Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kristmas 'Kraut

This 2 gallon batch of bright pink sauerkraut just came out of our crock. It was made with heads of red and green cabbage and is crunchy and sweet. We let it ferment for the better part of the last two months. A recipe for sauerkraut and many more fermented foods can be found at WildFermentation.com.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

As The World Turns

It's hard to believe the time went by so quickly, but the 21st is our second wedding anniversary, and the 28th is Estelle's first birthday. To celebrate, Nancy scheduled a photo shoot (mostly of Estelle). We've yet to receive the full results, but the sneak preview can be found here. Many thanks to Pascale Wowak for her beautiful work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sartaj Arrives!

He's too cute (even though he's howling the night away in his kennel right now)! He is 8 weeks old and weighed 12 lbs 1 oz at the vet yesterday. He slept much of this afternoon, recovering from the flight in from Chicago this morning. We just posted some great shots of him with Estelle on her photo page. Click here for more info on Polish Tatra Sheepdogs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

3rd Annual Farm Art Show @ Freewheelin' Farm

Three of Daniel's new sculptures will be for sale at Freewheelin' Farm's 3rd Annual Farm Art Show on Saturday, September 27th, 12 PM to sunset. The farm is located exactly 5 miles north of Western Drive on the ocean side of Hwy 1 at 5227 Coast Road. Click here for directions and click the image below for more details.

Overdue Update

This image really sums up the summer for me: happy, tired, food in hand. We're rolling in peppers and tomatoes right now, potatoes are in cold storage, onions are curing, Brussels sprouts are fattening on their stems, European dessert pears and golden delicious apples are sweetening on their buds, and Nancy's flowers continue to crank at an awe-striking pace! For those of you who've been following the back story here, we've been up to our necks in renovations since January. We're finally back in our bedroom as of a couple of weeks ago, and the baby is learning to sleep in her own room as well. It was a truly exhausting struggle for a while there before we remembered the need to surrender, and things have been moving smoother since (no faster, just smoother). The upside of the frustration was the need to blow off steam and the chain-saw frenzy that ensued... our woods have never looked so healthy. I removed the bulk of the ladder fuels as well as many of the bays (major fire hazard and also the chief vector for sudden oak death). The logs and slash were used to create stair stepping plugs down the 4 gullies that drain our land. These will slow the flow of the water to inhibit downcutting and hopefully serve as sediment traps to reverse some of the erosion that has occurred over years of neglect. The chief beneficiary noted to date are the owls. We now hear both Barn and Great Horned owls every night. They appreciate the lack of impediments in their flight paths. A large percentage of land in these mountains is too overgrown for owls to hunt. The other major news around here is that due to some serious big cat action this summer (gone are our cat, many raccoons, squirrels, skunks, countless birds and a 4 point buck) we've decided to get a dog. Sartaj, a 3 month old, male Polish Tatra, will be crating in from Gnu Hampshire Farms (O'hare to SFO) next Tuesday morning. Needless to say, we're pretty excited about that!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yellow Bartlett Pears

This is actually one of our baskets of culls, but it proved much more photogenic than the four cases in cold storage. It and the other basket of culls will be used to make dried pear slices and juice. We also fed a bucket of grounders to the neighbors' donkeys and left two outside the fence for the deer. The keepers will be used for eating, sauces and canning to last us through the winter. Unlike an apple, the true color and flavor of a pear comes out best after a stint in cold storage. If ripened on the tree, the sugars convert to starch crystals and the pear tastes "gritty." Only those not pecked by birds or stung by a codling moth will keep. One bad pear will release too much ethalyne gas and spoil the whole bunch! The Yellow Bartlett was traditionally know as the Williams' Bon Chr├ętien pear and is thought to have originated in the 1770's. In 1985, ~80% of the pears grown in the United States were Bartlett pears. More history here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Potatoes

French Fingerlings and Russian Bananas. We just dug up a few of each to see how they are coming along. So far=delicious!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sunflower Seeds...

...have been eaten by people in North America for the past 5000 years. More here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pesto Anyone?

Overwhelmed by the bounty of summer, we've started stocking up for winter around here =*) Click post title for recipes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Santa Rosa Plums

Our peaches disappeared too fast to be photographed this year, so I wanted to make sure I got one good shot of our plums before they too are consumed!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Martin Fire Follow Up

We had a pretty surreal cloud of smoke move overhead and block out the sun from 3PM on yesterday (click any of the images above for full resolution). This morning everything was blanketed with fine white ash. The good news however is that after a 520 acre rampage, the fire is now 90% contained, with full containment expected Monday morning. Our thanks to the over 900 fire personnel who battled the flames.
United Way Santa Cruz now has both Summit and Martin fire recovery funds links on their homepage. They promise to ensure that 100% of all donations will go to victims.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If wishes were horses...

So much for a quiet rest of the fire season... This is a shot from our back deck of the Martin Fire now raging over 300 acres, 0% contained, in Bonny Doon. Fortunately, Cal Fire mobilized rapidly, and the winds have died down from this afternoon's 10-20 mph gusts. Unfortunately, there are many other fires burning statewide right now, so we can't expect a response as massive as last month's.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

30 for 30

Thirty tomato cages here, which I just made for our 30 different varieties of tomatoes. Coincidentally, today is my 30th birthday, a good time as any to give an update. First and foremost, the baby is thriving! She's sitting up on her own now and just figuring out how to crawl. She's also blowing lots of bubbles and finding her voice, which is quite cute during the day, and only slightly less cute when she wakes up at 5 AM every morning =*) Our peak daily solar output post-inverter continues to hover around 6.2 kw. Not bad for a system that's supposed to max out at 5 kw. Our meter spins backwards while the sun's up and is down from when it was installed, though I imagine we'll catch it this winter. We are growing a ton of food this summer. We've got about 600 bed feet each of sweet corn, beans (dried and green), squash (winter and summer), and onions (walawala and red torpedo) in the ground, the aformentioned tomatoes, a boatload of potatoes (bakers, French fingerlings and yellow bananas), some garlic (Music--planted last fall), watermelons, tomatillos, carrots, peppers, collard greens, cabbage, basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, thyme, sage not to mention the raspberries and the fruit trees, which are loaded with lemons, limes, grapefruit, peaches, plums, apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons and olives. Our kiwi vines and table grapes are thriving as well. They will likely even produce fruit this fall, but we're primarily focused on getting good trunk vines up and over their trellis this season. Next year we'll focus on getting some good scaffolding going and focus on fruit production. We've certainly had the heat up here already this summer; the Pacific is the warmest I've experienced in the last 10 years. We're currently in the middle of our second mini-heatwave. The first torched Nancy's flowers, which were just germinating, but we've got another round in, and we're staying on top of the water this time. We were very fortunate that the recent fire was a few ridges south of us (map here), but our friend's DeeDee and Dave were less lucky (some incredible photos here). Our hearts go out to everyone who experienced a loss. Hopefully, we'll have a safe, uneventful rest of the fire season. Thanks for checking in on us. Take care and have fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sculpture Within

Three of Daniel's sculptures will be in the Pajaro Valley Art's Council's "Sculpture Within" exhibition from May 29th to October 23rd. The show takes place in the alluring perennial gardens of Sierra Azul Nursery, located at 2660 East Lake Avenue in Watsonville. There are some stunning pieces in the show and beautiful plants for sale at the nursery this year. Be sure to check it out!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Glorious Roses

We've had complete success with the roses we planted this winter. Every one took and is thriving! I just created this page of photos, documenting most of them. Notably absent are Electron and Elizabeth Taylor, which have yet to bloom. I will definitely update the page once I get better photos of them and the rest. Above is a shot of the two unidentified floribundas by the gate to our house.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Solar Is In

A big thank you to Marc, Bill and the rest of the folks at EE Solar for a job well done. It is a 5 KWH (AC) system, which should more or less put us off the grid. We are very excited to see our PG&E meter spinning backwards in the middle of the day!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Roses In the Rain

Just planted 10 bareroot roses from Roses of Yesterday & Today in the driving rain this afternoon, filling in the last gaps in our bed of roses. The roses we planted last year were winter-pruned two weeks ago and are mostly dormant right now.
Click here for more photos of our rose garden. The bulk are Hybrid Tea roses, but we have quite a few of David Austin's 'English Roses,' a smattering of Floribundas and even a relatively new Grandiflora, Sundance (2004).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kiwis Are In!

Eight females and two males, all 3 years old already! We'd like to thank Bernhardt and the entire Redwood Nursery family for giving us a great deal after tracking them down and delivering them to us in such good condition. We'll be pruning them this week, and we're excited for them to break dormancy this spring and get growing in their new sunny home.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Updated Photos

Estelle just wanted you all to know that we've just performed major and long overdue updates to our photos. In addition to containing up-to-date baby photos, the pages should load faster and behave in a more intuitive fashion than their previous incarnations. They now also support subscriptions via RSS (Mac & PC) and iPhoto (Mac only). Enjoy!
D, N & E

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Protea: Pink Mink

Our Protea "Pink Mink" got pretty knocked around by the wind in the recent storms, but her flowers were no worse for the wear when we brought them in a few days later. Indeed, they're still holding up after a week indoors. (As always, you can click the image above for a closer look).