Indian Warrior, SonomaI’m sure I mentioned all that rain we’ve been having — seems like 40 days and 40 nights of it. Well, forget I mentioned it. We may get some more before our permanent rainless season sets in (right about now through November). But nobody’s complaining. Governor Brown has just declared that our several year drought is officially over, the snowpack in the Sierras is at about 165% of normal, Lake Sonoma reservoir is well over 100% capacity and our underground aquifers must be bursting at the seams now.

As things go in a semi-arid environment, Nature has reacted to our sudden warm and sunny spell by bursting into bloom. Suddenly we have carpets of wildflowers, the whole vineyard has gone into budbreak and all the trees in the orchard are coming into bloom.

Just in time. It’s been so rainy and stormy John the Baptist hasn’t been able to come out here and work. You want John to stay working on the land. Because when he’s cooped up in his cabin, he gets to whittling.

weapons made by John

What he whittles tend to be filed under: Weaponry.

John is a firm believer that you can’t have too many weapons. All the handles for these things were whittled and polished from wood found on the property. The axe-head is an antique that John found down by the creek.

John's buck knife

Just in case you aren't understanding how serious these weapons are...

knife handle

But you have to admire the workmanship.

On a less frightening subject, we’ve all gone into overdrive here, getting planting done and outdoor projects started. In the last two days, I’ve gotten all the raised beds at Flying Terrier Farms dug and cleaned out, torn out hundreds of weeds from the decomposed granite paths between them and planted all my tender spring crops in the greenhouse.

oscar relaxing in the garden

No thanks to the terriers. Hey guys, gardening is about more than lounging in deck chairs and listening to Country Western playlists on the iPod!

Now that John’s moved most of his “oak nursery” out of the greenhouse, I’ve filled it up with all my “too tender to plant yet” crops: eggplant, melons, corn, tomatoes and peppers. I know you expert gardeners are going to tell me that some of those crops aren’t suitable for starting indoors and replanting. Relax! I’ve just found these wonderful pots made entirely of cow manure. You start your crops in them, then plant pot and all in the raised bed outdoors when it’s safe. They’re only a little bit aromatic. Meanwhile outdoors, we have peas, radishes, lettuces (which are being eaten by something), baby Bok Choy, and some Cauliflower that isn’t flowering or cauli-ing. I’ve got a beautiful crop of big leaves and no heads.


In my Darwinian garden, it may be on the chopping block soon if it doesn't produce something edible.

Notice also the straw that I’m using for mulch. Actually, I swiped it from some of John’s flood control projects. It’s rice straw, so in our dry climate, it can’t take hold and become invasive. And it’s not all full of noxious weeds like regular hay bales are.

greenhouse, summer crops

We're thinking it's going to be a good year.