I’ve been so inundated with homework this term. I’m taking some very mathy classes, which twists my brain and requires a lot of extra work for me to GET IT, DAMMIT, and also some very writey classes too, which is a lot easier for me but then has the sad side effect of not wanting to write anywhere else, including here. Honestly my brain is just completely full and kinda tired. I never worked this hard before in any of my college classes, which tells you a couple things: One, I failed a lot (truly, my first college experience was all about failing) and Two, if I wasn’t failing then it was a class that really interested me and so I was motivated to do well and it never felt like work. So, I’m learning what it is to be an ambitious college student and to be afraid of losing a perfect GPA, which I know, not such a big deal in the scheme of things, just - I’m having feelings and worries and anxieties.
Luckily there is the garden to which I can escape when I’m really overwhelmed. Some days, I just can’t get out there, and with the daylight slowly leaving us a bit at a time, the days are shorter too which doesn’t help. Today I made a list of things that I absolutely had to get done in the garden and I firmly stacked my books away from sight and headed out. Tom came with me which made it even more delightful. We had a big morning job which was turning the compost and sifting out whatever was finished, which turned out to be about 8 wheelbarrows-full, a wonderful result. But turning that big pile is a really big job, with long pokey things and big chunks of smelly wet things and just a huge mass of stuff to move and then to re-pile when the good stuff is taken from the bottom. The chickens absolutely LOVE it when we do this job, because the amount of bugs to be found is astronomical - the entire pile, literally, crawls with life. Since the birds are coming out of molt and need lots of protein to grow new feathers, this was a good time to expose all those creepies for them to gobble up. But having them running all over everything while you’re trying to move it… also a hassle. That’s ok. I was able to put a deep layer of compost under all the blueberries (they need a lot of low pH organic matter, and compost is acidic so it’s perfect), a deep layer under the apple tree, a deep layer around some ornamentals that really needed it, and to create two new beds for perennials and bulbs, which I’ve wanted to do for a while. One is under Adam’s window and is filled with plants his dear friend Sophie grew from cuttings and lots of bulbs, and the other is under our magnolia tree where I grow some natives but it needed some punch in the summer when the natives are dormant. I put a lot of bulbs there too. I splurged on a good amount of alliums and fritillarias. I also seeded a bunch of native poppies in those places.
The winter garden is coming along marvelously. I’m always surprised how, when the soil is warm but the nights are cool, everything really germinates well. The shallots and garlic are already up, the snap peas are starting to bloom, and I’m surprised how big the broccoli plants are this early in the season. Very little needs doing in the veg beds, except that I need to sow a cover crop of red clover everywhere. I am just waiting until the veg crops have a good head start. The flower patches are all looking really wonderful, with six-foot tall (or taller) zinnias, cosmos, and tithonia. The bees and butterflies are still out during the sunny part of the day, but the lizards are starting to hibernate. Some birds have migrated back into the garden and it’s good to hear their songs again (the chickadees, the yellow-crowned sparrows). Leaves are starting to turn and drop and acorns are falling constantly from the Valley Oak, making very loud kerplunks when they hit the cars. It’s seems to be a bit of a mast year for them, while the galls are quite a bit fewer, at least it seems right now. Last year was a banner year for galls.
A friend from Idaho was visiting and said she’d already had snow, and I imagine many of you have already had your first hard frosts. We’ve got a while to wait for that. Meanwhile we’ve had some exciting, smaller earthquakes and some scary moments with wind and fire, but our October has been fairly quiet so far (knock on wood). Octobers are always interesting in California.
This afternoon is back to homework, but I’m glad I got to get out in the sunshine and use some muscles. What are you working on in your garden?