April 10, 2010

Baja Earthquake Cleanup

We've finally got our backyard somewhat cleaned up from the Easter Day Baja Mexico Earthquake. It was a heavy rolling quake that shook our house for a much longer time than most quakes in our area. Normally, we don't notice quakes since here in California you get used to them, but this one went on long enough and strong enough to start our potrack and hanging lamps swaying at an alarming rate.

About 30 seconds after the quake, our neighbor's pool had a little tsnamni and great quanties of water came over the fence and flooded our backyard. It swept mud from our garden to the patio, covering half the backyard. It took lots of sweeping and hose work to get the mud off the patio, but now all my side beds are covered. My gravel pathways are a mess, the beauty bark around the roses was swept away and my gardens lost some of their composted soil. At least we can go out there with tracking dirt back into the house, but I'm at a loss at how long it is going to take to get things back to normal. It is the start of my work's busy season and other than planting a few peppers and herbs, I don't think that I have time to do much more for now.

Still, we are blessed. If this is the worst we suffer from an earthquake of that size, then life is good.

March 04, 2010

Crazy Winter Weather

Talk about crazy winter weather. Here in Southern California we usually get about six weeks of rain and then the heat returns. This year has been constant waves of rain storms, cold temperatures and even....HAIL. We had to take a photo of the white stuff just to prove to ourselves that it is real.

I seem to have a single chile plant that has survived all the cold, but I'm not taking bets that it is going to make it. My pink jasmine vines are also suffering from the cold. Normally they start to bloom in January. This year they have only now started to bloom and here we are all the way into March. I won't be doing much gardening until later this month due to all the inclement weather. I haven't decided what I will plant this year. My home business is keeping me busy and I've had an offer to teach at a local art studio. So whatever I do in the garden is going to have to be very simple.

February 11, 2010

Manzano Chiles

I discovered that my local grocery got in a shipment of Manzano Chiles over the holidays and I bought around 15 of them to stow away in my freezer. Manzanos are similar in heat to habaneros, but have a sweet, citrus finish that is very distinctive. You only use one at a time, like the habs, so what I purchased should last me a good year.

I'm planning on using them to make jerk chicken, jamacian spicy lamb and a few other dishes.

Meanwhile, I'm sad to say that I lost all my chile plants this year. It has been a far colder winter than anyone can remember and my overwintering efforts were in vain. In a way though, this is not a bad thing. It will allow me to start from scratch this coming spring. I think that this next year I want to grow more bells, milder chiles and perhaps only one very hot chile that I can dry and powder. I'd also like to grow a few more herbs to flesh out my little salsa garden.