The front yard is spectacular this time of year with masses of small but colorful yellow sunflower blooms — all one last big bonanza of riotous color before it fades into the muted greens and browns of autumn.

With the change of seasons, there’s work that needs to be done in the garden such as crop rotations and what to plant in certain beds,

The traditional harvest of pumpkins or winter squash was a bit early this year because we’ve learned to plant pumpkins early for harvest in late June. This way, we beat the nasty mildew that runs rampant during August.   

However, this year the scourge of mildew was noticeably less — even on the cucumbers. It was certainly a good year for cucumbers, but not summer squashes like zucchini and yellow crookneck. It’s amazing how every year is completely different, leaving a gardener puzzled with trying to figure out what variables contributed to the success or failure of a crop.


At thegardenLAb on Saturday afternoon one of the guest speakers was James Folsom, Director of the renown Huntington Botanical Gardens — just a few miles south of us. His talk was entitled The Garden of the Future.

Folsom began his discussion with Francis Bacon’s definition (“God Almighty first planted a Garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures”)  and concluded that in the 21st century the world must be our garden. Our stewardship of resources will determine its beauty, productivity, and sustainability as well as our own cultural evolution.


Folsom’s lecture at GL was followed by a screening of the newly released documentary ‘MONUMENTAL‘ – a powerful testament of one man’s passion and conviction.  

David Brower was a radical environmental activist who is credited with saving and establishing many of the natural wilderness areas we take for granted today.

The documentary was very powerful and moving as well as inspiring. As we learned of what Brower had done and sacrificed, we were shocked that we (and others, too) didn’t really know all that much about Brower and what he did to help preserve the West.

A lot is known of the legendary John Muir and what he did, but Bower’s name along with his accomplishments is pretty obscure. Apparently if it weren’t for him the Grand Canyon wouldn’t exist as it does today and that’s a scary thought… Then again, it serves to remind us just what one person can do.

“There is but one ocean though its coves have many names; a single sea of atmosphere with no coves at all; the miracle of soil, alive and giving life, lying thin on the only earth for which there is no spare.” –David Brower, 1950

Thanks to all who dropped in last Saturday atgardenLAb! It was great meeting some of you “new faces” who came just to say “hi.


Bad news has been an unwanted but constant visitor these last days and doesn’t look as though it’ll be leaving any time soon. With every day, we’re encountering more problems and obstacles.   It’s been discovered that the mechanic’s workmanship is worse than originally thought.

The mechanic who installed the new engine forgot to mount it and replace the heat shield… meaning that the whole time driving back from Hanford (some 200 plus miles) the 50 lb starter wasn’t attached and that’s the reason why it cracked and with no heat shield there’s a possibility of it being burned and the fly wheel bent.   

However… one Chevy dealer here in town was rather unconcerned and tried to convince us that “it’s all just cosmetic.” RIGHT!  He’s not going to be getting our business – other mechanics have informed us that it’s a serious problem.

Now we know why the car kept getting harder and harder to start. The starter and motor and are not aligned because it wasn’t mounted – if we had driven any more it would have been possible the starter would have fallen completely off the car!

We now have a Chevy District Manager, the Better Business Bureau, and DCA Bureau of Automotive Repairs involved.   Now, we just wait while our car sits at a Chevy dealer lot in the area.


In the backyard, many of the fall tomatoes are looking good, sweet potatoes are running rampant, peppers hang heavy, and baby greens are starting to sprout.

Everywhere, there’s that scruffy look of a late California summer garden — overgrown, a bit worn out, slightly unkempt.

Working in the garden is always a therapeutic retreat to combat tension and stressful days. We’d all rather work in the garden amongst the plants, animals and wildlife than face the harsh world/people.

The weather has turned cooler and overcast, yet another dramatic change as we were just getting used to the hot and humid days of last week. Still, it is a nice change to appreciate… just a small introduction to crisp fall weather. Already around town the sycamores and maples are getting the slightest of yellow hues…


Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang — which in itself is not at all a big deal, but we thought it was the long awaited and “promised” call from the dealer in Hanford (which never happened) but instead, it was something much more pleasant. A man with a British accent was on the line and introduced himself as one of PTF’s avid readers – from across the pond. It was such a nice surprise!

We chatted a bit about dreams — his being similar to ours of a community consisting of many homesteaders, bartering skills and living in peace.

Just that one phone call really made our day. In spite of all the hard times right now (and perhaps the ones looming in the future) we’re encouraged by knowing that there are fellow kindred spirits not only walking alongside us on “the path”, but supporting us with your thoughts and prayers. And, maybe someday, we won’t be walking “the path” together in cyberspace, but will actually be able to meet each other in real life.

Keep the faith and be steadfast in your journey.

Weather Report: Cool

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