First day of vacation

Ah, it feels good. No lunches to pack (though I have to help the kids a little in the kitchen), I can put on working-in-the-yard clothes, I can drink iced coffee the entire day if I want to. There is a perk to having a career in a school setting - and that perk is SUMMER.

Today I spent some time making a list of things to do in the garden. Then I pulled up the rest of the poppies and separated seeds, filled up the green garbage can (the one that goes to the city compost), and filled up my own compost bin.

I made and staked the cucumber cages.

I pulled weeds. I noticed yet another dog vomit fungus. I think this must have something to do with the wood chips we spread this year - does this stuff grow particularly on cedar?

There are lots of interesting fungi coming up in the raised beds, which is a by-product, I think, of the decomposing mulch underneath. Most of the mushrooms are blue-grey, and I am having trouble identifying what kind they are.

I have the most gorgeous sunflower blooming in the side yard. I got the seeds from Renee's Garden, I can't remember if it's a "Chocolate Cherry" or "Cinnamon Sun" variety, but I love it.

Every year I notice how much the goldfinches like sunflower leaves. They completely ignore the flower, but perch on the leaves and eat them. It's hard to see in this photo, but many of the leaves are completely decimated. It doesn't seem to hurt the plant, and gosh the finches are cute.

The sweet potatoes are going great, despite the fact that at least one slip was stolen by a creature, I'm guessing a raccoon. It seems a very raccoon-y thing to do.

The bees are all over the Chinese Tallow trees and Agaves in the neighborhood, and seem to be having a second nectar run. This is great news, as I want them to have plenty of food for the winter. They keep making babies, I can't believe how many more bees are in the hive! The queen is a good layer.

Each year, I give the kids a new summer rule. This summer it was that they each have to make dinner once a week. This means helping me make an ingredient list and shopping for what they need. Kate's up first - she chose nachos. Not exactly gourmet. But I'll have mine on a bed of greens from the garden!