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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Late Summer

It's hot today. It was even hotter yesterday. This is Ace's first heat wave. He doesn't know how to handle it. He's been crashing out on his back in different locations, trying to stay cool.

Last night it was so hot that we had to open the door to the kitty cat "forbidden zone,"otherwise known as the bedroom, to get some air circulation. Ace wasted no time in checking it all out, including diving right under the covers.

Of course, he had to check out both ends of the situation.

The garden is soaking up the sun's rays while the daylight is still lingering into evening. The scarlet runner beans are getting some beautiful red flowers, despite the entire pot having been blown over completely upside down by the wind a couple of weeks ago.

The crops have grown so much I can hardly believe it. I hope I can get to the carrots before the gophers find them.

The Santa Barbara daisies are flourishing. Cabbage moths were chasing each other this afternoon. I seem to have a lot of dragonflies and bees too.

The bees really like this flower, appropriately named Bee Balm. The hummingbirds are going after it too.

This week we introduced Ace to the shed, which has a shelf with a kitty perch with a great view of the bird baths. Ace has been enjoying the birdy circus, although he tries to lunge at the towhees who hop too close to his screen window.

Another new thing for Ace this week is combing. Unlike any other cat we've had, Ace enjoys having his tummy combed. He's purring away here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Miraloma Ranch

This land used to be a ranch long ago, according to the historians. Having given up on trying to grow tomatoes in the fog, and tiring of battling the kikuyu grass, I have decided to stick to cool season vegetables only and garden in containers. This is the first time I have gotten scarlet runner beans (above) to grow in my yard.

Here's the raised bed, planted with baby beets, 4 different types of carrots (including purple ones and red ones and white ones,) Merveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce, and Bright Lights chard. I am using floating row cover, which is making a huge difference in the growth rate of the plants. It keeps the moisture and warmth in and the critters out. For the time being anyhow, knock wood.

I have at least 4 different kinds of thyme growing in this pot. I have finally found the right combo of sunlight and water, as much as I can manage to give them.

The other night I thinned the beets and lettuce and I made myself a nice beet salad with feta cheese and toasted walnuts and I had steamed beet greens on the side. Mmmmmm.

We've been invaded by pocket gophers for the first time in 26 years here. They dig and mound up the dirt and wreck your lawn and whatever else they can get their grubby paws on. I have only a tiny lawn in the back and they are ruining it. They are actually sorta cute. If you click on the link you can see a photo of one. There are tons of them in Golden Gate Park.

We tried Molemax, which Steve got from Orchard Supply Hardware. The guy at the store said to Steve, "You can buy these things...none of them work..." It's supposed to make the soil smell bad to gophers. Another non-lethal method I'm trying this week is pictured above. It's a stake that you put three batteries in and stick in the ground and it makes a sound that's supposed to drive the gophers away. My neighbor told me, "They don't work." The jury's out on this one. I've yet to resort to plastic explosives, a la Carl Spackler of Caddyshack fame.

Let's forget about the #$&*%ing gophers and concentrate on how sweet Ace is. You can feast your eyes on more pictures of Ace by clicking here.