How ya hangin’ in there?

A perfect welcome for the first day of Summer.

A perfect welcome for the first day of Summer.

We picked our first tomato Sunday, a wonderful Father’s Day gift for my husband. I just happened to have a nice fresh loaf of bread

This one turned out a little lumpy but none the less for taste.

This one turned out a little lumpy but none the less for taste.

so we made bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches for dinner. It was magical.

These last few days have been so pleasant, it’s easy to forget the triple digits. Yesterday was splendid, but today I can already feel that steady climb. By the end of the week we will be getting a good roasting. 

I took advantage of the nice weather to get some outside work done – I got a few buckets of chips from our friends in the hills the other morning, and spread them around my garden beds. 

These pretty chips are a mix of oak, manzanita and pine. When they get warm in the early morning sun, they smell like camping.

These pretty chips are a mix of oak, manzanita and pine. When they get warm in the early morning sun, they smell like camping.

I get plants from friends, I find them here and there. A friend gave us this plant, which he calls “elephant ears.”

I got  this plant from a friend with almost no information.

I got this plant from a friend with almost no information.

The leaves are huge, bigger than a dinner plate, more like a turkey platter. I got it in a tiny pot, where it lived under a dripping spigot for a year while I tried to find a place to put it. I tried to keep it in a larger pot on the patio, but it hated being confined. Finally, about to five up, I planted it in the shade under some oak trees. It died for Winter, but one day I found the little leaves pushing up out of the ground. It starts with one leaf, then each new leaf emerges from the stem of the last, each one even bigger than the last.

I found out, from Belmont Rooster (thanks!), it’s one of a million varieties of a group called “alocasia.”  It’s a tough plant, and it put up with a lot of moving around and experimentation. Now it seems happy, as long as it gets a drink from my gallon can every day. It can go a while without water, but it looks droopy and sad. It can stand up to an hour or two of morning sun, and then it sits in the shade the rest of the day. Right now it’s having babies, you can see the first one just at the foot of the bigger plant. It’s had two so far.

I like native plants, they’re usually easy to figure out. Whipple gave me a couple of red bud trees in a pot, and I’ve been amazed the amount of abuse they’ll put up with. 

This red bud tree came in a pot with another, tiny and crowded, and now here it is. It actually bloomed this spring.

This red bud tree came in a pot with another, tiny and crowded, and now here it is. It actually bloomed this spring.

I think the chips will be good for this little shade garden, help keep the moisture in the ground longer. My son has been using a lot of chips to improve the dirt in his back yard, so we’re planning to spend more time stacking brush for our friends so we’ll get a good load of chips again next year.

As Summer moves in I expect to start getting alot of tomatoes. I’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my tomato press, making sauce. We still have a few pints in the freezer from last year, but they go fast. 

Right now we’re enjoying a lot of beans and squash – these “asparagus beans” have been my favorite so far.

These long skinny asparagus beans are really filling, they go good with the long neck squash.

These long skinny asparagus beans are really filling, they go good with the long neck squash. The purple beans are about played out, and it’s too hot in the garden to plant any more.

It’s funny to think, Summer is just starting. I predict a long dry hot one. 

 

 

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