Monday, April 27, 2015

Animal Crossing

It's not uncommon here to come upon unsupervised livestock alongside of the road, outside of their fenced area.

Or crossing the road, perhaps headed towards a more verdant pasture when no one is watching.  

Or visiting us from down the hill.  Because as we all know, "The grass is always greener on the other side."

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fruit Fortunate

We are blessed with a variety of fruit trees here on the hill.  Greatest in quantity are the cherry trees.  Most are wild cherry trees, but there are also a few cherry trees intentionally planted.  And as if we didn't already have enough cherry trees, we just bought another one!  The cherry tree above is one of my favorites.  It's a survivor.  The old trunk, which has new growth on it as you can see, is completely hollow almost all the way down to the base.  It sort of looks like a bonsai, don't you think?

We also have lots of apple trees, both wild trees and again intentionally planted.  They have the prettiest red buds.

This pear tree was the first fruit tree to bloom at our house this year.  All the trees and the property surrounding the house had been sorely neglected for many years -- which translates into many, many months of clearing and cleaning and pruning so that going forward it will be easier to manage.  Correction, this could take years!  Amore's father is thankfully one of those people who has retired but isn't content to be idle so he loves to come over and help.  Which I am immensely grateful for since he is an expert on all things farm related.

These are pear blossoms.  I can't wait until they turn into fruit!

And oh my, FIGS!  We have several mature figs trees and Amore's father has also given us lots of new cuttings that we've already planted.  I am frantically searching for ways to make good use of all this fruit before we are inundated -- and jars, I am frantically searching for jars! 

While I am always thrilled by the sight of the first fig, what I find really interesting is the grape vine.  The first buds to arrive are the leaves, which actually look like a little, pink flower bud.

As the bud opens it exposes tiny, green, pink-trimmed, furry leaves.

And those tiny, green, pink-trimmed, furry leaves turn into large, strong, vibrant green leaves for making Greek Dolmas -- just kidding, but seriously dolmas are delicious.  This particular plant will produce table grapes.  As for the other fruit we are expecting, I think I'm going to stick with making jams and the occasional crostata.  As they say, go with what you know!

Thursday, April 02, 2015


We've had a quite a bit of rain for the past couple of years.  Sorry California, but it's been too much rain.  The ground is saturated and when it rains, the water just runs off.  And downhill. This is not a waterfall, this is the ditch that runs along the road to our house.

Thanks to a two hour, very intense downpour, much of the gravel from our road was swept into the side ditch which blocked the concrete pipe beaneath the road that carries the water away.

So we ended up with a small river running down the middle of the road causing some serious erosion.

Meanwhile back at the homestead there was more run-off.

Which resulted in a small landslide!

And a very unhappy dog.
Please excuse the photo shot of dear Pici's backside, but it was quite amusing to watch her wade through this mess, ears pinned back in displeasure.

It's no rainbow, but it's always nice to be able to find a little beauty in the middle of a small disaster.  Keep smiling!