Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Daily Harvest

Eggs & who made 'em.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Daily Harvest

Daily Snack

Kate's homemade bread & lemon curd made with a lemon from our tree and a lemon from my Aunt Anne's tree and eggs from the ladies!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Signs of Spring

Daily Harvest

After the rain we always find more glass. In the break in our rainy weather this morning we went out and planted peas, put up grow cloth (to keep out the neighbor's cat and our chickens) and picked up the newly exposed glass.

I was wondering how long it will take us to get all of it. We have already turned over every part of our yard building beds and paths by hand and removed all of the trash we could find. Even so, when it rains more appears!

In a year will we look back and think "Oh yeah, we totally used to have to look for pieces of glass in the garden" or will our grandchildren still go out after the rain and pick up glass?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Daily Harvest

Signs of Spring

We had a little break in the rain. The garden was warm and smelled like spring. There were bees out and about. The Anna apple is flowering- it's a really early apple that last year made fruit in June. The fava beans are growing and we're planting potatoes, peas, carrots, and more.

Thank you for this beautiful apple tree Grandma and Grandpa!

It is covered in pink flowers!

Monday, February 16, 2009

backyard bird list

Here are the birds we've seen in the backyard. Each bird name links to info about that species- photos, sounds, etc.

black phoebe
flycatches by the compost, very common in summer

ruby-crowned kinglet
just seen a couple times in the avocado tree

yellow rumped warbler
came through in the fall, also interested in compost bugs


one sings a very good imitation of the neighbor's car alarm- really!

last spring a pair raised babies in a bird house in the avocado tree

white-crowned sparrow
big flocks come and eat spilled chicken food

house finch

house sparrow

anna's hummingbird
loves the mexican sage flowers and has a certain twig on the avocado tree it likes



sharp-shinned hawk
I saw one on the quail coop, although it may have been a cooper's hawk

bullock's oriole
just once- exciting!

brewer's blackbird

mourning dove

hairy woodpecker



california towhee
our most common visitor

Daily Harvest

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009


This morning I heard some chicken noises from the back. They got louder and louder. At first I thought that someone was laying an egg, but then it seemed like there was a problem - I thought that maybe the chickens were fighting. The noises were serious enough to get me to pull on some shoes and run out into the yard. I was surprised and scared to see this dog in our fenced off yard running around with Lady Gray in his mouth. I started screaming and yelling but the dog was so focused on killing that it didn't even turn to look at me. I got out the hose and started spraying it and yelling, still to no effect.

The dog took poor Lady under the porch where I couldn't reach either of them, so I started looking for the other chickens. I found Dr. Wanda and Petunia under the artichoke and got them back in the coop and shut the door. I couldn't find S.B.

I didn't know what to do. The dog wouldn't come out from under the porch and I was kind of scared that if I could actually get it out that it wouldn't be a friendly dog. Evidence = it kills chickens. I thought that I should at least be able to identify it later, so I ran in the house and got the camera. Here are some pictures I took of it under the porch and then later when it came out and tried to break into the coop.

Then I thought to call animal control. Apparently this is what they do and the truck came out very quickly and a friendly and competent man caught the dog. The dog had no tags and was surprisingly clean.

The neighbors who own the dog showed up just as he was getting the dog into the truck. They were very upset, and I was mad. The animal control guy said that they were lucky that their dog hadn't gotten into the backyard two houses down or it would be dead. He said that the man there is a retired police officer with a registered gun and lots of chickens that he is very attached to. Did you know that it is legal to kill any animal that is disturbing your livestock? Even in the city.

I didn't want the neighbors to lose their dog (it turned out to be owned by nice neighbor George) so, assisted by the animal control guy we reached an agreement that I thought was fair. They would put up an electric fence TODAY and put the zapping collar on the dog and they would get us another young laying hen. The animal control guy added "and don't be going down to Lucky Dog to get it either. They have been selling people roosters and saying they're hens. Now the shelters are filling up with roosters." Also in our agreement was that I wouldn't clean up dead chicken and that George would help me figure out how his dog got into my yard. "Look for dog hair," advised animal control guy. He also said that next time the dog got out that he would take it and gave us all his number to follow up with him.

The animal control guy was really the hero of this story for me. He knew so much about my neighborhood, he had actually been to my house before when a deer had died in the back yard years ago. ("You've done a lot of work in the yard," he said "it looks great!" I did a double take. "When have you been here before?") He was calm with mad people, he went above his job, I thought, by mediating rather then just following the letter of his job, which was 1. take dog away 2. charge impounding fees. I also thought that his perspective of my city was facinating and so different from mine. Where are all of the wild and domestic animals of the city, living and dead? How and when and why do they move through the city?

Thank you animal control guy. Rest in peace Lady Gray. Stay away murdering dogs. Get that electric fence up George.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Daily Dinner

Los Strawberitos ( Jonathan's basketball team, and their loved ones, came over for a pasta making/eating party. Abbey taught authentic Italian thumb-rolling-of-pasta technique. Everyone ate vast quantities. The pasta was made with 10 eggs from the ladies in the backyard. The tomato sauce was from frozen summer tomatoes with herbs and garlic. The salad had arugula, cilantro, and other herbs, and homemade vinegar dressing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Daily Dinner

Our first harvest of regular collards and our first harvest from the tree collard that our friend Kim gave us. Fried up with yard hot peppers, udon noodles, and tofu.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Daily Harvest

We harvested the rest of the mustard greens in one bed because the plants were starting to bolt. We cooked it all and froze it for summer. It's nice, we're making space in the freezer as we eat summer tomatoes and filling the space with winter greens.