Friday, June 29, 2007

roses begin again

After resting up for a bit-- a second round of rose blooming begins...

Singing in the Rain;

Yankee Doodle;

Honey Perfume;


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lavender Fields!

Wow. Living where we do, you can almost start to take lavender for granted. It grows so well-- and thrives on so little care-- that you see it all around, and we have a handful of varieties in our own yard. It's also quite popular for landscape painters to paint, and I knew of Matanzas Creek Winery as the place they went to paint fields of it. But I had never been there myself.
I've been subbing for a summer painting class the last few days, and they had recently spent the day here--- the lavender is at the height of bloom, about to be harvested. So I dropped by on my way home. And so, I say again, wow. Nothing really prepares you for these fields of color 'in the real'-- and their scent, the buzz of the bees, the late afternoon sun.
You can read about the gardens here. You see there are two colors of lavender: the lighter is Provence, used for culinary purposes, and the darker is Grosso, the stronger one, used for bath products and oils. (they make and sell a lot of the products there). Any future visitors who come to see us in late spring/early summer-- are going to be taken here. You have been warned.

Here you can see the lavender has begun to be harvested (these shorn green mounds)-- a process that is done by hand and takes a number of weeks.

Here's a little painting by Paula Smith (love the contrasting orange umbrella!)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

a red dragonfly

For some reason, this is the kind of dragonfly we see most often in our yard, and even before we had a tiny water feature.(for Jan!)

Buddleias going strong

Yes, at this time of year, Butterfly Bushes (buddleia) start living up to their name... I always think these look like summer lilacs (okay, from a distance)--- and they're much better suited to our mediterranean climate. For one brief moment, I saw 4 swallowtails on this one shrub, but mostly it's one at a time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mid-summer Color

Even this spider wanted to get in on the act, by being unusually colorful! (here on a cone flower)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Two for the Literary Set...

(you know who you are!)

1) At last, Thoreau has his own Blog! Actually, it appears he's had one for several years, and we just didn't have the link.
(via Garden Mob)
Seems this date in...1854... found him in a bit of a funk:
"Another remarkably hazy day: our view is confined, the horizon near, no mountains...It is dry, hazy June weather. We are more of the earth, farther from heaven, these days. ...Even the birds sing with less vigor and vivacity. The season of hope and promise is past; already the season of small fruits has arrived. The Indians marked the midsummer as the season when berries were ripe. We are a little saddened, because we begin to see the interval between our hopes and their fulfillment. The prospect of the heavens is taken away, and we are presented with a few small berries." (exerpted by me)

2) ...and: poetry video. (via Dirt by Amy Stewart)
A while back, I posted a Billy Collins poem... I always like to hear him read. Here's one, in his own voice, with visuals. Reminds me a little of "the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (a movie I highly recommend, if you haven't seen it!)

And a couple more...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Three Summery Moments...

and a Happy Father's Day!

Afternoon light through Smoke Bush, Penstemon, and Euphorbia; front yard looking toward street.
Morning light on the only sunflower we planted on purpose--
(all others, coutesy of birdseed!) Lavendar Butterfly Bush in background, a swallowtail hang-out.

The supposed 'vegetable' bed. Close inspection may reveal tiny tomatoes, and a squash-like leaf. Also, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and sunflowers.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Congratulations to 2 family Grads! Andrew, (son of sister Dawn & Mark) in Wisconsin, from High School;

and to Lauren (daughter of sister Karen and Jeff), in Calistoga, from 8th Grade. (seen here, in polkadots, with longtime friends Lindsay and Nicole)

Congratulations to you all!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

a sunflower sequence

(to be continued)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

a 'Yarden' Before & After

While we were visiting back east, we occasionally visited this blog as a sort of online photo album, to show our friends some glimpses into our California life. We realized, however, that with all those rose close-ups, the garden overviews were few, and the house seldom visible. (The photos are, of course, STRATEGIC). Anyways, I'm going to be trying to provide some larger views of the scene. Here's a view from the back deck this morning, and how it looked 5 years ago. The previous owner here was a huge vegetable gardener, and improved the soil in the back with manure every year for about 40 years. Amazing thick rich topsoil. But only there. The front is rock hard clay.
Looking to the left (below)
And (below) before: (you can use the roof in the neighbors yard in background for orientation). This is a photo from the home's sale flyer. (We cut off that railing, and made steps that go straight down off the deck.)

And the present, again (below), looking to the right, with the art studio we built. (What looks like a 'hex sign' on the building is actually a game wheel piece from off of one of our Burning Man paintings).

Monday, June 11, 2007

...and a few from the front...

And some 'Befores' : (these were taken the day we first visited the house with the real estate agent):
(We had to rebuild that whole front porch, from the ground up to the top of those posts. Plus the ceiling. And the steps. Ah, those were the days.)

And one from the far corner, looking back towards the house. The lot is 1/5 of an acre, though this shot makes it feel like it might be larger.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

2 kinds o' swallowtails

(anise swallowtail, & tiger swallowtail)

return to... summer

Yes, we've been away, and now we're back. We've seen so much-- beautiful places in upstate New York, and Connecticut and the Berkshires... been hosted by fabulous friends-- and we'll be processing pictures of all that...
But in our yard--- the irrigation system had its true maiden voyage. Almost 2 weeks, and everything looks pretty darn good (big thanks also to housesitter Nathan). But the season definitely shifted into the next phase: the first flush of all roses is past; sunflowers are getting tall, buddleias (butterfly bushes) are coming into bloom, daylilies, echinacea, california poppies going strong. It's looking very SUMMER.

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