Tomatoes

tomatoes 002I love the cherry tomatoes from my garden.  Ten times the flavor of those from the market.  However, the birds love them too.  So as the bush grew I added one, two, then three levels of chicken wire that I had sitting around.  The happy plant has grown beyond that!  If you look close up (click on the photo, then hit the +) you can tomatoes 007see that the red one not screened on the upper left is half eaten.

But tomatoes do not all ripen at the same time, as the plums on my tree did…  Forty years ago I had an older house In Town with a fabulous garden –  apricot, peach, plum, fig trees, roses, and lots else (plus lawns front and back).  The birds loved my plums but only took one bite out of each one. It wouldn’t have bothered me so much if they’d finish one at a time!  At any rate, the tree was large, so I decided to use bird netting on just one branch, and let the birds have the rest.  (I actually don’t like eating plums, but I love the jam.)  So all of the plums on that covered branch grew big and lovely, and the branch, being too heavy, broke off.  So much for trying to subvert Nature.

Anyway, the tomatoes were scrumptious with a bit of olive oil, za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend), some grated Parmesan and toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top.

Coyote

coyote 006The morning after the Resting Bobcat1, a large, lean coyote nosed along the fence. I thought about how slim both the bobcat and the coyote were. Imagine if our 11 million obese adults (34.9% of 318,281,000, total resident population of the United State as of June 26, 2014 – statistics from Wikipedia) had to chase rabbits to eat! They’d be thin too.

Wolf Spider

Went to sit down on the couch to watch a movie and there was a wolf spider in my place.  Put a cup over him, a card under him, and dropped him into my infamous rosemary.  Later, noticing a few ants doing broken-field running around my kitchen, thought that I should have taken him there.  Don’t think those tiny ants would have filled him up, but might be a nice solution to the ant problem.

Reading

Continuing my study of Landscape Architecture, I have read most these books so far:

  • Cool Plants for Hot Gardens by Greg Starr, award-winning horticulturist, nursery owner, and master gardener in town.  The book is subtitled 200 Water-Smart Choices for the Southwest.  I emailed him asking why he hadn’t included one of my favorite trees, the Vitex, which I have planted at the last three houses, and his short answer was, I had to stop somewhere.  It’s a great reference book with nice color photos and good Descriptions,  Landscape Applications, what to plant with what, and Precautions, such as Rabbits will probably eat young plants…  If you need a book on desert plants, this is the one to buy.
  • Landscape for Living by Garrett Eckbo, was first published in 1950, and even though it was reprinted in 2002, it is quite dated, both in the language (not Politically Correct), landscape for living2and the photographic examples in black and white.  On the other hand, contrasting housing developments developed with landscaping included, as opposed to the Ugly Houses2 being built down the street on scraped land, Eckbo wins. The book is wordy (by today’s standards, and I’m not even thinking about Twitter) and a good soporific, so I may never finish it.  But this is one paragraph I enjoyed:landscape for living
  • Desert Landscaping: How to Start and Maintain a Healthy Landscape in the Southwest by George Brookbank is an excellent book for newcomers to the desert.  Both Part 1 – How to Start and Maintain a Desert Landscape, and Part 2 – A Month-by-Month Maintenance Guide are great.  Having lived here for over 40 years and having maintained gardens in six different houses, I knew most of Part 1, and Part 2 is something I google most months (mostly on which veggies to plant), but I think a lot of people around here could use Brookbank’s practical advice.brookbank

For “fun” I am “reading” (ok – it’s an audio book) I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb.  Malala is 14 now, and after many surgeries in England has recovered from being shot in in the head for saying that girls should be able to go to school (in the Swat Valley of Pakistan).  The book is interesting, adding details to a lot of what we know, and I think that all middle school girls should read it.

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/young-bobcat/
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/the-ugliest-houses/

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