A display of Ellen Christensen’s ink drawings will be on view at the 504 Cafe, 504 Wesley Avenue, on the northeast side of Lake Merritt in Oakland, through March 1. It’s worth checking out!
Here’s a belated valentine for back-to-work day following Valentine’s Day and the Presidents Day holiday. For Valentine’s Day Namastenancy linked to Robert Indiana’s Love painting — though a different version than the one featured on the SFMOMA web site, which I won’t show since it carries a copyright notice from the artist (so much for free love).
The sculpture in Philadelphia’s JFK Plaza (“Love Park”) is fair game though. Here’s a photo I took a few years ago.
The pool garden — the garden that used to be a swimming pool — turned out so well that we are expanding it. We hired a guy to break up more concrete from around where the pool used to be. It only took him about an hour. The result will about double the area of the garden. Here’s a little section that we’ve pretty much cleared out (this is the corner where killer tomatoes launched their imperial ambitions):
How bad has our drought been here in the San Francisco Bay Area? It’s been so dry that we were able to let our Thai hot chili peppers dry out on the vine. I harvested them just the other day, in January!
The Southeast Asian peppers, known as “bird’s eye” peppers or chili padi, are small and hot. About 75,000-100,000 on the Scoville pungency scale (various figures are given by different sources), they aren’t as scorching as the very hottest peppers but they’re hot enough to require some care in handling. The peppers are slightly curvy and end in a point; they change color from green to red as they ripen. They generally hang point downward. The photo shown at the end of this post was taken in November; by January the plant was bare of leaves and only the large numbers of peppers that it produced remained on it.
Our garden lies in what Sunset calls “one of Northern California’s finest horticultural climates.” We are located in an area of wet mild winters and dry mild summers — a Mediterranean climate zone. It’s region with unique challenges and opportunities. I love gardening here.
Approaches to gardening are strongly determined by scale. Our garden is a small family garden. Its core was formerly a swimming pool. Often we might be growing just a single plant in a container, or a handful of plants, where a larger-scale gardening operation might be planting long rows of crops. Over time we have adjusted to find the right balance for our home garden.
All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even
Watch it sprout.
A mind like compost.
— Gary Snyder
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