• Flowers Amidst The Falling Leaves

    Just as we have falling leaves amidst the flowers, the flowers still thrive among a shower of fallen leaves. The flowers never quite leave us here in Norcal. It gets colder, and some die back, but the rain brings new growth. And even in winter, the sunny days confuse encourage the flowers and they spring forth. The roses keep up a good fight and herbs thrive with the rains.

    We will have a frost this winter, as we always do. The Bougainvillea will die back to almost nothing, the roses will succumb and the herbs will wither. But the Narcissus will leap up and spring will come again. The leaves will turn green….and new colors from the flowers won’t be far behind…

  • The Surprise Harvest: Inspiration And Friendship

    One of the many pleasant surprises we have from blogging is the amount of inspiration and new friends we discover. We started blogging as a way to challenge ourselves to be better gardeners and cooks, but found so much more. As always, we are very grateful to everyone who visits us, but also to everyone who takes the time to share their photos, recipes and cocktails. We learn new things and meet amazing people (from all over the world) almost every day, which is as close to a definition of “happiness” as we can find.

    One area where we do fall short (and there are plenty) is responding to the occasional blogger award nominations we receive. We are grateful and apologize for the slow response. The “awards” that are out there an interesting deal, and we know some bloggers like them and some don’t. While it may be a bit “spammy” and a way to drive discovery, it is a great wat to discover new blogs. And some of these blogs really rock. On balance, there are never enough good blogs too read. So here are a few awards:

    • Cooking with Corinna, a very good home-cooking blog nominated us for a 7×7 link award. Thanks!
    • Taste of Wintergreen, Lindy’s excellent seasonal cooking blog (and we like seasonal cooking blogs), nominated us for a Liebster Award. Thanks!
    • And South By Southeast, Betsy’s lovely cooking blog from the Low Country nominated us for a One Lovely Blog Award. Before settling in California, we both had ties to the Low Country, one of our favorite places. Betsy’s blog supplies inspiration and fond memories. We are very grateful.
    • Finally, it wasn’t an award but Michael at the Liquid Culture Project, gave us a kind mention on his cocktail blog. Michael is doing some of the best writing in cocktails right now (IMHO) and the mention was a real treat. We made the Hot Toddies from one of Michael’s recent posts and they were one of the better drink’s we’ve had (and we’ve had a few).

    So each of these awards has “rules’ on how to respond, but we don’t love rules and hope that we can respond with a few fun facts, a few good sites and some photos. (And good, if somewhat lazy, intentions).

    Fun Facts, Quotes and Miscellany:

    • We love the SF Giants, but this postseason is killing us. Five elimination games is exhausting. At least they are still in it.
    • “From the ashes of disaster come the roses of success”-  Chitty-Chitty, Bang, Bang.
    • Pretty easy to find those ashes in our garden and kitchen sometimes. Yo, where’s my #$%@ roses?
    • We are being lazy about our winter garden. Hard to plant when you still have tomatoes (that is today’s excuse).
    • We are starting to improve many recipes by taking ingredients out. This doesn’t always work, but try it, you may be surprised.

    Good Sites We Like:

    And even though fall is here and the rains have come, the flowers are still blooming. Here are a few to share: Continue reading

  • Blooming Roses And Falling Leaves

    Fall is a mixed bag here on the farm. The garden is slowly winding down. The stone fruit orchard is bare. But the citrus and pomegranates are coming and the flowers savor a break in the heat. Olives fill the trees. The leaves start to turn and we get new splashes of color.

    While some of our plants wither or go dormant, our roses seem to want one more round. We appreciate their effort. Blooming roses and falling leaves seem to symbolize the land in northern California, seasons change but the sun and flowers peek through. There is always a sprout or blossom somewhere.

  • And Suddenly There Are Apples

    Gravenstein apples.

    Just two weeks ago, when it was still cool, our Gravenstein (or what we think are Gravenstein) apples were barely showing on the tree. But a few weeks of warmth and sun and the tree is thick with apples. Gravensteins are a “variable harvest” apple, which just means the fruit ripens unevenly. The apples will ripen and develop a slight red blush on top, but they are tart and tasty even before they fully ripen.

    Quite a few apples. These need to be thinned.

    The animals seem to think they are ready. The Deer love the apples and we throw the apples that drop early over the fence. The deer will congregate to that same spot every evening to see what fell from the trees. We will thin the apples this week to get a better crop later in the season- the deer will be extra-happy for a few days. Now they just need to stay on their side of the fence.

    Pears are also looking good.

    Otherwise we leave you with flowers on a beautiful summer day. Surprise at the end…

    Last gasp of the wisteria.

    Continue reading