Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Almost Spring?

Everything is budding.

Our lone pear tree inside the Kinu Orchard, Pomona, ever the impatient girl, keeps flowering at odd times anyway, but you can almost hear the hum of vibrating energy from the others, too.

Daffodils are starting to swell...grasses are growing ("Means it's time to mow," groans Big Dog. "And gophers are getting busy," I follow)... Is spring already here?

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beware of Gifts

Our third week of pruning and our achy-breaky bods are complaining big time. It's hard not to keep at it, though, since we've been blessed with beautiful weather during the day. The area's gotten more than 15 inches of rain this year, but not a drop after the first week. Mushrooms which were so prolific have all dried up, as has much of the ground that was so wet and muddy earlier.

This year, the residents at the back of our property, the McCs who have much more experience at these things (he's a groundskeepers, she's a horticulturist) helped us out a few days. I guess they know what they're doing, though it takes some effort for me not to yowl in pain as giant limbs come off.

"See how the crotch has some kind of fungus?" Mama McC points out to me. Fungus in crotches is NOT appealing, I agree, but...

Their fearlessness has completely emboldened Big Dog who is going chain-saw happy.

"I'm taking you down!" he announces to the giant apple tree. If this were a cartoon, the apple tree would be rearing up, I know.
"I'm sure it's going to be a lot happier now, with more light and air," I say, more to placate myself. If Mama McC is a surgeon, Big Dog sometimes looks like The Butcher of the Orchards.

That's why it's so nice when I have the whole orchard to myself. Like today, when the others were working other orchards and I got to spend the entire day picking up the prunings in peace, disturbed only by the antics of the chickens.

"Well, Freddie, whacha got there?" I chat to the rooster who's a little Freddie Mercury. He's got a worm in his mouth and he's giving it to Two Tone, the black and white hen. I am touched.
"Aren't you a little gentleman!"

Is there chivalry in the animal kingdom? I wonder, but even before I can pick up more branches and twigs, there's a loud squawk as Freddie tries to mount Two Tone.

"Get off me, you creep!" She goes running into the bushes, wings a-flutter.

"So, you buy her dinner and immediately expect her to put out? You're just like the rest of them." I laugh. But Two Tone wasn't about to be bought off with a little morsel, which makes her a lot tougher and smarter than SOME women I know.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Perfect Days Continue

Not a drop of rain since the New Year's storm.
The T-shirt weather continues.
Sweet sap is running out of our apple trees.
Are we supposed to be pruning in this kind of weather?

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Friday, January 07, 2011

These Boots Were Made For...


The December storm at the ranch had turned my uggs into mud-caked messes so it was time to go and find some rubber boots. Shall it be long waders? Or heavy duty utilitarian boots? Or something cute and fun?

Economics determined the choice for me: a pair of really inexpensive rain boots. Made in China, natch. But I'm hoping they'll at least last me the season.

I don't know why I haven't had/worn any rain boots-galoshes-wellingtons-wellies-rubbers in four-plus decades. They're too much fun, I thought, splashing through the rain-darkened streets of West Los Angeles. In Tokyo, the only people I've seen in rubber boots were school children, fishmongers, ancient farm women carrying massive basketloads of produce into the city on the early morning train... The rest of us walked in soggy misery. I wished I had ignored convention and gotten some boots for all those rainy seasons, winter storms, summer typhoons. Japan is a wet country!

Now back at the ranch, I find that these boots were also made for sloshing and sliding around in the mud. Unlike El Rojo, our little electric car that I promptly got stuck in fine, slick, clayish mud in front of our busted up greenhouse.

Yes, the same New Year's storm system that had me wading through West LA tore apart our little greenhouse. The plastic panels had been blown all over the place and the aluminum frame was wrenched apart in places. Plants were dead or dying. What a mess. And now an electric car stuck up to its axle in muck.

But my boots, muddied as they are, look completely unperturbed. Yay for elastic hydrocarbon polymer!


Saturday, January 01, 2011


The ONES are in alignment today, this first day of 2011!And my blog is not so anonymous anymore!