Arbor building and spring garden

Please note, this journal entry was written on Tuesday (April 18th), sorry for the belated post everyone. Besides being busy, I just hadn’t felt like posting lately (posting fatigue I guess you could call it)- not very good of me I suppose.  Well, better late than never as they say:

Cool Spring

Because it’s been unusually cool and damp in early April, the start of planting season has been a pretty shaky one for some of the vegetables. A few of the squash seeds rotted and the many others are just waiting for the soil and air temps to warm up before they peak up through the soil.  

The other day we picked a handful of ripe strawberries and only 2, you read right, deuce, blueberries.   It looks like we’ll get a decent crop of blueberries this year and that’s pretty exciting. I think after years of trying them in different spaces in the yard, the blueberries have finally found their ideal growing spot. The fence line blackberries are loaded with snow white flowers and many happy bees. Soon it will be berry time. After a “dry” spell during the winter with only oranges and a few guavas, spring and summer can’t come around fast enough. Learning to eat seasonally and adhere to nature’s rules truly puts our food supply into a whole new perspective.   Living in Southern California, we are blessed throughout the winter with a citrus and avocados which keeps the diet slightly varied.

While visiting our neighborhood nursery early this week to pick up some lodge poles to complete the trellis, I ended up chatting with one of the customers.   Word has it that “Mt. Vesuvius” tomato is “the tomato” to get this year.   She went on to say that one of the guys (I am thinking who’s with the nursery) went to Italy and brought back some seeds of this tasty paste variety and that our local nursery is the only place you can buy it – pretty exclusive tomato, I’d say.    She peaked my interest (didn’t need much urging to gain my curiosity – that’s for sure) and will definitely pick up a few plants when they arrive.

The lodge pole arbor is taking shape! Even though we needed to move this structure, it has found a home in another part of the yard.   

The guys also sunk the four other lodge poles in the ground of the “Gilligan’s Island” trellis that is erected in front of the garage. This trellis will be home to a few grapes and should really look lovely hanging with clusters of sweet grapes. The outdoor eating area onside of the garage is being transformed back into a cozy little nook and should be ready for our outdoor knit-together and tea parties (my mouth is watering, thinking of freshly made cucumber sandwiches).

Since it’s spring and the air is fairly clean with a few clouds, the solar panels are now producing a whooping 10 kwh a day! With our using an average of 6 kwh a day, we are definitely covering our energy use and sending green power to some lucky person in Pasadena.

The last few days have been too lovely to spend time in front of the computer, so posting, as you can see, has been sparse. I have a good excuse– the outdoors, sunshine beckons, catching up with friends while chatting on the front porch in bare feet.   

We’ve also been busy getting our display ready for Earth Day. There’s so much going on in general that I just barely touched the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps postings will be more consistent next week.


The news and endless opinions of this and that can be certainly angering and at times truly depressing. But, one can dwell on those such thoughts too long and nothing ever gets done.   One person asked us the other day  something to this effect: “Don’t you ever think at times the world is just going down the wrong path and all our positive actions are useless.”   Boy, did he hit the nail on the head, that very thought often does cross our mind. We often wonder “why even bother?” But such emotions are short lived (on good days). We told him that even though it’s insanely frustrating, we just have to take control over what we can – and that is us, our lives. Worrying and wondering about things beyond are control are, in fact, a useless exercise.

I know what I have to do today, and that’s all that matters.  


Unfortunately our online “neighborhood” washacked (and our ptf email hijacked) over the last week, creating a security breech which allowed a spyware/virus to embed itself onto the forum. The people responsible also sent out email that contained a virus to all the forum users masked under the PTF E-Neighbors [] so this looks totally legitimate.

We apologize to all those who were affected by this unfortunate incident. I guess sites that are popular are a target for such ill mannered folks.

Update 4/23: Sorry folks, it’s been hacked again.  I will call our hosting service provider tomorrow and complain about their not protecting their message board program that comes with our web site hosting plan. This is ridiculous.

Going Green on College Campuses

Students at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., have spent the month of April “doing it in the dark.” Studying, that is, or hanging out with friends or anything else they do in their dormitories — just with most of the lights dimmed and with electronics turned off and things like phone chargers unplugged, all in an effort to save energy. It’s part of an Earth Day competition to see which dorm can conserve the most.
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{Sounds like our “power down” day concept.   Everyone is competitive so why not focus that competitiveness into something positive.}

Restaurants can help trim foreign oil reliance

With the price of crude oil soaring, the restaurant industry could make a serious contribution to the fuel supply if most of its waste cooking oil can be recycled as biodiesel, according to industry and renewable fuel experts.
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Taking Care of What We’ve Been Given (Wendell Berry)

To be convinced of the sanctity of the world, and to be mindful of a human vocation to responsible membership in such a world, must always have been a burden. But it is a burden that falls with greatest weight on us humans of the industrial age who have been and are, by any measure, the humans most guilty of desecrating the world and of destroying creation. And we ought to be a little terrified to realize that, for the most part and at least for the time being, we are helplessly guilty. It seems as though industrial humanity has brought about phase two of original sin. We all are now complicit in the murder of creation. We certainly do know how to apply better measures to our conduct and our work. We know how to do far better than we are doing. But we don’t know how to extricate ourselves from our complicity very surely or very soon. How could we live without degrading our soils, slaughtering our forests, polluting our streams, poisoning the air and the rain? How could we live without the ozone hole and the hypoxic zones? How could we live without endangering species, including our own? How could we live without the war economy and the holocaust of the fossil fuels? To the offer of more abundant life, we have responded with choosing the economics of extinction.
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Scientists condemn US as emissions of greenhouse gases hit record level

The United States emitted more greenhouse gases in 2004 than at any time in history, confirming its status as the world’s biggest polluter.
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No Comments

  1. claire says:

    thankyou for taking the time to share your busy lives with us, ‘posting fatigue’ just to let you know you are appreciated big style , it is the busiest and most tiring time of year for gardening, here anyway. I love your photographs of your laid out beds, and the arbour is a beautiful structure, I wonder if I could fit one in somewhere?. . ? ha, the garden is never finished, hearty spring blessing to you all.

  2. Anais says:

    Hi Claire

    Thank you for your positive comments and uplifting our spirits during this insanely busy time of year.

    It’s truly a blessing to receive such positive comments, makes the work that goes into each post worthwhile.

    Thank you!


  3. Joshua says:

    When I am at my most cynical, I turn to the fact that what you are doing is where we are heading anyway, so why not get a head start! Rather than rushing to learn the changes forced upon as things come crashing down. So thinking, none of this makes a difference anyway doesn’t really change anything. We still have to stay on the ball and keep going, because at some point it will no longer be a matter of choice anymore.

    Then I think about how people are going to need people like us to learn from when that future arrives, as tiny little arks spread across the Earth carrying more than genetic diversity with us.