February arrives!

I'm so thrilled with the way the vegetable garden is thriving this winter. Part of it is due to the weather; we haven't had nearly as many heavy frosts as we did last year, and it's been sunny and warm for most of January. But part of it is the success of the hoop houses. They've kept the temperature steady in the beds, and also have kept the deer out! I know the deer have been sniffing around, because the peas regularly get a haircut, but nothing else has been eaten.

Speaking of peas, they've finally got some flowers on them. I guess I've decided that peas are not a true winter vegetable for us; they prefer things slightly warmer. They are loving these sunny days.

I opened up the hoop houses this weekend, to let the veg benefit from these gorgeous days. I will definitely be harvesting. I have more greens than we can eat. I'm putting them in everything; I even tried a recipe for meatloaf that included pureed kale. I loved it. Not so sure everyone else did. We are eating greens for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Greens are the new zucchini. If you live near me and you'd like to take some off our hands, come on by and we'll harvest some for you.

The garlic and shallots are looking great.

The blueberries are blooming, and I just saw my first strawberry blossom, as well.

Many of the fruit trees in the neighborhood have started flowering. Yes, it's very early, and I'm glad my apple and peach don't show any signs of that, yet.

Seedlings of native plants are already coming up.

And the narcissus is finished blooming, while daffodils are beginning.

I've seen many interesting things on my hikes, lately.

Who says turkeys can't fly?

Shelf fungus

wild iris, planted by someone long ago
Wild mustard, soon to be ubiquitous, but pretty when new

fallen log with woodpecker holes

a beautiful vista in the Mt Diablo foothills

My dad finished our bed, and we love it. Not only is it gorgeous, our whole bedroom smells woody and wonderful. Here's a picture of one of the pencil posts:

I like the color of the wood, sugar pine

And, coop construction is coming along. Tom finished the roof and the framing for the hen house (inside the run), and together we got the hardware cloth installed and the trench backfilled. Dad came over and helped us with some supplemental bracing, and built the door.

building the door

hardware cloth, bracing, and door installed, trench filled
Next week, we'll start working on the hen house, which will be on the left upper quadrant.

I'm working on my online order for more blueberry bushes, plus some raspberry canes and elderberry bushes. I'm considering a small Meyer lemon. I also need to work on getting artichoke starts in the ground (Kate wants to be in charge of those), and I'm hoping to make a vertical planting wall out of a pallet, for more strawberries. We need to build the new raised beds, plus convert all the sprinklers to drip. Plus, get more ceonothus and manzanita bushes in, and I need to order my veg seeds! Lots of stuff to do, and spring isn't even here yet. I'd like to find some things to grow around the coop, too - some sort of deciduous vines or maybe olive trees. They'll need shade in the summer. Ideas, anyone?

I wanted to let you know about a new online magazine that I find amazing, and I can't wait to see what the next issue is like, as I've already devoured the first one. It's called Craftmanship, and the first issue is all about agriculture. I love their mission and view of the world. I'm excited to see more.