Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rainfall plus news of sweet peas, dahlias, and horses


December rains make the Ventura River flow. December's unexpected rainfall has put a lot of water in the Ventura River. It's been dry so far into January, but the river is still flowing.

I was out there this morning to look -- the river is only 150 feet from the motor home where I live on this small farm. So I walked past the arena where the horses are ridden, then through the brush, and across the small round rocks, and I heard the river rushing.

It is such a sweet sound, clear and cold water pouring over the rocks like a mountain stream. Like a real river, which it is.

We are seven miles from the mouth, where the Pacific Ocean waves pound against sand bars, piling up sand to form a lagoon, ideal for pelicans.

I am often driving down to Ventura Point where this river meets the ocean.

A thousand years of rainfall have created a small point, jutting out from the smooth curve of the shoreline.

The point makes long cascading waves with curling tubes -- ideal for surfers seeking long rides.

I come to watch the surfers watch the waves. Surfers wait in their cars for good surf, watching the waves. Then they paddle out and wait and wait -- for the right wave.

This is a great teaching.

I'm going there -- to Ventura Point. I'm going in the next hour, after I finish this report.

Life and work is going well at the Farm. We planted about 8,000 sweet pea seedlings in seventy raised beds. That's a lot of sweet peas.

We cut river cane, which grows like a nuisance in the back of the farm -- but they make good stakes and we needed several hundred stakes, to string up the netting, to serve as a trellis for the sweet peas, climbing to the sky, all 8,000 seedlings in seventy raised beds.

It was a lot of work, but we had willing hands, even during those rainy days in December.

Now we are looking at the sweet peas all tucked in and about to grow as the days turn longer, to bloom and fill the air with sweet scent, to cut and harvest and sell these flowers at the market in March and April.

It's all a gamble. A lot of labor and expense goes into these flowers. A million things could go wrong -- bad weather, a plague of insects, plant viruses, or an invasion of hostile anti-sweet pea aliens from Mars -- all a great risk.

But a tidy profit is a possible outcome as well -- that's our hope.

After the sweet pea harvest, we will plant about 3,000 dahlia tubers. This is the Show, over 200 varieties.

It is the best and biggest spread of dahlias in Southern California. Get some for your garden -- go to Love House Dahlias and see the brilliant colors -- each variety of dahlia is lovingly portrayed on this website.

Horse News. We have a new horse. His name is Maverick, a gelding, 17-years-old, all white.

And very big, a cross between Arabian and Percheron. The Percheron (who, we hope, was the mother) is a draft horse, so that explains why Maverick is so big.

He's a friendly guy, but he gets "mouthy," as they say, wants to give you a little bite, like a love tap, only he has very big strong teeth.

He better not bite me. I told him this morning, "Maverick, if you bite me, I'm going to bite you back. And don't step on my foot neither."

Then I gave him a carrot.

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Fred Owens
7922 Santa Ana Rd
Ventura CA 93001

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