Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mesclun Coming Up

The 'Paris Market Mix' mesclun from Renee's Garden is coming up. This mixture contains arugula, red lettuce, escarole, chervil, and endive.

Last year, I grew the same variety of mesclun, but I never fertilized, which means I never got a harvest. This year, though, things will be different!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Verdant Cascade

Verdant Cascade, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I came across this small waterfall while hiking in the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. I was amazed at how green and vivid the boulders were.

All of Las Trampas is filled with interesting sights and habitats. There are hot, dusty, chaparral-covered ridges, dark, fern-filled forests, and wildflower-dotted grasslands.

These waterfalls, however, are the park's crown jewels. Hidden away in the forest, they are visited by few and known by even fewer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A spotted tiger lily in the John Muir Wilderness near Big Pine, California. The John Muir Wilderness is excellent for hiking - lakes, streams, waterfalls, forests, desert, and even glaciers!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Las Trampas Cascade

Rushing Down the Mountain, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I hiked to this little waterfall back in February. It's amazing what a few inches can do to transform dry hillsides into lush, waterfall-filled forests.

When the winter rains finally start here in Northern California, all these waterfalls will fill up again. We haven't had rain since the last week of February, so any water from the sky will be appreciated.

Heck, most Californians I know love the rain and look forward to its return.

I am one of those Californians.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Three-Year-Old Amaryllis That Bloomed

Red Amaryllis, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

After purchasing this amaryllis bulb 3 years ago, I never figured it would bloom again.

Well, this spring, it did!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mt. Goode and Long Lake

Mt. Goode and Long Lake, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

This is Long Lake near Bishop, California. I went hiking here about a month was spectacular.

Anyone who hasn't been to the Eastern Sierras must visit them. They really are just incredible.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Red Gems

Red Gems, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I saw these 'Red Gem' marigolds growing in the Kitchen Garden of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. They were really vibrant, and each plant was covered with hundreds of flowers.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum really is a great place. There are thousands of different species of plants spread across multiple acres. Bog and hosta gardens are some of the noteworthy sights.

It's just sad to think that the whole place will be covered in snow within a few months...

Thai Dragons

'Thai Hot Dragon' chile peppers on my single plant. This plant has grown fast and produced many peppers.

There was a bit of a mystery concerning this plant: some of the peppers had absolutely no heat at all (they're supposed to be 8 times hotter than a Jalapeño). I discovered it was because those peppers were drying on the plant and not ripening.

The other day, I tried a plump, juicy red pepper. After chewing for a few seconds, I was running back into the house hollering.

The heat lasted about 1 hour.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Minnesota Corn

Blomkest Corn, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Looking down on sweet corn in a field in the rural town of Blomkest, MN.

I've grown 'Golden Bantam' sweet corn. I only got a few ears of corn, but that may have been due to our sun-baked California clay soil. Not the best for growing vegetables.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lessons from Lemongrass

1. Fertilize enough, but do not over-fertilize (hence the semi-brown leaves).
2. Re-pot plants when you've noticed they've stopped growing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Garden Beans With Shallots and Basil

This is an easy side dish that can be made in a few minutes. I used 'Tenderpick' beans from my not-so-healthy plants. Sweet basil (also from the garden) was added, as were shallots from Trader Joe's.

Green Beans with Shallots and Basil

Serves 1.

1 cup fresh green beans
2 shallots
5-10 fresh sweet basil leaves
1-2 tbsp. butter

Peel and mince the shallots. Tear the basil into small pieces. In a pan, stir-fry the green beans, basil, and shallots in the butter (medium-high heat). When the beans are tender, serve immediately and garnish with leftover shallots from the pan. Salt as desired.


Heirloom, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

These 'Grandpa Ott' morning glories are so great...they bloom every day and grow like crazy.

I will have plenty of seeds later to start next years' crop!

Fiery French Marigold

Fiery French Marigold, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I found this marigold (and many others) in a garden in the tiny village of Dolomieu, France. I have never seen such fiery flowers...amazing.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Forest Bellflower

Forest Bellflower, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I found this campanula down by a stream in Dolomieu, France. There were many flowers down there, as well as mushrooms. I tried to do a little exploring, but I heard that vipers lived down in wet areas, so that shot that idea down.

Apricots at the Morestel Farmers' Market

Abricots, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I saw these delicious-looking apricots at a farmers' market in France. Everything looked wonderful there, including the cheeses and sausages.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Early Morning Visit...

An Early Morning Visit..., originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I woke up early this morning to go check on my 'Grandpa Ott' morning glories. Look at what I found!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Gearing Up for Waterfall Season: '08-'09

This winter, hunts for waterfalls will include further exploring in Las Trampas and Mt. Diablo. I will also attempt to find the elusive, little-known Tehan Falls, which is supposedly 60 feet tall. If we're lucky, we'll get a lot of rain this year, as it is both necessary (to combat fires) and enjoyable (for waterfall hunters).