Four months in, still mostly at home.

Given all that is going on in the world, a post about our mostly-idyllic mountain life has seemed wholly trivial.

Art by Rosanna Morris.

It’s hard to believe we’re four months into the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic.  We continue to feel infinitely lucky to be in this space at this time.

The seasons spin on. Mid-summer is here, and the garden has come alive.

For the first time in a handful of years, we had a good crop of apricots.  Apricots are tricky here.  They flower in February, when it is usually very, very wet.  This year, we had an optimally dry February that allowed for good apricot pollination.  To me, apricots taste like summer.  They are such a delicious treat, made even more special by the relative rarity of having a successful crop here.


We got a big piece of Monterey Bay king salmon from H&H Fish Market in Santa Cruz, and used our smoker for the first time.  It was delicious!


We’re growing Zeolights calendula for the first time, and it is so beautiful.  Almost glowing.



We have been eagerly watching our artichoke in anticipation of its bloom.  I started it from seed about a year ago, never really having an intention of eating it.  I’m much more interested in the spectacular florescent purple flowers.

We’re experimenting with growing honey nut squash (small butternuts) and cucumbers on trellises.  The plants are happy, and they take up less room this way.

We’re also growing a Tokyo Blue Squash plant, which is a Japanese pumpkin.  ONE PLANT.  It has wrapped its way all the way around this 4’x’4′ bed, has an arm growing up the reed fence in front, and one growing along the back fence, almost halfway down the fence line.  Every day, it puts on more growth.  I wonder how big it will get by the time everything is all said and done.  It’s amazing to think about this having grown from one small seed.


We’re growing potatoes for the first time.  It’s interesting to see how their flowers are similar to tomato flowers – they’re both in the nightshade family.

We and the bees are loving these Lemon Queen sunflowers.


This patch of wild Queen Anne’s Lace appeared after we broke up some compacted soil.


I also can’t get over the brilliant hues of these strawflowers.

Last but not least, tomatoes are on their way…

Ode to our Vintage Greenhouse

I started this post in February 2019 – I don’t know why I never finished it. Seems apropos to post it now, seems how we bid farewell to this old greenhouse as part of an emergency septic system replacement at the end of May. We have a new Climapod, ready to assemble. While it will be bigger and more air/water tight than the old glass one, it won’t have nearly as much charm.

I love greenhouse work.  As a volunteer in the early days of Veggielution, I became de-facto greenhouse manager for a short time.  There, I learned the magic of starting plants from seed.  I came to understand how each seed is a meditation on life and perseverance – all of the energy that a plant needs to grow starts with the power stored in a tiny seed.  That’s pretty amazing if you think about it.  Greenhouse work is detailed, quiet, mindful work.  For a person with an anxious mind, this is the best kind of therapeutic work because it asks for complete presence in the moment.

How lucky for me that Mike’s house came with a greenhouse!


It’s a rickety, old, glass structure that has been on the property for who-knows-how-long.  It was probably put up by long-time former owner, Mrs. Disher, who was reportedly an avid gardener.  There are missing panels that we keep meaning to fix with the plastic paneling that is leaned up against the side, but other projects keep getting prioritized.  It’s not impervious to all plant predators.  I patched up the areas with missing panels with fencing to keep birds from flying in and eating seedlings.   In the fall, a wood rat got in and used the plants as a personal salad bar.  Generally, it seems like it is one earthquake away from falling down.

In the winter, it doesn’t really stay very warm and/or dry.

We dream of building a bigger, geodesic greenhouse in which we could maybe grow citrus!  But for now, this is the greenhouse we have, and I love it.