Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The High Country

Got our reservation last month in order to visit  Yosemite this month. We skipped Yosemite Valley entirely and aimed for the John Muir Trail out of Tuolumne Meadows. 

On the way up the Tioga Road, we stopped at the Tuolumne Grove. Containing around two dozen mature giant sequoias and a steep climb back to the road, it was a perfect break from driving. Yes, Bay Area traffic is miserable again. And yes, the Yosemite reservation system can make entering the park very, very, very sloooow. Getting out of the car was vital.

The next morning, with masks in pockets for those just-in-case situations, we headed out through Lyell Canyon on the mostly deserted trail. Could not have been more beautiful!


The third day we hiked a section of the Glen Aulin Trail before heading back home. Reservations are only valid for three days, so you have to pack in all the adventures that you can in a short amount of time. 

Click here for information about Yosemite reservations.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Winter's Bounty into Spring

Somehow, the pepper plants decided that this past winter really wasn't so bad, so they kept producing little peppers all winter long. Yes, they were tiny, but mighty - intensely flavored, crisp and sweet. It took a large handful to make a serving, but as a garnish, chopped into a salad or added to a stew, they were a bright reminder of summer. 

The Last of the Peppers from Last Summer

Two weeks ago they had to make way for new plantings. We can only hope that the new generation will be so prolific and tenacious. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Lessons from the Winter Garden

Daikon Fries

In many places, a winter garden is planted from mid-July to early September, so that the harvest is ready before the cold weather arrives. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that. I've gotten away with planting seedlings into October and November with no penalty, simply because summer doesn't usually arrive until September anyway. 

Case in point - daikon radishes. Now I'm not the biggest fan of radishes. In fact, I'm not a fan of radishes at all, but our new Saturday covid ritual of picking up banh mi sandwiches, loaded with pickled daikon and carrots has made me change my mind (the errand has gotten a bit harder, now that traffic is almost back to its horrendous "normal").

Daikon is easy to grow, the tops and the bottoms are all edible, in this area they can be planted anywhere from August to November, and they last a long time in the ground if you are too lazy to pull them. So a new lesson - grow daikon radishes.

Don't grow cabbage, unless you have plans for kimchi or sauerkraut or something large and important. I grew three, and the one that weighed 6 1/2 lbs. took up a lot of space in the refrigerator. We never did quite finish it all. Pretty little lettuces are probably a much smarter choice.

You can grow some of your spring crops in your winter garden. I planted snow and snap peas in mid-October. We started eating them in late February (usually it's early March, but climate change is real, folks) and we haven't stopped yet. Luckily, our friends and neighbors have been quite generous about helping eat the excess.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

They're BACK!

The gourd was hung in backyard in January, 2016 as a nesting site (it looked a lot fresher back then.). And that spring, and every spring since, it has hosted at least one round of Bewick's wren nestlings. Often two. 

Over the past few weeks, we have observed (from a polite distance, of course) a lot of "birdie-action" at the nest site: Chestnut-backed chickadees, Oak titmice and the wrens, all checking out the property. But until very recently, it wasn't clear who would be claiming the gourd this year. 

Bewick's wren, April 1st, 2021

So how did we know for certain that it was to be the wren's home again? Two days ago, one of the wrens was observed chasing away a Fox squirrel from around the gourd! We wish these fierce little ones all the best this nesting season.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Got Out of Dodge!


We have now received all of our vaccines (for now, at least), and after waiting the requisite extra weeks, we got away for a few days. For me, the first time out of the Bay Area since October, 2019. 

Morro Bay. Quiet. Low-key. And pretty empty during the week. 

I can't say it changed my life, but it was very nice. I truly hope that we all will soon be able to move about safely in our lives.

Monday, February 15, 2021



The single blooming daffodil and the new baby hummingbirds tell me that our brief winter is pretty much over for another year. 

Even the cliff maids (Lewisia longipetala) are starting to bloom.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

One Plus Two Equals One

As part of the adventure series, What's in the Closets, I came across some wool sweaters I had knit years ago. 

With less need to wear wool because of climate change, the sweaters had slowly worked their way to the top shelf of the closet - you know, that shelf. The one that can only be reached by standing on a chair. The yarn was still in fine shape, so I carefully handwashed the sweaters and gently took them apart.

The result? Plenty enough yarn for an afghan for our tiny TV room. And I might even have it completed before the weather warms up and it's too hot to keep working on. 

Afghan, maybe 1/3 completed

Monday, January 18, 2021


On Wednesday evening, we're planning on sitting on the front porch and raising a glass to the new President and Vice-President. We hope you will consider doing the same.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Greetings from Hawaii

Just kidding! 

We're stuck at home, as is most everyone right now. So instead of whining about Hawaii, I've been working on a Hawaiian style New Year's Eve dinner. 

The idea, and essential, inspirational ingredient came from Sunnie, one of my ceramic class buddies. She was the one who introduced me to custard mochi, a delicious dessert found in Hawaii. The first time I had it, I wanted to embarrass myself by eating the entire thing (or rather, I wanted to eat the entire thing and not get embarrassed), but somehow managed to only have seconds. And maybe one tiny little slice more.

Trouble is, you can't make custard mochi without sweet rice flour. Now try finding that during a pandemic. Sunnie did, and gave me a box. Thank you, Sunnie!

What else is on the menu? 

Rum punch
Spare ribs with huli-huli sauce
Ginger carrots
Green beans braised in coconut milk (I absolutely love coconut milk. I would probably eat braised dirt if it were simmered in coconut milk.)
Rice, naturally, followed by
Custard mochi for dessert.

And finished off with a very slow waddle around the neighborhood. 

Happy New Year to All!