Friday, March 17, 2023

Laundry Day

Who knew that a kitchen cloth that had been rinsed in bleach could be so much fun...

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Una Abundanza (An Abundance)

So the tromboncino squash didn't do poo-poo this past summer, but the other guy sharing the turf did just fine: two 10+ pound Marina di Chioggia squashes (Cucurbita maxima). 

Green-gray on the outside, orange on the inside, it's considered one of the premier winter squashes. Sad fact is that I don't really like winter squash very much. Soup is fine, ravioli is tasty, but that's about my limit. 

Now you may wonder why I would grow something that I don't really like. Well, we were given a squash, which was turned into a delicious soup. So I saved some seeds, thinking that it would be my chance to see whether, with one of the best squash varieties in town, grown under ideal conditions (tee-hee), my narrow, judgmental mind could be persuaded. 

And the answer? A big fat "maybe". I looked at a ton of recipes for roasted squash - considered to be the best technique for enhancing the flavor - and (mostly) followed the instructions. Tasted it, and decided that it was simply, wonderfully, just okay. Excellent for your health, pretty on the plate, far superior to anything you could get in the market, easy to grow and very productive, but... just okay. 

Having said that, and having even done the required homework, I can now honestly recommend Marina di Chioggia squash. Especially if you like that kind of thing. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Housing is for the Birds

Way back in 2017, I got involved in a silly experiment - gourd growing. The vines took over the entire driveway and produced four very large, and, if I may say so, beautiful offspring. These gourds were always in the state of going-to-be: a lidded pot; a decorative bowl; a something that needed time and attention. And an empty space on some table or shelf somewhere. 

Instead, they sat on a very high shelf in the garage, looked down on me with contempt and impatience, and collected dust. Until yesterday, when I noticed that the early wren bird was once again exploring the birdhouse in the backyard. It was an aha moment - those lazy, languishing gourds could be someone's new family home.

A trip to the Oakland Tool Lending Library, a little bit of fiddling (to get the cord through those small holes) and filing (to smooth out the drill holes) and, ta-da!, a new home for a wren, chickadee or titmouse family. 

Now because all of these little birdie types are aggressively territorial, these new gourd-homes had to be located in someone else's yard - one to the neighbors across the street, and the others far, far away in other neighborhoods. Fingers crossed that the new avian residents use them in good health and happiness.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Another Wednesday in the Garage Story

Before Grouting
So while Hilda was working away on her gorgeous planter, I was poking around with mosaicking a small birdbath/pollinator watering hole for the backyard. Completing this little piece also contributed to the on-going and everlasting Clean-Out-The-Garage project by clearing off a small shelf. Win-win for me, and maybe even for the local wildlife. 

So far though, Luna is the only one who I've observed drinking from it. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Wednesday is the Best Day

Not because the work week is almost over. But because it's Do Mosaics in the Garage Day, which means that every week has a holiday smack dab in the middle. 

And my friend Hilda is quite the adept. She only started in with mosaics a little more than a year ago, and now look:

Photo Courtesy of Hilda West

I can't claim that my garage is the most comfortable or attractive "studio" (nope, I'm not sharing photos of that workspace) but somehow we manage to create beautiful things there. Especially Hilda.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Once Again, That Votey-Changey Thing

You know what to do, and by when to do it. And I'm pretty sure that at least some of you have been doing this for long enough to not be reminded. And reminded, and reminded yet once more (that texting stuff is only useful for making the texter feel good about "being involved" and zip for the ones receiving the dopey upbeat messages from strangers, or so I think).

But I'm not so sure I know what to do this time in Oakland. Ten candidates for mayor, all pretty much no-names, all mouthing the same words about the same on-going issues, and I'm supposed to rank my preferences? Or up to five of my choices, when I can barely decide upon one? I know that I will figure something out, but along with so many other things, it's kinda depressing. 

And is anyone else really, really, completely really tired of dialysis in California? Yes, it's an important concern, but does it actually belong on the ballot, year after year? 

Okay, okay, enough of the grumpy whining - I will do my part in voting, and I hope that you will do yours as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Brag, Brag, Brag #8: Michael Reardon

 So we got out of town. Yup, hard to believe, but we left Luna in the world's most capable and loving hands and headed to Sta. Barbara for an art show. An art show at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery featuring, ta-da!, Michael Reardon. And a bunch of architects who also can paint pretty darn well. 

 We saw family and friends, caught rain and dodged tumbleweeds on the drive, and generally had a wonderful time. The shows up until the end of October, so if you happen to be in the vicinity of Sta. Barbara, I recommend stopping by. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Desert Blooms

The little cacti in the side yard have been very busy this summer, pumping out blooms and providing a wonderful habitat for many spiders (no, I do not dust the outdoor plants. That is most definitely someone else's job).

The most unexpected bloomer was the Tiger Jaws (Faucaria felina) from South Africa, technically not a cactus, but amazing in its own way. 


Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Zucchini Sex Goddess Returns to Work

Tromboncino Zucchini

I didn't think it would happen this year, given how late the squash seeds got in the ground, how long they sulked and how s-l-o-w-l-y they grew. 

But now that it's almost September, some long-suppressed urge to procreate must have kicked in because the squash are finally, finally, finally taking off. 

So maybe by October, there will be plenty enough zucchini and squash to share with (scare away?) the neighbors.

Marina di Chioggia Winter Squash