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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Stitches in October









[top to bottom: 1) green wool sweater | 2) stashbusting acrylic baby blanket | 3) detail of a crochet edging on a pair of fingerless mitts | 4) gift gloves for my brother, half finished]

I still haven't found the perfect place to photograph things I make - this house is built dark to stay cool, and that has the obvious drawbacks. Not procrastinating about working on this issue would probably help! But in the meantime, I'm not lacking for projects, or projects that I want to make as autumn closes in on Southern California. There are mighty cold winds blowing in from the north and through the house already.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Starting for Fall 2011





Seeds from the top left hand corner (going clockwise):

- Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- Rapini Broccoli
- Giant Noble Spinach
- Gigante Spinach
- Purple Sicily Cauliflower
- Cour Di Bue Cabbage
- Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage
- Brussel Sprouts in the middle

The toilet rolls contain: Russian Red Kale, Oak Lettuce and DiCiccio Broccoli (this method taken from Whole Larder Love). The DiCiccio broccoli is the only non-heirloom so far.

The past two years have seen me planting my leafy greens entirely too late in the spring and not really getting anything out of it except a few baby greens- so instead of trying to follow the traditional cycles used by those in cooler climates, I'm following the weather (with guidance from local SoCal veg blogs like Root Simple). When does it rain? When do the grasses return? How long do the grasses stay? When do we get the slight frosty dew outside? I've picked varieties to match the climate as best I can - Italian types where I can, sturdy plants that can survive a swing in temperature through January, short day onions (more on these later), lettuces that can sit in containers and be brought in to avoid any heavy rainstorms. And all are foods that we will eat - I didn't want to risk ordering parsnips or mustard/collard greens and then have them go uneaten. These are sensible vegetables to grow, but not quite in our meal rotation yet.

Not all of these plants are supposed to be started in containers (kale and spinach, for example), but as the containers I'm using are designed to rot down in the soil, I'm not sure what can go wrong. I have plenty of seed and time to direct sow them next month with the others if it all goes awry. The good thing about non-summer planting here is that there's plenty of time for learning and eating. Hopefully more eating this time.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Before the Santa Anas Visit











[top to bottom: 1) tomato cages at rest | 2) Dai Mao spends her afternoons on the porch, rolling around for no discernable reason | 3) the zucchini plant that-never-should-have-been has outlasted the rest of the squash plants | 4) a mysterious new orb weaver spider has appeared in our persimmon tree | 5) junk on the porch]

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Potapple Salad









Boil some eggs for 10 minutes*, potatoes for 30 minutes, one apple chopped into largish chunks, some mayo of choice and voila! Potapple salad.

*Maybe not this many, I boiled a few extra for eating separately.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

October Begins



This is one of those photos that hides the sheer disarray of the side yard - no visible plant pots strewn around, containing the horrors of the breeding black widow. No cinder blocks waiting to be moved, no broken old rubbermaid container lid with cat puke over it. Everyone has periods like this in their relationship with their house right? Where you're stuck in stasis and everything looks a bit crap and you'd like to fastforward through the next year and get to the good parts? Good. Because that gives me hope for the future.

But anyway: October is here, and October  brings change in Southern California - the first rainstorms visit us this week, which makes for happier trees and the return of grass to the yard. I've listed the seeds to start or plant - carrots, kale, cabbages, celery - and I'm pretty sure I know what I'm doing when it comes to growing brassica. I just threw a bunch of clover and wildflower seed around, hopefully to make for more flowers and less weed pulling next spring. I have blankets, and cardigans at the ready, and my first pair of socks on the horizon.

Very mundane parts of life. But very much appreciated.