That would be truth in advertising. We hadn't been here three months before someone mentioned chickens. And not just one person, but heaps of people. The neighbors downhill have chickens: "Oh, raising chickens is so easy, your land is perfect for it. We'll give you all the information you could want. It's fun. You can get chickens who lay colored eggs." Our kids see the neighbors' chickens: "Mom, can we have chickens? Pleeeeease??? Little baby chickens???" One of my best friend, also encumbered with that same sense of expectation on her land: "Our kids looove our chickens. They carry them around in their arms and call them in the mornings. Chuckchuckchuckchuckchuck."
We don't have chickens. Yet.
But that sense of "must do. something. with. land." She is growing heavy. Our garden, I'm certain, will be a 10 year project, minimum. It's not quite an acre, but there's just so much of it, to a city girl's eyes. And so many bits and pieces. The patio. The kitchen garden. The top slope. The deer woods. The place where I want to restore the creek (now culverted under my neighbor's yard). The kid's garden. The patio hill, the house hill, the vegetable patch, the flower beds, the redwood patch. It all needs love and recovery. So, in the spirit of long-term egging self on, I think I'll add a regular blogspot to document the good, the bad, the new, and the improving.
Inaugural photos. This week, in the garden: Late February and early March are all about the first signs of spring.
|Tiny, lovely, blue-purple irises|
|Grape hyacinths popping up under the kayak tree|
|Someday this hill will be thick with hyacinths|
|Wild plum bursting into bloom above the driveway|
|Navel oranges are finally turning orange|
|And one of the lemon trees has found its calling|
|We just planted this Santa Rosa Plum|
|And a Flavor King Pluot which will crosspollinate with the plum|
|A new blueberry bush, perfect for the shady spots in the kitchen garden. We'll have six varieties starting this year.|
|The chives popped up in their beds - I had no idea they'd come back on their own|
|Daffodils volunteering everywhere|
|I wish I could remember the name of this gorgeous, thorny, twisty, architectural shrub. It's suddenly woken up from winter and covered itself in buds, and a few early blooms that look like tiny wild roses. And it's no relation to a rose.|
My mother insists we have a pair of gardeners come twice a month, to sweep up all the leaves (there are a lot of leaves) and do a bit of pruning. Which is all well and good, but I keep restricting the poor guys. With the previous owners they cut all the hedges into giant walls and boxes of green. I want all my hedges to grow wild. So first I forbid them to trim the hedges except for the juniper hedges. And then recently I began ripping out the juniper hedges (nasty non-native, rat-housing fire traps that they are). So the poor gardeners are clearly beginning to feel redundant, and like they need to prove themselves useful. This week I glanced out the window to see one of the gardeners walking down the steps with a big plastic white tank attached to a spray nozzle, about to start spraying some undisclosed chemical in my kitchen garden. To say I scared him is probably an understatement. He doesn't speak English. I really don't speak Spanish. I mean, I can count to ten with the best of them (diez!), but "what the heck is that/are you kidding me/ I EAT those plants/ there are KIDS living here/ we don't use that craziness on this land" is a bit beyond my rudimentary skills.
Nevertheless, when a very short woman comes rocketing out her kitchen door, and launches herself bodily straight at you, waving her hands in the air and shouting "No no no no NEVER NEVER NEVER NO NO NO" you get the general message. He backed up fast, eyes wide, and put the tank back in the truck. Apologizing rapidly. Also repeatedly. Poor man.
My local water agency puts out pamphlets in Spanish about low-chemical healthy gardening. I think I'll order a copy or two.