the midst of the Cesar Chavez grape boycotts and so we avoided them for some of those years.
Thanks largely to Chavez and his efforts, US grown grapes are now much lower in pesticides than they used to be. Good for us, good for the farm workers. Not that the grape farm workers have any sort of a rosy deal... but US grown grapes make the list of the 10 least pesticide laden crops.
Of course, grapes from Chile (which are the sort available now) make the 10 Worst list for total pesticide load.
Will I ever purchase a grape without feeling guilty somehow?
March 25, 2004
i like yellow.
here's our livingroom before, during and after painting. it's funny to see it all packed with stuff.
most of that stuff is gone now. or elsewhere. the white chairs and sofa are gone on to other owners. the rug and barcalounger are now in the "family room". the bookcases were cheap and broken. the artwork is still on display at the Internet cafe...
and here's now. still waiting on the base shoe moulding to go in and then we can put some furniture back in. it'll be much more minimalist for a while.
March 24, 2004
proof i still knit.
Here's a nice before and after on the felted bag. Strangely, this one only took 4 skeins, but I was using a smaller needle size, I think.
Spent a day this week cathartically unravelling ALL the blue sweaters that I used to demonstrate my project on the TV show. I was thinking of making them into some larger comemorative project, but ultimately, a lot of the yarn is too ooky to wear or knit happily. Maybe something for the girls... it's washable. The process was good, though.
a thousand words.
trying out a new host.
a thousand words.
trying out a new host for my pictures.
March 22, 2004
looks like i need to get a new webhost if i want pictures. anyone got a suggestion?
March 19, 2004
My livingroom and diningroom are now yellow. But in a good way. Not a daffodil yellow. Not as yellow as the backdrop here. More of a light ochre. New wood floors there too. I'm so eager to move the furniture back in there. Hang curtains. Accessorize.
The very last major thing on the house to-do list is the courtyard. We should have it all wrapped up less than a year from when we started.
When I get the image hosting thing sorted out, we'll do a grand tour.
March 12, 2004
Much worse news, I found out the same day. Spalding Gray is dead. By his own hand. I love Spalding Gray's work and even saw him perform a couple of times. While ultimately his taking his own life doesn't surprise me, it's still sad.
And I still don't have the picture thing sorted out.
March 8, 2004
okay, i'm sorry if you are buried in a snowbank somewhere, but it was sogorgeous here yesterday. 75 degrees at the beach, sunny and clear. birds singing like mad. the scent of flowers in the air, predominantly the heady smell of jasmine.
spent time working in the yard; the girls played in the hose. later, when i went to the grocery store (which wasn't on strike anymore!), i saw lots of sunburned people.
for a long time, my internet connectivity has been pretty seamless. just like it's supposed to be. rarely a bad connection. always up. good speeds.
now, things are unravelling... tried to get things changed so they would work better and now, not only can i not get pictures into my account, but it's messed up our bill paying, and now, it seems, the email. uggh!
will actually have to spend time with them on the phone until they sort through it with me. during business hours. feh.
March 5, 2004
Dr. Seuss's birthday was amply celebrated around these parts. I went to three Seuss parties. One was at the Geisel library where the new Dr. Suess stamp was unveiled and also a statue of him.