Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Well-Seasoned Winter

Cuban Oregano(Plectranthus amboinicus) and 
in the back, mint (Menthe longifolia).

"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service." - 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

It's been cold at night - below freezing for awhile so about a month ago I got out my frost blankets and covered up the herbs I still have in the ground. I haven't paid much attention, just let them stay toasty warm.
Yesterday, when I peeked under the blanket, lo and behold, they're thriving! Oregano, mint, parsley, sage and thyme - sounds a little like a Simon and Garfunkel song. No sound of silence in our kitchen ... the cook is a happy guy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cows in the Pasture

Pasture maintenance - old tires work great!
"Be strong therefore, and let not your hands be 
weak; for your work shall be rewarded."
 - 2 Chronicles 15-7

This past weekend we spent time in the lower pasture fixing the erosion caused by the recent rain ... and the cows!
   They're not ours. We let our neighbor graze them in our pasture. I love them - their sounds, their big brown eyes, their tongues reaching out to grab the treats I bring.
   But they're big and heavy. They lumber, plod, drag their feet, stomp in one place while they're waiting for their alfalfa, generally make muck of the land. 
   So, we moved a bunch of dirt, planted some tires to help stop the erosion, rerouted the streamlets that had begun because of the recent rain and put the pasture back together for awhile.
   The cows were nonplussed by our work. Sniffed the tires and stepped right over them. But next rain we'll reap the benefits - the water will go where we want it to ... at least until it decides not to.
   Water tends to have a mind of its own!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit

This morning I was on my daily walkabout with my dog Nikki, making sure all of my trees are surviving the winter cold. Most have lost many of their leaves, but here's my hearty Mandarin Orange (Citrus reticulate) not just blooming but with fruit on it. Made me smile. I really just love the tenacity of plants; whatever the conditions or stresses, they give it their all.
   I believe most people do the same thing. I came inside to the news about the ongoing terrorism in the world today and its impact on all of us. Took me to my Bible.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Slumber

It's cold here on California's Central Coast. Not the bone chilling cold you'd find in someplace like Minnesota, but since life is not lived in the comparative, being cold is just a plain shock to your system. We are blessed here with mild temperatures most of the year, so when the cold and freezing temperatures hit, it always takes me by surprise. 
  Once I get over my astonishment that our Indian Summer is behind us and figure out where I left my boots, scarf, gloves, heavy coat and wool cap from last winter, I'm ready for some cold, even freezing, days and nights. 
   We still have plants in the ground now, mostly hearty herbs, but even they need some care and attention when temperatures drop below freezing. So we bundle them up, wrap them in frost gear, swath them in blankets so they survive the cold too. 
  Winter in the garden is, for me, a time of reflection. Seasons. Cycles. Perennials. Annuals. Tides. Moon phases. Sunrises. Sunsets. 
   All of nature is in harmony. Out of the dark, cold winter will come life in the bloom of spring, thriving through the warmth of summer, fading in fall's ebbing and then a final slumber in winter once again.
   Only to begin again.

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mush-roomies at the Farm

   We grow lots of different fruits and vegetables at Baby Girl Farms. One thing we don't grow, however, is mushrooms ... fungi to be technical. Let me tell you, though, with the life-giving rain we've been getting here, after years of drought, I have more types of fungi than I can count - they're mushrooming.
   And they're beautiful ... but not edible!
   The mushroom is the spore-bearing fruity part of the fungus growing beneath the ground. Mushrooms, also known as toadstools, are everywhere. In fact, the mycelium, or root of the mushroom go for miles underground. So, it's no wonder they appear to just pop-up overnight where you least expect to see one.

   Farm Fact: the Honey Mushroom (armillaria ostoyae) is the world's largest known organism covering 2,384 acres in Oregon's Blue Mountains. It's estimated to be 2,400 years old!

   Here are some pictures from the pastures around the farm.
   They remind me of little abodes ... kind of know where Tolkein might have found some of his inspiration for The Hobbit.
   It's moments like these where I am reminded of how much influence nature has on our imaginations - little umbrellas ... lean-tos ... huts ... flying saucers!
   I'm not a mushroom expert, so I can't rightly say what all of these are, but I know for sure they're not portobellos!

"For the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."   - Isaiah 61:11