Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009 everyone! May your year be filled with blessings and lots of doe kids.

At left is a picture of part of the garden taken on one of the few sunny days we've had recently. Near the top, what looks like lawn is actually a large patch of "good bug blend", a seed mixture Andy plants to encourage good bugs to set up shop in our garden. These bugs eat bad bugs, and as a result, make it possible for us to have a good garden harvest without using any pesticides. You can also see our garlic, cabbage, swiss chard, and the multi-hued lettuce we've been using for tasty winter salads.

As has probably been well established, I do not like cold weather. We have been experiencing quite a few cold, dreary days, full of wet heavy fog that blocks out the sun. I have a hard time telling how much time has passed due to the lack of change in the light outside on days like this. It seems as though 10am looks the same as 3pm. It is too cold and damp to have a very good day of soap making, and every time I work the dog she gets covered in cold wet mud. Bleah.

However, even during the depths of our winter, signs of spring are around, if one looks for them. A few of our native bulbs are sprouting, the ceanothus (aka California Lilac) are already forming their flower buds, tree branches growing, and the resident Red Tailed Hawk pair have driven off their last fledgling and are working on their nest. Last year I saw them taking small branches from some of our trees for this purpose, and it seemed as though they were flying further away- this is the first time we have seen the actual nest, so I am not sure if they have changed trees for 2009, or if the hawk we previously saw was part of a different pair. I am pretty sure the abundance of jack rabbits and gray squirrels has something to do with why they like this area.

In addition to the usual finches and birds of prey we have year round, we've also had some small woodpeckers and what looks like a warbler species we haven't seen before. They look somewhat similar to the Western Goldfinches we have here year-round, but with smaller beaks, a slightly different body shape, and patches of yellow on their backs. Friendly little buggers- they land on branches very close to us in the barnyard, and they have been coming right up to the house as well. I'll try to get a picture of them soon.

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