Thursday, February 07, 2013

It's Still Winter in California

It's Still Winter in California. Yesterday it was spring in Santa Barbara. I pruned the apple tree and the peach tree, working in warm, sunny weather, taking my outer shirt off. I harvested two heads of broccoli. I planted seeds for beets. I weeded out around the sweet peas. I took the weed whacker and cut down tall grass on the hillside. Then I hauled up several bins of green debris -- up 2 flights of stairs -- up from the garden to the curbside for morning pick up....

I planted three milkweeds to attract the butterflies -- planted them around the small pond, plus I planted what I call a sweet pea bush underneath the cape myrtle and next to the cement pelican statue.

We compost most greens on the property -- saving the bigger sticks for kindling. But some of the harsher euphorbia leaves will take about 100 years to break down, so we let the city haul them away -- they get run through a high-powered grinder and then turned to mulch.

Meanwhile, my horticultural partner, known as Ms. Lovely, was pruning her roses, 4 and 5 canes per plant on the hybrid tea roses, and upwards of ten canes on the floribundas.

We pronounced sentence on a tired old rose with a big knobby base, but just two skinny stems. No future, she said, hasn't bloomed in two years. I took my sharp spade and dug up the old bush -- that's a part of life and it happens to all of us -- tossed it in the bin without ceremony. Might buy a new one to fill the space although she said maybe just leave it open and give the other roses more room -- room for the wind to blow and keep diseases and bugs away.

Afterward, she put on dormant spray, on the roses, on the apricot and apple trees, and on the grape vines.

That was yesterday. Today the clouds have returned and the rain should come tomorrow. Southern California might be the only place in the country with normal weather, but we have had just about the right amount of rain this winter, interspersed with warmer, sunnier days. In late January we had night-time frosts for about 5 to 7 days -- but not too harsh, didn't seem to damage the local citrus trees, and the experts say a good frost kills bugs and hardens the grape vines nicely. So we have had good weather up til now and who knows how long that will last.

Issues and Opinions. I am being recruited to take a stand against GM foods (genetically modified) but I decline the offer. I don't even care about organic anymore, or local. I have scattered all these fads and dismissed them -- for the time being. For now, here's what I eat -- if it tastes good and it doesn't cost too much, then I buy it and prepare it. I avoid take out food and prepared and packaged food -- but I'm not doing this because of someone's righteous program, I'm just doing it because food I make myself tastes better and it costs less money.

In my lifetime I have kept a small carbon footprint and been doing that for many years before I ever heard the term "carbon foot print." Just think "cheap" and you will have a small footprint too. Or you could buy a book that tells you how to do this, and then take a class, but pretty soon you're trusting the experts and I advise against that.

I'm the kind of expert you can trust, because I would just tell you to go home and figure it out yourself.

I do recommend 19th century novels, however. Try anything by Thomas Hardy, or Chas. Dickens. Good books will simultaneously ease and stimulate your mind -- laying the groundwork for making good decisions, and your good decisions will make our happy earth a better place for everyone.

Che Gelida Manina -- and never despair, beauty and goodness are always present


Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My blog is Fred Owens

send mail to:

Fred Owens
35 West Main St Suite B #391
Ventura CA 93001


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