Native bees mating.

This post contains a bit of real news and some wrapping up of recent loose ends. First of all, the kitchen back in the house in San Francisco. It’s going through a complete overhaul. Yes, we do it once every 27 years, whether it needs it or not. Beside the Spring chores, this overhaul is one of the reasons I’ve fled the City and am living up in Sonoma outside of harvest time. Why, through all the room remodels that I’ve been through, do I persist in believing that redoing “just one room” will mean that only one room will be out of commission? Never happens. Somehow wood, carpenters tools, supplies, dust and crap from the room being remodeled always manage to fill up every other room, so the whole house becomes uninhabitable. Well, on the one or two days a week I’m back in the City for my Spanish class, I can report that we are seeing progress. Dare I say, even a light at the end of the tunnel.

Cabinets are starting to go in. And since you asked, yes, all plywood used is certified green. No formaldehyde, just pure wood.

There’s even a newly laid hardwood floor somewhere under that protective cardboard.

On a culinary note, many of you expressed shock that we were actually eating the deformed carrots that we pulled out of my little garden up in Sonoma. And I now know, thanks to helpful and much more knowledgeable readers, that carrots need a sandier soil to look more like a vegetable and less like some horrible tumor discussed in a medical textbook. I’m happy to report that recent crops have looked decidedly more carroty.

Here they are, minutes from the garden, and without Photoshopping.

And like their deformed cousins, they were delicious with just bit of butter and sprinkling of salt.

On an even more exciting culinary note, a famous local beekeeper, Hector Alvarez of Hector’s Honey Farm, has chosen our lavender fields as a location for some of his hives. Hector is a local success story. He came to Sonoma as a young man with nothing but a willingness to work hard and a love of bees. He was “adopted” by a local beekeepers association which guided him, although he had no English at the time, through the ins and outs of commercial honey production. Now he’s one of the most sought after purveyors of organic honey in Northern California farmers’ markets.

Hector and Andy spec out where the hives will go. Hector needs the area leveled a bit and the terriers are already starting the earthmoving.

There is a wonderful coffee table book of Sonoma vendors, culinary institutions and recipes called Sonoma. A Food And Wine Lovers’ Journey. You’ll find Hector profiled there.

They call Hector “a gentle man who smells of honey”. I’d say that was an accurate description.

In miscellaneous farm news, our mini heat wave has already caused the vines to explode with new growth.

The rain predicted for this coming week and the temps in the 80s predicted for the week after that will only accelerate things.

Yes, bring on the rain! John the Baptist has covered our most vulnerable hillside with coconut coir mats that he’s seeded with wildflowers.

In a few weeks, I’m expecting a hillside of native grasses and flowers.

And if it doesn’t work out, it’s still a good scratching station for terriers.

But then, if I’m hankering for wildflowers, I can always go to the Town Dump.

There are masses of them blooming there!

Of course, this is a very special dump. Magical, you  might say.

Is there another dump in America surrounded by vineyards? Imagine the terroir here.

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