Ah, another tax day. Regardless of your political persuasion or tax bracket, tax day tends to sting a little. But at least we are still alive to see another one. And I guess it makes sense that tax day is in spring (can you imagine it in the dead of winter? Ugh.). The day may feel a bit black, but all you need to do is look outside and you can find a few flowers to bring some welcome color back to your life. And these flowers are free. So here is a little early “refund” from all of us here at the farm. Now go find, and enjoy, some flowers of your own…..
Well, we never really got winter this year in Norcal. We did get some rain, and may get some more, but what we call “cold and wintry weather” (but really isn’t) never arrived. I guess it was sucked in by the polar vortex. Once the rains came, the plants came roaring back to life. The bees are working the wisteria, the roses are about to burst, hummingbirds are sprinting from flower to flower and the bluebirds flicker in the sun. We will take it.
Meanwhile, in the garden the greens look beautiful (taste good, too) and the blueberries are in flower. We have fennel everywhere and the artichokes are sending up canes. The herb garden seems to double in size every day (at least the mint). Excellent.
In the orchard, this is our favorite time of year. The citrus is at its best, with Meyer and Eureka lemons and Cara-cara oranges all looking and tasting lovely. Some seem to make their way into a few cocktails. And the stone fruit trees are starting to flower. Nothing prettier in the world….So much for winter. We will gladly take the spring.
Kauai is known as the “Garden Isle”, and for good reason. It rains. A lot. Over many consecutive
weeksdays. And then sometimes the sun comes out and all that rain seems worthwhile. Kauai is one of the greenest places on earth, but along with the green comes the flowers. And you don’t need to go far to find them.
Some of the flowers of Kauai are hidden treasures that require special knowledge and long, treacherous secret hikes. But most are there for all to see, on the sides of the road or even in your back yard. A quiet stroll in Kauai might just give you some of the best colors you will see in your lifetime….or you might just get rained on. It’s worth the risk.
We don’t take much to complaining here at the farm. Life is a blessing, and while things can (and do) go wrong all the time, we prefer to look at the positive. When its 75 degrees and sunny in late January, it’s hard to complain. When you still have mint in the garden, flowers, bees and hummingbirds, it’s hard to complain. And it is even harder to complain when we have tasty winter veggies and citrus thriving in the garden.
But this seemingly endless summer is a problem. Outside the fence line (and away from irrigation) California is brown and dry. Parched. We have a serious drought. And even for a state that always seems short on water, we are truly short right now. Usually California is green in winter and then brown in summer. It’s looking like a brown year.
While autumn is here in Norcal, we also have our own little “second spring”. Harvest is certainly here. Lots of apples and pears, and the fall crops of figs and artichokes are right on time. But as things cool down, some plants that get scorched during summer have another chance to flourish. So even as the trees change color (and we do get fall colors in California!), our garden gets a few new glimpses of green….and red.
The greens are baby lettuces and vibrant herbs- a last blast of summer that is always welcome. The reds are tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. The peppers are just ripening, but the tomatoes and strawberries are enjoying our last stretch of constant warmth. These tomatoes are often the best of the year. Worth the wait and a fine farewell to our favorite crop.
So even as we plant our chard and the ever-popular kale (enough already with the kale…its just a vegetable, jeez), we see new roses popping up around the garden. Hydrangea enjoy the cool and bloom again. Fall is here, but our second spring makes it a smooth transition….
We rarely complain about too much sun, and certainly won’t now. On a recent trip to Kauai (the
rainyGarden Isle), the weather was so good we had almost too much light for photos. A problem we hope to have again. But we did manage to wake up early one morning to beat the sun and get some photos of the local flora. There is so much to see, this is just a taste. We hope you enjoy it. Aloha.