Thursday, September 23, 2010

Must Be Careful

Just another ordinary night. You're bringing your water buckets in for tomorrow's shower. Then as you pass your home nursery you bump into a shelf and it happens...


Yeah, about had a heart attack. I had to step away for a minute and let the shock go before carefully picking up the tray and examining the situation. Luckily the carnage was minimal. All I had to do was gently pick the peat pots up one by one, lightly holding the seedlings in place while refilling the soil. One pot actually escaped, had the group of seedlings but no cup... put them in an extra one.

And my Green Babies made it through the night!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Has a Falcon! - Scratch That - HAWK!!!

...or possibly a hawk - but I think it's a falcon :)

We've spotted a pair of these (and once a young'un) in my neighborhood many times in the last 3 or 4 years. This is the first time I've caught one on camera. It always raises my spirits to see them.

Suprised the hell outta me. There was a commotion in the avocado tree, at first I thought it was a squirrel. Then I heard my little army (the flock of sparrows) getting very upset, so of course it must be the Felis catus "Predator Mode" and I approached cursing at her... Then I hear "maouw" from the carport and oh - Felis catus is on the ground with me... At that point I turned on the video mode just in time to catch it flying out! That was about two weeks ago, last Sunday I watched it fly from our tree again but no camera :/

The video pretty much sucks. I got a few almost decent pics as you can see. I love my Fujifilm cam, but long distance zoom is not one of its strong points... I'm comparing with photos of LA County birds, but still not sure exactly which species this one is...perhaps Falco peregrinus anatum the American Peregrine Falcon, or "Duck Hawk"...? If anyone out there knows for sure please tell me! Here are the best close-ups:

On a related note I've lived in the same neighborhood my entire life (minus about 18 months) and wildlife was a bit on the scarce side until about 7 or 8 years ago. As a kid I was absolutely thrilled to once see a squirrel at the park down the street and a possum on the next block. Besides the sparrows, crows, mourning doves and pigeons that was it, seriously. I had heard of other wild animals in nearby neighborhoods but never seen them. As a kid I felt a bit cheated.

Now it's different. I don't know what or why but there's alot more diversity around here now and it makes me silly happy :D There are quite a few squirrels on my street (I know they could potentially become an annoyance in my garden but I'm still thrilled they're here!), I see possums on my evening walks, there are the falcons of course, I've spotted an american goldfinch in our cosmos, mom saw a blue jay last week (not sure which specie yet either), and Sunday morning I shooed a young lizard out of our kitchen :) I've also found more different bugs in the yard than I ever saw as a kid, many I've never seen at all!

And so I wonder why now? It makes sense that there's more bug diversity and lizards in our yard - I've grown insect attracters, created more shelter, the flower beds hold more moisture and much longer. But what about the squirrels, possums and falcons? What suddenly brought them to us and got them to decide to stay? They started coming long before we improved our yard. They're certainly not surviving off our garden (although the falcon is making more effort to ambush my army!). Several homes have been improved quite a bit, but (except a highly select few) hardly anyone has gone for a garden suitable to wildlife. I don't think the number of backyard habitats has gone up at all.

So why are they coming?

I have no idea... but I'm definitely encouraging them to stay!

***UPDATE 9/23/10***
I owe a big THANK YOU to Glenn Nevill who responded to this post and was able to tell me - I has a Cooper's HAWK! It pleases me greatly to put a name to these raptors.... hey wait a sec.... I has Raptors! Cue the Jurassic Park soundtrack!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I won Honey!!

It seemed like I'd entered nearly every garden blog contest I came across this summer - and finally a success! Two weeks ago I won The Dandelion Wrangler's Honey Give-Away :D !

And if that wasn't thrilling enough - the package arrived on dad's birthday! Just the person I intended to share it with <3

That really brightened the day for us :) Dad loves honey and as soon as I get a chance to cook up some buñuelos we're going to be testing the three flavors out!

Thank you so much Laura!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bloom Day September 2010 - Just Made it!

It's only 10:15 pm in SoCal! I'm still in time! So without further ado, a glimpse at my bloomers O.O for the last week or so...

 pink zinnia Cut & Come Again and cosmos Seashell

alyssum Oriental Nights

 my lovely little cupid's dart :)
cucumber Lemon blooms count!

 shy little delphinium Shades of Blue

 please forgive the mess of this little neglected front strip that still manages to give us petite marigolds and portulaca

I find it facinating that these garden mums (planted for mum of course) seem to only attract flies...and lots of them

no idea what variety of geranium (inherited) and portulaca fill this corner

 love feeling awash in the lobelia Cambridge Blue

 these humoungo marigolds are doing quite well in a pot :)

 can anyone tell me what the heezy thes are?! Foudn them at the 99 cent store with no label, seem to be succulents

 nasturtium Alaska have bloomed and rebloomed 3 or 4 times over the summer

 one of the front flower beds - statice, marigold & zinnia Cut & Come Again (statice has been blooming continuously since May!)

uh oh the oregano and akashiso bloomed!

basil Cinnamon so lovely I forgive it for blooming :9

totally forgot we planted strawflower until two weeks ago!

ok, warning: gratuitous zinnia to follow ;) This odd coloration has been my favorite of the Cut & Come Again variety

 oh, I finally made an outdoor getaway for myself - and the Felis catus "Jackmove" got to it first! Punk!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Plotting a Harvest...?

The other day while taking a walk in the neighborhood I saw this:

And this:

These lovelies are growing in a fenced-in street "garden" in the front setback of a building supply storage yard. This one faces the major street and has a 6 foot iron fence around it. The "garden" on the minor street around the corner has a 4 foot fence. These planted areas are tended to once, maybe twice, a year and otherwise totally neglected.

If you haven't a clue why I'm excited by these cacti it's because in about a week the tunas (prickly pears) will be about ready for picking. I LOVE these fruits, they are juicy and flavorful and... YUMMAY. I got hooked on these the summer I stayed with relatives in Mexico where you can find them being sold all over the place. They aren't necessarily difficult to find stateside, but I don't often find the red ones.... Or free ones...

I am coveting them at this moment. I am tempted to just go by when they're ready withe gloves and a basket, but it seems wrong... Even if the owners/managers of the property don't care enough to tend these guys I should probably go in and ask... Uhg, I hear they aren't very friendly at this particular supplier... :/

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Impromptu Dinner

So a couple of weeks back I got to house sit and had to come up with dinner quick. Begin raid on my edible garden :) I came up with these:

Lime basil; Canary bell peppers (not fully ripe); Early White Bush scalloped squash; strawberries; Bright Lights swiss chard; Dwarf Blue kale; Brandywine, Roma and Yellow Pear tomatos. John later contributed random cherry tomatos from his garden and ground turkey.

After a bit of thought I moved on to preparation:

And the final results:

So it all turned into ground turkey with cherry tomatos, chard stalks and lime basil; steamed squash with lime basil and olive oil; steamed chard and kale; stuffed peppers with cheese, chard, basil and Brandywine tomato; and Yellow Pear tomatos to munch on. Also fresh mint tea on the side :) It was good. I'm falling in love with stuffed peppers...

Mary's Gardening Calendar