Is the weekend really over?

Man, this weekend went by quickly. 89 degrees on Saturday, then 79 today, and everything is bursting with life. Deciduous trees are leafing out, fruit trees are blooming, the ceonothus looks amazing, seedlings are popping out of the ground. It's spring, yo.

Tom spent Saturday taking a salami-making class with an old master. I'll let him tell you all about it in another blog post; suffice it to say he had a great time, and we had a delicious dinner last night when he came home with his bounty! Today Tom worked again on the drip system. It's still not finished - this is proving to be a very tricky project. But we know it's worth it in the long run.

I spent my weekend in various ways, cleaning the chicken coop, shopping for and planting new perennials, and hauling some extra wood chips from a neighbor's driveway into our yard (because you know when I see a mulch pile, my muscles just take over and start shoveling into the wheelbarrow).

Here's some pictures of interesting things that happened this weekend:

I planted one artichoke. I had trouble finding them at all in my local nurseries; this is the only one I found.
Also, I'm not sure they'll do well in our hot climate. This is my test subject.

Ceonothus exploded everywhere. This white variety is very pretty, and the bees love it.

After speaking with an expert at Orchard Nursery, I decided not to plant a lemon tree near our back door.
We just don't get enough sun in that location. So I choose a native CA huckleberry instead.
Bees love the blooms, and we'll get fruit (similar to blueberries) in the late summer/fall.

The poppies started opening!

Redbuds are blooming everywhere. Bumblebees go crazy for this native tree.

I moved the rain barrel slightly, and found several of these guys living under it.
Some sort of salamander. skink. No, I think it's a Salamander. Isn't he cute?
***Update! I got an email back from California Herps, here's what the expert says:

"Hi Elizabeth,
It's a California Slender Salamander. 
They're common in yards all over the area. They like to live under rain barrels and flower pots and other stuff on wet ground until it dries up.

At work, we see Dutchman's Pipevine everywhere on our walks with the kids. One had this seedpod hanging
and I snatched it. It's the size of a tennis ball. I threw it in my pollinator garden, and we'll see what comes of it.
Dutchman's Pipevine is the larval food source for Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies.

I released the spiders on some daffodils under our oak tree.
They promptly made a web and are still hanging out together.

So far, the strawberry wall (made out of a recycled pallet) is doing very well.
I gave it some fish emulsion this weekend, and the plants started blooming.

It's been a fun and busy weekend, with very little time for any rest or relaxation. Next weekend promises to be the same. Spring is always our busiest time.