After the last freeze

Pictures from the garden today….the artichokes are loving the recent weather. I think we can expect a good crop of them:
The last hail/sleet/overnight freeze wasted every tomato and basil plant I put in, as evidenced by the left hand side of the garden bed. Dead dead dead.

Seeds I planted directly are coming up now, radishes, french bush beans, chard, nasturtiums, carrots. Well, not quite the carrots yet.

It’s pretty chilly today, despite the warm looking sky. I think Art and I will be spending a bit of time out in the yard/fields/gardens this weekend though. Today, it was just a wee bit too cold for me.

Who told the weeds?

That we have 3 exceptionally long noses that are just WAITING to be invaded by foxtails???
After a long and exhausting weekend, I had today off. I decided to tackle the shady side of the house (it’s in the 90s today) and the foxtail grass that’s taken over a good portion of our property.
For those of you who don’t know what this menace is, let me show you:
and just for some more fun….goatshead….the arrows direct you to the madness that punctures feet, tractor tires, dog paws, etc. These are the green version, in a month they will be brown and hard as nails.
OMG, my hand looks HUMONGOUS. Anyway.
The foxtail gets into noses, and throats, and under tongues and in between toes where it works it’s way into the skin and ‘migrates’ until it finds a joint to take up residence in or abscess’s out someways away from where it entered. This shit is seriously dangerous to the dogs and horses. I had to knock Andretti out last year and go exploring up his nose to fish one out, Dee got my hand shoved down her throat to pull one out of her soft palette, and then got knocked out to explore the rest of her throat the next day. She’s actually been knocked out once before to pull whole plants of them out of her stomach (she ate a whole mess of them, and then started throwing them up. You don’t want to know what happens if one of those things gets stuck in the esophagus and decides to migrate into the chest). Art and I had to tongue-wrestle Izzy about a week ago because she had one stuck deep into a salivary duct underneath her tongue. They only go one way….in, and deeper in. We got it out, thankfully, she’s a good horse and she held still for us. So, you know, not something we need in bulk around the house with all these fresh, untainted noses poking around. The goatshead is a ground sprawler. Those little burr things elongate their thorns and dry up to be really f’ing nasty. They stick into everything, and hurt like hell. They ruin the tires on the wheelbarrow and the mower, they’re so sharp.
And so, I weed. And weed. And weed. And thank gawd I do veterinary work and can fix things up noses myself, because this shit could get expensive.

Dear Mother Nature – Please make up yer mind

What a week – Tuesday, the temps dropped to mid-30s late in the afternoon and a brief storm system blew in bringing hail/sleet/snow. Overnite, it froze (killing a bunch of the just planted veggies).

This weekend, temps are in the 80s-90s with a mini-heatwave expected thru this coming Wednesday.

All thru this, the many weeds around the yard seem to be thriving – why can some of them die from the frost??

Stanley Cup visits Cisco

We got the unique chance last week to go see the Stanley Cup in person. I had seen it in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto years ago when my hockey team from Virginia made it to the national playoffs. But in the Hall of Fame, its in a glass case.

Here, we were able to touch it. You could anything other than pick it up. Some folks kissed it, others licked it (bleah).


Hockey playoffs coming

The last week of hockey has been pretty exciting with everyone vying for a post-season berth and jockeying for position. The Sharks managed to win the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record, edging out Boston by a point. Not that the Sharks really ended the season on a high note, after losing their last two games, but the Bruins lost one too and that pretty much ended their chances for the top dog title.

We did see this great commercial during the Bruins-Sabres game – its one of the best hockey ads I’ve seen in awhile:

Easter in Sunol

While I have been occupied much of the weekend with the dreaded taxes, we did get outside a little this weekend. Weather was nice (50s-60s) and the hills are very colorful right now with all the wildflowers bursting. Every year, there is a ‘Sunol Wildflower Festival’ that they host in the park – there were several busloads of folks going back and forth from downtown all Saturday. Lisa spent half of Saturday in Sacramento with Dee Dee at a dog show – she won – Lisa had a posting coming about that.

Here’s a link to a decent gallery of pics from the wildflowers this year. All of our pastures pretty much look like this since we don’t have the sheep this year eating them all before they bloom – particularly all the bright orange California poppies. Here’s a another gallery from this weekend.


Today we ran down to the farmer’s market and grabbed fresh fruit and veggies for the week. Lots of great fruit coming in from the central valley farms now.

Attack of the Flutterbyes

The last couple weeks working outside has been interrupted by some swarms of butterflies. We stopped working on the lawn/garden for a few mins to watch them last weekend as they came swarming up thru the lower pastures and come roaring overhead like a flock of migrating birds. Most of them are these checkerspots, but some look like a variant of Monarchs. The fly in these erratic corkscrews but do seem to stay on their general course. Their swarming was met with glee by our various barn swallows who would cut through the formations like little fighter planes and snag one or two. I think the erratic flying might be a defensive mechanism – if they flew a straight course, they’d be easier to pick off.


Catching up

The last three weekends have been somewhat decent weather (although sometimes cold/windy), but decent enough to start cleaning up the various garden beds (Lisa) and for me to get the quickly growing fields of weeds mowed down. Fraley helped me with getting the mower deck re-installed on the tractor, but its having engine problems and Sears came out to look at it – its got one cylinder with no compression, so its out of action until they come back later this week to try replacing the head gasket, etc. I donned the backpack sprayer and hosed down weeds, weeds and more weeds. Plus, in the pastures, we have some fiddleneck growing, which is really bad for the horses – causes liver damage. Ugh. So, more spraying to try to get ahead of it. So far, the horses don’t seem that interested in it.

We finally got the citrus trees planted that we’ve had sitting in their original pots out in front of the house for the past 1.5 yrs. Not sure how they are going to do. Most places in the yard are challenging for growing trees. We do have one larger orange tree that came with the house, but its been on-off diseased since we got this place. Perhaps it might have something to do with the prior owners trying to fertilize the thing with dog crap. Bleah.

I pulled the rototiller out this weekend (what’s a weekend without power tools?) and tilled the area that Fraley and I cleared of the crappy shrubs earlier this spring. We’ll have to figure out what to plant there now. The soil is going to need a bunch of amendment – its kinda marginal at best. Maybe its time to fill the pickup with some mixed planting soil rather than try to do this with the bagged stuff.

We finished off today getting the electric fence netting strung up around the veggie garden and Lisa planted a bunch of tomatoes, peppers and basil. Not sure the electric will keep deer out (they can easily jump it but they might stay away if they get zapped once, but it will certainly keep the kitties and raccoons and skunks out. Its a bunch longer than we need tho – 164ft of netting was the minimum size. I guess we can use the extra by putting it around the chicken hutch to allow the chickens to come out during the day more w/o worrying about the fox/coyotes/dogs getting ’em.

Berzerkly is always amusing


We went to Berkeley to check out the sale at the Wooden Duck (we’ve gotten most of our furniture from there – they make some good stuff out of recycled woods).

I usually don’t like going to Berkeley or Oakland, but sometimes its amusing to look at the ads/posted on the phone poles…