Fickle Weather

by Lorraine on February 16, 2012

It has been a very dry winter this season unlike last winter when it seemed as though we were being rained upon almost all the time.   Everything was so saturated and one storm was  particularly intense as it blew in from the southwest, smashing against the house with high winds.

I remember that I had a problem with water coming in underneath the front door and into the hallway.   Ha, ha…lot’s of fun.   I’m outside in the driving rain, completely covered up in rain gear and attempting to cover up the front door in plastic as everything was whipping around me but all the time I kept thinking how lucky I was that I wasn’t someone that was faced with losing their home in a flood as they were back East at the time.

Then I had a temporary flashback of a particular El Nino year when it seemed the state of California was going to drown and I had a leaky roof.   I would climb up on it  when it was raining  (Not the smartest thing to do) with huge rolls of plastic and attempt to hammer it down and keep the inside of the house free from leaks, all the while making sure I didn’t slide off and get hurt.

(One of my more enjoyable experiences of being a single Mom.   And a “thank you” to my son Ryan who was right along beside me, building  his character.)

But the storm from the previous winter ruined the wooden front door although  somehow my flooring survived the assault and out of this, one of my sons gave me a beautiful new front door a few months ago.

So, I’m digressing here…I think I was talking about the lack of rain we’ve had this year and I have been doing some supplemental watering in the garden.  I’m disappointed that none of the wildflower seeds I had sown a few months ago, have appeared.   But the poppies are plentiful and I noticed this morning that one has a cheery, orange flower bouncing upon itself.

A couple of days ago I purchased four large bags of shredded bark  and this weekend I plan on spreading most of it out in the areas where things are a bit bare.   All I need to do is get them out of the trunk of the car.

Where’s a man when I need one?

As I was saying, the weather has been odd this winter.   I few weeks ago it was hot and that’s when I had a rattlesnake in my sitting area and then yesterday, it became very cold (Something I hate) and it hailed!

So what’s next?   I think most of us are still hoping for more rain, as we certainly need it but in the meanwhile my garden still looks beautiful.   And at the end of the day,  I can enjoy the tranquility and peace it provides to me and know that life is good and each day brings it’s blessings if we are only paying attention.

 

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Native Americans, Herbs & Lanny Kaufer

by Lorraine on February 14, 2012

Once a month I volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service to help maintain the trails north of Ojai in Ventura County, CA.   I’ve been doing this for a number of years and I always enjoy meeting people that show up for this event and spending a day with good friends.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet a large variety of personalities and from all different types of professions including those who are fortunate enough to be retired and have the wear with all to pick up a Maddox or a McCloud & join us on the trail for a day of frivolity.

Well, not quite.   We tend to work our butts off but there is tremendous satisfaction at the end of the day, knowing that we have made a trail more passable  for hikers, equestrians and and available to people that come out to enjoy wilderness for the day.

On my last event, I met Lanny Kaufer and as it turned out, he has a very interesting background in ethnobotany, the local native American culture and the use of wild herbs for ceremonies, crafts and gardening and has been leading walks and holding workshops for quite some time.

He leads walks in the local mountains to provide education for people that are interested in local plants and their uses and teaches how to identify the plants and their uses.   This sounds like something I should be signing up for, sometime in the future.

He’s a very interesting guy and as we were “chugging” of the trail together, we shared a discussion of our mutual love of nature and in particular native plants…

I’m sure that I will probably be seeing him on the next Forest Service event in March but in the meanwhile you may want to take a look at his web site.   It’s very well done.

http://herbwalks.com

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Fleeting Time

by Lorraine on February 13, 2012

I never envisioned myself as a Gardener, I certainly don’t grow vegetables, fruit or roses and REALLY, I’m not one.   The term gardener is a misnomer for me…

I’m actually a dreamer.   Growing up for me  was more about having a wonderful childhood, with many explorations into the local mountains and desert and parents who truly loved me and my sister.   I tend to think that a garden, regardless of what is in it, is an expression of ourselves and what we love.

When I look over previous pictures of myself, it is quite apparent how much being free is part of my soul.   Nature is a perfect expression of that emotion and my garden is a source of connection to that part of myself and int turn  connected to the universe that supports all life.

The seasons change, move and surprise us sometimes with their unpredictability but we can observe the evolution of nature and ourselves through these times and when I look over my garden, I feel an ease, appreciation for my life and continue to delight in my decision to “go native”.

Treasure each day, each relationship, value what is close and be kind to one another.   And especially be kind to yourself and know that you have value….

Plant a poesy, plant a tomato, but plant something and gaze and marvel at it’s ability to survive and grow in spite of your mistakes.

It’s life, after all.

 

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Birds in my Native Garden

by Lorraine on February 12, 2012

Here is the continuation of the previous post about some of the birds that I had been seeing in my garden last December.   Now that it is February, some have left the area and now I’m seeing more White Crowned Sparrows and on the one day that it was hot, I found an 8″ Rattlesnake that was dead (mysterious), laying in the sitting area of my garden.

Good grief!

During the spring and summer I am more likely to see English Sparrows and Common Goldfinches as they patter around underneath the plants, seeking seeds and vying for territory. And there have also been Hooded Orioles that have nested in one of my trees that last two years.

Robins and their loud voices are the “bad boys” of the garden during the earlier part of each year and commandeer the bird bath, shoving out the smaller birds from it and in general, taking over the garden for their own purposes.

Although, they probably spend more time at my neighbors house where they find fat worms in their lawn, the do poke around among my plants and splash so much in the birdbath, they practically empty it in their enthusiasm of fluttering their wings…

Hummingbirds never seem to leave the area as I have something in my garden that is always in bloom year throughout the year. They are currently enjoying the Desert Lavender and fuchsias and now there are some new flowers on the salvias to give them a bit more variety.

Anyone who that thinks California native plants are ugly and unattractive, lack the knowledge of what they really are like. It’s not that dried-out dead-looking stuff you see along the roadsides…those are invasive plants, especially along the freeways.

California native plants are magnificent, varied and beautiful. Grow a garden made of natives and you will experience such joy and pleasure in their beauty and also enjoy the multitude of birds that will find it a rich sanctuary for their lives, too.

 

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Okay, So it’s Really February in the Garden

by Lorraine on February 8, 2012

I came across these comments that I obviously wrote last December, when I was seeing a number of different types of birds visiting the garden.   But some how, I got caught up in the busyness of Christmas and the holidays and I forgot to post it.   So better late than “never” even if some of these birds aren’t here now….

Once the garden was done and the plants were in, I began  notice an immediate change of “visitors to my yard, because it was now very attractive to wildlife, whereas before it was boring and didn’t provide cover or food for birds or butterflies. All kinds of different birds began to show up throughout the year along with other interesting critters.

Depending on what was blooming ( And there is always something blooming in my garden), and the time of the year, I always have the opportunity to share it with a variety of birds and butterflies.

It is now December and I am seeing more of the Mourning Doves ( They are a bit stupid, I have to admit), poking around looking for seeds but lately I have been seeing Black Phoebes that in general are in the garden all year long and now White Crowned Sparrows sharing the turf with Lessor House Finches.

And into to this mix are still some Anna Hummingbirds, taking advantage of the nectar from the Everetts Choice fuchsias and their bright red-orange flowers that lure them into their succulent places. Darting in and out of the garden are common finches and the very handsome Dark-Eyed Juncos, which I think are one of my favorite birds.

This is a rather longer post and I hate to bore anyone, unless they truly love watching birds in their garden, but I’m saving the rest of it for the next post.

To be continued…

 

 

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