Heirloom tomatoes
It’s been muggy these past few days with temps nearing 100 degrees. The heat & humidity is expected to last through the week.

On the garden front; summer harvest’s in full swing! Enjoying meals with fresh summer veggies and fruit (yum!)  Keeping a close eye on the soon to be ripe peaches!

Not all is honky dory in the garden. Because of the cool weather that we experience in June, the grapes are suffering with a bad case of mildew. Word, “through the grapevine,” has it that we are not alone in this plight.  The mildew’s not only affecting us and fellow gardeners in the area, but also vintners in No Cal’s wine country. A couple of wine establishments are expected to loss their entire crop due to mildew, harvesting nothing– nadda.

Ray, the cobber, emailed and said that he has a ” big surprise” for us the next time he shows up (possibly today) that will “make a difference in the look of the oven.” I wonder what it is?

A little bit more on cob: Every time we add a layer of cob, it’s vitally important to wet the previous layer before adding a new layer.  Besides wetting it down, it’s also good to use a “cobber thumb” to rough the surface up to bind the layers together.   Why all those holes on the outside of the oven?  These holes serve a function and are made using the cobber’s thumb to help the thermal layer of cob dry quicker.  The thermal layer of cob, straw and sand is basically done; the final step is plastering and then sealing with a coat of linseed oil. 

Firing and cooking in the mud earth oven makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in not having to turn on the gas stove to cook tasty meals.    (I like it, too, that it’s easy to use – no having to remove ash or coals before cooking!).

The other day at Wild Oats, guess who was in line behind me (who, btw, is our favorite character on the West Wing) ?   He and his wife (whom Jordanne met one time) are very active in environmental issues,  I should have tried chatting with him but he looked like he didn’t wanted to be bothered (or I was too chicken).


  1. chris brandow says:

    My wife and I bumped into him at the playground by the Rose Bowl. We chatted a bit. He is very nice. I think he must live in the area, La Cañada, I think.

  2. Anais says:

    Hi Chris

    Hope your garden is growing well? Still having trouble with the tomatoes?

    Actually, Brad lives in San Marino. My friend and neighbor looks after their dog (you may have heard of her pet sitting service called “Goldilocks and the Houndhikers?).

    Perhaps I could have asked him how the dog was but I didn’t know the name! 😉